KPL in the News 2012

Local media items about Kalamazoo Public Library, library related events and services.

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December 26, 2012

Kwanzaa begins; celebration returns to Kalamazoo Public Library

KALAMAZOO, MI – People in Kalamazoo and millions others worldwide are beginning to celebrate Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is the week-long celebration of family, community and African American culture. The Kalamazoo Public Library is hosting a Kwanzaa celebration again this year after not hosting one last year. more...  

December 16, 2012

Teen Filmmaker Festival to be held at Kalamazoo State Theatre after closing of Rave Cityplace 14

KALAMAZOO, MI — The 10th annual Teen Filmmaker Festival, whose home had been at the now closed Rave Cityplace 14 for the past two years, will be held this February at the Kalamazoo State Theatre. Organizer Stewart Fritz, lead librarian for teen services at the Kalamazoo Public Library, said festival organizers picked the State Theater largely because of its location downtown and close proximity to parking ramps. State Theater officials also made it affordable to locate there. "It's a beautiful old theater," Fritz said. "It's a perfect spot for this. It also seats about triple what we brought in the Rave." more...  

December 10, 2012

Ken Morgan, of the Ken Morgan Jazz Unit, shares his thoughts on the power of music

The Ken Morgan Jazz Unit presents a free concert Tuesday night at the Oshtemo branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library. Ken Morgan has played professionally for 60 years, he’s a flute and saxophone player as well as a band leader. He says music became a part of his life in fourth grade. By the 9th grade Morgan was playing in clubs, and over his career he’s appeared on stage with the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Louis Armstrong, among many other jazz giants. He says a recent trip to India to teach sick, poverty-stricken children about making music has him thinking more than ever about the power of music. more...  

November 29, 2012

MLive: Kalamazoo Public Library recognized   (Southwest Michigan's Second Wave Media)

For superior customer services, the Kalamazoo Public Library was awarded a trophy and $500 at the Michigan Library Association conference in Detroit, reports MLive. Excerpt: Helga Mortensen is one regular library patron who is thankful for that level of service. A tutor who uses the KPL to help get materials for her students, Mortensen forgot her keys at the self-service center Wednesday morning and was relieved when the library staff quickly recovered them. "The customer service has always been excellent," Mortensen said. "They're helpful and polite. Whenever I need something they're quick to help me." more...  

November 21, 2012

Kalamazoo Public Library recognized at state level for customer service 

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The Kalamazoo Public Library was awarded a trophy and $500 for a Citation of Excellence in superior customer service earlier this month at the Michigan Library Association conference in Detroit. Helga Mortensen is one regular library patron who is thankful for that level of service. A tutor who uses the KPL to help get materials for her students, Mortensen forgot her keys at the self-service center Wednesday morning and was relieved when the library staff quickly recovered them. "The customer service has always been excellent," Mortensen said. "They're helpful and polite. Whenever I need something they're quick to help me." more...  

November 15, 2012

Special Report: Hoping For A Home

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - There's been an alarming increase in the number of homeless children in Kalamazoo County in the last year--92 percent. Job loss and eviction are the driving forces behind this troubling trend. In this Newschannel 3 Special Report, Hoping for a Home, we introduce you to 12-year-old Tyler Draheim. We started out thinking we'd feel sorry for Tyler, but by the end of the day, we felt only inspired. At 6:45 on a cold, dark Thursday morning, Tyler meets his school bus with his older brother and sister. Tyler is a 7th grader at Parchment Middle School. more...  

November 15, 2012

Kalamazoo Public Library's Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee keeps its charm in the 12th year

KALAMAZOO, MI -- For anyone unfamiliar with Wednesday night's Great Grown Up Spelling Bee, it appeared to be Halloween again at Western Michigan University's Berhard Center. From thriller zombies, to dancing Dr. Seuss characters, there was no shortage of creative outfits and performances designed to promote the early childhood literacy program. Companies from all over Kalamazoo pulled their resources to put together a team of cheerleaders and spellers for the Kalamazoo Public Library's Ready to Read program. Judges based their decision on two rounds of spelling, performances and the level of enthusiasm of the cheerleaders. more...  

