@ Your Library

Storyteller Chris Fascione at Oshtemo Library

Tickets are now available at Oshtemo Library for storyteller Chris Fascione’s performance on
Friday, July 25 at 3pm. Fascione brings classic literature to life with storytelling, mime, juggling, and comedy. Don’t miss this crazy fun program! Come pick up a free ticket at Oshtemo Library today!

 


Three Book Battle 2014 Winners!

The afternoon of Saturday, May 31, 2014 marked the beginning of a new annual event at KPL: Three Book Battle. Middle School students from seven different schools joined forces and battled through book knowledge on The Giver, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and Return to Sender to be the first Three Book Battle champion. Teams competed in two battles that day for a total of 48 questions, 16 from each book. Huddles were formed, decisions were made, pencils moved frantically, and pride filled the Van Deusen Room!

This new event for 6th-8th graders set the bar high for the future with near perfect scores and contagious reading enthusiasm. Teen Services would like to thank the Friends of KPL for providing a mini grant opportunity to sponsor this event. Each team received a set of books to keep, Jones Soda and a Bookbug gift card to fuel their love of reading.

Congratulations go out to our final battle teams:

  • 1st place – The Dauntless Snowballs of Revolution
  • 2nd place – The Wolverines
  • 3rd place – The Divergents
  • 4th place – The Red Panda Readers
  • 5th place – The Carter Crew

Plans are already underway for the 2015 Three Book Battle. Thank you KPL Teen Services, the Friends of KPL, TBB participants and the audience for making our first Three Book Battle one for the record books!

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Book

Three Book Battle
tbb-logo-160
/teens/three-book-battle.aspx

Global Reading Challenge

This spring, we celebrated the 20th year of the Global Reading Challenge! This quiz-bowl program is for 4th and 5th graders. Students form teams at their schools, read ten books chosen by KPL children’s librarians, then work as a team to answer questions about the books, earning points with correct answers.

Our intent is for kids to have fun reading the books and participating in a team activity. The ten books are carefully chosen to reflect our diverse world and to show characters successfully solving problems, contributing to their communities, and learning that people are more alike than they are different.

The first Challenge, in 1994, featured 19 teams from Lincoln, North Christian, and MLK Westwood; the winning team was the “Bookworm Warriors” from MLK Westwood. This year we had 129 teams from 17 schools! The District Final Challenge featured teams from Edison, Arcadia, Prairie Ridge, Spring Valley, and Northglade. The champion was the “Crazy Cougars” team from Prairie Ridge. Thanks to the students, parents, teachers, principals, and coaches for another successful year of books and reading!

Over this summer, librarians will be reading and choosing the books for the 2015 Global Reading Challenge. Team applications will be accepted in October and the book titles will be announced in December.

Book

Global Reading Challenge
global-reading-challenge-logo-160
/kids/global-reading-challenge.aspx

Summer @ your library

Summer at the library officially begins on Monday, June 2! Sign up for Summer Reading Games at any of our locations beginning June 2. Kick off the summer by attending some of the library's great programs for the whole family, starting next week. Preschoolers ages 3 to 6 can explore strength and materials at Central's Little Scientists program on Monday, June 2 at 10:30am. Later that evening, join us at Oshtemo for an outdoor performance of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Learn how to beat the heat by brewing your own iced tea with Tudor House Tea & Spice at Washington Square on Tuesday, June 3 at 6pm. Calling all nerdfighters! Head to Central on Tuesday, June 3 at 6:30pm for An Abundance of John Green and enter to win movie tickets to The Fault in Our Stars. LEGO fans can practice their skills at Oshtemo on Saturday, June 7 at 10:30am. The week wraps up on Saturday, June 7 at Central with the Summer Reading Kickoff Party at 1pm, featuring music, games, obstacle courses, and a bounce house!

Book

A Midsummer Night's Dream
9780803717848

Movies and Music in the Children's Room

There are lots of fun things to do at Kalamazoo Public Library locations during Spring Break. If you're at the Central Library and want to borrow child/family movies and music, come to the Children's Room. That's where those materials are now located. Maybe you've been wondering what those lullabye renditions of Michael Jackson music sound like. Or maybe it's time to see how Danny Devito voiced The Lorax. Or revisit that beautiful Carl and Ellie sequence from Up. You'll find something that you'll enjoy in this collection and you'll be able to check it out at the kiosk in the Children's Room, too. And while you'll be able to find Dr. Seuss books in the Children's Room, you'll want to go to the lower level to find Thriller and The Wiz. You'll find lots of movie musicals and documentaries that make great family viewing in the lower level, too!

Book

Movies and Music in the Children's Room
9780394923376

 

 

 


999 Frogs and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten!

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is an exciting new program at Kalamazoo Public Library for all children from birth to entering Kindergarten. It's super simple, self paced, and provides a way for your child to earn a prize for every 50 books you read aloud to her and then a gift and certificate of completion when you reach 1,000 books. More important, since reading aloud to your child is the best way to prepare for kindergarten, 1,000 Before Kindergarten is a way for you to do just that - read lots of books with your child!

A parent asked me if the books she reads to her child for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten need to be library books. They do not. While Kalamazoo Public Library certainly has many thousands of books we can all share together with our preschool aged children, you might find yourself reading a book aloud to your child that you found at the Friends bookstore or that was passed along to you or purchased elsewhere. Of course this is just great! And the way you read the books is also completely up to you. Some books are made to be sung to your child. Other books benefit from the animal sounds you supply. There is a whole world of fun to be had reading to our children.

It's easy to sign up at the any KPL location. Learn more about 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten at KPL and continue down the road to Kindergarten. And if you're in the mood for a fun read aloud that will help you think ahead to Springtime, check out 999 Frogs Wake Up

Book

999 Frogs and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten!
9780735841086

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!

Book

Children's Room Changes
StoryPlace-600
http://www.kpl.gov/kids/

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.

Book

Pedal Steel Musical Storytime
pedal-steel-storytime-500
http://www.kpl.gov/kids/events/musical-storytime.aspx

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.

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History Room Renovation
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/renovation/

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.

book

Maya's Choice
9780373229987

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?

Book

Earth Day Concert 2013
earth-work-music-poster-160
/earth-day-concert/

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.

Book

Musical Storytime
sitar-160
http://www.kpl.gov/kids/events/musical-storytime.aspx

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!

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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.

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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.

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Family Literacy Night
family-literacy-night-2013-047-160
/kids/

Winter break fun at KPL

Are you looking for something fun to do on break? Stop in at the library - we have a lot going on!

Thursday, December 27

Yummy New Year's Hats

Kawanzaa Celebration

Friday, December 28

Duct Tape DIY

Wednesday, January 2

Winter Crafts

Candy Craze

Winter Warm Up - drop in

Reading with Bailey

Thursday, January 3

Thumbprint Art Class

Fit Families

Make a Calendar

Saturday, January 5

LEGO @ the Library

First Saturday at the Library

Book

Winter Break Fun
winter-break-fun-160
http://www.kpl.gov/kids/calendar.aspx

Powell's Urban Fiction book discussion

On October 23 the Alma Powell Branch had a very lively book discussion on the book Daddy's House by Azarel. The book group will meet again on November 20 to discuss The Prada Plan book 1 & 2. If you like Urban Fiction please join us at 6:00 on 11/20 at Powell. See you then.

book

Daddy's House
978-1-934230-91-6

Elden Kelly & Carolyn Koebel

How fortunate we are to have musicians of this caliber in our midst. Elden Kelly and Carolyn Koebel staged a remarkable show at Central Library on September 19th, the 69th show in the library’s ongoing live concert series. Kelly is often labeled as a virtuoso guitarist and Caroline a percussionist extraordinaire, but there is simply no better way to describe them, and there is truthfully no easy way to put into words what they do. Their music crosses borders and bridges genres, both are absolute masters of their craft. Kelly sings and plays an array of exquisite instruments, including six and 12-string guitars, a Turkish cumbus, and an 11-string fretless guitar. And Carolyn’s self-described “broad palette” of percussive instruments, ranging from tiny bells and tuning forks to the “giant drum,” takes the art of percussion to a whole new level. Thanks to the generosity of both artists, you can relive their show in its entirety here, or purchase their recordings here and here. Please support these artists; how fortunate we are to have them both.

