From the Director
Library news and happenings.
This is National Library Week. We join with libraries, schools, bookstores, and publishers in celebrating this week to highlight the value of libraries. This year’s theme is “Lives change @ your library.”
In the mid 1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less time with books and more times with radios, TV, and musical instruments. Concerned we were reading less, publishers formed a National Book Committee. In 1957, they developed a plan for National Library Week. The first celebration was held in 1958 with the theme “wake up and read.” The celebration continues.
Each day of the week now has a focus. Tuesday is National Library Workers Day, Thursday is Celebrate Teen Literature Day. A relatively new aspect of the week is Library Snapshot Day. We’ll be taking photos all day Tuesday to show “a day in the life of the library.” Look for photos on our website.
Celebrate National Library Week with us and visit one of our five locations or through our website. Much has changed in society and in libraries since the first celebration, but we still provide a wealth of information and a wide variety of services with staff to help.
National Library Week
This is our last full week of Reading Together 2014 events. Next week we welcome Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer to wrap up this year’s series of programs.
We hope you have read both books and participated in some events but even if you haven’t, Novella Carpenter is sure to be an interesting and compelling speaker. She’ll be at Kalamazoo Central High School, Tuesday, April 15, 7:00. No ticket required.
As we end this year’s series of programs, we value your feedback. It won’t be too long until we begin talking about next year’s book(s); suggestions for titles or subjects are welcome.
We thank our sponsors who provided major funding: The Irving S. Gilmore Foundation and The Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library.
So….what should our community read and talk about next year?
E-books and reading on phones, tablets, and computers has transformed reading. As one author has said, the “sweet spot” was hit. The devices are generally big enough for detailed, legible type, but small enough to be carried in a pocket or backpack or just in your hand.
Another reading revolution occurred just 75 years ago….the “pocket book.” Small books, about 4 by 6 inches and priced at 25¢ were introduced. Their introduction into the market changed who could read and where; books were also more readily available for purchase….not just in the few bookstores in big cities, but grocery and drug stores and even airports. Within just two years, 17 million books in this new format had been sold.
Not surprisingly, the biggest sellers were mysteries, westerns, and “thinly veiled smut” or a “flood of trash” as critics labeled it. This small format launched gritty detective stories and science fiction.
The paperback format changed the reading habits of the nation, much like the introduction of e-books. The choices are many; I’m pleased we can offer good reading in all formats…hardcovers, paperbacks, and e-books.
Visit Central, one of our four branches, or our website for reading suggestions and format options.
A few months ago, I wrote here about one of our newest programs for very young children, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. It was also featured in the March – May issue of LINK, our quarterly newsletter.
Since we launched this program, several people from around the community have commented to me that 1,000 is sure a lot of books; they wonder if it is reasonable. In most cases, their children are grown. As the conversation continues and they remember reading to their children at bedtime, remember reading several books a night, they then realize 1,000 books is indeed reasonable.
With bedtime in mind as a frequent time to read to your children, I recently saw a list of “twenty benefits of bedtime stories.” Reading to young children can make a profound difference in the lives of children as books are shared as part of a regular bedtime routine.
Here are just a few of the reminders of the importance and benefits:
- Reduces stress
- Makes bedtime easier, more enjoyable, and something to look forward to
- Helps a child feel special and loved as they share quality time
- Builds a bond and opens avenues of communication
- Encourages reading
- Builds a child’s vocabulary
- Fosters imagination
- Improves creativity
- Expands the child’s world
- Creates memories
Read to your children, encourage parents and caregivers you know to read to theirs. The benefits to parent and child are immeasurable.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
The image of librarians is that we are more about words than numbers. I guess that’s true but there are two “number” sections on our website I think you will find interesting.
We’ve just added library use statistics to our website. Circulation of books, music, movies, and digital products are tracked by location….central and each branch….along with program attendance and computer use. There are numbers and graphs.
The value calculator is not new to our website although it hasn’t been highlighted recently. It is an interesting way to appreciate the value of the library services you use.
