Archive for May, 2012

From the Director: Is Your Library’s Funding Safe?

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Libraries and other organizations such as schools, police and fire departments that provide essential tax-supported services have been working with state lawmakers for nearly a year to brainstorm ways to replace the business equipment personal property tax (PPT) if it is eliminated

Replacement is critical because without it, the services Kent County residents rely on will be at the very least irreparably damaged, and in some cases may cease entirely. Kent District Library applauded senators who recognized the value and necessity of our services, and were heartened that a “poison pill” replacement provision was included in a Senate measure that passed on May 10. While this solution is far from perfect, it is better than nothing. The provision provides that if a future legislature fails to restore revenue lost by elimination of the PPT, the PPT will be restored.

But wait. Now there are rumblings that the State House of Representatives may remove the provision, which if true, would damage KDL’s voter-approved tax funding and the services we offer to more than a quarter-million people throughout Kent County. It would also mean the year of negotiations between the Senate and governmental tax-funded essential services was utterly meaningless.

We agree the PPT is not a wise tax; why penalize businesses for trying to grow? But the services it funds – municipalities, schools and, of course, libraries – are anything but unwise. These are the entities voters have said again and again are worthy of their tax dollars. These are services that keep property values steady and growing – and thus communities vibrant – and convince businesses and people to move in and to stay.

I can say with absolute confidence that Michigan’s libraries do not take advantage of voters’ generosity. Libraries in this state saw state aid decrease in 2011 to levels not seen since 1978 – that’s the level of de-funding you think of when organizations say they’ve cut expenses to the bone.   

Despite cuts, we’re offering programs and materials that are keeping libraries more vital than ever to people’s lives. KDL cardholders number at nearly a quarter million – and that’s just our library system. In April, more than 1,000 new people signed up for library cards and in February, more than 3,000. Our early childhood literacy programs have become musts for Kent County parents and educators. Our computer and job skills course offerings are often filled to capacity, which is notable in that Gov. Snyder was quoted in a news article last year as recommending people depend more on resources at public libraries for their job searches.

At KDL, the PPT accounts for nearly 9.1 percent of our operating budget. If it is not replaced, the cuts will go inside the bone. What will happen is libraries will be forced – against our and voters’ wishes – to take the services they bargained for away from them. Another possible repercussion could be a tax increase on homeowners to pay for the services residents have come to expect.

Your state’s public libraries are not asking for more money; we’re asking that we be able to continue to provide the services we agreed to provide, with the funding voters approved.

Lawmakers, please follow through on the good-faith promises you have made regarding replacement of the PPT. Library supporters, please tell your legislators your thoughts about losing services you voted for.

Thank you for your support,

Lance Werner, director
Kent District Library


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Freegal Music on the Go!

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Freegal, our free music download service, is now even easier to use. Freegal Mobile Apps are now offered in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android, so you can download and play free music on the go! Freegal has 3 million songs available, and we hope that these new, exciting and easy-to-use applications will help make Freegal more popular than ever.

If you have any questions about Freegal or how to use it, our FAQ page would be a great place to start.



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Awesome Book Trailer for “Struck” by Jennifer Bosworth!

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Wow, I really want to read this now! It’s about a girl who gains special powers each time she gets struck by lightning, and two fanatical cults are after her.  Hunger Games fans, check this out!

Click on the book cover below to place a hold today!

Have you already read it?  Tell us what you think!


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Encore Catalog Upgrades

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The Lakeland Library Cooperative’s Encore catalog has recently been upgraded! Here are some of the new features:

  • The My Cart feature now allows you to add items to your cart, then request them for hold all at once!


  • A new Advanced Search function allows searching by any combination of title, author, etc.
    Tip: Use the Collection field to limit your search to “Kent District Lib. (all branches)” — especially handy for finding audiovisual items that can be requested for holds!

  • The catalog now displays a history of your recent searches and titles viewed at the bottom of each screen, so you can easily go back to things you’ve looked at earlier. (This history is cleared when you log out of your account or when your session times out.)


Try out the new features and let us know what you think!


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Early Lit Bits: Music Minute — “They Might Be Giants”

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

You might remember They Might Be Giants as a quirky band from the 90s, but did you know they also make fun and educational music for kids?  They have a number of albums of children’s music full of humor and fun for the whole family.  Check out Here Comes Science and Here Come the 123s and other albums for catchy tunes that will have kids and adults alike singing along. Dance, sing and have fun with your children for a fun bonding experience that can also boost memory and listening skills! 

If you enjoy their music, you may want to check out their illustrated picture book Kids Go!

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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Free Pretzels!

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012


KDL has once again teamed up with Auntie Anne’s to offer kids a tasty reading incentive. It’s easy! Pick up an Auntie Anne’s bookmark at your local KDL branch. Attached to the bookmark is a coupon for a free original or cinnamon sugar pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. I know from experience that these pretzels are delicious!

The coupons can be redeemed by children under 18 at the Auntie Anne’s in the Rivertown Crossings Mall only. They expire on October 31, 2012. Please limit to one bookmark per child. 

A huge thank you to Auntie Anne’s for their generous donation. Enjoy those pretzels!

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2012 Children’s Choice Book Awards Announced!

Monday, May 28th, 2012

The winners of the 2012 Children’s Choice Book Awards were announced at a star-studded gala earlier this month hosted by popular “guy” author Jarrett Krosoczka, but thanks to Guys Read guru Jon Scieszka, Jarrett almost didn’t make it to the ceremony.  Watch the hilarious video below!

Brian Selznick won the nod for Best Illustrator for his fabulous book Wonderstruck, Grand Rapids’ own Gary Schmidt was honored for Okay for Now, and Jeff Kinney of Diary of a Wimpy Kid fame won Author of the Year for his latest book, Cabin Fever (no surprise there, right?)  But there were LOTS of other Guy Friendly titles that were honored as well.  Want to take a look?  Click here!


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Author Jean Craighead George Has Died

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Author Jean Craighead George died May 15 at the age of 92.  Although she wrote more than 100 books, she is best known for My Side of the Mountain, which features Sam, a teenager who rejects life in the big city and teaches himself to live off the land in the Catskills Mountains.  His friendship with Frightful, a peregrine falcon, inspired many to look at the skies!

George also wrote Julie of the Wolves, which won the Newbery Medal in 1973.  Julie is a young Eskimo girl who strikes out into the Alaskan wilderness rather than commit to an oppressive arranged marriage.

Have you read any of Jean Craighead George’s books? Which one is your favorite?

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Memorial Day Reading

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

As we approach Memorial Day, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the long weekend.  We should remember to take time to reflect on the significance of Memorial Day.

In honor of Memorial Day, KDL has created a reading list featuring a selection of fiction and nonfiction books as well as movies.  Take some time in the next week to learn more about the events that helped shape this country.

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Holiday Closing — Memorial Day

Friday, May 25th, 2012
  • All Kent District Library branches will be closed on Monday, May 28, in observance of Memorial Day. We will resume normal operating hours on Tuesday, May 29.
  • All KDL branches will be closed on Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Sunday hours will resume on Sunday, September 9.
  • For additional 2012 holiday closing information, please view our holiday closings page.

We appreciate your patronage and wish you a Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day

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