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From the Director

We Have Good Friends!

This week, October 19 – 25 is National Friends of Libraries Week.

KPL is pleased to celebrate our good friends, the Friends of KPL. They are major contributors to our library’s success through their community advocacy for the library and their donation of about $50,000 annually to enhance our programs and services.

In their advocacy role, they were the primary funders of our very successful spring millage campaign and, of course, they helped us get the word out about the vote and the library services it supports.
Their annual donation comes from the revenue from the bookstore, located on the lower level of Central Library. They sell “gently used books, very gently priced” that have been donated or have been withdrawn from the library collection.

Their 2013-14 donation funded our summer reading activities, supported the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee, and provided an enhancement to many programs: Global Reading Challenge, Reading Together, Youth Literature Seminar. They thanked the library staff with years of service recognition and honored retirees.

We have very good friends; they would welcome you as member and as a bookstore patron.
Thank you, good FRIENDS OF KPL, and happy Friends week.


Library Satisfaction & Use

Earlier this summer, a Harris Poll was conducted nationally to determine the level of library satisfaction and use of public libraries.  Here are a few interesting results:

  • 66% of adults are extremely or very satisfied with their public library, a 7% increase from the 2008 survey
  • Parents are more likely than those without children to be extremely or very satisfied
  • 64% of Americans have a library card, down from 68% in the 2008 survey
  • Women are more likely than men to have a library card:  71% vs 57%
  • Higher levels of education coincide with higher likelihood of having a library card; those with a high school education or less are the least likely to have a card
  • 89% of adults believe it is important for children to have their own library card
  • Eight out of ten adults with library cards have used the library in the past year; 18% visit every other week or more
  • The top reason for visiting their library is to borrow a book (56%), borrow a DVD (24%), or borrow / use digital content (15%)
  • Men are more likely to borrow CDs than women (12% vs 7%), to use reference materials (also 12% vs 7%), and to check email (14% vs 5%)
  • 89% feel the public library is a valuable education resource; 65% believe the library is an entertainment resource

None of these results are particularly surprising to me. Based on what I hear from our patrons and the results of our millage vote in May, I am guessing our percentage of adults extremely or very satisfied might be higher than this national poll. I’d also guess that the other findings are in line with those of our patrons.

I hope you are using KPL services, both online and at our five locations. If you haven’t been here in a while, come visit soon.

 


Read Whatever You Choose

We are joining with libraries, bookstores, and publishers across the country to affirm the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, Sept. 21 – 27.

You may be surprised to learn there are hundreds of reported attempts to remove materials from libraries and schools for content deemed by some as inappropriate, controversial or even dangerous. This year the spotlight is on graphic novels which are often the target for censors.  Two graphic novels appear on the Top 10 List of Most Frequently Challenged Books compiled by the Intellectual Freedom Office of the American Library Association:  Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series at #1 and Jeff Smith’s series Bone at #10.

Banned Books Week is to remind us of the importance of preventing censorship and ensuring everyone’s freedom to read any book they choose.

As in recent years, we will celebrate the week during Art Hop on Friday evening, October 3, with our partner the SW Michigan Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Local celebrities will read from frequently challenged books.

Join us for this program and exercise your right to read whatever you choose.


Bargains with your Library Card

Libraries promote library cards as the “most powerful card in your wallet.” For the month of September, your KPL card has even more power…. the power for discounts at some popular restaurants and retailers.

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month across the country. In celebration, many Kalamazoo merchants are offering discounts for showing your library card. The ever-growing list is on our website.

Have your KPL library card in hand, visit these local businesses, and enjoy a discount.

Thanks to these restaurants and retailers for partnering with us to promote library card month.


This Week @ KPL

This has been a busy week with three particularly big or important events, each one quite special.

On Monday night was the final challenge in this year’s Global Reading Challenge and a celebration of the 20th year of this battle of the books program for 4th and 5th graders. And what a gathering…..200+ family, friends, and siblings to watch kids answer increasingly hard questions about one of ten books. What a celebration of reading! Congratulations to the Prairie Ridge team, the Crazy Cougars, who answered the most questions correctly.

On Wednesday we hosted folks from the national Family Place Libraries grant team. They came to review our progress at the end of the first year of this three year grant. We proudly showed off our new Story Place, shared the success of our first two 1,2,3 Play With Me workshops, and described all of our services to preschoolers. In exchange, we were given Family Place banners to display at our two Family Place Library sites, Central and Oshtemo.

