Archive for January, 2014

Updates to Mango Languages

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014


If “learn a new language” was one of your New Year’s resolutions, now is a great time to check out Mango Languages, one of the awesome resources offered by KDL. Mango is FREE to all KDL cardholders, and is an easy, effective way to learn to speak a foreign language. Courses are currently available in 60 foreign languages and 17 English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.

Mango has recently launched Mango Connect, a makeover of their user portal that will make it easier for language learners to access all the language-learning products available to them and keep track of their progress. Here are the details:

  • The new dashboard is organized so that users simply select a language from the list and can then see all the products available to them in that language — traditional language courses (“Mango Conversations”), foreign language movies from Mango Premiere, and children’s courses from Little Pim (coming soon to KDL!)

    Find a Conversation       Mango Spanish 

  • The old Basic and Complete 2.0 courses have been consolidated into a single product now called Mango Conversations. Any remaining Complete 1.0 courses have been “retired,” but access to the “classic portal” containing these courses will still be available until June 2, so users will have plenty of time to finish the course. 
  • Mango has also released new placement tests for 17 of their most popular languages, so those who need to make the switch from the old 1.0 courses to the new Mango Conversations (or those of us who may have studied a language in high school but have since forgotten most of it…) can easily determine where they should start. The link to the placement test is located on the Welcome Screen for those languages:

    Mango Placement Test 
  • Users can now create a custom profile page which stores their picture, study history and preferred language settings:

    Mango Profile

  • In addition to the existing iOS and Android apps, Mango now has a mobile app available for Kindle and NOOK devices as well.

If you’re a current user of Mango Languages and have any questions about the change to the new portal, you can contact Mango’s Customer Service at 1-877-MANGO-11 or And if you haven’t used it before, watch the video below to see Mango Languages in action, then start learning a new language today!


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New Teen Booklists: Movies & SF

Monday, January 20th, 2014

If you love going to the movies, you might find the next two booklists relevant. If you like Ender’s Game (as a book or movie) by Orson Scott Card, we have recommendations for books that are similar.  KDL also has a large collection of graphic novels featuring Comics that Inspired the Movies. And don’t forget to checkout these great Fantasy Books for Teens.

A Confusion of Princes        Cowboys & Aliens        Scepter of the Ancients


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Early Lit Bits: Learning with Crafts — Learning with Each Step

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Learning with Each Step


Many people have at least one set of stairs in their home, either leading from the main floor to the second story, or leading down into the basement. Turn trips up and down the stairs into a fun learning experience for children by making simple signs for the risers on a staircase. If you don’t have a staircase in your home, try sticking these signs to the floor in a row so that children are able to step or hop from one sign to the next.


  • Thick paper / cardboard from a cereal box
  • Removable adhesive strips or painter’s tape
  • Markers


Cut the paper or cardboard into a shape that will fit onto the risers of your staircase. Write one letter on each sign with a marker to spell out a child’s name. Fix one sign to each riser with removable adhesive strips or painter’s tape so that as children ascend the staircase, they can say each letter on the riser to spell out the name.

Other Ideas

Make a sign for each riser to teach children the days of the week (one sign per day), the months of the calendar year, numbers or the letters of the alphabet.

–Anjie G. at KDL’s Walker Branch



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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KDL on WZZM — Healing with Green Smoothies

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Linda Carrington and East Grand Rapids Branch Manager Dawn Lewis recently appeared on WZZM to talk about Healing with Green Smoothies:

Linda will demonstrate using natural plant oils with natural green smoothies to help target health challenges at these upcoming programs:

Monday, February 3, 6:30 PM – Kentwood branch
Monday, February 24, 6:30 PM – Sand Lake / Nelson Township branch

She also will present Medicine Cabinet Makeover, discussing natural solutions that can be safer, cheaper and more effective than over-the-counter medications:

Thursday, January 23, 6:30 PM – Gaines Township branch
Thursday, January 30, 6:00 PM – Walker branch

Pre-registration is required for both programs.


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KDL Top Ten — Books on Organization

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Get organized in 2014!  For inspiration, see this week’s Top Ten list:

Top Ten Home Organize 01-17-2014

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February LibraryReads Staff Picks

Friday, January 17th, 2014

You already know that your local KDL staff provide great recommendations when you’re looking for your next favorite book. Now library staff across the nation have connected to offer LibraryReads, a nationwide “Top 10” list of favorite titles each month! Check out these upcoming titles that librarians across the country have read, loved, and want to share with you:

  1. Red RisingLibraryReadsFavoriteRed Rising by Pierce Brown
    The next great read for those who loved The Hunger Games. This story has so much action, intrigue, social commentary and character development that the reader who never reads science fiction will happily overlook the fact that the story takes place on Mars far in the future. The characters are perfectly flawed, causing the reader to feel compassion and revulsion for both sides. Can’t wait for the next installment!”
    —Cindy Stevens, Pioneer Library System, Canandaigua, NY

  3. The Good Luck of Right NowThe Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
    “Socially-awkward 40-year-old Bartholomew has lived with his mother all his life and has never held a job. When she succumbs to cancer, he channels her favorite actor, Richard Gere, to make her happy during her last days. Funny and sad, with moving, unsentimental prose and a quick, satisfying pace. Highly recommended.”
    —Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

