From the Director

We Like Numbers, Too.

The image of librarians is that we are more about words than numbers. I guess that’s true but there are two “number” sections on our website I think you will find interesting.

We’ve just added library use statistics to our website. Circulation of books, music, movies, and digital products are tracked by location….central and each branch….along with program attendance and computer use. There are numbers and graphs.

The value calculator is not new to our website although it hasn’t been highlighted recently. It is an interesting way to appreciate the value of the library services you use.

I’d welcome your comments on either of these.

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Library Use Statistics
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eBooks

I often use this space to promote one of our services or to highlight something on our website. This week I am doing both, namely our ebook collection available through our website.

A Pew Research Center survey issued in the fall found that the number of Americans age 16 and older who own a tablet computer has grown to 35% and those who have an ereader such as a Kindle or Nook has grown to 24%. Overall those with a tablet or an ereader device now stands at 43% and more than 50% in households earning $75,000 or more.

Ebooks are available to KPL cardholders through our website. Not every publisher makes their new ebooks available to libraries so not every bestseller you might want to read is on the site. Many are however and they can be checked out on your device for up to three weeks.

Ebooks are just one of our digital services. Audiobooks, music, movies, magazines are available also.

Visit soon…..digitally or at one of our five locations.

As tablet ownership grows, more use them for e-books

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eBooks
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Changes in AV

If you are a frequent patron of the movies and music collection located in the lower level of Central Library, you’re likely aware of the changes we’ve made there over the past few weeks.

Audiobooks have moved from the lower level to the second floor rotunda. Music CDs have moved to the previous location of audiobooks and the CDs shelves will be taken down to open up that corner of the Audiovisual (AV) area.

Movies and music holds available for patron pick-up have been moved from the first floor to the lower level, across from the Audiovisual service desk. All movies and music must be checked out at kiosks on the lower level, not taken to the first floor circulation area. The checkout unit from the children’s room has been moved to the lower level to have two units there to accommodate movie and music circulation. DVD Hot Picks have been dropped as a Central Library service and the Hot Picks titles will be added to the regular DVD collection; it continues as a branch service.

All of these changes, along with an increased security presence in the lower level, have been implemented in an effort to stop substantial increase in the theft of movies and music we have experienced over the past few months. I recognize some of these changes will be less convenient for some, but they were necessary to protect the community’s investment in our materials.

It is important that we take all reasonable steps to protect the collection purchased with tax money. While we believe the majority of the theft has come from a small handful of people, it has caused significant loss to our very popular movie and music collections. We want those collections to be available for all to enjoy.

We will welcome your help in preventing theft from your library. If you see suspicious behavior, please inform the staff or security guard. Help us protect the Kalamazoo Public Library collection to be enjoyed by all patrons.

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Audiovisual Department
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Digital Lab - What Services?

One of our goals for the first half of 2014 is to expand our digital services. We’ll have an area on the third floor of the Central Library with equipment and software. We are currently meeting with others in the community who offer digital services to the public to learn what is available, what is needed BUT we want to hear from you.

What do you want from a digital lab? Please take our survey to help us plan and offer the services you’d use. I’ll report here periodically on our progress, especially when we have a specific plan and a ballpark opening date.

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Digital Lab Survey
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http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/digital_lab

Checkout Area Changes

Although it is not the beginning of a new year, back-to-school still seems like the beginning of a new year to me. With this “new year” we are making some changes at the circulation area of Central Library.

The Circulation Desk will transition to a Customer Service Desk. We’ll handle library card registrations and account questions or problems at that desk. Staff will be at the checkout kiosk to help library users check out materials there.

There is a change at the checkout kiosks. We have eliminated locked cases for DVDs and CDs so the checkout process for those items is much easier….no more unlockers.

We hope this change will allow us to provide better customer service as we respond to the increase in circulation and the decrease in tax revenues.

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Service Desk Changes
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zyex8B1B1I

A Transmedia World

I have often written here about the ebooks available through our website, but have seldom mentioned downloadable audiobooks. I check out many ebooks but few audiobooks, probably because I have a short drive to work, the time many listen to audiobooks.

Clearly reading is evolving. Today readers can continue the same story as they toggle between an ebook on their iPad or Kindle, a paperback at home, an eaudiobook in the car or on another mobile device….whatever format fits the setting and mood. And a new word…..this is considered the “transmedia” world.

We still maintain a large collection of the traditional audiobooks but in addition, downloadable eaudiobooks are available through our website. Many titles are available in ebook and eaudio format, some just in one or the other, depending upon the publisher.

