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In Chinese zodiac lore, the dragon is stately, proud, fiery, and passionate. And if you’re turning 12, 24, 36, 48 (or another multiple of 12) this year, congratulations, noble dragon, 2012 is all you! Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate the Chinese New Year on January 23 in Kansas City.

1. Join Winter Reading

Our annual Adult Winter Reading program began on January 9, and if you haven’t signed up yet, this is the perfect way to get started on your New Year’s resolution to read more great literature – and celebrate the Chinese New Year in one swoop. The theme this year is Destination: Anywhere!, and the reading list will take you to far-flung places, including, of course, China. Start off with Pearl S. Buck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of pre-revolutionary China, The Good Earth, or delve into Jung Chang’s multigenerational family history, Wild Swans. Get more suggested readings and sign up for Winter Reading here.

2. Attend the Greater Kansas City Chinese New Year Celebration

KC Library app screen

Since launching the Kansas City Public Library mobile app a couple of months ago, we’ve been hearing stories of how people are using the app in interesting ways. This doesn’t surprise us. Library patrons, after all, are the smartest people on the planet.

Now, if you don’t yet have the app, it’s available as a fast, free download for just about every smart phone and tablet PC. Search your device’s app store for kc library, or go to the device’s browser and type in to download the app directly to your device.

Here are five ways our customers are using the app to enhance their Library experience.

Test-Driving Books

Our friend John finds himself pulling out the app whenever he visits the bookstore. As a self-described “test driver” who uses the Library to try books before he buys 'em, John searches the Library catalog through the app and places a hold on the book to check it out later. Don't worry, bookstore owners of Kansas City: if he ends up liking the book enough to buy it, he'll be back. (Tip: You can also do this with DVDs you’re thinking about buying, such as highly coveted TV-on-DVD collections, which we check out for free.)

Fine Prevention

Family Read Aloud Month banner

There's no shortage of stories in American households. The TV flickers, video games blast and boom, the Facebook newsfeed crawls - all provide stories, in a sense. But what's missing in nearly half the homes in the U.S.?

Stories read aloud.

At the Kansas City Public Library, we believe that developing a lifelong love of reading leads to educational, professional, and social advantages for individuals as well as communities. And to really take root, the seeds of that love for reading must be sown early in life.

That's why, as part of our Building a Community of Readers initiative, the Library is encouraging Kansas City families to gather 'round the bedtime story and join us for Family Read Aloud Month this November.

The goal is to get 500 families to read aloud four or more hours (that's an hour a week) this month. Here's how it works: