Author Archive

Our Trophy Case (and My Gratitude) Runneth Over

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

MLA award 2013Mind if I take a moment to give a huge shout-out to those who work at KDL?

KDL received the State Librarian’s Citation of Excellence during last week’s Michigan Library Association annual conference. We were one of two libraries to receive this award (the other was Lakeview High School in Battle Creek), which acknowledges excellence in library service and stands as a testament to the hard work of every staff member in the KDL family.

Needless to say, this accolade — as with our prior awards and recognitions — belongs to them. Their service is an inspiration not only to me, but to libraries across the state. Congratulations!

 


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From the Director: The Affordable Care Act

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Lance WernerThe expertise of libraries hinges on our ability to help you find resources that entertain, educate and inform.

The latest example at KDL: we’re midway into The Affordable Care Act and You, free informational programs presented by Priority Health, at several of our branches. If you’re wondering whether you qualify for the Healthcare Marketplace, how it may affect your family or when to apply, the aim is to provide straightforward information about the new law.

Our partnership with Priority Health on this effort is just weeks old and already has become a model for other libraries. At the Michigan Library Association’s annual meeting later this month, librarians from around the state will learn, based on what KDL is doing right now, how they can better position themselves to help their patrons find answers. It’s what we do, and what we are passionate about.

Lance Werner, KDL Director

 


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From the Director: The Card with the Best Rewards

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Lance WernerWhether your child is in elementary or secondary school, or you’re attending college or technical school, your No. 1 back-to-school supply should be a KDL card. We offer access to important educational resources — not just books, but online databases filled with credible information that teachers and professors favor — and librarians to help you find, evaluate and use that information.

A new study of undergraduates found that nearly 40 percent of those surveyed began their research process with a search engine, and more than half those students cited the overwhelming amount of information as contributing to their feeling of lack of preparation.

Author Neil Gaiman said it best: “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers; a librarian can bring you back the right one.” Getting information is easy, but getting the right information takes practice. We’ve had 77 years of practice.

 


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How to Find Your Next Favorite Author

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The Cuckoo's CallingWhen news broke that debut detective novel The Cuckoo’s Calling was written not by newcomer Robert Galbraith but by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, bookstores and libraries raced to line up for copies.

Those of us who had paid close attention to the reviews earlier this year and who weighed those along with our patrons’ preferences breathed a small sigh of relief when we confirmed we did order copies.

We always try to anticipate what you want to read, watch and listen to and purchase materials before they are released so they’ll be available the very day they go on sale in bookstores. We know you’ve come to expect that from us. Of course, KDL has ordered several more copies of The Cuckoo’s Calling, because now that the book’s true author is known, the wait list is crazy long.

Another thing we’re good at: being your source for unknown authors who truly are making their debut. For some people, paying retail price to read any author, let alone someone they have never read, is not an option. Here, everyone has equal access to all our materials. Let KDL introduce you to your next favorite author.

 


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From the Director: Summer Break Dilemma Solved

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Lance WernerAs a parent, I know the dilemma: you want to get your kids outdoors and active in the summer, but you also don’t want their literacy skills to backslide.

KDL has solutions. The Experience Summer @ KDL component of our summer reading programs for children and teens actually rewards them for outdoor, cultural and even play activities.

And when it’s too hot or rainy to play outside, KDLville early literacy play spaces at all 18 branches offer rotating activities including dress-up, art tables, a puppet stage and market stand, where learning and creativity are the focus. They’ll be having so much fun they won’t realize they’re sharpening their literacy skills.

Lance Werner, KDL Director


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From the Director: This Place Is EPIC!

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

A couple weeks ago I told you we were a finalist for the Excellence in Business EPIC Award from the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. I’m thrilled to announce that we won the award last night at an event at the Frederik Meijer Gardens! The other finalists for the award were Elzinga & Volkers and Cascade Engineering.

If you want to read about the designation, you’ll find that background in my previous post. In a nutshell, this means the West Michigan-area business community recognizes that KDL is not only a leading governmental entity, but that we understand that successful governmental entities place as much importance as their business counterparts on their fiscal health, service innovation, customer and employee satisfaction and civic responsibility.

