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From the Director

Digital Services

2013 seemed to be the year of digital services. We added several new ones, including eBooks for Kids just last week.

All of our digital services are described on our website. They include

eAudiobooks – download online and listen on various devices

eBooks – available through OverDrive and TumbleBooks; some titles are always available, others can be put on hold

• eBooks for Kids – our newest digital service

• Freegal Music – free and legal access to millions of songs

• Hoopla Digital – borrow digital videos, music and audiobooks

• Rocket Languages – learn a new language at your own pace

• Zinio – subscribe to magazines for your devices

• Databases – we have lots!

These services are free to KPL resident borrowers. Sign-up and download directions are on the website or ask staff for help.

Of course, we still have books, magazines, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs in the more traditional formats…..whatever your preference!

Happy New Year – may it be one of good reading, viewing, and listening for you.

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Digital Services
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Year-End Donations 2013

It is the time of year when we all receive many requests for donations from a wide variety of local, regional, and national organizations.

The library does not conduct an annual fundraising campaign nor send out a solicitation request. Our only fundraiser is our annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee to raise funds to buy books for distribution through our Ready to Read program.

Of course donations to the library are always welcome and greatly appreciated.

A donation can be designated for a specific collection, such as large print or children’s; a location, such as your neighborhood branch; or a service such as Local History, Teens, or Ready to Read. Undesignated gifts are directed where they are needed most.

And don’t forget our good Friends; your donations of gently used books and audio visual material are always appreciated.

We appreciate if you think of the library when you are considering your year-end giving.

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Support the Library
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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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James McBride Wins National Book Award for Fiction

Earlier this fall, I read and blogged about James McBride’s new novel, Good Lord Bird. Dare I say I knew it was a good book and others, like important literacy judges, agree. Earlier this week, McBride was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction for this work.

Of course one of his previous books, The Color of Water, was our 2005 Reading Together title. I still get an occasional comment from library patrons who attended his talk or his concert and remember how much we appreciated and enjoyed his visit to Kalamazoo.

He was one of the most approachable, engaging authors I’ve met. I’ll always consider him a friend of KPL’s.

Congratulations, James.

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Good Lord Bird
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http://kzpl.ent.sirsi.net/client/KPL/search/results?qu=Good+Lord+Bird&te=&lm=ALLLIBS&rt=TITLE%7C%7C%7CTitle%7C%7C%7Cfalse

What Fun We Had!

...at the 13th Annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee held earlier this month.

The bee is our fundraiser to buy books to give children through Ready to Read, our early childhood literacy program that helps prepare children to be ready to learn to read when they enter school.

Corporate sponsors pulled together a company team or sponsored a team from an area nonprofit organization. Fourteen teams, each with two spellers and six cheerleaders, learned a cheer or dance routine, designed wild and crazy costumes and practiced their spelling. Once all the bills are in and paid and all pledges have been received, we expect to have raised $20,000 - $22,000! That will buy a lot of books for area children.

Thanks to our corporate sponsors, donors, judges, cheerleaders, spellers, and the library staff who pull all this together for such a good cause. And, of course, congratulations to all the winners.

It was fun with a serious purpose and we are looking forward to the 14th next fall. Watch a replay of the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee on PMN television (channel 95) and enjoy these photos to appreciate what a fun time we had.

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Congratulations to KPL’s “award-winning” cheerleaders!

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Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee
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RT Time

……Reading Together, that is.

If you visit one of our locations or our website, you probably know we have chosen two books with a food theme for this year’s Reading Together: The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan and Farm City by Novella Carpenter. We have multiple copies of both titles and a “Book Club in a Bag” set.

In addition to two titles being new this year, we also are adding Reading Together To Go! and have placed copies of both titles around town where folks gather and often wait. If you find a copy, read it, pass it on, and log in on our website.

The Reading Together website has also been launched earlier than usual. We’ll be adding to it frequently as events are planned and the calendar is filled in. Our blog will also link to relevant related topics as well as include updates on this year’s events.

Check the website often and start reading!

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Reading Together
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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

Congratulations...

