Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

Census and Tax Info @ KPL

KPL is currently proactive in helping patrons with two governmental initiatives: the 2010 Census and income tax.

We are an “Authorized Census Questionnaire Assistance Center” for those who need help with their form and we were a site for testing and training of census workers. Our staff are actively encouraging everyone to be counted and are distributing promotional materials.

Census counts affect the number of representatives Michigan holds in the US Congress and the annual allocation of approximately $400 billion of federal funds, based in part, on the census data. When you fill out your 2010 Census from, you help influence our chances for a fair share of funding, services, and political representation.

As in past years, we are also a site for tax information for state and federal taxes. All of our locations are distributing paper copies of some federal and state tax forms free of charge while they last. Reproducible forms, including some instructions booklets, may be photocopied for 10¢ per page.

Information on tax preparation help and links to websites and databases with related information is on our website. If you need further help, contact the information desk at the central library: 553-7801.

It’s important to be counted and to pay taxes! We hope we can make both a little easier and less painful.


Census Information

Women’s History Month

March is “National Women’s History Month;” this year’s theme is “writing women back into history.”

The initiative for this designation started in California in the late 1970’s. In 1981, a Joint Congressional Resolution proclaimed a “women’s history week.” In 1987 it was expanded to the entire month of March and a resolution has been approved each year with bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

Not surprisingly, there has been an increase in recent years of books published with this theme. Currently Shanghai Girls by Lisa See and The Help by Kathryn Stockett are fiction titles on many bestseller lists. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson is a teen novel with adult appeal, about a young slave girl in New York during Revolutionary War times. All three of these titles were some of my favorites from last year.

On my list to read is When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins.

Women’s achievements and women’s history are both subjects in which we have many titles in our collection. Staff can help you find a good one to read.

Come visit soon. 


When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present

Authors in Kalamazoo

I just read that two of my three favorite authors of teen books, John Green and David Levithan, are collaborating on a novel about two characters who have the same name. The book, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, will have half of the chapters, one of the Wills, written by John and the other half by David. The book won’t be published for several weeks; I have it on my reading list already.

Not surprisingly, these authors are two of my favorites because they have visited KPL. We bonded with them and I believe they feel likewise. I saw John at a library conference this past summer and as soon as I reintroduced myself to him, he started fondly reminiscing about his visit here. I haven’t seen David since his visit, but I bet he’d feel likewise. He was very complimentary to KPL and our staff when he was here several years ago.

David Guterson in Kalamazoo

This is a week for another author visit to KPL – David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars, this year’s Reading Together book, will be here Wednesday, March 17, for a public program at Kalamazoo Central High School at 7:00. His books, especially this one, are some of my favorites, so I expect I’ll enjoy meeting and hearing him speak.

The Kalamazoo community is fortunate to have many institutions and groups who sponsor author visits and programs. KPL is just one of them. Meeting and hearing an author adds a new dimension to reading their work. You may, like me with John and David, then want to read everything they write!

I hope to see you Wednesday or at some upcoming author program in our community.


Will Grayson

Google Network for Kalamazoo?

As you may have read in the Gazette, Kalamazoo is applying to be a prototype community for a new, experimental network to make internet connections 100 to 200 times faster than current speeds.

Google, the developer of this high-speed fiber-optic system, is seeking nominations from cities to serve as test sites. We fit the population they are looking for— 50,000–500,000.

The City of Kalamazoo will take the lead on submitting the application. Individuals, businesses, and organizations can support the application by completing an endorsement explaining why Kalamazoo should be chosen.

There is information on the city’s website and linked through ours that provides additional details and the link to submit an endorsement.

I imagine there will be steep competition. Let’s make sure Kalamazoo is a strong contender with considerable community support.


Google Fiber Project

Library Numbers

Libraries are usually more about words than numbers, although we do have the Dewey Decimal system!

I recently came across some statistics that claim to represent the global scope of library activity. I suspect that is hard to prove, but the numbers are interesting and fun to ponder nevertheless:

  • 1,212,383 – libraries worldwide
  • 166,041,975,140 – library transactions per year
  • 18,954,563 – library transactions per day
  • 5,265 – library transactions per second
  • 1,596,270,108 – internet users worldwide
  • 3,673,000,000 – internet searches per day, many from libraries, of course!
  • 12,582,962 – number of print books published in the US since 1923

KPL statistics might not sound quite as impressive, but they reflect a strong increase over this time last year:

  • 24% - increase in circulation of print and non-print materials
  • 52% - increase in computer use
  • 56% - increase in use of WiFi

Come visit soon and we’ll add the books you check out and your computer use to our statistics. We might be on course for a record breaking year.


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