Archive for November, 2011

Be a Miner 49’er

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Howdy, pint-sized prospectors!

Mosey on down to select KDL branches in December, January and February for some Gold Rush-inspired fun! Crafts, games and activities for all ages include valuable nuggets of background on the U.S. Gold Rush, making your own Western vest and miner hat and panning for “gold!”

Monday, December 5, 10:30 a.m. – Alto branch
Thursday, December 29, 2:00 p.m. – Plainfield Township branch
Monday, January 9, 6:30 p.m. – Krause Memorial branch
Tuesday, January 10, 6:30 p.m. – Englehardt branch
Saturday, January 21, 1:30 p.m. – Sand Lake / Nelson Township branch
Sunday, January 22, 2:00 p.m. – East Grand Rapids branch
Thursday, January 26, 6:30 p.m. – Spencer Township branch
Monday, February 20, 1:00 p.m. – Grandville branch

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KDL Seen & Heard

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

A few recent library story gems from KDL patrons:

* A 17-year-old Krause Memorial branch volunteer needed the community volunteer hours for college, but may have found a career: “I learned what it’s like to work with people who love what they are doing, plus how the library runs and how much work goes into keeping it exciting for the kids.”

* Speaking of potential careers: Christy Trudell, a patron at the Wyoming branch, loves libraries so much, “I have decided to become a librarian myself,” she wrote recently.  Christy is in her first year of the Master of Library Science program at Texas Woman’s Univeristy, “and so far I am loving every minute of it!”

* A mother who regularly attends Storytime with her daughter at the Gaines Township branch reported to staff that when her family went to a local restaurant to use their free coupons from Summer Reading Club, her daughter was asked by the cashier if she likes to read. In response, the young girl said, “Yes and we do Jack and Jill at Storytime,” then proceeded to do the entire Jack and Jill finger play for the smiling employee.

* A grandparent who attends Toddler Time with her grandson at the Grandville branch apologized to a staff member that her grandson didn’t pay more attention during the program. The staff member assured her that toddlers are often physically busy during a program, but are picking things up. That proved correct when the grandmother reported the following week that upon returning home from Toddler Time, her grandson raced into the backyard yelling “Pigs out! Pigs out!” just like the character in the read-aloud story. 

Our patrons do such a wonderful job telling us their stories. We love hearing about all the ways your library has impacted your lives — so as always, keep them coming!

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Another Film Review: “Sanctum”

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Sanctum Poster

Sanctum“, directed by Alister Grierson and having James Cameron as executive producer, is a thriller (“based on a true story”) that takes place almost entirely underground, in a complex of water and air-filled caverns somewhere in New Guinea. Frank and Josh, father and son, are part of an expedition to explore and map the huge system that is entered through a magnificent, wide and deep hole in the middle of the jungle. 

Everything seems well-accounted for technologically speaking, with laptops and even a robotic diver that follows the humans as they plunge into utterly unknown spaces deep under the ground.  But as with any good adventure tale, something has to go wrong, and it does, in the form of a typhoon that brings in huge amounts of rain through the hole in the ground. (Why they haven’t planned better for this disaster — with a phone system that goes dead — is never fully explained, but I digress.)   This means that our spelunkers are suddenly in a very tight spot, both literally and figuratively.  Finding their normal way out blocked, they must plunge deeper into the cave — with no maps — and hope to escape that way instead. 

If you’re looking for emotional resonance here, it’s not abundant, though the script does try and give us some insight into the problems and development of Frank and Josh’s relationship.  But what really drives the story, naturally, is the courage, fear and obstacles that make their appearance as the explorers do everything they can to get out. If you’re driven into claustrophobia by seeing people stuck in caves, then skip this film. However, if you, like me, like caves — or just a very visceral adventure that doesn’t have giant alien robots — give this movie a try. I think you’ll find it a pleasant and sometimes disturbing distraction.
(Rated R for language and some disturbing violent images.) 

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Exciting, Adventurous Family Listening

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1I just finished listening to the seventh book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan, and I love every one of them.  The audios are brilliantly narrated by John Keating.  Embark on these great adventures with The Ruins of Gorlan, Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1. 