  5. This Dark Road to MercyThis Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
    “Cash’s second novel is as good as his first. In this story, we meet Easter and her sister Ruby, who have been shuffled around the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina. Then their ne’er-do-well father whisks them away in the middle of the night. I was on the edge of my seat as I followed the girls’ tale and hoping for a safe outcome. Fans of A Land More Kind Than Home will enjoy this book as well.”
    —Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

  7. The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
    “An edge-of-your seat debut thriller with laugh-out-loud dialogue mixed in. After a bad storm cuts his team’s Mars mission short, injured astronaut Mark Watley is stranded. Now he’s got to figure out how to survive without air, shelter, food, or water on the harsh Martian landscape until the next manned mission in four years. It’s Science Fiction with a capital S, but Weir does a fabulous job of making it accessible to non-science geeks (like me).”
    —Dan Brooks, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

  9. After I'm GoneAfter I’m Gone by Laura Lippman
    “So much fun to read. In Lippman’s newest book, bookie Felix Brewer goes missing just before his indictment because he can’t stand the thought of spending years in prison. He leaves behind a wife, three young daughters, a mistress, and Burt, his best friend and attorney. Enter retired police detective Sandy Bayard who works as a consultant on cold cases. A delicious bon bon!”
    —Anne Lee, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

  11. RippeRipperr by Isabel Allende
    “Allende does an amazing job of developing characters in this taut, suspenseful literary thriller. The story has a lightning-fast denouement, and the mystery is artfully styled to keep the reader guessing.”
    —Amanda Viana, Norton Public Library, Norton, MA


  13. The Ghost of the Mary CelesteThe Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin
    “A cargo ship sailing from New York to Italy is discovered empty and drifting near Gibraltar in the 1870s. The mystery brings grief to two Massachusetts seafaring families and ignites the public’s imagination, including one Arthur Conan Doyle, who authors a fantastical magazine piece that purports to be an account by the ship’s doctor. Crossing time and space, this wide-ranging story proves Martin once again to be a master of the historical novel.”
    —Margaret Donovan, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA

  15. The Wife, the Maid, and the MistressThe Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon
    “A captivating mystery, based on the real-life disappearance of New York Supreme Court Judge Joseph Crater. Told through the voices of the three women closest to Judge Crater—his trophy wife, his beautiful maid, and his Broadway starlet mistress—this is excellent historical fiction, about the era of Prohibition and the culture of 1930s New York City. Riveting characters make for a quick and entertaining read.”
    —Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX

  17. The Winter PeopleThe Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
    “The small Vermont town of West Hall has been the scene of mysterious deaths, disappearances, and ghost sightings. The scattered pages of a turn-of-the-century diary relate the events that lead to a murder and the apparent beginning of all the trouble. Odd and intriguing clues emerge, and the final conclusion is thrilling.”
    —Nancy Russell, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

  19. E. E. CummingsE. E. Cummings: A Life by Susan Cheever
    “Cummings is a pivotal figure in the creation of modern verse, and Cheever conveys his journey with color, warmth, and understanding, especially his imprisonment in France during the First World War, his father’s death and his final reunion with his daughter. She leaves the reader with only one wish: to be a fly on the wall while the poet held forth to his friends.”
    —Linda Jeffries-Summers, Howard County Library, Columbia, MD


See for more information and find your next great read!


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Do You Like “Downton Abbey”?

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Historical drama “Downton Abbey” is back for a fourth season, airing Sunday nights on PBS. If you’d like to see previous seasons, KDL has the show on DVD.

Here is a list of book suggestions by KDL staff for those who can’t get enough of “Downton Abbey”!


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Love eBooks? Help Us Improve Our Service

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

survey button green LGDo you download eBooks and eAudiobooks from KDL? Why? Why not? We want to hear from you!

KDL is one of 10 library systems in the U.S. trying to improve our cardholders’ access to eBooks and eAudiobooks. Our ultimate plan: to eliminate barriers to digital collections so this huge happy family of library-loving peeps continues to grow.

Your participation in this brief survey will help us understand how we can do better.
(*Note: We are aware that there are errors in the Library Simplified Survey. This survey was not generated by KDL. We do hope that you complete the survey, as we anticipate the resulting data will be of value in improving our ability to provide access to digital media).

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Golden Globe Winners for 2014

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

The Golden Globe Awards were announced earlier this week and, since they come before the Oscars, can sometimes give a clue to what the latter might be awarding (though of course the voting is coming from a different group of people). Kent District Library does its best to put new movies on order so you can place holds before they are released, and a number of the award winners are currently available to hold.  The historical “Twelve Years a Slave” won best picture in the drama category. Cate Blanchett, starring in Woody Allen’s latest comedy-drama “Blue Jasmine” won best actress for a drama, while Matthew McConaughey won the male award for the same category for “Dallas Buyers Club.” “American Hustle” was awarded best picture in the comedy/musical category.  For best director overall, Alfonso Cuaron won for “Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, while “Breaking Bad” was awarded best television series. For a complete listing of the winners — and what films they were competing against — go here.


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KDL Closed Monday, January 20

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

All Kent District Library branches will be closed on Monday, January 20 for an All Staff professional development day. 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. Please pardon our absence, and we’ll all be back on Tuesday, January 21!



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