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Shakespeare Faire Press Release


When is it alright to hurl Shakespearean insults at a professor while visiting the public library?  Only on Saturday, February 20, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. during the Shakespeare Faire for all ages at the Manhattan Public Library.

As part of the city-wide celebration of Shakespeare and his works while the First Folio is in town, the Manhattan Public Library is partnering with K-State to host a full day of fun and festivities.  Visitors can come and go at this all-day event, and should feel free to wear their best tights.

The ruckus kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with a workshop led by Melissa Poll, from the K-State School of Music, Theater, and Dance, who will teach kids, teens, and adults how to give a great insult, Shakespearean style.  Participants will get to hoot and holler and yell out phrases like “You scullion! You rampallian! Thou art as loathsome as a toad!” all with the permission of the teacher.  Professor Poll will also share interesting facts about Shakespeare’s time and engage the audience in a fun trivia game.

Then, at 11:00, Michael Donnelly, of the K-State English Department, will talk about “Tinkering with Shakespeare’s Text,” with an afterword from Don Hedrick, also of KSU English.

At 11:30 the K-State Collegium Musicum will offer a Renaissance Instrument Petting Zoo followed by a concert of the musical ensemble directed by David Wood in the library’s atrium at 12:00.

For the scholarly-minded,TED-style speed talks will be presented by four K-State English professors starting at 12:30 p.m.  Explore the world of the Bard with topics such as “Reviving Desdemona: Toni Morrison and Othello” and “Shakespeare and Comics.”

At 1:00, the library will be presented with a copy of the First Folio which will remain on display.  Also at 1:00, get ready for a “Sonnets and Soliloquies: Open Mic” event with David Mackay and students of the K-State School of Music, Theater and Dance.  Step up to the mic to show your stuff, or enjoy the beautiful poetry and dramatic readings from the audience.  Copies of the sonnets and plays will be provided.

Then, the Manhattan Experimental Theater Workshop will present modern interpretations of short scenes from Shakespeare’s works at 2:00.   At 3:00, the lights will dim for a showing of a modern film adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s comedies.  The series will continue with more films the first three Saturdays in March at 2:00 p.m. in the library’s auditorium.

The celebration doesn’t stop there!  On March 3, library staff and guests will meet at the Little Apple Brewing Company, located at 1110 Westloop Drive, for a casual Shakespeare Reading Party.  Guests will take turns reading through The Comedy of Errors with plenty of time-outs for food and conversation.  Hors d’oeuvres will be provided by the Manhattan Library Association.  Drinks and dinner are available for individual purchase.  As registration is required for this event only, those interested may visit or call the library to sign up, or use the link on the library’s website at .

The Shakespeare Faire on February 20 is co-sponsored by Manhattan Public Library and Kansas State University.  Events are free and open to the public.  For more information, or to join in the fun, visit the Manhattan Public Library at 629 Poyntz Avenue.  Questions can also be answered by librarians at or (785) 776-4741 ext. 300.

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hoopla Digital Press Release 2016

Manhattan Public Library Partners with Hoopla Digital to Give Patrons Free Access to Digital Music, eBooks, Audiobooks, and More

 Library card-holders can instantly explore, borrow and enjoy dynamic content on their smartphones, tablets and computers

MANHATTAN, KS. (Feb. 08, 2016) – Today the Manhattan Public Library announced a new partnership with hoopla digital (   m). The partnership provides the public with thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, music albums, movies, television shows, and comics, all available for free mobile and online access.

Manhattan Public Library card holders can download the free hoopla digital mobile app on their Android or IOS device or visit to begin enjoying thousands of titles – from major Hollywood studios, record companies and publishers – available to borrow 24/7, for instant streaming or temporary downloading to their smartphones, tablets and computers.

“The easy-to-use interface and elimination of late fees enables us to satisfy our patron’s needs in a new, modern way,” said Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator for the Manhattan Public Library.

Manhattan Public Library is the sixth library system in the state of Kansas to partner with hoopla digital. Other libraries include Kansas City Public Library, Hays Public Library, Salina Public Library, Northeast Kansas Library System and others.

