@ Your Library
Recent library events, news and more.
Linda Mah’s December 9 column in the Gazette highlighted the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP). This is an intensive home-intervention program that supports young, vulnerable, first time mom’s and their babies from pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. I’m proud to say Kalamazoo Public Library is a stakeholder in this valuable program.
NFP is federally funded but requires a local/MI match, and for months the future of Kalamazoo County’s NFP has been in jeopardy. Thanks to some money released from a reserve held by Kalamazoo County and a grant from the Kellogg Foundation, the NFP is secure for another year. Through the library’s Ready to Read early childhood literacy program, we provide books for the nearly 200 babies and moms served by the NFP. The NFP nurses deliver the books and promote family reading during their frequent home visits. Thanks to the Nurse Family Partnership and its dedicated staff, KPL has found another important way to extend its reach into the community.
We’re glad to have this opportunity to help young mothers get started reading aloud to their children early and often!
Those who packed Van Deusen Room were very privileged to hear David Small discuss the story and process behind his National Book Award nominated graphic memoir, Stitches, in a world premiere event on September 10, 2009.
The interview was set-up to resemble the popular television show Inside the Actor’s Studio, which provided David with a casual atmosphere to discuss Stitches. He answered a variety of questions about his life growing up in 1950’s Detroit with a family that could hardly be described as tightly knit.
The presentation also included some fabulous animated videos of the books, shots of sketches, and panel by panel storyboards. David was candid about both the physical and emotional wounds which took years to finally stitch together into a memoir that will touch many lives.
A second David Small visit is being planned for 2010, so please check the website often for more details.
David Small’s Presentation
Listen to David Small’s presentation (44:52)
Download David Small’s presentation as a podcast(MP3 audio file)
Watch David’s complete presentation in the series of videos below.
Storytime with Mr. Steve & Friends started off with a bang with special guest Professor Code from Western Michigan University's School of Music.
Professor Code shared four different instruments with us: the Swedish nyckelharpa (keyed fiddle), the Norwegian hardingfele (Harding fiddle), the Norwegian seljefløyta (willow flute) and the munnharpa (mouth harp).
Bean Bag Balance Record!
He also broke our bean bag balance record, balancing 13 bean bags on his head while counting in Norwegian!
Join us for books, rhymes, crafts, parachute games, and a surprise special guest at the next Storytime with Mr. Steve & Friends on Monday, October 26 at 6:30 pm at the Central Library.
Storytime with Mr. Steve & Friends
Jerry Garcia said the trouble started with comics. Author David Hajdu, who visited KPL on June 4, quoted the late Grateful Dead guitarist who claimed rock and roll culture — a romanticizing and escalation of violence, a cynicism toward authority and formal institutions, governments, schools — shouldn’t be blamed on Elvis. No, it went back further, to the 1940s, in the pages of comic books.
Not just any comic books, but a pulpy breed with a mean streak that turned the notion of comic book hero inside out. Not only were these books filled with violence, but the protagonist often was a perpetrator of it. Readers had voracious appetites for these stories, which crossed boundaries of gender and class. In those days, some 60 to 100 million comic books were sold each week. Reading comic books and trading them with friends was the most popular form of entertainment.
As this new breed of comics came to the forefront, kids seemed to change and parents took notice, Hajdu said. Then came “the clash” and the comics controversy was caught up in the larger Post-War “red scare.” The details of these times are captured in Hajdu’s book The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comics Scare and How it Changed America.
Listed on many of 2008’s “best books” lists, The Ten Cent Plague is the third book for David Hajdu, music critic for The New Republic and a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Hajdu says he is drawn to untold stories.
The untold story in Hajdu’s first book Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn, was about the composer and arranger of jazz who worked with Duke Ellington for some 30 years. You may think “Ellington” when you hear “Take the ‘A’ Train,” but you should also think “Billy Strayhorn.” Strayhorn was pure genius, but the glory went to Ellington.
After compiling this history of jazz musicians in Harlem and Paris, Hajdu went on to explore another facet of American music: the folk scene of early 1960s Greenwich Village. Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña dishes on these musicians and their contributions and examines how Dylan became Dylan.
Check out Hajdu’s books, all of which are in KPL’s collections, and read his music columns in The New Republic.
The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comics Scare and How it Changed America
One of the first principles you learn in theatre is to trust your partner. It’s also a required ingredient for two writers collaborating. Just ask Arnold Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy, the husband and wife team whose book of one-act plays has just been published. Duets is a collection is six short plays, “providing a view of the human heart in the tender war of love.”
Johnston and Percy write these plays together. Often one will start and hand off to the other. Absolute trust in your partner is required, they said.
