@ Your Library
The afternoon of Saturday, May 31, 2014 marked the beginning of a new annual event at KPL: Three Book Battle. Middle School students from seven different schools joined forces and battled through book knowledge on The Giver, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and Return to Sender to be the first Three Book Battle champion. Teams competed in two battles that day for a total of 48 questions, 16 from each book. Huddles were formed, decisions were made, pencils moved frantically, and pride filled the Van Deusen Room!
This new event for 6th-8th graders set the bar high for the future with near perfect scores and contagious reading enthusiasm. Teen Services would like to thank the Friends of KPL for providing a mini grant opportunity to sponsor this event. Each team received a set of books to keep, Jones Soda and a Bookbug gift card to fuel their love of reading.
Congratulations go out to our final battle teams:
- 1st place – The Dauntless Snowballs of Revolution
- 2nd place – The Wolverines
- 3rd place – The Divergents
- 4th place – The Red Panda Readers
- 5th place – The Carter Crew
Plans are already underway for the 2015 Three Book Battle. Thank you KPL Teen Services, the Friends of KPL, TBB participants and the audience for making our first Three Book Battle one for the record books!
Three Book Battle
This spring, we celebrated the 20th year of the Global Reading Challenge! This quiz-bowl program is for 4th and 5th graders. Students form teams at their schools, read ten books chosen by KPL children’s librarians, then work as a team to answer questions about the books, earning points with correct answers.
Our intent is for kids to have fun reading the books and participating in a team activity. The ten books are carefully chosen to reflect our diverse world and to show characters successfully solving problems, contributing to their communities, and learning that people are more alike than they are different.
The first Challenge, in 1994, featured 19 teams from Lincoln, North Christian, and MLK Westwood; the winning team was the “Bookworm Warriors” from MLK Westwood. This year we had 129 teams from 17 schools! The District Final Challenge featured teams from Edison, Arcadia, Prairie Ridge, Spring Valley, and Northglade. The champion was the “Crazy Cougars” team from Prairie Ridge. Thanks to the students, parents, teachers, principals, and coaches for another successful year of books and reading!
Over this summer, librarians will be reading and choosing the books for the 2015 Global Reading Challenge. Team applications will be accepted in October and the book titles will be announced in December.
Global Reading Challenge
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.
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
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!
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!
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
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
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!
If you’ve been on the second floor of Central Library recently, you’ve seen some signs of renovation. Soon, some of that work will move to the first floor Children’s Room. Yes, we’ll soon see some changes that will support our new emphasis as a Family Place Library. That designation will align us with over 300 libraries in 23 states which have made a commitment to serving families with children from birth to age 5. Here’s the website: http://www.familyplacelibraries.org/.
What makes a Family Place Library special? Here are the core components:
- Strong collections of materials (books, music, toys) for babies, toddlers, parents and caregivers.
- The Parent-Child Workshop, which is a 5-week program for toddlers and parents, which emphasizes the importance of play and the importance of parents as a child’s first teachers.
- Coalition-building with community organizations to develop programs and services that meet local needs.
- Outreach to new and non-traditional library users, especially parents and very young children.
- Developmentally-appropriate programming for very young children and their parents.
- Library staff trained in family support, child development, parent education, and best practices.
Here at KPL, we’re just getting started on implementing Family Place Libraries. One of the most exciting projects is expanding the space in Children’s Room at Central Library so that we have more room to play! Soon, you’ll see a brand-new Activity Room open, the Story Room will lose one of its walls, and some things will be re-arranged. We’re excited about this time of growth and hope that you’ll be a part of our development as a Family Place Library!
Family Place Libraries
The next time you visit the second floor, you may think to yourself that things are not exactly the way you left them. It’s not your imagination; we have started to move things around in anticipation of renovating the Clarence L. Miller Family Local History Room. At this point the changes are minor, but we hope you will enjoy a lot more wonderful sunlight as we remove the shelving that once defined the eastern edge of the Local History Room. This also allows us to immediately serve patrons in this area from one desk, rather than two. We expect to start truly kicking up dust near the end of August.
Speaking of dust, on the first floor you may hear some construction noises coming from the staff areas. In preparation for the expansion of the Children’s Room, we are moving things around and consolidating spaces. Advances in technology and process improvements have helped use less space to circulate more materials. This frees up some square footage adjacent to the Children’s Room, which can be annexed to provide more activity space for children. So those noises you hear will become a fun new space in just a few months. Stay tuned.