“With hoopla digital, it is our mission to empower the evolution of public libraries while helping them to meet the needs of the mobile generation. We’ve worked for years to create a best-in-breed service that is fun, fast and reliable.  And we continue to secure content deals to expand our offering of popular and niche movies, TV shows, music, eBooks, audiobooks and comics,” said Jeff Jankowski founder and owner of hoopla digital.

About hoopla digital

hoopla digital is a category-creating service that partners with public libraries across North America to provide online and mobile access to thousands of Movies, TV Shows, Music, eBooks, Audiobooks and Comics. With hoopla digital, patrons can borrow, instantly stream and download free dynamic content with a valid library card. All content is accessible via hoopla digital’s mobile app and online at hoopla digital is a service of Midwest Tape – a trusted partner to public libraries for over 25 years.

For more information or to get a library card, visit Manhattan Public Library at 629 Poyntz Avenue, check the website at, or call (785) 776-4741.

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hoopla Digital

hoopla Digital

hoopla is a new streaming digital service offered free to Manhattan Library card holders.  Borrowers can check out music, audiobooks, ebooks, graphic novels, movies, and TV shows instantly and even download them to a device using the hoopla app. Downloaded content is available offline.

The music collection is the most impressive component, with more than 270,000 albums and same-day new releases.


  1. Links from the library’s homepage, Research page, Digital Library page and individual catalog records
  2. Free app for Android on Google Play or iOS on App Store
  3. Go directly to

Log In

The first time you visit hoopla, you will be asked to create an account.

  1. Download the App (recommended) or go to
  2. Click log in
  3. Click sign in for the first time
  4. Select Manhattan Public Library as the provider
  5. Create an account using your library card number, password, email, and a new password
  6. The next time you return, you can log in with your email address and hoopla password

No Holds

All of the 300,000+ titles are available immediately, with no waiting and no holds.

No Fines

Anything you check out is returned automatically at the end of the borrowing period.

R Ratings Not Blocked

We are not able to filter content for certain borrowers.  Mature titles are available for everyone.

Five Per Month

Each library card can access five titles per calendar month. The library is charged per checkout, so the limit ensures that everyone can use the service, not just a few enthusiastic borrowers.

  1. Movies and TV shows: 3 days (note: each TV show episode counts as 1 checkout)
  2. Audiobooks, ebooks, and graphic novels: 3 weeks
  3. Music albums: 1 week



People with blocked cards will not be able to check out items on hoopla until the block is removed.


  1. When the borrowing period is over, items will no longer be accessible on your device. If you have not yet reached the five item limit, you can check out the item again.


  1. All of the downloaded content is available offline using the Hoopla App, but you have to select “download” while connected to the Internet.
    1. To find downloaded content, click on the app and you will be directed to the “my titles” portion. Listen, read, or watch from there even when you’re not connected to the Internet.
    2. Files are not “saved” in the traditional way. The app is the only way to access the downloaded content.

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The Dynamics of the Con

By Marcia Allen, Collection Development

Have you ever heard of Ferdinand Waldo Demara? How about William Franklin Miller? Chances are, you are unfamiliar with those names, as was I. It turns out that they rank among the most gifted of con artists. Demara, for example, was posing as Dr. Joseph Cyr, a surgeon on board the HMCS Cayuga during the Korean War, at which time he routinely treated those injured in the conflict and even performed surgeries. The problem was that he not only assumed the identity of a respected medical doctor, but also failed to graduate from high school. Miller, in similar fashion, fabricated his investment strategy expertise in the late 19th century by luring friends to deposit small amounts of cash for a guaranteed 10% return and no risk. In this manner, he built a personal fortune worth over $1 million dollars.

Both men are mentioned briefly in a wonderful new book by Maria Konnikova entitled The Confidence Game. This fascinating look at the con offers both unbelievable stories of those who successfully conned others and a close look at the psychology involved.

Konnikova explains the success of the con artist through what she calls “soft skills.” Con artists are not hardened criminals that take and harm through violence; they are those who appeal to our sense of trust or sympathy. Konnikova points out that the con artist doesn’t force victims to do anything. Instead he allows the victims to work with him, offering up whatever he is willing to take from them. The author faults the human condition of need for story. She says that we all crave narratives and that we want to believe what others tell us, regardless of actual truth.

