From the Director
Library news and happenings.
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