The Association for Library Services for Children maintains a great web resource for families: the cleverly-named Great Websites for Kids. The folks at ALSC are always watching for terrific resources for this list; recently, they added ten new sites. Aimed at kids up to age 14, there are also some very good sites aimed at parents and caregivers.
Using links like these, which are all vetted by the American Library Association, is one way for parents to sort through the immensity of the internet in search of quality sites for kids. Take a look at some of these and let us know what you think.
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
If you missed the Art Hop circuit Friday please consider stopping at the Alma Powell Branch during our open hours and check out John Wijnberg’s exhibit. It’s one of our better exhibits if not our best.
John has provided us with some great portraits as well as some scenic ones. This exhibit will be showing until late September.
Paintings by John Wijnberg
Through the generous support of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society, the Oshtemo Branch Library of KPL is pleased to offer a telescope available for check out! The telescope, an Orion Star Blast 4.5" Astro, comes with a kit that includes all the tools you need to observe the skies, along with a simple instruction manual and star maps.
Members of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society will be at the Oshtemo Library on Monday, July 16 at 3pm to talk with the public about the telescope, astronomy, and KAS. At 6pm they'll teach you how to use a variety of telescopes, including the library's Orion Star Blast. If you have an old telescope collecting dust, bring it in and they'll teach you how to use it! Then, on August 8, they'll host an observation session outside the Oshtemo Library.
Beginning Tuesday, July 17, the telescope may be checked out at the Oshtemo Branch Library for up to two weeks. You may place a hold on the telescope, but it can only be picked up at and returned to the Oshtemo Branch.
While anyone may attend the telescope workshop and observation session, please be aware that the telescope is available to Kalamazoo Public Library resident borrowers in good standing, who are at least 18 years old and have a valid license.
Backyard Astronomer's Guide
Yesterday marked the beginning of Choose Privacy Week, a national public awareness campaign, sponsored by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, that seeks to educate the public on how to protect their privacy and understand their rights. Today’s digital age offers access to a wealth of information and numerous platforms for communication, but some new tools and technologies make tracking the activities of individuals easier than ever. Some members of Congress want to use these tools and technologies, like Facebook and Google, to monitor online activity. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), passed in the House of Representatives on April 26, is a bill that aims to investigate cyber threats against the United States. The act would allow “elements of the intelligence community to share cyber threat intelligence with private-sector entities and utilities and to encourage the sharing of such intelligence.” What is considered a cyber threat is up for debate. A recent case involving the Twitter comments of British tourists is a good example of potential problems.
In this video, Michael German, senior policy counsel for national security and privacy for the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, talks about the government’s utilization of data mining for surveillance purposes.
Please visit Privacy Revolution to learn more about what you can do to protect your privacy.
The Kalamazoo Public Library is committed to protecting your privacy. The library does not release or disclose your personal information or library records without your written consent, or a court order. Please refer to the library's policy on the disclosure of registration and circulation records for more detailed information. As always, you may contact a librarian to learn more about this issue.
Why is privacy important to you? Who do you trust with your information?
American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
Every Wednesday at the Oshtemo Branch Library we partner with Connie Koening, an experienced Registered Nurse and Coordinator of Bronson Family Centered Education, from Bronson Hospital. Under Connie’s guidance, we host 2 programs – Toddler Talk on Wednesday mornings from 10:00 to 12:00 and Baby Talk from 1:30 to 3:30. Programs are designed to gather Moms, Dads, and interested adult caregivers and their children for good old fashioned play. Ms Koning facilitates discussions among the adults while the toddlers play with puppets, puzzles and look at books. Once a month, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, I present a storytime planned especially for toddlers. I share stories, finger plays and action movements with the families.
Baby Talk meets weekly from 1:30 to 3:30 every Wednesday as well. We invite families with babies up to one year old to join Connie to network with other Moms and share the joys and trials of caring for a new baby. Again storytimes are offered on the third Wednesday of the month.
Come join us for some good old fashioned fun!
Storytimes at Oshtemo Branch Library
Believe it or not, this week we just passed another milestone - number 60 in KPL’s series of free concerts! Seriously, where does the time go? The Mickeys, a Kalamazoo-based foursome fronted by twin sisters Amy Sherman and Julie Peebles put on a wonderful performance Wednesday evening in front of a large KPL crowd. The sisters’ vocal harmonies are tight and focused, with superb instrumentation added by multi-instrumentalist Bascom Peebles and bassist Tom Rogers.
