Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

Education & Poverty

If you are interested in ideas about how to lift children out of poverty through education, you need to read Paul Tough's book, Whatever it Takes, about Geoffrey Canada's radical approach to this issue.  While working for and leading several nonprofit organizations that work with low income families, Canada grew frustrated with the fact that kids who were succeeding in the programs would often fall back behind once they were out of the programs.  He also grew disenchanted with the small number of successes the programs were having, wanting to improve the lives of thousands of children at a time. He decided that he had to weave together a large network of programs that would help the child succeed from birth up to entering college.  Anyone who is working on building a Pathway to the Promise here in Kalamazoo would benefit from reading Tough's book; for its brief history of government policy concerning poverty and education, its fascinating story about Canada's quest to close the achievement gap for every child in a 97 block area of Harlem, and Canada's infectious ambition to really make a large scale difference in the lives of children trapped in poverty everywhere. 


Whatever it Takes
Steve S

This Week in Science History Mar. 11

Here are some highlights from this week in science history. For further reading on these intriguing topics, just click on the underlined words in blue print to access the library catalog. Happy reading!

Mar. 10, 1977 the rings of Uranus were discovered by stellar occultation experiments. A total of eleven were discovered. Most of the rings are not quite circular and most are not exactly in the plane of the equator. Uranus is the third largest planet in the solar system. Discovered by William Herschel in 1781, it is the seventh planet from the sun. 

Mar. 11, 105, A.D. inventor Tsai Lun, an official of the Imperial Court reported his invention of paper making to the Chinese Emperor. Although 105, A.D. is the often cited date of the birth of paper making, recent archaeological investigations place the invention of paper making some 200 years earlier. Tsai Lun made his paper from a suspension of hemp, tree bark and rags in water.

Mar. 12, 1929 soft drink manufacturer, Asa Griggs Candler died. Candler obtained the very well-kept secret formula for Coca-Cola from pharmacist John “Doc” Pemberton. He is famous for expanding the marketing of Coca-Cola and devoted $50,000 a year to advertising, which was unheard of at that time. His goal was to make the drink a national product. Candler’s product and his advertising blitz influenced many aspects of people’s lives, even the perspective of Santa Claus.

Mar. 14, 1879 German-American physicist Albert Einstein was born. Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 “for his services to Theoretical Physics and especially for his discovery of the law of photoelectric effect”. Well-known for his theories of relativity and gravitation, he revolutionized scientific and philosophic inquiry. His life and discoveries are fascinating to read about. Happy Birthday Mr. E!


Einstein: A Biography

Giving and Getting

My curiosity was sparked, when One Red Paperclip fell off the shelf into my hand.  Blogger Kyle MacDonald documents how he traded one red paperclip on Craigslist--and later on his own blog—for something “bigger and better” each time he traded. Eventually, his trades earned him a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan.
MacDonald’s quest wasn’t just about gaining material goods, but also about linking people up with things and experiences that mattered to them--and meeting plenty of interesting folks along the way. 

If MacDonald’s story intrigues you, consider trades on the Kalamazoo area Craigslist, or you can join the local “reuse group,” Portage-Kalamazoo Freecycle™,” and simply give away what you don’t need.


One Red Paperclip: Or How an Ordinary Man Achievd His Dream with the Help of a Simple Office Supply

Go Guides!

Here’s a plug for the topic guides on the new KPL website. During my first post-launch visit to the site, I found that the highlighted topic guide was “Parenting.” I took a look and realized that the guide will be useful for a local committee I’m serving on.

Today I distributed copies of the Parenting guide to the group.  They were impressed to see such a variety of resources gathered together… …KPL catalog headings and website topics, books recommended by staffdatabasesnewspapers and magazinescommunity resources and websites.

The committee includes some early childhood development experts and educators, and they offered some suggestions for additional resources we could add. I’m glad the new website will be interactive so users of the topic guides can help us make them even better!


mother reading while child jumps on bed
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