From the Director

Library news and happenings.

Happy Birthday, MeL

The Michigan eLibrary, known as MeL, just celebrated its 20th birthday.

MeL was launched in 1992, just as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was funding computers for libraries and internet became affordable through the e-rate program. MeL provided the content.

MeL’s centerpiece is a collection of databases that support homework, small business, job searches, and general informational inquiries. There are now over 1,000,000 full-text article retrievals each year.

MeLCat, the state wide catalog for interlibrary loan, includes the holdings of 415 participating libraries. Each year, there are also over 1,000,000 requests for materials to be shared statewide, by sending the item to a user’s home library or by sending the user to the home library of the item, if it cannot be loaned.

Our statewide system is considered a model of efficiency in the tech world. MeL users consider it a model of the good use of federal money to benefit library services.

Happy 20th birthday to MeL from the 140 year old KPL! It’s a month of library birthdays.

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Michigan eLibrary (MeL)
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We Have Good Friends

Most every day, week, and month has some designation, many of them somehow related to libraries, books, or reading. This week, October 21 – 27 is “National Friends of Libraries Week.”

The Friends of KPL are members of United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association for trustees, friends, and advocates of libraries. Their mission is to support citizens who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for all types of libraries.

As I have often written here, KPL is fortunate to have very good friends. They contribute $50,000 - $60,000 per year to the library, all from the proceeds from their bookstore. A lot of used books pass through their hands.

Their contribution funds our summer reading games for all ages and provides support for many ongoing programs including Global Reading Challenge, Reading Together, and our recent 140th birthday celebration.

One of their goals for the year is to increase their membership. Please consider joining at modest fees that range from $5 for students and $15 for a family, to $100 for a benefactor.

Happy “National Friends of Libraries Week” to our good friends, the Friends of KPL.

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Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
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Teens Reading for Food

It’s TEEN READ WEEK! This week, October 14 – 20, libraries, schools, and bookstores will celebrate Teen Read Week, with events and programs aimed at encouraging teens to read for pleasure and to look to the library for free reading materials. Many studies have shown that teens who are regular readers and library users achieve more in school.

The spokesperson this year is John Green, author of many teen books, most recently The Fault in Our Stars. John visited here several years ago and we feel a special bond with him; I imagine every library he has visited and every teen he has talked to feels likewise….he’s that kind of guy!

KPL will celebrate with a Teen Read-a-Thon on Saturday, October 20. Teen will be gathering pledges of food items for Kalamazoo Area Loaves and Fishes as they read up to six hours at the central library.

If you want to sponsor a teen reader, contact our teen service desk at 553-7807. It will be a win-win event….teens reading leisure materials to benefit our local food bank.

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Teen Read Week
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Anniversary Celebration!

KPL is celebrating its 140th anniversary this week with an appearance by literary journalist and author, Susan Orlean. What better way for a library to celebrate than to bring a best-selling author to town for a free public appearance.

Orlean’s most recent book is Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, just out in paperback. It tells the story of Rin Tin Tin’s journey from a puppy on the WW I battlefield to movie star. An earlier book, The Orchid Thief, was made into the Oscar-winning movie, Adaptation, starring Meryl Streep. She has also been a staff writer for The New Yorker.

I hope you will join us Friday night, October 12, 7 pm, Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium for this free program to celebrate our anniversary. A selection of her books will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

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Susan Orlean
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Banned Books Week

KPL will join libraries, schools, and bookstores across the country in celebrating the freedom to read during “Banned Books Week,” September 30 – October 6.

Bill and Judith Moyers are this year’s honorary chairs. In this video essay, Bill Moyers talks about how libraries provided his first opportunity to indulge his love of reading and learning and shares his dismay over efforts to remove books from schools and libraries.

This week is an opportunity to remind us all that the ability to read, speak, think, and express ourselves freely is a right, not a privilege. Libraries often lead the efforts to speak out for the right to read; without the help of outspoken supporters, books are still being removed in some communities.

KPL and the American Civil Liberties Union will celebrate our right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to, and view with a “Readout” on Thursday evening. Local literacy celebrities will read from frequently challenged books.

Join us at this event; celebrate and appreciate your freedom to read, listen, and view.

Bill Moyers on Banned Books Week from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

 

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Banned Books Readout
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