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Tag Archive | "Little Free Libraries"

Kent District Library Director named Top Librarian in the Nation


KDL Library Director Lance Werner

Lance Werner, executive director of Kent District Library, has been named the top librarian in the nation by Library Journal.

The 2018 Librarian of the Year award honors a professional librarian among nominees from across the country for outstanding achievement and accomplishments reflecting the loftiest service goals of the library profession. Werner was recognized for his strong leadership, effective legislative advocacy and championing access for his over 200,000 patrons in Kent County.

Werner is the first–and only–Michigan librarian to win the Librarian of the Year award.

“My version of leadership is to get the best people I can, give them what they need and then get out of their way,” Werner said. “I’m one gear in a big machine where everyone is important.” Werner credits this philosophy as a cornerstone to building strong advocacy among his team, municipalities, strategic partners and patrons. 

Under Werner’s leadership, Kent District Library:

• Championed access for all by becoming the first public library in the state to offer e-magazines, e-movies, e-comics and streaming video games free of charge.

• Extended the reach of technology by circulating iPads and wireless hotspots community-wide.

• Installed a collection of Little Free Libraries around Kent County. There are currently 14, which are housed in community centers, senior centers, parks and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

• Opened a branch in Kelloggsville High School, which will be a community library outside of school hours.

• Began offering healthcare for part-time employees.

• Partnered with other West Michigan libraries to collect 50,000 library materials for the Port Arthur Public Library, a Texas library devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

• Launched a statewide short story contest called Write Michigan, now in its 6th year, which most recently drew more than 900 submissions from children, teens, adults and Spanish-language writers.

• Provided books for military troops stationed in the Middle East.

• Trained all staff members in first aid and CPR.

• Launched adult program series highlighting beer (KDaLe), wine (KDL Uncorked) and coffee (KDL Caffeinated).

• Partnered with The Geek Group and other local organizations to offer innovative programming, including STEM initiatives.

“Working with Lance is exciting,” said Michelle Boisvenue-Fox, KDL’s director of innovation and user experience. “I admire that he has respect for all of our staff and genuinely wants to do the best for our patrons and communities. This shows in the relationships he has grown over the years and our efforts to grow our KDL family to include more and more community groups.”

Werner builds his life around three pillars: kindness, empathy and love.

“I don’t feel like I have a job, it’s more of a calling,” Werner explained. “I’m so blessed to do work that I love, with those that I love, for those that I love. I consider myself a public servant and want to add to the greater good and touch the lives of future generations.”

Werner has been director of Kent District Library since May 2011. He previously served as director of the Capital Area District Library in Lansing and as a library law specialist at the Library of Michigan. He earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of Northern Colorado, a law degree from Michigan State University and a master’s of library information systems from Wayne State University.

“As the 30th recipient of the LJ Librarian of the Year award, Lance exemplifies the dynamism and keen intelligence we expect in a winner,” said Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director of Library Journal and School Library Journal. “His deep understanding of the importance of building and nurturing strong relationships at all levels has resulted in improved service for his community, enhanced benefits for the Kent District Library staff, and improved the outlook for libraries across Michigan. We are very excited to name him LJ’s 2018 Librarian of the Year.” 

Werner will receive a $1,500 cash prize and is featured in Library Journal’s January 2018 issue, available in print and online. Werner was previously a 2016 LJ Mover & Shaker and 2017 Michigan Library Association Librarian of the Year.

About Kent District Library

Kent District Library is a public library system operating 18 branch libraries that serve nearly 400,000 residents of 27 different municipalities throughout Kent County. KDL is an IRS-designed 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by millage dollars and private donations. KDL is a member of the Lakeland Library Cooperative. For more, visit kdl.org.

 

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Little Library project in city


 

A free little library was installed at City Hall this week. It resembles an English phone booth, because there used to be a telephone at this location. Courtesy photo.

City also approves DDA Tif plan, CBDG grant application

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs High School teacher Steve Ringler’s machining woods class was honored at the Cedar Springs City Council meeting last Thursday evening for their partnership with the City and Cedar Springs Library in creating three unique “Little Free Libraries” to place around the City of Cedar Springs.

A little free library is usually some type of wooden box where people can take a book or give a book to share. They come in all shapes and sizes, and are unique to the area they are placed in. 

According to Cedar Springs Library Director Donna Clark, the free little libraries were City Manager Mike Womack’s idea. Ringler came up with the ideas on what they should look like. 

One of them is red, and looks like an English phone booth. He said that one would be placed right outside City Hall, because there used to be a phone in that location. That little library was installed this week.

Teacher Steve Ringler’s machining woods class created the free little libraries. Also in the photo is Mayor Pro Tem Pam Conley (front) and City Manager Mike Womack (far right).

A second one models a train depot, and will be placed near the staging area of the White Pine Trail (just off Maple and Second Street), but that is near where the old train depot used to be located.

The third little library resembles a barn because there are a lot of farmers in our community, and will be placed near the Cedar Springs Historical Museum.

DDA TIF plan approved

In other action at last week’s City Council meeting, the Downtown Development Authority’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan was approved. Womack said that one of the most important things to understand is that the TIF plan does not raise your taxes. It captures a portion of them and that would normally go into the general fund and reallocates them to the DDA for reinvestment back into the community. 

Under the city’s plan, the improvements within the development area will consist of storm sewers, resurfacing existing streets, parking lots and alleyways, creating new off street parking, lighting improvements, landscaping, and property acquisition for further improvements as needed.

DDA revenue in the first year of the plan is estimated at $17,743, with an increase each year thereafter, based on growth percentages of 2-3 percent. In total, the DDA is projected to generate $1,394,405.57 in tax increment revenue over the 20-year term of the plan.

The first project would be to create a parking lot in the grassy area off 2nd and Maple street east of the staging area. Womack said that would cost approximately $60,000.

Grant application for new sidewalks

The City Council also approved a resolution to approve an application for Community Development Block Grant funding to create ADA compliant sidewalks in the downtown area (five feet wide) with curb and gutter. If they get the grant, all sidewalks in the area between First and Second Streets and Muskegon and Maple would be replaced on both sides of the street. Project expenses are estimated at $625,069.60. The city is asking for a grant of $468,802.12, and they would then have to come up with a partial matching grant of $156, 267.38.

Womack said that the city intends to use the general fund balance to cover that amount. “The fund balance is currently about double the required minimum and I feel comfortable drawing down that amount if we are expecting to get back more than 2:1 money,” explained Womack. “The improvement of sidewalks was considered a main priority for the City Council when I got here and this is the best opportunity that we have to potentially get it done. While we have a good chance of getting the grant there is no promise at this point. Neither homeowners nor businesses will be asked to contribute to the cost of this project.”

Water and sewer to new restaurant approved

The Cedar Springs City Council approved extending water and sewer to the location at 17 Mile and White Creek where a new Culver’s restaurant will be built this spring. The restaurant will be built on land located across the street from Big Boy, behind Arby’s and Citgo. The parcel is currently made up of three lots, which will be combined and split into two, with Culver’s taking the north parcel and the other left open for another drive thru restaurant. Gary Coleman, who was there to represent Culver’s, thanked City Manager Mike Womack for making the city more business-friendly. He also said they were hoping to start construction in March, and open in July.

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