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@ Your Library

Come See the New Children's Room!

The newly renovated Children's Room is open and ready for you to explore! There are many exciting new features including a parenting section, folk and fairy tales highlighted in the Alice in Wonderland Room, and more display space for new Fiction, new Non-fiction, and new Picture Books.  The Story Place has room for Lego at the Library, story time programs, and more. I hope you'll take time to come in and see the new Children's Room over the holiday break.


Come See the New Children's Room!

Children's Room Changes

We've been busy renovating the Children's Room. Now there's a brand new Story Place! Soon there will be a new shelving layout and an exciting new Fairy Tale room that continues to feature Conrad Kaufman's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland themed murals and Jamie Rife's "Tall Small Alice" stained glass installation that so many have enjoyed over the years. The Children's Room will be closed Monday, December 16th, through Wednesday, December 18th, in order to change the way the room is arranged. The new Story Place will remain open for Toddler Storytime on the morning of Tuesday, December 17th. When Children's Room reopens on Thursday, December 19th, we hope you'll find an exciting new layout. 

We're in the brand new Story Place this morning,

We're reading stories and we're having fun,

We're glad you came to Story Time this morning,

I hope that you will want to sing along!


Children's Room Changes

Pedal Steel Musical Storytime

Our next Musical Storytime is coming right up! Last time, the multi-talented Mr. Ben Lau showed, played, and told us all about the pedal steel guitar! What an interesting mechanical musical instrument! It was neat to see how the cables, rods, and pedals work with Ben's musical playing to create music. Plus the pedal steel guitar makes some pretty great letter crane sounds! At Musical Storytime, we read stories, sing songs, play musical games and generally have fun with music, songs, and our imaginations. Everyone is always welcome. The program is designed for children from preschool age up to about eight years old.


Pedal Steel Musical Storytime

Things are happening!

The Local History Room has had to close up for a couple of days while we get organized into our expanded space. Things are quite a mess right now, but soon we’ll be enjoying more room and a great new layout.

Our collection isn’t accessible at the moment, but don’t forget that all the genealogy databases can be accessed from any of the computers in the Central Library and the branches, and there are many wonderful local history and genealogy books available in the circulating collection.





History Room Renovation

Speedy Recovery, Octy!

Octy, who speaks with musical notes, not words as you and I do, wanted to let you know that the surgery was successful. Like Adele, John Mayer, and others lately, it was an issue with the vocal cords. Octy was overdoing it and was having a difficult time speaking and singing in tune. You might be glad to know that Octy's voice is recovering nicely. Octy would love to hear from you, especially with messages of “speedy recovery” or “best wishes”. Feel free to drop Octy a line via the mailbox in Children’s Room (see picture) or through the USPS addressed to “Octy” care of: Children’s Room, Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.


Speedy Recovery, Octy!

Fall into Fun at KPL

Fall back to school, back to football, bonfires, cozy fireside gatherings and fall back to fun @KPL! September is jam-packed full of programs and events for the whole family, so mark those calendars with your favorite fall picks!

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month! Check out the local businesses supporting our efforts to spread the word about the most powerful card in your wallet - your library card!

Save the Date
Library-Con: Friday, October 4 at Central. You won't want to miss this! Have you heard of Comic-Con? Come check out our spin on it at Library-Con, a one-day convention where you can dress up as your favorite character from popular media (books, movies, music, etc.) Stop by KPL Central in costume anytime between 11 am and 7 pm and get your very own Geek photo taken. Photos will be posted online for public voting October 7-9. For the little ones, the Children's Room is offering mask-making fun. It's also Art Hop night!

Fall Reading
If you haven't heard the news, KPL released the book titles for 2014 Reading Together. Nope, that's not a typo, for the first time in the history of Reading Together, two books by two authors have been chosen for discussion, and they are sure to whet your appetite! Pick up your copies of The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table by Tracie McMillan and Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter today, and get prepared for the best Reading Together yet!

Save a Life - Give Blood
KPL is hosting a blood drive with the American Red Cross on Tuesday, September 3.

Used Book Sale!
Don't miss the fantastic bargains at the Friends Annual Fall Bag-of-Books sale! Saturday, September 14, 9 am - 3:30 pm.