November 12, 2012

Wimpy Kids wanted: Share your reactions, photos on the release of Jeff Kinney's new book

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The seventh installment of Jeff Kinney's popular series "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" will be released on Tuesday. For some children, this is a holiday. The New York Times bestselling series was recently ranked as the most popular series for ages 9 through 12 by Barnes & Noble, topping even Harry Potter. The Kalamazoo Public Library's Osthemo Branch is hosting a release party from 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, where patrons can hear the beginning of the book and purchase copies, courtesy of Kalamazoo independent book store Bookbug, 3019 Oakland drive. Kinney will also make an appearance at Bookbug on Nov. 19. more...  

November 5, 2012

Community literacy efforts linked to jump in children's books checked out from Kalamazoo Public Library

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Efforts spearheaded by Kalamazoo Public Schools and other groups to turn Kalamazoo into a "literacy community" seem to be bearing fruit on at least one front: The number of children's books checked out from the Kalamazoo Public Library has jumped 19 percent in one year. The statistic involved children's books from all five library branches from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, compared to the previous 12 months, said Susan Warner, head of the library's youth services. That the number increased is not much of a surprise, Warner said. more...  

October 30, 2012

'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' author Jeff Kinney to appear at Kalamazoo's Bookbug

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Popular children's book author Jeff Kinney will make an appearance in Kalamazoo shortly after the release of his new book, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid 7: The Third Wheel." Kinney, whose latest book in the series will be out on Nov. 13, will appear on Nov. 19 at the Kalamazoo independent bookstore Bookbug, 3019 Oakland Drive. “This is a huge thing for us. It’s enormous. We are the only store in Kalamazoo he is going to," said Bookbug co-owner Joanna Parzakonis. Parzakonis said the first customers who call or go online to pre-order the "Wimpy Kid 7" will be guaranteed a signed copy of Kinney's new book. Some will receive an invitation to attend his appearance on Nov. 19. Parzakonis said Kinney is expected to arrive with a bus and full entourage. The time of his visit has not been determined. The book store will also collaborate on a release party for the book at 6:30-8 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the Kalamazoo Public Library's Oshtemo Branch. Fans of the book can make a duct tape rose, eat snacks, play games and listen to the beginning of the new book read aloud. more...  

October 26, 2012

Questions arise surrounding 'Better World Books' donation boxes

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The big green "Better World Books" collection boxes in area store parking lots ask people to "donate books" and "do good." So it's easy to think you're giving books to a charitable organization. That's what Karen Nay from Vicksburg thought. "The people I talk to about it initially think that they're giving to Toys for Tots or the books are going to go directly to people.  They've been surprised to learn the books are being sold." says Karen Nay. Being in the online book selling business herself Nay wanted to know more about the boxes.  We did some checking and found that despite the altruistic sounding name "Better World Books" is a for profit business. "It also hurts the local libraries, used book stores, all the other places that are available to utilize those books," says Nay. Nay says she worries people are donating at the boxes instead of local organizations.  Places like the Kalamazoo library which sells used books in its Friends Of The Library store to pay for library programs. more... 

October 15, 2012

Liberty's List: Lord of the Gourd, Arts & Eats Tour and more to do around Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, MI—Autumn and art are in the spotlight in this week's list. Coincidentally, there are several major seasonal visual arts events in the region this weekend, from Battle Creek's Fall into the Arts event to the massive, 53-stop Arts and Eats Tour, where people can travel to restaurants, art studios and farms to observe all the local entities that make the region so appealing. Here is a glance at what's coming up: 1. Lord of the Gourd in Southwest Michigan: "Agri-artist" Pat Harrison, a native of Allegan now living on Leelenau Peninsula, will display his gourd carving skills at a series of appearances in Southwest Michigan. When/where: 2-7 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Kalamazoo Public Library's Oshtemo Branch Library; 2-7 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Otsego District Library; 2-7 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Kalamazoo Public Library; 1-5 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Allegan District Library and 2-7 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Mattawan Public Library. Cost: Free... more...

October 15, 2012

Kalamazoo Public Library Migrates to EnvisionWare for Computer & Financial Management

Atlanta, GA, October 15, 2012 – EnvisionWare, a leading provider of self-service and library-efficiency solutions, announced today that Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) has selected EnvisionWare for computer and financial management. The Library currently uses Smart Access Manager (SAM) from Comprise Technologies. Through a strategic partnership with the Library’s ILS vendor, SirsiDynix, KPL will offer patrons the EnvisionWare Suite™ of integrated, self-service and efficiency products. The Suite includes PC Reservation® and LPT:One™ for computer and print management, as well as Launch Command ™, a customizable, touch-screen self-service station for patrons. more...