Book

Elden Kelly & Carolyn Koebel
kelly-koebel-2-160
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASKcWM3EApU

Virtual Author Visits with Sara Pennypacker

Last week we chatted virtually with an author for the first time in a Children's program at Kalamazoo Public Library! It was awesome! Sara Pennypacker, writes the Clementine books, in addition to many other wonderful books for young readers. She was gracious enough to talk with us virtually through the website Skype. Our new book club for 1-3 graders and their parents were the lucky group who got to speak with her and it was a highlight of my week and one of the coolest things I've done in a long time. We could all see Sara on the big screen from her home and she could see the group of 37 kids and their parents, eager to talk with her about Clementine and writing.

To prepare for the visit, the group discussed which questions to ask Sara. Some of my favorites were "What's "Rutabega's" real name?" and "How did you come up with the idea for Clementine?" We asked a few questions as a group and then individual children spoke directly to Sara via the microphone and laptop. I think everyone who wanted to was able to ask a question and Sara gave thoughtful and sometimes hilarious answers. She told the kids that paying attention to all kinds of things in their life will give them great ideas for stories. She encouraged us all to really listen to the children in our lives and to give them the gift of our undivided attention on a regular basis. No question was too small or too often asked for Sara as she patiently chatted with us about life, writing, being a kid, and parenting. I think we all learned something different from her visit!

We hope to continue to meet with authors virtually at KPL programs! It's a great way to connect with authors and perhaps bring more to Kalamazoo than we otherwise could. The next chance to participate in a virtual author visit will be October 18,when Kazu Kibuishi, author of the very popular Amulet series "visits" the Van Deusen room!

Book

Clementine
9780786838820
bookworms-author-visit-0273-09-17-2012-598.jpg

Paintings by John Wijinberg at Alma Powell Branch

If you missed the Art Hop circuit Friday please consider stopping at the Alma Powell Branch during our open hours and check out John Wijnberg’s exhibit. It’s one of our better exhibits if not our best.

John has provided us with some great portraits as well as some scenic ones. This exhibit will be showing until late September.

Book

Paintings by John Wijnberg
john-wijnberg-0007-160
/powell/barnabee.aspx

 

 


Check Out a Telescope @ Oshtemo Branch Library

Through the generous support of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society, the Oshtemo Branch Library of KPL is pleased to offer a telescope available for check out! The telescope, an Orion Star Blast 4.5" Astro, comes with a kit that includes all the tools you need to observe the skies, along with a simple instruction manual and star maps.

Members of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society will be at the Oshtemo Library on Monday, July 16 at 3pm to talk with the public about the telescope, astronomy, and KAS. At 6pm they'll teach you how to use a variety of telescopes, including the library's Orion Star Blast. If you have an old telescope collecting dust, bring it in and they'll teach you how to use it! Then, on August 8, they'll host an observation session outside the Oshtemo Library.

Beginning Tuesday, July 17, the telescope may be checked out at the Oshtemo Branch Library for up to two weeks. You may place a hold on the telescope, but it can only be picked up at and returned to the Oshtemo Branch.  

While anyone may attend the telescope workshop and observation session, please be aware that the telescope is available to Kalamazoo Public Library resident borrowers in good standing, who are at least 18 years old and have a valid license.

Book

Backyard Astronomer's Guide
9781554073443

Movies Under the Stars

Staff from the Oshtemo library and KPL’s IT department were joined by folks from the Oshtemo Township Park last week for a test run of our upcoming collaboration, Movies Under the Stars. We can’t wait to screen the first film in our series, “The Muppets Take Manhattan”, this Thursday, June 21 at the Oshtemo Township Park! Please join us for the movie at 9:15pm, and don’t forget to bring a lawn chair or blanket, bug spray, and a flash light!

muppets

Movie

The Muppets Take Manhattan
10047360

Wednesdays are Fun Days

Every Wednesday at the Oshtemo Branch Library we partner with Connie Koening, an experienced Registered Nurse and Coordinator of Bronson Family Centered Education, from Bronson Hospital. Under Connie’s guidance, we host 2 programs – Toddler Talk on Wednesday mornings from 10:00 to 12:00 and Baby Talk from 1:30 to 3:30. Programs are designed to gather Moms, Dads, and interested adult caregivers and their children for good old fashioned play. Ms Koning facilitates discussions among the adults while the toddlers play with puppets, puzzles and look at books. Once a month, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, I present a storytime planned especially for toddlers. I share stories, finger plays and action movements with the families.

Baby Talk meets weekly from 1:30 to 3:30 every Wednesday as well. We invite families with babies up to one year old to join Connie to network with other Moms and share the joys and trials of caring for a new baby. Again storytimes are offered on the third Wednesday of the month.

Come join us for some good old fashioned fun!

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Storytimes at Oshtemo Branch Library
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/oshtemo/

Quilt Show at Oshtemo

With the trend towards home grown, home-made and items of nostalgia, interest in quilting is gaining in popularity. Quilts can be functional, decorative and works of art. On March 24th the Oshtemo Branch Library featured the works of two quilters, Vicki Fischer of Stamford, Connecticut and Bette Boulding of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Seventy-five people were in attendance and they all enjoyed the program.

Vicki Fischer refers to herself as a story quilter. Her textile art quilts have been exhibited in galleries in Salt Lake City, Utah. She talked about what inspires her and the techniques used such as pin weaving. Inspiration for four of her quilts came from her experiences in Edo State Nigeria.

Bette Boulding, a former public school teacher is a utilitarian quilter. She shared with the enthusiastic audience an assortment of quilts such as tee shirts, recycled denim jeans, colorful African fabric prints and pictorial quilts. Her love and expertise in recycling items from dollies to men’s suits and ties to create beautiful functional quilts was warmly received.

Book

Quilts by Bette Boulding and Vicki Fischer
fischer-quilt-1-160
http://www.kpl.gov/african-american-quilts/

Remembering Winter

Before Spring officially arrives, I wanted to share a winter tradition which happens each December at the Oshtemo Branch Library.

During the month of December, volunteers from the Oshtemo Grange bring a Mitten Tree to the Library with the thought that our patrons will decorate the tree with donations of mittens, gloves, hats and scarves which they then donate to local schools. Just as in past years our mitten tree was loaded with items. This year alone Oshtemo patrons donated 59 hats; 26 scarves; 120 pairs of mittens, 16 hat and mitten sets plus other warm items for a total of 227 pieces! Oshtemo Branch Library patrons pride themselves on knitting for the tree throughout the year and their beautiful handiwork adds to the special beauty of the Mitten Tree.

This year a Daisy Troop visited the Oshtemo Branch Library for a tour and storytime. We of course had fun reading mitten stories and I shared two of my very favorite ones. Everyone should enjoy Knitty Kitty by David Elliott and The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg. The highlight of the visit was when each Daisy member decorated the Mitten Tree by adding their mitten donations.

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What a wonderful tradition to carry on by the partnering with the Library and the Grange. We look forward to next December.

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Oshtemo Branch Library
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/oshtemo/

Urban Fiction Book Discussion

On a Tuesday evening in January the Alma Powell Branch had its first Urban Fiction book discussion. The group was totally geeked about Ashley and Jaquavis’ book The Trophy Wife. It was generally agreed upon that it was a love story full of mystery and intrigue. 

On March 27 we will be diving into our next book Gunz and Roses by Keisha Ervin.

Please join us at 6:00 for good discussion, fellowship and refreshments.

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Book

Urban Fiction Book Group
urban-fiction-book-discussion-2012-006-160
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157629488391999/

From the Heart at KPL

Welcome to February! I truly love this month, mostly because the harshest part of winter seems almost behind us, especially this year. I am always looking forward to Spring! For now though, I will focus on Valentine’s Day, a bright spot during a long Michigan winter for many people. For years, Kalamazoo Public Library patrons have celebrated Valentine’s Day by making cards for local nursing home residents. Once again, our craft tables are ready with stickers, stamps, doilies, and hearts. So come on out and help us make Valentines for our friends in nursing homes. Now through Feburary 9, during open hours at all branches. All ages welcome! 

book

From the Heart at KPL

 

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http://www.kpl.gov/calendar/?event=25333&sDate=2/1/2012&eventtype=

Concerts, concerts, concerts…

Believe it or not, this week we just passed another milestone - number 60 in KPL’s series of free concerts! Seriously, where does the time go? The Mickeys, a Kalamazoo-based foursome fronted by twin sisters Amy Sherman and Julie Peebles put on a wonderful performance Wednesday evening in front of a large KPL crowd. The sisters’ vocal harmonies are tight and focused, with superb instrumentation added by multi-instrumentalist Bascom Peebles and bassist Tom Rogers.

