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What to Read Next: The Fountains of Silence

In a riveting look at Madrid, 1957, eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson arrives in Spain with a camera and a passion to connect with his mother's home country. While Spain is under the rule of General Francisco Franco, Daniel captures a darker side of Spain, leaving him with uncomfortable questions in a place of danger. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys is a heart-wrenching novel inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain. A similar, very beautiful and meaningful story that captures the inevitable fears of war and appreciation for life is Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. In it, Death is our narrator who tells the story of Liesel, a young German girl who shares her stories and storytelling abilities that ultimately sustain and hide the Jewish man and neighbors in the home of her parents. If you loved The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, this is your book.

If you like a different take on narrators, such as Death narrating The Book Thief, another beautiful title is Julie Berry's Lovely War. Here we have stories of love and war as told by the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Rather than taking place at Mount Olympus, she's in a luxe Manhattan hotel narrating a great love story set in the perilous days of World War I and II to her lover and husband. If you'd rather read a first person approach during the Revolutionary War, however, consider reading Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains. It's a story of war, spies and the lengths we will go to feel freedom. Engaging, quick and full of character development, this is a must-read.

Finally, I leave you with other titles by Ruta Sepetys, as she is one beloved, amazing author. If you haven't read her other titles, be sure to check out Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea. If you love historical fiction at all, these are two titles that will completely immerse you in to their worlds.

KDL Librarian Elected to Newbery Award Selection Committee

Katie Lawrence, a librarian at the Grandville Branch of Kent District Library, has been elected to the 2022 Newbery Award Selection Committee. The committee members discuss books that have been published during the previous year for kids age 0-14 and vote for the Newbery Medal winner and Honor titles.

The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery.

Sixteen people were on the ballot, and eight were elected. Members of ALSC voted March 9 - April 1. Seven additional committee members will be appointed by the ALSC president.

Lawrence enjoyed reading Newbery winners as a child, and serving on the Newbery Committee has been her dream since she attended Dominican University for graduate school nine years ago.

“To be a part of selecting new winners will be a remarkable, life changing experience,” Lawrence said. “I am so excited to have this opportunity to work with an incredible team of librarians and can’t wait to start reading!”

Lawrence was the only Michigander appearing on any of the ALSC award committee ballots this year, and she is the first Kent District Library staff member to serve on the Newbery Committee.


Library Closure: Update

Acting in compliance with Michigan Governor Whitmer's Executive Order 2020-69, placing restrictions on the use of places of public accomodation, Kent District Library will remain closed to the public until at least May 28, 2020. All library locations are closed to public access. In-person programs, outreach visits, bookmobile visits and book sales have been cancelled.

The situation will be closely monitored and we are exploring alternate ways to continue providing service. For updates, visit KDL.org/coronavirus and our social media pages.

In the meantime, many digital services are available to you remotely and for free, such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, music, newspapers, magazines and more. We are also live-streaming many events, which are listed in the events section of this website.

You can contact library staff via online chat or call 616-784-2007 for assistance. 

OverDrive is Back!

You asked; we listened. We are pleased to announce the return of OverDrive! We hope this blog post brings good news during these tough times. 

OverDrive makes its return debut at KDL today, Monday, April 13. OverDrive will replace cloudLibrary, which will remain available until June 15, 2020. This allows for the digital collection to be transferred while providing you time to become familiar (or reacquainted) with OverDrive.

The primary reasons for this change include: 

  • Greater device compatibility, including e-Ink/paperwhite tablets 
  • Improved uptime and availability 
  • A more robust and user-friendly app (Libby) 

OverDrive offers eBooks and Audiobooks, anywhere and anytime. The collection includes current, popular fiction and non-fiction titles. Use your KDL card to download or stream items to read, view and listen to on your device.

For more information, check out the frequently asked questions. Contact us if you need any help getting started.

Watch out for stimulus check scams

As the federal government prepares to roll out economic help for Americans, cybercriminals are already coming up with ways to fool people into sharing personal or financial information. This type of scam is called "phishing", and has been around the internet for years, so some scammers are using the same tools to take advantage of people during this critical time.

