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Back to School at K-State

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

by CollegeDegrees360

by CollegeDegrees360 at

K-12 students may have been back in school for almost two weeks, but students at KSU are just now gearing up for another (or a first!) semester at school. The first semester at college can be a daunting thing, with all the new places, new people, new expectations. Even if you have a few K-State years under your belt, the new semester always comes with a sense of anticipation of the unknown professors, classes, and the looming future on the horizon.

Just a stone’s through away from campus, Manhattan Public Library has lots of free resources and services that can help make life as a student a little easier, and maybe a little more fun. Here are just a few of the things we offer:

  • Study Rooms: Tired of fighting for space at Hale Library? Need a change of scenery while you cram for your calc midterm? MPL has spaces designed for quiet study so you can focus on your assignments, and meeting rooms where you can gather for your Elementary Spanish study group. Add in our free WiFi (plus free parking) and you’re all set.
  • Databases: Whether you need to brush up on a foreign language for a placement test (Mango Languages), study for the GRE (Learning Express), or do some research for a term paper (Masterfile Premier), we have the easy-to-use databases that will get you up-to-speed quickly. Most of them are accessible from your home computer, too, so there is no need to even leave your couch to use them.
  • Computers: However, if you don’t have a computer–or you are in between computers–MPL has free computers available for community use. Stop by anytime during our open hours to use them, as well as scan, copy, and fax materials. (Scanner, copier, and fax machine located by the 1st floor Information Desk.)
  • Personalized Reading Lists: Need an escape from your required reading, but don’t have the time to test-drive books? We can help you make sure you spend your precious pleasure-reading hours on books you’ll love with our free personalized readings lists. Fill out our short questionnaire, and within ten days, you’ll get a list of ten or more books picked specifically for you. For our book super fans, take note: you can request a new list once a month, so there is never a need to run out of things to read.

While you don’t have to have a library card to use our study rooms or computers, a library card will get you all the books you could want, plus a stash of DVDs for when you’d rather be binge watching Sherlock. To get a library card, all you need is a photo ID and proof of current local address. (And did I mention that all of this is free?)


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Old-Fashioned Gentle Reads for Summer

Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

We frequently hear requests from readers for old-fashioned, happy-ending books – perfect reading for summertime.  Here are some of my favorite heart-warming and hopeful books from years gone by, admittedly a list with a distinct girlie slant offered mainly with reading women and girls in mind.

cheaper             Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.  The true, laugh-out-loud adventures of a family of twelve rambunctious, red-haired siblings and their eccentric parents during the first decades of the 20th century.

            The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West.  Scenes from the life of the fictional Birdwell family in Civil War-era Indiana – farm wife Eliza, a gentle, wise, Quaker minister; her more free-spirited husband, Jess; their family and their community – during a time of upheaval and spiritual questioning.  After reading this book, enjoy the wonderful 1956 film version starring Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire.

 mrs           Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman.  A classic novel of love and courage in the Canadian wilderness, this is the story of Katherine Mary O’Fallon, privileged daughter of Boston, and her new husband, Sergeant Mike Flannigan of the Mounties, as they start a life together in a dangerous, beautiful, enthralling place.

Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith is another heart-warming novel about early marriage.  Young Annie McGairy leaves her home in Depression-era Brooklyn to join and marry Carl who is studying law at a large Midwestern university.  This is her story of their first year of marriage as she and Carl face many challenges and learn how to honor themselves and their marriage.

            Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough.  A delightful memoir of innocents abroad – footloose, young, and disaster-prone. In 1920, best friends and Bryn Mawr students Skinner and Kimbrough embarked on a memorable European Grand Tour and later recounted with great humor all its surprises, mishaps, wonders, and revelations.

        Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. The charming novel, written in letters, this is the story of orphan Judy Abbott who, through the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, is able to attend school and discover a world that offers her undreamed-of possibilities.

lantern      A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich.  The story of a young pioneer woman who puts her youthful dreams aside to live a challenging but rewarding life with her husband on the Nebraska frontier.  And if you like this novel, look for The Edge of Time by Loula Grace Erdman, another captivating and romantic pioneer adventure set in the Texas panhandle.

