From the Director

Library news and happenings.

Library Computer Use

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently issued a report on library computer users: Who Is In the Queue: Public Access Computer Users. It provides an analysis of public access computer users and demonstrates that public libraries provide much more than basic technology access.

A few key findings:

• One third of the American public used a library computer last year. Libraries are at the crossroads of public computer use serving young and old, rich and poor, people with little formal education to those with graduate degrees.

• 86% of public access computer users reported they also had regular access to a computer and the internet at home. Those who lacked home access reporting using the library computer at least weekly and often daily.

• Young people between 14-19 were most likely to use the public computer s for educational purposes; users 25-54 for employment and training; older adults for health information.

• Libraries have responded to this demand by increasing their investment in hardware, the necessary infrastructure, and databases.

As our regular computer users know, we replaced ours earlier this year, updated the software, and added some new capabilities. KPL resident cardholders may use the computers up to two hours per day. There are often tech interns on duty at Central to help; staff at other locations and information desks can help too.


Public Computers

Winning Cookbooks

Cookbook awards were recently announced by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. More than 500 titles were entered in seventeen categories.

I’m pleased we already have many of the winners in our collection. To name a few you might want to put on hold or look for next time you are here:

• In the “American” category: The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern

• “Baking: Savory or Sweet” category: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies

• “Children, Youth and Family” category: Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners

• “Compilations” category: The Essential New York Times Cookbook

Cookbooks are popular. We are restocking our current display of “grilling” books daily. Although the many food and cooking sites on the internet make it easy to find a particular recipe, it’s not the same as leafing through a new cookbook with mouthwatering photos as you get inspired to try some new recipes and make the grocery list.

Browse our cookbooks on line or on the shelf.


Simple fresh southern : knockout dishes with down-home flavor

Too Many Good Books!

My list of books-to-read-sometime is growing fast. It seems as if every magazine or newspaper I read has a list of “best summer reads.” The titles range from beach reads to classics. I seldom read such a list without adding at least a handful to mine.

NPR recently had a commentary about reading. The point was if you could read two books a week and started that pattern when you were fifteen, still going strong at eighty, you would have read 6,500 books! That’s a lot of books, BUT only a tiny fraction of all the books published EACH YEAR!

None of us readers will ever read all the good books out there, all the books on our own lists. We need to relax about that – I’m talking to myself here too! – and enjoy the ones we do read. As one writer has said, “each book is a wonderful gift and you’re never going to run out of such gifts! That should be a cause for celebration, not frustration.”

Well said, I agree!

I just finished reading Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell and Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch. Next on my reading pile is Room by Emma Donoghue followed by Please Look After Mom by Kyong-suk Sin.

What are you reading?



4th of July Thoughts

There are a few times during the year when it seems logical to pause and consider the role of public libraries – National Library Week and Banned Books Week come immediately to mind but the 4th of July is another one as we think about our country’s history. The public library is an American invention. Early European libraries were subscription based. Supposedly it was the citizens of Peterborough, NH, who introduced the radial concept of a truly public library in 1833. By the 1870’s, eleven states had 188 public libraries, including Michigan and Kalamazoo with the establishment of KPL in 1872.

Fast forward to today. Nationally 2/3’s of the population carry library cards, about half visit a public library at least once a year.

Business is strong for public libraries, including KPL. During economic hard times people turn to the public library to borrow books, DVDs, attend programs, and use computers for job searching. Library use is increasing as funding decreases. KPL has had record breaking use this past year; as we begin our new year on July 1, our primary source of revenue, local property tax, is reduced.

Come visit soon. We continue to offer a wide range of materials and array of programs and have a staff ready to help you.


The History of the Library