Author Archive

WHAT Checks In @ KDL

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012


KDL customers checked out over 6.7 million books, DVDs, CD, magazines and video games during 2011. And what checks out must check in!



Here’s what you see:


Here’s what we see:


Thanks to automatic check-in stations, staff at KDL’s six largest branches (Cascade Township, East Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Plainfield Township and Wyoming) get a little well-deserved help. Gone are the days when staff hand-scanned thousands of items individually every day. Now we pull items out of the book drop, sort them onto carts, print a report of what to put aside for other customers’ holds and voila! Everything else is ready to shelve!

Sure, this is awesome for staff, but what’s in it for you? Automatic check-in gets materials back on the shelves faster. You don’t wait quite as long for that new hot novel, film release or chart-topping CD. Also, once you return items via an automatic check-in book drop, overdue fines show up on your account immediately. You can pay them quickly and never think about them again. Finally, movie lovers who ride right on the line of the 15 DVD maximum can return a few DVDs and immediately check out more.

Sounds like a win-win situation!


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WHO Visits 18 KDL Branches?

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Who are you likely to encounter at a KDL branch?

Regardless of which branch you visit, you may encounter Keith, father of Xander and Josephine; because they have visited all 18 KDL branches!

“My kids love libraries,” Keith said. “Visiting all of the branches gave us the opportunity to experience parts of and people in Kent County that we wouldn’t normally encounter.” Xander and Jospehine’s favorite part of their trek was visiting the different KDLville play spaces, spending hours alternating between reading and playing.

While they live in Kentwood, Keith and the kids have a soft spot in their hearts for the Sand Lake / Nelson Township branch. They got a kick out of visiting what looked to them like a library in a big barn. “As I walked through the stacks, I half expected to see a chicken poking her head around the side of a book,” Keith said.

Each branch has its own identity, but Keith says he feel at home in every one of them. “The soaring ceiling of the Caledonia branch lends itself to a few deep breaths, and I had the sense that I was encouraged to open my arms wide to all the books of the library,” he said. “While other branches make me want to settle into a bench or a chair and cozy up to a single book until it was done.”

While you might not feel the need to visit all 18 KDL branches, Keith encourages you to visit at least one that’s new to you.  There’s an art gallery, water wall and café at the Wyoming branch. The East Grand Rapids branch boasts a gorgeous view of Reeds Lake. You can use the binoculars located at the viewing deck at the Kentwood branch to watch planes take off and land.

The KDL branches are all part of the same library family, but each brings something special and unique to the community they serve.


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Dia de los Difuntos Celebration

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

It’s an important day for Ruben, circulation manager at KDL’s East Grand Rapids branch!

Today, November 2, is a big celebration in my home country, Ecuador, and I just wanted to share a little history behind this holiday in my country. It is a bittersweet celebration of course. It is an amazing Day, celebrating great memories of those we love who’ve passed away. 

The inhabitants of the beautiful country of Ecuador place much emphasis on religious festivals and celebrations. The second of November each year is a national public holiday, giving everyone the opportunity to participate in the activities related to one of the most important celebrations of Ecuador: Dia de los Difuntos. (In Ecuador the term “Dia de los Difuntos,” meaning “Day of the Deceased,” is preferred as it is seen to be more respectful.)

Traditional foods specific to this celebration are “Guaguas de Pan,” which are baby-shaped bread, along with a sweet fruit-based drink called “Colada Morada.” These slightly sweet bread babies can be up to 12 inches in length with a round-shaped head and a body that tapers down to a point. They are decorated with icing and have something sweet, like jam, inside. Some families make their own bread babies, but most bakeries have them for sale for weeks prior to the celebration and they are on offer at cafés and restaurants during this period.

Throughout Ecuador the celebration of Dia de los Difuntos is seen as a time for families to reconnect with their ancestors as well as to remember their roots and to celebrate the wonderful memories of the dear people who are not with us anymore.