The Mickeys team took the audience (including Mom and Dad Mickey!) through a sixteen-song set, which included plenty of original material from their first two CDs (Finding Our Way and Walk Along), plus a sample from a soon to be released third. Great stuff! They included a cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflower,” but their super-strong original material was definitely the highlight. Learn more about the Mickeys on their website and hear some samples of their recordings on Facebook and MySpace. Of course you’ll also find their complete KPL performance linked on our Concert Archives page.

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Going back a month, KPL capped off another amazing year of concerts with a December 14th appearance by award-winning singer/songwriter Shelagh Brown. Shelagh is quickly making a name for herself as an up-and-coming country star. She not only earned a Readers’ Choice Award from the Kalamazoo Gazette in 2011, but won a nationwide contest to sing a duet with country star Josh Gracin on his latest release. Shelagh’s set at KPL featured highlights of her own work, plus a timely version of “Let it Snow.” Catch highlights of her KPL performance in our Concert Archives, and watch for more great things from Shelagh in the very near future.

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Coming up next… be SURE to catch our February concert, featuring Jerome Holloway, he’s an AMAZING vocalist and musician. If you like his contemporaries like say Ben Harper or Jack Johnson, you’re going to love this concert. Jerome’s voice is smooth as silk and his songwriting is superb. Visit his website and listen to a few samples (very generously, you can download more than a half-dozen complete songs!), you won’t be disappointed!

Hope to see you there!

Book

Concerts @ KPL
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/music/live.aspx

eBooks @ KPL

Over the past few weeks Kalamazoo Public Library hosted two programs focused on eBooks. The first program, held at the Oshtemo branch, gave patrons an opportunity to see and touch various types of eReaders, including Amazon's Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook, and Apple's iPad. The second program, held at the Central library, showed patrons how to download library eBooks to their eReader.

In case you missed them the first time around, we're holding both of these programs again in January. The hands-on eReader program will be at the Central library on Thursday, January 5 at 6:30. The eBook downloading how-to program will be at the Oshtemo branch on Tuesday, January 10 at 6:00.

If you'd like some one-on-one assistance with the downloading process, stop by the eBook Help Desk at the Central library.

While anyone may attend these programs, please be aware that KPL's eBooks are available only to KPL Resident Area borrowers.

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eBooks
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/ebooks/

Pizza & Pages

On December 13th we're having our second Pizza & Pages book discussion at Powell. We had 12 girls to sign up and read a book called Prime Choice. Prime Choice is the first edition in a teen series by Stephanie Perry Moore. In the Perry Skky Jr. Series author Stephanie Perry Moore is writing from a male perspective, so even though a bunch of girls signed up for it, young men might find this series interesting, too. We’ve heard from the young ladies who've read the book that they loved it.

book

Prime Choice
9780758218636

KPL Concert Catch-Up

As the December holiday season rolls around, it seems like it might be a good time to look back at KPL’s concert performances and try to catch up with what’s been happening over the past several weeks.

The highlight of Summer Reading was of course KPL’s amazing end-of-summer concert featuring The Verve Pipe. What a show! The band gave a terrific all-ages performance in Bronson Park on August 28th, and played a bunch of tunes from The Family Album, with a couple of classics thrown in for good measure. I’m honestly not sure who had more fun, the band or the crowd! If you missed it, the band was kind enough to let us post the entire show on our Concert Archives page!

Back in the Van Deusen Room, Joe Wang and the Test Pilots pulled off a great show in September with a full set of originals and a couple of cool covers. (When was the last time you heard a live band play a Vapors tune?!) Typically an electric band, the library setting allowed “Joe” (Peter George, Tom Cross, Mark Kalinowski, Tony Nuismer) to stretch out with a rare acoustic set that let their excellent songwriting abilities shine through. As the JWTP Twitter feed says, “The KPL gig has been immortalized on YouTube.. there’s no denying it.” You can see and hear the entire show via our Concert Archives page! …And if you get a chance to see them play live, do it—you won’t be disappointed.

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Midnight Cattle Callers

One of my favorite shows of the series was an October performance by Gifts or Creatures. You might remember that Brandon and Bethany Foote were a highlight of KPL’s Earth Week Celebration at the Oshtemo Branch Library last April. For our 55th live show, the husband-wife duo returned to the Van Deusen Room with some help from good friends Joshua Keller, Ty Forquer, and Ian Gorman. They worked their way through more than a dozen homespun originals, before label-mates Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp (Red Tail Ring) added vocal harmonies to the set-ending version of “I Shall Be Released.” If you like truly inspired Michigan-rooted songwriting, Brandon and Bethany are two of the best! See and hear the full performance on our Concert Archives page.

November brought even more amazing talent to KPL. West Michigan-based Midnight Cattle Callers (another personal favorite!) provided an evening of old-time, country, bluegrass, jazz and swing on November 16th. The following weekend, KPL participated in the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, with inspired music and conversation by flutists Michael Chikuzen Gould (Japanese shakuhachi) and Juan Manuel Cruz (Native American flute). Art Hop on December 2nd featured a wonderful set by classical guitarist Jeff Dwarshuis.

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Michael Chikuzen Gould

So what’s next? Well... KPL’s December concert, #59 in the series and our 20th this year (but who’s counting?!) will be Kalamazoo’s own up-and-coming country singer Shelagh Brown. Shelagh received an honorable mention in the 2011 Gazette Readers’ Choice Awards, and won a nationwide contest to sing a duet with country superstar Josh Gracin. She has an amazing voice! Don’t miss Shelagh’s special KPL concert in the Van Deusen Room on Wednesday, December 14th!

And speaking of the holiday season, here’s an idea... the works produced by these or any of our other fine local artists would make great gifts for anyone on your list! Think global, buy local!

Ho Ho Ho! Happy listening!

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Juan Manuel Cruz, part of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music
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http://www.kpl.gov/music/live.aspx

Singalong Storytime!

It's time for Singalong Storytime! Join us in the Van Deusen Room at the Central Library at 6:30 pm this Thursday, October 20th, for a very special Singalong Storytime with special guest Rachel Flanigan, the clarinetist from the Red Sea Pedestrians! Rachel will show us the clarinet and play along with some special songs! Of course, we'll have some great read alouds, some puppet fun, and songs to sing along with or listen to. 

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Singalong Storytime!
Octy-crop-240
http://www.kpl.gov/kids/storytime/singalong-storytime.aspx

Celebrating the Freedom to Read

We estimate close to 1,000 attended the “Banned Books Art Hop and Read Out” here on Friday evening!

If you attended, you saw the wide array of artistic interpretations of the six banned or challenged books and heard emotional readings from all six of them. I heard several attendees whisper that they were surprised at the books, surprised that someone in some community had challenged that particular book.

Banned Books Art Contest Winners

  • Overall Senior Winner ($1000 – Randal Brumitt, “The Hope List”
  • Overall Junior Winner ($150) – Hannah Higgins, “Huck Finn”
  • 1st Runner-Up Junior Winner ($100) – Maryangela Thornton, “Stay Alive”
  • 2nd Runner-Up Junior Winner ($50) – Maureen Reed, “Huck & Jim”
  • Honorable Mention Senior (TIE)
    – Cathy Germay, “No Nigger”
    – Kaitlynn Radabaugh, “Stand Up”
  • Honorable Mention Junior – Essence Cline Coe, “The Good Life”
  • People’s Choice Senior – Cathy Germay, “No Nigger”
  • People’s Choice Junior – Maureen Reed, “Huck & Jim”
WKZO radio personality Lori Moore reads from Revolutionary Voices

The winners are listed on our website, the books are available in our collection... they aren’t banned in Kalamazoo.

This annual event gives us pause to celebrate the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.

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Author Deborah Ann Percy reads from “Hunger Games” during the Banned Books Art Hop and Read Out.
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/events/art-contest.aspx

Recent Animal Programs at Eastwood Branch Library

Those of you who are familiar with my previous posts are probably well aware that I am passionate about animals; and that includes all animals. Among the many different things that I love about my work at Eastwood is the opportunity that it provides me to plan various programs for the branch. And as you might have guessed, my favorite programs to plan and host are animal related. Watching people of all ages being exposed to and educated about creatures that they would otherwise never come in contact with is a particular joy! And recently we had two such wonderful occasions.