I’d welcome your comments on either of these.
Library Use Statistics
Our planning for Reading Together is almost like holiday planning…..you plan and prepare for months and then the day is here. That’s how I’m feeling.
We started talking about a theme and book for Reading Together 2014 last summer. We reviewed all the suggestions that had come to us from patrons and staff, we looked at titles that had been successfully used at other libraries, we watched author presentations on YouTube, and we read and read and read. Each time we came together, our focus became a bit sharper. We ultimately settled on not one, but two books, and a food theme.
And now the day is here! Our first event is Wednesday, March 5, with Tracie McMillan, author of The American Way of Eating; Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table.
Tracie’s visit kick-offs about five weeks of programming. Full list is on our website or in brochures available around town as well as at the library.
We’ll wrap-up with Novella Carpenter on Tuesday, April 15, author of our second title, Farm City.
We hope you have read the books and will join in the conversation, but even if you haven’t, I’m confident you’ll enjoy the author visits and find the programs interesting.
The American Way of Eating
From time to time, we would hear that patrons preferred more lead time on events and would like to see all summer programs at one time, as well as spring and winter break, so they could plan ahead. We also wanted to make LINK more of a newsletter and not just a program guide by sharing library information including new services, book, movie and music reviews, and more. We are excited to share with you……the new LINK.
By now, you probably received your copy of LINK at home and hopefully noticed it is now a quarterly publication, not bimonthly. The March, April, May issue includes not only program information but with more pages, also articles about new services, book suggestions, and more information from our Friends.
We hope you like this new format and frequency.
I often use this space to promote one of our services or to highlight something on our website. This week I am doing both, namely our ebook collection available through our website.
A Pew Research Center survey issued in the fall found that the number of Americans age 16 and older who own a tablet computer has grown to 35% and those who have an ereader such as a Kindle or Nook has grown to 24%. Overall those with a tablet or an ereader device now stands at 43% and more than 50% in households earning $75,000 or more.
Ebooks are available to KPL cardholders through our website. Not every publisher makes their new ebooks available to libraries so not every bestseller you might want to read is on the site. Many are however and they can be checked out on your device for up to three weeks.
Ebooks are just one of our digital services. Audiobooks, music, movies, magazines are available also.
Visit soon…..digitally or at one of our five locations.
When some library directors were asked that question, the response from many was “the rapid pace of change!” I’d add to that, especially changes in technology.
It’s hard to keep up knowledge-wise, let alone have the financial resources to implement it in the library.
Some interesting numbers that make the point:
2003: 43.7 million websites
2013: 785.3 million websites
2003: 650 million cell phones
2013: 1.8 billion cell phones, including 1 billion smartphones
2003: 280,590 available ebook titles
2013: 4.1 million available ebook titles
2003: 8.8 million global mobile broadband users
2013: 2.1 billion global mobile broadband users
I’m not sure it does any good to lose sleep over this! What keeps you awake at night?
About the Library
Our #1 priority is service to young children, birth to five, to prepare them to enter school ready to learn. We have several new services to support these youngest patrons as well as their older siblings.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten…. it sounds like a tremendous number but if you think about five years, a few books each night before bed, it is quite doable. Daily reading and regular library visits are great preparation for school.
We are distributing the Kalamazoo Early Learning 2014 Calendar. Paper copies are available at all library locations as well as our website. Each of the 365 days has an activity…. January 27: Talk about different materials: paper, cloth, wood, metal, etc. March 12: start each day at the window and talk about the weather.
Ebooks for children are now available through our website. Some parents want to introduce their young children to technology, others do not. Picture books on an iPad won’t replace the print picture book experience, but can be a nice complement.
We’ve made some changes in the children’s room at Central. Some materials have been relocated for ease in use, but the biggest change is The Story Place, an activity room with fun toys where families can stay and play on their library visit. We will also use the room for storytimes and other programs for young children.
Even if you don’t have young children in your home, I hope you will visit our new room and read more about these new services on our website. Share them with children and parents you know.
Kids & Parents