The most important thing to remember for the individual payments coming from the government is: No action is needed to receive your benefit. However you received your 2018 tax return (direct deposit, check in the mail) is how you'll receive your stimulus payment. As of now, this could take weeks or even months to be processed and sent out, but the IRS has said that some payments will start going out this month

In the meantime, scammers may try to take advantage of the crisis, so here are some red flags to watch out for: 

  • An email, text message or phone call from someone you do not recognize or you did not contact first. 
  • An email, text or call that appears to be from a business, charity or government organization—but is asking for personal information or banking information. 
  • An email, text or call offering to help apply for the federal payment or get it to you faster. For the individual checks, you do not need to apply. 

The official website for the IRS also says: 

"Remember, the IRS will not call you, text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds." 

For more help, this article from the AARP talks about red flags on the internet. This article from the Federal Trade Commission has some good tips. And this article has some helpful examples of phishing, like this fake IRS email:

IRS fraud phishing email

The most trustworthy information out there is from the IRS directly, so check their website for updates. And if we can help in any way, please contact KDL at (616)784-2007 or through Live Chat on our website.

Virtual Learning: Take Two

If you have already gotten the chance to check out the links to some of the virtual tours and videos to stimulate creativity we posted last week, I hope that you had as much fun as I did. I am a terrible artist but even I tried some of the things that Mo Willems has drawn several times and it was really fun! I won’t be making any money off of my drawings, but it did make for an enjoyable afternoon.

Don’t forget to keep checking out those links from last week since so many artists and writers are continuing to post new content regularly to help you and others to explore a new place, to learn something new or to be inspired to write a new short story. I have found some other exciting websites, podcasts and tours to check out, so feel free to explore these links below!

  • Virtual Marine Biology Camp- Virtual Marine Biology Camp is a compilation of informal discussions between two doctors of marine biology about various sea creatures including orcas, sharks, humpback whales and seals! Livestreams are Mondays and Thursdays at 2 pm EST.
  • Wide Open School- Wide Open School is a compilation of lessons, videos and activites, as well as links to other educational websites to help parents educate their students at home in a wide range of subjects. The subcategories allow parents or students to choose subjects and then the activity or lesson they want to learn about. Some lessons include learning about colonial America, increasing vocabulary and reading comprehension, learning about how circuits work and much more.
  • Read, Wonder, and Learn! With Kate Messner- Kate Messner is known for her chapter book series Ranger in Time and her ER books Fergus and Zeke. She and others are collaborating to read various books and inspire students to write and create.
  • Kidlit- Kidlit has given young authors and illustrators who want to write or draw picture books, middle grade books or young adult novels a wide range of writing prompts to spark the imagination to explore and create new worlds.
  • Storyline Online- A collection of picture books read to you by multiple actors and actresses including Rashida Jones, James Earl Jones, Rami Malek and others.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium- The Monterey Bay Aquarium has several livestream feeds for several animals at their facility including african penguins, moon jellyfish, sea otters and sharks!
The World Affairs Council and Kent District Library Partner to Present "The Future of Work"

Globalization. Automation. Underemployment and the gig economy. These and other trends have been shaping the future of work, especially during these trying times. The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan and Kent District Library are pleased to partner on a series that will explore how government, industry, workers and educators respond to the new opportunities and challenges created by change.

This Future of Work series is now taking place online.  You can attend the series virtually via the World Affairs Council's YouTube page. Guests will have the ability to send in a question of the speaker-experts during the live presentations. They will also be able to watch them afterwards as archived videos.

Global Trends Shaping the Future of Work
6:30 PM, Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Kristin Sharp, Partner, Entangled Solutions, Washington, D.C.

Local Perspectives of Entrepreneur’s Experiences in the Changing Economy
6:30 PM, Tuesday, April 21, 2020
A panel moderated by Attah Obande, Director of Dream Fulfillment, Spring GR

How Industry and Education Must Work Together: Opportunities for Growth in West Michigan
6:30 PM, Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Dr. Bill Pink, President, Grand Rapids Community College

The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan empowers the people and organizations of West Michigan to engage thoughtfully with the world. For more information, visit https://www.worldmichigan.org/futureofwork.

Internet companies expand Wi-Fi and hot spot coverage

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on society, multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have made updates to their low-cost internet service programs to ensure individuals and families stay connected to the internet during this challenging time.

EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit that creates social and economic opportunities by connecting everyone to the internet. Since 2012, EveryoneOn has facilitated access to affordable technology solutions--in-home internet service, desktops and laptops--and free digital literacy training through our offer locator tool, cross-sector partnerships, and local programming efforts. We work closely with schools, public housing communities, and other diverse organizations to facilitate internet adoption. 