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The word “reptile” produces many emotions in people. To say that most of these are not very positive would be an understatement. Young and old alike are fearful of most reptiles, but especially so of snakes, lizards, and alligators due to the perceived inherent danger that they present. In the extreme, some folks are even afraid of looking at color photos of some reptilians, and making them do so produces visible anxiety. However, a lot of these negative feelings are irrational and based on misconceptions.

Hoping to dispel some of the inaccuracies surrounding this class of cold-blooded beasties, the Eastwood Branch Library recently hosted a program titled “What is a Reptile?” It was presented by Jason Preslar from Naturally Wild; a reptile rescue group. Jason, his wife Lindsay, and their young daughter were on hand to show the 120 plus people in attendance some very cool reptile exemplars including a red-eared slider turtle, a savannah monitor from Africa, a young American alligator, an alligator snapping turtle
(which can grow up to a hefty 200 lbs. and live 150 to 200 years), a terrestrial continental tortoise, and a Columbian red tailed boa constrictor. Participants were encouraged to touch most of the animals using the two-finger method, and while some did, a few found the idea to be a little too close and personal. Nonetheless, everyone found the program to be fun, educational and very enjoyable.

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“A huge thank you to the 100+ people that joined us for hands-on learning at the Eastwood Branch Library in Kalamazoo! What a fun afternoon to end the month of July!” — Naturally Wild

The second animal program took place in early August. “Animal Adaptations” was presented by Dale Smart from the Cranbrook Institute of Science Organization for Bat Conservation in Bloomfield Hills, MI. He started out by explaining that just about everything about an animal is some form of adaptation, designed to increase the chances of that animal’s survival.

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He then treated participants to some live animal examples. First was Mr. Ed, a 10 year old mega bat who sees in color, has a nose shaped oddly like that seen on horses with a bright yellow neck to boot! This particular bat is sensitive to noise, does not use echolocation , and is the largest bat to come from Africa. For contrast, Dale also brought along a big brown bat from Michigan, who does use sound waves to locate prey, hibernates 5 - 6 months out of the year and lives up to 40 years.

Next came Rocky, a very shy flying squirrel which can glide up to 200 ft. from tree to tree.

And finally, there was Autumn, the Great Horned Owl. She turned out to be a particular favorite of the audience; a gorgeous Michigan native species despite the fact that she was handicapped at an early age after contracting West Nile virus.

Since all these animals have an ability to fly (or glide as in Rocky’s case), it’s not surprising that time just flew by. The program came to an end and everyone departed enriched by what they had learned and satisfied by what they had seen.

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Reptiles at Eastwood
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/eastwood/

Graham Parsons & the Go-Rounds

Graham Parsons & the Go-Rounds (Andy Catlin, Grant Littler, Tod Kloosterman, Adam Danis) brought their own special breed of magic to the Van Deusen Room Wednesday night, for the 52nd installment of KPL’s concert series. Together since November 2009, the homegrown five-piece combines Parsons’ powerful voice and introspective lyrics with a layered yet balanced instrumental mix… some serious roots rock with the looseness of a jam band with just enough ambient texture and sonic psychedelia to keep things interesting. Here’s proof…

Need more? Next Wednesday, August 24th, Graham Parsons hosts a singer/songwriter showcase with Michael Beauchamp at The Strutt during the Boogie Records Revival. Graham and the Go-Rounds are back at The Strutt on September 22nd. Check The Strutt website for details.

Go Rounds “To Go”

And speaking of The Strutt… if seeing the band play live isn’t enough, you’ll find recordings by Graham Parsons (with and without the Go-Rounds) and lots of other great local artists on the venue’s own record label—not surprising since Go-Round Andy Catlin manages the Strutt Records studio in the basement of the café. You’ll find Graham’s peaceful “Migration” on The Strutt’s “350” compilation, plus a full length release on Strutt Records entitled “Farmhand.” Graham and the Go Rounds’ have released a “Triple A-Side” single and a self-titled live album.

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Concerts @ KPL

As for KPL’s concert series, the fun continues in August when The Verve Pipe puts on a special family friendly concert in Bronson Park in support of their aptly titled new Family Album. Then back to Central Library for Joe Wang and the Test Pilots in September, Gifts or Creatures in October, and Midnight Cattle Callers in November. Stay tuned.

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Graham Parsons & the Go-Rounds
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/6055353905/in/photostream

Pizza and Pages

Recently at the Alma Powell Branch we did a teen program called Pizza and Pages. We read and discussed the book Sweet, Hereafter by Angela Johnson and I bet everyone knows what we did with the pizza part of Pizza and Pages. The book was a great pick for our first book discussion. It was a 117 page easy read. It was thought provoking and infectious. Once we started reading it was hard to put down. What really surprised me, though, was that it was a time warp; it could’ve been any generation or any war era. Angela Johnson achieved what all great artists try to achieve. She filled our minds with questions. Who was Alice? Was Sweet a girl or a boy? Which war time was it? And lots more!

Everyone is looking forward to Powell’s next Pizza and Pages!

book

sweet, hereafter
9780689873850

Let's Go Outside!

Kalamazoo Public Library was pleased to present Joe Reilly in a very special picnic concert at the Oshtemo Township Park. Joe makes environmental education fun with original songs and raps that kids and adults can't help moving to. What a great show!

Joe performed lots of songs from his new CD Let's Go Outside! including one, "Dreams of Flying", inspired by the Caldecott Honor book Hawk You're My Brother by Byrd Baylor.

Catch Joe Reilly the next time he's in town. You'll be glad you did!

Book

Let's Go Outside!
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http://www.catalog.kpl.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5?searchdata1=let's+go+outside+AND+reilly%2c+joe{AU}&library=BRANCHES&language=ANY&format=MUSIC&item_type=ANY&location=ANY&match_on=KEYWORD&item_1cat=ANY&item_2cat=ANY&sort_by=-PBYR

World Premiere of “Once Upon A River”

On July 6, the Kalamazoo Public Library was honored to host the World Premiere of author Bonnie Jo Campbell’s newest novel Once Upon A River. The novel that has been listed by NPR, CNN, Newsweek and The Daily Beast as being a “must read” and essential summer novel. These accolades should not lead you to believe it is a beach read because it has been earning critical praise from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Detroit Free Press, and the Wall Street Journal. Recently the Washington Post critic Ron Charles wrote, “The wonder of Once Upon a River is how fresh and weathered it seems at the same time. Ardently turning these pages, I felt as though I’d been waiting for this book and yet somehow already knew it. After her critically acclaimed collection of short stories, American Salvage, Bonnie Jo Campbell has built her new novel like a modern-day craftsman from the old timbers of our national myths about loners living off the land, rugged tales as perilous as they are alluring. Without sacrificing any of its originality, this story comes bearing the saw marks of classic American literature, the rough-hewn sister of The Leatherstocking Tales, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Walden.”

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After Bonnie acknowledged many of the people in the audience who contributed to the book in some way or another, the evening started with a reading of the first chapter which introduced the main protagonist of the novel, Margo. She is a character who possesses a tremendous amount of spirit and adventure that can only be found in the citizens of southwest Michigan. The reading was followed up with an informative and entertaining Q&A. Bonnie answered a variety of questions about the writing process as well as inspiration for the book. The over 160 in the crowd were treated to an education!

Most in the crowd agree that Once Upon A River deserves similar, if not more accolades than her previous book the National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage. If this novel is not on multiple “Best of 2011” lists I will be shocked! I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Once Upon A River in the mail a few months ago. After reading the first 50 pages, I turned to my wife and stated that it was the best books I had read in years. I then proceeded to neglect my family and friends until I finished the book. Check out a copy or place one on hold, but be sure to prepare your family for your absence because you will be floating down the river lost in an amazing book.

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Bonnie Jo Campbell @ KPL
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157627140472650/ 

Krumping @ Alma Powell

The Alma Powell Branch had the awesome privilege of seeing a Krump performance by the Kzoo Street KonQuerors. On Tuesday June 14 Chestin Grays and Darion Powell with the help of their krumping crew demonstrated what krumping is. As Chestin “Gully KonQueror”, Darion “Gully Shinobi”, Tashyah “Miss Gully Madness” and Jason “Gully Tactic” were all doing their routines it made me think of an urban tap dance. The krimping, stomping and agile foot work had me comparing names and clothing and thinking that styles might have changed but the basics remain the same.

