Library Life

Booketology: The Legend Continues!

With March Madness arrives an equally important event, Booketology, the Kansas City Public Library’s annual tournament! Last year, books fought to the bitter end. It was genre against genre, literary masterpiece vs. best seller. In the end, To Kill a Mockingbird took the championship. This year, your favorite characters are getting in on the action. Voting is closed, find out the winner here!

We have selected eight genres, and in each, eight literary characters. You decide who wins it all. From Thursday, March 21 through April 8, you can vote for your favorite champion.

Booketology Championship
See the Results Here!

You’ll also be entered into a drawing for tickets to the College Basketball Experience as well as copies of our "Elite 8" characters’ books! More information is in The Rules below.

 Click for Larger Image

Click the image above for the larger, printable version and play along at home! (choose File>Print Preview to scale the bracket to fit on one page when printing)

Not sure who a character is? Click their names below to find out!


It’s Captain vs. Captain when Ahab takes on Queeg. Which bitterly disappointed wife will win, when Madame Bovary is pitted against Anna Karenina? The young rebels face off: Huck Finn battles Holden Caulfield! And a heart-wrenching decision must be made when Miss Jane Pittman takes on The Color Purple’s Celie!


Round 1 pits the magician Harry Dresden against the witch Granny Weatherwax! Halfman Tyrion Lannister battles against the leper Thomas Covenant (though both are far more awesome than their titles suggest). Morgaine from Mists of Avalon squares off against The Princess Bride’s Princess Buttercup, and The Last Unicorn fights The Hobbit’s Smaug!

Graphic Novels

It’s an epic match-up! Superman takes on Batman! Rick Grimes puts his zombie-killing skills to the test against The X-Men’s Wolverine! It’s the Lasso of Truth vs. web-shooters when Wonder Woman challenges Spider-Man, and the Endless take on the Minutemen, when Morpheus fights Rorschach!


Hard-boiled takes on spunky charm, when Easy Rawlins faces Stephanie Plum! Amoral protagonists on opposite sides of the law clash: Tom Ripley matches wits against Kathleen Mallory! Which veteran detective will win, when Harry Bosch battles Alex Cross? And the two ladies that prove you’re never too old for some sleuthing spar! Jane Marple challenges Emily Pollifax!

Science Fiction

Honor Harrington puts her tactical skills to the test against the Blade Runner himself, Rick Deckard! It’s rock ‘em, sock ‘em robot time when R. Daneel Olivaw takes on HAL 9000! And let’s not forget the teenagers: It’s a game for their very survival when Katniss Everdeen takes on Ender Wiggin! Finally, the kings of late 19th and early 20th century Science Fiction face off, when Phileas Fogg goes up against John Carter!


Romantic characters square off! Scarlett O’Hara tries to blow away her competition, Amber St. Clare! It’s Glib vs. Glum, when Elizabeth Bennet takes on Jane Eyre! The free spirits try to outdo each other, when Countess Olenska challenges Lady Brett Ashley! And will the Second Mrs. de Winter live up to expectations when she takes on Daisy Buchanan?


Sometimes an historical figure’s literary presence takes on a life of its own: It’s the battle of the biographies! Royals Queen Victoria and Catherine the Great duke it out! Whose scientific contributions will reign supreme, when Stephen Hawking challenges Marie Curie? Both have struggled for Civil Rights, now they take on each other! Decide who is more eloquent when Martin Luther King, Jr. debates Maya Angelou! And it’s Secretary of State vs. Secretary of State: Madeleine Albright wars with Condoleezza Rice!

Kids Classics

Who says kids can’t get in on the action? Charlotte’s Web Wilbur tries to take a bite out of The Very Hungry Caterpillar! Who will win, when Harry Potter challenges the unrelenting Harriet the Spy to a duel? Will it be a Wonderland for Alice when she takes on the fearless school girl Madeline? And the quirky geniuses compete when Willy Wonka battles Dr. Dolittle!

The Rules:

  • The tournament begins Thursday, March 21, with six rounds of online voting to determine the reigning Booketology Literary Character Champion! The champion and drawing winners will be announced on our KC Unbound blog on Tuesday, April 9.
  • When each new round begins, the voting form will be available by 12 p.m. that day.
  • You can only vote once per round, but anyone can participate!
  • Participants who enter their name and email address in the Booketology voting form to be entered in a drawing for one (1) Booketology Grand Prize Pack and four (4) Runner-up Prizes!

    Booketology Grand Prize Pack includes:
    Four gift certificates to the College Basketball Experience! (redeemable for four adult admission tickets), and:
    Copies of our "Elite 8" winning characters’ books! (eight books total)

    The Runner-up participants will each win one book from our "Final 4" winners!

Booketology is part of Building a Community of Readers, a campaign to transform our community by promoting a lifelong love of reading!

About the Author

Liesl Christman is the Digital Content Specialist for The Kansas City Public Library.

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Readin' O' the Green

Ireland is a country full of storytellers. It seems every citizen of the Emerald Isle was born with a golden tongue and a quick mind. KCPL has pulled together a Pinterest board of some of Ireland's most famous writers and poets. It's the Readin' O' the Green for March!