Formats are evolving – VHS and cassettes are no longer – but for now, we have audiobooks in both physical and digital formats.

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eBooks
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Access to eBooks

Our circulation of ebooks continues to grow but patrons often ask why we don’t have a specific new, popular title or why more copies of a title aren’t available. Unfortunately, the major publishers have been slow to make their ebook titles available to public libraries.

None of the six largest publishers sell or license ebooks to public libraries in the same way they do print editions. Three major publishers have pricing policies that make ebooks more expensive than print editions and others still refuse to make ebooks available to all libraries and are only now piloting programs that make them available to only select libraries.

The example of a recent bestseller makes the point: print edition cost to a public library: $15.51. Ebook cost on Amazon to an individual: $9.99. Ebook cost to a library from the publisher: $84.

The relationship between publishers and libraries is changing. Many small, independent publishers are willing to work with libraries; the major publishers have not yet adopted policies that address equitable access and fair pricing.

Oversight is needed to ensure that publishers do not inhibit access to ebooks in public libraries. The library community is urging policymakers to guarantee that all libraries and their constituents have unrestricted and equal access to ebooks at a fair and reasonable price.

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eBooks
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Explore Our Website

I’m guessing when you visit our website, you go to one or two areas….perhaps the catalog, the calendar of events, maybe our databases. You know what you are looking for and you head there.

I want to call your attention to several new features or services available on our website with the hope you will explore them as well as your favorites.

 

New blogs are posted to our website several times each week, new materials being added to our collection are highlighted, new services are often featured in the rotating pictures. Visit often.

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Kalamazoo Public Library website
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http://www.kpl.gov/


Which is Greener: Print or E-book?

Do you consider the environmental impact when choosing a print or e-book format?

I admit, I’ve only thought very briefly about this question and it doesn’t enter into my decision to read a book in print or digital format. My decision is based primarily on availability.

I recently came across a short article on this very topic. It gave me pause. The author considered the trees used to make paper, chlorine bleach to dye the paper, use of recycled paper, amount of ink, energy needed to produce the ink, lifespan of a typical e-reader, and carbon emissions from production and use of an e-reader.

Bottom line conclusion from the author: an e-reader is the more environmentally responsible choice for those who read more than 23 books per year.

Now that you know this, will it make a difference in the format you choose?

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eBooks
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Freedom to Read - Help Preserve It

Last week’s blog was about e-reading vs print reading. I wrote that e-book choices through libraries are limited because many publishers do not allow libraries to purchase or license digital copies to loan to cardholders. This limit has become a freedom to read concern for libraries.

E-books are here to stay; it is possible that in the future new books may be published only in digital format. When that happens, an e-reader, a credit card, and disposable income will be necessary to read a book unless all major publishers are willing to sell or license a title to public libraries.

Currently several major publishers refuse to sell or license e-books to public libraries. Others make them available at a very high price or impose heavy restrictions on their use. Consequently the selection of e-books available for loan is limited.

Librarians and library organizations are pressing publishers to change their practices. Some pilot programs are underway as publishers and libraries strive to develop mutually acceptable models.

We need the help of readers to voice their concern about preserving the freedom to read. You can support this effort by contacting state and federal elected officials. Make them aware of the e-book lending challenges and encourage them to press publishers to work with libraries.

Preserving the freedom to read is worth fighting for.

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E-books for Libraries: Freedom to Read
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http://ebooksforlibraries.com/

E-Reading vs. Print Reading

A recently released Pew Research Center study reports 23% of Americans, ages 16 and older, have read an e-book in the past year, up from 16% the year before. Those who read a print book dropped from 72% to 67%. Overall book readers, no matter the format, remained about the same at about 75% of the population.

Not surprisingly, there has also been an increase in ownership of e-book reading devices; 25% of those 16 and older own a tablet computer, 19% an e-book reading device.

Also not surprisingly, e-book borrowing from public libraries has increased too….from 3% last year to 5% this year.

Here at KPL we have had a whooping increase in e-book circulation: 3,593 in 2010 / 11 to 17,369 in 2011/12. That’s an increase of 383%!

The titles available to download through our website have increased substantially too. We purchase copies of popular titles just for KPL cardholders in addition to those available through the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services. Nevertheless, the choices are limited because many publishers do not allow libraries to purchase digital copies to loan to cardholders.

The American Library Association is challenging publishers to include libraries in their service model. So far, most publishers are not willing to do so.

