From the Director
Library news and happenings.
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.
This is the week of the 9th annual Teen Filmmaker Festival; Sunday, February 26, 2:30 pm at Rave Motion Pictures in downtown Kalamazoo.
As in years past, we put out the call for teen-produced and directed films by Michigan teens from 13—18 years old. Films from the finalists will be shown at this special event, open to movie fans of all ages.
Prizes will be awarded for best film, best animation, best experimental film, best documentary, best short film, best technical merit, best music video, and judges’ choice; the people’s choice award will be chosen by the audience.
If past years are any indication, there will be a wide variety of creative films with interesting technical effects, some funny, some serious. I expect to once again be amazed by what these teens have produced.
Although the festival is free, tickets are needed. The Rave will be distributing tickets on a first-come, first served basis on Sunday, the day of the festival, beginning at 11 am when they open.
See you there.
Teen Filmmaker Festival
Last week I wrote about our recent birthday party to celebrate the 115th anniversary of Children’s Services at KPL. I also wrote that 2012 is a milestone year for many of our services with more celebrations ahead.
Well, I didn’t have in mind that January 10 was the 7th birthday for MeLCat, our statewide shared catalog and the basis for interlibrary loan. Each month we borrow about 1,300 items for our patrons from other libraries AND we loan about the same number to other libraries across the state. A delivery service moves the items within days to wherever they are needed, then back to the home library.
Patrons can place their own holds and be notified when the item is ready to be picked up at their home library. If we don’t have what you need, it may be available through MeLCat.
Happy 7th birthday MeLCat!
Several weeks ago, I wrote about library funding threats with the proposal to eliminate personal property tax. The issue continues to receive media attention across the state but most of the coverage does not mention that personal property tax (PPT) is a critical source of local library funding.
The legislature will take up this issue in January. The library community is committed to informing our legislators and our patrons of the importance of this revenue source and what it would mean if it was eliminated and not replaced.
Personal property tax is a tax paid by businesses, not individuals or homeowners. It is based on the tangible or physical assets of a business such as office furniture, computers, industrial machinery and equipment, copy and fax machines. It is not a tax on land and buildings.
About 10%, $1.2 million, of our revenue is from personal property tax. If PPT was eliminated and not replaced by a guaranteed, stable funding source for libraries, KPL would be forced to make significant reductions in our programs and services, in addition to those we have already made. We would further reduce services hours at all locations, eliminate adult programming and reduce youth programming, have fewer public computers , buy fewer new materials…..basically all services would be reduced, with some eliminated.
KPL, like most libraries, is increasingly busy. Our circulation is up 31% in the first six months of the year; computer use, patron assistance, attendance at events – all up.
The library community is advocating “replace, don’t erase” the personal property tax. If eliminated, it needs to be replaced. Our board of trustees has adopted a resolution supporting that approach.
Please ask your state representative or senator to fully replace the tax, consider writing a letter to the editor, and share this library threat with others.
Replace Don't Erase
It is the time of year when we all received many solicitations for a wide range of good and worthy causes.
The library does not conduct an annual fundraising campaign nor send out a solicitation request but, of course, donations are always welcome and greatly appreciated.
Unfortunately, from our perspective, charitable contributions to nonprofits, like the library, were eliminated in Michigan’s tax reforms for 2012. That means this year, 2011, is the last year your cash donation to the library could earn up to a 50% Michigan tax credit.
Currently, a maximum gift of $400 to the library by a married couple filing jointly earns a Michigan tax credit of $200. With the similar federal deduction, the actual cost of that $400 gift is just $76.
A donation to the library can be designated for a specific collection, such as large print or children’s; a location such as your neighborhood branch; or a service such as Ready to Read, Reading Together, adult programming. Undesignated gifts are directed where they are needed most.
We appreciate if you think of the library when you are considering your year-end giving, keeping in mind the change in the tax laws for next year.
Support the Library
As I have often written, each day and week has some special designation, many relevant to libraries. This week, November 13–19, is the 90th anniversary of “American Education Week.”
The goal of this designated week is to “inform the public of the accomplishments and needs of schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.”
KPL is particularly proud of our relationship with Kalamazoo Public Schools. As I previously wrote in this blog and in our newsletter LINK, all KPS first graders recently visited one of our libraries and were given their own library card. We are now in the midst of their second visit to return the books they checked out and hopefully to begin a pattern of regular library visits.
We are now preparing for the “Global Reading Challenge,” a battle of the books type program for fourth and fifth graders; we just concluded this year’s “Youth Literature Seminar” focusing on teen literature; and, of course, we have many resources for students at all grade levels, both in print and online.
We applaud our colleagues in education and join them in supporting student learning and achievement.
American Education Week
The annual conference of the Michigan Library Association (MLA) was held here in Kalamazoo a week ago. The facilities at the Radisson, downtown restaurants, and ease of finding their way around seemed to work well, at least from the perspective of those who mentioned it to me. Many walked down the street to the library; I hope some visited and shopped in our Friends Bookstore too.
The conference sessions were arranged by tracks. Most of the ones I attended were on the “ask the expert” track and focused on library millages, tax captures, legislative lobbying, employment issues. More fun than those though, was one presented by our Youth Services staff on “Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Getting Volunteers from the Community Involved in Storytimes.”
As expected, there were sessions and conversations about ebooks, technology opportunities and challenges, personal property tax threats.
It was a worthwhile conference. I came away with confirmation that KPL is a strong player in the state library scene but there is always something new to learn from others, that funding threats are a real concern but we are stronger when our voices are combined, and that reading and books are still our brand but the delivery is changing quickly.
Thanks MLA and downtown Kalamazoo for hosting a good conference.
Michigan Library Association