In a vaguely medieval England-ish land, youths are assigned their occupation at a ceremony on Choosing Day.  His hopes dashed when he is rejected by Battleschool, the diminutive fifteen-year-old Will becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious (and spookily reserved) Ranger named Halt. 

Unlike many modern fantasy authors, Flanagan concentrates more on his characters than whatever whack-a-doo creatures he can conjure up.  Will is one of the most endearing, gracious, delightful young characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.  (Nearly as sweet as Taran, the Pig Keeper, from The Black Cauldron.)  But don’t tell the kids that!  Concentrate on all the cool outdoor skills he must master — ArcheryKnife throwing! — and the heart-pounding suspense when he musters up the courage to employ them in the face of grave danger!

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Winter 2011-12 KDL Kaleidoscope

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The Winter 2011-12 issue of the KDL Kaleidoscope is now available at your local branch library. Or check it out online. You’ll find all you need to know about winter programs and get some great information on library resources and staff recommendations.

It’s sure to be an exciting winter at KDL, and you don’t want to miss a thing. Check out the KDL Kaleidoscope today!



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Early Lit Bits: Music Minute — “Radio Wayne” by Wayne Brady

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Radio Wayne by Wayne Brady

The always entertaining Wayne Brady has a new children’s album out this year full of fun songs for the whole family. The DJ-style songs are full of important tips for kids and are delivered with Brady’s classic musical style.
With songs like “Say Please,” “You Are What You Eat,” and “Reading Can be Fun,” Brady remains entertaining while including educational lyrics.
Head over to your local KDL branch to check out a copy today or request it online.

This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.

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From the Director: Preserving Libraries

Monday, November 28th, 2011

It’s a great time to show your library some love.

A recent national media article has chronicled the devastating effects of budget cuts to U.S. public libraries, noting that many are currently threatened with staff cuts, reduced hours and even branch closings. It seems incomprehensible, but libraries are not immune to the cutbacks facing so many other vital services and institutions in our communities.

At KDL, most of our budget (87 percent) comes directly from taxpayers like you, through your property taxes. When property values decline, so does our funding. Additional cuts anticipated at the state level next year could amount to an added loss of $1.1 million in revenue for KDL. These cuts come as patrons are using KDL’s services even more due to the tough economy. If Governor Snyder’s plan to eliminate personal property taxes for businesses is approved without some form of replacement funds for libraries, cuts that are happening at other public libraries will happen here too.

We have worked hard to keep past cuts from impacting those services most valued by our patrons. Still, you have likely noticed fewer copies of books on the shelves, a decreased number of library employees at your local branch, or perhaps we no longer offer a program you have come to enjoy. While we remain dedicated to providing you with the very best service possible no matter the financial circumstances, we could use your help to preserve the library services you love.

I’ve listed below a few simple things you can do to support the library:

  • Donate to the KDL Fund. No gift is too small!
  • Write your legislator. Your message can be as simple as: “I love my library. Replace, don’t erase, the personal property tax.”
  • Be an advocate. Tell your friends and family about KDL, the great services we provide and what the library means to you.
  • Continue to use the library. Whether you come through our doors or use services on our website, the more you use KDL, the more you prove that libraries remain an invaluable community resource.

As director of KDL, I plan to loudly voice my intention to preserve public libraries for our generation and for many more to come. Please join me.



Lance Werner Signature

Lance Werner


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Celebrate the Season!

Sunday, November 27th, 2011


Celebrate winter with KDL! We are offering all kinds of exciting programs for children and families this season. Don’t miss out on all the free fun!

Holiday Gift Making
Don’t know what to get friends or family for the holidays? Make them something! We’ll be focusing on transforming ordinary craft supplies into beautiful works of art.

Saturday, December 3, 10:00 AM – Tyrone Township branch
Saturday, December 3, 10:00 AM – Plainfield Township branch
Saturday, December 10, 10:00 AM – Alpine Township branch
Saturday, December 10, 10:30 AM – Alto branch

Gingerbread Lane
Take a stroll down Gingerbread Lane and enjoy some tasty gingerbread stories. Each child will make a simple gingerbread house. Registration is required and participation is limited.