Krumping is a highly popular inner city activity and, as you can see in this video, it does take talent.

The KonQuerors allowed the audience to participate in a dance routine. The kids loved it! They got up and moved. This was a great Family Program and we’re hoping to have them back again!

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Krumping @ Alma Powell
krumping-performance-kpl-1-160
http://www.kpl.gov/teens/kzoo-street-konquerors.aspx

The BMF Band @ kpl

Bryan Michael Fischer and his crew (Bryan Michael Fischer, vocals; Bill LaValley, bass; Bryan V. Blowers, guitar; Eric Busch, drums; Tom Eldred, Hammond B3 and Fender Rhodes) brought a full load of blues, rock and soul to the Van Deusen Room on June 15th for the 49th installment of the library’s ongoing series of free live concerts. Though far from your typical blues venue, the library provided an intimate setting. The band favored the crowd of 75 or so with a spirited ninety minute set, which included several classic covers and a few originals.

Opening the show from the back of the room, Fischer belted out an a cappella adaptation of Mance Lipscomb’s “Captain, Captain,” which then led nicely into a Fischerized version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Goin’ Down Slow.” Other standouts included covers of Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues” (made famous by the Allman Brothers), Taj Mahal’s “Leaving Trunk,” and Ray Charles’ “Drown in My Own Tears.” As a friend of mine in the audience said just before the show, “this place should be SRO... these guys are amazing!” I couldn’t agree more.

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Last February, The BMF Band participated in the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and is currently working on a new recording, while looking at a full summer of touring throughout all corners of West Michigan. Check the band’s website for full details, and be sure to catch them if you can – you won’t be disappointed.

On July 20, KPL’s 50th free concert will feature the return of Steppin’ In It—the very same band that began the series for us back in 2008. And the fun certainly does not stop there… August includes performances by Joe Reilly, Graham Parsons & The Go Rounds, and a special summer-topping concert by The Verve Pipe! Check the KPL Concerts page for full details. Happy summer!

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The BMF Band
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157626881515485/

Binder Park at Eastwood Branch

The Binder Park Zoomobile visited the Eastwood Branch Library on June 17th and delivered an animal program not once, but twice, back-to-back, which together attracted over 240 audience members. Alex, the Zoomobile Animal Specialist and educator, brought along five amazing animal friends, informing the audience of their special abilities and characteristics, as well as sharing a few fun folktales focusing on two of the creatures.

Highlighted was Adelaide the kookaburra, an exotic bird specimen from Australia. Considering that this was this feathered vocalist’s first presentation outside zoo confines, she did wonderfully well, and everyone was appropriately impressed by her plumage and exceptionally calm demeanor. No stage fright here!

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Also featured was a red-kneed tarantula from Central America, which evoked many “Ooh’s” and “Aah’s,” as well as an occasional shriek, coming noticeably from a few of the younger attendees.

A Central African pancake tortoise named Flap Jack, as well as Scooter, a cute African pygmy hedgehog came next on the roster of Binder Park offerings.

And finally to wrap up the show, there was a special appearance by a striped boa constrictor which also hails from Central Africa. Program listeners were allowed to touch this one, and more than a few actually dared do so!

To sum up, this was a great program that was educational, entertaining and pleasing to both young and old.

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P.S. Many more animal programs are scheduled at the Eastwood Branch Library this coming July and August for the entire family to enjoy. Please check them out on the online calendar. They’re fun, free and make the library the happening summer place it’s meant to be. See you there!

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Alex from the Binder Park Zoo
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157626881078449/

It’s Blues Time!

Accolades from the music press are always nice, but when Corky Siegel calls someone his favorite harmonica player, people tend to pay attention. Once a student of Big Walter Horton, Peter Madcat Ruth has been blowin’ harp around these parts for more than four decades and has performed with some of the best.

In 1990, Madcat joined guitarist and singer Shari Kane, “the most dangerous fingerstyle blues guitarist north of the Yazoo,” to form Madcat & Kane. Since then, the Ann Arbor-based couple has toured extensively, playing at some of the most prestigious blues venues in the country. Then add two of Michigan’s most versatile musicians to the mix, Mark Schrock and Mike Shimmin, and you have Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street, an acoustic quartet of considerable power and finesse.

To be able to witness talent like this in our own fair city is a treat in and of itself, but to see them at the library—free of charge nonetheless—made last Friday an Art Hop to remember. The fast-paced set opened with a Charley Patton standard from the 1930s, “Moon Goin’ Down,” and rolled on through more than ninety minutes of Delta blues standards, trains songs and “Mississippi party music” by the likes of Furry Lewis, Walter Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and others. “We like to dig deep, deep down,” Ruth noted, “and find some of those old acoustic blues things that kinda’ got lost and no one’s doing them anymore… keep ‘em goin’.”

You can find lots of what they played at KPL on the quartet’s latest CD, Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street Live at the Creole Gallery, and you can download a podcast of the Art Hop show in the KPL Concert Archives.

“This is a gorgeous library,” Shari adds. “I love Ann Arbor, but it was such a treat to come here… it’s such a jewel of a city that you have here.” Thanks, Shari, we think so, too—please come back and see us any time!

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Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street
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/music/live-archives.aspx

Anti Bullying Art Workshop

Kalamazoo Public Library was very pleased to host illustrator Kim Shaw in an Anti Bullying Art Workshop. Kim presented her newest book, The Juice Box Bully, and then led a lively discussion on bullies and friendship. It was clear from the response of the school aged and adult audience that the topic is more timely than ever.

Kim then led an interactive drawing workshop wherein everyone had the opportunity to learn and practice some great drawing skills. Kids especially enjoyed this part - essentially a a small intro to drawing class for nearly fifty! Lots of nice drawings emerged from the Van Deusen room.

Kim created the art for The Juice Box Bully based on Kalamazoo's Woodward School for Technology and Research. Listen to Kim discuss how that real-life school influenced her illustrations.

Book

Anti Bully Art Workshop
9781933916729

An Dro @ KPL

An Dro likes to call itself Celtic-based, globally infused world-beat music—a fairly accurate description, it seems. And its members, none of whom are strangers to Kalamazoo audiences, come from an equally diverse mixture of backgrounds and musical experiences. Michele Venegas, once a member of Fonn Mór, is an accomplished fiddler who can certainly stand with the best. Fred Wilson, once a member of the Irish music group Amadaun, brings influences from his years of teaching at home and abroad to his articulate guitar and mandolin work. Jim Spalink, also a member of Amadaun who later went on to form Puck Faire, adds texture to the An Dro sound with a blend of Celtic harp, hurdy-gurdy, bouzouki, lute and recorder. Percussionist extraordinaire Carolyn Koebel, also a member of Fonn Mór, is well known and loved around these parts for her work with Blue Dahlia, Dunuya Drum and Dance, and a host of others.

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For those of us who relish the instrumental side of Celtic-world fusion, this show was indeed a real treat. The four members seamlessly wove traditional Irish reels, an dro dance tunes (an dro is a traditional form of folk dance from Brittany), floating European and Middle Eastern influenced melodies and inspired originals into a dozen pieces to fill a gorgeous 90 minute set. The crowd of more than a hundred rewarded the group with a well-deserved standing ovation at the end. If you missed the show (shame on you) or you would like to relive part or all, you’ll find audio, video, and photo souvenirs on our Concert Archives page.

Over the summer, you’ll find An Dro performing at the Buttermilk Jamboree near Yankee Springs on June 12, and elsewhere throughout West Michigan. Check the band’s calendar for details.

Coming up at KPL, don’t miss a special Art Hop Concert on June 3 with special guests Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street, and on June 15, be sure to catch the amazing Brian Michael Fischer and the BMF band. And Summer @ kpl is just getting started…

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An Dro
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/5737427477/in/photostream

“This land is your land, this land is my land…”

A warm spring breeze, a little much-needed sunshine, and some outstanding roots music all combined to make for an unforgettable Saturday afternoon at the Oshtemo Branch Library. Earth Day was Friday, April 22, but somehow KPL managed to stretch the celebration into a two day affair with a truly unique set of performances by a close-knit group of musicians from the Earthwork Music Collective.

While the younger members of the audience danced in the sunshine and adorned the parking lot with artistic sidewalk chalk creations, a crowd of more than 300 filled the tent and library garden area to enjoy an afternoon’s worth of music from some of the finest singers, songwriters and musicians Michigan has to offer. Yes, these folks are really that good.

