About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Community Centered

Englehardt Library
200 N. Monroe St.
Lowell, MI 49331

I've never met a library I didn't like. Each one has a story. And I enjoy them all—from large (LOC) to small (Small But Mighty), in exotic settings (Hong Kong), in unusual locations (Topinabee), and in lovely vacation spots (Mackinac). But there's something special about a hometown library, one that is an integral part of the community in which it resides. Such is the case with the Englehardt Library, my hometown library in Lowell. I recently paid a visit to get reacquainted.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Dual Purpose

Kelloggsville Branch
4787 Division Ave S
Grand Rapids, MI 49548

Question: When is a high school library not a high school library? Answer: When it is also a public library. On the south side of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the small neighborhood of Kelloggsville, the local public library system, Kent District Library, has teamed up with the school district to bring library services to the community. My old school, and by that I mean the school where I spent 10 wonderful years as a librarian, is now home to a double-duty library, a school/public library. Not long ago Kelloggsville Public Schools embarked on a major renovation of its high school, part of which involved the creation of a brand new, two-story, 6000-square-foot library. Then last fall the district partnered with KDL to transform this new addition into a space that could serve both the school and the community. Last Friday I met with some old Kelloggsville friends for breakfast, something we did every Friday as colleagues. I thought this the perfect time to check out this new high school facility.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Small But Mighty

My Little Free Beach Library
Winter in Michigan, that time of year when I am at odds with many of my dearest friends and relatives—the skiers, skaters, and snowmobilers—the ones who dearly love the winter months. The more snow, the better. I am not one of those. I'm more of the hole-up-under-a-cozy-throw-with-piles-of-books type. This time winter hit my neck of the woods like a frozen tidal wave, suddenly crashing down mercilessly with sub-zero temperatures just in time for the start of the new year. Happily, however, a brief respite came when the sun appeared, and temps soared into the 30's. So what to do during this balmy streak? A scavenger hunt! Yes, a scavenger hunt. “Hunting for what?” you might ask. Libraries, of course. Little Free Libraries that is.

If you are unfamiliar with Little Free Libraries, check out my earlier blog post about these small marvels and the one my husband built for me. Apparently the LFL movement is taking the country by storm. Tiny buildings usually mounted on posts, or in my case on a picnic table on the beach at our cottage, these diminutive structures offer books to take free of charge. No library card required. And if patrons like, they can leave books for others to enjoy. After a quick search of the LFL official map, I discovered that there are six of them right here in the Lowell area. So I set out to find them.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Your Local Library, What a Bargain!

Over the past six years, I have spent countless hours seeking, exploring, photographing, and enjoying a variety of bookstores. What a joy it has been. I have even written about a library or two. When I saw the infographic below, I decided that it was high time I paid a little more attention to libraries. I do, after all, love libraries every bit as much as bookstores. And libraries have so much to offer beyond books: computer and internet access, e-books, videos, enrichment programs, youth services, research assistance, and more. For this reason I intend to dedicate a few posts to specific libraries, and because winter is a good time to stick close to home in Michigan, I intend to begin with a look at libraries in and around my home in Lowell. I know there are some gems just waiting to be discovered. Take a look at this enlightening infographic, and stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Share: Extreme Book Lover

Wow! Book lovers all over the world would love to have a home like the one built by these bibliomaniacs in Japan. They designed their entire house around bookshelves to store and display their revered print possessions. Requiring a ladder to reach the top shelves, it's not just huge; it's also earthquake proof. Color me green with envy.

More pictures and the complete story are here:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

One Book, One Community

Reading a book as a group is a great way to bring a community together, and community reads seem to be popping up all over the place. This makes the librarian in me very happy. Last summer I wrote about a Muskegon area project centered around Timothy Egan's Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, which was also a selected title for the book club I attend. Then this fall The Friends of the Montague Library and The Friends of the White Lake Community Library collaborated on a One Book, One Community undertaking featuring Michigan author, John Smolens and his book, Wolf's Mouth. As with the Muskegon area read, the Smolens book was a featured selection of my book club, and our usual meeting was attended not just by the regular club members, but also by a crowd of interested White Lake area readers and participants in the community read.