The Mickeys team took the audience (including Mom and Dad Mickey!) through a sixteen-song set, which included plenty of original material from their first two CDs (Finding Our Way and Walk Along), plus a sample from a soon to be released third. Great stuff! They included a cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflower,” but their super-strong original material was definitely the highlight. Learn more about the Mickeys on their website and hear some samples of their recordings on Facebook and MySpace. Of course you’ll also find their complete KPL performance linked on our Concert Archives page.
Going back a month, KPL capped off another amazing year of concerts with a December 14th appearance by award-winning singer/songwriter Shelagh Brown. Shelagh is quickly making a name for herself as an up-and-coming country star. She not only earned a Readers’ Choice Award from the Kalamazoo Gazette in 2011, but won a nationwide contest to sing a duet with country star Josh Gracin on his latest release. Shelagh’s set at KPL featured highlights of her own work, plus a timely version of “Let it Snow.” Catch highlights of her KPL performance in our Concert Archives, and watch for more great things from Shelagh in the very near future.
Coming up next… be SURE to catch our February concert, featuring Jerome Holloway, he’s an AMAZING vocalist and musician. If you like his contemporaries like say Ben Harper or Jack Johnson, you’re going to love this concert. Jerome’s voice is smooth as silk and his songwriting is superb. Visit his website and listen to a few samples (very generously, you can download more than a half-dozen complete songs!), you won’t be disappointed!
Hope to see you there!
Concerts @ KPL
On December 13th we're having our second Pizza & Pages book discussion at Powell. We had 12 girls to sign up and read a book called Prime Choice. Prime Choice is the first edition in a teen series by Stephanie Perry Moore. In the Perry Skky Jr. Series author Stephanie Perry Moore is writing from a male perspective, so even though a bunch of girls signed up for it, young men might find this series interesting, too. We’ve heard from the young ladies who've read the book that they loved it.
As the December holiday season rolls around, it seems like it might be a good time to look back at KPL’s concert performances and try to catch up with what’s been happening over the past several weeks.
The highlight of Summer Reading was of course KPL’s amazing end-of-summer concert featuring The Verve Pipe. What a show! The band gave a terrific all-ages performance in Bronson Park on August 28th, and played a bunch of tunes from The Family Album, with a couple of classics thrown in for good measure. I’m honestly not sure who had more fun, the band or the crowd! If you missed it, the band was kind enough to let us post the entire show on our Concert Archives page!
Back in the Van Deusen Room, Joe Wang and the Test Pilots pulled off a great show in September with a full set of originals and a couple of cool covers. (When was the last time you heard a live band play a Vapors tune?!) Typically an electric band, the library setting allowed “Joe” (Peter George, Tom Cross, Mark Kalinowski, Tony Nuismer) to stretch out with a rare acoustic set that let their excellent songwriting abilities shine through. As the JWTP Twitter feed says, “The KPL gig has been immortalized on YouTube.. there’s no denying it.” You can see and hear the entire show via our Concert Archives page! …And if you get a chance to see them play live, do it—you won’t be disappointed.
Midnight Cattle Callers
One of my favorite shows of the series was an October performance by Gifts or Creatures. You might remember that Brandon and Bethany Foote were a highlight of KPL’s Earth Week Celebration at the Oshtemo Branch Library last April. For our 55th live show, the husband-wife duo returned to the Van Deusen Room with some help from good friends Joshua Keller, Ty Forquer, and Ian Gorman. They worked their way through more than a dozen homespun originals, before label-mates Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp (Red Tail Ring) added vocal harmonies to the set-ending version of “I Shall Be Released.” If you like truly inspired Michigan-rooted songwriting, Brandon and Bethany are two of the best! See and hear the full performance on our Concert Archives page.
November brought even more amazing talent to KPL. West Michigan-based Midnight Cattle Callers (another personal favorite!) provided an evening of old-time, country, bluegrass, jazz and swing on November 16th. The following weekend, KPL participated in the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, with inspired music and conversation by flutists Michael Chikuzen Gould (Japanese shakuhachi) and Juan Manuel Cruz (Native American flute). Art Hop on December 2nd featured a wonderful set by classical guitarist Jeff Dwarshuis.