Please be advised that Comcast has increased the speeds of its Internet Essentials home internet service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps.  Additionally, households who enroll now will be eligible for 60 days of complimentary service.  As a reminder, Internet Essentials provides a $9.95 per month home internet service exclusively to low-income households.  

Comcast announced  Friday, 3/13/2020 that it is suspending enforcement of its data cap and overage fees for 60 days during the coronavirus pandemic

Comcast is also making its Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots free for anyone to use. Millions of the hotspots are scattered throughout the country.


Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.

  • Charter will partner with school districts to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely.
  • For eligible low-income households without school-aged children, Charter continues to offer 
  • Spectrum Internet Assist, a low-cost broadband program delivering speeds of 30 Mbps
  • Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across our footprint for public use

Access from AT&T

  • Up to $10 per month (plus taxes)
  • 10 Mbps
  • No term commitment
  • No deposit
  • No installation fee
  • In-home Wi-Fi modem included
  • New customerseligible for two months of free service

Find out if access from AT&T is in your area.

Frontier Fundamental Internet Service

  • $19.99 per month (plus taxes), includes $14.99 for service and $5 router charge
  • Speeds range depending on type of service
  • No term commitment
  • No installation fee

Find out if Frontier Fundamental Internet is in your area.

Spectrum Internet Assist

  • $14.99 a month (plus taxes)
  • $5 more per month for in-home WiFi
  • 30 Mbps
  • No term commitment
  • Modem included

Find out if Spectrum is in your area.


The benefits of EmpowerED 2.0.

  • Participating schools can receive up to $200 per student to put toward mobile internet devices, including hotspots, laptops, and tablets.
  • 24-month service agreement required. See full terms
  • Sign a two-year contract on a qualifying unlimited plan for $20/month
  • During congestion, the small fraction of customers using >50GB/mo. may notice reduced speeds until the next bill cycle due to data prioritization. Video typically streams on smartphone/tablet at 480p. Unlimited on our network. 
  • Reliable service and support.
  • Count on planning, implementation, deployment support, and content filtering to help prevent access to inappropriate content.

Coronavirus update

Census 2020: Be Counted

April 1 was the official “Count Day” for the 2020 United States Census. A complete count helps our government more accurately allocate billions of dollars in funding to local communities that need it most. Funding for vital programs that impact housing, education, transportation and healthcare are determined by the data pulled from the decennial Census. It’s so important that everyone is counted.

The American Library Association and libraries across the nation are committed to helping our government work toward a complete count by raising awareness of the importance of a complete count and by being dedicated assistance centers. Census Assistance Centers have knowledgeable staff, online or telephone access, and other resources to help all members of our community participate and be counted. With the outbreak of COVID-19, all libraries have been closed for the foreseeable future and while this complicates outreach and education efforts, it’s still possible for more people to be counted than ever before. 

The 2020 Census marks the first time in history that residents can complete count forms online and by telephone as well as by filling out the paper form that was mailed out to select households. The Census Bureau recommends we respond to the 2020 Census while we “stay home to stay safe”. Again, respondents have the option of responding by phone, online, or via the paper form, and this eliminates the need for Census Workers to visit. Complete your count as soon as possible!

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the deadline for individuals to complete the 2020 Census has been moved back from July 31, 2020 to August 14, 2020. The legal deadline for the US Census Bureau to deliver the final populations numbers to the president and congress is December 31, 2020.

Job hunting from home

Worried about the future of your employment? Wondering how to find a job right now? KDL has the answers all in one spot. Check out our Community Resources list for your employment needs.

Agencies throughout Kent County are still looking to fill many positions – from entry level to advanced or professional placement. An employment agency is a great place to start. They have established and trusted connections with local employers, offer opportunities to advance your skills and education, and can assist you every step of the way in securing a great job. Also, now might be a good time to consider securing a work from home job.

Special resources are also available through local organizations that assist those who may have special needs in meeting employment requirements. From assistance with durable medical equipment and mental health, to providing access to interview outfits, local agencies will connect you with exactly what you need to overcome barriers to employment.

KDL also provides many great tools to prepare for your job search. Check out our Learn & Research resources. Our online resources allow you to learn new skills, create great resumes and prepare for interviews.