September Program & Event Highlights

For the Adults
Calling all music lovers, September is your month! Join us for the musical talents of Chris Richards + the Subtractions on Friday, September 18.  Feeling a little luck of the Irish? Come for an enchanting evening of Irish music and story telling at O'Duffy's Irish Pub with authors Erin Hart & Paddy O'Brien on Thursday, September 10. GLAMA jama your string instruments on Friday, September 4 then GLAMA jama your vocal chords with a community sing along on Thursday, September 10.

For our bookworms and history buffs, delve into the tragedy of the 1950 crash of NWA flight 2501 in Lake Michigan with Valerie Van Heest, director of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates and the award winning author of Fatal Crossing: Solving the Mystery of NWA Flight 2501 on Friday, September 11.    

Like birds? Explore our feathered friends via poetry with Robert Haight on Thursday, September 17 at Central.

Veg out with KPL and Vegan Gal Jill Ovnik on Thursday, September 24 at Eastwood. Ovnik will share her recipes for a happy and healthy life! Includes a cooking demo, recipe sharing and of course, taste testing!

Kiddy Korner
Gourdness gracious, the Lord of the Gourd is returning to KPL to share his jaunty jack-o-lantern designs with his hands-on, how-to presentations. Join us September 16-18.

LEGO your creativity at LEGO at the Library September 3, 7, 18 & 21st. We provide the LEGO's, you provide the design. Kids and their adults are welcome.

Celebrate back to school at Eastwood on Thursday, September 17, 5:30-7:30 pm. Robin Nott and friends will get toes tapping and hands clapping with great music and entertainment, while the Fresh Food Fairy brings fun with food. Refreshments will be provided.

Tween & Teen Tidbits
Got a tween or teen who is less than thrilled about returning to school? Curb the complaining and have them cartoon with Kenjji, create some fun projects with Washi, duct and packing tape at Tape It or plan programs and projects at T.A.B.

It's also never too early for them to begin thinking about college and how to prepare for it. Join us at one of the many sessions offered of Think College this September. The Kalamazoo Area College Action Network (KACAN) will share their insight on accessing information and preparing for college.

Calling all Ally Condie fans! Meet the author of the New York Times bestselling series Matched. Mark your calendars for November 7 at 6:30 pm at our Central location. Book signing and refreshments included. Book sales courtesy of Bookbug.

This is only a taste of what's to come this fall, for more fun @KPL, visit our calendar. We look forward to seeing you!


KPL Calendar

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month!

Do you remember your first wallet? I do. Mine was purple canvas with hot pink piping and a Velcro closure. In it was a few coins and my first piece of identification - my library card. I still remember the pride I felt the first time I checked out books at Palos Heights Public Library. My library card was like a golden ticket to Wonka's factory.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month - a time when the American Library Association and libraries across the country remind parents and caregivers that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. For students, a library card is their most essential school supply. A library card proides access to e-books, online homework help and a multitude of online research tools and resources for their studies. A library card at KPL also means access to computers and free Internet access. For those without Internet access at home, a library card may mean the difference between failing and having a successful school year.

Library Card Sign-up Month is also a great time to share your first library card story with friends, family and colleagues who don't have their own library card. Share with them the true value of libraries, and tell them what your library means to you! More than just books, today's libraries offer DVDs, CDs, e-books, music downloads, free Internet access and computer use as well as access to hundreds of online resources.

If you don't have a library card, what are you waiting for? Get signed up today!

What is your first library card story? Share it with us in the comments below, and we may feature your story on the homepage of our website during the month of September!


September is Library Card Sign-up Month

Family Place Libraries

If you’ve been on the second floor of Central Library recently, you’ve seen some signs of renovation. Soon, some of that work will move to the first floor Children’s Room. Yes, we’ll soon see some changes that will support our new emphasis as a Family Place Library. That designation will align us with over 300 libraries in 23 states which have made a commitment to serving families with children from birth to age 5. Here’s the website:

What makes a Family Place Library special? Here are the core components:

  • Strong collections of materials (books, music, toys) for babies, toddlers, parents and caregivers.
  • The Parent-Child Workshop, which is a 5-week program for toddlers and parents, which emphasizes the importance of play and the importance of parents as a child’s first teachers.
  • Coalition-building with community organizations to develop programs and services that meet local needs.
  • Outreach to new and non-traditional library users, especially parents and very young children.
  • Developmentally-appropriate programming for very young children and their parents.
  • Library staff trained in family support, child development, parent education, and best practices.