Michael Chikuzen Gould
So what’s next? Well... KPL’s December concert, #59 in the series and our 20th this year (but who’s counting?!) will be Kalamazoo’s own up-and-coming country singer Shelagh Brown. Shelagh received an honorable mention in the 2011 Gazette Readers’ Choice Awards, and won a nationwide contest to sing a duet with country superstar Josh Gracin. She has an amazing voice! Don’t miss Shelagh’s special KPL concert in the Van Deusen Room on Wednesday, December 14th!
And speaking of the holiday season, here’s an idea... the works produced by these or any of our other fine local artists would make great gifts for anyone on your list! Think global, buy local!
Ho Ho Ho! Happy listening!
Juan Manuel Cruz, part of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music
It's time for Singalong Storytime! Join us in the Van Deusen Room at the Central Library at 6:30 pm this Thursday, October 20th, for a very special Singalong Storytime with special guest Rachel Flanigan, the clarinetist from the Red Sea Pedestrians! Rachel will show us the clarinet and play along with some special songs! Of course, we'll have some great read alouds, some puppet fun, and songs to sing along with or listen to.
We estimate close to 1,000 attended the “Banned Books Art Hop and Read Out” here on Friday evening!
If you attended, you saw the wide array of artistic interpretations of the six banned or challenged books and heard emotional readings from all six of them. I heard several attendees whisper that they were surprised at the books, surprised that someone in some community had challenged that particular book.
Banned Books Art Contest Winners
- Overall Senior Winner ($1000 – Randal Brumitt, “The Hope List”
- Overall Junior Winner ($150) – Hannah Higgins, “Huck Finn”
- 1st Runner-Up Junior Winner ($100) – Maryangela Thornton, “Stay Alive”
- 2nd Runner-Up Junior Winner ($50) – Maureen Reed, “Huck & Jim”
- Honorable Mention Senior (TIE)
– Cathy Germay, “No Nigger”
– Kaitlynn Radabaugh, “Stand Up”
- Honorable Mention Junior – Essence Cline Coe, “The Good Life”
- People’s Choice Senior – Cathy Germay, “No Nigger”
- People’s Choice Junior – Maureen Reed, “Huck & Jim”
The winners are listed on our website, the books are available in our collection... they aren’t banned in Kalamazoo.
This annual event gives us pause to celebrate the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.
Author Deborah Ann Percy reads from “Hunger Games” during the Banned Books Art Hop and Read Out.
Graham Parsons & the Go-Rounds (Andy Catlin, Grant Littler, Tod Kloosterman, Adam Danis) brought their own special breed of magic to the Van Deusen Room Wednesday night, for the 52nd installment of KPL’s concert series. Together since November 2009, the homegrown five-piece combines Parsons’ powerful voice and introspective lyrics with a layered yet balanced instrumental mix… some serious roots rock with the looseness of a jam band with just enough ambient texture and sonic psychedelia to keep things interesting. Here’s proof…
Need more? Next Wednesday, August 24th, Graham Parsons hosts a singer/songwriter showcase with Michael Beauchamp at The Strutt during the Boogie Records Revival. Graham and the Go-Rounds are back at The Strutt on September 22nd. Check The Strutt website for details.
Go Rounds “To Go”
And speaking of The Strutt… if seeing the band play live isn’t enough, you’ll find recordings by Graham Parsons (with and without the Go-Rounds) and lots of other great local artists on the venue’s own record label—not surprising since Go-Round Andy Catlin manages the Strutt Records studio in the basement of the café. You’ll find Graham’s peaceful “Migration” on The Strutt’s “350” compilation, plus a full length release on Strutt Records entitled “Farmhand.” Graham and the Go Rounds’ have released a “Triple A-Side” single and a self-titled live album.
Concerts @ KPL
As for KPL’s concert series, the fun continues in August when The Verve Pipe puts on a special family friendly concert in Bronson Park in support of their aptly titled new Family Album. Then back to Central Library for Joe Wang and the Test Pilots in September, Gifts or Creatures in October, and Midnight Cattle Callers in November. Stay tuned.
Graham Parsons & the Go-Rounds
Recently at the Alma Powell Branch we did a teen program called Pizza and Pages. We read and discussed the book Sweet, Hereafter by Angela Johnson and I bet everyone knows what we did with the pizza part of Pizza and Pages. The book was a great pick for our first book discussion. It was a 117 page easy read. It was thought provoking and infectious. Once we started reading it was hard to put down. What really surprised me, though, was that it was a time warp; it could’ve been any generation or any war era. Angela Johnson achieved what all great artists try to achieve. She filled our minds with questions. Who was Alice? Was Sweet a girl or a boy? Which war time was it? And lots more!