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Experience Summer @ KDL – Traveling!

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Summer vacation means family trips!

Did you have the best time ever at Robot Camp?

Or, did you survive a grueling feat of endurance — days of backseat sibling bickering, everyone coated with the slick sheen of Rover slobber — only to find the Corn Palace is closed due to a freak weevil infestation?  

Whether you desire a keepsake for treasured family memories or a merit badge for survival, get your Experience Summer @  KDL Traveler Badge!

Stayed home? No fear, there’s still plenty of ways to earn your Traveler Badge:

  • Read about a place that you’d like to visit
    Some suggestions:

  • Make a map of your neighborhood
  • Explore someplace that you have never been before – a park, a neighborhood, a museum, etc.
  • Tell or write a story about a trip that you have taken
  • Be creative – choose your own option!

In the words of Clark Griswold, “This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun.”

For more ideas for summer fun, check out our Experience Summer @ KDL program!


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Kentwood Leader Posthumously Awarded “Heart of a Champion”

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Richard L. Root, former mayor of the city of Kentwood, is being recognized posthumously as the recipient of the Michigan Library Association’s inaugural Heart of a Champion award.

Richard Root served the city of Kentwood for 33 years, first as city commissioner, then as mayor.  As a strong library supporter, Richard was almost single-handedly responsible for the successful passage of a millage in 2008 to build the new Kentwood branch of KDL.  He secured the city commissioners’  support of the new library project, organized the millage campaign committee and invited citizens to his home to discuss how to galvanize voters around the exciting prospect of a new library in the community.  Richard also met with the media, businesses, groups, and individuals about the need for a new library; securing key endorsements and campaign funding. Following months of campaigning, Richard was proud to hold the victory celebration in his home after the citizens of Kentwood passed the millage by 68%. “A library is not just for reading anymore,” said Mayor Richard Root at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Kentwood library. “It is a living and breathing arm of the community.”

For his efforts in building a new library in the City of Kentwood and for his unwavering support for the value of the public library in the Kentwood community, Richard Root has been awarded the 2012 Heart of a Champion award. After a nearly four-year battle with cancer, Richard Root died on June 8, 2012.  Efforts are currently underway to rename the Kentwood branch of KDL after Richard Root.


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Ray Bradbury, Brilliant Writer, Dies in LA at 91

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Author Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 91.  Many an impending homage will likely refer to him using some form of “Science Fiction writer.”  I prefer to think of him as Ray Bradbury, Brilliant Writer.  There are at least three reasons I have a special fondness for Ray Bradbury.

  1. As a self-made intellectual, he wrote the 1971 essay, “How Instead of Being Educated in College, I Was Graduated From Libraries.”
  2. I read somewhere that he wrote Fahrenheit 451 while feeding the timer on a public typewriter in the basement of the New York Public Library dime after dime after dime.  I didn’t fact-check that detail and I don’t want to know if it isn’t true.  It strikes a poetic wistfulness about Perseverance which I have always appreciated.
  3. The last line of The Martian Chronicles.  “The Martians stared back up at them for a long, long silent time from the rippling water…”  [Pop Quiz.  Who are the Martians?  Who are any of us?  Why do I find this so profoundly moving?]

When I next see Mars as a little yellow dot in the sky, I will wish upon Ray Bradbury.  Thank you, my friend, for helping me see who we are.


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Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Friday, June 1st, 2012

A plane filled with teen girls on their way to a beauty pageant crashes on a tropical island.  A new Superbowl beer commercial?  No.  It’s the premise for Libba Bray’s screamingly funny satire, Beauty Queens, about girls going not wild, but going FIERCE!  Struggling for survival in the (not-quite) deserted island jungle makes it really hard to practice your pageant-worthy circle turns. 

My advice, do not read this book, listen to it!  Reading it can’t be half as entertaining as the author’s very astute narration.  The total package includes footnotes and commercial breaks for horrendous products generated by the nefarious Corporation

If you like Tina Fey as Sarah Palin better than you like Sarah Palin, you will love this book.  I’m happy to report that Miss Michigan represents (!), but did I mention that there are totally bodacious pirates?

