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Tag Archive | "Kent District Library"

KDL closing Internet gap by mailing hotspots to households

 An expanded initiative by Kent District Library will allow patrons to get Internet access delivered straight to their home.

The library has added 700 new hotspots to the collection, increasing the number to 833. The hotspots are part of the Beyond Books Collection and are available to library cardholders age 18 and older.

“With an estimated 24,000 households without broadband access in Kent County, during this time of crisis, it’s important to help as many people as we can,” said Carrie Wilson, Director of Library Services at KDL. “With so many people working and learning from home, the need for Internet access is greater than ever before.”

To check out a hotspot, visit kdl.org and search on the term “hotspot.” Hotspots will be mailed to households while KDL branches are closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. When KDL opens, hotspots will be able to be picked up at the branches. People who live in the KDL service area and do not have a library card can register for one online at kdl.org/virtual or by calling 616-784-2007.

A Wi-Fi hotspot is a small piece of equipment that will set up a wireless network that allows a houseful of people to connect to the Internet via cellular service.
People can also access free Wi-Fi from KDL parking lots. All branches maintain strong Wi-Fi signals so people can use free internet outside the building.

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Kent District Library Launches Curbside Pickup and Announces Reopening

Libraries gearing up to reopen

Good news! All those library materials that patrons have been holding onto for the last couple of months can be returned soon. Exterior book drops at all Kent District Library locations will open on Monday, June 8. Curbside service, for picking up items, will begin Monday, June 15 and the projected reopen date for limited service in the branches is Monday, July 6. 

KDL is taking this phased approach to reopening, introducing those services that can be immediately provided while staff make adjustments within the facilities to ensure safety and compliance. The most significant changes are required within the library facilities, to move public computers, designate safe-distancing areas and implement additional sanitation procedures. Executive Order 2020-110 states that the library may reopen for public access, subject to the rules governing retail stores described in Executive Order 2020-97 or any order that may follow from it. 

Library patrons are reminded that since KDL is a fine-free library, it is okay to hold onto materials until it’s convenient to return them. With more than 240,000 items currently checked out, book drops may become busy during the first few days, but the library will be ready for returns. Items will be placed in quarantine for three days before being returned to the collection for future checkouts. 

The new curbside service is an easy and safe way for people to pick up checked out materials from the convenience of their car. To use curbside service: 

1.      Visit kdl.org, search the catalog and place items on hold, indicating the branch location for pickup. 

2.      After receiving notification that items are ready for pick-up, visit the branch during normal open hours and park in one of the designated Curbside Pick-up spots. 

3.      Call the number listed on the signs in the parking lot; please have your library card number ready. 

4.      A library staff member will bring the items to the car. 

Details for visiting library branches will be announced shortly before the July 6 reopening date. Check kdl.org for the latest updates. 

The Cedar Springs Public Library is also getting ready to reopen, but has no firm date. “Here we are weeks into our ‘Safe Homes,’ longing for the day we can host you once again in the CS Library!  You are surely wondering WHEN we will reopen. Though there is no official date, we are making plans to reopen in stages, along with KDL and all of our library neighbors in Western Michigan,” said Library Director Donna Clark.

Full Summer Reading Program starting June 8 with registration, reading logs, prizes and programs are all online.  Pick from dozens of prizes with reading points. Story on page 3.

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KDL delivers summer fun and learning straight to you

Kent County – Summer looks a little different this year and so does Kent District Library’s summer reading program, but it still contains all the learning, fun and prizes you love… with some bonus excitement! KDL is pleased to introduce Summer Wonder, an at-home, self-guided program for all ages that kicks off Monday, June 1 and extends through Saturday, August 8.

For the first time ever, KDL cardholders will receive a Summer Wonder workbook and a Kaleidoscope, KDL’s showcase quarterly magazine, delivered to them in the mail. The workbook features ten at-home projects for kids while the Kaleidoscope includes information, ideas and excitement for all ages. Kids will be introduced to Curi, the robot guide for Summer Wonder.

Summer Wonder is a STEAM-powered program that focuses on science, technology, engineering, art and math.

Since KDL branches are closed for now, Summer Wonder can be completed from your home. You can sign up at kdl.org/summer and use KDL’s new smart phone app, Beanstack. This app enables people to record their progress and register for prizes right from their phone, tablet or computer.

“The new reality of doing more at-home learning has created challenges in keeping our brains active while maintaining safe social connections,” said Kris Vogelar, Youth Specialist at the Grandville Branch. “KDL wants to meet you where you’re at with a specially designed summer program for all ages.” 

Those who register for Summer Wonder can qualify for prizes by completing the 30-day challenge. In 2019, over 19,000 people completed KDL’s summer reading program.

Summer Wonder is a great opportunity to limit the “summer slide” that negatively affects learning between the end and start of the traditional school year. Extensive research shows that children involved in summertime reading programs sponsored by public libraries are more likely to maintain their academic skills, and in many cases do better on standardized tests.

