From the Director
Library news and happenings.
What a summer for readers!
We celebrated a strong summer of reading with a concert in Bronson Park on Saturday featuring Milkshake, a high energy, rock and roll band for kids. We tossed around a big globe, shared baseballs, and spread some sunshine. I hope you were there; no matter what your age, it was fun.
Kids have attended many fun events over the summer but most importantly, they’ve been reading. The reading game was based on reading 20 minutes per day with prizes at 20, 40, and 60 days. So many kids read so many days that we ran out of prizes. What a good problem to have—we were happy to order more.
We had a 25% increase in registrations and a special emphasis on KPS first graders, all of whom visited the library three times during the school year and were preregistered for summer reading. It is especially important to maintain newly acquired reading skills over the summer for that age.
Thanks once again to our very good Friends for sponsoring our summer reading games!
I hope you had a good summer of reading and that back-to-school goes smoothly for all the kids in your home or life.
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.
Kalamazoo Public Library
I have often written here about our very good friends, The Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library. I am writing about them again to share their goal of increasing their membership.
The Friends goal is 150 or more (!) new members. That’s a very reasonable goal for a community our size with a strong history of support for the library.
Once again this year, the Friends are funding our summer reading games for all ages: the game cards, programs, prizes, the end of summer concert – about $25,000 worth – and that’s only about half of their annual gift to the library.
Selling gently used books, gently priced in their bookstore is their major source of income. Memberships provide a secondary source of revenue.
Membership brochures are available throughout the library and in the bookstore, of course. You can also join through our website.
Please consider joining; membership levels range from $5 - $100 and are tax deductible.
Join the Friends of KPL
I like lists, especially lists of books. The Library of Congress recently selected a list of 88 books they judge to have shaped America. All the titles are by American authors; Benjamin Franklin is the only author with multiple titles on the list…..he has three.
The list includes a wide variety of titles and has generated some interesting online comments: thin on books from the 60s; what, no John Updike or Maya Angelou; few writers of color.
The books are on display at the Library of Congress through September. They also have an online survey on their website.
What do you think of the list? What’s missing or shouldn’t be included?
Books that Shaped America
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.
It has been widely reported in the media, that science fiction writer Ray Bradbury passed away earlier this month. Most of the articles included that he was an ardent library fan, that he had done much of his writing in libraries, and that he was very outspoken about the proposed closing of the Long Beach (CA) main library to help balance the city’s budget.
I’m quite sure many libraries feel a connection to him; KPL does.
His often banned book, Fahrenheit 451, was our first Reading Together title. When we launched our version of the “community reads” model in 2003, we were looking for more than a good book. We were looking for a title that would engage the community in a meaningful dialogue. With that goal, we chose his book at the height of the national discussion over the US Patriot Act. It was a good choice, good timing.
Mr. Bradbury did not travel much by then and he did not come to KPL. He did, however, “appear” by phone and we had a good two-way discussion with him. That was before the days of Skype and this phone conversation was a well-attended program that year. His book and this phone conversation was the start of a successful, still going strong, Reading Together program for KPL. Since then, most of the authors have come to Kalamazoo.
Farewell, Mr. Bradbury. Thank you for your support of libraries, your many books that have become favorites of readers, your visit by phone to KPL.
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.
School will be over for area students on Wednesday, June 13. It is no coincidence that we kick off summer reading games the same day.
Research shows that students, especially those from low-income families, lose more than two months of reading achievement over the summer and that the loss is cumulative. More than half of the achievement gap between lower and higher-income youth is due to unequal access to summer learning opportunities.
KPL, like most all public libraries, is hard at work creating summer programs to keep children reading and learning. All first graders in KPS have been preregistered for our summer reading game. KPL staff handled out 100’s of brochures outlining the games during the DoDah Parade; we’ve had information on our website, have distributed informational materials through KPS, and are promoting it as families have visited one of our library locations.
Our goal is to keep children reading over the summer and especially to help level the playing field for children without opportunities for summer learning.
Please help us by bringing or encouraging all the school-age children in your life to sign-up, to read 20 minutes per day, to attend programs, and even earn some cool prizes! Ask them what they are reading and listen as they tell you – share their summer reading enthusiasm.
We are aiming for record-breaking summer reading games participation, but that’s not really what it is about…..it is about maintaining reading skills over the summer and having fun!
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.
Summer @ KPL
This final week of May and first weekend in June is a busy time for downtown Kalamazoo, as well as for the library.
On Wednesday, we will celebrate our 15th annual “Party in the Park.” You may have seen photos from previous years on our website. What a fun event for preschoolers and a feel good event for the adult participants—so rewarding to see the excitement in these young children as they hear a good story, sometimes even being read by a famous storybook character!
Friday night is Art Hop all over the downtown area including Central Library and the Barnabee Gallery at Powell Branch Library. Central Library will be displaying art work by children from Nebbi, Uganda, created with art supplies donated by Kalamazoo area residents; the Barnabee Gallery displays works created by WMU journalism students.
Saturday is the Friends of KPL sidewalk book sale; books for 10¢ each or $2 for a bag full – what a bargain!
KPL staff, friends, families and even a few pets, will march in the DoDah Parade. Look for us in our black t-shirts as we encourage participation in our summer reading games and launch a new awareness campaign.
And Saturday afternoon is once again “First Saturday @ KPL.” This month our partners are KPS, NAACP, and Northside Ministerial Alliance. Sid Ellis is the guest storyteller. Sure to be a fun afternoon!
Stop by when you are downtown this week – it will be a busy, fun one as summer kicks off.
Party in the Park