Here at KPL, we’re just getting started on implementing Family Place Libraries. One of the most exciting projects is expanding the space in Children’s Room at Central Library so that we have more room to play! Soon, you’ll see a brand-new Activity Room open, the Story Room will lose one of its walls, and some things will be re-arranged. We’re excited about this time of growth and hope that you’ll be a part of our development as a Family Place Library!


Family Place Libraries

Moving Things Around

The next time you visit the second floor, you may think to yourself that things are not exactly the way you left them. It’s not your imagination; we have started to move things around in anticipation of renovating the Clarence L. Miller Family Local History Room. At this point the changes are minor, but we hope you will enjoy a lot more wonderful sunlight as we remove the shelving that once defined the eastern edge of the Local History Room. This also allows us to immediately serve patrons in this area from one desk, rather than two. We expect to start truly kicking up dust near the end of August.

Speaking of dust, on the first floor you may hear some construction noises coming from the staff areas. In preparation for the expansion of the Children’s Room, we are moving things around and consolidating spaces. Advances in technology and process improvements have helped use less space to circulate more materials. This frees up some square footage adjacent to the Children’s Room, which can be annexed to provide more activity space for children. So those noises you hear will become a fun new space in just a few months. Stay tuned.

Outstanding Websites for Kids

The Association for Library Services for Children maintains a great web resource for families: the cleverly-named Great Websites for Kids. The folks at ALSC are always watching for terrific resources for this list; recently, they added ten new sites. Aimed at kids up to age 14, there are also some very good sites aimed at parents and caregivers.

Using links like these, which are all vetted by the American Library Association, is one way for parents to sort through the immensity of the internet in search of quality sites for kids. Take a look at some of these and let us know what you think.

Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle

This is what a Monarch caterpillar looks like when it's ready to morph from a caterpillar into a butterfly. This animal has already been alive for several weeks. As in the Eric Carle book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, it began as a little egg laid on a leaf. The egg was laid by a Monarch butterfly. Then, after the caterpillar hatched from the egg, it got bigger and bigger as it munched on milkweed in its caterpillar form until a few days ago when it climbed up high to hang so that it could turn into a chrysalis. A few weeks after it morphs into a chrysalis, it will emerge in butterfly form. Then, it will be able to lay eggs that will hatch into very tiny Monarch caterpillars.

Have you seen very many Monarch butterflies this summer? I have not. I'm told Monarchs have had a difficult time migrating northward. Maybe you'll come to the library to check in on the chrysalis and borrow some books about butterflies.


Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle 



Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac

Anita Silvey always has great recommendations and reminders about children’s books. She has spent her professional life reading books, writing about books, reviewing books, and promoting books. Now she has a great website: the “Book-a-Day Almanac.”

Here’s the website:

Author Earl Sewell is coming to Powell!

Urban Fiction writer, Earl Sewell, will be at Alma Powell Library July 30 at 6:00 pm. Mr. Sewell is not only an urban fiction writer but he also writes a series of teen books for Kimani Tru. I've read a couple from his teen series called Keysha's drama series. I enjoyed Maya's Choice and If I were your boyfriend.  One of the things I liked about Mr. Sewell's teen books is that they are very diverse and culture wise. Many teens would find a lot to identify with, if not for themselves then for some of their friends. Mr. Sewell addresses a great deal of the challenges young people face today. In Maya's Choice Maya's cousin, Viviana, moves in and it makes life difficult for Maya and her life begins to fall apart. In If I were your boyfriend Keysha has a lot to learn and life changing decisions to make.

If you're a urban fiction lover or like teen books that are full of life challenges then please join us to meet and hear from our guest Earl Sewell.