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eBooks
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Q: What's a Bag-of-Books Sale?

Q: What's a Bag-of-Books Sale?

A: The annual Friends of KPL booksale with books at $2.00 for a bag full OR 10¢ a book.

Q: Where and when?

A: Van Deusen Room, 3rd, floor Central Library, Saturday, January 26, 9 am - 3:30 pm

Q: Why?

A: Build your home library, help clean out the Friends storage area, raise money for the Friends generous support of the library

Q: What does the library do with the money from the Friends?

A: Provide summer reading games for all ages, support Reading Together and Global Reading Challenge, help fund concerts

Q: If I come to the sale, what else could I do downtown that day?

A: Shop in the Friends Bookstore on the lower level of the Central Library, check out a book or movie from the library, ask a reference question, play in the children’s room, stroll on the downtown mall

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Friends Bag-of-Books Sale
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New Services in the New Year

We are getting ready to offer several new services in 2013.

Details are yet to be worked out, but we will add Freegal Music to our services within the next month or two. With a KPL card, library users will have access to millions of songs from 10,000+ labels, including all Sony Music labels. From an easy-to-use website, users will be able to download mp3 files that can be played on any device, including iPods. Watch for an announcement soon.

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We will also be adding Rocket Languages, an online language learning program. If your new year’s resolutions include learning a new language, this is for you! Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Hindi, German, French, Chinese, Arabic, and American Sign Language are here for the learning. Again, details will be announced soon.

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And we are thrilled to have been awarded a grant to become a Family Place Library, a national model and designation that builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement, and supportive communities play a critical role in young children’s growth and development. Several of us will attend a training institute in the spring with the expectation we will launch this new initiative later in 2013.

We’re looking forward to the new year with these new services. Details to follow over the next few months.

Best wishes for the new year.

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Freegal Music
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It was a very good year!

Our year ended on June 30 and it was a very good one!

Circulation of print and AV materials was up 21% over the previous year. Not surprisingly, the percentage increase was greatest in ebooks – from about 3,600 to over 17,000. Our total circulation was over 1.6 million so ebook circulation is still small in comparison to print and AV.

Program attendance was strong also, especially for our programs for children and teens; attendance at youth programs was over 37,000 for the year. We have increased our emphasis on programs for these ages, both in the library and around the community, in support of our priority of “creating young readers.”

Computer use, number of cardholders, and hits to our website are all up for the year, too.

Come visit soon, in person or through our website... check out an item, attend a program, find information on our website.

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Kalamazoo Public Library
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Ebooks and More for Kids

If you have children in your life, you might know about the TumbleBook Library but if not, here is a brief overview with a link to our website for more detailed information.

Kids and tweens can listen to or read along at their own pace to animated, talking picture books, read-alongs and ebooks on a computer or ipad. In addition to books, there are videos, puzzles and games, and language learning. All are available through our website. A good starting point is the virtual tour for an overview of the various features.

The books range from picture books, easy readers, chapter books, teen fiction, and graphic novels. Suggested grade level is included.

Children learn in various ways and many of today’s kids learn best in an online environment or as a complement to print learning. We’ll have books in both print and online format for many years to come.

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TumbleBook Library
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http://www.tumblebooks.com/library/auto_login.asp?U=kalamazoo&P=libra

Moving to an E-World

A recent library publication included some statistics to show “its’s an ‘e’ world”. Some of them seemed worth sharing:

• 2,267,233,742 - Internet users worldwide

• 644,275,754 – number of websites as of March 2012

• 47,097 – magazines, newspapers, newsletters, TV/radio transcripts around the world that offer online full text, up from about 5,500 in 2000

• 112 – number of e-mails sent and received each day by the typical user

• 183% - increase in public library e-book collections in the past year

Of course KPL’s holdings reflect this shift to an ‘e’ world also. These statistics are from our annual report to the Library of Michigan submitted earlier this year:

• 1,352 – downloadable audio items

• 4,184 – e-books available

• 16 – database subscriptions

Most of our holdings are still in “physical units”: print books, DVDs, CDs, but we are increasingly moving to the ‘e’ world also.

Come visit soon – through our website for e-resources or any of our buildings.

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eBooks
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It’s Summer at KPL!

Just sharing some miscellaneous info...

• Our summer hours are now in effect….we close at 6 pm on Thursdays and are closed Sundays. Winter hours will resume after Labor Day.

Summer reading games for all ages – youngest to oldest – begin on June 13, last day of school for Kalamazoo Public School students.

