@ Your Library
Recent library events, news and more.
A warm spring breeze, a little much-needed sunshine, and some outstanding roots music all combined to make for an unforgettable Saturday afternoon at the Oshtemo Branch Library. Earth Day was Friday, April 22, but somehow KPL managed to stretch the celebration into a two day affair with a truly unique set of performances by a close-knit group of musicians from the Earthwork Music Collective.
While the younger members of the audience danced in the sunshine and adorned the parking lot with artistic sidewalk chalk creations, a crowd of more than 300 filled the tent and library garden area to enjoy an afternoon’s worth of music from some of the finest singers, songwriters and musicians Michigan has to offer. Yes, these folks are really that good.
Seth Bernard acted as MC for the afternoon and welcomed to the stage an amazing lineup of friends and family for a variety of captivating original tunes and timely “Earth-friendly” covers. Seth joined his longtime performing companion May Erlewine, the extended “Davis Family” (Rachael Davis with Joshua Davis and Dominic John Davis of Steppin’ In It and honorary Davis-for-a-day, Michael Shimmin “Davis”), Sam Corbin & Jen Sygit, Brandon and Bethany Foote (known collectively as Gifts or Creatures), Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp (known collectively as Red Tail Ring), and Josh Keller of Who Hit John? fame for some truly inspirational music in honor of the big blue ball. And there were several surprises along the way—from a glimpse of an upcoming Josh Davis solo project to an inspired sing-along of a timeless Woody Guthrie classic. KPL’s Kevin King kept the youngsters occupied with a reading of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss during intermission. You’ll find audio, video, photos and more from this event and others in KPL’s Concert Archives.
This was 46th show in KPL’s ongoing series of free live concerts, and (thankfully) there’s no end in sight. Upcoming shows include a May 18th appearance by An Dro, A special June 3rd Art Hop with Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street, high octane blues from the BMF Band on June 15, and to celebrate our 50th show, a special July return performance by Steppin’ In It, the very group that started the live music series back in June 2008! And that’s just a start. Watch for more details coming soon!
The Western Dance Project, the touring ensemble from Western Michigan University's Department of Dance, came to the Central Library to perform in the Rotunda over Spring Break. The program began with a dance choreographed to a movement from composer John Adams's trancelike Shaker Loops. The program also included a piece called "Little Blue Worm", a crowd favorite, about kids playing on the playground. After many other entertaining and beautiful dances, the program closed with an amazing hip hop peice by WMU Department of Dance alum Chopper Platt featuring eight different tracks of music in sequence.
Western Dance Project director and dance professor David Curwen told us about how dance works and even taught us some moves in between the dances. We're glad Western Dance Project made a stop at the library and we look forward to having the Western Dance Project back again!
Western Dance Project
“You mean, baseball type bats?”
“No, no. The very real, very alive, flying around type of bats!”
“You mean like bats in some belfry?”
“Well, yes, sometimes they’re found in literature belfries. But in this case, it’s bats at the library - the Eastwood Branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library to be exact!”
Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They gorge themselves on thousands of night-time insects during six-hour feeding flight frenzies since lucky for them, (but not so much for the insects being consumed) both are nocturnal. To accomplish this feat they use echolocation; an ability to emit and detect high-pitched sound waves, to target their prey.
Dale Smart of the Organization for Bat Conservation at Cranbrook Institute of Science (otherwise known as the Michigan Batman) visited the Eastwood Branch Library on April 4th. He is a bat specialist and the main “go-to” guy who promotes the bat cause through the educational programs he delivers to groups around the state. And he did a fantastic job at Eastwood explaining bats, their lives and behavior, the need for their conservation, as well as dispelling some of the misleading, negative myths surrounding the species.
To illustrate his points, he brought along four of his best, very webby friends; a shy, dog-faced bat named Kisser from the Philippine Islands, Gandolph the fruit bat from Egypt who can discern colors, (and who by the way also looks exactly like Stellaluna, from that book by Janell Cannon), Luciana, a Michigan brown bat, and of course, little Bob, a diminutive Jamaican native who weighs a mere 1½ lbs.
Both young and old in the audience of 150 were captivated by Dale’s presentation of these spectacular animals, and all pledged to be Bat Buddies for life!
Thank you, Dale! And of course, thanks to your untethered-to-feathers, fine flying friends!
