There are lots of issues that are important to people; the library is my cause. The Kalamazoo Public Library is asking for a renewal of its current millage for 20 years. I rely heavily on the public library in both my personal and work lives, but I'm not sure if everyone knows just how amazing KPL is and the services public libraries offer to their communities.
My children (yes, that's them!) love going to the various branches of the library to enjoy not only the special programming, but the unique facilities (their favorite activities include creating puppet shows and completing puzzles!) and kind, caring librarians and staff members who always offer amazing book suggestions and wonderful service. Public libraries often offer author and illustrator visits to their communities. In the picture above, my son is wearing a t-shirt he got during the Nerdfighter Gift Exchange while visiting a stop on John Green and Hank Green's Nerdfighting Tour, an event also sponsored by a public library (Ann Arbor District Library). Thanks to funding and support from KPL, my children met Paul O. Zelinsky and they count Awful Ogre's Awful Day and The Wheels on the Bus amongst their favorite books to read aloud. Each summer, my children participate in KPL's Summer Reading Program and they love getting the opportunity to choose new books and tell the librarians all about what they have been reading.
In my professional life, I know I can count on the KPL librarians to work collaboratively on author visits, programming, and book selection. Sharon Flake and Sharon Draper have visited my students thanks to KPL. Draper's fall visit in 2008, in conjunction with an all-school read, spurred a frenzy of reading which has continued throughout the school year. Students clamour for books both written by Draper and like those she writes. The KPL librarians also spend time promoting the Summer Reading Games to all my students which is so important in order to avoid summer slide. There are frequently books that I am unable to purchase for my students. I know that I can send them to KPL for additional resources that extend beyond my budget. I also check out books from the public library in order to read them before purchasing them for my collection in order to stretch my budget dollars and purchase the most appropriate materials.
Public libraries level the playing field in communities. There are computers with Internet access, allowing job-seekers to find resources they need to empower themselves. Families can enjoy resources and programming selected and planned for their enjoyment. I calculated the cost of the books our family has read in the past year. Without our public library, the cost would have been over $4,000. That is books alone. No programs, concerts, puppets, or professional service. The millage will cost our family about $200 per year, all of which we are already paying since this is a renewal. There is no question that we're getting a bargain. I urge you to support your local public library--and VOTE YES if you live in the Kalamazoo Public Library District. It's amazing what you will find there!