• Our popular First Saturday @ KPL program will continue through the summer along with many programs for school age children.

• We are beginning to consider suggestions for next year’s Reading Together title and would welcome your ideas for a title, author, or theme. Just add yours as a “comment” to this blog.

• And speaking of Reading Together, did you see the heartfelt letter this year’s author, Luis Urrea, sent us?

• You can now search the Kalamazoo Telegraph, a local newspaper from 1863 – 1913, through our website. It’s interesting reading even if you aren’t a local historian or genealogist.

• If you missed “Michigan at the Exposition: The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair,” it is on our website, along with many other programs.

• There are some online audio books, always available, you can download through our website. It makes exercising more enjoyable if you can listen to a good book at the same time.

KPL staff blog about books they have recently read and particularly enjoyed. Our reading tastes vary greatly; we invite your comments and welcome an online discussion.

• We’ve added ebooks for kids to our website. Some reluctant young readers who have access to an ereader, but be enticed to read more in this format.

Come visit soon…..Central Library, branches, or through our website.

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Summer @ KPL
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Attention Ebook Users

I have often written here about opportunities as well as limitations for ebook use through public libraries. Now I want to call your attention to two ebook features on our website.

First is a short video (1 minute 14 seconds) explaining publisher limitations on ebook availability through public libraries. Along with the video is an online petition to make your voice heard. I urge you to watch the video and sign the petition. You’ll find links on our home page and on our eBooks page.

Second is a Pew research study about ebook use. The results of this study will help libraries and publishers better understand the use of ebooks through libraries and, I am hoping, strengthen the library argument for ebook availability. I urge you to complete this brief survey. There’s a link on our eBooks page.

Ebooks lending through public libraries is an evolving service for us, an evolving market for publishers. Let your voice be heard, your opinion counted through this petition and research study.

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Ebooks for Libraries
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http://ebooksforlibraries.com/

 


eBook Update Continued

Last week I wrote here about the evolving ebook market.

I shared that libraries were bracing for a price increase for ebooks from Random House publishers. Indeed the recent increases are double and triple the prices we had been paying. As an example, one recently released title had been $40 for the ebook version; it increased to $120 as of March 1. The print version, with the library discount, is a little over $20.

Basically, the new Random House prices for ebooks to ebook distributors, not directly to libraries are

  • Titles in print as new hardcovers: $65 - $85
  • Titles available for several months or timed to paperback release: $25 - $50
  • New children’s titles in print as hardcovers: $35 - $85
  • Older children’s titles and children’s paperbacks: $25 - $45

In spite of these hefty price increases, libraries welcome that Random House continues to offer titles in ebook format to libraries.

Again, as I wrote previously, Penguin Books are not available in ebook format to public libraries. They publish many bestsellers and we, like all libraries, regret we cannot provide them to our users.

Bottom line: please know we will continue to provide ebooks as they are available and affordable for public libraries. Some titles we cannot provide at all, due to publisher restrictions, others we may not be able to provide until several months after their initial release.

The market continues to evolve.

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eBooks
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An Evolving eBook Market

Most libraries, including KPL, experienced a strong increase in the circulation of ebooks after the holidays. Obviously readers were a popular holiday gift. Ebook users have learned how to download books from OverDrive through our website and many have attended our training or Q & A sessions.

In addition to titles available through the OverDrive consortium, we purchase additional copies of popular titles available to KPL resident cardholders. However patrons often ask why a particular popular title isn’t available in ebook format.

All publishers will sell us print copies, but not necessarily ebook copies. Their policies and approach vary considerably:

  • Random House titles are available; they recently announced a price increase.
  • HarperCollins titles are available to public libraries but each title is limited to 26 uses. The library must then renew its license for that title.
  • Macmillan does not make its popular titles available; some scholarly titles are available to public libraries.
  • Penguin terminated its agreement to provide to public libraries in February. Those titles already in a library’s catalog are still available.
  • Simon & Schuster titles are not available.
  • Hachette backlist is available, not the frontlist of new, popular titles.
  • Scholastic titles are not available.
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt titles are available.

Bottom line: the availability of a popular title in ebook format through a public library depends upon the publisher. Ebook lending through public libraries is still evolving and the specifics change frequently. Be assured, however, that we continue to follow the market closely and purchase popular titles available to us. Even if we don’t have the title in ebook format, we will have it in print.

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eBooks
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Good Films Coming This Week!

