From the Director

Library news and happenings.

Librarian Keith Richards??

I recently read that Keith Richards has confessed to a secret longing to be a librarian. Yes, THAT Keith Richards, he of the Rolling Stones, the greatest rock and roll band of all times in the opinion of many! Isn’t that an interesting visual??

He has said he has been “quietly nurturing his inner bookworm” and considered some type of training (that would be librarianship!) to manage the 1000’s of books at his various homes. He says he started to arrange his books in categories but gave up, instead opting to keep his favorites close at hand. He also loans books to friends with little hope of getting them back and leaves books by the bedside for guests in his homes.

Richards’ autobiography, Life, will be released in the fall. According to advance publicity, he will reveal how he found comfort in books before he discovered music.

I expect we’ll be ordering his book for our collection; how could we not when he writes that the public library is one of two institutions that affect one most powerfully! By the way, the other is the church, he says.


Keith Richards’ Library

National Internet Use

A recently released study determined that 77 million people 14 years and older used the internet at their public library during 2009.

Not surprisingly they used it for everything from job searching, education and healthresearch, e-government, to social networking. Somewhat surprisingly, 78% of those public library internet users had access elsewhere but used the library computers for the one-on-one help from a library staff member or from a volunteer, and many users in turn helped someone else, often a stranger.

KPL participated in this study along with many public libraries across the country. The outcome doesn’t surprise us – we know many of our patrons have access elsewhere but appreciate the high speed connection, the help from our staff, our wifi, and a comfortable environment AND we know many do not have access elsewhere.

Internet access will continue to be a high priority for us. One of our five priorities is “connecting to the online world.”

Come visit soon – use the internet, check out a book or AV item, attend a program.


Public Computers

A Favorite Teen Author

I’m not current on teen literature, but as I wrote in a previous blog, I do have three favorite teen authors. Not surprisingly, they are my favorites because they have visited KPL and we had a wonderful experience with them.

I recently noted that Laurie Halse Anderson was the official spokesperson for April “School Library Month,” sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians. I was reminded of her visit to KPL about six years ago and how she quickly moved to my “list of favorite teen authors.”

Laurie was here for our Teen Literary Seminar. She visited English classrooms at K-Central and particularly bonded with one of the English teachers there, a Ms. X, I’ll say. Laurie told me she quickly sensed what a good teacher Ms. X was, how she challenged the kids to read and react to books that might be considered controversial but that had an important message for teens. Some of the books of this sort were Laurie’s, others were by other teen authors often not popular, shall I say, with school administrators and some parents.

As we were leaving a program at Chenery where Laurie had spoken to several high school English classes, she pulled me aside and told me in a strong tone of voice, to contact her if Ms. X was ever in trouble; she’d come back to defend her. I knew Laurie meant that if Ms. X’s choice of books for her students to read was challenged, she’d want to know and be involved. It wouldn’t matter if they were Laurie’s books or those of another author.

Laurie didn’t know that my son was in Ms. X’s class and was having a wonderful high school English experience. Indeed he was reading books he never would have otherwise, was engaged in challenging conversations, and had also totally bonded with Ms. X.

I’ll never forget this message from Laurie. I’m glad I’ve never had to follow up with her. I don’t know if Laurie remembers this specific teacher and conversation, but when I’ve seen her at conferences and reintroduce myself, she always speaks fondly of her visit to Kalamazoo.

No wonder she’s one of my favorite teen authors and a great spokesperson for school libraries.


Laurie Halse Anderson