This isn’t Lance Werner’s award, or even KDL’s award alone. It’s recognition of all the parts that make up this whole: the nearly 300 KDL staffers who make your library experience great every time; your communities, which recognize how crucial a healthy library system is to its overall health; and to you, our cardholders and taxpayers who support us in all we do. Thank you.

Lance EPIC

 


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From the Director: An EPIC Library

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Lance WernerExciting news: KDL has been named a finalist for the Excellence in Business EPIC award from the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. The EPIC Awards (Entrepreneurial, Progressive, Innovative and Collaborative) recognize those who support community, demonstrate growth, show innovation and have worked as mentors and collaborators. Award recipients will be announced on Wednesday, May 15.

We’re thrilled just to be nominated. Why? We’re committed to making every effort to operate like a well-run business and get the greatest return on investment for our taxpayers. That the Chamber recognizes our efforts is a huge vote of confidence.

We work every day to make our collection and programming valuable and relevant to your lives, have been and will continue to be dedicated to being a vital partner in the community, and – awards or not –will continue to play a significant role in lifting Kent County by making this a better place to live.

Lance Werner, KDL director

 


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From the Director: So Much More Than Books

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Lance Like everyone who works at KDL, I find myself frequently talking about our services when I’m not at work.

I was recently talking with another parent who told me his family loves KDL’s free programs, especially those during the summer and other school breaks. He said he wished, though, that we had more in the way of educational resources to help his kids with school.

Like so many library users, his family was only dipping a toe into the Olympic-sized pool of what KDL offers. I took advantage of that opportunity to share with him the Parents & Kids page on our website, with its recommended reading lists, learning-focused games and online reference resources, where his kids can search thousands of college and graduate schools, identify scholarships, take online practice tests and use test prep eBooks.

Do you know about everything KDL can do for your children? Is there a service you need from your library? We’re always interested to hear your suggestions.

Lance Werner, KDL Director


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From the Director: KDL Leading the Way

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Lance small2012Libraries are known for being forward thinking when it comes to constantly improving equal access to everything we offer.

KDL has taken the lead many times, from our nationally recognized What’s Next database used by libraries and library fans across the country, to our early literacy initiatives that serve as a model for many other library systems to our Local Indie collection designed specifically to promote self-published work.

Once again, we want to be at the leading edge. KDL and nine other U.S. library systems, including the New York Public Library, are partnering to apply for a grant to embark on a two-year project called “Library Simplified.”

It’s an effort to explore how libraries can better use new technology, including and especially eBooks, to build new audiences by reducing the barriers to use. We’re also going to examine why people don’t use the library, and look at how we might alter our policies so they will. And we intend to investigate the often confusing steps needed to download materials to various devices, and brainstorm ways to make it easier.

I’ll share more details later this year should the grant be awarded. I know my fingers are crossed.

Lance Werner, KDL Director

 


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A Must-Have for Newborns: A Library Card

Monday, January 28th, 2013

KDL Day of ServiceEight volunteers from Grand Rapids legal firm Miller Johnson visited the KDL Service Center on January 21 and put together 1,000 KDL “Play-Grow-Read to Your Baby” bags, which will be distributed to new moms in Kent County through a partnership with First Steps Kent. The bags are paid for through donations from Huntington Bank, the Blodgett Foundation and individual donors.

KDL is thrilled to have community partners who recognize how crucial early literacy is to lifelong literacy.

The findings of a recent public opinion study showed that most people in Michigan think the state should invest more in early childhood education. Governor Rick Snyder, in his State of the State speech on January 16, called for “a major budget commitment” to early childhood education.

Literacy development begins in the first three years of life, and even babies as young as six weeks old are developmentally ready to begin early literacy activities.

A few KDL programs that target early literacy: Early Childhood Essentials programs aimed at giving parents and childcare providers tools for success, a monthly Early Lit Bits eNewsletter packed with practical literacy advice and Babytime storytimes aimed at encouraging children’s love for reading and imagination at a time when their brains experience such crucial development. And KDLville play spaces in all our branches do not have a minimum age restriction.

It’s never too early for a library card.

 


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