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Zoofari Tails Storytime AT THE ZOO

This month’s Zoofari Tails is all about – drumroll please – Zoofari webSnakes! Come join us this Friday at the Sunset Zoo for a storytime completely dedicated to snakes. Stories read will include “The Greedy Python” and “Who is the Beast?” as well as sime fun, singable rhymes. Children who attend will have a chance to win a free book, courtesy of Claflin Books and receive free admission to the zoo for the day! Sunset Zoo docents will also present animal biofacts pertaining to our theme. Also, don’t forget to bring your punch card and get one step closer to a free membership to the zoo. Note that Storytime will be held in the zoo’s rotunda building. We hope to sssssssssee you there!

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Keri Mills
Young Adult Librarian

sherlockThe series, “Sherlock,” premiered in 2010 and has since gained legions of followers. If you are one of the many, like myself, who have been “Sherlocked,” then you were unhappy with the news that season 4 will not even begin filming until the winter of 2015. Having to wait two years for new episodes practically qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment! Other than watching reruns of previous seasons, what are Sherlockians to do? Here ae a few suggestions to get you started.

Try some classic Sherlock Holmes. Start with “The Sherlock Holmes Collection” by A&E Television. This collection presents the five surviving episodes of the classic BBC show that aired in the 1960’s with Sherlock played by Peter Cushing. Or, watch “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous Sherlock mysteries. This movie adaptation was created in 1983 and stars Ian Richardson as Holmes.

For a more contemporary take, there is the movie “Sherlock Holmes” and its follow-up “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” both directed by Guy Ritchie and released in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Holmes is played by Robert Downey, Jr. and Watson is played by Jude Law. These films diverge quite a bit from the classic Sherlock Holmes portrayal, in that Holmes and Watson are more like big blockbuster action heroes than intellectuals. However, Holmes is still arrogant, impulsive, intelligent, and of course, amazing at deductive reasoning. Another option is “Elementary,” a CBS TV series that debuted in 2012, with the third season slated to premier in October. Originally, producers garnered a lot of flak as they seemed to be riding on the coattails of “Sherlock’s” success, but this show can definitely stand on its own. Like “Sherlock,” it is set in the modern day, but, the setting is New York instead of London. And, while Holmes (Jonny Miller) still has a sidekick, she is now a woman, Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).

expressBesides watching other adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, anything based on Agatha Christie’s mysteries is a good choice. One of the great classics is “Murder on the Orient Express.” This 1974 film is star-studded with such actors as Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, and Vanessa Redgrave. In the movie, the Orient Express, a luxurious passenger train, is stopped by deep snow, and passengers discover that a murder has been committed. Luckily, or not so luckily for the murderer, famous detective, Hercule Poirot, happens to be on board. He must identify the murderer before he or she decides to strike again or is able to escape from the train. Another option is “And Then There Were None.” In this 1945 movie, based on Christie’s book by the same name, ten people are invited to an island for the weekend by the mysterious Mr. U. N. Own. Left on the island by boat, and then stranded, the ten begin being murdered one by one. Will they discover the murderer before all ten are dead?

For something a little different, “Doctor Who” is a good alternative. For those of you unfamiliar with “Doctor Who,” it is a long-running British science fiction TV series (recently celebrating 50 years). The Doctor, who is a Time Lord, explores the universe in his TARDIS, a time-traveling space ship that resembles a blue British police box. Along with various companions, the Doctor travels throughout time to save civilization and right various wrongs. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, co-creators and writers for “Sherlock,” are also writers for “Doctor Who” (Steven Moffat is also the executive producer for “Doctor Who”).
If you just want to see more of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the library has several of their movies. To see the two of them together again, watch “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” See Martin as Bilbo Baggins, and hear Cumberbatch’s marvelous voice as Smaug, the fire-breathing dragon.

imagesRRCDMDWQWhile none of these movies can take the place of “Sherlock,” hopefully they will help to tide us over for awhile. All of the above titles can be found at MPL. And, while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the original Sherlock Holmes adventures by Sir Arthur Conan D

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August Construction Update

By Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator

The year is flying by and the children’s library expansion is flying right along with it.