The website, kdl.org/summer, is your one-stop-shop for all things related to Summer Wonder. You can download the workbook and access online programs and activities. The program line-up includes appearances by 1,2,3 Andrés, Magician Tom Plunkard, Outdoor Discovery Center and many more.

KDL would like to thank the many sponsors of Summer Wonder, including the Friends of the Cascade Library and the Friends of the East Grand Rapids Library, who gave the lead gifts.

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20th Annual first grade library card drive

Free books were given out to students from local author Amanda Litz. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Library, Kent District Library, Cedar Trails Elementary and the Kent Theatre all teamed up for the 20th annual library card drive to celebrate March is Reading month.

First graders and their families came out to the Kent Theatre Monday and Tuesday evenings, March 2 and 3, to celebrate with their classmates, teachers and friends.  Thanks to the great support, cooperation and enthusiasm from our partners at Cedar Trails, 78 first graders and 164 of their family members enjoyed the new movie, “Dr. Doolittle,” on March 2 and 3 at 6 p.m.  All but one of the teachers were able to make it to welcome their students and sign them in: Mrs. Daneford, Mrs. Upham, Mrs. Bonsall, Mrs. Obrien, Mrs. Doncis-Boggiano, Mrs. Tiffany, Mrs. Shepard, Mrs. Birdsong, Mrs. Fisher, Mrs. Brussow and Mrs. Strain.   

Free books were given out to students from local author Amanda Litz. Courtesy photo.
First grade teachers were on hand to greet students at the Kent Theatre Tuesday. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Library and Kent District Library paid for first grade tickets. Miss Donna and Miss Laura, the Library staff from Cedar Springs, and Miss Sara and Miss Bethany from KDL, were on hand to greet everyone, share library updates and programs and to inspire families to read and to utilize their local libraries, which are rich with resources. It was emphasized that local library cards are good across all eight counties in Western Michigan, with a return anywhere policy.  

Free books were also given out to the children and were donated by local author Amanda Litz. The books were “We can count,” “We can ride our bikes,” and “Pirate’s treasure.”

Heading into “April is Poetry Month,” all students and parents were also invited to write a poem or read a favorite poem at the Kent Theatre on April 7 at 6-8 p.m. by just showing up to share. The event is sponsored by the Nelson Township Branch of KDL and the Cedar Springs Public Library and is open to all ages.

In parting, we always pay tribute to Mike Metzger, former Library board member and school board member, who was the one who first dreamed of every first grader having a library card, and who made it a reality 20 years ago.  This is a proud day for you and for all of your partners these 20 years.

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Poetry event at the Kent

Area libraries celebrated poetry month with poetry workshops throughout the month and culminated in a poetry reading at the Kent Theatre Tuesday evening April 30.

Those reading poetry included: Back row (L to R): Terry Fales, Donna Clark, Melissa Robinson, Mary Bronkema, Lillianna Berg, Carolyn Davis, Bea Hesley, Tom Anderson, KDL’s Bethany Metivier, teen parapro. Front row (L to R):  Lee Ritzema, Jeri Bell, Ivy Berg.

Cedar Springs and Kent District Library branches (Nelson/Sand Lake, Spencer, Kent City/Tyrone) partnered for the event.

According to Cedar Springs Public Library Director, it was a smaller, more intimate event than was last held in 2011, with 12 readers taking the stage to read either their own poetry, or a poem they liked. Several read poems written by George Hesley, who recently passed away and had been looking forward to the event.

“It was personal and beautiful,” noted Clark.

Clark hopes that a poetry reading at the Kent can become an annual event.

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Kent District Library Presents Let It Snow

Win Prizes for Reading

Your favorite winter reading program for adults is back! Kent District Library is pleased to present Let It Snow. Adults (18 and older) who participate and read a minimum of six books in different categories between January 2 and March 31 will receive a Let It Snow 2019 ceramic 15 oz. mug. Participants who finish an additional four titles are entered into a drawing to win an iPad.

“Let It Snow is a unique program that encourages adults to read for fun in a lot of different genres,” said KDL Programming Manager Kip Odell. “It’s exciting to read and receive a cool prize, a new Let It Snow mug!”

In 2018, 1,413 people completed Let It Snow.

 Participate online at kdl.readsquared.com or pick up a print form at any KDL branch.

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New KDL Bookmobile hits the streets

Will visit Nelson Twp/Sand Lake Library on Thursdays

Many of the area’s baby boomers will remember the Bookmobile—a mobile library that visited neighborhoods during the 1960s and 70s. Kent District Library has resurrected that idea, and now has a Bookmobile delivering library service to local schools and communities. It will visit the Nelson Township/Sand Lake Library on Thursdays, starting November 1, from 1-5 p.m.

The Bookmobile was designed and created with the support of a $208,000 grant from the Steelcase Foundation.