Dale Smart of the Organization for Bat Conservation at Cranbrook Institute of Science
Attention SCRABBLE® players! Here’s your chance to show off your SCRABBLE® prowess or play just for fun with other enthusiasts. Kalamazoo Literacy Council is hosting the 1st Annual SCRABBLE® Fest on Saturday, April 16, 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. at Portage Northern High School. All levels of players are welcome but you must be at least 16 years of age. Register for either “Competitive” or “Just for Fun” games and play all afternoon for a fee of $25.
Join us for word-making fun and great prizes! All event proceeds will support adult literacy education in Kalamazoo County. Contact Andrea Enyedi, Ready to Read Program Coordinator for more information.
With Spring Break just around the corner, you can look forward to lots of great events to enjoy at your library!
These events and more at Kalamazoo Public Library are listed on the KPL calendar!
In a recent Chinese New Year program in the Van Deusen Auditorium, families who visited Kalamazoo Public Library enjoyed a story and performance by the Lion Dance Troupe from the Chinese Association of Greater Kalamazoo. We learned about the Chinese zodiac and everyone had the opportunity to meet the dancers, see the costumes up close, and even play the percussion instruments. That was fun!
Events at Your Library
What a great time was had by all when Jim Gill came to the Van Deusen Auditorium! Jim performed audience favorites while children and families clapped, danced, and sang along. When he presented his new picture book, A Soup Opera, the whole audience had the chance to be opera singers complete with sound effects and a musical soundtrack.
Jim Gill leaves people feeling like they attended something more than a concert. With wordplay and movement opportunities, Jim leads families in playing together with music and movement. He has a unique ability to get everyone in the room participating in songs and musical movement games. Videos of more concerts at KPL are available in the Live Concert Archive.
Take a look at upcoming events for children and families at the KPL children's program calendar.
Jim Gill Family Room Concert
We had a great Nintendo Wii Game Night at Powell! The release of The Experience, the new Michael Jackson video game, brought out lots of talent and some strong competition. On December 14 the tweens and teens from the Boys and Girls Club joined us and others for a fun-filled Smash Brothers and Wii dance night. The competition was fierce but there was one young man who out-Billy Jeaned them all. Powell has game nights from 6 pm - 7:30 pm on the second Tuesday of every month. Our next Game Night is scheduled for January 11, 2011.
Game Night at Powell
This past week author Cynthia Leitich Smith visited Kalamazoo for a few days. While here she visited with students at Woods Lake and Northglade elementary schools and with a group of teens at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home. On Friday, she was the keynote speaker for KPL’s annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar. The theme was “Crossing Borders” and all of the speakers addressed the idea that books for kids and teens help them understand, appreciate, and relate to others in their diverse communities, despite a wide variety of differences and borders.
Other speakers at the seminar were Beth Amidon and Maria Perez-Stable from Western Michigan University, Gillian Engberg, from the American Library Association’s “Booklist” journal, and Debbie Reese from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The seminar was wonderful . . . with much thoughtful discussion about books and kids and reading!
After the visit to Kalamazoo, both Cynthia and Debbie posted blogs on their websites: www.cynthialeitichsmith.com and www.americanindiansinchildrensliterature.net/.
We had a great time last week with this group of very talented writers and scholars. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list for information about next November’s seminar, contact Mary Knowles. See more photos of the 2010 Youth Literature Seminar on KPL’s Flickr photostream.
Kalamazoo Public Library has hosted some great dance programs in the last month! In October, Dunuya Drum and Dance performed Music and Dance of West Africa and the Diaspora. When they say they encourage audience interaction through singing, dancing, or playing instruments, they mean it! Everyone had the opportunity to dance and to play authentic instruments. What a great program!
In November, members of the Ballet Arts Ensemble performed some of their own pieces after Youth Services librarian Karen read the classic Grimm’s fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The show was a preview of the Ballet Arts Ensemble’s 12 Dancing Princesses performances at Chenery Audtorium on November 20th and 21st with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performing original music.
Kalamazoo Public Library’s calendar of children’s events has more programs. Mark your calendar for upcoming events now!
Dance! At Your Library!
On November 18, KPL’s Ready to Read program will host its 10th annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee. I was lucky enough to be on KPL’s first cheer team 10 years ago, and I’m excited to be cheering again this year. What can I say? It’s an absolute blast, and it supports a great cause. Ready to Read uses 100% of the Bee’s proceeds to purchase books for at-risk children in Kalamazoo County.
If you’ve never participated as a team member or a spectator, it’s not too late to organize a team, sponsor a group or purchase a ticket. Don’t miss it!
2008 KPL Spelling Bee Team