About the Author

Kaite Stover

Kaite Mediatore Stover is the Director of Readers’ Services at the Kansas City Public Library. She is a regular guest on KCUR's Book Doctors segment and moderator of The Kansas City Star’s FYI Book Club. She can tap dance, read tarot cards, and doesn’t bite.

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Words of Love

Looking for more books about good love gone bad, bad love that feels good and love in all the wrong places?

Check out our KCPL Pinterest page, Books of Love.

There are classic and contemporary romances, nonfiction about the various unusual passions folks may harbor for sports, cities, and stuffed animals from childhood, short stories full of epic tragedy and eternal devotion, and stories of otherwordly love.

Reading never felt so right.

About the Author

Kaite Stover

Kaite Mediatore Stover is the Director of Readers’ Services at the Kansas City Public Library. She is a regular guest on KCUR's Book Doctors segment and moderator of The Kansas City Star’s FYI Book Club. She can tap dance, read tarot cards, and doesn’t bite.

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Christmas Books Pinterest Contest Winner Announced!

The Library’s latest Pinterest Contest, Christmas Books: Past, Present, and Future, is over. But before we settle down for a long winter’s read, we’d like to congratulate Kristi Bond, the winner in the drawing for the grand prize.

Congrats, Kristi! We hope that Santa brings you lots of ebooks to load onto your brand-new Kindle Paperwhite when it arrives later this month. (But if St. Nick doesn’t come through, remember we have lots of ebooks you can check out for free.)

But even though Kristi was the only one who won the drawing, we hope all our pin-testants feel like winners. Together, our 43 entrants pinned 572 books. Wow. And with our Pinterest librarians Alicia and Kaite pinning and repining 112 more books to the Contest Reads board, that’s a lot of holiday-themed book discussion!

And that’s exactly how we wanted it.

We wanted to encourage you not just to share your favorite reads of Christmases Past, Present, and Future with us for the chance to win a Kindle. We also wanted you to get ideas for what to read yourself.

As contestant Sarah told us via email:

I may not have won the Kindle, but do you know what? I won something even better — I found 5 more books to put in my reading queue to request from the library! #ReadingIsPrettyMuchTheBestThingEver  #ILovePaper

#Agreed, Sarah.

Thanks to all who participated in the contest. As you gear up for the holidays, be sure to follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter for a steady stream of good reads throughout the entire year.

Happy Christmas to all – and to all a good book!

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
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Pinterest Contest: Share Your Christmas Books for the Chance to Win a Kindle!

From Dec. 3 - 10, 2012, the Kansas City Public Library invites patrons to use Pinterest to share their Christmas Books: Past, Present, and Future for a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite.

Do you like giving books as Christmas presents? How about receiving them? What books remind you of holidays past?

These are the questions we want you to keep in mind as you join us on Pinterest for a celebration of giving (and receiving) the gift of reading over the holidays.

If you’ve ever read or seen A Christmas Carol, you probably noticed how we’ve adapted the book’s Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as our guiding motif. That’s no accident as we’ve been remembering Dickens this fall through our What the Dickens? series of book discussions, performances, and events.

Now, as Christmas approaches (whether you celebrate the actual holiday it or not), we want you to have fun and get practical by using Pinterest to plan your book reading, gifting, and receiving this holiday season – all for the chance to win a pretty sweet prize.

That’s right, we’re giving away a brand-new Kindle Paperwhite to one lucky pinner. The newest in Amazon’s line of e-readers, the Paperwhite is receiving rave advance reviews for its innovative, ultra-readable screen.

(Note: The first Paperwhites are scheduled to ship Dec. 21, so if you win, you’ll have to be a little patient.)

To qualify for the drawing, you must pin seven books between Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, 2012. And while we encourage anyone in the world to enter, you must be a Kansas City Public Library cardholder to win. (Fill out an online application, or, better yet, drop by any location to get your card today!)

Here’s how to enter the KC Library’s Christmas Books Pinterest Contest:

  • Follow the Library on Pinterest at
  • Create a board titled “Christmas Books: Past, Present, Future”
  • Give it the description: “Books I’m remembering, gifting, and wishing for this year for @KCLibrary’s Christmas Books Pinterest Contest.”
  • Repin the original contest pin as your first pin to your Christmas Books board.
  • Email your board link to
  • Get equal parts creative and practical as you pin any combination of books that fall under these themes:
    • Books you have read, given, and/or gotten at Christmases Past.
    • Books you plan to give as Presents this year.
    • Books you hope Santa brings you in the Future (e.g. this year).
  • Pin at least seven (or more) books in any of the above categories by midnight on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012.

A winner will be drawn randomly on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, at 9 a.m.

Be sure to follow the Library’s own Christmas Books Contest board, where we’ll be recommending books – and repinning your selections – all week long.

And now, the pun you’ve all been waiting for: Ladies and Gentlemen, start your pin-gines!

If you pin this blog post, use the image below:
Pinterest Christmas Books Contest

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
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Why I Love My Library Contest Concludes at the Plaza Branch

 Why do Kansas City kids love their library? For some, it’s the books, movies, and stories that inspire and excite. For others, it’s having a safe place to let their imaginations run wild.

One thing’s clear. Kids do use – and love – their local libraries.