The limestone masonry that defines so many of the beautiful buildings in Manhattan is almost complete. It is impressive to see how quickly this talented crew can make a wall out of a pile of stones. They have been able to match the existing structure perfectly!

stone masons building limestone wall

Soon, only the interior work will be left. Paint colors are being selected and the new carpeting should start to arrive in September.

green wall in storytime room

Erin Wages, the interior architect, is creating a fun and welcoming space for kids and parents. The wall of windows and window seats are sure to be big favorites.

second floor windows

I could only get access to the second floor space. The windows on the first floor look just like this, only lower.

Staff in the children’s department have chosen some fun colors and patterns for the furniture and flooring. They’re currently test driving chair samples to make sure everything will be comfortable. I’ve noticed people taking their breaks on the new chairs, so I think we’ve found some winners.

Amber sitting in lounge chair

Amber demonstrates the extreme comfort.

Choices are being made for the garden, too. I’ve heard talk of a Walking Stick Tree that may be planted soon. What a perfect spot to sit and read Grimm’s fairy tales!

walking stick tree

Contorted Filbert aka “Waling Stick Tree” photo courtesy of

Patrons and donors have given so much support to the children’s library expansion project, and you are all invited to the grand opening celebration that is planned for mid-January. In the meantime, feel free to stop by to see the progress (and check out a few books and movies while you’re here).

If you have any questions about the library or the expansion project, please contact us at 785-776-4741.

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Book News

Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

One of the many great things about working in a library is that you’re privy to all of the hush-hush whispers about what’s going on in the book world. Here are some of the exciting things that are coming down the pipeline soon!


  • New Doctor Seuss book: Lost Doctor Seuss stories will be published in a new picture book in September. Stories will feature early appearances by Horton the elephant and other characters from the Seuss canon.
  • New Harry Potter covers have been revealed! Bloomsbury Children’s Books will be releasing new editions of Harry Potter books on September 1st. The gorgeous new covers are the work of artist Jonny Duddle, who has crafted new designs for each of the seven books. Unfortunately, for the time being, the new editions will only be available to purchase in Britain.
  • New Downton Abbey title: If waiting until January 2015 for the return of British period drama Downton Abbey seems utterly unbearable, you might receive some consolation in the pending October release of A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey. The title features images from the set, back stories behind episodes of Downton Abbey, period research, and interactives such as recipes and instructions on how to curtsey.
  • NASA is giving away free eBooks. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is opening the digital doors of its library to the public by making its eBook collection available for public downloading. If you’re interested in flight research, returning home after space travel and dressing for altitude, or maybe just want to learn about the vast galaxy NASA researches and explores, visit them today.


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Tips for Keeping Information Safe Online

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

blog imagesMy very first email account was through AOL in 1996. I didn’t get much email–after all, I was a teenager and I hardly knew anyone outside of my small hometown, where we barely got internet service anyway. Still, I doubt I gave one single thought to Internet pitfalls; I freely made chatroom handles with my real (and distinctive) name and I used passwords so simple, they are the building blocks of preschool curriculum.

Almost twenty years, and numerous computer viruses later, I know a lot more about keeping myself and my personal information safe online. It’s a never-ending battle, though. Lately, it seems that every six months, there is something new to watch out for, whether it is the Heartbleed Bug, a virus that took advantage of a security flaw in OpenSSL, a popular data encryption standard, compromising millions of web users last winter; or the 1.2 billion (yes, billion) users who had passwords stolen by Russian hackers just last week.

The fact of the matter is that there is no one thing you can do to stay safe online. However, there are a number of simple things you can do to make yourself more secure, and decrease the risks to your personal information.

  1. Keep things updated: Making sure that your software and operating systems are up to date is a good first step to making sure your computer is safe. Viruses can be used against out-of-date software and operating systems, so use current versions to ensure you stay protected.
  2. Create strong passwords, and change them often: What makes a good password? The more complicated and difficult to guess, the better. There are lots of great resources on how to create a strong password. Here are some basic tips to get you started:
    1. Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. This very important. Reusing passwords may make it easier for you to access your information, but it also makes it easier for hackers.
    2. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols…but avoid using common strings like “mypassword” or “abcd1234.” While it is important to be able to remember your passwords, bear in mind that the more complex the password, the harder it is to break.
    3. Don’t use passwords linked to any kind of personal information, whether it is your birthday, Social Security number, or the year your first child was born.
    4. Change passwords regularly. Microsoft recommends every 30 to 90 days. Using a (paper) notebook to keep track of your passwords helps make this a less daunting task.
  3. Choose wisely when clicking on links: Not sure why your friend in Colorado would send you an email that says “OPEN THIS EMAIL?” Or maybe you don’t recognize the email sender at all? If there is anything that seems off or suspicious about an email or website, don’t open it. Always take the better-safe-than-sorry perspective on this issue.
  4. Never share your sensitive information (account numbers, passwords, etc.) with others, especially over social media or email.