This is the week of the 9th annual Teen Filmmaker Festival; Sunday, February 26, 2:30 pm at Rave Motion Pictures in downtown Kalamazoo.

As in years past, we put out the call for teen-produced and directed films by Michigan teens from 13—18 years old. Films from the finalists will be shown at this special event, open to movie fans of all ages.

Prizes will be awarded for best film, best animation, best experimental film, best documentary, best short film, best technical merit, best music video, and judges’ choice; the people’s choice award will be chosen by the audience.

If past years are any indication, there will be a wide variety of creative films with interesting technical effects, some funny, some serious. I expect to once again be amazed by what these teens have produced.

Although the festival is free, tickets are needed. The Rave will be distributing tickets on a first-come, first served basis on Sunday, the day of the festival, beginning at 11 am when they open.

See you there.

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Teen Filmmaker Festival
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http://www.kpl.gov/teens/filmmakerfest/

eBook Availability

The availability of e-books through public libraries is ever changing.

Libraries, including KPL, offer downloadable e-books through a vendor–OverDrive. Publishers offer their titles to OverDrive, libraries purchase titles in e-book format through OverDrive, patrons download e-books to their device through their home library using the OverDrive technology.

Three of the major publishers have not allowed their titles to be purchased by public libraries through OverDrive: Macmillian, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette. Just this week, Penguin announced they too will no longer offer their titles in downloadable format for public libraries to purchase. (Read more)

With this move, Random House is the only big-six publisher allowing unrestricted access to its e-books through libraries. HarperCollins does work with libraries, but has implemented a limit of 26 uses or checkouts of the title before it must be “repurchased.”

If you don’t find a particular e-book title available for download though our catalog, quite likely it is from a publisher who will not sell to public libraries.

The American Library Association is continuing to talk with publishers about the future of e-book availability for lending through libraries. We, along with the entire library community, share your frustrations with this ever changing e-book situation, both the availability of titles and the process of downloading to various devices. Stay tuned.

Some recent articles...

  

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eBooks
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Did You Know?

…… the county Law Library is located on the lower level of Central Library?

……all KPL locations have paper and reproducible tax forms and information about free tax preparation clinics?

……eBooks and eaudiobooks are available through our website?

……our librarians will be glad to suggest books based on what you have read and enjoyed?

……KPL staff share their favorite books, music, and movies on our blogs?

……if you missed a concert you enjoy it on YouTube?

……there is a printable calendar of all the library activities for kids on our website?

……there are some amazing teen filmmakers in Kalamazoo?

……many photos of historic Kalamazoo are posted on our website?

……Luis Urrea, this year’s Reading Together author will be here on March 6?

……there are used books for sale at Central Library?

……you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter?

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Library Services
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2011 Favorites

The “best of” lists are out in full force. Along with these lists, nominations for awards for 2011 books, music, and movies are also being announced.

Many KPL staff are sharing their favorite books, movies, and music from the year to support our priority of “reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure.” Our lists, along with ones from previous years, are on our website.

I freely admit I am not current on music or movies, but I think I am current on books until I see these lists. I realize how many titles I haven’t even heard of that are staff favorites. I’ve also learned whose reading interests are similar to mine – I’ve likely to enjoy the book if it is on their list.

What was your favorite from the year?….a new book, an older one you had missed….doesn’t matter. Please share!

I hope the new year provides time and opportunity for reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure for you. Best wishes.

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Best of 2011
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Celebrate Summer Reading!

Summer has gone fast, too fast as usual. We’ve had a great summer of reading games. Registration for the games has been strong AND we’ve had record-breaking circulation on several Mondays, our busiest day of the week.

Programs have been fun – Bubbleman and Chemical Kim entertained kids; tweens and teens watched the Harry Potter movies, adults celebrated the world premiere of local author Bonnie Jo Campbell’s new book, music fans enjoyed Joe Reilly at the Oshtemo Township Park and Steppin’ In It at our 50th free concert.

It’s been a good summer of reading for all ages and now we are ready to celebrate! I hope you can join us at the end-of-summer concert on Sunday afternoon, August 28 at 4:00 in Bronson Park. The Verve Pipe will entertain with catchy songs and melodies from A Family Album, their critically-acclaimed collection of music for the entire family. One reviewer says it is full of “insanely fun, playful and memorable songs that will turn your smile upward.”

I hope to see you in the park for the concert!

Family Album illustrations

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The Verve Pipe, A Family Album
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Publishing Pace

It has long been the rule of thumb within the publishing industry that the hardcover edition of a book was released first, followed by a large print edition and audio version, then a paperback edition about a year or so later, depending upon the pace of sales for the hardcover. That’s changing.