October 12, 2012

Susan Orlean, bestselling author of 'Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend', speaks in Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Public Library celebrated its 140th anniversary on Friday night, and bestselling author Susan Orlean was on hand to help celebrate the occasion. Orlean spoke in front of around 100 people about her latest book, took questions from the audience and signed books for fans at Kalamazoo Central High School. Her bestselling book "Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend" is about... more...

October 12, 2012

Kalamazoo Today: Bestselling author Susan Orlean to speak for the Kalamazoo Public Library's 140th anniversary 

Good Friday morning, and happy Tigers victory last night, you’re reading Kalamazoo Today, your morning look at what’s ahead in Southwest Michigan. — Reading: Tonight, bestselling author Susan Orlean will be in Kalamazoo for the Kalamazoo Public Library’s 140th anniversary. She will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium, 2432 N. Drake Road. The event is free and open to the public. more...

October 8, 2012

A dog's life: Bestselling 'Rin Tin Tin' author Susan Orlean coming to Kalamazoo 

KALAMAZOO, MI – He was found on a World War I battlefield and adopted by an American soldier. He could jump 12 feet high and was so beloved that he received the most votes for the first Best Actor Oscar. (The Academy opted to go with a human.) In a country that loves its Lassies and Benjis and even Beverly Hills Chihuahuas, Rin Tin Tin stands atop the dog pile. And unlike those other photogenic pooches, the iconic German Shepherd was a real dog. more...

October 4, 2012

'Brew from Kalamazoo': A look back at a rich brewing history from 1837-1915 (with photo gallery)

KALAMAZOO, MI --  Last February, Keith Howard at the Kalamazoo Public Library published an extensive story on the history of Kalamazoo's brewing industry. His story, covering 1837 to 1915, contains photos, maps, old Kalamazoo Gazette stories, advertisements, photos and a slew of other interesting tidbits about the village and later the city's love affair with local brew. The extensively researched piece talks about the Kalamazoo Brewing Co., Old Joe's Brewery, the Kalamazoo Steam Brewery and other beer-makers that populated the area before the county went dry in 1915. more...

October 3, 2012

Liberty's List: Brain teasers at museum, beer at the zoo and more to do

KALAMAZOO, MI -- It's going to be a hugely busy few days in Kalamazoo entertainment. An expanded Art Hop will take over downtown Kalamazoo on Friday night, there's the Kalamazoo's Got Talent contest on Thursday night, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will open "The Hot Glass Roadshow" on Friday and, phew, a bunch more. Here is a quick glance and some other notable events in the coming days, from poetry to rocking blues to a two-day harvest festival. 1. Poetry reading at library: Seven prominent Kalamazoo poets -- Bill Olsen, Andrea England, Jonathan Rice, Gail Griffin, Conrad Hilberry, Elizabeth Kerlikowske and Nina Feirer -- will be reading and signing books. more...

October 2, 2012

10 picks for Art Hop: A few suggestions for Friday's big October event

KALAMAZOO, MI -- With almost 70 stops at Friday's expanded Art Hop, made possible by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and Downtown Kalamazoo Inc., there will be a ton to do, see, hear, taste and feel. I've selected 10 stops you don't want to miss on Friday. The festivities kick off at 5 p.m. and will occur at various venues around downtown Kalamazoo. It is free. Don't forget, the Kalamazoo Gazette/ hub, 300 S. Burdick St., is collaborating with Fontana Chamber Arts and artist Kim Davison, so drop by and say hello. Here is a glance at some of the fun ahead. Happy hopping: 1. Historic photos at the library: Submitted photos for the library from the public, as well as more than 90 historical photos of the library, will be displayed as part of the Kalamazoo Public Library's 140th anniversary celebration. There will be cake! more...

October 1, 2012

Kalamazoo grows from craft-beer oasis to epicenter of Michigan's burgeoning beer scene

KALAMAZOO, MI -- In the late 1980s and early '90s, Michigan was a craft-beer desert with a little oasis in the southwest corner of the state. In the two decades since, Michigan has emerged as a top-five state in the country with well over 100 breweries and has become a destination for "beer-cations," where people plan vacations around beer communities. At the epicenter of the conversation is Bell's Brewery Inc., the state's largest beer maker, and Kalamazoo, home of Bell's Eccentric Cafe. "Kalamazoo comes up again and again in beer circles as a destination," Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association, said. more...

