From the Director
Library news and happenings.
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.
How Libraries Stack Up: 2010
As the year ends, many organizations solicit donations for a wide range of good and worthy causes, some of them here in our community, some nationally or even internationally.
Kalamazoo Public Library does not conduct an annual fund raising campaign nor send solicitation requests but, of course, we always welcome and greatly appreciate gifts from grateful patrons.
The State of Michigan encourages donations to public libraries by offering a tax credit. If you itemize deductions, you can claim a 50% of your gift (up to $200 for an individual or $400 for a couple) to a Michigan public library as a credit on your state taxes. That means that giving $200 / $400 to KPL can save you $100 / $200 in state taxes... a good deal!
You may designate your donation for a specific collection, such as large print or children’s books; a location, such as your neighborhood branch; or a service, such as Ready to Read, Reading Together, or teen programming. The library directs undesignated gifts where they are most needed.
Thank you for thinking of the library as you consider year-end giving.
Support the Library
Several KPL staff members attended the last week’s annual state conference of the Michigan Library Association. Much of the conference was programs, many led by library staff sharing their experiences and successes with each other. Two KPL library staff presented programs: “Re-Imagining the Circulation Experience” about the redesign of the first floor circulation area at Central Library and “Not Everything Requires a PowerPoint!” with advice on instruction within the library setting. Both were well attended with good feedback from participants.
In addition to the more formal programs, there were many opportunities for informal networking. I talked with directors from other libraries similar to KPL and heard about their budget challenges, an increasing emphasis on early childhood literacy, heavy use of AV materials most everywhere, concern over state funding, and uncertainty about the role of ebooks within libraries and their impact on print.
The theme of the conference was “Yes we can!,” an attitude shared by everyone I happened to talk to. We all acknowledge the challenges facing our state and libraries of all types, but we remain determined to listen to our communities and response with the services most needed and wanted. Many libraries, including KPL, have undertaken strategic planning to set priorities that response to community needs.
I’m glad I’m in a profession in which folks share freely and learn from each other. We aren’t in competition with each other.
Michigan Library Association
The Library of Michigan has just released the 2009 edition of Michigan Public Libraries Data Digest, a compilation of activity in our state’s public libraries. The data is pulled from the annual reports we all submit to the state and covers fiscal year 2008/2009.
The digest includes a brief five year comparison between 2003 and 2008. Numbers / usage is up in all areas: items available, hours open to the public, programs offered, use of computers. This growth, during a time of reduced budgets for many public libraries, is encouraging. Many libraries, including KPL, have reduced hours, tightened materials budgets, and reexamined programming.
In other interesting, fun statistics:
- Michigan public libraries hold over 35 million books, almost four for every resident.
- Each resident checks out an average of over 8 items per year.
- Public libraries entertained and educated over 2.5 million people with our programs.
- We received 52.7 million visitors, double the number of visitors to our state parks.
- Combined, Michigan public libraries encompass more than 5 times the size of Ford Field Football Stadium!
Come visit soon – check out “your” four books, attend a program, use a computer, ask a question.
Michigan Public Libraries Data Digest
The annual report, The State of America’s Libraries, was released last week, National Library Week, by the American Library Association.
Its findings and conclusions confirm what KPL and most public libraries are experiencing and discussing at our conferences, on email lists, and wherever library staff gather: Americans are turning to their libraries in ever increasing numbers for all types of resources but at the same time funding from all sources is decreasing.
The report addresses public, school and academic libraries; technology; construction and renovation; social networking; legislation; outreach; copyright.
The many statistics confirm that overall use of public libraries is up 23% at over 16,600 locations across the country. Libraries are being turned to in increasing numbers for access to employment resources, continuing education, government services, and the more traditional ones of free access to books, magazines, CDs, DVDs.
The report refers to a “perfect storm of growing demand and shrinking resources”. Half of the states have reduced funding to libraries; a majority of states report a decrease of 5 – 10% in local funding to public libraries. Not surprisingly, many have reduced staff, hours, services.
KPL is not immune; we also expect a decrease in local revenues for next year. As reported previously on our blogs and in LINK, we have made a variety of reductions and are in the midst of strategic planning to determine our priorities and the goals to support those priorities for the next several years. We’ll continue to share the outcomes of that process on our website and in our publications over the coming months.
