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Everyone needs a library card

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(Photo Courtesy of KDL Facebook)

By Abigail Mulonas

Throughout time, libraries have been perceived as the place that holds the scarily quiet space, the shushing librarian, and the stuffy environment portrayed in movies, but what many are unaware of is that the Kent District Library (KDL) has evolved, as this inside scoop is coming from a librarian. 

Instead of being filled with huge literature books and the chilling, unapproachable librarians, the library embraces patrons of all ages and backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. It also encourages the inclusion of each and every patron’s specific interests, and most importantly, is filled with helpful staff. 

The only thing needed to get a KDL card is an ID or piece of mail that shows your address in the area – and that’s it. Library cards are free of charge and registration can be completed online or in person. Click here to start your process today. 

Whether a Grand Rapids City resident or a resident of Kent County, Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL) or KDL cards will be issued in person regarding city lines. While either card can be used within each library, it is important to speak with a librarian about what the details entail. 

As for KDL libraries, checkouts or returns can additionally be made at any of the 22 locations at any time.

KDL has a surplus of resources, quiet study rooms and kind staff whose job is to help find and recommend materials. Whether looking for something specific or needing a recommendation, ask a librarian about what to look for. 

On top of enjoying the private study rooms available, 37-year-old Grand Rapids Community College student and Walker resident Janet Lozano enjoys the interactions among staff and patrons.

The librarians are very helpful and knowledgeable when having questions about research items for assignments,” Lozano said.

KDL also offers free computer use, printing, faxing and copying services. With any in branch questions regarding these services, ask a librarian and they will gladly assist with any technical needs. 

Kentwood’s KDL Branch librarian, Shannon O’Rourke Kasali, encourages the wide rage of services that are free for all, “I think everyone should know that we are more than ‘just books.’”

While having thousands of materials in the collection, there is an additional large selection of the following: 

  • Adult, children, and junior books, with a maximum of 100 total book checkouts. 
  • DVD and Blu-ray movies, allowing 15 to be checked out at a time.
  • Xbox, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch video games, with six allowed checkouts at a time. 
  • Music CD’s, which allow a maximum of 25 checkouts.
  • Vinyl, which allows six checkouts at a time. 

On top of the numerous in-branch opportunities, there are plenty of available options through the KDL eLibrary. These ebooks and downloads are available through the Overdrive/Libby and Hoopla apps. The only thing needed to utilize this resource is a KDL library card. 

KDL does not charge late fees for any materials turned in past the due date either. As long as the items are returned in the same condition they were received, all fees are waived upon being checked-in. This is convenient, since there is no longer the fear of being sent to collections for past due library fines. 

The only exception to this rule are the Beyond Book items. These items are higher priced items, such as iPads, turntables, hotspots, Nintendo Switch game consoles, ukuleles and GoPros that patrons must be 18 years or older to rent. These specific items must be returned on their due date or the borrower will be charged $1 a day. In addition, they will be held responsible and verbally agree for applicable replacement fees for lost, stolen or damaged items. 

One of KDL’s other amenities is PerkPass – a partnership with access to free guest passes to area museums, zoos and botanical gardens. 

Patrons ages 18 and up can use their KDL card to reserve their complimentary passes. Cardholders can reserve passes online, print their passes and visit their attraction on the date they reserved. Library users can reserve one per calendar year. 

For more information on materials, staff picks, winter reading challenge information and more, visit the KDL website. 

O’Rourke Kasali reminds everyone that “librarians are here to answer any and all questions and help you get what you need.” So, don’t be afraid to stop by a local branch and see the collection, visit the staff, and utilize everything at your fingertips for free. 

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