September 24, 2012

'I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo' marks 70th anniversary as No. 1 hit (with video)

KALAMAZOO, MI -- It was 70 years ago this month that Kalamazoo may have hit the peak of its fame: "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" reached No. 1 on the music charts. "Glenn Miller's ditty about goin' to Michigan to make a bid for a freckle-faced kid probably did as much to put Kalamazoo on the national and global map in the 20th century as The Upjohn Co. and its cornucopia of products," local historian Tom Dietz wrote in Museography, the periodical published by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. more...

September 22, 2012

Town & Gown Poetry Reading by Bill Olsen, Conrad Hilberry, Gail Griffin, & Others

Seven Kalamazoo area poets will be reading on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St., Kalamazoo, MI. The poets are Western Michigan University writers Bill Olsen, Andrea England, and Jonathan Rice; Kalamazoo College writers Gail Griffin and Conrad Hilberry; and Friends of Poetry writers Elizabeth Kerlikowske, who teaches at Kellogg Community College, and Nina Feirer. These writers will be reading from and autographing their poetry books. This free reading is sponsored by Friends of Poetry, and refreshments will be served. more...

September 16, 2012

David Small, Sarah Stewart to release new book, 'The Quiet Place'

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The Southwest Michigan husband and wife duo of illustrator David Small and author Sarah Stewart will hold a series of events for their new children's book, "The Quiet Place." The book, about a young girl who moves to the United States and writes letters to her aunt in Mexico, will be released on Tuesday. The first event will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday at the Kalamazoo Public Library... more...

September 14, 2012

Best-selling author Susan Orlean to help celebrate Kalamazoo Public Library's 140th anniversary

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Best-selling author and journalist Susan Orlean will help the Kalamazoo Public Library celebrate its 140th anniversary in October. Orlean, a longtime writer for The New York and author of "The Orchid Thief" and "Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend," will visit at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium, 2432 N. Drake Road. The appearance is free and open to the public. more...

August 29, 2012

Kalamazoo Public Library announces Reading Together selection for 2013

KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Public Library has announced that Amy Waldman's "The Submission" has been chosen for the 2013 Reading Together program. The selection is a New York Times best-seller that re-imagines the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and the aftermath, according to a news release from the Kalamazoo Public Library. Waldman will visit Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium on March 5 to launch this year's series of events. more...

August 8, 2012

End of summer activities for children in the Kalamazoo area

KALAMAZOO, MI -- It's hard to admit, but summer is coming to a close. In a few weeks, school will be back in session. If you are looking for some activities for the kids, who might be going a little stir-crazy at home these days, consider some of these end-of-summer activities. Milkshake rocks Bronson Park: The Grammy Award-nominated, high-energy band... Lego Building Contest: Kalamazoo Public Library is holding a contest... more...

August 6, 2012

Learn more about Kalamazoo's proposed food truck ordinance at Tuesday town hall meetings

KALAMAZOO, MI -- People who have questions about the city's proposed food truck ordinance can attend two town hall meetings Tuesday. Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. will host the meetings at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the VanDeusen Room at the Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St. The Kalamazoo City Commission tonight will decide whether to offer for a first reading proposed changes that would allow food trucks to operate on Kalamazoo's streets. As written, the draft ordinance changes would allow 10 licenses... more... 

August 1, 2012

Kalamazoo Public Library seeking photos as part of its 140th anniversary celebration

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The Kalamazoo Public Library will turn 140 on Oct. 12 and is asking the community to help celebrate its anniversary with photographs. Marti Fritz, the library's marketing and communications manager, said the library is seeking photos from the public of the building, staff, patrons and events to be displayed during the Oct. 5 Art Hop. The photos will be displayed on the first floor of the library during the Art Hop celebration... more...  

August 1, 2012

Summer program rewards Kalamazoo Public Schools students for reading 

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Children in the Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo's "Think Summer" program were rewarded today for the work they have put in on reading. A group of students took a field trip to the Kalamazoo Public Library, where they were able to redeem hours of reading for prizes in the form of free books. The six-week summer program gives more than 200 kids in Kalamazoo Public Schools the opportunity to spend the summer learning. more... 

