Library Life

Why I Love My Library

 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

Kindle

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.

Stock family for FRAM

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.

Food for Fines iPhone

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!

Frank White book ball

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.

Plaza computers

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.

Movies That Matter film series

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.

Google Fiber

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 fiber.google.com 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.

Andrea Ellis

Equipped with a planning grant from the MacArthur Foundation, the Kansas City Public Library and Science City are plotting a digital media "learning lab" for teens in Union Station. Check out our progress!

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.

Ritchie Momon

When Ritchie Momon thinks of his history at the Kansas City Public Library, the image that stands out is of an open door.

The door stood across a courtyard at Southeast High School. Beyond it lay the school's library, where Momon would head every day after school and during summers as a kid.

Later, in his freshman year at Southeast, he would go through that door to work the card catalog as a library clerk.
It was there that Momon learned to become a steward of knowledge.

"Before the computer age, when you needed to know something, books were the first line on information, the first place you'd go," Momon says.

Now, 31 years after his first job at Southeast, Momon is about to become director of one of the biggest libraries in the city, the Kansas City Public Library's Plaza Branch, where he will succeed the recently retired Dorothy Elliott as Branch Director.

Like so many great librarians, Momon worked his way from the ground floor up, moving through just about every department in the system before turning branch manager. He worked through college and while getting his MLS at the University of Missouri (for which he took a year off, the only year he hasn't worked in a library in three decades).

Medical Explorers

Libraries don’t just open up books for young readers. We also open doors on potential futures, new friends, and better ways of living. (And sometimes we even have fun doing it, too.)

For the second year in a row, Medical Explorers, a partnership between the Kansas City Public Library and Truman Medical Centers, is helping Kansas City teens explore careers in medicine and learn how to make healthier choices in their daily lives.

Every Thursday in July, 47 teens from the Southeast, North-East, and L.H. Bluford Branches are coming together to explore careers in medicine by visiting local medical sites and connecting with health educators. Through a series of weekly field trips and two lock-ins, they will not only learn about jobs in medicine, they will also learn how to make healthier choices in their lives (whether it’s diet and nutrition or STDs) and have a blast getting to know other teens from across the city.

“Medical Explorers is unique in that it mixes fun with health and information,” says Mary Thompson, the Library’s Outreach Manager.

Coach Mark Twain

In by far the biggest landslide of this entire literary All-Star extravaganza, Hannibal's own Samuel Clemens (better known to book-ball fans as Mark Twain) was chosen Off-the-Shelf coach.

But lest you think the contest for chief was a shutout, this final draft saw some of the most creative write-in voting of the entire series so far.

Yesterday morning, the Major League Librarian Selection Committee (a shadowy organization powered by Thai noodles and the smell of old books)*, took to Facebook and presented its official nominees for a Regional Author to coach OTSAS: Mark Twain, Langston Hughes, Jim Butcher, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Though Twain took an early lead, candidates rolled in from all corners of Kansas and Missouri. Here's the final ballot as it appeared on facebook.com/kclibrary this morning at the close of voting:

Though Twain prevailed by an out-of-the-park margin, the poetic Hughes garnered a respectable second place, write-in contestant Daniel Woodrell of the Ozark League came in third, and Independence hometown hero Butcher came in fourth.

And with that, our Literary Midsummer Classic closes.

Here's the final roster:

Pitcher Lisbeth

The last time a write-in candidate made it to the MLB All-Star roster was in 1974. The Dodgers' first baseman Steve Garvey was elected by fans and went on to win MVP. The same could apply for Lisbeth Salander, the Off-the-Shelf All-Stars' fan-elected Femme Fatale Pitcher.

Pitcher: Lisbeth Salander

When we posted our official librarian-chosen nominations for Pitcher yesterday at noon (as we have each day since the Off-the-Shelf draft began on July 1), we offered up four Femme Fatale choices that had, we thought, the best mid-season stats of any ladies in the league: Scarlett O'Hara, Winter Santiago, Cathy Earnshaw, and Emma "Arsenic Arm" Bovary.

But apparently they weren't what the people wanted. When an unknown drafter wrote in Salander, aka The Girl With the Dragon Fastball, fans rallied, and Lis shot to the top of the ballot, garnering more votes than any other player in this entire draft. Coach Larsson would be proud. (Other great write-ins: Scout Finch, Amelia Bedelia, Amanda Wingfield, and Camille Preaker.)

Charlotte's Web

As Kansas City buzzed with All-Star game activity over the weekend, we got great help from our customers in choosing three more fictional players for our Off-the-Shelf All-Stars.

Now, we’re not sure whether Mr. Hyde, Tarzan, and Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web will take direction from our yet-to-be-named Coach, but they do make for an interesting lineup.

Off-the-Shelf Recap

If you’re just joining us, over the past week, we’ve been asking our fans on Facebook to vote for characters to play on our literary Off-the-Shelf All-Star team, on which each position is based on an archetypal character from a different genre of fiction. Every day, July 1-10 (leading up to the big game at the K), we’ve offered up four librarian-approved nominees for each base and allowed people to write in their own.

Before we get to voting for our second-to-last position, Pitcher, let’s meet the three new players who came in over the weekend.

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