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Penguin Joins List of Publishers Withholding eBooks from Libraries

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

As of February 10, 2012, Penguin Group USA will no longer sell eBooks or eAudiobooks to libraries through OverDrive. This announcement came after a series of meetings the American Library Association held with several major publishers regarding library eBook lending. On Thursday, February 9, OverDrive customers, including KDL, received this message,

“… Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of eBooks and download audiobooks for library purchase. Additionally, Penguin eBooks loaned for reading on Kindle devices will need to be downloaded to a computer then transferred to the device over USB. For library patrons, this means Penguin eBooks will no longer be available for over-the-air delivery to Kindle devices or to Kindle apps.”

Penguin titles already purchased for KDL’s Digital Collection, including the bestseller The Help, will continue to be available. However, KDL will not be able to purchase any new Penguin titles in digital formats, and existing Penguin eBooks can now only be transferred to Kindle devices via a USB cable (and cannot be sent to Kindle apps at all.)

In 2011, KDL circulated over 113,000 eBooks, a 192% increase in digital content usage over 2010.  The explosion in demand of these materials drove KDL to partner with OverDrive last fall, creating a digital collection specifically for KDL cardholders. Our Collection Development staff work diligently to stock our digital shelves, but publishers are making it more difficult to provide all of the content people want to read or listen to.

With this decision, Penguin joins the list of publishers who will not sell eBooks to libraries, along with Macmillan Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, and Brilliance Audio. Additionally, HarperCollins Publishers will sell eBooks for libraries to circulate, but they limit the availability of their titles to only 26 circulations before a “replacement” copy must be purchased.

If you wish to write to or call each publisher to convey your opinion, here is their contact information:

Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 366-2000

Macmillan Publishing
75 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 226-7521

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
(212) 698-7000

Hachette Book Group
466 Lexington Avenue #131
New York, NY 10017
(212) 364-1100

Brilliance Audio
1704 Eaton Drive
Grand Haven, MI 49417
(616) 846-5256

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KDL Closed Monday, January 16

Friday, January 13th, 2012

All branches of the Kent District Library will be closed on Monday, January 16 for the annual professional development event we call All-Staff.  While we regret any temporary inconvenience this may cause, KDL’s commitment to staff training is one of the reasons we are able to provide you with such great service.  

This is the one day out of the year that our entire KDL workforce comes together for a day of Learning, Fun, and Recognition of KDL’s Exceptional Staff.  Topics staff will be exploring include:

  • Embracing a new model of classification and labeling to improve service
  • Developing cost-effective programming through community partnerships
  • Updating early literacy efforts to incorporate new research on child development
  • Using mobile devices for more efficient information assistance 
  • How we stay on top of the newest, best, and hottest books, movies, and music to recommend to you

Please remember that our “19th Branch” is always open online, with the greatest selection of eBooks, eAudiobooks, and downloadable music in the State, and visit us at any of our 18 branch locations, just not on January 16!


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When Love Meets “The Society”

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

I just finished listening to the CD audiobook of Matched by Ally Condie, and I find myself enchanted by this delicate love story and simultaneously haunted by the doom it spells for two lovely young people.  

In a near-distant future The Society rules every aspect of life, from one’s occupation to clothing and mate selection. Always obedient, Cassia is delighted to find herself matched to her best friend Xander. But a techno glitch also gives her a glimpse of Ky Markham as her future match. That this spark of fascination becomes a budding romance isn’t a surprise. But their tender love, blooming despite the oppressive atmosphere of an authoritarian regime which is clearly trying to tighten its grip, renders the story unfortgettably suspenseful.  

Narrator Kate Simses is perfectly pitched as Cassia — quiet and subtle, but gradually stronger and more self-assured as she learns not to question her own feelings, but to question why things are as they are.

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