Everyone is looking forward to Powell’s next Pizza and Pages!
On July 6, the Kalamazoo Public Library was honored to host the World Premiere of author Bonnie Jo Campbell’s newest novel Once Upon A River. The novel that has been listed by NPR, CNN, Newsweek and The Daily Beast as being a “must read” and essential summer novel. These accolades should not lead you to believe it is a beach read because it has been earning critical praise from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Detroit Free Press, and the Wall Street Journal. Recently the Washington Post critic Ron Charles wrote, “The wonder of Once Upon a River is how fresh and weathered it seems at the same time. Ardently turning these pages, I felt as though I’d been waiting for this book and yet somehow already knew it. After her critically acclaimed collection of short stories, American Salvage, Bonnie Jo Campbell has built her new novel like a modern-day craftsman from the old timbers of our national myths about loners living off the land, rugged tales as perilous as they are alluring. Without sacrificing any of its originality, this story comes bearing the saw marks of classic American literature, the rough-hewn sister of The Leatherstocking Tales, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Walden.”
After Bonnie acknowledged many of the people in the audience who contributed to the book in some way or another, the evening started with a reading of the first chapter which introduced the main protagonist of the novel, Margo. She is a character who possesses a tremendous amount of spirit and adventure that can only be found in the citizens of southwest Michigan. The reading was followed up with an informative and entertaining Q&A. Bonnie answered a variety of questions about the writing process as well as inspiration for the book. The over 160 in the crowd were treated to an education!
Most in the crowd agree that Once Upon A River deserves similar, if not more accolades than her previous book the National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage. If this novel is not on multiple “Best of 2011” lists I will be shocked! I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Once Upon A River in the mail a few months ago. After reading the first 50 pages, I turned to my wife and stated that it was the best books I had read in years. I then proceeded to neglect my family and friends until I finished the book. Check out a copy or place one on hold, but be sure to prepare your family for your absence because you will be floating down the river lost in an amazing book.
Bonnie Jo Campbell @ KPL
The Binder Park Zoomobile visited the Eastwood Branch Library on June 17th and delivered an animal program not once, but twice, back-to-back, which together attracted over 240 audience members. Alex, the Zoomobile Animal Specialist and educator, brought along five amazing animal friends, informing the audience of their special abilities and characteristics, as well as sharing a few fun folktales focusing on two of the creatures.
Highlighted was Adelaide the kookaburra, an exotic bird specimen from Australia. Considering that this was this feathered vocalist’s first presentation outside zoo confines, she did wonderfully well, and everyone was appropriately impressed by her plumage and exceptionally calm demeanor. No stage fright here!
Also featured was a red-kneed tarantula from Central America, which evoked many “Ooh’s” and “Aah’s,” as well as an occasional shriek, coming noticeably from a few of the younger attendees.
A Central African pancake tortoise named Flap Jack, as well as Scooter, a cute African pygmy hedgehog came next on the roster of Binder Park offerings.
And finally to wrap up the show, there was a special appearance by a striped boa constrictor which also hails from Central Africa. Program listeners were allowed to touch this one, and more than a few actually dared do so!
To sum up, this was a great program that was educational, entertaining and pleasing to both young and old.
P.S. Many more animal programs are scheduled at the Eastwood Branch Library this coming July and August for the entire family to enjoy. Please check them out on the online calendar. They’re fun, free and make the library the happening summer place it’s meant to be. See you there!
Alex from the Binder Park Zoo
Accolades from the music press are always nice, but when Corky Siegel calls someone his favorite harmonica player, people tend to pay attention. Once a student of Big Walter Horton, Peter Madcat Ruth has been blowin’ harp around these parts for more than four decades and has performed with some of the best.
In 1990, Madcat joined guitarist and singer Shari Kane, “the most dangerous fingerstyle blues guitarist north of the Yazoo,” to form Madcat & Kane. Since then, the Ann Arbor-based couple has toured extensively, playing at some of the most prestigious blues venues in the country. Then add two of Michigan’s most versatile musicians to the mix, Mark Schrock and Mike Shimmin, and you have Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street, an acoustic quartet of considerable power and finesse.
