@ Your Library

Recent library events, news and more.

Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee

What an event! The 8th annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee, a fundraiser for Ready to Read, was held this week. The fun and funds raised just keep growing. Over $35,000 was raised at this year's event...a new record!

It's the vision of Ready to Read that all children in Kalamazoo County arrive at kindergarten prepared for learning. Research shows that children who are read to regularly start school with an advantage. Ready to Read encourages families to enjoy books together and enables children to have their own books. This wild and crazy spelling bee raises serious money for the program.

Borgess ProMed Pediatrics won first place in the lighthearted spelling competition followed by the Kalamazoo Gazette and WMU. Best costumes, most creative cheer, and most enthusiastic team were also recognized.

Ann delivering the winner’s basket to the Borgess ProMed team

Delivering the winner’s basket to the Borgess ProMed team  

Catch the event on cable access OR, better yet, come next year. And in the meantime, keep reading to all the children in your life.

Spelling Bee play dates on Kalamazoo Community Access Center channels:

  • Friday November 21, 2008 - 7 pm channel 95
  • Saturday November 22, 2008 - 2 pm channel 95
  • Wednesday November 26, 2008 - 8 pm channel 95
  • Thursday November 27, 2008 - 9 pm channel 95
  • Thursday November 27, 2008 - 1 pm channel 95
  • Friday November 28, 2008 - 1 pm channel 95


Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee

Ron Kitchens @ KPL

Local author Ron Kitchens discussed his book, Community Capitalism: Lessons from Kalamazoo and Beyond, November 6th at the Central Library. Ron, who is Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Michigan First, shared the remarkable economic history of Kalamazoo and explained how the community is innovatively investing in the resources for long-term economic success.

Engaging and informative, he shared numerous examples and answered the audience's many questions. Ron's can-do attitude and positive outlook for the economic future of Kalamazoo speaks volumes about his commitment to Kalamazoo. If you missed Ron's program, check out his book in the KPL catalog and take a look at the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund, a key factor in the economic development of early stage life science career opportunities in the Kalamazoo community!



Community Capitalism

Kadir Nelson in Kalamazoo

Author and illustrator Kadir Nelson was in Kalamazoo last week for a couple of days. While here, he visited with students at Woods Lake Elementary and at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home. He talked with the kids about the importance of doing something that you love, saying that everyone has to have a job but that you should make sure that you find a job where you can do what you love every day. He also showed the kids at Woods Lake how drawing is made up of shapes . . . he even created a unique portrait of their principal, Mr. Hawkins! At the Juvenile Home, Nelson talked with students about the idea that "beauty denies negativity" and how he has chosen positive ways to deal with the anger that he has had in his life.

Besides the school visits, Mr. Nelson spoke to an audience at Eastwood Branch Library and was the keynote speaker at the Mary Calletto Rife Children's Literature Seminar on Friday. Throughout all of his presentations, Kadir Nelson focused on the importance of education as the constant in achieving goals. Every days he uses not only his artistic skills, but also the research skills he learned in high school to create the beautiful (and accurate) paintings that illustrate his books.

If you missed Kadir Nelson's visit, take a look at his books in the library's collection.



Kadir Nelson @ KPL

Before KPL...There Were 'The Ladies'

Years before the establishment of the Kalamazoo Public Library, another organization loaned books to residents for a membership fee of just $1.00, and contrary to its name, it loaned to men as well as women. For this and many other reasons the Ladies Library Association in Kalamazoo holds an important place in the history of our community and of women’s clubs in general. On November 12th KPL hosted a program highlighting the group’s history and its amazing landmark building as part of the “This Old Building” series. Dr. Sharon Carlson, director of the archives at Western Michigan University, engaged a fascinated audience with little known facts about the Ladies Library and a slide show which included many wonderful historic photos.

On February 4th the “This Old Building” series will continue with another local landmark, the Kalamazoo State Hospital Water Tower, to be presented by Kalamazoo’s historic preservation coordinator, Sharon Ferraro.

Watch Dr. Carlson's complete presentation...


Ladies Library Association
Beth T

The Corn Fed Girls @ KPL

Local bluegrass/folk group The Corn Fed Girls played to a packed house of music fans on October 22nd. The band's acoustic set was filled with songs mostly from their 2006 release Cornstar which features the vocal talents of all the "Girls."

The multigenerational crowd was treated to one of the best shows ever at KPL! Young and old danced, stomped, and sang along with one of the shining starts of the Kalamazoo folk scene.

If you missed the show check out some exclusive pix below, or watch the entire show.



Corn Fed Girls
Kevin King


The Michigan Library Association annual conference was held in Kalamazoo at the Radisson Hotel in late October, the first time since the early 1980's. We were pleased to have our colleagues in town for a wide range of programs, author appearances, vendor exhibits, and general networking with each other. 

KPL was especially pleased to host the all-conference reception at the Central Library. Just like gatherings at home, we worked hard to get the library looking great! Recarpeting of Central Library was finished, some chairs were reupholstered, displays of new materials were refreshed, and our Facilities Management staff did an extra thorough cleaning. All of this was in the works, but having a deadline to be ready for the reception gave us a "due date!"

Well, I thought the library did look great... a compliment to our staff, but more importantly, to our community. Over 400 MLA members from around the state attended. Our board president, Valerie Wright, and I, along with the MLA officials, greeted attendees. KPL staff were in departments to give tours and explain our services, and games from our Teen Services activities were set up in the auditorium.

It was a good party! Comments from our colleagues around the state were all complimentary.... many about our building, but also about the wide range of services we offer, many of which are a model for other libraries.



MLA Reception @ KPL