What makes a good con artist? The author describes the most talented of a cons as those who can read emotions and backgrounds in a heartbeat. They are intelligent and highly perceptive and can sense the desires of victims even when those desires seem to be well hidden. How did Konnikova discover so much about cons? She did the research and even consulted a mind reader who (without knowing her name or occupation) played on her job insecurities and raised issues of self-doubt.

All of this leads to Konnikova’s chapter entitled “The Play.” Here we learn what it is that hooks the heedless mark into the trap. She cites an example of a young woman who fell in love with a brilliant young scientist. The two young people moved in together, but the woman began noticing inconsistencies in her beloved’s stories. He had, for example, very few personal effects and offered her no clues to his past or family. When the young woman finally investigated his esteemed research position, she found he had no such position and no educational background. Because she wanted to be in a relationship, she had long ignored oddities that she would normally have spotted.

Where does the ideal con end? The author suggests that it successfully ends just when the mark is at his most convinced. Perhaps the victim has had some financial success or actually bought an object of genuine worth from the con. The con has extended some success to his victim, and the victim has invested complete trust. If there has been some disappointment in transactions, the victim believes it has been an honest mistake. Konnikova suggests that we have a solid belief that everything is going to turn out well for us, even when we should be discovering serious doubts.

Why are human being so vulnerable to the con? Konnikova says that they promise us a reality that we so want to believe. We want to attain the wealth, the contentment, the togetherness with others that the con offers us. That, she says, is what makes the scam the true “world’s oldest profession.”

This book is riveting. The intricacies of the conning process and the individual accounts of theft are simply eye-opening. Chances are very good that interested readers will recall episodes from their own lives during which they were completely baffled by well-constructed lies. Allow this gifted writer to help you avoid future scams.







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Books Galore at the Library’s Annual Book Sale 2016

2016 book sale Manhattan Library Association

The Manhattan Library Association’s (MLA) Annual Book Sale will be held the last weekend in February in the auditorium of the Manhattan Public Library, located at 629 Poyntz Avenue.  A special preview night is open to MLA Members on Friday, February 26 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.  Memberships will be sold at the door starting at $10 for an individual, and $15 for families.

The library’s book sale will be open to the public on Saturday, February 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the library’s auditorium. Shoppers find delicious treats to keep their energy up at the Teen Bake Sale starting at 10:00 a.m. in the atrium.

On Sunday, February 28, from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. shoppers will find special deals on the remaining materials.

Bargains abound at this annual sale. All of the money raised will be used to fund library programs and purchases such as new books and furniture, special events for children, and summer reading programs.  In 2015, $10,400 was raised to support the library.

This is truly a community event, staffed by wonderful volunteers like Roger Brannan, Doug Schoning, Elaine Shannon, Wilma Schmeller, and Carol Oukrop, who devote countless hours of work to organize the sale. Helpers from JobCorps, Rotarct, and the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity make the heavy-lifting much easier, and community supporters like Dara’s and Community First National Bank help get the word out.

For more information about the book sale, or if you would like to volunteer to help, visit the Manhattan Public Library at 629 Poyntz Avenue, email us at  or call (785) 776-4741.

shoppers at the 2014 MLA book sale

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Feminist Worthy Romance Novels

by Rachael Schmidtlein, Teen and Tween Services Coordinator
The romance novel industry has a notoriously bad reputation for producing predictable and unrealistic literature. I’ve recently been on a read-a-romance-novel-a-week kind of binge, and after awhile, I became seriously jaded with the lack of creativity that I was encountering. There are certain staple elements in romance novels, such as happy endings, but I didn’t see why that equaled boring. I wanted a story that had strong women, interesting men and a non-traditional story line. Is that really so much to ask for?

Well, did you know that there are websites, blog posts, and news articles dedicated to finding awesome and non-traditional romance novels? There are! After spending an unwise amount of time looking at these resources, I began reading again, and boy, have I loved it! Here are just a few of the feminist romance books that I discovered on my journey.

