From the Director

Library news and happenings.

Party in the Park

I read the book Balloons, Balloons, Balloons ten times today and I said the word “balloons” about 300 – 400 times.  I thoroughly enjoyed it each time, especially with my ten appreciative audiences.

I was a reader today at “Party in the Park,” KPL’s Ready to Read celebration of the nationally recognized “Stand for Children Day.” Over 1,400 preschoolers and their caregivers gathered in Bronson Park for an hour to hear stories read by local community leaders and costumed story book characters. The readers moved from one small group of preschoolers to another.

This fun event has a serious purpose: to focus community attention on the fun and importance of sharing books with young children. And fun it was….who couldn’t enjoy having ten preschoolers shout “balloons” repeatedly! The balloons had tough competition though from Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Man in the Yellow HatMadeline, and other familiar story book characters who were there.

Thanks to all the volunteer readers, the organizers and helpers, the caregivers and the children….and the rain even held off until it was over!

Remember to read to all the children in your life.


Balloons, Balloons, Balloons

Judith Krug

Judith Krug, Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, passed away last month. She was the office’s first and only director since it was established in 1967.

She was THE champion for librarianship’s core value: intellectual freedom… the right of Americans to free expression, freedom of inquiry, and privacy in the pursuit of information.

She also headed the Freedom to Read Foundation and was the driving force behind ALA’s battles over censorship of the news media, books, films, the internet.

We acknowledge intellectual freedom in our mission statement as do many libraries: “KPL champions reading, ignites imagination and ensures access to information and ideas.”

She defined and fought for the principles that have become basic to our country’s public libraries and library patrons. The challenges continue, perhaps even more so, as society increasingly moves from a print world to an electronic world.

We uphold her principles and treasure her legacy.


Judith Krug (American Library Association photo)

Federal Funding for Libraries

Earlier this spring, the American Library Association sent a letter to President Obama. Not surprisingly, the association stressed that “libraries are perfectly positioned to disseminate information relevant to the issues and challenges that face us as a nation.”

The letter also cited the increase use of libraries; our role in life-long learning; various federal programs that impact libraries including No Child Left Behind and the USA Patriot Act; and the need for more funding. 

The budget the President recently submitted did include a slight increase in federal funding for libraries through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, primarily for state library agencies.

In Michigan some of the federal money to the Library of Michigan is a match to state money which funds MeLCat and MeL databases. The federal and state funding needs to continue if those services are to be available to our patrons.

I’ll keep you informed as budget deliberations and the impact on our services becomes clearer.


President Barack Obama discusses the 2010 budget

The Right Information

In June 2005, then Senator Barack Obama spoke at the national conference of the American Library Association in Chicago. Like most in the audience, it was the first time I had heard him speak, really the first time I was particularly aware of him.

Among many comments tailored to the librarian audience he said, “Libraries remind us that truth isn’t about who yells the loudest but who has the right information.”

All libraries work hard to gather, make available, and use information. We even have it in our mission statement: “Kalamazoo Public Library champions reading, ignites imagination and ensures access to information and ideas.”

Information is a focus for libraries. It’s encouraging to have heard our president acknowledge the importance of the right information and the role of libraries in providing it.

Come visit soon or call us…..we are in the information business.


American Libraries, August 2005

Staff Picks at

In a previous blog entry, I wrote about our website. I’m proud of all aspects of our site and appreciate the creativity and efforts of our many staff members who contribute to it. My personal favorite section, however, is Staff Picks.

All librarians and many other staff members write at least one staff picks entry per month, some write more frequently. They write about booksmusic, and movies from our collection. The wide range of their reading, listening, and viewing interests are amazing to me and I always learn about items in our collection that would never have come to may attention otherwise. Sometimes I’ll reserve the item directly from the posting, other times, especially for books, I’ll add it to my ever-growing list of “books to read sometime.”

Each entry links to a comment form to start a conversation about the item. We’d welcome your comments and suggestions. 

I’ve always been interested in what others are reading, what others recommend. The Staff Picks blogs change almost daily.

Visit Staff Picks on our website for suggestions and enter the conversation by adding your comments.


Staff Picks Blogs

Trustees Reelected

Earlier this week, the voters renewed our basic operational millage for another 20 years. Thanks again for your support and confidence.

In addition to our millage, three of our trustees were reelected to four year terms on our governing board. President Valerie Wright, treasurer Jim VanderRoest, and trustee Ian Kennedy will all remain on our board with new terms beginning July 1.

I appreciate their dedication to the library and their willingness to serve again. As KPL “tightens its belt” in these challenging economic times, our budget deliberations will require even more thoughtful, careful consideration. All our board members are good stewards of the public’s trust.

Congratulations and thanks to Valerie, Jim, and Ian.


KPL Board of Trustees

Millage Renewed!

Thank you, Kalamazoo, for your strong vote of confidence and your investment in Kalamazoo Public Library for the next twenty years.

KPL's staff and board of trustees gratefully accept your vote to renew our basic operational millage. Your overwhelming support (76% of the vote!) encourages us to follow the same course--to work for excellence in the library's staff development, buildings and technology, materials collection, programs, and services.

We truly appreciate your trust. We will continue to be careful stewards of your library and to spend your tax money wisely.

Thank you again for your vote. Come visit soon!


Millage Renewal Approved