Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Years

This time of year always fills me with a mixture of optimism and a touch of sadness. Our Library had a great year. We were a finalist in an international competition sponsored by SIRSIDYNIX, our website won a "Best In Show" award from the American Library Association, and our Youth Services Librarian, Camille Rose, won the Illinois Library Association's Golden Ticket Award. Our library was also cited as an example in several different professional publications this year. How could I feel a touch of sadness with a year like that?

The sadness comes when I think about our former Board Member and Friends of the Library President, Mary Jo Johnston, who passed away in August. Mary Jo was an amazing library advocate, and we miss her. It may seem ironic that my optimism also comes when I think of Mary Jo. Our Friends of the Library have decided to dedicate their Spring Author Program in memory of Mary Jo. In March, Christopher Paul Curtis, winner of both the Newbery Award and the Coretta Scott King Medal, and one of the most important voices in children's literature today will be speaking at our Library.

I think that Mary Jo would be very pleased to see that our staff and our Friends group are working together to make the Library a vital and exciting part of our community. We are working together to make the seemingly impossible possible for the children of Kankakee.

Happy New Years,
Cindy Fuerst
Library Director

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The BookPod

I have a burning need. I want a device that will change my reading habits the way the iPod changed my listening habits. Like most modern consumers, I want what I want when I want it. Now! As you probably know, Amazon made a pass at such a device last week with the release of their Kindle book reader. Many "in the know" tech reviewers wasted no time turning the Kindle into kindling. In particular, reviewer Robert Scoble recorded a video challenging his own record for the most uses of the word "sucks" in a single review. These reviewers don't seem to understand they are looking at a first generation product. Is the Kindle too expensive? Yes. But the first generation iPod cost $400 too, and didn't have any video or podcast capability. Its screen was black and green. It only worked with a Mac. It had 6gb of memory. In comparison, the newest iPod has 160gb of storage, podcast capability, full video, a full color screen, and works fine on a PC. That first generation iPod was introduced in 2001. What will the Kindle look like in six years? I can't wait to find out!

Stephen Bertrand
Assistant Director

Monday, December 03, 2007

Library Elves

I always struggle with how much a public library, or any government building for that matter, should decorate for the holidays. In my first few years as a director I felt somewhat Grinch like. I didn’t forbid holiday decorations at our Library (as long as they were politically correct) but I certainly didn’t do anything to encourage them either. This year Santa’s elves invaded our Library. Every time I walk through the building, more decorations seem to magically appear. There are snowmen, little lighted houses, sparkly faux snow, movable lighted deer, poinsettias, garland, stockings, and not one, not two, not three, not four, but five decorated trees – including a ten foot tall one in the café area. It’s very festive around here, and truth be told, I am feeling rather jolly about it.

Our Library is right down town, and the City’s Christmas tree is a block away, visible from our parking lot. This year we were asked to be part of the City’s tree lighting festivities. So along with Santa, there was Clifford the Bid Red Dog and Library Elves. There was the switching on of the lights for the City’s tree, and there was the “wreathing” of the Library’s lions. This year Kankakeeans began their holiday season by visiting the Library. I think that is something worth decking the halls for, and to be very jolly about.

Happy Holidays,
Cynthia Fuerst
Library Director