@ Your Library

Recent library events, news and more.

Ghost Hunt!

One of the great rewards of parenting is remembering how to play make-believe. A perennial favorite is ghost hunt. The kids want to play a game of looking for ghosts around the house. A child proclaims that a small flashlight is actually an instrument to reveal where the ghosts have been. Ectoplasm? It’s suddenly everywhere we look!
Kids aren’t seeking to be too scared when they engage in imaginative play about scary subjects. They know how to stay in control of their own make-believe. Children’s fears and interests might inform their play as they learn how to regulate scary feelings. I’m pretty sure my job as a parent is to play along. As demonstrated by the dad in the family favorite My Neighbor Totoro, laughter is the ever available antidote to childhood fears. It also can be helpful to mix up a big batch of monster repellent in order to ward off bedtime fears.
What are some of your favorite ways to make-believe with the kids?


Ghost Hunt!

Musical Storytime

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.


Musical Storytime

Family Literacy Night at KPL

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

Kindergarten Orientation

Kindergarten orientation is March 20th at all Kalamazoo Public Schools elementary schools. Recent legislation in the State of Michigan has changed the entry age for kindergarten. Over the next two years, the entry age will gradually be changed to require children to be 5 years old by September 1st rather than the current cutoff date of December 1st.

Here’s how the entry ages will gradually change over the next few years:
• 2013-2014 School Year – at least 5 years of age on November 1, 2013.
• 2014-2015 School Year - at least 5 years of age on October 1, 2013.
• 2015-2016 School Year - at least 5 years of age on September 1, 2013.


Kindergarten Orientation



Cooking with Kids

Inspired by Sarah Weeks’s book Pie, these young cooks are building a lattice crust with some help from their mom. Kids love to eat. And kids want to help create the food they eat. Plenty of practical kitchen skills can be learned and practiced when you share kitchen duties with the kids. Have a satisfying time in the kitchen by meeting children’s interests where they already have skills and then extending just a little bit. A three year old is often content to dump some dry ingredients into a mixing bowl whereas a seven year old is likely able to interpret meaning from a recipe, measure ingredients with scoops and scale, prepare a salad, and prepare many elements of a meal to be proud of. Of course, it's best to hold onto potentially hazardous kitchen tasks involving high heat and knife skills until children are ready. 

Your library has lots of cookbooks for children and their adults to use together. Some popular favorites include the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook, the Little House Cookbook, the Around the World Cookbook, and Vegan Lunch Box among many others. Chop Chop is an excellent magazine about cooking for kids and families. Share kitchen tasks with the kids for memorable times in the kitchen and an even more delicious dinner.


Cooking with Kids



Dance Party!

As for many families, our family computer has become a center for listening to music. It can be difficult not to be distracted by the screen when it's time for an impromptu dance party. I like to turn the screen off or, for a more festive effect, drape a tapestry over the screen. Dance parties with kids work better when the music is heard, not seen.

It's always a good time for a dance party! Moving with music as a family is a stress buster and a brain boost at the same time. While I don't actually know that dancing with your kids in the living room boosts brain power, I do know that you can connect your child to music that's important to you - like your favorite dad rock on Freegal - and beat the winter blahs. When you and your kids are dancing to music together, you're enjoying music, movement, and each other's company.


Dance Party!

Pre-Reading Skills are our Priority

“You're Never Too Old, Too Wacky, Too Wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Reading with our children is something we know that we should do to help them become great readers. But it’s not always evident how best to go about it. As parents we often hear the message to read to our babies but if we are new to parenting, we might wonder what reading to a baby should look like and what benefit it is to the child or the parent. Over the next few weeks, I want to give a few tips for reading to young children, especially the things that helped me as a new parent. This will be a series of posts on six pre-reading skills children need to develop with some tips on how to practice each skill at home with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Our strategic priority is “Creating Young Readers” at KPL and we want parents and caregivers to have the tools they need to be their child’s first and best teacher! Stay tuned for more early literacy resources from our library staff! 


Pre-Reading Skills are our Priority

The Library – Don’t Leave Home without It – Accessing its Resources, that is!

Last year I planned a trip to Ecuador.

In researching for the trip, I used many library resources. I studied Spanish through the help of the Pimsleur Method, an excellent process for learning a language. (Carve out 30 minutes a day to ‘escuchar y repetir’ – listen and repeat – perhaps during your daily commute. After several days, you have the beginnings of a new language under your belt!) I also checked out a few Spanish language instruction books, so I could begin to recognize the words I was learning to say. MeLCat came through, for me. When I was ready to move on to a different Pimsleur level, I requested my next set of CDs via interlibrary-loan through MeLCat.

I watched movies about South America or set in Ecuador and practiced listening to Spanish, while viewing the gorgeous scenery. I devoured books about the Galapagos Islands. The Friends of the Library bookstore was my friend, too. There I purchased a gently-used Frommers Guide to South America, at a bargain basement price.

I also gathered information about the people and culture of Ecuador through the CultureGrams online database. (Note: anyone with a KPL library card may access this from home. Please ask at the Reference Desk, 553-7801, for more information.)

Using the Value Calculator, I figure the library saved me around $200 for this process alone. What trip would you like to plan? How can KPL help you save while you research your next travel experience?


The Galapagos: exploring Darwin's tapestry

Winter break fun at KPL

Are you looking for something fun to do on break? Stop in at the library - we have a lot going on!

Thursday, December 27

Yummy New Year's Hats

Kawanzaa Celebration

Friday, December 28

Duct Tape DIY

Wednesday, January 2

Winter Crafts

Candy Craze

Winter Warm Up - drop in

Reading with Bailey

Thursday, January 3

Thumbprint Art Class

Fit Families

Make a Calendar

Saturday, January 5

LEGO @ the Library

First Saturday at the Library


Winter Break Fun

Powell's Urban Fiction book discussion

On October 23 the Alma Powell Branch had a very lively book discussion on the book Daddy's House by Azarel. The book group will meet again on November 20 to discuss The Prada Plan book 1 & 2. If you like Urban Fiction please join us at 6:00 on 11/20 at Powell. See you then.


Daddy's House