….to Alice Munro for winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.

As I have often written on our book blog, I don’t read many short story collections, with one exception: Alice Munro.

She has been called the “master of the contemporary short story” for her sparse fiction that often begins in an unexpected place then moves back or forward in time. She says her recent collection Dear Life is her last and she is finished writing.

The report of an author’s reaction to winning a major prize is always interesting to me. Apparently the Swedish Academy was unable to locate her before the public announcement. They left a phone message for her. It turns out she was visiting her daughter in British Columbia and was awakened at 4 AM with the news. Reports are she sounded groggy and emotional!

In a recent interview, she said she fell into writing short stories by accident. She thought stories were practice until she had time to write a novel. Then she found they were all she could do.

Ms. Munro is the first Canadian woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Canadian prime minister issued a statement of congratulations as have many writers. Her long-time readers are pleased and hope indeed there will be more stories to follow.

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Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature
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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/11/books/alice-munro-wins-nobel-prize-in-literature.html?_r=0

A Library Connection

In my brief introductory comments at last week’s banned books program offered in partnership with the ACLU, I mentioned that our materials selection policy is based on the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements.

After the program, one of the attendees approached me to share that her grandfather had written the Library Bill of Rights. What??!! Wow! That makes him the James Madison of the library world.

The Library Bill of Rights was written by her grandfather, Forrest Spaulding who served as director of the Des Moines, Iowa, Public Library from 1917 – 1952. He drafted the Library Bill of Rights in 1938 and it was adopted by the American Library Association the following year. It has been revised a few times since but retains its original flavor and intent.

We had a very interesting conversation. She knew her grandfather and was well versed in his library accomplishments. She also shared her experiences from an event in Des Moines a few years ago to recognize him that she and other family members attended.

So many of us have a connection to libraries. I enjoy hearing them…thanks for sharing this connection.

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Library Bill of Rights
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http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

“Reading Is Not Optional”

A recent study from the University of London found that children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better in school than their peers. Children who read for pleasure made more progress in math, vocabulary, and spelling than those who rarely read.

Are these results surprising? Not to educators and librarians. It is the reason for our close partnership with Kalamazoo Public Schools.

For the third year, all KPS first graders will visit a KPL location twice in the fall and then again in the spring. Northglade first graders visited the Powell Branch in the Douglass Community Center to launch this year’s visits. Each student received a KPL card, checked out a book, and heard a story. In a few weeks they will visit again to learn how to return a book and select another one. In the spring, we will celebrate a year of first grade reading and promote summer reading games.

For the first time, there are two new components to our partnership with KPS. All KPS students will be eligible for a one year KPL library card that will permit them to check out three books at a time. With full information from their parent or guardian, it can be converted to a full, unlimited access KPL card.

Second is our evolving very close relationship with Northglade. We are undertaking a two year project to determine if a close relationship between a school and a public library improves student achievement. We think it will! We expect every student and staff in the school will have and use their KPL card, that there will be visits back and forth with Powell Branch staff frequently at Northglade and students of various grades visiting the branch, and a library presence at all Northglade events.

As Walter Dean Myers, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and recent visitor to KPL says, “reading is not optional” if you are going to be successful in school and life. We are working on that with our partners at KPS.

We’ll report periodically on our progress.

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“Reading Is Not Optional”
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Banned Books Week 2013

It is Banned Books Week, the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. We join with libraries, bookstores, and publishers across the country in drawing attention to censorship.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a surge in challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since the launch. In 2012, the most challenged title was Captain Underpants series for children; second was The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Many books long considered American classics have also been challenged and sometimes banned over the years. You might be surprised by some of the familiar titles.

We will extend our celebration into next week and on Tuesday, October 1, host our traditional readings with the ACLU. As in past years, local celebrity readers will read passages from titles that have been challenged.

Join us for that program and exercise your right to read whatever you choose.

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Banned Books Week
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Show ‘Em Your Card

It’s September, back-to-school, library card sign-up month.