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Seth Bernard acted as MC for the afternoon and welcomed to the stage an amazing lineup of friends and family for a variety of captivating original tunes and timely “Earth-friendly” covers. Seth joined his longtime performing companion May Erlewine, the extended “Davis Family” (Rachael Davis with Joshua Davis and Dominic John Davis of Steppin’ In It and honorary Davis-for-a-day, Michael Shimmin “Davis”), Sam Corbin & Jen Sygit, Brandon and Bethany Foote (known collectively as Gifts or Creatures), Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp (known collectively as Red Tail Ring), and Josh Keller of Who Hit John? fame for some truly inspirational music in honor of the big blue ball. And there were several surprises along the way—from a glimpse of an upcoming Josh Davis solo project to an inspired sing-along of a timeless Woody Guthrie classic. KPL’s Kevin King kept the youngsters occupied with a reading of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss during intermission. You’ll find audio, video, photos and more from this event and others in KPL’s Concert Archives. 

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This was 46th show in KPL’s ongoing series of free live concerts, and (thankfully) there’s no end in sight. Upcoming shows include a May 18th appearance by An Dro, A special June 3rd Art Hop with Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street, high octane blues from the BMF Band on June 15, and to celebrate our 50th show, a special July return performance by Steppin’ In It, the very group that started the live music series back in June 2008! And that’s just a start. Watch for more details coming soon!

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Earthwork Music
oshtemo-concert-2011-4705-160
http://www.earthworkmusic.com/

 


Western Dance Project

The Western Dance Project, the touring ensemble from Western Michigan University's Department of Dance, came to the Central Library to perform in the Rotunda over Spring Break. The program began with a dance choreographed to a movement from composer John Adams's trancelike Shaker Loops. The program also included a piece called "Little Blue Worm", a crowd favorite, about kids playing on the playground. After many other entertaining and beautiful dances, the program closed with an amazing hip hop peice by WMU Department of Dance alum Chopper Platt featuring eight different tracks of music in sequence.

Western Dance Project director and dance professor David Curwen told us about how dance works and even taught us some moves in between the dances. We're glad Western Dance Project made a stop at the library and we look forward to having the Western Dance Project back again!

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Book

Western Dance Project 
wdp-160
http://www.catalog.kpl.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5?searchdata1=dance{SU}&library=BRANCHES&language=ANY&format=ANY&item_type=ANY&location=ANY&match_on=KEYWORD&item_1cat=NONFICTION&item_2cat=ANY&sort_by=-PBYR

Bats discovered in the library!

“You mean, baseball type bats?”

“No, no. The very real, very alive, flying around type of bats!”

“You mean like bats in some belfry?”

“Well, yes, sometimes they’re found in literature belfries. But in this case, it’s bats at the library - the Eastwood Branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library to be exact!”

 ***********************************

Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They gorge themselves on thousands of night-time insects during six-hour feeding flight frenzies since lucky for them, (but not so much for the insects being consumed) both are nocturnal. To accomplish this feat they use echolocation; an ability to emit and detect high-pitched sound waves, to target their prey.

Dale Smart of the Organization for Bat Conservation at Cranbrook Institute of Science (otherwise known as the Michigan Batman) visited the Eastwood Branch Library on April 4th. He is a bat specialist and the main “go-to” guy who promotes the bat cause through the educational programs he delivers to groups around the state. And he did a fantastic job at Eastwood explaining bats, their lives and behavior, the need for their conservation, as well as dispelling some of the misleading, negative myths surrounding the species.

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To illustrate his points, he brought along four of his best, very webby friends; a shy, dog-faced bat named Kisser from the Philippine Islands, Gandolph the fruit bat from Egypt who can discern colors, (and who by the way also looks exactly like Stellaluna, from that book by Janell Cannon), Luciana, a Michigan brown bat, and of course, little Bob, a diminutive Jamaican native who weighs a mere 1½ lbs.

Both young and old in the audience of 150 were captivated by Dale’s presentation of these spectacular animals, and all pledged to be Bat Buddies for life!

Thank you, Dale! And of course, thanks to your untethered-to-feathers, fine flying friends!

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Dale Smart of the Organization for Bat Conservation at Cranbrook Institute of Science
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http://science.cranbrook.edu/science-central/organization-for-bat-conservation

Something for Everyone!

What has hearing so acute that it can hear a mouse moving under the snow from a football field length away?

Turns out it’s a barred owl. The owl is just one of the feathered “super heroes from the sky” that recently visited Washington Square Branch Library, as part of a program presented by the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Children and adults alike were fascinated to see raptors up close, and to learn about the birds from knowledgeable Nature Center staff.

Check out library programs for all ages online at our KPL website, or pick up a printed schedule at any of our library locations. We have something for everyone!

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Library events
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/calendar/

SCRABBLE® Fest

Attention SCRABBLE® players! Here’s your chance to show off your SCRABBLE® prowess or play just for fun with other enthusiasts. Kalamazoo Literacy Council is hosting the 1st Annual SCRABBLE® Fest on Saturday, April 16, 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. at Portage Northern High School. All levels of players are welcome but you must be at least 16 years of age. Register for either “Competitive” or “Just for Fun” games and play all afternoon for a fee of $25.

Join us for word-making fun and great prizes! All event proceeds will support adult literacy education in Kalamazoo County. Contact Andrea Enyedi, Ready to Read Program Coordinator for more information.

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Scrabble Fest
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http://www.kalamazooliteracy.org/2011/03/21/kalamazoo-scrabble%C2%AE-fest-to-benefit-adult-literacy-programs/

Congratulations to Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library

The Friends held a very successful two day sale at the Oshtemo Branch Library earlier this month. Starting Friday morning, before Oshtemo opened, eager book buyers lined up for the chance to peruse the tables loaded with all sorts of great finds. Books were being sold for $.50 or 3 for $1.00. According to Carol Manstrom, Bookstore Coordinator, many books were indeed sold. Carol calculates 5,700 books were purchased during the 2 day sale!

Many thanks go to Carol and her crew of volunteers who moved, arranged and rearranged, and sold the many volumes of books. They are so good at what they do best – supporting the Kalamazoo Public Library.

Please remember that the Friends have a continuous book sale at their store located on the lower level of the Central Library.

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Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
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/friends/

Spring Break Events at Your Library

With Spring Break just around the corner, you can look forward to lots of great events to enjoy at your library!

These events and more at Kalamazoo Public Library are listed on the KPL calendar!

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In a recent Chinese New Year program in the Van Deusen Auditorium, families who visited Kalamazoo Public Library enjoyed a story and performance by the Lion Dance Troupe from the Chinese Association of Greater Kalamazoo. We learned about the Chinese zodiac and everyone had the opportunity to meet the dancers, see the costumes up close, and even play the percussion instruments. That was fun!

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Events at Your Library
western-dance-160
http://www.kpl.gov/calendar/

“All is fine” so far in Numazu

Given the gravity of the situation in northern Japan, I felt compelled to check in on Kalamazoo’s sister city, Numazu, located along Japan’s southeastern shoreline in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Honshu Island, near the base of Mt Ashtaka and (further) Mt Fuji.

Directly exposed to Suruga Bay with an expansive sweeping shoreline (one of the largest in Japan), the city of Numazu has taken extreme measures to protect its inhabitants by constructing a retaining wall and a massive anti-tsunami barrier at the entrance to its harbor area.

According to Scott Donald, an English speaking writer and author who publishes a blog called Numazu Traveler, the city “appears to be fairly safe so far.” They are dealing with intermittent power outages (designed to divert power to the Sendai area), but Scott tells us that “all is fine” in Numazu after the Sendai quake. “(While) we did feel the earthquake,” Scott says, “there were no reported damages in our area.” He then adds, “Oh and a friend told me that the port’s tsunami gate worked like a dream.”

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On Wednesday, March 16, Shizouka was awakened by yet another earthquake (magnitude 6.4). A tsunami warning was issued, but again, no major damage was reported.

Radiation levels in Numazu appear to be their biggest concern. “According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan,” Scott writes, “radiation levels in the Shizuoka, while higher than average, are currently not a risk. Levels (on March 16) for Shizuoka were reported to be between 0.089 μGy/h (millirems per hour) and 0.062 μGy/h with an average of o.o62 μGy/h, slightly above the US occupational limit.” Scott then adds, “…you would need to be exposed to that every day for a year before you would be over the US limit. There is no indication to suggest that this level of exposure will continue over a prolonged period of time. So everything appears to be fairly safe so far.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are affected by the disaster in Japan. If you wish to help, please contact the American Red Cross.