A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 60 percent of Americans under 30 used a library in the past year for activities such as research (46%), borrowing books (38%), and reading newspapers and magazines (23%).

“The statistics are nice, but what really means something to us is the anecdotal evidence,” says Outreach Education Librarian Anna Francesca Garcia. “We wanted to collect as many stories as we could to get a sense of the impact the Library has on people.”

Over the past several weeks, our Youth Services librarians have been inviting Kansas City Public Schools students to write us telling why they love the Library. The best submissions are being honored at an awards ceremony on Thursday, November 8, 2012, at 6 p.m. at the Plaza Branch (4801 Main St). The winners will be awarded books as their prizes

"I love my library because it gives me a variety of books to choose from," offered one high school student with a fondness for spooky stories, "and I can always find a book that keeps me up for nights after I read the last page."

 One perceptive student declared that "I love my library because the library helps my imagination run wild. Because of today's media you don't get to use your imagination often. That's why I love my library."

From the entries received it's apparent that the Kansas City Public Library serves many purposes for its young patrons. It's a place to meet and hang out with friends, and in addition to books the library offers internet access and movies and TV shows on DVD.

Of course there's the library staff: "I love my library because the librarian is sweet and she helps you with anything you need."

And for some youngsters the library is a refuge: "I love my library because I feel safe just being in that environment."

Join us in celebrating the winners this Thursday. And help us spread the Library love all year round!

-- Your Public Affairs Team

We’ve Got Kindles for You to Check Out

How would you like to get your hands on a brand-new Kindle that has 47 hot ebooks by the likes of Cormac McCarthy, Terry McMilan, Jodi Picoult, and many other fabulous authors already loaded on it –  completely for free?

Or how about a whodunit e-cornucopia containing the entire Millennium Trilogy alongside pulse-pounding thrillers by Lee Child, Harlan Coban, C.J. Box and dozens of others?

Or a biography smorgasbord with 57 titles from Anthony Bourdain to Edmund White?

Perhaps you’ve dreamed of having massive stacks of ebooks compressed into a single ereader to peruse on the go, but you haven’t had the cash -- or the certainty -- to buy a Kindle or Nook for yourself.

Or maybe you’re considering making the e-leap this holiday season but you’re not sure if you’ll like the feel of digital reading.

Whatever the case, get down to the Waldo Branch of the Kansas City Public Library (201 E. 75th St.) this fall, where we’re testing a new program to check out Kindles to curious and voracious patrons like you.

Each of the Library Kindles is pre-loaded with ebooks from a different genre, such as fiction, mystery, romance, history, biography, science fiction, classics, and urban fiction. Eleven Kindles are currently in circulation, with more to be added according to demand.

And yes, we realize that these babies are loaded with way more ebooks than any normal human being can read during the 21-day checkout period, but the point is not only to let you play with an ereader but also sample a variety of great reads hand-picked by our librarians.

So hurry down to the Waldo Branch and check out the Kindle of your choice. And if you’d like a preview of what’s in stock, search the online catalog for “Kindle.”

Kindle Lending Program Details

  • 11 Kindles available during test phase
  • Checkout period: 21 days
  • No holds
  • No renewals when lending period has expired
  • $1/day late fee

And if you already have a Kindle and haven’t checked out our catalog of downloadable e-books, then we have something to show you.

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
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Send Us Your Reading Pics for Family Read Aloud Month!

Do you like to read aloud to your kids? Now’s the time to prove it! This November for Family Read Aloud Month, we’re teaming up with Mayor Sly James’ Turn the Page KC initiative to show the world, in pictures, that Kansas City is a reading town.

Together with readers like you, we are building an online community photo album of Kansas City parents, kids, siblings, friends, partners, and even pets reading together.

It’s called ReadAloudKC, and it’s part of the Library’s Building a Community of Readers initiative.

We want you and your family to be a part of it.

The idea is simple. Take a picture of your children (or other special people in your life) reading and submit it to our online gallery. By the end of this month, we’ll have a rich display of Kansas Citians from all walks of life enjoying good books.

KCTV5’s It’s Your Morning will also feature reading photos captured by our librarians every day in November.

But it’s not just about taking pictures – it’s also about reading! So be sure to get in on the Family Read Aloud fun by picking up a reading log at any Kansas City Public Library location or download it (PDF) and print it yourself. Keep track of your reading and turn in your log to a children's librarian to win prizes.

Now, got your camera, some books, and your family gathered ‘round? Here goes…

How to Submit Your Photos to ReadAloudKC


  • Go to  
  • Click “Submit a Photo” and follow the directions to upload your photo from your computer.
  • Write a caption.
  • Click the two checkboxes and give your name and email (we may write you if we have a question about your photo).


Email your photo(s) to and we will upload them for you. Include a caption.


Tweet your photo to @kclibrary and @turnthepagekc using hashtag #readaloudkc.


Post your photos on Facebook wall, either via the Library’s wall at, or Mayor Sly James’ at

Join the Kansas City Public Library and Turn the Page KC in showing that Kansas City cares about teaching kids to read!

And if you need a little inspiration, here’s the fantastic John Lithgow on the art of reading to children:

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
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Win Gift Cards to Local Restaurants During #FoodforFines Week

It’s like magic. Patrons around the metro will be filling Harvesters’ pantry with food, and their Library late fees will be dropping like autumn leaves. Yep, it’s Food for Fines time at the Kansas City Public Library!

