Archive for 2008

New “Book Club in a Bag” Titles

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

tealbcblogo.jpgHave you tried our Book Club in a Bag service yet? This program allows book groups to check out a canvas bag containing 12 copies of a book and a printed list of discussion questions and author information.

The bags have been very popular and we’re pleased to announce the addition of some new titles:

  • The Great Lakes Water Wars by Peter Annin
  • Grayson by Lynn Cox
  • Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
  • The Living Great Lakes by Jerry Dennis
  • Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
  • Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
  • The Shack by William P. Young
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

See our Book Club in a Bag booklist to read descriptions of these and all other titles in the program, and contact Ali Ewing at 616-784-2016 x2179 or to reserve a bag.

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Family Websites

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Do you have a hard time keeping in touch with out of state relatives (or even in-state relatives)?  Family websites can be a great way to keep in touch.  There are many services that will host your family website for free or for a small fee.  Some of the hosting sites out there include MyFamily, FamilyLobby, TheFamilyPost and numerous others. I located these by using the search term “family websites” in Google.  These sites offer sections where family members can post photos, videos, and recipes.  My family even had a very lively political debate this fall via our family website.  I have found it to be a great way to connect, and for those who aren’t web savy enough to create their own blog, this is very easy.  And it’s multigenerational: the older generation in my family post just as much as the younger folks. It’s great to see the photos of weddings, babies, and vacations we would all miss because we live so far from each other.  So if you would like to find an easy way to connect with out of town relatives, I would recommend taking a look at what these sites have to offer. Do a little research to find the site that best fits the needs of your family, and reconnect.

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Encore: The New Library Catalog Search

Monday, December 15th, 2008


Our online catalog is getting a face lift! Starting next week, KDL will unveil a new interface that will make finding what the library has to offer easier and more engaging than ever before. The new interface, called Encore, will reveal content such as media and e-books, suggestions of recently added or popular items, tags added by library users, and more. Best of all, this will all be accessible from a single search box.

The new system will enhance our ability to better meet your information needs. Whether searching on a subject or a specific book or CD, you will be able to find what you’re looking for more easily than ever before. Encore will display items clearly listed by relevance and can be effortlessly expanded or refined according to publication date, branch or library, language, or subject as presented in a tag cloud.

We’re very excited about the new catalog enhancements and hope you will be too. Stay tuned!

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The Value of Your Library

Friday, December 12th, 2008

If you’re reading this blog post, you are probably familiar with many of the services and resources available at your local library. In difficult economic times, these services and resources can be invaluable to the people that need them. This provides many libraries with a great opportunity to serve our communities, but it can create some challenges as well:



Here at the Kent District Library, materials circulation has increased by over 22% in the past year and program attendance is up by 33%. We feel very fortunate to have the strong support of the communities we serve; however, as demand for our services increases and revenue continues to decline, we need your support more than ever to continue providing quality library services to our customers. Whether advocating, donating, or voting, we encourage you to let your voice be heard. If you would like to make an immediate impact, please consider a donation to the KDL Fund.

 How has the library helped you? We’d love to hear your story.


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10 Quick Computer Tips and Tricks

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Some people seem to know all the tricks — how to do things faster, or make them easier. Here are ten computer tricks to try!

  1. You can double-click a word to highlight it in almost any document, e-mail or Web page. Triple clicking will select a block of text.
  2. In Windows, you can switch from one open program to another by using the shortcut Alt+Tab. (Hold down the ALT key and press the TAB key at the same time.) For Macs, the shortcut is Command+Tab.
  3. You can minimize all windows and show the computer desktop by holding down the Windows key and pressing the D key at the same time. Press the Windows+D key combination again to return to what you were doing. On Macs, press F11 (and on recent Mac laptops, Command+F3; Command is the key with the cloverleaf logo).
  4. You can tap the Space bar to scroll down on a Web page one screen at a time. Use SHIFT+SPACEBAR to scroll back up.
  5. Pressing the HOME key will move you to the top of a webpage. Press END to move to the bottom of the page.
  6. Press BACKSPACE to go back a webpage (just like clicking the back arrow). SHIFT+BACKSPACE will go forward a webpage.
  7. Here’s one for entering web addresses: Type google in the address bar and then press CTRL+ENTER. This shortcut adds the http://www. in front of it and the .com behind it, and proceeds to go to that address.
  8. CTRL + a number key will jump to another tab when you have multiple tabs open in your browser. CTRL+2 takes you to the second tab, for example.
  9. CTRL+E will move your cursor to the search bar in Internet Explorer. (For Firefox, use CTRL+K).
  10. CTRL+L will move your cursor to the address bar in Firefox. In Internet Explorer, it opens a box where you can type the web address.

Thanks to David Pogue at the New York Times, who first blogged about tech tips. You can read more computer tips and tricks here.