Once again, we join libraries across the country in reminding parents and caregivers that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

Your KPL card provides access to print books, ebooks, online homework help, and research tools and resources.
We are pleased local businesses and organizations are partnering with us to offer an incentive just for showing your KPL card during September. If you don’t already have a card, here is a further incentive.

Click here for the entire list and information on signing up for a KPL card.

See you at the library or at one of our partners.

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Library Card Signup Month
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Book Bargains

As I have often written, we have very good friends, The Friends of KPL.

Their annual Fall-Bag-of-Books Sale is Saturday, September 14, from 9 am – 3:30 pm in the auditorium on the third floor at Central Library.

As in past years, all books are just 10¢ each OR a grocery size bag full for $2.00. Buy a bag there or bring your own. The bookstore on the lower level will also be open.

And while you are at the sale, pick up a membership brochure and consider joining. They would welcome having you as a member as a further way to show your support for the library.

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Friends Fall Bag-of-Books Sale
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Back to School

We’ve had a good summer beginning with our summer reading kick-off during June Jubilee through strong participation in our summer reading games, good attendance at programs, and several days of recordbreaking circulation. Now it is back-to-school time.

We’ve gathered many online databases for early elementary through college on our website. They range from eLibrary Elementary to Gale Virtual Reference Library which provides access to reference materials on business, history, science, environment and more. Some of these resources require a KPL library card to access.

Also in the back-to-school mode, we will offer three sessions of new program Think College. Representatives from KRESA, along with our staff, will share information on preparing for college and show several test preparation resources.

Our buildings are available for studying, some locations have small study rooms for group work or tutoring. And, of course, we have staff to assist and lots of printed materials to checkout or use at the library.

I hope back-to-school went smoothly at your home.

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Think College
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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

Little Free Library

As you have been out and about in Kalamazoo, you may have noticed an increasingly number of “little free libraries,” essentially an oversized mailbox or birdhouse with books to share.

The idea started in 2009 with a simple concept—take a book, return a book.

It is now estimated there are between 6,000 and 7,000 little free libraries across 36 countries and at least 1,650,000 books have been donated and borrowed.

Of course these won’t replace libraries, but they are a nice companion. More information is on their website www.littlefreelibrary.org. Local information is available at kalamazoolittlefreelibraries.com or through a link on our website.

Feel free to take a book, leave a book if you pass one on your walk or drive.

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Little Free Libraries
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http://kalamazoolittlefreelibraries.com/

Where Do You Buy Books?

I don’t buy a lot of books, afterall I am in a library every day. When I do buy any, they are usually gently used ones from the Friends Bookstore on the lower level of the Central Library.

The books I buy are generally of two types: literary fiction and big, thick biographies. Books in both categories are usually $2 each.

The literary fiction books I usually give as gifts, often as a small hostess gift or just a little surprise gift for a friend. I tend to select books I have already read so I add a note of why I liked the book and am giving them a copy, along with encouragement to read and pass it on to someone else.

The big, thick biographies I read gradually, sometimes over the course of six or eight weeks. These are books I can lay down, they aren’t page turners, so I read them off and on and, I admit, it is nice not to have the pressure of a due date. Many of them I then give back to the Friends to sell yet again.

I encourage you to shop the Friends Bookstore to build your home library and to support the library. Generous donations from the bookstore revenue support many of our programs, including summer reading games.

AND…news flash / drum roll…..credit and debit cards may now be used in the Friends Bookstore. Easier than ever to shop there. 

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Friends Bookstore
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Get to Know Your Family

Every month and week has multiple designations. July has been “Family Reunion Month.”

Family reunions are often the outgrowth or the motivation for searching your family history or genealogy. Family history begins with one’s self and works back from generation to generation. Genealogy is more complicated and begins with the immigrant ancestor and works forward through the generations.

Our Local History Room has resources, databases, and workshops to help you start a family history or make progress on your genealogy. We are an affiliate of FamilySearch which provides access to billons of birth, marriage, death, census, land, and court records from over 130 countries. There are also many other digital and print resources as well as occasional workshops.

Visit the Local History section of our website as a good starting point as well as just to browse interesting essays about Kalamazoo and southwest Michigan. There’s lots more there than genealogy information.