The first change I noticed was the release of the large print and audio versions soon after the hardcover. Now the ebook version is in the mix too. The ebook is released with the hardcover and sometimes before the hardcover OR sometimes just an ebook and no hardcover.

There is now an urgency to release the paperback sooner, following the model of Hollywood which has shortened the time between the theatrical release of a film and the DVD release. Publishers now watch each title’s sales quite closely to determine the best time to release the paperback and continue the momentum of the title. That could be just a few months to more than a year.

The entire publishing cycle is faster. Hardcovers have less time to prove themselves; ebooks sales are strongest at initial publication and do not spike again with the paperback release.

We purchase popular titles in all of these formats, some simultaneously, some staggered as they are released. In addition to various formats, we also purchase for special collections such as Hot Picks and Book Club in a Bag.

Come visit soon – I hope we have the title you want in the format you prefer.

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Books
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Various Ways to Travel

Summer is often the time of year for trips near and far. We have many materials to help with trip planning but a case can be made for staying home too.

I recently read an article that made the case that Picasso was particularly prolific because “he never went anywhere.” The author wrote that Picasso only left France twice and got up every morning, including during the Nazi occupation of France, and worked. He didn’t hold with the idea that to understand life it was vital to travel. His inspiration came from museums in his area, reading books and magazines, and watching films. The author concluded that “the greatest artist of the 20th century was basically a shut-in.”

Everyone has a different travel philosophy. ...some want to travel widely, some hardly at all, some want to return to favorite travel destinations and not venture elsewhere.

Our summer reading games this year have a travel theme as participants read for at least 20 minutes each day. I hope you have signed up and are “traveling” though your summer reading. We have materials to help plan a trip, find inspiration for a new destination, or “travel” from your armchair by reading, viewing, and listening with items from our collections.

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Novel Destinations: KPL Summer Reading Games
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Did You Know...

….. if you miss a library program, or just want to enjoy it again, you can often see all or part of it on the library’s YouTube channel?

….. some magazines are available online AND that back issues of magazines can be checked out at our branches?

….. our staff has a wide range of reading interests and they share them on our book blog and in “staff picks” displays?

….. the world premiere of award winning, local author Bonnie Jo Campbell’s new book, Once Upon a River, will be at the Central Library on July 6?

….. all library-sponsored programs are listed on the calendar on our website?

….. you can renew library materials online?

….. you can download an ebook through our website?

….. about the local history photo gallery?

….. summer reading games for all ages are underway?

….. “Steppin’ In It” will perform on July 20 - our 50th free monthly concert?

Come visit soon…..Central Library, any branch, our website.

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Library events
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Browsing the KPL Website

If you frequently browse the KPL website, you know we add new sections often. There are several new ones I want to call to your attention to:

• We have revamped the Job and Career Support section with links to Michigan Works and Goodwill Industries as well as to some library databases and resources of particular interest to job seekers.

Summer Reading Games for all ages will begin June 15. We now have the information on our website with fun graphics for each game.

• There is some new information about eBooks on that section of our website. We are pleased that later this year, OverDrive will be available for the Kindle. We’ll share information as it becomes available.

Our Blogs aren’t new but they are updated frequently. The varied reading, viewing, and listening tastes of our staff mirror those of our patrons. I’ve discovered several recent favorite books from our staff blogs... books that wouldn’t have come to my attention otherwise.

Several staff have a particular interest in Local History and add to the growing list of essays about Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan places and people.

And it’s a big weekend for the Friends of KPL – the Super Saturday Sale on Saturday, June 4, 9 am – 3:30 pm in front of Central Library. Books are 10¢ each or a bag full for $2!

Browse our site. We hope you will find information of interest; we always welcome your feedback.

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KPL Website
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http://www.kpl.gov/

New Connection to the Online World!

“Connecting to the online world” is one of our five strategic priorities. As a major step in meeting that priority, we installed over 100 new PCs earlier this month at Central Library and all branches.

New features include, among others

  • A wide screen
  • Microphone and headphone jacks
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Suite
  • Browser choices of Internet Explorer and Firefox
  • Assistive Technology – Windows Eyes and ZoomText

At central, all public PCs have been relocated to the second floor rotunda. We often have a tech aide on duty to help. At branches, staff can assist patrons. Patrons with a valid KPL library card are eligible for up to two hours of computer time per day; guest passes are available for one hour of computer time per day for those without a KPL card who might be visiting our area.