The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan:  It’s the 1870’s and Frederica “Free” Marshall runs a women’s rights newspaper in London. She has a small army of supporters but even more enemies bent on destroying her business, reputation and life. Enter our hero, Edward Clark. Edward is an unscrupulous, jaded scoundrel set on revenge after his family left him for dead. Edward and Free aren’t the typical historical romance couple with opposing ideologies. They work together to accomplish their own goals and find undeniable chemistry in each other. Their story is ripe with sharp witty banter and scandalous intrigue.  Honestly, all of Courtney Milan’s novels are amazing. She pushes her characters and story lines to new places and experiments with unexplored romance-based territory. For me, The Suffragette Scandal takes the cake because of its sassy characters and my personal love for suffragettes.

A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare:  Minerva Highwood is a logical and determined scientist. After she makes a monumental discovery, she decides to find her way to Scotland to present her discovery to the geologic society. Not one to worry about her reputation, and to save her sister from a disastrous match, she enlists the help of notorious rake Colin. Colin, Lord Payne, is stuck in wretched Spindle Cove until he turns of age to seize his inheritance. Watching this unlikely couple journey to Scotland is a fun and surprising adventure. The plot is character- driven and Tessa Dare delivers a truly funny story. A Week to be Wicked is a breath of fresh air because the characters don’t change for one another. At the end of the story, Minerva and Colin are the same people they were at the beginning, but the journey makes you love them all the more for it.

The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev:  Ria is the perfect Bollywood actress, but she has a secret. Her entire life she has kept her ice princess persona in check but when she is found in a compromising situation she decides to attend her cousin’s wedding in Chicago. Also attending the wedding is Vikram, an ex-love, from a relationship that ended really badly. Emotions ignite as the two characters dance around one another in this very emotional read.  If you love heart-wrenching romance and angst, then The Bollywood Bride is your kind of book. The language and imagery of the Indian – American culture is stunning, and the love story is sweet and passionate. Sonali Dev does a really great job of making the characters believable and the story addicting.

Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl:  Veronica has moved back to her hometown in Wyoming after failing to accomplish her dreams in New York City. Desperate, she takes a job as a relationship advice columnist and blunders her way through topics that she knows nothing about. Then she meets Gabe, the rugged small town librarian.  This book is entirely about Veronica’s transformation from an insecure mess to a strong woman who can stand on her own. Gabe is a great example of a male character who challenges the stereotypes of traditional male qualities and guides, not forces, Veronica’s transformation.

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Diverse Award Winning Books for Kids

By Jennifer Bergen, Youth Services Manager

If you would like a list of good reads with a huge range of styles, topics and diverse characters, the children’s book award winners list is where it’s at!  Every year, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, gives out the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott awards, as well as a long list of other medal winners, honor books, lifetime achievement awards, and even best audio books and videos.

After the recent controversy of the “all-white Oscars,” it’s great to see recognition for literature that is inclusive of different races, cultures and economic statuses, showing both challenges and opportunities. Let’s start with the top dog of children’s book awards, the Newbery Medal, given to the most distinguished American children’s book of the year. Started in 1922, the Newbery was “the first children’s book award in the world,” according to ALSC. This year, the Newbery committee deviated from the common path of recognizing a longer work for older children.  Matt de la Pena’s picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, won with a mere 32 pages of sparse (but memorable) text.

In the story, young CJ boards a city bus with his Nana, and along the way he has many questions for her. “Nana, how come we don’t got a car?” and, seeing some teens listening to music on devices, “Sure wish I had one of those.”  But Nana’s responses help CJ see the world and the people around him, appreciating where he is right at that moment.  De la Pena said in an interview with BookPage, “My favorite reaction is when I go to underprivileged schools and diverse students take ownership of the story. The book feels validating to them.”  Colorful illustrations by Christian Robinson also won the book a Caldecott Honor for artistic merit, as well as a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor.

