Author Archive

KDL Millage Passes — Thank You!

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Thank You


Final Results: KDL Millage Proposal
✔   YES — 34,387 (57%)
NO — 25,505 (43%)

Kent District Library voters have spoken, and KDL is thrilled to be able to continue to provide the quality materials and services residents value. KDL is your library for today and tomorrow. As your needs have changed and evolved, we have been proud to change and evolve with you.

We will implement our plan to offer more convenient hours at more branches, reduce wait times for materials, and perform much-needed technology upgrades. This millage funding will result in improved service at all 18 of our branches, as well as for users of our growing digital collection.

Your vote to secure essential funding for KDL is a vote of confidence in our stewardship of tax dollars. We look forward to delivering on our immediate promises as well as providing the services you need and want for the next 10 years and beyond.

Thank you again!


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Clearing Up Library Boundaries

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Local libraries have been getting a lot of media attention recently as we are all struggling to provide great service with less funding. Many West Michigan residents may be unsure which library system is which. We understand that library boundaries can be a bit confusing.

Like school districts, library residency is based on where you live and pay property taxes. KDL serves over 395,000 residents from all areas of Kent County except the cities of Grand Rapids and Cedar Springs, the village of Sparta, and Solon and Sparta townships. Residents of those areas are served by our neighbor libraries.

In the last three years, KDL has cut over $1.6 million in our expenses in order to continue living within our means. To do so, we’ve reduced staffing costs by not replacing certain positions, we’ve reduced our collection budget and deferred much needed technology upgrades, but KDL has not laid off any staff.

Use the map below to get a more clear understanding of KDL’s service area, and please let us know if you have any questions. Click the map to increase its size:

KDL Service Area


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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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