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Numazu, Japan
numazu-tsunami-barrier-160
http://www.flickr.com/photos/altus/938764999/

Need a few new books?

Need a few new books on gardening or how about some new children’s books to share? The Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library are holding a 2 day book sale here at the Oshtemo Branch Library at 7265 W Main Street.

The book sale will be on Friday, March 11th and Saturday, March 12th from 10 am to 4 pm each day. The Friends will be selling children’s, teen and adult books both fiction and nonfiction. They also have a variety of paperbacks and hardcovers. Books are priced at 50¢ a piece or 3 for $1.00. You can’t go wrong with those prices. The sale will take place in the community room.

While you are here shopping for books, please take the time to visit the library. We have done some rearranging of materials and think that you will find it easier to browse our DVD and CD collections. We also have a great selection of DVD Hot Picks, and new books for all ages.

The Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library and the staff at the Oshtemo Branch look forward to seeing you this Friday and Saturday.

Happy shopping!

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Friends Oshtemo Book Sale
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/friends/oshtemo-book-sale/

Jim Gill's Family Room Tour

What a great time was had by all when Jim Gill came to the Van Deusen Auditorium! Jim performed audience favorites while children and families clapped, danced, and sang along. When he presented his new picture book, A Soup Opera, the whole audience had the chance to be opera singers complete with sound effects and a musical soundtrack.

Jim Gill leaves people feeling like they attended something more than a concert. With wordplay and movement opportunities, Jim leads families in playing together with music and movement. He has a unique ability to get everyone in the room participating in songs and musical movement games. Videos of more concerts at KPL are available in the Live Concert Archive.

Take a look at upcoming events for children and families at the KPL children's program calendar.

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Jim Gill Family Room Concert
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Sid

Sid “The Rock” Ellis was at the Alma Powell Branch on Tuesday, February 22 and he was phenomenal! Everyone enjoyed his storytelling and puppetry. His puppet show enthralled the kids. And young and old were entertained by his Anansi folktales. The Anansi, the spider, folktales originated in West Africa. Anansi is a rascally spider that is devious and wise. He spends his time weaving ways to get out of work or take advantage of something or someone. These ancestral tales go way back and are still shared around the campfire.

Thanks, Sid, for sharing your time and outstanding talent with us.

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Sid “The Rock” Ellis
sid-the-rock-ellis-014-160
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157626166646000/

Micaela Kingslight Band

I know I am incredibly biased, but the level of local talent that has graced the KPL stage in our long running concert series has been pretty amazing. The Kalamazoo music scene is definitely one of the most underrated in the state and on December 15 fans were treated to a group on the verge of great things – The Micaela Kingslight Band. Not only is Micaela an eye-opening guitarist, she possesses a deep, powerful voice that backs up her well crafted songwriting with passion and authority. Accomplished musicians, bassist Joe Chamberlin and percussionist Ashely Ickes provide more than just well timed rhythm, but a style that only enhances the group’s stage presence.

The set included both originals (The band is going into the studio in a few weeks to record a new CD!) and covers from Led Zeppelin and The White Stripes. I cannot say enough great things about our 39th consecutive free concert at KPL. The Micaela Kingslight Band show has been the best pre-Christmas present this year!

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Micaela Kingslight Band
micaela-kingslight-band-at-kpl
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157625491925605/

We had a Wii good time!

We had a great Nintendo Wii Game Night at Powell! The release of The Experience, the new Michael Jackson video game, brought out lots of talent and some strong competition. On December 14 the tweens and teens from the Boys and Girls Club joined us and others for a fun-filled Smash Brothers and Wii dance night. The competition was fierce but there was one young man who out-Billy Jeaned them all. Powell has game nights from 6 pm - 7:30 pm on the second Tuesday of every month. Our next Game Night is scheduled for January 11, 2011.

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Game Night at Powell
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157625573547329/

Crossing Borders

This past week author Cynthia Leitich Smith visited Kalamazoo for a few days. While here she visited with students at Woods Lake and Northglade elementary schools and with a group of teens at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home. On Friday, she was the keynote speaker for KPL’s annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar. The theme was “Crossing Borders” and all of the speakers addressed the idea that books for kids and teens help them understand, appreciate, and relate to others in their diverse communities, despite a wide variety of differences and borders.

Other speakers at the seminar were Beth Amidon and Maria Perez-Stable from Western Michigan University, Gillian Engberg, from the American Library Association’s “Booklist” journal, and Debbie Reese from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The seminar was wonderful . . . with much thoughtful discussion about books and kids and reading!

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After the visit to Kalamazoo, both Cynthia and Debbie posted blogs on their websites: www.cynthialeitichsmith.com and www.americanindiansinchildrensliterature.net/.

We had a great time last week with this group of very talented writers and scholars. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list for information about next November’s seminar, contact Mary Knowles. See more photos of the 2010 Youth Literature Seminar on KPL’s Flickr photostream

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Crossing Borders
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/youth-literature-seminar/

Dance! At Your Library!

Kalamazoo Public Library has hosted some great dance programs in the last month! In October, Dunuya Drum and Dance performed Music and Dance of West Africa and the Diaspora. When they say they encourage audience interaction through singing, dancing, or playing instruments, they mean it! Everyone had the opportunity to dance and to play authentic instruments. What a great program!

dunuya-240

In November, members of the Ballet Arts Ensemble performed some of their own pieces after Youth Services librarian Karen read the classic Grimm’s fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The show was a preview of the Ballet Arts Ensemble’s 12 Dancing Princesses performances at Chenery Audtorium on November 20th and 21st with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performing original music.

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Kalamazoo Public Library’s calendar of children’s events has more programs. Mark your calendar for upcoming events now!

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Dance! At Your Library!
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http://www.catalog.kpl.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5?searchdata1=dance{SU}&library=BRANCHES&language=ANY&format=ANY&item_type=ANY&location=ANY&match_on=KEYWORD&item_1cat=NONFICTION&item_2cat=ANY&sort_by=-PBYR

Grown-ups, the Spelling Bee is Coming!

On November 18, KPL’s Ready to Read program will host its 10th annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee. I was lucky enough to be on KPL’s first cheer team 10 years ago, and I’m excited to be cheering again this year. What can I say? It’s an absolute blast, and it supports a great cause. Ready to Read uses 100% of the Bee’s proceeds to purchase books for at-risk children in Kalamazoo County.

If you’ve never participated as a team member or a spectator, it’s not too late to organize a team, sponsor a group or purchase a ticket. Don’t miss it!

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2008 KPL Spelling Bee Team
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/3060600939/in/set-72157610174301432/

Wii Game Night @ Powell

September 8th the DCA Boys and Girls Club joined the Powell branch for a Wii game night. The kids had a good time playing Mario Cart, Super Smash Bros Melee and Wii Sports. A snack was provided. Our next game night will be October 13. Come join us for a Just Dance Wii game competition!

The Powell branch is getting excited about the next Nintendo Wii dance competition video game being released November 23, 2010… Michael Jackson: The Experience.

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Wii Game Night @ Powell
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/powell/

Singalong Fun with Kevin Devine

Kevin Devine's Musical Circus landed at the Eastwood Branch Library today. Culminating with a parade of tambourine wielding kids, this Make a Splash program was total fun. There were lots of opportunities for audience members to participate when Kevin invited them up to sing or to play the drums or to be the sun shining in the sky. Kalamazoo Public Library was pleased to have this award winning songwriter and entertainer back and will look forward to another great show in mid October at the Oshtemo Branch Library.

There really are lots of great programs for all ages at your library. Take a look at the calendar and sign up for Summer Reading Games! There's a game for everyone from birth through adults.

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Singalong Fun
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http://www.kpl.gov/calendar/

Mask Petting Zoo

Commedia Zuppa presented BOXHEAD, a program featuring masks and much more at the Central Library on Tuesday. What a great program! Before and after the performance, audience members had the opportunity to try on real hand-made theatrical masks created by these theater professionals. Made out of neoprene and each one of a kind, the masks themselves were very cool. The theater program was great fun! Inspired by the classic Where the Wild Things Are and The Phantom Tollbooth, BOXHEAD is a gentle look at what can happen when you get so angry you lose your head.

There are lots of great programs at your library. Take a look at our calendar and don't forget to sign up for Summer Reading Games! There's a game for everyone from birth through adults.

