Kent District Library celebrates year of growth, changes and record numbers

The Kent District Library 2019 Annual Report tells the story of another year of new initiatives and increases in the use of library resources. The annual report is available for download at, highlighting numerous community needs that are routinely met by the library, including:    

  • Nearly 3,000 children (kindergarten through third grade) launched to reading success with Mission: Read
  • The total number of active library card holders increased by 7 percent, bringing the total to 174,795. 
  • KDL was the first library in the United States to offer MagnusCards, a resource for people with autism and other special cognitive needs. 
  • A record number of people completed the annual summer reading program. 
  • Late fines for unreturned materials are traditionally thought of as a way to encourage people to return items, but since going fine free, the library has experienced a sharp increase in the speed and volume of returns. 
  • The KDL Bookmobile completed its first full year on the road, serving 22,421 people. 
  • The library was recognized as one of West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to work for, an honor that was raised to the national level earlier this year. 

“The needs in the community are constantly changing, and libraries are quick and agile in response,” said Lance Werner, KDL's Executive Director. “Agility helped us to quickly respond to COVID-19. We’ve literally re-engineered the library, so people can enjoy nearly everything from the safety and convenience of their homes.”  

Since closing the library to public visits, KDL has pivoted to shift all programming online and launch curbside pickup. Additionally, the annual summer reading program has been totally reconfigured so people of all ages can fully participate from home using a workbook that was mailed to all cardholder households or through the new Beanstack app.  

In the months of May and June this year, circulation of digital materials increased 61 percent compared to the same months in 2019. 

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