Wednesday, December 7, 10:00 AM – Caledonia Township branch
Thursday, December 8, 10:30 AM – Englehardt branch
Thursday, December 8, 6:30 PM – Spencer Township branch
Saturday, December 10, 10:00 AM – Plainfield Township branch
Saturday, December 10, 1:30 PM – Kentwood branch
Saturday, December 10, 3:00 PM – Kentwood branch
Thursday, December 15, 4:00 PM – Comstock Park branch
Thursday, December 15, 6:30 PM – Tyrone Township branch
Saturday, December 17, 1:30 PM – Gaines Township branch
Saturday, December 17, 1:30 PM – Sand Lake / Nelson Township branch
Tuesday, December 20, 1:30 PM – Alpine Township branch
Tuesday, December 20, 6:00 PM – Wyoming branch
Wednesday, December 21, 10:00 AM – Walker branch

The Reindeer Are Coming!
Traveling all the way from the North Pole (via the Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farms), live reindeer will be visiting the library. Dress warmly and don’t forget the camera!

Thursday, December 8, 4:00 PM – Alto branch
Thursday, December 8, 6:30 PM – Comstock Park branch
Monday, December 12, 4:00 PM – Gaines Township branch
Tuesday, December 13, 6:30 PM – Plainfield Township branch
Wednesday, December 14, 3:00 PM – Caledonia Township branch
Thursday, December 15, 4:00 PM – Walker branch
Thursday, December 15, 6:30 PM – Grandville branch
Tuesday, December 20, 6:30 PM – Wyoming branch
Wednesday, December 21, 5:30 PM – Alpine Township branch
Wednesday, December 28, 2:00 PM – Kentwood branch
Friday, December 30, 2:00 PM – Byron Township branch

Christmas with Santa
Visit Santa Claus, make a craft, and enjoy treats at the library. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club and the Friends of the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library.

Saturday, December 10, 10:30 AM – Sand Lake / Nelson Township branch

Snow Party
Celebrate the snow indoors with crafts, games, and activities!

Thursday, December 29, 2:00 PM – Walker branch
Saturday, January 14, 2:00 PM – Comstock Park branch
Saturday, February 4, 1:00 PM – Grandville branch
Saturday, February 25, 2:00 PM – Kentwood branch

Snowpalooza: Snowman Building Family Fun!
Have some winter fun and build a snowman on the library grounds. Pick up your “Build a Snowman” kit from the circulation desk and have fun creating snowpeople outside the library. Participation stickers for everyone; patrons will vote for their favorite!

December 27–January 21 – Englehardt branch
January 2–31 – Krause Memorial branch
January 7–28 – Alpine Township branch
Saturday, January 21, 2:00 PM – Gaines Township branch
January 30–February 4 – Grandville branch
January 30–February 11 – Caledonia Township branch
Saturday, February 11, 10:00 AM – Sand Lake / Nelson Township branch
Saturday, February 18, 10:00 AM – Byron Township branch


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Author Anne McCaffrey Dies at 85

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Anne McCaffrey, author of the popular Dragonriders of Pern books, died on Monday at her home in Ireland at the age of 85.  Anne McCaffrey authored over 100 books and co-wrote over 30.

McCaffrey was the first woman to win a Hugo Award and the first woman to win a Nebula. She was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2006.  Her son Todd McCaffrey has been adding books to the Pern series as a co-author and on his own.

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Dark Life by Kat Falls

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Dark Life by Kat Falls is set in a future time where the water levels have risen, causing coastal areas to fall into the ocean. No one owns land anymore because of overcrowding. But a small community has started to grow on the floor of the ocean. By homesteading, land is available along with a profitable business of growing food to sell to the Topsiders. But their way of life is under threat by a group of pirates who have been stealing supplies. 15-year-old Ty along with Topsider Gemma, who is looking for her brother, discover a dangerous secret about Shade, the leader of the pirates. Ty and Gemma not only have to work together to save the homesteading community but their own lives!

Some how this book slipped by me when it was first published, but I found it to be an excellent read. The underwater scenes are very vivid and the descriptions of the sea creatures very appealing. If you enjoy alternative fiction books (like The Hunger Games) with a lot of action, you might want to check this one out!

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