Archive for 2012

What’s Your Favorite Christmas Movie?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

KDL has lots of great Christmas and holiday-themed DVDs, such as A Christmas Carol and The Polar Express.

One of my all-time favorites is A Muppet Family Christmas, in which Fozzie Bear surprises his mother, Emily, on Christmas Eve by bringing the entire Muppet gang to her farm to celebrate the holidays. They sing lots of Christmas songs together, and there is appearance by the Sesame Street gang and Fraggle Rock. Another favorite is the 1988 movie, Scroogedstarring Bill Murray.  This is basically just a modern retelling of the Charles Dickens classic,  A Christmas Carol.

What are your holiday movie favorites?


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Staff Pick — “The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire”

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Mark at the Cascade Township branch recommends The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo.  It’s the story of the two-year-old son of a Southern belle who is adopted by an Austrian archduke and made heir to the Mexican Empire during the French “intervention” in Mexico.

C.M Mayo does an outstanding job of making sense of this complicated episode in history, Mark says. The reader quickly becomes familiar with the many sympathetic and unsympathetic people caught up in these events; and the sights, sounds, and intoxicating smells of Mexico City float right off the page.


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The Richard L. Root Kentwood Branch

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Last Friday evening, the City of Kentwood hosted a renaming ceremony at KDL’s Kentwood branch. In honor of his dedication to the community and to the library, the cermony was held to rename the Kentwood branch library for Richard L. Root, former mayor of Kentwood. Mayor Root died in June.

Nearly 250 people attended the elegant renaming ceremony. Comments by Kentwood Mayor Richard Clanton and KDL Library Board Trustee Shirley Bruursema included quotes from the former mayor and an appreciation of his influence on them and on the city of Kentwood. Clanton reflected on Mayor Root’s passion for the library as a place of learning and fun for families. Bruursema mentioned how Mayor Root unofficially “adopted her” from Gaines Township because of her close work with him in passing the millage to construct the now Richard L. Root Kentwood Branch of Kent District Library.

Members of the Root family were present for the unveiling of a portrait of Mayor Root by Michigan artist Bill Murcko. State Representative Ken Yonker and senators Tonya Schuitmaker and Dave Hildenbrand also issued a proclamation in honor of Mayor Root.

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Alto Branch Closed Saturday, Dec. 15

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The Alto branch will be closed all day on Saturday, December 15 for carpet cleaning. We apologize for any major hassles, minor inconveniences and general feelings of bereftness this may cause.

If a day without visiting a KDL branch makes your heart sad, may we suggest the Englehardt branch in Lowell? It’s just a few short miles away, it’s got a splendid view of the Flat River and their carpeting is very clean.


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Get the Big Picture! (Book, That Is)

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Be sure to check out KDL’s selection of “coffee table” books. Just right for a cold weather day, these take you so many places while you stay warm.

In particular, Michigan photographer Todd Reed’s pictorial works are published from Ludington and highlight Michigan’s nature, lighthouses and wildlife scenes. Look for Lake Michigan: Point to Point; or Ludington: Point to Point; or Ludington State Park: Queen of the North; and certainly 365: A Year in the Photographic Lives of Todd and Brad Reed.

Birds’ nests and eggs in winter?  Why not, with Joy Kiser’s America’s Other Audubon, a collection of hand drawn lithographs showing the intricate patterns of nests and eggs of the birds of Ohio in the mid 1800s.

For home architecture, there’s Julius Shulman: Chicago Mid-Century Modernism.

And if it’s military weapons you like, see DK’s Smithsonian collection of Military History: The Definitive Visual Guide to the Objects of Warfare.

Finally, with microbreweries becoming popular, don’t miss The World Atlas of Beers: The Essential Guide to the Beers of the World. Enjoy in warmth and comfort!


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Early Lit Bits: Learning with Crafts — Deck the Halls

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Deck the Halls

As the weather starts to turn cold, most parents find themselves looking for indoor activities to fight cabin fever and keep small hands occupied. Making cheerful garlands to brighten up the house during the winter is a great way for children to develop fine motor skills they will need to learn to write when they begin school.