To be able to witness talent like this in our own fair city is a treat in and of itself, but to see them at the library—free of charge nonetheless—made last Friday an Art Hop to remember. The fast-paced set opened with a Charley Patton standard from the 1930s, “Moon Goin’ Down,” and rolled on through more than ninety minutes of Delta blues standards, trains songs and “Mississippi party music” by the likes of Furry Lewis, Walter Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and others. “We like to dig deep, deep down,” Ruth noted, “and find some of those old acoustic blues things that kinda’ got lost and no one’s doing them anymore… keep ‘em goin’.”
You can find lots of what they played at KPL on the quartet’s latest CD, Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street Live at the Creole Gallery, and you can download a podcast of the Art Hop show in the KPL Concert Archives.
“This is a gorgeous library,” Shari adds. “I love Ann Arbor, but it was such a treat to come here… it’s such a jewel of a city that you have here.” Thanks, Shari, we think so, too—please come back and see us any time!
Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street
Kalamazoo Public Library was very pleased to host illustrator Kim Shaw in an Anti Bullying Art Workshop. Kim presented her newest book, The Juice Box Bully, and then led a lively discussion on bullies and friendship. It was clear from the response of the school aged and adult audience that the topic is more timely than ever.
Kim then led an interactive drawing workshop wherein everyone had the opportunity to learn and practice some great drawing skills. Kids especially enjoyed this part - essentially a a small intro to drawing class for nearly fifty! Lots of nice drawings emerged from the Van Deusen room.
Kim created the art for The Juice Box Bully based on Kalamazoo's Woodward School for Technology and Research. Listen to Kim discuss how that real-life school influenced her illustrations.
Anti Bully Art Workshop
An Dro likes to call itself Celtic-based, globally infused world-beat music—a fairly accurate description, it seems. And its members, none of whom are strangers to Kalamazoo audiences, come from an equally diverse mixture of backgrounds and musical experiences. Michele Venegas, once a member of Fonn Mór, is an accomplished fiddler who can certainly stand with the best. Fred Wilson, once a member of the Irish music group Amadaun, brings influences from his years of teaching at home and abroad to his articulate guitar and mandolin work. Jim Spalink, also a member of Amadaun who later went on to form Puck Faire, adds texture to the An Dro sound with a blend of Celtic harp, hurdy-gurdy, bouzouki, lute and recorder. Percussionist extraordinaire Carolyn Koebel, also a member of Fonn Mór, is well known and loved around these parts for her work with Blue Dahlia, Dunuya Drum and Dance, and a host of others.
For those of us who relish the instrumental side of Celtic-world fusion, this show was indeed a real treat. The four members seamlessly wove traditional Irish reels, an dro dance tunes (an dro is a traditional form of folk dance from Brittany), floating European and Middle Eastern influenced melodies and inspired originals into a dozen pieces to fill a gorgeous 90 minute set. The crowd of more than a hundred rewarded the group with a well-deserved standing ovation at the end. If you missed the show (shame on you) or you would like to relive part or all, you’ll find audio, video, and photo souvenirs on our Concert Archives page.
Over the summer, you’ll find An Dro performing at the Buttermilk Jamboree near Yankee Springs on June 12, and elsewhere throughout West Michigan. Check the band’s calendar for details.
Coming up at KPL, don’t miss a special Art Hop Concert on June 3 with special guests Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street, and on June 15, be sure to catch the amazing Brian Michael Fischer and the BMF band. And Summer @ kpl is just getting started…
If you’ve visited the Kids & Parents section of the KPL website lately, you might have noticed the small live webcast located in the lower right-hand corner of the page. A quick click of the play icon and you’ll see a direct live video feed from the Raptor Resource Project (RRP) that lets you keep tabs 24/7 on a family of nesting bald eagles high above a fish hatchery in extreme northeast Iowa.
The Raptor Resource Project (a 501(c)(3) non-profit) directly manages more than thirty falcon, owl and eagle nesting sites across the US, while advocating preservation and research through lectures, education programs and its own website.
Perched some eighty feet above the ground on private property near the fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa, the nest itself is massive; nearly six feet across, four feet deep, and weighing roughly half-a-ton. This same nest was featured in American Eagle, a 2008 PBS documentary by Emmy-winning cinematographer Neil Rettig, the first-ever HD feature about bald eagles.
Last October, a team of experts installed two treetop cameras overlooking the nest. The main camera is mounted about five feet above the nest and streams live 24/7, while the other has pan-tilt-zoom capability and is operated remotely whenever there is significant activity. Infrared night vision (invisible to the eagles) allows for nighttime viewing. The live stream has been surprisingly captivating to watch—I occasionally keep it open in a small window on my desktop. (The accompanying live audio stream even makes a great natural soundscape!)