Another Caldecott Honor book caught my eye when it came out this year. Trombone Shorty, written by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews himself, with pictures by Bryan Coillier, is a fantastic picture book autobiography. Troy teaches himself to play the instrument he happened to find, a trombone, and then is discovered when Bo Diddley brings him onstage during the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Collier’s vibrant art emulates the sound of trombones, bands, music and joy, in the tradition of Treme, making the book an inspiration for any budding musicians. Collier also received the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for the most outstanding African American illustrator of a book for children.

Mango, Abuela and Me by Meg Medina and illustrated by Angela Dominguez won awards in two categories of the Pure Belpre Awards for best works portraying, affirming and celebrating the Latino cultural experience.  This is a sweet story about a girl learning to communicate with her grandmother who had been living far away, where parrots lived in the palm trees. The two find it is slow going at first, with each trying to teach the other a few words in Spanish or English.  Mia can see that Abuela misses her old home, so she asks her mother to buy a parrot from the pet store to cheer her up.  The parrot, named Mango, learns both English and Spanish along with them and helps Abuela practice during the day while Mia is at school.

Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls won a Schneider Family Book Award for artistic expression of the disability experience with their picture book biography of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.  In Emmanuel’s Dream, young readers see Emmanuel’s struggle growing up in West Africa with only one leg. Most children with disabilities did not attend school or find jobs.  But “Emmanuel hopped to school and back, two miles each way, on one leg, by himself.”  He taught himself to ride a bicycle and even found a job in a big city.  After receiving a bike from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Emmanuel trained and then he began riding all over Ghana, promoting the idea that disabled people can succeed.  His story is one of amazing perseverance, and his activism helped change the way disabled people are treated in Ghana.

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle, winner of the Pura Belpre Author Award and a Sibert Honor for nonfiction, is a poetic memoir of the author’s childhood in L.A. before and during the Cold War.  Margarita’s mother was born in Cuba, a magical land Margarita visited and fell in love with as a young child. But later, there is only hate spewed about Cuba, from the government, teachers and her peers, as they practice hiding under desks during air-raid drills. Margarita’s poems cover so much territory — emotions and thoughts carried on the wing of her words as she traverses childhood and adolescence, as well as physically traveling the world and discovering the beauty of so many places.

Triple recognition for Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hammer is well deserved. Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua Holmes, this nonfiction Civil Rights Movement book is unique.  The text is written in Fannie Lou Hammer first person and set into poetry.  The power of the words comes from the real experiences of her life, like realizing that the students she had inspired had been murdered by the KKK.  “I cried like I lost my own sons.” The artwork accompanying each poem is a striking combination of paint and collage, winning a Caldecott Honor and the John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award.  It also won a Sibert Honor for best nonfiction.

Many other outstanding books for children and young adults were recognized with awards this year.  Take a look at the long list at and check out some fantastic reads to start off the new year.

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A New Year at the Library

By Grace Benedick, Youth Services Library Assistant

parents and toddlers at toddler wiggleworms storytime2016 marks the start of our second year in our expanded children’s space at Manhattan Public Library, and we are excited to offer many exciting programs this semester. January has already been a full month with Baby and Toddler Play Dates and Yoga Storytimes to fill the gap between our storytime sessions, and on January 25th our spring storytime session will begin.

If you have a little one 18 months or younger, try out our Baby Rhyme Time Storytime, on Monday mornings from 11 to 11:30 and on Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 10. Baby Rhyme Time is designed for infants and young toddlers with their parents or caregivers. We will sing nursery rhymes and silly songs with interactive actions for parent and baby, read short books together, and play with shakers and music.

Toddlers have three storytime opportunities each week. On Monday and Tuesday mornings we will have Toddler Wiggleworms from 9:30 to 10, and on Wednesday it will be from 11 to 11:30. Toddler Wiggleworms is an active storytime for toddlers, with picture books read by the librarian, choral readers read together by all the parents, lots of action rhymes, and music so your little wiggleworms can get all their wiggles out.

If your child is 3 or older, check out one of our Preschool Story Train storytimes. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings we will have Preschool Story Train from 11 to 11:30, and on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 to 10. This is a lively story and music session very similar to Toddler Wiggleworms but with longer picture books, more complex action songs, and activities with directions to follow.

On Saturday mornings we will have Family Fun Storytime from 11 to 11:30, a storytime with great picture books, action songs, and music for all ages.