July/August 2012

Bringing the Money: The Website Clinic

In the July/August 2012 issue of Public Libraries magazine, a publication of the Public Library Association, Kalamazoo Public Library was selected one of five “exemplary public library websites” for our Support the Library section. In his article, “The Website Clinic," the author examined the fifty-five websites listed on the “Library Website Hall of Fame.” Of those, he selected five to serve as models for fundraising through library websites. Kalamazoo Public Library was third in his list of five public libraries, which includes New York Public Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, High Plains in Colorado and Enoch Pratt in Baltimore, as model websites, “worthy of emulation.” The author proclaims the information on our Support the Library pages to be “valuable and intelligently presented. Nice work.”

July 25, 2012

ONEplace@kpl welcomes new director 

KALAMAZOO, MI -- ONEplace@kpl, a management support organization serving Kalamazoo County nonprofits, welcomes a new director this month. Thom Andrews assumed the director position on July 1 following the retirement of Bobbe Luce. Andrews comes to ONEplace@kpl from the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra where he spent eleven years as their Director of Marketing and Public Relations. In addition to this experience, he brings a background in education, nonprofit management, and strategic planning. more...

July 20, 2012

Community must continue to study failures of educational system (Letter)

Even with the plethora of available educational television programs and materials available today, statistics indicate an alarming and baffling lack of improvement in student performance on the MEAP and SAT in Michigan. Hats off to Kalamazoo Public Library and Kalamazoo Valley Museum for spearheading programs promoting reading, math and science. more...

July 13, 2012

Black History mobile museum rolls into Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, MI -- An aspect of black history that often gets overlooked is the role of African Americans in politics, a local museum curator says. Khalid el-Hakim, a Detroit native who recently moved to Kalamazoo, will roll his Black History 101 Mobile Museum to the Kalamazoo Public Library today and Saturday. The current exhibit, dubbed "Drum Majors for Justice," features more than 150 artifacts dealing with the contribution of black people to American politics. more...

July 10, 2012

Pop-up book artist Robert Sabuda to speak at Kalamazoo Public Library's event (video)

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Pop-up book artist Robert Sabuda will be the keynote speaker at the Kalamazoo Public Library's 35th annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar this fall. Sabuda, a native of Pinckney who studied art at the Pratt Institute in New York City, will speak on Nov. 9 at Western Michigan University's Fetzer Center. The seminar will run from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., with check-in beginning at 8:30 a.m. Sabuda released his latest book, "Chanukah Lights," with Michael J. Rosen, on Chandlewick Press last year. He has more than 35 pop-up and picture books to his credit since 1998. more...

July 9, 2012

Want to learn to 'Grill Like a Pro?' Oshtemo library offers free demonstration

KALAMAZOO, MI – If your grilled chicken ends up half-raw and half-charred and your last attempt at asparagus resulted in shriveled, blackened stalks, you might want to swing by the Oshtemo Branch library Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The library is offering a free "Grill Like a Pro" demonstration outside the branch at 7265 W. Main St. Manning the grill will be Russ Faulk, author of "Cook: Out" and head of design for Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. The company, founded as Kalamazoo Sheet Metal in 1906, specializes in high-end hybrid grills and artisan pizza ovens that can have a pepperoni pie ready in three minutes. But Faulk stressed that Tuesday's tips will work for grills of any budget. more...

July 5, 2012

 Kalamazoo residents look to escape record heat; another 100-degree day coming 

KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Public Library security guard had to practically force people out, barking at stragglers to leave when the building closed at 6 p.m. Thursday. Clusters of people reluctantly shuffled into the 100-degree heat, lingering under the shadowed overhang outside the door. "The AC is bustin,'" said Brenda Soto, who took refuge in the library with two friends from Kalamazoo Central High School to escape the heat. "It was so awesome." more...

June 27, 2012

Looking for a good summer read? Suggestions from the Kalamazoo Gazette's live book chat

KALAMAZOO, MI - Looking for a book for the July 4 holiday? Here is a list of titles and authors that were recommended during the Kalamazoo Gazette's June 27 live chat with MLive reporters Fritz Klug and Yvonne Zipp and Kalamazoo Public Library reader services librarian Karen Santamaria..) more...

June 26, 2012

Live book chat: Talk summer reading with the Kalamazoo Gazette, Kalamazoo Public Library 

KALAMAZOO, MI - Unless your middle school teacher has sent home a packet complete with daily reading journal and 10-plus pages of questions, summer reading is one of the season's great pleasures. Join us Wednesday, June 27, at noon for a live book chat. The Kalamazoo Public Library's reader services librarian Karen Santamaria will be joining Kalamazoo Gazette reporters Fritz Klug, lover of all things nonfiction, and myself to talk summer reading. (When not covering business for the Gazette, I'm a book critic who writes for The Christian Science Monitor and the Washington Post.) more...

June 12, 2012

Summer in Kalamazoo: Five places to take school-age children without spending a dime

KALAMAZOO, MI -- It's just the start of summer break, and the kiddos aren't bored. Yet. Just give it a week. When whining starts, here's five ideas to keep children entertained -- without opening your wallet. 1. The Kalamazoo Public Library. Kalamazoo has one of the best library systems in the state, and even the country, and they have a full slate of free activities for children and teens. more...

June 11, 2012

How your library card can get you into state parks for free

Michigan residents can spend a day reading and relaxing at any of the state parks and recreation areas in the state for free. The Department of Natural Resources and the Library of Michigan has teamed up with local libraries to let library patrons check out state parks while they check out books. The Park and Read program is in its fourth year. Kalamazoo Public Library's Kevin King says it's especially popular this time of year. more...

June 2, 2012

Nick Dybek novel draws praise as he follows in footsteps of acclaimed fiction writer and father Stuart Dybek

Every day after high school he and his friends would "make the worst noise ever possible, and my parents were very patient with it," Dybek said from his home in New York City. It was a bit of a rebellion all teens go through to find themselves. He certainly wasn't trying to be like his father, Stuart Dybek, the critically acclaimed fiction writer and longtime professor in Western Michigan University's English department. Now, at 31, Dybek has his own novel on the shelves and getting a lot of praise. more...

May 31, 2012

Kalamazoo's June Jubilee: Plethora of events start the month off in fashion (photo gallery)

KALAMAZOO, MI -- This weekend is so loaded with events around Kalamazoo, it inspired its own Twitter hashtag, #JuneJubilee. To help you sort through all of the craziness on board for this weekend, here is a rundown of entertainment happenings, from Friday's expanded Art Hop to Super Saturday to Sunday's Concert in the Park. more...

May 17, 2012

Oshtemo Township shows off renovated park with kids' event Saturday (with photo gallery)

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, MI -- Oshtemo Township will celebrate and dedicate its newly renovated, $660,000 park with a kids' event Saturday. The event, at 7275 W. Main St., will run from 2 to 4 p.m., with a ribbon cutting at 3 p.m. Events include a kids' Funburst Run sponsored by Sunburst Run, face painting, a scavenger hunt and sidewalk chalk. Food and drinks will be available at the event, sponsored by Oshtemo Friends of the Park in partnership with the Kalamazoo Public Library Oshtemo Branch. more...

May 17, 2012

Downtown Kalamazoo oak tree thought to be at least 150 years old cut down

KALAMAZOO, MI – A tree whose shadow over downtown Kalamazoo grew for well over a century was cut down Thursday. The massive bur oak, which sat on the front lawn of Levine & Levine law practice at 427 S. Burdick St., was rotting from the roots up and threatened to fall on the building, risk assessors determined. The Levine office is in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Kalamazoo, according to records from the Kalamazoo Public Library. more...

May 2, 2012

Living on the cheap in Kalamazoo and loving it (Editorial)

KALAMAZOO, MI — Sometimes being cheap is a good thing. At least according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance, which recently ranked Kalamazoo fourth on a a list of the 10 Best Cities for Cheapskates, which considered the cost of living in almost 400 American cities tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau. Anyone who lives in Kalamazoo, we can take pride in an award-winning library that provides free books, movies and activities; free access to one of the greatest bodies of water in the country; and, of course, a free college education, for graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools. more...

April 4, 2012

2012 YWCA Women of Achievement have shared skills, talents with entire region (Editorial)

This is a situation where there is not a lot to say other than congratulations — and thank you. The reality is that you probably know at least one of the 2012 YWCA Women of Achievement. Their commitment to the community, their leadership and the work they do to improve the lives of others is widespread. You may have benefited from one of their programs, marveled at their skills or shared in the results of their work. more...

April 2, 2012

Debut of First Saturday @ KPL a Huge Success - Next Event April 7, 2012

Our beautiful downtown Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) was filled and buzzing on Saturday, March 3, as KPL hosted the inaugural First Saturday @ KPL event. Hundreds of parents and children filled the library. Excited children acquired library cards and filled out raffle cards hoping to land one of the great door prized offered at the event. The initial First Saturday @ KPL was a joint effort by KPL, Kalamazoo Public Schools, the Northside Ministerial Alliance, the Hispanic American Council and the NAACP. more...