These tips aren’t just meant for laptop or desktop computers, either. They absolutely apply to your tablet and smart phone. In fact, many of us are much less cautious when it comes to our mobile devices, even though they carry many of the same risks as computers.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use technology safely, there are lots of tech training opportunities in Manhattan. UFM, the North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging, USD 383 Adult Learning Center, Manhattan Area Technical College, and (of course) Manhattan Public Library offer computer classes for all levels of users. Even if you are starting at the beginning, training can make using a computer more fun, and definitely more secure, experience.


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Classic reading for lovers of English gardens, village life, and country houses

index4LBRRIONIn the 1930s, Englishman Beverley Nichols wrote about his adventure buying and restoring a dilapidated country house and garden, including his introduction to village life and the various neighbors who helped, hindered, and critiqued his efforts. 

His writing is lively, hilarious, and inspiring – perfect summer reading.  In 2006 upon the reissue of these books, Home and Garden described Nichols as being “as observant as Jane Austen, as witty as Oscar Wilde, and as sentimental as James Herriott.  He also happens to be as funny, timely, and un-P.C. as Jon Stewart.”

Get to know Beverley Nichols through his gardening trilogy – Merry Hall; Laughter on the Stairs; Sunlight on the Lawn  – and through the Allways trilogy, which includes Down the Garden Path; A Thatched Roof; A Village in a Valley.  Or try a new compilation of his writings, Rhapsody in Green: The Garden Wit and Wisdom of Beverly Nichols.

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Perseid Meteor Shower

By Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Supervisor

perseid meteor shower in AustinBetween August 10-12 Manhattanites will have the opportunity to see one of the brightest meteor showers of the year: the Perseid Meteor shower. Named after the constellation and the Greek mythological hero Perseus, the Perseid Meteor Shower lies in the north-eastern part of the sky (this information and more found here).

If you’re interested in catching a glimpse of the shower, grab a blanket and head out to one of the following spots around Manhattan. You shouldn’t need a telescope, but it’s easiest to see the shower when it’s fully dark out, after 10pm. (Please remember to abide by park closing times!)

For awesome, away-from-city-lights viewing opportunities, try:

  • On Top of the World: Head north on Seth Child’s and turn left on Top of the World Drive. Follow the road to a parking lot that is a perfect spot for star gazing.
  • Manhattan Hill: Turn left onto Ehler’s Road from Tuttle Creek Boulevard. Another left on Bluemont Scenic Drive will lead to a parking lot. You can choose to look for the meteor there, or exit the car and take a short hike around the water tower to Manhattan Hill, where you can stand on the word “Manhattan” and look out over the town.
  • Observation Point Drive: Take Tuttle Creek Boulevard to Highway 13 and turn left onto Tuttle Cove Road and right onto Observation Point Drive. You’ll find a parking lot with a great view of the lake and the night sky.
  • K-177 Overlook Park: Head out of town on K-177. A few miles out of town there will be a lookout on your right which offers yet another fabulous spot to stargaze.

If you need a good excuse to stay up late to see the meteor shower, stop by the library and pick up a good book or movie to keep you company while you wait!

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Coming Soon to Theater Near You–Favorite Books Made into Movies!

In the coming weeks and months, several books that have been favorites at Manhattan Public Library have been made into films and will be coming to a theater near you! Some of the films coming soon are:

hundredThe Hundred Foot Journey, coming to theaters on August 8, stars Helen Mirren and Manish Dayal, tells how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian restaurant and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. It is a fable that is a testament to the inevitability of destiny.

Before I Go to Sleep, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, is scheduled for release August 12.  Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love–all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine’s life. (more…)

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