We’ll continue to collaborate with Sunset Zoo to bring you Zoofari Tails on the 4th Friday of each month. January’s Zoofari Tails program will be about possums and prairie dogs. We’ll have action songs and read funny picture books, including Janet Steven’s Great Fuzz Frenzy. We are also partnering with Flint Hills Discovery Center this year to host “exhibit preview” programs in the library. The first event is January 30 at 2:00, featuring “How People Make Things” with hands-on activities for kids in grades K-6. Kids can cut, mold, deform and assemble a project to take home.

Our Read with a Dog program will continue on the 2nd and 4th Sunday afternoons each month from 2-4 pm. This popular program allows children to practice their reading skills without pressure while reading aloud to a loveable therapy dog. In February, Read with a Dog will take place on the 14th and the 28th.

Join us in February for special events for older children, starting with Harry Potter Book Night on February 4th.  Celebrate this magical series by completing a scavenger hunt in the Children’s Room between 4 and 7. Children receive a “galleon” for each correct answer which they can exchange for small prizes our sweets shop.  Supplies for making wands and paper Hogwarts pets will also be available. Dress in costume, or come as a muggle!

dorkCelebrate Chinese New Year with us the following day with a party on February 5th from 2-3 pm. Kids in grades K-3 can come learn about the traditional celebrations of the Chinese New Year. We’ll read New Year’s stories, make paper dragons, and do a dragon dance. Then bring your tweens (4th-6th graders) on February 11th for a party featuring the Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. We’ll play games and decorate pens and journals, so kids can keep their own diaries. On February 24th, grades K-6th are invited to come to our Acting Out at the library event. We’ll play theatre games and act out skits in celebration of Shakespeare’s First Folio Exhibition coming to the Beach Museum in February.

Check the library website for more information on upcoming programming and events. If you have any questions regarding children’s and tween programs, please contact the Youth Services Department staff at or (785)776-4741 ext. 400.


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K-State Coaching for Literacy

K-State Powercat logoCoach Weber and the Kansas State men’s basketball team are partnering with the Manhattan Public Library and Coaching for Literacy (CFL) to help support literacy in Manhattan.  In exchange for a donation, two individuals will receive an “Assistant Coach” all-access fan experience to the January 30th game when the Wildcats host the Ole Miss Rebels.  Proceeds from the Assistant Coach Program will benefit the Manhattan Public Library’s summer reading program, which helps prevent summer learning loss for children and teens.

“We are thrilled to see the positive results that our partnership with Kansas State will bring to the Manhattan Public Library,” said Ryan Viner, Executive Director of Coaching for Literacy.

The donor will receive the following perks: a tour of the facilities, courtside seating, access to the locker room, admittance to the postgame press conference and interviews, autographed memorabilia, a picture with Head Coach Bruce Weber and college-specific attire provided by CFL partner Peter Millar.

“Through Coaching for Literacy, donors provide funds for the library’s successful summer reading program,” said Jennifer Bergen, Youth Services Manager at the library. “The funds from CFL help us provide an excellent selection of prize books for children and teens who reach their reading goals, helping kids start the school year ready to learn.  With help from generous donors, we were able to give away 3,189 books last summer.”

To make a donation and participate in the Assistant Coach Program, visit the Coaching for Literacy website at  For more information about CFL, contact Gary Blocker at (901) 410-3633 or gblocker@coachingforliteracy (dot) org.

Coaching for Literacy exists to raise awareness about the problem of illiteracy in America and also to generate financial support for effective literacy programs. Kansas State men’s basketball takes part in the program for a second straight year and joins 17 NCAA schools as a partner of CFL’s Assistant Coach Program.

mother and daughter holding prize books

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Delve into the Rich History of the Manhattan Area!

by Linda Henderson, Adult Services Librarian

In 1855, the Hartford, the first little steamboat built specially to travel the Kansas River, beached on a sandbar near the mouth of the Little Blue River.   Little could these new visitors to Kansas imagine their legacy: a rich history of people and unique accomplishments!   First named “New Boston,” “Manhattan” was established after a compromise between two major settling companies.  The Riley County Historical Society, the Riley County Genealogical Society, and Manhattan Public Library maintain reams of history for anyone interested in knowing more about how our city came to be.

