It was a Musical Storytime to remember when special guest Jay Gavan brought in his sitar, one of the best known instruments from the classical Indian musical tradition. Jay told us all about the sitar and accompanied us on sing-along versions of "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (Octy's Favorite), "On Top of Spaghetti", "Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight", and, to celebrate the start of baseball season, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game".
Join us for the next Musical Storytime on Monday, April 8, at 6:30 pm.
What fun we had at Wednesday’s Family Literacy Night program for kids and parents from El Sol Elementary. We had stations set up all through Central Library, staffed by El Sol teachers, with activities for the kids. There was library card signup going on, kids were making Reading Buddy puppets, doing Mad Libs, learning about accessing info on the KPL website, seeing the Local History room in action, and even having a back-room tour!
Staff from many departments helped out: Spanish-language help from several library staff members, a great visual display of photos created by Local History staff, Facilities Management crews who set up, tore down, and cleaned up everything at the end of the night. Staff at the public desks did a great job giving directional assistance and helping families feel welcome here.
I know that an event like this can seem disruptive in a library, but it really does help us introduce new families to KPL so that they see the library as a place that has some relevance for them. It’s also an opportunity for us to strengthen our connections to the principal and teachers at a school. We had a great time last night and are already making plans for next year’s event.
Family Literacy Night
Have you checked out KPL’s Local Organization Directory lately? It lists more than 900 social service agencies, neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations and other groups which serve the Kalamazoo area. Annually-updated entries include contact information, services provided, the organization’s goals or mission, nonprofit status, and more. It is free to list, and of course it’s free to use!
How do we use the Local Organization Directory at the library? We refer patrons to local services, share contact info from organizations, create lists of places in town that offer certain services, and more.
To access the directory, click Local Information from the Popular section on our home page, and choose "Search Local Organizations." Do a keyword search, or search by Name, Subject or Nonprofit Status. Note that there are several underlined subjects in each record. Click on one of those subjects to view all the other records with the same subject and find more services in the area.
If you’re affiliated with a nonprofit organization, check out the ONEplace @ KPL web page to learn more about resources for nonprofits available at KPL.
Finally, if your organization isn’t included in the directory, but you would like it to appear, please email me.
Local Organization Directory
Through the generous support of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society, the Oshtemo Branch Library of KPL is pleased to offer a telescope available for check out! The telescope, an Orion Star Blast 4.5" Astro, comes with a kit that includes all the tools you need to observe the skies, along with a simple instruction manual and star maps.
Members of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society will be at the Oshtemo Library on Monday, July 16 at 3pm to talk with the public about the telescope, astronomy, and KAS. At 6pm they'll teach you how to use a variety of telescopes, including the library's Orion Star Blast. If you have an old telescope collecting dust, bring it in and they'll teach you how to use it! Then, on August 8, they'll host an observation session outside the Oshtemo Library.
Beginning Tuesday, July 17, the telescope may be checked out at the Oshtemo Branch Library for up to two weeks. You may place a hold on the telescope, but it can only be picked up at and returned to the Oshtemo Branch.
While anyone may attend the telescope workshop and observation session, please be aware that the telescope is available to Kalamazoo Public Library resident borrowers in good standing, who are at least 18 years old and have a valid license.
Backyard Astronomer's Guide
Staff from the Oshtemo library and KPL’s IT department were joined by folks from the Oshtemo Township Park last week for a test run of our upcoming collaboration, Movies Under the Stars. We can’t wait to screen the first film in our series, “The Muppets Take Manhattan”, this Thursday, June 21 at the Oshtemo Township Park! Please join us for the movie at 9:15pm, and don’t forget to bring a lawn chair or blanket, bug spray, and a flash light!
The Muppets Take Manhattan
Before Spring officially arrives, I wanted to share a winter tradition which happens each December at the Oshtemo Branch Library.
During the month of December, volunteers from the Oshtemo Grange bring a Mitten Tree to the Library with the thought that our patrons will decorate the tree with donations of mittens, gloves, hats and scarves which they then donate to local schools. Just as in past years our mitten tree was loaded with items. This year alone Oshtemo patrons donated 59 hats; 26 scarves; 120 pairs of mittens, 16 hat and mitten sets plus other warm items for a total of 227 pieces! Oshtemo Branch Library patrons pride themselves on knitting for the tree throughout the year and their beautiful handiwork adds to the special beauty of the Mitten Tree.
This year a Daisy Troop visited the Oshtemo Branch Library for a tour and storytime. We of course had fun reading mitten stories and I shared two of my very favorite ones. Everyone should enjoy Knitty Kitty by David Elliott and The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg. The highlight of the visit was when each Daisy member decorated the Mitten Tree by adding their mitten donations.