And enjoy your family reunion if there is one in your summer plans.

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Genealogy
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Help With Legal Matters

As most library users know, the Kalamazoo County Law Library is located on the lower level of Central Library next to the Friends Bookstore. We aren’t lawyers, but we have knowledgeable staff there to help. There is now another legal resource for Michigan residents: www.MichiganLegalHelp.com

The Michigan Legal Help website helps people handle simple civil legal problems without a lawyer. It contains articles about specific areas of the law and toolkits to help you represent yourself in court. Some forms are available and can be completed automatically online once you answer a few simple questions about the issue.

The website is not to be a substitute for a lawyer and does not cover all areas of the law. The self-help areas include family, protection from abuse, housing, consumer, expungement, and public benefits issues.

It is funded by the Michigan State Bar Foundation, Legal Services of South Central Michigan, and the Legal Services Corporation.

It might be a good first step as you deal with a legal matter in one of these areas.

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Michigan Legal Help
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http://www.MichiganLegalHelp.com

ALA Conference Take-Aways

I’ve just returned from Chicago where I attended the annual conference of the American Library Association. It’s a big conference – about 15,000 attendees including staff, vendors, trustees, Friends, library supporters. There are always more programs, more authors talks, more vendors demos than anyone can possibly attend and some of the best insights and new ideas come from casual conversation with other attendees.

As I begin to process all I heard and saw, here are a few observations:

  • The software market for libraries is ever-growing. At every conference there are vendors with new or upgraded readers advisory, statistics, meeting room management, staff training software.
  • Librarians still love authors and books. The author sessions were full and the publisher booths on the exhibits floor were crowded.
  • We like author autographs, even in uncorrected proofs of books not yet published.
  • We like to recognize good books with prizes. A new award, “The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction” were awarded to Richard Ford’s novel Canada and the nonfiction to Timothy Egan’s book Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis.
  • There is a major emphasis on the role of libraries in summer activities for kids with “interest driven learning.”

Attending a conference is re-energizing. Those of us who attended from KPL will share our experiences across the library. We returned with good ideas but also a renewed perspective that we are “on the right track” and an appreciation for our community support.

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ALA 2013 Conference Program
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http://ala13.ala.org/

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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/ebooks/

What You Told Us

Earlier this year, a survey about library use was sent to a random sample of 2,000 residents within our service area. A very similar survey was also posted on our website. Responses to both formats were similar.

Here’s some of what you told us:

  • Most respondents use the library once or twice a month
  • Most use us to check out books, movies, or music – computer use is the next most frequently used service
  • If we had to reduce hours, most favor closing the teen area during the school day
  • Closing a branch is the least desirable reduction if our revenues are reduced substantially
  • Providing children with good books, movies, and music is considered our most important goal
  • If we are able to add additional goals, expanding homework help would be the most desired
  • About 1/3 of respondents wish we had more ebooks available for loan; we wish more popular titles were available to libraries
  • Another 1/3 of respondents told us they are not interested in checking out ebooks
  • Most are neutral or undecided about having their photos on their library card – we’ve dropped that idea
  • More than 2/3 would definitely vote to renew our millage to maintain the current services

Thank you for responding to our survey – we value your input and opinions.

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Survey Results
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Summer Reading

What a downtown weekend it was! All of the library’s events were well attended: Art Hop, Friends of KPL sidewalk booksale, First Saturday @ KPL, and the kick-off of summer reading with music and games in our parking lot on a beautiful summer day. Thanks for stopping by.

We celebrate summer reading with fun and games but it is fun with a serious purpose….keep kids reading over the summer to counter the “summer slide.” Especially in the early elementary years, there is a gradually shift from learning to read to reading to learn and for enjoyment. Reading over the summer maintains the skills learned during the school year and contributes to a faster start in the fall.

Our community has many summer literacy activities planned. Check out opportunities wherever kids are going this summer: churches, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, KPS, Nature Center, Communities in Schools among many others. Most every organization with a summer program has added a literacy component.

