@ Your Library

Recent library events, news and more.

Beauchamp thrills the hometown crowd!

The fourth concert in our year-long concert series on September 17th featured Kalamazoo's own singer-songwriter Michael Beauchamp. Along with bassist Ian Gorman and mandolin player Brandon Foote, Michael played many of the songs from his 2008 CD My Northern VoicesThe standout tune for me was Gamble/Drink All My Money which Michael himself described as a "local favorite." Beauchamp has a great voice which changes with the music and mood of  the song he is performing to create a most excellent sound.

Check out the video clips from the concert!

The show on October 22nd is not to be missed. Another local act, The Corn Fed Girls will be performing beginning at 7:00 pm. Check out their newest release Cornstar from the library to prepare yourself for the show.


Michael Beauchamp - My Northern Voices
Kevin King

Read Banned Books!

Harry Potter, Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird - these are just a few of the thousands of books that have been banned in the U.S.A.

As an American citizen, you have the right to decide for yourself what to read, listen to or view. Since 1982, libraries, booksellers, and publishers have reminded us not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted during Banned Books Week, the last week of September each year, from September 27–October 4 in 2008. Learn more on MySpace and Facebook. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan will Celebrate Free Speech with an event on September 30, 7:00 pm, at the First Baptist Church in Kalamazoo.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received a total of 420 challenges last year. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.  According to Judith F. Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five remain unreported.

Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s award-winning And Tango Makes Three, about two male penguins parenting an egg from a mixed-sex penguin couple, again tops the list of most challenged books by parents and administrators, due to the issues of homosexuality. Off the list this year are two books by author Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye and Beloved, both challenged for sexual content and offensive language.

A new video from the American Library Association:

Challenged Books

The 10 Most Challenged Books of 2007 reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

Challenged Authors

The most frequently challenged authors of 2007 include:



Banned Books

A Longer Growing Season

For many of us, the growing season runs somewhere around mid May to mid September – not a very long time at all. Experienced and passionate gardeners such Bruce Schultz know how add more time to the growing season. In fact, Bruce is busy all year with some aspect of gardening, planning, feeding, harvesting, and preparing the bed for next season.

Bruce Schultz, a board member of Fair Food Matters, was the featured speaker for "Sleep Tight, Sweet Garden" at Oshtemo on September 26. We learned how to extend the growing season, such as using row covers and cold frames. One of the most interesting techniques he shared was how to use microclimates to your advantage. Here's one way: Plant a sun-loving climber such as cucumber on a vertical trellis and use the shady area behind the trellis for sun-sensitive veggies such as lettuce and spinach.

Schultz, a board member of Fair Food Matters, is involved with the organization's Growing Matters Garden, an urban educational gardening program that provides hands-on opportunities for youth.

Summer may be over, but it’s not too soon to be thinking about next year’s harvest. Take a look at these resources from KPL.


Bruce Schultz

The Allure of Michigan's Past

Did you know that mussel farming was once a major endeavor in Michigan? And that this farming was not for culinary purposes, but to sell the shells for the production of buttons? This little known and interesting fact, along with many others, was presented by the author Larry Massie on September 23rd at the Central library and is laid out in detail in his new book The Allure of Michigan’s Past. Mr. Massie has devoted his career as a writer, which now spans 19 titles, to celebrating our state’s rich heritage and to listen to him talk of Michigan's past is to hear his passion for the subject loud and clear.


The Allure of Michigan's Past
Larry Massie

Henderson Castle

Mention “The Castle” to almost anyone in Kalamazoo and they immediately know you are talking about the magnificent home at the top of the West Main Street hill. KPL resumed its “This Old Building” series on September 15th with a program on this treasured Kalamazoo landmark, presented by Henderson Castle owner Laura Livingstone-McNelis.

The audience was treated to a display of Henderson artifacts, a history of the Henderson family and the amazing home that they built, and a photo tour of the castle and its grounds.

Read more about the history of Henderson Castle and the Henderson-Ames Company

Visit the library's Flickr photostream to see more photos of this event.

Don’t miss the next “This Old Building” program on November 12 – The Ladies Library Association.


Henderson Castle
Henderson Castle Program
Beth T

Edible Forest Gardens

What if you could design a garden of edibles requiring less toil and fewer resources, one that isn’t as susceptible to attack from marauding pests? Dave Jacke says you can do this if you use a forest ecosystem as the model design for your garden. An edible forest garden it’s called, a peaceable kingdom in your own back yard. Learn more about this and meet author Dave Jacke when he visits KPL on Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m. After Jacke's discussion, he will sell and sign copies of his book Edible Forest Gardens.


Back to School Time

…will soon mean homework time too.

We offer Live Homework Help online every day from 4:00 to 10:00 pm, from real tutors, real people! The service offers free tutoring in math, science, social studies, and English for students in grades 4 – 12. Students log in with their KPL library card number. Links are available in the KidsTweens and Teens sections of our website.

En Espanol is also available.

There are other Homework Helpers on our website too (see our Topic Guides), plus Homework Websites in the teen section.


Live Homework Help

September is Eat Local Month

Say, where’d you get that tomato? I hope you grew it with your own hands, or purchased from a local hardworking farmer.

It's been said that the dazzling diversity of fresh produce and food products in southwest Michigan is unsurpassed by any other region in the Midwest. That's an appetizing thought.

This month the partners of Eat Local, Kalamazoo are highlighting the delicious, economic, and social benefits of eating close to home with a whole month’s worth of activities. 

Kalamazoo Public Library is a partner in Eat Local, Kalamazoo and we’ll be hosting a few tasty programs ourselves:


The Eat Local Challenge Kick-Off & The Eat Local Experience
6:30 PM  Thursday, September 4, Central
Begin the month with taste-testing local food prepared by local chefs. Enjoy a conversation regarding the challenges, solutions and experiences of eating locally.

Edible Forest Gardens, Meet Dave Jacke
6:30 PM Thursday September 11, Central
Dave Jacke designs diverse, high-yield gardens mimicking natural ecosystems and forges mutually beneficial relationships. 

The Burgeoning Green Economy
6:30 PM Wednesday September 24, Central
Join Tim Young of Food for Thought and learn about the economic benefits of developing a business that helps sustain and preserve our natural world.

Sleep Tight, Sweet Garden
12:30 PM Friday September 26, Oshtemo
Experts from Fair Food Matters will offer advice on how to put your garden to bed for the winter.

These are just a few of the events scheduled for September. See the whole bountiful calendar by visiting Fair Food Matters.

Eat Local, Kalamazoo! is a coalition comprised of Fair Food Matters, Bronson Hospital, Kalamazoo College, Food Dance, People’s Food Co-Op, Southwest Michigan Community Harvest Fest, Kalamazoo Public Library and Water Street Coffee Joint.


Eat Local Month