Over the past few weeks Kalamazoo Public Library hosted two programs focused on eBooks. The first program, held at the Oshtemo branch, gave patrons an opportunity to see and touch various types of eReaders, including Amazon's Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook, and Apple's iPad. The second program, held at the Central library, showed patrons how to download library eBooks to their eReader.
In case you missed them the first time around, we're holding both of these programs again in January. The hands-on eReader program will be at the Central library on Thursday, January 5 at 6:30. The eBook downloading how-to program will be at the Oshtemo branch on Tuesday, January 10 at 6:00.
If you'd like some one-on-one assistance with the downloading process, stop by the eBook Help Desk at the Central library.
While anyone may attend these programs, please be aware that KPL's eBooks are available only to KPL Resident Area borrowers.
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.
Those of you who are familiar with my previous posts are probably well aware that I am passionate about animals; and that includes all animals. Among the many different things that I love about my work at Eastwood is the opportunity that it provides me to plan various programs for the branch. And as you might have guessed, my favorite programs to plan and host are animal related. Watching people of all ages being exposed to and educated about creatures that they would otherwise never come in contact with is a particular joy! And recently we had two such wonderful occasions.
The word “reptile” produces many emotions in people. To say that most of these are not very positive would be an understatement. Young and old alike are fearful of most reptiles, but especially so of snakes, lizards, and alligators due to the perceived inherent danger that they present. In the extreme, some folks are even afraid of looking at color photos of some reptilians, and making them do so produces visible anxiety. However, a lot of these negative feelings are irrational and based on misconceptions.
Hoping to dispel some of the inaccuracies surrounding this class of cold-blooded beasties, the Eastwood Branch Library recently hosted a program titled “What is a Reptile?” It was presented by Jason Preslar from Naturally Wild; a reptile rescue group. Jason, his wife Lindsay, and their young daughter were on hand to show the 120 plus people in attendance some very cool reptile exemplars including a red-eared slider turtle, a savannah monitor from Africa, a young American alligator, an alligator snapping turtle
(which can grow up to a hefty 200 lbs. and live 150 to 200 years), a terrestrial continental tortoise, and a Columbian red tailed boa constrictor. Participants were encouraged to touch most of the animals using the two-finger method, and while some did, a few found the idea to be a little too close and personal. Nonetheless, everyone found the program to be fun, educational and very enjoyable.
“A huge thank you to the 100+ people that joined us for hands-on learning at the Eastwood Branch Library in Kalamazoo! What a fun afternoon to end the month of July!” — Naturally Wild
The second animal program took place in early August. “Animal Adaptations” was presented by Dale Smart from the Cranbrook Institute of Science Organization for Bat Conservation in Bloomfield Hills, MI. He started out by explaining that just about everything about an animal is some form of adaptation, designed to increase the chances of that animal’s survival.
He then treated participants to some live animal examples. First was Mr. Ed, a 10 year old mega bat who sees in color, has a nose shaped oddly like that seen on horses with a bright yellow neck to boot! This particular bat is sensitive to noise, does not use echolocation , and is the largest bat to come from Africa. For contrast, Dale also brought along a big brown bat from Michigan, who does use sound waves to locate prey, hibernates 5 - 6 months out of the year and lives up to 40 years.
Next came Rocky, a very shy flying squirrel which can glide up to 200 ft. from tree to tree.
And finally, there was Autumn, the Great Horned Owl. She turned out to be a particular favorite of the audience; a gorgeous Michigan native species despite the fact that she was handicapped at an early age after contracting West Nile virus.
Since all these animals have an ability to fly (or glide as in Rocky’s case), it’s not surprising that time just flew by. The program came to an end and everyone departed enriched by what they had learned and satisfied by what they had seen.
Reptiles at Eastwood
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!
Kalamazoo Public Library was pleased to present Joe Reilly in a very special picnic concert at the Oshtemo Township Park. Joe makes environmental education fun with original songs and raps that kids and adults can't help moving to. What a great show!
Joe performed lots of songs from his new CD Let's Go Outside! including one, "Dreams of Flying", inspired by the Caldecott Honor book Hawk You're My Brother by Byrd Baylor.
Catch Joe Reilly the next time he's in town. You'll be glad you did!
Let's Go Outside!
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 Alma Powell Branch had the awesome privilege of seeing a Krump performance by the Kzoo Street KonQuerors. On Tuesday June 14 Chestin Grays and Darion Powell with the help of their krumping crew demonstrated what krumping is. As Chestin “Gully KonQueror”, Darion “Gully Shinobi”, Tashyah “Miss Gully Madness” and Jason “Gully Tactic” were all doing their routines it made me think of an urban tap dance. The krimping, stomping and agile foot work had me comparing names and clothing and thinking that styles might have changed but the basics remain the same.
Krumping is a highly popular inner city activity and, as you can see in this video, it does take talent.
The KonQuerors allowed the audience to participate in a dance routine. The kids loved it! They got up and moved. This was a great Family Program and we’re hoping to have them back again!
Krumping @ Alma Powell
Bryan Michael Fischer and his crew (Bryan Michael Fischer, vocals; Bill LaValley, bass; Bryan V. Blowers, guitar; Eric Busch, drums; Tom Eldred, Hammond B3 and Fender Rhodes) brought a full load of blues, rock and soul to the Van Deusen Room on June 15th for the 49th installment of the library’s ongoing series of free live concerts. Though far from your typical blues venue, the library provided an intimate setting. The band favored the crowd of 75 or so with a spirited ninety minute set, which included several classic covers and a few originals.
Opening the show from the back of the room, Fischer belted out an a cappella adaptation of Mance Lipscomb’s “Captain, Captain,” which then led nicely into a Fischerized version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Goin’ Down Slow.” Other standouts included covers of Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues” (made famous by the Allman Brothers), Taj Mahal’s “Leaving Trunk,” and Ray Charles’ “Drown in My Own Tears.” As a friend of mine in the audience said just before the show, “this place should be SRO... these guys are amazing!” I couldn’t agree more.
Last February, The BMF Band participated in the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and is currently working on a new recording, while looking at a full summer of touring throughout all corners of West Michigan. Check the band’s website for full details, and be sure to catch them if you can – you won’t be disappointed.
On July 20, KPL’s 50th free concert will feature the return of Steppin’ In It—the very same band that began the series for us back in 2008. And the fun certainly does not stop there… August includes performances by Joe Reilly, Graham Parsons & The Go Rounds, and a special summer-topping concert by The Verve Pipe! Check the KPL Concerts page for full details. Happy summer!
The BMF Band
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
“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
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
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
Sid “The Rock” Ellis was at the Alma Powell Branch on Tuesday, February 22 and he was phenomenal! Everyone enjoyed his storytelling and puppetry. His puppet show enthralled the kids. And young and old were entertained by his Anansi folktales. The Anansi, the spider, folktales originated in West Africa. Anansi is a rascally spider that is devious and wise. He spends his time weaving ways to get out of work or take advantage of something or someone. These ancestral tales go way back and are still shared around the campfire.
Thanks, Sid, for sharing your time and outstanding talent with us.
Sid “The Rock” Ellis