Summer is Here! Central Library will close at 6 pm on Thursdays and will be closed Sundays until September. Enjoy!

Recent Performances

Celebrate Poetry Month with Book Spine Poetry!

In honor of National Poetry Month, I created a few book spine poems in the Children's Room. My favorite one is pictured here. It reminds me of one of my favorite literary characters, Anne, of Anne of Green Gables, and her friend Diana walking through the Haunted Wood on the way home from school in Avonlea. It was great fun to look through the books I'm surrounded by every day and create new ideas out of the words on the spine.

I first learned about Book Spine Poetry from the blog of another librarian who works with children in Michigan. You can view a gallery of poems on his website here. What a creative way to celebrate poetry and have fun with books! Stop in and give it a try or try it at home and take a picture! Let me know what you come up with!


Celebration Poetry Month with Book Spine Poetry!

Creative Writing Workshop

Writing effectively is a struggle for many of us, but in the end it can (and should) be an incredibly satisfying experience. On July 1st, Jo Wiley led a creative writing workshop at the Oshtemo Branch Library, exploring “a variety of creative writing genres.” Participants were invited to bring along their creative ideas and ask questions about the writing process and publishing.

With more than a dozen participants registered, the program was highly successful. Here are a few follow-up notes from the program facilitator that shed light on the scope of the workshop...

“After a general discussion about why we, in particular, write and then, in general, why writers write, I introduced the participants to the concept of poetry’s ‘abiding image,’” said Ms. Wiley, “and they did a multi-stepped exercise resulting in them establishing an ‘abiding image’ for themselves. Using their responses to the exercise, I then introduced development strategies for poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. I offered them the option of developing a poem at home and mailing it to me for feedback, if they’d like.”

A full-time instructor at Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business, Jo Wiley was the recipient of the 2009 Community Literary Award for Adult Poetry, an annual competition sponsored by the Kalamazoo GazetteKalamazoo Public Library and Portage District Library.

“With poetry,” she added, “we talked a lot about language and structure; fiction we reviewed the ‘seven basic plots,’ and then creative nonfiction we talked mostly about the differences between CNF and fiction and when and why writers chose one over the other. I ended the workshop with some information and discussion on ‘the writer's life’ and publishing.”

With a primary interest in creative nonfiction, the same group plans to meet later in the month to focus on essay writing.

Jo’s Recommendations:


Jo Wiley

Baby Storytime for Guys

KPL’s new evening Baby Storytime program is a great way to come together with other parents and caregivers and their babies to share songs, rhymes, books and bounces. Children’s author Mem Fox writes about the value of songs and rhymes in Reading Magic: "Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they're four years old, they're usually among the best readers by the time they're eight." That’s a good enough reason to practice songs and rhymes with your baby. Another good reason is that it’s fun. We had a great time at the most recent session of Baby Storytime for Guys. Though the program is primarily designed for pre-walking babies and their caregivers, there are always babies on the edge of walking or beyond. And because it’s a drop-in program (no registration required), we welcome older children who want to play along with stuffed animals as their babies. It’s fun for the older kids to bounce their own animal babies and to practice songs and rhymes that, by now, may be fun and familiar. Despite the name, Baby Storytime for Guys is open to moms and other female caregivers, too. If you’re expecting, now is a great time to meet other parents and caregivers, learn some new songs and rhymes or reacquaint yourself with old favorites, and find out what KPL has to offer you and your new little person. Stop by KPL’s Central branch on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm for Baby Storytime for Guys. And take a look at the rest of KPL’s storytime programs for babies, toddlers, preschool aged kids, and the whole family.


Baby Storytime for Guys

Prime Time at Alma Powell

After six weeks of reading, singing, acting and storytelling this season’s Prime Time ended with a musical blast!

Prime Time is the Alma Powell branch Monday night Family Reading Program for children ages 6 to 10. The program ran for 6 weeks. After dinner educators Ruth Heinig and Robin Nott led a book discussion. We heard stories, kids told stories, Ruth and Robin provided puppet shows and we had weekly sing-a-longs. Babysitting was provided for children under six.

We are all looking forward to the spring session of Prime Time!



Powell Branch Library

Resucitate Recitation?

John Rybicki

At his reading here yesterday, John Rybicki recited several poems from memory. And that got me to thinking about 8th grade when Mrs. Garrett made all of us learn and recite from memory her favorite poem, The House by the Side of the Road. Do students do that these days? Can you recite a poem from memory?

Photo: Lisa Williams