In late February, their work began to pay off as a nesting female laid her first egg, while the male dutifully kept the nest supplied with food. The second egg came along three days later on February 26, and a third on March 2.
The pair took turns tending to the eggs while the other left the nest, only to return a short time later with something fresh to eat—usually a fish or small animal. At times, the birds battled seemingly insurmountable odds; heavy show, bitter winds and torrential rain.
The first egg hatched on April 2, the second and third followed just days later. Three tiny bundles of helpless fuzz that within a few short weeks, have since grown to become clumbsy yet capable young eaglets, now able to stand, stretch, and move freely around the nest. When the adults are absent, the youngsters often sit near the edge of the nest and peer over, perhaps wondering when and from where lunchtime will arrive. By the end of June (after roughly 11-12 weeks), the young birds will learn to fly and leave the nest on their own. The cycle then begins again.
So next time you’re on the Kids & Parents page, drop in on our new friends. And you won’t be alone. Since it began, the Decorah Eagles website has received a whopping 98.3+ million views, with several tens of thousands of viewers watching at any given time!
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
What has hearing so acute that it can hear a mouse moving under the snow from a football field length away?
Turns out it’s a barred owl. The owl is just one of the feathered “super heroes from the sky” that recently visited Washington Square Branch Library, as part of a program presented by the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Children and adults alike were fascinated to see raptors up close, and to learn about the birds from knowledgeable Nature Center staff.
Check out library programs for all ages online at our KPL website, or pick up a printed schedule at any of our library locations. We have something for everyone!
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.
The Friends held a very successful two day sale at the Oshtemo Branch Library earlier this month. Starting Friday morning, before Oshtemo opened, eager book buyers lined up for the chance to peruse the tables loaded with all sorts of great finds. Books were being sold for $.50 or 3 for $1.00. According to Carol Manstrom, Bookstore Coordinator, many books were indeed sold. Carol calculates 5,700 books were purchased during the 2 day sale!
Many thanks go to Carol and her crew of volunteers who moved, arranged and rearranged, and sold the many volumes of books. They are so good at what they do best – supporting the Kalamazoo Public Library.
Please remember that the Friends have a continuous book sale at their store located on the lower level of the Central Library.
Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
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
Given the gravity of the situation in northern Japan, I felt compelled to check in on Kalamazoo’s sister city, Numazu, located along Japan’s southeastern shoreline in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Honshu Island, near the base of Mt Ashtaka and (further) Mt Fuji.
Directly exposed to Suruga Bay with an expansive sweeping shoreline (one of the largest in Japan), the city of Numazu has taken extreme measures to protect its inhabitants by constructing a retaining wall and a massive anti-tsunami barrier at the entrance to its harbor area.
According to Scott Donald, an English speaking writer and author who publishes a blog called Numazu Traveler, the city “appears to be fairly safe so far.” They are dealing with intermittent power outages (designed to divert power to the Sendai area), but Scott tells us that “all is fine” in Numazu after the Sendai quake. “(While) we did feel the earthquake,” Scott says, “there were no reported damages in our area.” He then adds, “Oh and a friend told me that the port’s tsunami gate worked like a dream.”
On Wednesday, March 16, Shizouka was awakened by yet another earthquake (magnitude 6.4). A tsunami warning was issued, but again, no major damage was reported.
Radiation levels in Numazu appear to be their biggest concern. “According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan,” Scott writes, “radiation levels in the Shizuoka, while higher than average, are currently not a risk. Levels (on March 16) for Shizuoka were reported to be between 0.089 μGy/h (millirems per hour) and 0.062 μGy/h with an average of o.o62 μGy/h, slightly above the US occupational limit.” Scott then adds, “…you would need to be exposed to that every day for a year before you would be over the US limit. There is no indication to suggest that this level of exposure will continue over a prolonged period of time. So everything appears to be fairly safe so far.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are affected by the disaster in Japan. If you wish to help, please contact the American Red Cross.
Need a few new books on gardening or how about some new children’s books to share? The Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library are holding a 2 day book sale here at the Oshtemo Branch Library at 7265 W Main Street.