Monday, October 22, through Sunday, October 28, 2012, bring undamaged and unexpired boxed or canned non-perishable food items to any Library location during normal business hours. Each single food item will be applied as a $1 credit toward the reduction of existing overdue fines. All food will be donated to Harvesters Community Food Network.

We do Food for Fines every year, but this time we’ve come up with a special treat for our 7,000-plus Twitter followers.

Because Kansas City has got a crazy-good restaurant scene, we thought it would be fun to connect with some local restaurants and ask them for a $10-$15 gift card to give away each day during Food for Fines.

Of course, they all said heck yes! and so #FoodforFines officially got hashtag status!

Big thanks to our delicious donors SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, Grunauer, Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, BRGR Kitchen + Bar, Gram and Dun, and Snow & Company.

How to Win Local Eats During #FoodforFines:

• First, follow @KCLibrary and @HarvestersORG if you aren’t already. Then, fill up a bag, box, or car’s worth of donations for Harvesters, and head to your nearest Library location.

• When you bring your items to donate to Harvesters to have your fines reduced, simply send out a tweet letting your friends & followers know. Use the hashtag #foodforfines.

• Tag @KCLibrary and @HarvestersORG and for bonus points, tweet a pic.

Sample tweet:

I just donated to @HarvestersORG to have my @KCLibrary fines erased! You can too all week long during #FoodforFines!

At the end of each day, all tweeting donors will be identified, and one winner will be drawn and notified via Twitter.

Don’t have any late fees? First of all, good for you. Second of all, not to worry. You can still make a donation to Harvesters,  tweet about it, and be entered to win.

Here’s the sweet schedule.

Monday, Oct. 22: SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza / @spinpizza

Tuesday, Oct. 23: Grunauer / @grunauerkc

Wednesday, Oct. 24: Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue / @jackstackbbq

Thursday, Oct. 25: BRGR Kitchen + Bar / @brgrkitchen, @brgrchef

Friday, Oct. 26: Gram and Dun / @gramanddun, @gramanddunchef

Saturday, Oct. 27: Snow & Co. / @snowandcompany

Sunday, Oct. 28: Urban Table / @urbantablekc, @urbantablechef

Help us spread the word and download a #FoodforFines flier

Not sure what to bring? Check out Harvesters' list of most-needed items.

Don’t know how to use Twitter and want to learn? Contact to set up a training session.

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
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KC Library Exclusive: Frank White Autographed Book & Ball Giveaway

Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer Frank White launches his new memoir with a public event on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at the Kansas City Public Library Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

To mark this home-run event, we’re giving our social media-savvy Library fans a chance to win two autographed copies of his new memoir, and two signed baseballs. Read on and play ball…

Frank White was considered by many to be the premiere second baseman of his generation. An outstanding fielder (he won eight Gold Gloves), White was also potent at the plate (he was one of only two second basemen to bat cleanup in a World Series after Jackie Robinson).

He was also a Kansas City icon. He played his entire career for the Royals, helping lead the team to two World Series appearances and a World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985. His No. 20 is one of only three Royals numbers to be retired.

He later managed the Royals’ AA affiliate – then in Wichita, Kansas – and later became the color commentator for the big league club.

On Wednesday, October 23, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, White will discuss his memoir One Man’s Dream: My Town, My Team, My Time, which gives fans an inside look at White’s baseball legacy and also touches on his dramatic split with the Royals in 2012.

In the run-up to this exciting event the Library is offering our followers on Facebook and Twitter the chance to win one of two autographed Frank White baseballs, plus two signed copies of One Man's Dream. Here’s how to enter:

Frank White Book & Ball Giveaway

Facebook Users

  • Like the Library at (optional).
  • RSVP on for the event Frank White: One Man’s Dream – My Town, My Team, My Time on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
  • On the RSVP form, choose “Facebook” in the menu under “How did you hear about this event?” (Be sure to enter your name and contact information.)
  • Come to the event on October 23 to find out if you won! (Must be present to win.)

Twitter Users

  • Follow the Library on Twitter at
  • Tweet about the contest with hashtag #frankwhitekc. Tag @kclibrary and @Frank20White.
  • RSVP on for the event Frank White: One Man’s Dream – My Town, My Team, My Time on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
  • Choose “Twitter” in the menu under “How did you hear about this event?” (Be sure to enter your name and contact information.)
  • Come to the event on October 23 to find out if you won! (Must be present to win.)

Rules: The entry period ends at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. You may enter the contest only once. (Multiple entries past your initial entry will be discarded.) And yes, you must be present at the October 23 event to claim your prize.

More great memorabilia will be given away at the event, so if you miss out on the Book & Ball Giveaway online, you still have a chance to win something good. Additionally, White will sign copies of the book following the event.

Plus, you’ll get to hear the exciting story of one of Kansas City’s greatest athletes and a true hometown hero.

-- Your KC Library Public Affairs Team

How the KC Library Got Google Fiber

For a library, sending people to Google may sound, well, a bit self-defeating. But when we learned that Google would be launching its brand-new, ultra-high-speed network in Kansas City, we began preparing for a Google Fiber future.

