Recent Performances

KPL’s part in Black History

Well, here it is, the last day of Black History Month and all month I have been reflecting on what an honor it is to be working at a trailblazing library system, such as Kalamazoo Public Library. Why would I call KPL a trailblazer? Well, it all started with Mrs. Alma Harrod Powell. She was before her time. She went from being a housekeeper to a Library Assistant to a renowned storyteller and historian. It all started while working in the home of a world traveler, Mr. Larry Firth. Mr. Firth would return from Africa with artifacts that heightened Mrs. Powell interest in African history. In 1944 she participated in an apprenticeship course at KPL and in 1946 she became a KPL Library Assistant. In 1957 Mrs. Powell received a citation from the Michigan Library Association which acknowledged her skill as a storyteller. In 1968 a small library room in Lincoln School opened and was named Alma Powell Library Project. Mrs. Powell was followed by Mary Mace Spradling and Roberta Cheney. They were trailblazers in their own rights.

This all happened at KPL in Kalamazoo, Michigan before the civil rights movement. As a black female Mrs. Powell was a pioneer and Kalamazoo Public Library was a trailblazer. And we keep right on blazing because this year KPL will be the first library in Michigan to have its own antiracism team. We have begun selecting a team and we will begin training and working towards institutional equality.

Yes, as I said, it is truly an honor to be a part of this historical establishment.


Alma Powell

A Dad’s Guide to Childcare

We’re seeing more and more dads in the Children’s Room, as they bring their kids to storytime, choose books to take home, and share in the fun of playing with toys in the Story Place.

As more dads take on caregiver responsibilities, we are glad to see more parenting books written just for them. A Dad’s Guide to Childcare is one that I like. It’s practical, has clear photos that illustrate step-by-step processes, and even addresses difficult situations that may come up.

As part of the renovation of the Central Library Children’s Room, we’ve added some more Parenting books to our shelves. If you’re looking for books about parenting children from birth to 5 years, you can now find those books in the Children’s Room. We’d be glad to help you find the books that are just right for your family.


A Dad’s Guide to Childcare

999 Frogs and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten!

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is an exciting new program at Kalamazoo Public Library for all children from birth to entering Kindergarten. It's super simple, self paced, and provides a way for your child to earn a prize for every 50 books you read aloud to her and then a gift and certificate of completion when you reach 1,000 books. More important, since reading aloud to your child is the best way to prepare for kindergarten, 1,000 Before Kindergarten is a way for you to do just that - read lots of books with your child!

A parent asked me if the books she reads to her child for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten need to be library books. They do not. While Kalamazoo Public Library certainly has many thousands of books we can all share together with our preschool aged children, you might find yourself reading a book aloud to your child that you found at the Friends bookstore or that was passed along to you or purchased elsewhere. Of course this is just great! And the way you read the books is also completely up to you. Some books are made to be sung to your child. Other books benefit from the animal sounds you supply. There is a whole world of fun to be had reading to our children.

It's easy to sign up at the any KPL location. Learn more about 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten at KPL and continue down the road to Kindergarten. And if you're in the mood for a fun read aloud that will help you think ahead to Springtime, check out 999 Frogs Wake Up


999 Frogs and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten!

Come See the New Children's Room!

The newly renovated Children's Room is open and ready for you to explore! There are many exciting new features including a parenting section, folk and fairy tales highlighted in the Alice in Wonderland Room, and more display space for new Fiction, new Non-fiction, and new Picture Books.  The Story Place has room for Lego at the Library, story time programs, and more. I hope you'll take time to come in and see the new Children's Room over the holiday break.


Come See the New Children's Room!

Children's Room Changes

We've been busy renovating the Children's Room. Now there's a brand new Story Place! Soon there will be a new shelving layout and an exciting new Fairy Tale room that continues to feature Conrad Kaufman's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland themed murals and Jamie Rife's "Tall Small Alice" stained glass installation that so many have enjoyed over the years. The Children's Room will be closed Monday, December 16th, through Wednesday, December 18th, in order to change the way the room is arranged. The new Story Place will remain open for Toddler Storytime on the morning of Tuesday, December 17th. When Children's Room reopens on Thursday, December 19th, we hope you'll find an exciting new layout. 

We're in the brand new Story Place this morning,

We're reading stories and we're having fun,

We're glad you came to Story Time this morning,

I hope that you will want to sing along!


Children's Room Changes

Pedal Steel Musical Storytime

Our next Musical Storytime is coming right up! Last time, the multi-talented Mr. Ben Lau showed, played, and told us all about the pedal steel guitar! What an interesting mechanical musical instrument! It was neat to see how the cables, rods, and pedals work with Ben's musical playing to create music. Plus the pedal steel guitar makes some pretty great letter crane sounds! At Musical Storytime, we read stories, sing songs, play musical games and generally have fun with music, songs, and our imaginations. Everyone is always welcome. The program is designed for children from preschool age up to about eight years old.


Pedal Steel Musical Storytime

Things are happening!

The Local History Room has had to close up for a couple of days while we get organized into our expanded space. Things are quite a mess right now, but soon we’ll be enjoying more room and a great new layout.

Our collection isn’t accessible at the moment, but don’t forget that all the genealogy databases can be accessed from any of the computers in the Central Library and the branches, and there are many wonderful local history and genealogy books available in the circulating collection.





History Room Renovation
Beth T

Speedy Recovery, Octy!