We are working together to build a college-going culture. Encourage kids to read this summer, share what you are reading, bring them to the library.

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June Jubilee at Central Library
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https://www.facebook.com/KalamazooPublicLibrary/photos_stream

Summer’s Here!

KPL will be joining with other downtown organizations to celebrate the “official kick-off to summer in Kalamazoo” with June Jubilee, June 6-9.

Link to our website to see full information on the library events or pick up a brochure downtown for a listing of all the events.

Friday night we’ll be celebrating a LEGO view of Kalamazoo at Art Hop. See classic Kalamazoo buildings in LEGOs!

Saturday is the Friends of KPL Sidewalk Sale on the portico….$2.00 for a bag of books…what a bargain. Visit their bookstore on the lower level too.

AND the June Jubilee Concert with Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers as the kick-off to summer reading in our parking lot from 1 pm – 4 pm. Hear good music, enjoy activities for kids, and, of course, sign-up for summer reading games….all ages.

AND finally, First Saturday@KPL from 2 pm – 4 pm in the children’s room.

See you there or elsewhere around downtown this weekend.

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Summer June Jubilee
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/events/june-jubilee.aspx

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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/ebooks/

Children’s Book Week

Last week, May 13-19, was Children’s Book Week. This designation was established in 1919 and is the longest-running literacy initiative in the country.

The original goal of the week was to promote higher standards in children’s books. It is now focused on a celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading, with the hope of instilling a lifelong love of reading in children.

The original declaration for the week was “A great nation is a reading nation.” Still true, no matter the format or the device on which children, tweens, and teens are reading.

Encourage the children in your life to read….bring them to the library, read to them, read with them.

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Children’s Book Week
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http://www.bookweekonline.com/

All Things Local History

Kalamazoo beer has been in the news lately…. Bell’s, several new breweries and brewpubs opening, and most recently, the campaign to vote for Kalamazoo to be designated “Beer City USA.” We are worthy of that designation; we have a beer history. Read about “The Brew from Kalamazoo” on our website and enjoy the photos as well.

And, did you know we also have a distillery history? Read about “Luke’s Best” as one of the first products to bring national attention to Kalamazoo.

On a totally different topic, May 13 is the anniversary of the 1980 tornado. Those of us who were here 33 years ago, remember it well. I was at a meeting of the Friends of KPL when the sirens went off and we all moved to the basement storage area. What a sight when we emerged. We have a video as well as a map, description, and links to other information on our website.

And while you are reading about beer, whiskey, and a tornado, scroll through the other topics on the local history section of our website. We live in a city with a rich, fascinating history.

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All About Kalamazoo History
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http://www.kpl.gov/local-history/all-about-kalamazoo/

Like our Friends

I have often written here about the Friends of KPL... how they fund all our summer reading games and programs, help us bring the Reading Together author to town, provide door prizes for First Saturday @ KPL, help us with the cost of Link, provide funding so we can participate in the quarterly Art Hops, and I could go on and on.

I have also written here about their bookstore on the lower level of the Central Library and their special booksales (next one is Saturday, June 8) and have encouraged library supporters to become members of the Friends.

Now I am writing to ask you to “like” our Friends on Facebook and repost to your Facebook friends. One of their recent posts was listing several particularly interesting titles for sale in the bookstore. It was a good teaser for the wide array of books donated to them and available in the bookstore.

We like our Friends and hope you will too.

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Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library on Facebook
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http://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Kalamazoo-Public-Library/311572622303081

What is Zinio?

As April winds down, I just happened to have seen that April is Magazine Month. What good timing as we have just recently launched Zinio, a downloadable magazine service.

We offer 72 different titles, all downloadable for free on to your device. Zinio, as well as all of our downloadable services, are grouped together on our website. (Look for Download in the blue navigation bar on every page.) Many patrons have quickly found this new service and in the first five days, there were 322 circulations of magazines through Zinio.

Step-by-step instructions for signing up for this service are on the website, but if you need help, ask at any of our service desks.

I’d welcome your comments about this new service.