Maya's Choice

So Many Summer Reading Choices

The Kalamazoo Public Schools 2013 Summer Reading lists are a great place to get reading suggestions to read twenty minutes or more per day. The lists are arranged by the grade students to which students are "rising" when school starts in the fall. These titles are great choices for Summer Reading or any time of year, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Looking for more great summer reading ideas? Come visit! We'll be glad to see you! Don't forget to check in for Summer Reading Games with your gameboard or get signed up if you haven't already! 


So Many Summer Reading Choices

Kids and Music

The National Association for the Education of Young Children has some fine online materials about playing with music at home with children. Kids love music and you will love the ideas for incorporating music into your play with children. I appreciate the great music for children that's on the NAEYC site, as well. 

We know that playing with music can be a powerful and enjoyable tool to learn about the world and to develop reading readiness skills. All children's programs at KPL incorporate music in accessible ways. Musical Storytime at KPL features a special musical guest every month. Kalamazoo Public Library has lots of recorded music for children available to borrow as well and additional resources if you would like more ideas about playing with music with your children.


Kids and Music

Earth Day @ KPL

The Kalamazoo Public Library is celebrating the Earth with a variety of programs for all ages in the coming weeks. This afternoon at Oshtemo, tweens and teens can make crafts from recycled items. On Saturday, also at Oshtemo, join us for a family-friendly outdoor concert with the Earthwork Music Collective. The Kalamazoo chapter of the American Chemical Society will be at the event to talk about the impact chemistry has on the planet, and the Organic Gypsy will sell delicious food from her truck. You can learn to make your own green, nontoxic cleaning products at Eastwood on April 23, and learn how to make compost for your garden on April 30 at Powell. KPL's librarians will be at the People's Food Co-op on April 27 to read stories for Grow It Yourself Day.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?


Earth Day Concert 2013

Ghost Hunt!

One of the great rewards of parenting is remembering how to play make-believe. A perennial favorite is ghost hunt. The kids want to play a game of looking for ghosts around the house. A child proclaims that a small flashlight is actually an instrument to reveal where the ghosts have been. Ectoplasm? It’s suddenly everywhere we look!
Kids aren’t seeking to be too scared when they engage in imaginative play about scary subjects. They know how to stay in control of their own make-believe. Children’s fears and interests might inform their play as they learn how to regulate scary feelings. I’m pretty sure my job as a parent is to play along. As demonstrated by the dad in the family favorite My Neighbor Totoro, laughter is the ever available antidote to childhood fears. It also can be helpful to mix up a big batch of monster repellent in order to ward off bedtime fears.
What are some of your favorite ways to make-believe with the kids?


Ghost Hunt!

Musical Storytime

It was a Musical Storytime to remember when special guest Jay Gavan brought in his sitar, one of the best known instruments from the classical Indian musical tradition. Jay told us all about the sitar and accompanied us on sing-along versions of "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (Octy's Favorite), "On Top of Spaghetti", "Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight", and, to celebrate the start of baseball season, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". 

Join us for the next Musical Storytime on Monday, April 8, at 6:30 pm.


Musical Storytime

Family Literacy Night at KPL

What fun we had at Wednesday’s Family Literacy Night program for kids and parents from El Sol Elementary. We had stations set up all through Central Library, staffed by El Sol teachers, with activities for the kids. There was library card signup going on, kids were making Reading Buddy puppets, doing Mad Libs, learning about accessing info on the KPL website, seeing the Local History room in action, and even having a back-room tour!


Staff from many departments helped out: Spanish-language help from several library staff members, a great visual display of photos created by Local History staff, Facilities Management crews who set up, tore down, and cleaned up everything at the end of the night. Staff at the public desks did a great job giving directional assistance and helping families feel welcome here.


I know that an event like this can seem disruptive in a library, but it really does help us introduce new families to KPL so that they see the library as a place that has some relevance for them. It’s also an opportunity for us to strengthen our connections to the principal and teachers at a school. We had a great time last night and are already making plans for next year’s event.



Family Literacy Night

Kindergarten Orientation

Kindergarten orientation is March 20th at all Kalamazoo Public Schools elementary schools. Recent legislation in the State of Michigan has changed the entry age for kindergarten. Over the next two years, the entry age will gradually be changed to require children to be 5 years old by September 1st rather than the current cutoff date of December 1st.

