From the Director

Library news and happenings.

Are You Transliterate?

My handy desk dictionary defines “transliterate” as “to represent letter or words in the corresponding characters of another alphabet.”

I’m beginning to see this word more and more in the library literature, usually as “transliteracy” meaning “the ability to read, write, or otherwise communicate across different technological platforms.”

Libraries are increasing acknowledging that our role includes supporting transliteracy as well as the traditional literacy. We provide books for various reading levels in the traditional print format but we also provide them on e-readers and as a digital download to your computer or device. We offer computer classes for the public, we have over 100 computers for public use, and we have informational databases available in the library and remotely.

Through our staff Tech Team we examine new technologies as they gain popularity and determine if there are library applications that are logical. Technology rapidly changes and it is often hard to keep up, but it is important for us to keep pace with technological needs of our patrons. Right now we are looking at music downloads, apps for iPhones/iPads, and user friendly advancements to our online catalog.

Come visit soon. Try these services to increase your transliteracy or just find a good book for the beach!


A ‘Transliterate’ design at Bedminster Library, Bristol. UK. Collaborative artwork by Annie Lovejoy and Mac Dunlop, © 2005

It’s OK to Stop Reading

…a book that doesn’t grab your attention, that is.

Some of us feel an obligation to finish a book once we have started it. We’ve become invested in it and should press on to the end.

Reader advisory expert and book reviewer, Nancy Pearl, encourages readers to give themselves permission to stop reading a book. She even has a “rule”: if you are 50 or younger, read at least 50 pages before you commit to reading it. If you are over 50, subtract your age from 100 and that is the number of pages you should read before deciding to read to the end or give up and move on to another title. Her theory is the older you are, the less time you have to read all the books on your list.

I like this “rule”. Some books just don’t grab my attention or it’s not the right time. I might want a lighthearted book, this one is serious. For those titles, I’ll keep them on my list, but come back to them at another time.

I think it is Thomas Jefferson who wrote “so many books, so little time”, but whoever it is, it makes the point of Nancy’s approach – move on to a book that engages you, ignites your imagination, takes you to new places.

We have many good books, come visit soon.


Nancy Pearl visited Kalamazoo Public Library in 2006

Our “National Novel” Turns 50

To Kill a Mockingbird is turning fifty this summer. Not surprisingly, it’s getting lots of media attention.

One newsletter writer referred to it as “more than a literary classic; it’s a 50-year testament to the ways a well-told story can inspire readers and impact a culture”.

Oprah referred to it our “national novel”. Others have suggested it as a parenting manual, a novel that taught other novelists how to write, the only way to understand racism. Author Anna Quindlen said she can’t be friends with anyone who doesn’t get Scout.

Many events are being organized across the country – readings, live re-enactments, showings of the movie, book discussions. A 50th anniversary hardcover edition will be published by HarperCollins.

The enduring interest in this novel is due to the subject – coming-of-age and the trial – as well as the writing itself. It takes on racism with a stand of what is right without, as one columnist has written, a tone of self-righteousness.

With the 50th anniversary, a new generation of readers may discover this treasure. For those of us who read it many years ago, it’s time to reread it.


To Kill a Mockingbird

Business is good!

I just returned from the annual conference of the American Library Association (ALA). It’s quite a gathering of librarians, trustees, authors, publishers, library school students, vendors and others who support or are associated with libraries of all types.

Of course I concentrate on sessions that deal primarily with public library issues and try to network with others from libraries similar to KPL. I came away from the conference with two strong feelings: “we are on the right track at KPL” and “it’s pretty darn good here.”

“We are on the right track” – strategic planning is the norm; most, like us, are using the ALA process. An emphasis on early childhood literacy is seen as the #1 priority for many, same for us. Digital downloads of content is increasingly available, likewise here. Use of computers is strong, circulation is up, traffic is steady – in summary “business” is good!

“It’s pretty darn good here,” especially as compared to public libraries which are part of city or county government. Those libraries have had significant reductions and have closed branches, reduced or eliminated many services, laid off staff. As an independent district library, we are fortunate to have a dedicated millage. Although we have dropped bookmobile service, reduced expenditures in most categories of the budget, and not filled many staff vacancies, our reductions are considerably less than most urban public libraries.

The saying holds true yet again...’s good to go away, it’s good to be home.

Come visit soon.


American Library Association