Octy, who speaks with musical notes, not words as you and I do, wanted to let you know that the surgery was successful. Like Adele, John Mayer, and others lately, it was an issue with the vocal cords. Octy was overdoing it and was having a difficult time speaking and singing in tune. You might be glad to know that Octy's voice is recovering nicely. Octy would love to hear from you, especially with messages of “speedy recovery” or “best wishes”. Feel free to drop Octy a line via the mailbox in Children’s Room (see picture) or through the USPS addressed to “Octy” care of: Children’s Room, Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.


Speedy Recovery, Octy!

Fall into Fun at KPL

Fall back to school, back to football, bonfires, cozy fireside gatherings and fall back to fun @KPL! September is jam-packed full of programs and events for the whole family, so mark those calendars with your favorite fall picks!

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month! Check out the local businesses supporting our efforts to spread the word about the most powerful card in your wallet - your library card!

Save the Date
Library-Con: Friday, October 4 at Central. You won't want to miss this! Have you heard of Comic-Con? Come check out our spin on it at Library-Con, a one-day convention where you can dress up as your favorite character from popular media (books, movies, music, etc.) Stop by KPL Central in costume anytime between 11 am and 7 pm and get your very own Geek photo taken. Photos will be posted online for public voting October 7-9. For the little ones, the Children's Room is offering mask-making fun. It's also Art Hop night!

Fall Reading
If you haven't heard the news, KPL released the book titles for 2014 Reading Together. Nope, that's not a typo, for the first time in the history of Reading Together, two books by two authors have been chosen for discussion, and they are sure to whet your appetite! Pick up your copies of The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table by Tracie McMillan and Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter today, and get prepared for the best Reading Together yet!

Save a Life - Give Blood
KPL is hosting a blood drive with the American Red Cross on Tuesday, September 3.

Used Book Sale!
Don't miss the fantastic bargains at the Friends Annual Fall Bag-of-Books sale! Saturday, September 14, 9 am - 3:30 pm.

September Program & Event Highlights

For the Adults
Calling all music lovers, September is your month! Join us for the musical talents of Chris Richards + the Subtractions on Friday, September 18.  Feeling a little luck of the Irish? Come for an enchanting evening of Irish music and story telling at O'Duffy's Irish Pub with authors Erin Hart & Paddy O'Brien on Thursday, September 10. GLAMA jama your string instruments on Friday, September 4 then GLAMA jama your vocal chords with a community sing along on Thursday, September 10.

For our bookworms and history buffs, delve into the tragedy of the 1950 crash of NWA flight 2501 in Lake Michigan with Valerie Van Heest, director of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates and the award winning author of Fatal Crossing: Solving the Mystery of NWA Flight 2501 on Friday, September 11.    

Like birds? Explore our feathered friends via poetry with Robert Haight on Thursday, September 17 at Central.

Veg out with KPL and Vegan Gal Jill Ovnik on Thursday, September 24 at Eastwood. Ovnik will share her recipes for a happy and healthy life! Includes a cooking demo, recipe sharing and of course, taste testing!

Kiddy Korner
Gourdness gracious, the Lord of the Gourd is returning to KPL to share his jaunty jack-o-lantern designs with his hands-on, how-to presentations. Join us September 16-18.

LEGO your creativity at LEGO at the Library September 3, 7, 18 & 21st. We provide the LEGO's, you provide the design. Kids and their adults are welcome.

Celebrate back to school at Eastwood on Thursday, September 17, 5:30-7:30 pm. Robin Nott and friends will get toes tapping and hands clapping with great music and entertainment, while the Fresh Food Fairy brings fun with food. Refreshments will be provided.

Tween & Teen Tidbits
Got a tween or teen who is less than thrilled about returning to school? Curb the complaining and have them cartoon with Kenjji, create some fun projects with Washi, duct and packing tape at Tape It or plan programs and projects at T.A.B.

It's also never too early for them to begin thinking about college and how to prepare for it. Join us at one of the many sessions offered of Think College this September. The Kalamazoo Area College Action Network (KACAN) will share their insight on accessing information and preparing for college.

Calling all Ally Condie fans! Meet the author of the New York Times bestselling series Matched. Mark your calendars for November 7 at 6:30 pm at our Central location. Book signing and refreshments included. Book sales courtesy of Bookbug.

This is only a taste of what's to come this fall, for more fun @KPL, visit our calendar. We look forward to seeing you!


KPL Calendar

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month!

Do you remember your first wallet? I do. Mine was purple canvas with hot pink piping and a Velcro closure. In it was a few coins and my first piece of identification - my library card. I still remember the pride I felt the first time I checked out books at Palos Heights Public Library. My library card was like a golden ticket to Wonka's factory.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month - a time when the American Library Association and libraries across the country remind parents and caregivers that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. For students, a library card is their most essential school supply. A library card proides access to e-books, online homework help and a multitude of online research tools and resources for their studies. A library card at KPL also means access to computers and free Internet access. For those without Internet access at home, a library card may mean the difference between failing and having a successful school year.

Library Card Sign-up Month is also a great time to share your first library card story with friends, family and colleagues who don't have their own library card. Share with them the true value of libraries, and tell them what your library means to you! More than just books, today's libraries offer DVDs, CDs, e-books, music downloads, free Internet access and computer use as well as access to hundreds of online resources.

If you don't have a library card, what are you waiting for? Get signed up today!

What is your first library card story? Share it with us in the comments below, and we may feature your story on the homepage of our website during the month of September!


September is Library Card Sign-up Month