Also on Wednesday, the Friends of KPL conducted their annual meeting over lunch at the Ladies Library Association. New officers were elected, a budget was adopted, and we thanked them for their generous gift of $50,000+ which funded all of summer reading games among other library programs and services.

We have many events and programs, of course, but these were three special ones. A big week at KPL.

Book

Family Place Libraries
family-place-visit-160
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157644435697012/

Libraries vs. Apple Pie

A report on The State of America’s Libraries was recently released by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. There are some interesting and affirming statistics and commentary for public library use.

To share a few:

• 95% of respondents said public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading while 94% said having a public library improves the quality of life in a community

• More than half have used a public library within the past year

• 72% consider they live in what is considered a “library household”

• 70% report that a child from their household has visited a public library in the past year. Of course we are always working hard to increase that number

• And a fun one:

“….public libraries not only rank more highly in the American psyche than Congress, journalists, and President Obama, but they also trump baseball and apple pie. Public Libraries are more beloved than apple pie.”

We hope you too value public libraries – come visit soon.

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The State of America's Libraries
cover-soal-160
http://www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2013

National Library Week 2014

This is National Library Week. We join with libraries, schools, bookstores, and publishers in celebrating this week to highlight the value of libraries. This year’s theme is “Lives change @ your library.”

In the mid 1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less time with books and more times with radios, TV, and musical instruments. Concerned we were reading less, publishers formed a National Book Committee. In 1957, they developed a plan for National Library Week. The first celebration was held in 1958 with the theme “wake up and read.” The celebration continues.

Each day of the week now has a focus. Tuesday is National Library Workers Day, Thursday is Celebrate Teen Literature Day. A relatively new aspect of the week is Library Snapshot Day. We’ll be taking photos all day Tuesday to show “a day in the life of the library.” Look for photos on our website.

Celebrate National Library Week with us and visit one of our five locations or through our website. Much has changed in society and in libraries since the first celebration, but we still provide a wealth of information and a wide variety of services with staff to help.

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National Library Week
nlw-2014-poster-160
http://atyourlibrary.org/national-library-week

What keeps you up at night?

When some library directors were asked that question, the response from many was “the rapid pace of change!” I’d add to that, especially changes in technology.

It’s hard to keep up knowledge-wise, let alone have the financial resources to implement it in the library.

Some interesting numbers that make the point:

2003: 43.7 million websites
2013: 785.3 million websites

2003: 650 million cell phones
2013: 1.8 billion cell phones, including 1 billion smartphones

2003: 280,590 available ebook titles
2013: 4.1 million available ebook titles

2003: 8.8 million global mobile broadband users
2013: 2.1 billion global mobile broadband users

I’m not sure it does any good to lose sleep over this! What keeps you awake at night?

Books

About the Library
upward-growth-graph-160
/about/

James McBride Wins National Book Award for Fiction

Earlier this fall, I read and blogged about James McBride’s new novel, Good Lord Bird. Dare I say I knew it was a good book and others, like important literacy judges, agree. Earlier this week, McBride was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction for this work.

Of course one of his previous books, The Color of Water, was our 2005 Reading Together title. I still get an occasional comment from library patrons who attended his talk or his concert and remember how much we appreciated and enjoyed his visit to Kalamazoo.

He was one of the most approachable, engaging authors I’ve met. I’ll always consider him a friend of KPL’s.

Congratulations, James.

Book

Good Lord Bird
good-lord-bird-cover-160
http://kzpl.ent.sirsi.net/client/KPL/search/results?qu=Good+Lord+Bird&te=&lm=ALLLIBS&rt=TITLE%7C%7C%7CTitle%7C%7C%7Cfalse

Congratulations...

….to Alice Munro for winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.

As I have often written on our book blog, I don’t read many short story collections, with one exception: Alice Munro.

She has been called the “master of the contemporary short story” for her sparse fiction that often begins in an unexpected place then moves back or forward in time. She says her recent collection Dear Life is her last and she is finished writing.

The report of an author’s reaction to winning a major prize is always interesting to me. Apparently the Swedish Academy was unable to locate her before the public announcement. They left a phone message for her. It turns out she was visiting her daughter in British Columbia and was awakened at 4 AM with the news. Reports are she sounded groggy and emotional!

In a recent interview, she said she fell into writing short stories by accident. She thought stories were practice until she had time to write a novel. Then she found they were all she could do.

Ms. Munro is the first Canadian woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Canadian prime minister issued a statement of congratulations as have many writers. Her long-time readers are pleased and hope indeed there will be more stories to follow.

Book

Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature
alice-munro-160
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/11/books/alice-munro-wins-nobel-prize-in-literature.html?_r=0