These short plays are snippets of couples caught in the act of life. Johnston and Percy begin with the everyday: waiting for a client to appear, arguing over marriage counseling, climbing a monument. When two people know each other well, multiple conversations are carried on in just one sentence and the dialog reflects that intimacy of communication. As the issues of here and now are bandied about, there’s always a subtext or two. Johnston and Percy layer all that witty situational banter with the deeper issues confronted in relationships — agreements, confessions, trespasses, questions.
We hosted the authors at KPL on May 6 for a reading and book signing. Give a listen as they read from “A Pet of Temperance.”
Duets: Love Is Strange
TV Turnoff Week is April 20th through the 26th. If you’re looking for alternatives to watching TV, playing video games, or otherwise engaging in screen media - there’s a lot to choose from here at Kalamazoo Public Library.
Tune in to real live fun right here in your community. And if you’re not looking for alternatives to screen media, Kalamazoo Public Library has lots of movies and video games as well as internet access and even downloadable DVD quality programming from MyLibraryDV. These services and more are available just like always and they’re always free of charge.
TV Turnoff Week
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
On Thursday, April 2nd KPL welcomed Pietra Rivoli, author of The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, to the Central library for a fascinating discussion of her book and the complex issues related to the global economy. Dr. Rivoli’s book does just as its title suggests, it follows a t-shirt, chosen Rivoli says because of its ubiquity and, as she put it on Thursday, because “we all, everyone in this room, has more t-shirts than they know what to do with”, from cotton fields in Texas, across the globe to a textile factory in China, back to the United States to be sold to Rivoli from a discount bin and eventually and surprisingly to Tanzania. Dr. Rivoli’s talk was as engaging and as interesting as her book and encompassed free trade agreements, labor conditions worldwide, environmental impacts and basically all sides of the global economy argument and really much more. Pietra Rivoli was in Kalamazoo to speak at Kalamazoo College as part of the Kalamazoo College Business Guild 2009 Conference and our friends at K were kind enough to consider a public appearance by Dr. Rivoli and thought of the library as a good venue for such an event. A newly updated edition of Travels of a T-Shirt has just come out in paperback, and even if you previously enjoyed the book you will find the updated information well worth a second read.
Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy
Local music legend and co-host of WMUK's Grassroots program, Mark Sahlgren, helped celebrate Reading Together by performing music inspired by the Rick Bragg memoirs. Sahlgren was joined by Grassroots co-host Lorraine Caron (Duffield/Caron Project) and daughter Darcy Wilkin (Corn Fed Girls) in a set that featured a wide range of folk, country and Americana.
In addition to the great music, Sahlgren shared with the audience a stage filled with Gibson guitars, including several specifically crafted during the Depression which ties directly to the Bragg books. After hearing the sweet sounds of Caron, Wilkin, and Sahlgren the audience was encouraged to sing along to the final song!
Last night I enjoyed a warm discussion of Rick Bragg’s books led by my co-workers Joanna Lundberg and Ruth Wilson. Nearly everyone who came had read all three books. One reader said, “I finished the first book and was so glad there were two more.”
If you haven’t attended a discussion and would like to share your thoughts about the books, you can fill out a reply postcard. If you didn’t get one of these cards when you purchased or borrowed your book, stop by your library or bookstore and fill one out.
Here is a sampling of what some of our readers have written:
"It was interesting reading, told in a way that held your interest. Also telling of the possibilities one can achieve if one really wants to – a certain amount of good fortune does help."
"Fascinating story. Great author. Anxious to read the rest of the trilogy."
—A member of the Y Read Book Group/Kalamazoo County Family YMCA
"Excellent. Easy to read. Draws you in to the family, setting, society."
"I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Rick’s remembering his childhood, learning of his father. Great writing, without degrading it by profanity, etc."
"Delicious. I was so taken with it that I bought a copy for a friend who is in cancer treatment. He, too, is a newspaper “guy” and grew up in Maryland mountains, one of 9 children. The book also made me understand the feelings of people in the community in which I grew up in East Tennessee."
—A reader in Richland
"It was an excellent book. At first I thought it was another memoir written by another journalist writing about growing up in hard times. It was much more than that. I cried when he won the Pulitzer and how he and everyone else congratulated his mother. It was very moving. The book was very honest and made me look back at my own childhood."
—A reader in Schoolcraft
"Loved the descriptive humor of personalities in Southern vernacular. Appreciated the honest examination of character encased in wit."
—A reader in Kalamazoo
"So much feeling it was hard to put down. I’m the middle of three sons and have relatives in Georgia, so the pages came alive."
—A reader in Kalamazoo
—Three readers from Kalamazoo
Reading Together Book Discussion