Now, with the end of Google’s initial “rally” period in KC, we are happy to report that the Kansas City Public Library is going to be one of the first places in the world where you can access Google Fiber for free.

It’s been a long road to becoming one of the world’s first Fiber-equipped public libraries, however.

In the Beginning…

In the months following the spring 2011 announcement that Fiber was coming to KC, we had few details of how it would be deployed, who would get it first (whether homes or businesses), or what it would cost. We knew only that Google had struck a deal with Kansas City to provide free service to 300 schools, libraries, and other public buildings chosen by the city (see 6g in the agreement here).

Though we had little information to go on, the Library immediately recognized the potential positive impact that high-speed connectivity could bring to our service area.

Aaron Deacon of SMCKC speaks
at a Library Give Us a Gig! event

As a public library, we are the main access point to computer and Internet technology for people who don’t have that access at home. We have provided a free Internet connection to Kansas Citians since the mid 1990s, and our current tech resources include more than 700 public computers and free public wi-fi at all 10 of our locations.

Boasting speeds 100 times faster than broadband, Google Fiber presents not only a significant boost to our existing electronic services but also an opportunity to build brand-new resources that would utilize the massive, 1GB pipe.

As we began dreaming of what we could do with this exciting technology (community-uploaded data! livestreaming cultural events!), so did others in the community.

Joining the Discussion

In the latter half of 2011, as it became clear that Google Fiber would be provided to homes and public buildings first, the Library positioned itself as a hub of discussion around how this technology could benefit citizens. Last fall, we partnered with the Social Media Club of Kansas City to host Building the Gigabit City: Brainstorming a Google Fiber Roadmap, the first major community summit to address the potential impact of Google Fiber in KC.

On October 3, 2011, 80 participants from the business, IT, and education communities convened for a day-long workshop at the Central Library to discuss how Google Fiber could be leveraged to benefit all areas of city life, including K-12 schools, higher education, health care, the urban core, suburban areas, community activities, the environment, and, of course, libraries. That evening, another 162 people listened to a summation of the daytime session’s analyses and initial conclusions.

Video of Gigabit City: Brainstorming a Google Fiber Roadmap

The results of the October brainstorming session were officially released a month later at another Library event, Gigabit City: 1,001 Uses for Google Fiber, at which the Building a Gigabit City Report was released before a crowd of 150. Local radio and TV outlets covered the action.

Next, the Library began providing ongoing support to the Social Media Club's Give Us a Gig! initiative, which aimed to bring the Google Fiber discussion into the neighborhoods.  We also hosted the entrepreneur-focused Gigabit Challenge: A Global Business Plan Competition, a day-long startup contest that accidentally brought our wi-fi network to a crashing halt from the attendees’ online activity (a Library first).

Then in spring 2012, as Google prepared to make its announcement, the Library hosted a digital inclusion forum that brought together community leaders (including our Library Director Crosby Kemper III) and Google representatives for a discussion of high-speed broadband and the digital divide. The Library’s role as an access point in underserved communities was batted about by the panelists.

But it wouldn’t be until July 2012 – more than a year after the initial announcement – that we would find out Google’s actual Fiber scheme.

Rallying for the Prize

On the morning of July 26, 2012, at its freshly christened Fiber Space in the heart of midtown KC, Google laid out its Fiber options for home subscribers: (1.) a Google TV-plus-Internet bundle at $120/mo, (2.) 1GB Internet at $70/mo, or (3.) a “free Internet” service consisting of 5MB broadband at $0/mo after a $300 construction fee, paid either at once or over 12 months.

Google also announced that it would hold a six-week “rally period” during which citizens were asked to show their interest in Google Fiber by paying a $10 pre-registration fee that could be applied to their first bill.

Carving the city into “Fiberhoods,” Google set minimum pre-registration goals for each zone, from five to 25 percent, based on population density. Google made it clear this was a one-shot deal; only the Fiberhoods that hit their goals by September 9, 2012, would be eligible for Fiber in the future. And that also applied to any schools, libraries, hospitals, community centers, or other public buildings inside those Fiberhoods.

For us, this meant that if our patrons didn’t see the value of having Fiber in their neighborhood, there was a good chance we wouldn’t get it at the Library.

Google divided KC into "Fiberhoods" that had to hit pre-registration goals to get Google Fiber.

Fortunately, our patrons know what’s good for their community. Two days before the rally period closed on September 9, 2012, at midnight, the eight Library locations that were eligible for Fiber had met their neighborhood goals (our two easternmost branches were outside of the initial rollout).

This rally period, however, was a rollercoaster ride for the Library.

For starters, some Fiberhoods hit their marks faster than others. Our Waldo and Westport Branches, located in higher-income neighborhoods, qualified quickly.

(Side note: Household income wasn’t necessarily the driver, however. In Fiberhoods with high percentages of apartment and condo buildings, residents of “multi-dwelling units” experienced persistent problems that had to be resolved on Google’s end. This affected our two biggest libraries: Central and Plaza, which didn’t come through until the final week as property owners finally became able to pre-register in bulk.)