Manhattan Public Library makes a point of preserving books about local history.  Winifred Slagg’s Riley County Kansas vividly portrays the early settlers of Riley County.  A local author, Lowell Jack, in his History of Manhattan, Kansas, Riley County and Ft. Riley, offers an excellent timeline starting in 1850.  He recounts personal stories of founders, like Mrs. E.B. Purcell, who persuaded Andrew Carnegie to contribute $10,000 to establish our first library, and Ella Child, women’s suffragist daughter of Seth Child, accompanying her parents to the polls so that they could all vote. Neighbors of the Past, also by Jack, recounts personal histories of interesting historic Manhattanites.

Another local author, Geraldine Baker Walton, wrote 140 Years of Soul: a History of African Americans in Manhattan, Kansas 1865-2005 An excellent review of Manhattan’s local architecture awaits in The Architects & Buildings of Manhattan, Kansas by Dr. Patricia J. O’Brien.  The public library also has many calendars and books full of historical photographs.  Or, on the fantastic side, Ghosts of Fort Riley shares stories and photos about legendary ghosts said to haunt Ft. Riley. The Official State Atlas of Kansas, published in 1887, holds a historic Manhattan city and Riley county map, along with many other Kansas locations, with drawings of many Kansas business buildings and farmsteads.  And, the Manhattan city directories list people and businesses from the 1950s until today.

Google does not know everything yet!  Manhattan Public Library maintains a huge collection of newspapers and local publications on microfilm. The earliest is from 1859 entitled: The Manhattan Express.  Other titles include The Kansas Radical from 1866, The Leonardville Monitor from 1884 on, and the Riley County Chronicle from 1889.  The Seaton family bought the Mercury newspaper in 1915,  and after several title reincarnations, the Seatons adopted the title:  Manhattan Mercury in 1954. Whatever its title, we archive the Mercury from then to now on microfilm – and of course, we keep the paper copies for three months, too!

The microfilm collection provides a wealth of history for Manhattan, Leonardville, Randolph, and the Riley County area.  Thanks to Sy Ekart, who has volunteered hundreds of hours over several years, manually inspecting decades of aging newsprint, we have indexes covering newspapers from the 1850s through the 1940s. Sy is continuing to index more newspapers on microfilm today. The indexes  note obituaries and many other articles in local newspapers.   Accidents, business openings and closings, elections, and so much more; if it happened here, Sy indexed who did what.

Beyond recounting the specifics of Manhattan, older newspapers can entertain!  It is sometimes startling and just plain funny to look at the past.    Familiar and strange things for sale for mere cents, political commentary that could almost have come from today’s op-eds, interesting personal notices – both more and less has changed than we tend to think!  Even browsing your local newspaper from when you graduated from high school can bring back many memories – the news of the time; what bands were playing; the best places to eat and relax.

Manhattan Public Library holds these wonderful indexes in the reference area on 2nd floor, and they are also available at the Riley County Genealogical Society.  Manhattan Public Library’s new microfilm readers let patrons e-mail, print, or save any of these materials for later reading or sharing.  We will be happy to request other Kansas newspapers on microfilm from the Kansas Historical Society at no charge.

Our local history cabinet holds articles and pictures about all sorts of things: local floods, from the massive pre-Manhattan Kansas River flood of 1844 to the floods of 1903, 1951, and 1993; the Tuttle Creek Dam controversy; local biographies; city maps from various times; articles on Kansas City’s George Giles, of the African American Monarchs; writings from anti-slavery settlers; the origins of Manhattan street names; stories about the Old Military Trail, and hundreds of other bits of local history.

Our popular “Tech Tuesdays” classes are starting this Tuesday, January 12 at 2:00 p.m. with “Download E-books and Audiobooks. The following Tuesday, January 19th, also at 2:00, p.m., the session will be on Smartphone Help.  Feel free to call Manhattan Public Library at 785-776-4741, ext. 300 for more information.

Photos courtesy of the Riley County Historical Society



Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, Mercury Column, News

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