The book sale will be on Friday, March 11th and Saturday, March 12th from 10 am to 4 pm each day. The Friends will be selling children’s, teen and adult books both fiction and nonfiction. They also have a variety of paperbacks and hardcovers. Books are priced at 50¢ a piece or 3 for $1.00. You can’t go wrong with those prices. The sale will take place in the community room.
While you are here shopping for books, please take the time to visit the library. We have done some rearranging of materials and think that you will find it easier to browse our DVD and CD collections. We also have a great selection of DVD Hot Picks, and new books for all ages.
The Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library and the staff at the Oshtemo Branch look forward to seeing you this Friday and Saturday.
Friends Oshtemo Book Sale
I know I am incredibly biased, but the level of local talent that has graced the KPL stage in our long running concert series has been pretty amazing. The Kalamazoo music scene is definitely one of the most underrated in the state and on December 15 fans were treated to a group on the verge of great things – The Micaela Kingslight Band. Not only is Micaela an eye-opening guitarist, she possesses a deep, powerful voice that backs up her well crafted songwriting with passion and authority. Accomplished musicians, bassist Joe Chamberlin and percussionist Ashely Ickes provide more than just well timed rhythm, but a style that only enhances the group’s stage presence.
The set included both originals (The band is going into the studio in a few weeks to record a new CD!) and covers from Led Zeppelin and The White Stripes. I cannot say enough great things about our 39th consecutive free concert at KPL. The Micaela Kingslight Band show has been the best pre-Christmas present this year!
Micaela Kingslight Band
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.
September 8th the DCA Boys and Girls Club joined the Powell branch for a Wii game night. The kids had a good time playing Mario Cart, Super Smash Bros Melee and Wii Sports. A snack was provided. Our next game night will be October 13. Come join us for a Just Dance Wii game competition!
The Powell branch is getting excited about the next Nintendo Wii dance competition video game being released November 23, 2010… Michael Jackson: The Experience.
Wii Game Night @ Powell
Looking for something fun to do during Spring Break? There are a variety of programs at library branches.
It’s all at your library. Have a wonderful Spring Break!
Spring Break Programs at KPL!
Because of my move into a new job at the library, last night was the final Storytime with Mr. Steve & Friends.
We had a great time reading books, singing songs about a man made out of food, and playing with the parachute.
The adrenaline of the evening helped me hold up well last night, but now I am feeling the effects of closing a very happy chapter in my life.
I would like to thank all the families in the community for your wonderful support during my years as a children’s librarian and for allowing me to be a part of your children’s lives.
Storytime with Mr. Steve and Friends
The 2010 Winter Olympics begin this Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia and I for one can’t wait. Although the summer games include my favorite sport by far, there is just something about the winter Olympics that feels somehow more pure and true to the spirit of the Olympics (not too many Skeleton racers are being offered million dollar sponsorship deals).
KPL wishes to help keep the Olympic flame stoked with a display of Olympics related books in the rotunda at the central library, along with links to all things sports (including the Olympics) in our Sports Topic Guide. Citius, Altius, Fortius!
Topic Guide: Sports
At KPL, we get lots of questions about tax issues. Here are answers to some of the more common concerns.
Tax Forms: Though more and more people prefer to e-file for faster return on their tax refund, many others still ask us about paper tax forms. This year, all library locations will distribute basic paper tax forms and instructions, free of charge, while they last. Look for the federal forms to be available by the middle of January; state forms will be available in early February.
Tax Preparation Help: The Central and Oshtemo locations will again be hosting tax preparation in 2010 for people with household incomes under $49,000, starting January 30. You will need an appointment; to sign up, call 211, as of January 15, 2010.
Bookmark our Tax Information topic guide for regular access to more tax-related details. During tax season, you can also use the “Tax Forms/Free Tax Help” icon from our home page. Be sure to scroll down to the websites for forms, instructions and much more.
The next phase in the redo of the circulation desk area at Central Library is underway. The barricade is up around the circ desk and it is being removed to make way for a smaller one.
A temporary circulation desk has been set up by the curving stairs to the second floor. Materials being held for patrons are available for self pick-up on the magazine shelving.
There are three check out units available for patrons to use, identical to the ones in the children’s room and at Oshtemo Branch. During this transition, staff are stationed by the check out units to help patrons as needed.
Another change is online registration for a library card from any computer, at home or in the library, or from the dedicated one at the end of the temporary circulation desk.
The target completion date is the end of January. Look at the progress as you visit Central Library and we’ll continue to post updates on our website.
Renovation at Central Library