Driving pre-registrations at our branch libraries that serve lower-income areas of town proved the greatest challenge. In these parts of town, many people not only lack Internet service, they lack computers, email addresses, and sometimes even credit cards – all of which are required for pre-registration.

As the weeks passed, we sent out scads of fliers and online messages about how Google Fiber could help the Library. But as Fiberhoods on the east side of town struggled to move the needle, stories in the media emerged regarding the way Google’s Fiber map was highlighting the digital divide in Kansas City. Meanwhile, neighborhood initiatives such as’s Paint the Town Green effort began collecting donations to push Fiberhoods closer to their goals.

That’s when we decided to take things into our own hands.

Bluford Branch manager April Roy and staffer Bernie Norcott-Mahany help patrons pre-register for Google Fiber

We saw that it would take just over $1,000 to pay the entire pre-registration costs in two crucial Fiberhoods: Key Coalition North, which contains our L.H. Bluford Branch, and South Town Fork Creek, home to our Southeast Branch.

Internet/computer use at these two libraries is among the highest of all of our branches, and thus it was not surprising that patrons there were not interested in pre-registering for a service they wouldn’t be able to afford at home.

However, after securing a generous donation from the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library to cover the fees, it was easier to encourage people to pre-register. We explained that even if the customers chose not to get Google Fiber at home (in which case the $10 fee would be refunded), their local libraries and schools would still get the free connection. That pitch, it seemed, provided the tipping point.

Still, it took a lot of work.

In addition to asking our Bluford and Southeast staff to campaign at the service desk, we relied on neighborhood activists and community organizations such as LINC to help get the word out.

Fiber Going Forward

Now, the rally period has ended, and though our Library will be getting Google Fiber, many communities we serve did not meet their pre-registration goals. Google has indicated that these Fiberhoods will receive a second chance to sign up sometime in the future, and that grants will be awarded to community groups to increase digital literacy in the community.

Meanwhile, as outlets from Wired to the New York Times report on digital divide issues in Kansas City in the wake of the Fiber rally, the Kansas City Public Library will work to close that divide.

We will not only continue to provide access to the best technology we can for all people in the community. We will increase our outreach efforts to show people how getting connected can help them search for jobs, excel at school, launch their own businesses, research their family’s history, and access a world of knowledge – to name a few benefits.

Google Fiber will make us faster, bigger, more powerful. But using technology to improve people’s lives is what we do anyway.

We’re a public library, you know.

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
Kansas City Public Library on Facebook   Kansas City Public Library on Twitter   Kansas City Public Library on Flickr   Kansas City Public Library on YouTube   Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest   KC Unbound RSS feed

What Movies Matter to You?

In the new free film series Movies That Matter, the Library’s film czar, Robert W. Butler, has programmed 20 films he deems essential to film literacy. They range from Citizen Kane to Snow White.

But if we put you in the director's seat, what movies would you pick? Would you opt for pure enjoyment or aim for historic significance? Perhaps a bit of both?

Let us know: What are your Movies That Matter? Get creative, fire up your camcorder or webcam, and make your own video telling what movies you think everyone should see.

Post your video on YouTube and:

We'll share your video on the Library's Facebook page, and who knows -- one of your picks may end up in MTM, round 2!

Take it away, Bob...

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Movies that Matter show on SUNDAYS at 1:30 p.m. in Truman Forum Auditorium at the Plaza Branch.

September 2, 2012 Citizen Kane (1941: NR)
September 16, 2012 The General (1926: NR)
September 30, 2012 The Seventh Seal (1957: NR)
October 14, 2012 Rashomon (1950: NR)
October 28, 2012 Nosferatu (1922: NR)
November 4, 2012 Raging Bull (1980: R)
November 18, 2012 The Bicycle Thieves (1948: NR)
December 2, 2012 The Manchurian Candidate (1962: NR)
December 9, 2012 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1939: NR)
January 6, 2013 The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928: NR)
January 13, 2013 My Darling Clementine (1946: NR)
January 27, 2013 Bringing Up Baby (1938: NR)
February 10, 2013 All About Eve (1950: NR)
February 24, 2013 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to

Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
(1964: NR)
March 10, 2013 The Circus (1928: NR)
March 24, 2013 Rear Window (1954: NR)
April 7, 2013 Wings of Desire (1987: PG-13)
April 21, 2013 Singin’ in the Rain (1952: NR)
May 5, 2013 Sunset Boulevard (1950: NR)
May 19, 2013 Metropolis (1927: NR)

Help Us Get Google Fiber: Free Pre-registration Drive August 25

Google Fiber is coming to Kansas City. But will it come to all of KC – or just to the neighborhoods where people are already enthusiastic about having fiber-optic power in their homes and local schools and libraries?

At the Kansas City Public Library, we want everyone to be connected. It’s why we provide more than 700 public computers plus free wi-fi to our patrons. It’s also why we’re working to insure that each of our eight locations that are eligible for Google Fiber will receive the free connection that Google has promised to public buildings in neighborhoods that reach their goal by the September 9, 2012, rally period deadline.

Wait, there's a deadline?

It’s true. Google has divided KCMO and KCK into “Fiberhoods.” Each fiberhood must rally its residents to go online at and show their interest in receiving Google Fiber by paying a $10 pre-registration fee. All Fiberhoods must hit a minimum number of pre-registrations by September 9, or they will not get access to Google Fiber – and that includes the schools, libraries, community centers, hospitals, and other public buildings located inside those fiberhoods.