State Of America's Libraries Report 2010
We join all the others throughout the community in urging you to vote in the Commencement Challenge to have President Obama as Kalamazoo Central’s commencement speaker.
K-Central is one of six finalists in the nation, the only one in Michigan, selected to compete. View the three-minute student-produced video and vote by 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 29, to narrow the field from six contestants to three. President Obama will choose the winner.
(Kalamazoo Gazette photo, John A. Lacko)
Watch as White House staff notify the six finalists.
More information about the Commencement Challenge is available on the White House website, and today’s post by Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the White House blog.
About twice a year, several directors from class 6 public libraries, those serving a population over 100,000, get together and talk informally. This informal group currently includes six public library directors from the southern and central areas of Michigan. Some of us have been in our positions or libraries for years and years, others of us are relatively new. We exchange topics in advance and all come prepared to share ideas and advice with each other.
We met last week. Not surprisingly, the first topic we all wanted to talk about was the decline in local revenue we are all experiencing, and how each library is adapting services and staffing. Other topics included the decrease in funding for the Library of Michigan and how it will impact public library patrons, strategic planning being undertaken by several of us, community collaborations, increasing emphasis on self-services for patrons.
Although we are all in the same “business,” many of our services and community emphases are quite different. We have much to learn from each other, much to share. I always return from these gathering with some new ideas to consider for KPL. For me, this is networking at it finest!
Networking; Strategic Planning
The season for “Best of…” has begun. As I wrote previously, the first list I saw this year was best books in the Nov/ Dec issue of Bookmarks magazine.
Publishers Weekly has published the PW TOP 10 and PW TOP 100. That’s a lot of good books, at least in the eyes of the PW editors.
Not surprisingly, David Small’s Stitches is on the PW TOP 10 list. Those of us who have read David’s book and attended his program at KPL or elsewhere in the community, know this is a powerful graphic memoir well deserving of this recognition from Publishers Weekly and its nomination for a National Book Award. (If you missed David’s presentation, watch or listen to the entire program here.)
David has been a special friend to KPL and our patrons. Congratulations on this nomination, the top 10 listing and the many more recognitions sure to come his way.
We have David’s books, most of which are in the children’s collections. Come visit and check one out.
Listening to the school closings on the radio this morning leaves no doubt—the flu has hit Kalamazoo. Like other organizations that serve the public, KPL is trying to limit the spread of the H1N1 as well as seasonal flu.
We’ve posted signs throughout our buildings promoting hand-washing to limit the spread of the flu virus. We’re setting up hand sanitizer stations for library visitors and providing tissues, disposable gloves, and disinfectant wipes to staff.
A new topic guide on our website compiles information and web links on both the seasonal and H1N1 flu. Although not a substitute for professional health care, you’ll find helpful information on this guide.
Our excellent Facilities Management crew will continue to keep our buildings clean and disinfected; we’ll clean keyboards and public work surfaces even more frequently, too.
We sent a staff member to an informational meeting at the Health Department and will continue to follow Kalamazoo County government’s recommendations regarding the pandemic.
Take care, be well.
Flu Information topic guide »
(Kalamazoo Gazette photo by Tyler Tjomsland)
WMU student with the flu (Gazette photo)
Earlier this month, KPL’s board of trustees approved a resolution supporting the Michigan Library Association’s (MLA) campaign to “help protect Michigan libraries.”
By this resolution, our board urges the Michigan Legislature to:
• Keep library services and functions together under the Library of Michigan within state government
• Maintain state aid to libraries at $10 million to retain federal funding for MeLCat and MeL databases
• Retain the position of State Librarian
• Oppose the governor’s executive order disbanding the Dept of History, Arts, and Libraries (HAL)
MLA’s advocacy website discusses the issues in great detail. You can learn more there, including how you can help – contact your state senator and representative and attend the library rally in Lansing on September 10. Library patrons’ voices will mean more to lawmakers than those of the library community alone. If you enjoy any of the services offered by MeL, the Michigan Electronic Library, please add your support to Michigan’s libraries!
HAL and library funding decisions are part of the budget deliberations underway in Lansing.
Michigan Libraries for the Future