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Zinio Digital Magazines
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/newspapers-magazines/zinio.aspx

World Book Night

Booklovers, including many librarians of course, are celebrating World Book Night on Tuesday, April 23. Held in the US, UK, and Ireland, the aim is to promote the value of reading, books, libraries, and bookstores by distributing free books all across the country. About 25,000 volunteer booklovers will be personally handing out specially printed copies of books to light or non-readers and to those without the means or access to books. The titles chosen for distribution are contemporary or classic titles that appeal to a wide range of new readers. They are diverse in subject matter, age level, gender, as well as ethnic and geographical considerations.

The day is chosen to celebrate the International Day of the Book as well as Shakespeare’s birthday.

There are about 2,000 World Book Night host locations, including KPL and several area bookstores. About 25 volunteers signed up through KPL, selected their title, and picked up about 20 copies of the book last week. They will distribute the books around town on Tuesday evening….watch for them if you are out and about.

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World Book Night
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http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/

Celebrate With Us

I have often written here about weekly and monthly designations / celebrations. Well, now it is our turn. This is National Library Week.

We join with libraries, schools, bookstores, and publishers in celebrating this week to highlight the value of libraries. This year’s theme is “Communities Matter @ Your Library” with Caroline Kennedy, a strong advocate for reading, literacy, and libraries, as the honorary chair of this year’s celebration.

We know you value library services: circulation of all materials in up 9% over this time last year, computer use at all locations is strong, and visits to our website have increased about 14%.

You’ve told us through a recent survey, from your comments to staff at service desks, and in casual conversations around town, that you recognize and appreciate the library’s role in the community.

We appreciate your support and welcome your comments.

Celebrate National Library Week with us and come visit soon.

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National Library Week
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http://www.atyourlibrary.org

Would Fiction have Saved Wall Street?

I’m always on the lookout for articles or essays about reading, books, libraries; I often use them as the basis for this blog. I just came across one in which the author makes the case that reading novels sharpens business skills.

His point is that reading fiction leads to understanding people better; fiction presents a range of circumstances, interactions, and characters that one is likely to meet in the real world and enhances the ability to empathize with others. He quotes from a study that concluded fiction readers scored better at interpreting facial expressions and social cues than those who read mostly nonfiction.

Hmmm…..or is it that those who are already more socially adept read more fiction? In any case, I agree with the conclusion that “it would be an oversimplification to say that having more fiction readers on Wall Street would have prevented the financial crisis.”

I’m just going to continue to read whatever catches my attention, fiction and nonfiction, and not try to analyze my choices.

Just read…..come visit soon.

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New Fiction
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/books/new-fiction.aspx

Basketball and War

Most librarians like to read, compile, and share book lists. We seek them out, we check off the ones we’ve read, and add still more titles to our ever growing list of books we want to read.

Of course there are many annual lists and best of lists in all different categories, but there are also subject lists that are timely. I want to share two that are vastly different but both timely.

The young adult division of the American Library Association has compiled a list of basketball books to support March Madness. There are some good suggestions to help extend the college basketball season.

To mark the ten year anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, The Washington Post has compiled its list: “10 Years of the Iraq War: 10 Great Books.” They write that “like all wars, this one has produced a library of great books.”

Do you have any to add to either list?

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The Final Four
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Celebration of Literacy

March is “Literacy Month.” The focus is to celebrate the love of reading among children and to promote literacy as a fundamental skill for success in school and in life.

Libraries, schools, and bookstores are celebrating with a variety of activities and events to encourage reading.
We have many resources on our website: new books, staff picks, tips for parents and caregivers in using books with their children. We offer many programs: Ready to Read, First Saturday @ KPL, storytimes, and even a book club for children and their adults called Bookworms. There is a printable calendar of all our youth programs for your refrigerator door and, of course, we have lots of books to check out.

We celebrate literacy year-round but we are glad to call extra attention to it in March.

I hope you are sharing your enjoyment of reading with the children around you. Bring them to the library, read together.

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Literacy Month
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/books/

Why do you read?