This mobile library will enable KDL to bring its services, programming and staff to Kent County residents living in underserved areas. One of KDL’s goals in bringing the Bookmobile to schools is to increase reading proficiency in third grade students. In 2016, 50 percent of Kent County third graders were not proficient in English language arts. Beginning in the 2019/20 school year, third graders who do not pass reading proficiency tests will be held back. The Bookmobile will help deliver services that are focused on improving third grade reading proficiency.

The Bookmobile is equipped with a collection of materials provided by a generous grant from the Frey Foundation. It also includes Wi-Fi, a large exterior video screen and modular shelves. The vehicle is also handicapped accessible and offers security features. A full year of fuel will be provided by the J&H Family Stores.

Julie Ridenour, president of the Steelcase Foundation, said: “The Steelcase Foundation is honored to partner with the Kent District Library and the Frey Foundation to return the bookmobile to Kent County. It is our hope that the travels of this vehicle will allow readers of every age to be part of the Steelcase Foundation vision of empowering people to reach their full potential. We hope the Bookmobile lights the imagination of all who visit, whether to check out books, use the bookmobile’s wireless and computer devises, or tap into the talents of the librarian.”
The Bookmobile will allow Kent District Library to make its programs and collection available to patrons, particularly students, beyond the walls of the branch library. Through a close partnership with Kent School Services Network, KDL will bring the Bookmobile to seven schools every other week. It will also visit senior centers, rural centers, summer day care programs and a variety of other locations throughout Kent County.

“This project is a game changer for KDL” said Sara Proano, community engagement manager for KDL. “Now we have the capacity of bringing the library to patrons, wherever they are. We understand that the services we offer not only foster learning and bring entertainment, but they help communities connect with available resources and that impacts their quality of life at many levels.”

The Bookmobile is 36 feet long, 11 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide. It weighs 22,000 pounds with the collection inside. The collection includes books, books in other languages, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines and videogames.

The Bookmobile schedule typically runs Mondays through Thursdays, plus Saturdays. Fridays are reserved for maintenance and special events.

For more information or to request a visit from the Bookmobile, visit www.kdl.org/bookmobile.

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KDL announces 7th annual Write Michigan short story contest

Great opportunity for writers of all ages to get published and win cash

Kent District Library and Schuler Books & Music announce the seventh annual Write Michigan Short Story Contest, which drew nearly 900 Michigan writers last year.

Writers of all ages are invited to enter, with separate categories for youth, teens, adults and Spanish language. Winning entries will be published and receive cash prizes.

 “Write Michigan is a wonderful opportunity for authors of all ages,” said KDL Director of Innovation and User Experience Michelle Boisvenue-Fox. “We continue to be amazed at the caliber of writers we have enter this exciting competition and are honored to be a vehicle in showcasing Michigan talent. Writers won’t want to miss this chance to share their talent in such a big way!”

Stories can be submitted at www.writemichigan.org through Friday, November 30. Details include a 3,000-word maximum length; $10 entry fee for ages 18 and above, free for 17 and under; current Michigan residents only; all entries must be submitted online.

Winners are chosen by public vote for the Readers’ Choice award and by a panel of judges for the Judges’ Choice award. Voters and judges choose winners from the top ten semi-finalists. The top honor in each category receives a $250 cash prize and a Judges’ Choice runner-up in each category will receive a $100 prize. Winners will be honored during an awards ceremony in March and be published by Chapbook Press.

Write Michigan continues to grow, attracting writers from across Michigan. This year, Write Michigan includes an all-day Writers Conference, taking place on Saturday, October 27 at the KDL Service Center. Learn more at www.kdl.org/events/writers-conference.

For more information on Write Michigan, visit  www.writemichigan.org. For the Write Michigan media kit, including logo, poster and additional graphics, please visit www.writemichigan.org/media.html.

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First grade library card celebration

Kids were excited to celebrate at the Kent Theatre earlier this month. Photo by Donna Clark.

A free popcorn was part of the fun at the Kent Theatre. Photo by Donna Clark.

The First Grade Library Card Roundup ended with a Grand Party at the Kent Theatre on Monday, March, 5, and Tuesday, March 6, to celebrate “March is Reading Month.” The Cedar Springs Public Library and Kent District Library Branches from Nelson and Spencer Townships each sponsored a free ticket for all first graders from the Cedar Springs Public Schools and Creative Technologies Academy to see “Paddington 2.” The Kent Theatre offered free popcorn to all first graders with a library card, counting 89 first graders over the two evenings. Counting everyone who attended—students, parents, siblings, teachers, and library staff—the total came to 283 over the two evenings.

Local author Amanda Litz donated books to be handed out at the event.

The Cedar Springs Public Library started this program in 1997, and later joined with KDL to jointly administer the program since students who live in Nelson and Spencer Townships have their home library there.

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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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