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Mask Petting Zoo
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http://www.kpl.gov/calendar/


Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros

What a great Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros here at the library! Acclaimed bilingual author Pat Mora, who has written books for children, teens and adults, founded Día to nurture bookjoy—delight in the magic of words and a passion for reading. On Saturday, April 24th, Fantasía Ballet Folklórico performed several traditional dances and students from El Sol School performed songs and a readers’ theatre piece. All children who attended received a special prize and a book to keep. Next time you come to the Central Library, take a look at the posters created by El Sol students for Día. You can see them on display as you pass into the Children’s Room.

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Día de los Niños
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http://www.catalog.kpl.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5?searchdata1=mora%2c+pat{AU}&library=BRANCHES&language=ANY&format=ANY&item_type=ANY&location=ANY&match_on=KEYWORD&item_1cat=ANY&item_2cat=ANY&sort_by=-PBYR

Llamas at Eastwood

Brian Brook and his wife Judy brought two llamas to the Eastwood Branch Library for a program last Friday afternoon. Paco and Paint-Your-Wagon, the magnificent beasties in question, were on their very best behavior, basking in both the warm sunshine as well as the admiration of an appreciative audience.

Llamas are members of the camel family and are domesticated pack animals native to South America. They have two-toed feet, and walk on leathery pads which give them superb traction in mountainous terrain. As you may have heard, llamas can spit. But normally this is intended for other llamas who provoke anger or a disturbance. Of course, the llamas visiting Eastwood were relatively at ease and quite calm, so “No Spitting” was the rule of the day.

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Paco and Paint-Your-Wagon live with Brian and Judy along with about 25 other llamas on a farm in Three Rivers. Judy regularly combs their substantial coats. She uses the harvested fibers to make rugs, purses, and sweaters, selling these at craft shows throughout Southwest and Mid-Michigan.

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Llamas
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http://www.catalog.kpl.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5?searchdata1=llamas&library=BRANCHES&language=ANY&format=ANY&item_type=ANY&location=ANY&match_on=KEYWORD&item_1cat=ANY&item_2cat=ANY&sort_by=-PBYR

Spring Break Programs at Kalamazoo Public Library!

Looking for something fun to do during Spring Break? There are a variety of programs at library branches.

It’s all at your library. Have a wonderful Spring Break!

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Spring Break Programs at KPL!
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http://www.kpl.gov/events/western-dance/

A Conversation of Instruments

The New York based Enso String Quartet played at KPL on March 11 in a program made possible by Fontana Chamber Arts.

The program featured “The Art of Conversation: Seven Dialogues for String Quartet” written by Karim Al-Zand who introduced his composition and answered questions. Al-Zand wrote the piece for string quartet, which he explained is the “quintessential ensemble” for chamber music (two violins, a viola and a cello). Comprised of “agile instruments” producing “homogeneity of sound,” a string quartet “always looks like a conversation” as it performs, Al-Zand said.

Inspired by this idea of a conversation, Al-Zand composed seven dialogues, all resembling conversations among friends. The first dialogue is an idealized gathering in which everyone is lively and engaged. The other dialogues proceed in various combinations of dominance and engagement – idiosyncratic with one dominant; two conversations at once; three in sync while one speaks in nonsequitors; recitations in unison. The sixth dialogue was the equivalent of four people talking on a cell phone, with each instrument’s part was taken from other dialogues.

The seventh dialogue was a fugue — a single melody or subject passed from instrument to instrument, with each expounding on the subject. Just as with a conversation among friends, the music spiraled up, then wound down to small moments of silence before resuming to a crescendo. After a few more thoughts were added, the conversation ended harmoniously with everyone in agreement.

The seven dialogues were written especially for the Enso String Quartet, which is dedicated to performing the work of contemporary composers. It is a rare pleasure to hear a composer discuss his work and to hear a work performed by the ensemble for whom it was written.

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Enso String Quartet
enso-string-quartet
http://www.ensoquartet.com/

Jumping the Broom at Powell

On February 24th, kids from the Boys and Girls Club, and other families, joined us at the Alma Powell Branch for a Jumping the Broom ceremony.

Jumping the Broom was a marriage practice used by couples during slavery. Many times the slaves’ owners would not give permission for couples to wed. Jumping the Broom became a practice that allowed couples to unite without their owners’ knowledge. Today, this tradition has become popular as a cultural heritage ceremony.

During our event the kids took turns reading from the book Jumping the Broom written by Courtni Wright. This story is about a young slave girl, Lettie, whose sister, Tillie, is planning a Jumping the Broom ceremony. Courtni Wright tells how slave families worked together to prepare for the ceremony. The women spent their days working on a quilt to keep the young couple warm. They prepared food for the ceremony. The men built furniture and caught fish to salt for the winter. Everyone pitched in.

 

At our event Erika and Hari dressed the part of a couple in a pretend ceremony; we decorated miniature brooms, ate homemade wedding cake and drank homemade Jamaican-style ginger soda. We talked about other ceremonies and the quilt making custom.

Thanks to the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo we had a fantastic quilt display exhibited in the Barnabee Gallery!  These quilts were done by a group of African American women of Southwest Michigan. It brought the Barnabee Gallery alive with African American heritage and history.

Harriette Cole’s book Jumping the broom: The African-American Wedding Planner is not only historical but is a modern-day guide for couples wanting to tie the knot. Ms. Cole offers anecdotes, traditions and choices for blending today’s culture with elements of the past.

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Jumping the Broom
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Capoeira: Cordão De Ouro (West Michigan)

On February 22 the Alma Powell Branch had a fantastic fun-filled Capoeira demonstration. The presentation was done by Capoeira: Cordão De Ouro (West Michigan).

What is Capoeira? Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines dance, music and acrobatics all in one.

With February being Black History Month we wanted to learn some of the history behind the fine art of this Afro-Brazilian defense technique.

Capoeira was first developed between the 16th and 19th centuries by African slaves brought to Brazil during the slave trade. It was illegal for slaves to learn or practice self-defense. So they camouflaged their martial arts practice with music, acrobatics and games.

Their program included:

  • African Dance
  • Maculelê
  • Bimba’s 8 Secuencias and Game
  • Capoeira
  • Capoeira Song
  • Samba de Roda

With more than 80 people in attendance we learned about their instruments, songs and how to participate with the Cordão di Ouro: West Michigan. The kids loved it! They tumbled, flipped and danced along with the performers. Fun was had by all.

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Capoeira
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157623382533479/

Fun with Mr. Steve and Friends!

Because of my move into a new job at the library, last night was the final Storytime with Mr. Steve & Friends.

We had a great time reading books, singing songs about a man made out of food, and playing with the parachute.

The adrenaline of the evening helped me hold up well last night, but now I am feeling the effects of closing a very happy chapter in my life.

I would like to thank all the families in the community for your wonderful support during my years as a children’s librarian and for allowing me to be a part of your children’s lives.

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Storytime with Mr. Steve and Friends
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http://www.kpl.gov/kids/storytime/mr-steve.aspx

Getting Green with Belfast Gin

Last Wednesday local band Belfast Gin played to a full house of rabid Irish music loving fans. Their unique brand of the Celtic music is heavily influenced by rock, soul and blues.

Lead singer Laurie Laing’s expertly slipped between the raucous beat of a bar ballad to the slow jam sound of an R&B tune. The band was very personable and made the audience feel like we were all sharing a pint together somewhere in Ireland. Belfast Gin was the perfect antidote to a cold January day because they chased away the winter blues with a ton of green!

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Live Music: Belfast Gin
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/music/live.aspx

It’s Tax Season Again!

At KPL, we get lots of questions about tax issues. Here are answers to some of the more common concerns.

Tax Forms: Though more and more people prefer to e-file for faster return on their tax refund, many others still ask us about paper tax forms. This year, all library locations will distribute basic paper tax forms and instructions, free of charge, while they last. Look for the federal forms to be available by the middle of January; state forms will be available in early February.

Tax Preparation Help: The Central and Oshtemo locations will again be hosting tax preparation in 2010 for people with household incomes under $49,000, starting January 30.   You will need an appointment; to sign up, call 211, as of January 15, 2010.

Bookmark our Tax Information topic guide for regular access to more tax-related details. During tax season, you can also use the “Tax Forms/Free Tax Help” icon from our home page. Be sure to scroll down to the websites for forms, instructions and much more.

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Tax Information
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