March 30, 2012

Free poetry workshop and book release celebration: Traci Brimhall, Marie-Elizabeth Mali, and the 'Villanelles'

On Thursday, April 26, Friends of Poetry will celebrate the release of acclaimed local poet Traci Brimhall’s second collection, Our Lady of the Ruins, and the anthology Villanelles, co-edited by Marie-Elizabeth Mali and Annie Finch, with a poetry writing workshop and reading featuring Brimhall, Mali, and area Villanelles contributors Marion Boyer, Danna Ephland, and Jon Snider. more...

March 29, 2012

Spring Break ideas in Kalamazoo: Family-friendly ways to enjoy the vacation

KALAMAZOO -- Spring Break for Kalamazoo County will begin Friday. For parents who need a little help figuring out how to enjoy all the down time, here is a list of places and events to have some fun with the family. more...

March 12, 2012

Literary live chat: Join a noon discussion of Reading Together's 'Into the Beautiful North'

KALAMAZOO — Yvonne Zipp, a fiction reviewer for the Christian Science Monitor and a Kalamazoo Gazette business writer, and fellow Gazette writer Linda Mah will discuss the Reading Together novel "Into the Beautiful North" at noon today.
"Into the Beautiful North" by Luis Alberto Urrea follows 19-year-old Nayeli and her friends as they travel north to the United States to find men to repopulate their village after drug-dealing bandidos move into town. Inspired by the movie "The Magnificent Seven," the travelers seek former soldiers and police officers to protect them, and along the way they find heroes in unlikely places. more...

March 9, 2012

Kalamazoo Gazette will hold a live chat on Reading Together novel 'Into the Beautiful North'

KALAMAZOO — This year the Kalamazoo Public Library's Reading Together selection is "Into the Beautiful North," by Luis Alberto Urrea, who visited Kalamazoo this week. Kalamazoo Gazette writers Yvonne Zipp and Linda S. Mah will hold a live chat to discuss the novel at noon on Monday, March 12. Zipp is a Kalamazoo Gazette business writer and a fiction critic for the Christian Science Monitor. Mah is the Gazette's Community Engagement Specialist and is the past editor of the A&E section. more...

March 9, 2012

Celebrate Earth Day with Michigan musicians at the Oshtemo Branch Library

KALAMAZOO -- A slew of Michigan musicians will perform a free, family-friendly event at the Kalamazoo Public Library's Oshtemo Branch for Earth Day. The concert is put on by the Lake City-based organization Earthwork Music Collective. It will feature roots music from Seth Bernard & May Erlewine, Laura Bates, Sam Corbin, Rachael & Dominic Davis, Darlene, Gifts or Creatures and Red Tail Ring. The concert will be held at 3 p.m. at the library, 7265 W. Main St. more...

March 7, 2012

Here are the winners of the ninth annual Teen Filmmaker Festival held in Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO — The judges and fans have spoken, and they’ve chosen winners in the Ninth Annual Teen Filmmaker Festival, presented by the Kalamazoo Public Library, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and Public Media Network, hosted by Rave Motion Pictures, and emceed by Kevin Park, Campaign Pictures. Almost 500 people attended the screening at Rave Motion Pictures on Feb. 26. This year’s festival drew more than 80 entries from teens throughout Michigan. more...

March 6, 2012

Luis Urrea interview: Pulitzer Prize finalist talks about compassion, education and the border before his appearances in Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO – Luis Urrea nearly died on a dirt road in Tijuana, Mexico, at the age of 5. Stricken with tuberculosis and other “poverty diseases,” Urrea’s parents were forced to take him to the United States in an attempt to save his life. Much like many Mexicans who cross the border, his family had little choice in the matter. It was a move made in desperation, Urrea said. more...

March 4, 2012

Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Urrea to lead discussions on immigration, dual culture for Reading Together Series

KALAMAZOO – Luis Urrea’s book, “Into the Beautiful North,” may start in Mexico and venture to Illinois, but the themes within the story can be applicable to the Kalamazoo community. Urrea, a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, is this year's featured author of the Kalamazoo Public Library’s Reading Together Series, where the community is encouraged to read the same book and engage in discussions about some of the subjects in it. more...

February 23, 2012

Arts & More: The Michigan Teen Filmmaker Festival

Kalamazoo’s Ninth Annual Teen Filmmaker Festival comes to the RAVE theatre this Sunday. The festival showcases short films created entirely by young Michigan film artists. Listen to James Sanford's review of a few of this year's films. Now we’ll take a behind the scenes look at how these films are made. WMUK’s Alyssa Trager talked with two teens about their experiences filming and editing their works: more...

February 19, 2012

Kalamazoo author overcomes dyslexia, to release third book 'Walker's Web' with themes of helping community

KALAMAZOO -- In the small upper-floor room of Kalamazoo author Alice Beard’s Northside neighborhood house, copies of her poems, manuscript drafts and other creative works sit stacked on shelves. Beard, who goes by the pen name Alice Renee, has been collecting these works for decades, but despite appearances, the writing didn’t come easily to her at first. While growing up, Beard struggled with her schoolwork because of a learning disability and dyslexia, she said. more...

February 18, 2012

MEAP data shows Kalamazoo-area schools improving in reading, but slipping in math

KALAMAZOO -- Reading proficiency among Michigan students in general and Kalamazoo-area elementary and middle-school students in particular has improved in the past few years, while proficiency in math has declined, latest state data shows. A Kalamazoo Gazette analysis of data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Education also showed the gains made in Kalamazoo Public Schools, one of the few districts to show improvement in both reading and math since 2008. more...

February 13, 2012

Recollections of a Fugitive’ author shares her writing

Local author Alice Renee Beard will be sharing her writing ability with the community at the Kalamazoo Public Library on Wednesday, Feb. 22. “Recollections of a Fugitive” is a new book in the Walker’s Web Project series. The Kalamazoo Public Library is sponsoring this event, which will take place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Renee explained that “Recollections of a Fugitive” is a type of historical fiction. “The story is based off stories that I was told as a kid,” she said. More specifically, however, “Walker’s Web” is a surreal and dramatic serial thriller, based on characters from the novel “Blood”, published and written in 2005 by Beard. “Recollections of a Fugitive,” which is the first book to be released in the “Walker’s Web” series, is a story stemming back as far as the 1800s. more...

February 9, 2012

Jerome Holloway, Mattawan resident turned Chicago soul/folk artist, returns home for concert

KALAMAZOO — The video for Jerome Holloway's "Heaven in Your Eyes" is so intimate -- the shot is of Holloway in profile, up close, as he strums guitar and sings with quiet passion -- that it makes me feel embarrassed, like I've just stepped into the private space between him and his lover. He wants to "connect to the human thing, the heart and all that," Holloway said from Chicago. Holloway will return to his home town to give a concert at the Kalamazoo Public Library Wednesday, Feb. 15. more...

February 6, 2012

Schoolcraft author D.E. Johnson to give a presentation on the Mafia, the early automotive business and many colorful Detroit players

Gangs, drugs and violence rampage on Detroit streets in D.E. Johnson's new novel, "Motor City Shakedown" (2011, Minotaur Books). It's not taking place in today's Detroit. It's a century in the past, during the bad ol' days. The Schoolcraft author of historical mysteries will give a presentation on the Mafia, the early automotive business and many colorful Detroit players of a century ago Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Kalamazoo Public Library's Washington Square Branch. more...

February 6, 2012

New look in Kalamazoo Public Library's teen section includes divider wall, colorful paint

KALAMAZOO — With the addition of a divider wall and some fresh coats of paint, teens have a more delineated place of their own on the lower level the Kalamazoo Public Library. In a blog post on the library’s website, Library Director Ann Rohrbaugh writes that teen patrons and library staff in the teen section “have long wished for an area separate from the rest of the lower level to allow for teen programming and discussions there without disturbing others.” more...

January 27, 2012

Places to Play: Kids jump right into fun at Kalamazoo Public Library's Central branch

KALAMAZOO — The Central branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library is a neat building in the heart of downtown with a neat children’s space on the first floor. Parking can be intimidating for visitors unfamiliar with downtown, but there are ramps, meters and free 90-minute spaces galore in the blocks surrounding the library. The building, at the corner of Rose and South streets, features curving walls and lots of glass more...

January 3, 2012

Replace, don't erase the personal property tax (Letter)

Kalamazoo Public Library recently joined counties, municipalities, public safety and public school officials from all across Michigan in urging the state Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder to fully replace all local revenues that would be lost if they eliminate the personal property tax (PPT) on business equipment and machinery. This is a tax paid only by businesses, not by individual taxpayers or homeowners. more...

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