What a wonderful tradition to carry on by the partnering with the Library and the Grange. We look forward to next December.
Oshtemo Branch Library
On a Tuesday evening in January the Alma Powell Branch had its first Urban Fiction book discussion. The group was totally geeked about Ashley and Jaquavis’ book The Trophy Wife. It was generally agreed upon that it was a love story full of mystery and intrigue.
On March 27 we will be diving into our next book Gunz and Roses by Keisha Ervin.
Please join us at 6:00 for good discussion, fellowship and refreshments.
Urban Fiction Book Group
Welcome to February! I truly love this month, mostly because the harshest part of winter seems almost behind us, especially this year. I am always looking forward to Spring! For now though, I will focus on Valentine’s Day, a bright spot during a long Michigan winter for many people. For years, Kalamazoo Public Library patrons have celebrated Valentine’s Day by making cards for local nursing home residents. Once again, our craft tables are ready with stickers, stamps, doilies, and hearts. So come on out and help us make Valentines for our friends in nursing homes. Now through Feburary 9, during open hours at all branches. All ages welcome!
From the Heart at KPL
On December 13th we're having our second Pizza & Pages book discussion at Powell. We had 12 girls to sign up and read a book called Prime Choice. Prime Choice is the first edition in a teen series by Stephanie Perry Moore. In the Perry Skky Jr. Series author Stephanie Perry Moore is writing from a male perspective, so even though a bunch of girls signed up for it, young men might find this series interesting, too. We’ve heard from the young ladies who've read the book that they loved it.
As the December holiday season rolls around, it seems like it might be a good time to look back at KPL’s concert performances and try to catch up with what’s been happening over the past several weeks.
The highlight of Summer Reading was of course KPL’s amazing end-of-summer concert featuring The Verve Pipe. What a show! The band gave a terrific all-ages performance in Bronson Park on August 28th, and played a bunch of tunes from The Family Album, with a couple of classics thrown in for good measure. I’m honestly not sure who had more fun, the band or the crowd! If you missed it, the band was kind enough to let us post the entire show on our Concert Archives page!
Back in the Van Deusen Room, Joe Wang and the Test Pilots pulled off a great show in September with a full set of originals and a couple of cool covers. (When was the last time you heard a live band play a Vapors tune?!) Typically an electric band, the library setting allowed “Joe” (Peter George, Tom Cross, Mark Kalinowski, Tony Nuismer) to stretch out with a rare acoustic set that let their excellent songwriting abilities shine through. As the JWTP Twitter feed says, “The KPL gig has been immortalized on YouTube.. there’s no denying it.” You can see and hear the entire show via our Concert Archives page! …And if you get a chance to see them play live, do it—you won’t be disappointed.
Midnight Cattle Callers
One of my favorite shows of the series was an October performance by Gifts or Creatures. You might remember that Brandon and Bethany Foote were a highlight of KPL’s Earth Week Celebration at the Oshtemo Branch Library last April. For our 55th live show, the husband-wife duo returned to the Van Deusen Room with some help from good friends Joshua Keller, Ty Forquer, and Ian Gorman. They worked their way through more than a dozen homespun originals, before label-mates Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp (Red Tail Ring) added vocal harmonies to the set-ending version of “I Shall Be Released.” If you like truly inspired Michigan-rooted songwriting, Brandon and Bethany are two of the best! See and hear the full performance on our Concert Archives page.
November brought even more amazing talent to KPL. West Michigan-based Midnight Cattle Callers (another personal favorite!) provided an evening of old-time, country, bluegrass, jazz and swing on November 16th. The following weekend, KPL participated in the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, with inspired music and conversation by flutists Michael Chikuzen Gould (Japanese shakuhachi) and Juan Manuel Cruz (Native American flute). Art Hop on December 2nd featured a wonderful set by classical guitarist Jeff Dwarshuis.
Michael Chikuzen Gould
So what’s next? Well... KPL’s December concert, #59 in the series and our 20th this year (but who’s counting?!) will be Kalamazoo’s own up-and-coming country singer Shelagh Brown. Shelagh received an honorable mention in the 2011 Gazette Readers’ Choice Awards, and won a nationwide contest to sing a duet with country superstar Josh Gracin. She has an amazing voice! Don’t miss Shelagh’s special KPL concert in the Van Deusen Room on Wednesday, December 14th!
And speaking of the holiday season, here’s an idea... the works produced by these or any of our other fine local artists would make great gifts for anyone on your list! Think global, buy local!
Ho Ho Ho! Happy listening!
Juan Manuel Cruz, part of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music