Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

The State of America’s Libraries

The annual report, The State of America’s Libraries, was released last week, National Library Week, by the American Library Association.

Its findings and conclusions confirm what KPL and most public libraries are experiencing and discussing at our conferences, on email lists, and wherever library staff gather: Americans are turning to their libraries in ever increasing numbers for all types of resources but at the same time funding from all sources is decreasing.

The report addresses public, school and academic libraries; technology; construction and renovation; social networking; legislation; outreach; copyright.

The many statistics confirm that overall use of public libraries is up 23% at over 16,600 locations across the country. Libraries are being turned to in increasing numbers for access to employment resources, continuing education, government services, and the more traditional ones of free access to books, magazines, CDs, DVDs.

The report refers to a “perfect storm of growing demand and shrinking resources”. Half of the states have reduced funding to libraries; a majority of states report a decrease of 5 – 10% in local funding to public libraries. Not surprisingly, many have reduced staff, hours, services.

KPL is not immune; we also expect a decrease in local revenues for next year. As reported previously on our blogs and in LINK, we have made a variety of reductions and are in the midst of strategic planning to determine our priorities and the goals to support those priorities for the next several years. We’ll continue to share the outcomes of that process on our website and in our publications over the coming months.


State Of America's Libraries Report 2010

Vote for Obama @ K-Central!

We join all the others throughout the community in urging you to vote in the Commencement Challenge to have President Obama as Kalamazoo Central’s commencement speaker.

K-Central is one of six finalists in the nation, the only one in Michigan, selected to compete. View the three-minute student-produced video and vote by 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 29, to narrow the field from six contestants to three. President Obama will choose the winner.

(Kalamazoo Gazette photo, John A. Lacko)

Watch as White House staff notify the six finalists.

More information about the Commencement Challenge is available on the White House website, and today’s post by Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the White House blog.

Vote Kalamazoo!


Vote Kalamazoo!


Children’s Day/Book Day, also known as El Dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros, usually shortened to Dia, is the celebration of children, families, and reading held annually. It emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Children’s author, Pat Mora, proposed this linking of children and books, and founded the celebration now commemorated in most public libraries.

This year, KPL will celebrate Dia on Saturday, April 24, 11 AM, at Central Library with stories and songs in Spanish and English. We’ll have a special performance by Fantasia Ballet Folklorica along with crafts, door prizes, treats and, most importantly, a free book for every child for their home library.

You don’t have to be a child or have a child to enjoy this family event.


Dia de los Niños - Dia de los Libros

Happy NLW

…..National Library Week, that is. We join libraries across the country in celebrating April 11 – 17 as National Library Week to highlight the value of all types of libraries and their contributions to our community.

Neil Gaiman, winner of the 2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book, is the honorary chair of this year’s celebration, and the theme is “Communities Thrive @ Your Library.” Learn more... PDF

It’s a good time to remind our community of library services and especially to highlight them during tough economic times. KPL, like most public libraries, provides free access to computers, helps with homework, offers computer classes, and of course, loans books, DVDs, and CDs. We also offer a variety of programs for all ages – leisure and informational.


In addition to the weekly designation, each day will have a special library significance:

  • Monday, April 12 – “The State of America’s Public Libraries” report will be released
  • Tuesday, April 13 – Celebrate “National Library Workers Day”
  • Wednesday, April 14 – Release of the “Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2009” list
  • Thursday, April 15 – Celebrate “Support Teen Literature Day”
  • And all of April is “School Library Month”, our partners in working with youth

Well, it might not rank up there with some other weekly designation, but those of us in libraries think it’s pretty important and appreciate the attention it brings to us.

And happy NLW to you – celebrate with a visit to any of our locations.


National Library Week

Networking With Other Libraries

About twice a year, several directors from class 6 public libraries, those serving a population over 100,000, get together and talk informally. This informal group currently includes six public library directors from the southern and central areas of Michigan. Some of us have been in our positions or libraries for years and years, others of us are relatively new. We exchange topics in advance and all come prepared to share ideas and advice with each other.

We met last week. Not surprisingly, the first topic we all wanted to talk about was the decline in local revenue we are all experiencing, and how each library is adapting services and staffing. Other topics included the decrease in funding for the Library of Michigan and how it will impact public library patrons, strategic planning being undertaken by several of us, community collaborations, increasing emphasis on self-services for patrons.

Although we are all in the same “business,” many of our services and community emphases are quite different. We have much to learn from each other, much to share. I always return from these gathering with some new ideas to consider for KPL. For me, this is networking at it finest!


Networking; Strategic Planning
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