At the Library, we want to provide all of our patrons with access to Fiber – but especially to folks in areas of town that aren’t already wired.

Let's Do This for Libraries

Saturday, August 25, 2012: Google Fiber Free Pre-registration Drive

On Saturday, August 25, 2012, we will be holding a free pre-registration drive at two of our locations where pre-registrations are lagging:

The L.H. Bluford Branch in Key Coalition North
3050 Prospect Avenue
Kansas City, MO 64128

The Southeast Branch in South Town Fork Creek
6242 Swope Parkway
Kansas City, MO 64130

Three weeks into the rally period, these two Fiberhoods have received pre-registrations in the single digits and are in danger of being left behind when Fiber comes to town.

The Library has received generous funding from the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library organization to pay the $10 pre-registration fees for the first 36 people at Bluford and first 67 people at Southeast who live in those fiberhoods and come in on Saturday, August 25, 2012, between 1-5 p.m.

Pre-registrations will be paid for on a first-come, first-served basis.

If Bluford's and Southeast's Fiberhoods don’t reach their goals on Saturday, the Friends will continue to offer free pre-registrations through the Library until they hit their thresholds.

Please spread the word to any individuals and organizations you know in and around Key Coalition North and South Town Fork Creek.

Below are two fliers designed by the Library’s Public Affairs department to get the word out about our free pre-registration drive. Download them, print them, put them on doors, and email them at will.

L.H. Bluford Neighborhood Flyer (PDF)
Southeast Neighborhood Flyer (PDF)

Thanks to the Friends of the Library for helping us to help make sure our patrons have a chance at the fastest Internet connection on earth.

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
Kansas City Public Library on Facebook   Kansas City Public Library on Twitter   Kansas City Public Library on Flickr   Kansas City Public Library on YouTube   Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest   KC Unbound RSS feed

Coming Soon: A Digital Learning Lab for KC Teens

The planning has officially begun. The grant secured by Crystal Faris, Jamie Mayo, Mary Thompson, and Kim Patton to design a digital media "learning lab" for Kansas City teens is in full swing.

Thanks to these enterprising librarians' efforts, last November the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced that the Kansas City Public Library, in partnership with Science City at Union Station, would be one of 12 organizations in the U.S. to receive $100,000 in funding to plan and design a "learning lab" for teenagers and high school students.

Modeled after the YOUmedia center at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, the lab will encourage teens to use digital media technology such as social networking, video games, and audio/visual media production to create, collaborate, and widen their world in ways that they typically aren't able to in the traditional classroom.

But before a lab can be built, plans must be laid.

"The essence of this grant is R&D," says Andrea Ellis, the Library's digital media lab project coordinator. A native of Kansas City, Ellis holds a Master's in Communications and Film Production from the School of Education at NYU. Before moving back to KC two years ago, she worked in training and outreach at Arlington Independent Media, a public access TV outlet that serves the Washington, D.C., area.

"This is such a rare gift," Ellis says. "It allows us to play and figure out what we want to do. I've done other federal grants before, and usually you're implementing and then trying to figure out what worked and what didn't."

Over the next 18 months, Ellis will work with our youth services librarians and representatives from Science City to develop a prototype for a lab in Union Station and a mobile lab to travel between branches.

"It's a cool opportunity we haven't had before to be a part of the cutting-edge research in 21st century learning in museums and libraries," says Jamie Mayo, Central Youth Services manager.

Part of that research incorporates the HOMAGO model developed by University of California researcher Mizuko Ito. Short for "hanging out, messing around, geeking out," HOMAGO teaches that teens learn best when given a safe space in which to play, learn, create, and interact.

Watch a video about Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out

So how will the Library and Science City get local teens geeked?

Answering that question is what this year's grant is for.

Involving Our Teens

In addition to providing the funds to hire Ellis, the grant will allow Faris, Mayo, Ellis, and other planning committee members to travel to three training workshops, in Chicago, San Francisco, and DC.

Money will also be invested in equipment such as laptops, cameras, and software for use in hands-on testing with teens.

The grant will also be used to recruit and compensate a Teen Advisory Board whose members will assist with the R&D process and conduct teen focus groups.

"These will be competitive, paid positions," Mayo stresses. "It's important to show that your talents can garner you money."

Applications for membership on the board will be distributed at the first major lab-related event, the Teen Summit on August 25 at Union Station.

The Summit will invite around 40 teens from the Library's service district to check out potential spaces in Science City and discuss what they want from the lab.

Soliciting feedback from teens, after all, is a crucial part of the process.

"The essence of this is that it's safe for teens and meets them where their interests are," Ellis says.

Finding out those interests will be a major task for Ellis and her colleagues (including those on the Teen Advisory Board) in the coming months.

Building a framework for financial support is important, too. When the planning grant expires in June 2013, more funding will be needed to build the lab. That money may come from an implementation grant, corporate sponsors, or other sources.

"The grant allows us to create a solid plan that we can use to seek funding for the physical lab at Union Station, so including sustainability in the plan is vital," Faris says.

For now, Faris and Ellis remain excited.