Here’s how the entry ages will gradually change over the next few years:
• 2013-2014 School Year – at least 5 years of age on November 1, 2013.
• 2014-2015 School Year - at least 5 years of age on October 1, 2013.
• 2015-2016 School Year - at least 5 years of age on September 1, 2013.


Kindergarten Orientation


Cooking with Kids

Inspired by Sarah Weeks’s book Pie, these young cooks are building a lattice crust with some help from their mom. Kids love to eat. And kids want to help create the food they eat. Plenty of practical kitchen skills can be learned and practiced when you share kitchen duties with the kids. Have a satisfying time in the kitchen by meeting children’s interests where they already have skills and then extending just a little bit. A three year old is often content to dump some dry ingredients into a mixing bowl whereas a seven year old is likely able to interpret meaning from a recipe, measure ingredients with scoops and scale, prepare a salad, and prepare many elements of a meal to be proud of. Of course, it's best to hold onto potentially hazardous kitchen tasks involving high heat and knife skills until children are ready. 

Your library has lots of cookbooks for children and their adults to use together. Some popular favorites include the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook, the Little House Cookbook, the Around the World Cookbook, and Vegan Lunch Box among many others. Chop Chop is an excellent magazine about cooking for kids and families. Share kitchen tasks with the kids for memorable times in the kitchen and an even more delicious dinner.


Cooking with Kids


Dance Party!

As for many families, our family computer has become a center for listening to music. It can be difficult not to be distracted by the screen when it's time for an impromptu dance party. I like to turn the screen off or, for a more festive effect, drape a tapestry over the screen. Dance parties with kids work better when the music is heard, not seen.

It's always a good time for a dance party! Moving with music as a family is a stress buster and a brain boost at the same time. While I don't actually know that dancing with your kids in the living room boosts brain power, I do know that you can connect your child to music that's important to you - like your favorite dad rock on Freegal - and beat the winter blahs. When you and your kids are dancing to music together, you're enjoying music, movement, and each other's company.


Dance Party!

Pre-Reading Skills are our Priority

“You're Never Too Old, Too Wacky, Too Wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Reading with our children is something we know that we should do to help them become great readers. But it’s not always evident how best to go about it. As parents we often hear the message to read to our babies but if we are new to parenting, we might wonder what reading to a baby should look like and what benefit it is to the child or the parent. Over the next few weeks, I want to give a few tips for reading to young children, especially the things that helped me as a new parent. This will be a series of posts on six pre-reading skills children need to develop with some tips on how to practice each skill at home with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Our strategic priority is “Creating Young Readers” at KPL and we want parents and caregivers to have the tools they need to be their child’s first and best teacher! Stay tuned for more early literacy resources from our library staff! 


Pre-Reading Skills are our Priority

The Library – Don’t Leave Home without It – Accessing its Resources, that is!

Last year I planned a trip to Ecuador.

In researching for the trip, I used many library resources. I studied Spanish through the help of the Pimsleur Method, an excellent process for learning a language. (Carve out 30 minutes a day to ‘escuchar y repetir’ – listen and repeat – perhaps during your daily commute. After several days, you have the beginnings of a new language under your belt!) I also checked out a few Spanish language instruction books, so I could begin to recognize the words I was learning to say. MeLCat came through, for me. When I was ready to move on to a different Pimsleur level, I requested my next set of CDs via interlibrary-loan through MeLCat.

I watched movies about South America or set in Ecuador and practiced listening to Spanish, while viewing the gorgeous scenery. I devoured books about the Galapagos Islands. The Friends of the Library bookstore was my friend, too. There I purchased a gently-used Frommers Guide to South America, at a bargain basement price.

I also gathered information about the people and culture of Ecuador through the CultureGrams online database. (Note: anyone with a KPL library card may access this from home. Please ask at the Reference Desk, 553-7801, for more information.)

Using the Value Calculator, I figure the library saved me around $200 for this process alone. What trip would you like to plan? How can KPL help you save while you research your next travel experience?


The Galapagos: exploring Darwin's tapestry