Come visit to use this new equipment; watch for changes in the former Tech Center at central.

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Public Computers
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/about/computers.aspx

Fun Library Facts!

A recently released national study, How Libraries Stack Up: 2010, details how public libraries are delivering millions of dollars in resources and support to meet community needs. A few interesting conclusions:

  • Nearly 12,000 public libraries provide free wireless internet access, more than Starbucks, Barnes & Nobel or Borders. KPL provides free wifi at all locations.
  • 10,800 public libraries offer meeting rooms; every day 225,000 people use them. We have meeting rooms available for public use.
  • There were 1.4 billion library visits last year as compared to 1.3 billion movie attendance and 218 million U.S sporting event attendance. KPL counted 866,268 visitors last year.
  • Every day, Americans borrow 2.1 million DVDs from libraries. Netflix has us beat there, but many libraries, including KPL do not charge for DVD use. What a bargain!
  • U.S public libraries circulate as many materials each day as FedEx ships package worldwide.
  • And finally, 2/3’s of Americans have a library card; for many young people, it is the first card in their wallet.

Statistics like these are fun, but they don’t tell the whole story, of course. Come visit soon – use our wifi, attend a program or event in our meeting rooms, check out a DVD or a book or just sit and relax with a popular magazine in our reading areas.

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How Libraries Stack Up: 2010
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http://www.oclc.org/reports/stackup/default.htm

A New eReader, Perhaps?

A study released in the fall found that one in ten Americans use an ereader of some type and one in ten would likely get one in the next six months. If that study is accurate, that means many of us received or bought ourselves an ereader recently, perhaps over the holidays.

Reading used to be simple. Check out a book from the library, buy a new or used one at your favorite bookstore, borrow one from a friend, and just read it! Although those are still options, there are now many more with a variety of ereaders and devices with multiple uses.

We have just revised the ebooks section of our website. Thousands of ebook titles are available through the digital download center. We also have links to resources about various reading devices, and if you don’t have an ereader, you can borrow one at the Central Library.

Some studies have found that those who use ereaders read more. Personally, I’m not there yet – I still prefer the traditional book, but we offer both.

Come visit soon, either through our website or at any branch or the Central Library.

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eBooks and Sony Readers®
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/ebooks/

You Are The Reviewer

Almost every magazine or newspaper I pick up seems to have an article about e-readers, often combined with the author’s viewpoint that books are going away, print will be obsolete.

Some studies show that reading overall is on the rise, be it on e-readers or traditional books. Some believe that the ease of sharing reviews about books is contributing to the increase.

Technology is allowing the casual reader to share the joy of reading, the discovery of a new author or an overlooked author. Previously major newspapers had separate book review sections; few of those still exist. Instead readers, rather than professional book reviewers, post their reviews on Amazon, bookstore websites, Twitter, Facebook, LibraryThing and Goodreads websites, and within library catalogs. Some sites provide for a rating system, usually a number of stars.

Then the dialogue begins! Other readers chime in, some, of course in agreement, others in strong disagreement. Some readers wonder if such comments are really reviews, but others say “who cares”. I’m in the group of “who cares”. I like to know the opinion of other readers; it often helps me decide to read or not read a particular book.

Book reviews may be added online to our catalog. Click on the “add a review” icon and share your opinion with others. As more readers contribute through public libraries with the same library catalog system, the number of titles with patron comments will grow.

Come visit, get a book, share your opinion.

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Write a Review
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/book-review/

There’s an e-Book in Your Future!

Several times recently, I’ve said or written my prediction that traditional printed books will continue to be our focus for the remainder of my library career. If that prediction is going to be true, it’s a good thing I’m nearer the end of my career than the beginning!

It seems almost every publication I read lately, has an article about e-books. Amazon has announced sales of digital books increased 207% in the first five months of the year and it sells more books for its Kindle e-reader than it does traditional hardcover volumes. Last month they sold nearly twice as many Kindle books as hardcover ones.

Barnes & Noble reports physical books, as opposed to digital ones, will be the majority of its sales for the next five years but their future is bright with the Nook, their e-reader. Publishers still depend on bookstores to display their books and promote authors and they are a destination to test new products. They see a market for both.

Other publications report that authors are now bypassing publishers and posting older works or unpublished works directly on Amazon in exchange for 70% of the sales price. Many authors are reportedly earning more from such e-book sales than from hardcover sales, consistent with Amazon’s overall sales direction.

