From the Director
Library news and happenings.
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.
All About Kalamazoo History
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.
About the Library
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.
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.
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.
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.
Michigan Notable Books
I’m pleased to share some good news… KPL was one of three libraries in the state to be recognized for excellence in customer service by our state librarian at last week’s state conference in Detroit.
Hopkins District Library joined us in receiving “Citations of Excellence.” A middle school library in the Howell Public Schools won the “State Librarian’s Excellence Award.”
Our recognition was based on our Customer Service Plan set in 2007 and sustained by a staff committee that continues to define, measure, recognize, and reward staff for excellence in customer service. We most recently revised our plan to include a “Code of Service” that outlines and defines the level of service expected from our staff.
An important dimension of our customer service is our collaboration and partnership with other community organizations, especially Kalamazoo Public Schools. All KPS first graders visit a KPL location three times during the year, “First Saturday @ KPL” encourages families to make library visits part of their weekend routine, and “Lift Up Through Literacy” includes education and literacy initiatives for families.
We are honored to be recognized for this state honor.
State Librarian's Excellence Award
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.
Michigan eLibrary (MeL)
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.
Bobbe Luce, the director of ONEplace@KPL, our nonprofit management support center, was honored last week as one of five 2012 YWCA Women of Achievement. Congratulations on this well deserved recognition, Bobbe.
Bobbe joined the KPL staff about 3 ½ years ago to establish this resource center with the goal of “developing and operating a nonprofit management support center designed to address the capacity-building needs of the nonprofit organizations in Kalamazoo County.” Although part of the library organizational structure, the service is funded by local foundations, primarily the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation.
100% of survey responses from nonprofits who have participated in educational programs or networking opportunities, used the resources on the website, checked out materials from the collection, or received one-on-one assistance rate the service as “very satisfying” or “excellent.” Clearly this service is meeting a community need.
On behalf of the library, thank you, Bobbe, for leading this community service.