What are your favorite computer tips and tricks?

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Never Forget a Website Again…

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Ever been at a friend’s or work or the library and wanted to use that great new website you bookmarked (or favorited) on your computer at home?  You might be able to remember it… but why cram your brain with all those web addresses when you can use or instead!

Delicious and Magnolia are both social bookmarking services that have led me to some great websites on the invisible web that I may not have found so easily. Popular sites appear on both homepages for interesting browsing opportunities. Using tags (user-created words to help you identify site content), you can group your bookmarks into multiple categories of your choosing.  You can also browse sites that other users have tagged with that same word or phrase.

As with all social sites, you can share your bookmarks with others if you make that person a part of your network.  Or, instead, you might choose to share the web address of a collection of links related to a tag you created.  I’ve used this last method for a computer class I taught on creating your own holiday cards.  Here’s the link to see what I’m talking about…

If you like a little more privacy with your surfing habits, both delicious and magnolia have a private or do not share option.

Furthermore, you have the option of importing your already saved bookmarks and exporting your links.

Major differences between the two sites??…

Delicious has more active users and a larger base of tagged sites. Magnolia uses a star system to rate sites for relevance to your tag collection.  Magnolia also saves a snapshot of the website as it looked when you saved it, so if the site goes down or moves, you still have access to the original information.  Unfortunately, due to copyright issues, these snapshots are not available for sharing.

So, if you are looking for the best marketing tips to the most popular travel sites, and want to have access to your favorites from any internet connected computer…check out or today!

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Spencer Twp. Branch Closing at 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

The Spencer Twp. Branch of the Kent District Library is closing at 3:30 p.m. today (Tuesday, December 9) due to poor weather conditions.

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Early Expert Readers

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Recently I read an interesting article in November/December issue of The Horn Book Magazine that addressed the issue of early expert readers, and thought it would be useful to share. The term “early expert readers” refers to children who learn to read far earlier than their peers, possibly before kindergarten. If you have an early expert reader, it can be very difficult to find appropriate books for her (or him). A four-year-old who can read or a first grader who reads at a high level may be able to read Harry Potter books, but is she ready for them? A book that is beyond her level of emotional and social development will not be enjoyable, let alone comprehendible. Young children have a very strong sense of right and wrong, and, though they may love adventure books, they really need books with straightforward storylines that don’t include flashbacks or prologues, stories with adventures that end positively, characters whose motives are clear-cut, and bad guys who get what they deserve. Below are some suggested titles for early expert readers.

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace is the first in a series of 8 or 10 books published first in the 1940s about the friendship between two little girls and the adventures they have. Along with Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Beverly Cleary’s series books about Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby, they present child-centered stories with a safe setting, affectionate parents, friendly adults, and adventures that are never really dangerous. A more recently published series featuring a pair of friends is Annie Barrows’ Ivy and Bean. The girls are likeable and funny, getting into small scrapes, but always getting out of them in the end.

Several of Dick King-Smith’s books have memorable characters, including animal-loving Sophie; Lady Lollipop the pig; Flora the school mouse; clever Ace, a pig who ends up on television; and of course, Babe: the Gallant Pig. Another series featuring a funny (and well loved) pig is Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson series. Mercy ends up catching a thief, driving a car, and dressing as a princess for Halloween, among other amusing adventures. In the tradition of Toy Story, three friends who happen to be toys have six adventures in Toys Go Out, and in its sequel Toy Dance Party, by Emily Jenkins.

There are many, many great books for kids who are early expert readers — just ask the youth librarian at your favorite branch to recommend some!

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See “The Tale of Despereaux” with KDL

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

The Kent District Library and Celebration! Cinema invite the whole family to the premiere of the animated film, The Tale of Despereaux.

On Saturday, December 20 visit the Celebration! South or Celebration! Rivertown theaters and get a matinee ticket, pop and popcorn for only $10.00. That’s a value of $13.75! Tickets will be sold at the door on the day of the event.

Matinee show times include 12:00 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at both locations. You can also enjoy games, win prizes, and enter to win free copies of the book or a movie party for ten.

For each ticket purchased, $2.50 will be donated to support literacy initiatives at the Kent District Library.

The Tale of Despereaux is based on a book about three unlikely heroes — a misfit mouse who prefers reading books to eating them, an unhappy rat who schemes to leave the darkness of the dungeon, and a bumbling servant girl with cauliflower ears — whose fates are intertwined with that of the castle’s princess.

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KDL on WXMI Fox 17

Monday, December 8th, 2008

We recently had the opportunity to talk a little bit about our Let it Snow Adult Reading Club during a morning segment on WXMI Fox 17. Check it out:


With that said, be sure to sign up for our Let it Snow Reading Club today!

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