"It's a movement," Ellis says, "and it's exciting to be a part of a movement that's having a positive impact on teens and youth in Kansas City."

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
Kansas City Public Library on Facebook   Kansas City Public Library on Twitter   Kansas City Public Library on Flickr   Kansas City Public Library on YouTube   Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest   KC Unbound RSS feed

5 Reasons to Help the Library Get Google Fiber

The Kansas City Public Library could become one of the first public libraries in the nation to provide customers a free connection to Google’s cutting-edge high-speed fiber optic network. But we need your help to get it.

Though Google will deliver on its promise to provide a free connection to libraries, schools, hospitals, community centers, and other public buildings in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., there is a catch.

Google is not going to hook up those buildings unless the people who live in the neighborhoods around them demonstrate an interest in getting Google Fiber at home.

In other words, Google is not going to build the physical infrastructure for Fiber without some indication people will subscribe to the service. That’s why it has carved the two cities into “Fiberhoods.” These areas must each meet a designated threshold of pre-registrations (usually about 10% of the pop. density) by a deadline of September 9, 2012, or no one in those neighborhoods will have a chance at getting Fiber.

To show Google that you want Fiber in your neighborhood, go to, enter your address, and pledge $10. The ten bucks can be taken off your first bill if you do decide to get Fiber (see the Plans & Pricing for details on packages, including a "Free Internet" service that gets you free broadband for 6 years).

And even if you don’t want Fiber at home, your money will go toward giving libraries, schools, and other important community access points a free connection to the gigabit-speed network – which they can, in turn, give back to the community.

Here’s five reasons why you should help the Kansas City Public Library get Google Fiber.

  1. More Bandwidth = More Access – Visit any of our branches any day of the week and you’ll see row upon row of public computers with patrons busily pounding away at each of them, with more people waiting their turn. We not only provide broadband Internet access through 700+ public terminals, each of our branches is equipped with free wi-fi for patrons who bring their own devices (sometimes setting up in our parking lots after hours to grab the free signal). With the 100-times-faster speeds of Google Fiber, our existing service will increase a hundredfold, allowing patrons to fire off emails, upload job applications, update their blogs, and watch educational TED talks faster than ever before.
  2. The Digital Divide – Public libraries are the main technology access points for people in the community who don’t have Internet – or in many cases, computers, period – at home. Google Fiber will allow us not only to provide unprecedented network speeds to the most technologically under-served patrons in KC, we will also use it to develop new programs and initiatives that will help teach people to use technology to better their lives. (One quick example: The Library recently secured a $100,000 grant to plan a digital media Learning Lab for teens at Science City in Union Station.)
  3. Smart Libraries, Smart City – There is a movement underway to make Kansas City a “smart city,” which means, in a nutshell, harnessing large amounts of public data and using it to make the city run more efficiently. It touches areas like energy consumption, transportation, public safety, health, mobility, water, and other civic systems. Libraries are integral to the smart city equation. Librarians have always been stewards of the community’s data. They collect, authenticate, and catalog data and build the tools and systems that make information easy to access and use for real-world purposes.
  4. Economic Development – With his Turn the Page program, KCMO Mayor Sly James has made the goal of getting all children up to grade-level reading by 3rd grade his single most important economic development objective. No other institution is better able to prepare kids for reading success than the public library. And it isn’t just kids. As we’ve been learning through our Cradle of Entrepreneurs series of public conversations with Kansas City’s top business founders, every entrepreneur has a story about going to the library to do everything from conduct research to get inspiration from the books on the shelves. By boosting our citizens’ brainpower, libraries boost our economy.
  5. It’s Free! – Maybe the best reason of all: libraries are free to use. As our mission states, we are a doorway to knowledge for all people in the community. From the books on our shelves to e-books in the cloud, from helping parents get their children ready to read at school to bringing world-renowned authors to speak before diverse crowds, the Kansas City Public Library will continue providing the best resources we can muster, free of charge. Though pre-registration for Google Fiber will cost you $10, that’s money well spent toward making all of our branch libraries better beacons of free knowledge to the entire community.

That’s just an overview. We’ve got a lot more specific ideas cooking for how to take advantage of the Google Fiber connection.

Kansas City Public Libraries in the Fiberhood

To give you a sense of what we need to accomplish, here’s a list of all our branches, which Fiberhoods they’re in, and the threshold needed for each to get Fiber. (Click the links to see current standings)

Central Library: Business District (424 pre-registrations needed)
I.H. Ruiz Branch: West Side North (91)
L.H. Bluford Branch: Key Coalition North (41)*
Plaza Branch: South Plaza East (142)
North-East: South Indian Mound (43)*
Southeast: South Town Fork Creek (67)*
Waldo: Tower Homes South (119)†
Westport: Westport (48 needed)†
Total Goal: 975 pre-registrations

*As of this post, these libraries’ Fiberhoods have received fewer than 10 pre-registrations.
†Goal reached!

(Note: Trails West and Sugar Creek Branches currently not eligible as they are outside KCMO city limits.)

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
Kansas City Public Library on Facebook   Kansas City Public Library on Twitter   Kansas City Public Library on Flickr   Kansas City Public Library on YouTube   Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest   KC Unbound RSS feed