Of course this all has implications for libraries. Some are proposing inviting authors to share their works directly with libraries in digital format with libraries paying for each transaction. Some suggest a central depository for libraries to draw on and pay per download. All agree such an approach would require a coordinated effort – no individual library could accomplish this to any significant degree on its own.

I still stand by my prediction that traditional printed books will dominate during the remainder of my library career but I certainly see the shift to digital books and their advantages. That shift to a major focus on digital with printed books as almost an aside, could well happen during the career of our younger librarians.

Although we do have e-readers and e-books to check out, traditional printed books are still our mainstay and will be for some time.

Come visit soon; check out a traditional printed book OR an e-book!

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eBooks
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/audiobooks-ebooks/

Are You Transliterate?

My handy desk dictionary defines “transliterate” as “to represent letter or words in the corresponding characters of another alphabet.”

I’m beginning to see this word more and more in the library literature, usually as “transliteracy” meaning “the ability to read, write, or otherwise communicate across different technological platforms.”

Libraries are increasing acknowledging that our role includes supporting transliteracy as well as the traditional literacy. We provide books for various reading levels in the traditional print format but we also provide them on e-readers and as a digital download to your computer or device. We offer computer classes for the public, we have over 100 computers for public use, and we have informational databases available in the library and remotely.

Through our staff Tech Team we examine new technologies as they gain popularity and determine if there are library applications that are logical. Technology rapidly changes and it is often hard to keep up, but it is important for us to keep pace with technological needs of our patrons. Right now we are looking at music downloads, apps for iPhones/iPads, and user friendly advancements to our online catalog.

Come visit soon. Try these services to increase your transliteracy or just find a good book for the beach!

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A ‘Transliterate’ design at Bedminster Library, Bristol. UK. Collaborative artwork by Annie Lovejoy and Mac Dunlop, © 2005
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http://thepoetrypoint.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/bedminsterlibrary15002web.jpg

An eReader Experience

Earlier this spring, I read my first complete book, actually two, on one of our Sony eReaders. I’d only read excerpts previously to try it out.

My husband and I took a driving vacation. Usually I’d take five or six books along; this time I took 30+, all on the eReader and it wasn’t full.

I admit it took me a little while to get used to it – the screen, the page turning, the side light when needed, BUT it sure was convenient.

I read Little Bee, such a compelling novel that I would have kept reading no matter what the format, and a short story collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out.

I’m not a total convert to eReaders; I still like the traditional printed book but it’s a format that has its place and it sure was easy to take an eReader rather than a stack of books on vacation.

We have several to loan; come visit and give on a try.

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Audiobooks & eBooks
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/audiobooks-ebooks/

Librarian Keith Richards??

I recently read that Keith Richards has confessed to a secret longing to be a librarian. Yes, THAT Keith Richards, he of the Rolling Stones, the greatest rock and roll band of all times in the opinion of many! Isn’t that an interesting visual??

He has said he has been “quietly nurturing his inner bookworm” and considered some type of training (that would be librarianship!) to manage the 1000’s of books at his various homes. He says he started to arrange his books in categories but gave up, instead opting to keep his favorites close at hand. He also loans books to friends with little hope of getting them back and leaves books by the bedside for guests in his homes.

Richards’ autobiography, Life, will be released in the fall. According to advance publicity, he will reveal how he found comfort in books before he discovered music.

I expect we’ll be ordering his book for our collection; how could we not when he writes that the public library is one of two institutions that affect one most powerfully! By the way, the other is the church, he says.

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Keith Richards’ Library
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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_pQMsWo4GOt8/S79Al87El4I/AAAAAAAAAoI/dsI0TDgX5s0/s1600/keith+richards+library.jpg

E-Readers @ KPL

The e-reader choices are expanding – the Kindle, the Sony E-Reader, the recently announced Nook, and the Apple Tablet expected later this month. With each new device, there is more news coverage in the popular press.

Amazon announced that on Christmas Day, for the first time ever, it sold more e-books than regular paper books. It sounds as if lots of folks received Kindles for Christmas.

If you, like me, did not receive an e-reader but would like to try one, visit Central Library, AV department. We have Sony E-Readers to loan. We chose that model as a better fit for library use than the others.

I still don’t think paper books will go away, at least not in my library career, but e-readers certainly have a place and it good to keep up with the latest “gadget.”

Come visit soon for an e-reader or a book….we have both!

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Audiobooks & eBooks
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http://www.kpl.gov/audiobooks-ebooks/