  • yarn or string
  • “O” shaped cereal or candy, tube shaped pasta, or drinking straws cut into small pieces
  • scissors
  • masking tape

To Make:

Tie a large knot in the end of a piece of yarn to keep the cereal or pasta “beads” from falling off. Wind a length of masking tape around the other end of the yarn to form a stiff “needle.” Children can thread cereal, pasta or drinking straw pieces onto the yarn to make garlands to hang up around the house.

Other Ideas:

Cereal garlands can be eaten by children, or hung up outside on a tree for the birds and squirrels to eat. Try using colored cereal and pasta to make patterned garlands to promote early math skills. Make paper chains by linking pieces of paper together or show your child how to accordion fold paper and make paper doll chains.



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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App of the Week: First Grade Learning Games!

Saturday, December 8th, 2012


 First Grade Learning Games by Kevin Bradford

Fun and educational games for first graders!

This is a great learning tool for kids aged 6 to 8!  They will have fun while learning subjects that are being used in most first grade classrooms.  It’s sure to boost their confidence in the classroom. There are colorful images, animation, music and supportive voice narration.  This app includes 3 games provided for free (patterns, ordering and word bingo). You can choose to  unlock all 10 through a simple in-app purchase for $2.99.

– Patterns
– Ordering
– Word Bingo
– Compound Words
– Advanced Counting
– Add and Subtract
– Contractions
– Spelling
– Fractions
– Verbs, Nouns, Adjectives


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KDL Top Ten – 12/07/2012

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Looking for holiday music?  Then checkout KDL’s Freegal Music site! Download DRM-free MP3 files of hundreds of thousands of songs from Sony Music Entertainment. And while you’re there, check out the Top Ten KDL Freegal downloads!

Try Freegal today!


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Match the Branch Contest: Results

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Thank you to everyone who took a stab at our Match the Branch contest! Mary from Grandville won the eReader… she got 16 out of 18 correct. Congratulations Mary!

Here are the correct answers:

1.) This branch boasts a three-foot tall, three-dimensional Katie L. (our beloved mascot) – Gaines Township

2.) This branch building used to be a fire station – Comstock Park

3.) This branch has a beautiful view of the river from its living room area – Englehardt

4.) This branch building was built in 1904 as a grocery store and has a secret roller rink on the second floor – Alto

5.) One of the unique features of this branch is a wind turbine with solar panels – Cascade Township

6.) This branch has a Children’s Garden, which features a giant checkerboard, raised bed garden, PVC Pipe musical instrument and maze – Caledonia Township

7.) This branch boasts a lovely outdoor amphitheatre and a demonstration garden – Grandville

8.) This is the smallest branch both in terms of size (2,000 sq ft) and population served – Spencer Township

9.) This branch houses the ArtPrize sculpture “Flights of Learning” in its lobby – Kentwood

10.) Patrons at this branch enjoy seeing what is featured in the display case located right on the corner of the customer service desk – Plainfield Township

11.) This branch has all of its nonfiction materials — those for kids, teens and adults — interfiled in one area – Alpine Township

12.) This branch offers a stunning view of Reeds Lake (Don’t say I didn’t give you any easy ones!) – East Grand Rapids

13.) This branch houses a a subregional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, as well as a cafe – Wyoming

14.) This branch building is a reddish brown barn with a prairie garden – Sand Lake / Nelson Township

15.) Once staff at this branch found a live lobster in the book drop box! (Now don’t go getting any crazy ideas!) – Byron Township

16.) This branch has a  Congressional Medal of Honor from WWII on display – Krause Memorial

17.) This branch offers a year-round craft/drawing area for kids, as well as an outdoor patio with seating – Tyrone Township

18.) This branch not only has a train painted on the wall of its program room, but also has a working train layout that circles the room – Walker


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Teens: 1 Month Left to Enter Film Festival

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Deadline for submissions in the Kent County Teen Film Festival is Monday, January 7.

Selected films will be screened from 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM Saturday, February 2 at Celebration! Cinema North (2121 Celebration Dr. NE). Check for more information, or visit your local KDL or Grand Rapids Public Library branch.



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