I recently read an article by what I would call a “power reader.” He reads at least two hours per day, at least 100 books a year and often twice that many. Not surprisingly, he reads in all the obvious places: home, trains, planes, buses, public parks, as well as the not so obvious: during concerts and plays, waiting for people to emerge from comas, during a medical treatment. He reads mostly fiction.

He writes that he has figured out why he reads so much: he wants to be somewhere else. He considers his real world to be reasonably satisfactory but the world conjured up by books is a better one. He reads to escape to a more exciting, more rewarding world.

I read a lot too, but not that much. I read more fiction than nonfiction, but still a fair amount of nonfiction. As I think about it, I agree that fiction reading is often to escape to a different world, though I’m not so sure it is always more exciting or rewarding. My nonfiction reading seems to be more about an interest in a different time, place, or person, not necessarily that I want to be there….I want to know about it though.

Beyond that, I’m not going to overly analyze why I read. I just know I enjoy it. Why do you read?

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Books
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/books/

Library Use Across the State

The Library of Michigan recently released state wide data about public libraries, compiled from the annual reports we all submit.

Here’s some of the information I found particularly interesting or compelling:

  • Michigan residents visited their public libraries over 56 million times; KPL estimates about 800,000 visits to our five locations.
  • Patrons borrowed over 89,000,000 items from public libraries across the state; our circulation was 1,682,620.
  • Circulation per capita is flat across the state from the previous year: 9.0.
  • Over 5 million Michigan residents hold library cards; we have about 80,000 cardholders.
  • 415 libraries are participating MeLCat libraries; we loan to other libraries and borrow for our patrons about an equal number of items.
  • Michigan public libraries provide 11,229 computers used 13.3 million times by the public; KPL’s 100 public computers logged 184,811 sessions.
  • 98% of operating income for Michigan public libraries is from the local community; we rank 32nd in state funding at just $0.91 of state money per capita.
  • Children’s program attendance remains strong at most libraries; adult program attendance has declined.
  • And not surprisingly, book collections have decreased over the past five years while AV, e-book, and audiobook collections have increased. Despite the decrease in book collections, they remain by far the dominant item in public library collections.

Come visit soon – at one of our five locations or via our website. We’re counting for next year’s state report.

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About the Library
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/about/ 

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/


We want to hear from you!

Last month the Kercher Center at WMU sent out a survey on behalf of the library. It was mailed to 2,000 randomly selected residents in our service area. If you didn’t get one in the mail, now you have an opportunity to express your opinion online.

Responses to the survey will help us plan for the next few years. We are interested in how you rank our current services, suggestions you might have for new services in place of current ones, and what you would reduce or eliminate if we have a major reduction in revenues.

I hope you will take 10 minutes or so to complete this survey. We want to hear from library users.

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Online Survey
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https://wmichcas.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9QNAGnNGoUTtZeB

Bed Bugs

As you may have heard or read, KPL had a bed bug “experience” this week. I’ll say I learned more about bed bugs than I ever knew before and perhaps than I wanted to know, but I’m proud of how quickly we were able to respond.

We’ve put some information on our website that you might find helpful and I’m linking to the news release we sent to the media outlining the situation and the actions we took.

Bed Bug Information »

News Release »

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Bed Bugs
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/guides/bed-bugs/

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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/ebooks/

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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/ebooks/

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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/friends/bookstore/sale/

Michigan Notable Books

The awards and “best of” season continues in the entertainment and publishing fields. The Library of Michigan just announced the “2013 Michigan Notable Books.”

This designation began in 1991. Each year 20 books published during the previous year are featured. The books are about, or set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a native or resident of our state. Fiction and nonfiction titles with a wide appeal on an array of topics are selected.

In the news release announcing this year’s choices, our state librarian, Nancy Robertson, wrote that “this program successfully shines the spotlight on the number of talented writers and illustrators we have in Michigan; these books help tell Michigan’s story.”

By coincidence, I happened to be reading Detroit City Is the Place to Be, one of this year’s selections. I’ve also added several titles to my ever-growing list of books I’d like to read.

I hope your reading year is off to a good start; mine is.

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Michigan Notable Books
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http://www.michigan.gov/notablebooks

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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