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Rhythm and Brews This Weekend

rhythm and brewsBy Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator

The biggest event in Manhattan this weekend is the first annual Rhythm and Brews Festival, and the library will definitely be there!

This year the Little Apple Music Festival has expanded to include not only concerts, but also the Brew 2 Shoe race, a Hail the Ale microbrewing contest, microbrew sampling at the park, barbecue, a Sunday brunch, and some fun attractions for kids. Hence, the new name.

The festival begins with a free concert in City Park with the band Run Boy Run on Friday, August 1 at 8pm. The band’s website offers a toe-tapping sample of their music and describes their acoustic bluegrass sound as “existing in the tension between tradition and the musical frontier.”

If you can pull yourself out of bed after a night of live music, join Manhattan’s avid running community for Brew 2 Shoe; there are distances for all levels of enthusiasm, from a 10K, 5K or 1 mile fun run. The road race begins at 7am at Tallgrass Brewery, located on Quail Land just north of Highway 24 and Green Valley Road. This year, the proceeds from the race will be donated to the Special Olympics. Registration is required.

Beginning at 1pm, ticketholders will be in City Park to sample some excellent microbrews and barbecues at Rhythm and Brews. All tickets were purchased in advance at the Manhattan Running Company, Tallgrass Brewing Company, and Little Apple Brewing Company, but never fear, there’s always next year! Proceeds from this portion of the event will benefit Arts in the Park.

Then the free music begins again at 5pm on Saturday at City Park’s Larry Norvell Band Shell:

  • 5:00 a fun jazz combo featuring Dr. Wayne Goins from K-State
  • 5:30 the winner of the Hail the Ale home brewing contest will be announced from the stage
  • 6:00 The Vineyard Band, with a seriously twangy steel pedal guitar and soulful country sound
  • 7:00 Noah Hoehn, a harmonica-marimba-percussion artist and singer with a very unique and rockin’ vibe
  • 8:00 Samantha Fish, an award-winning blues guitarist with one heck of a voice
  • 9:00 The Steel Wheels, acoustic Americana music from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

For those with kids along for the fun, a family-friendly area will be available in the pavilion from 6-9pm. Manhattan Public Library will be there with crafts for kids and information about our lineup of exciting programs for the fall. You’ll also find Sister Act Face Painting, the Say Cheez photo booth, balloon artist Sun Johnson, MWR inflatables, the Wildcat 91.9 radio station, and Willie the Wildcat.

To recover from all this fun, meet at the Bluestem Bistro on Sunday morning for a jazz brunch featuring Dr. Wayne Goins from 9-11am.

Then stop by the library to read the Sunday paper from front to back, and relax in our reading room. Or can always go home and do laundry. The choice is yours.

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Paperback Book Day

Heather holding a mug of coffee and a copy of the Princess Bride

Demonstration: right hand coffee; left hand book.

By Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Supervisor

Today we celebrate the paperback: the small and inexpensive soft-covered book. (By decree of the Days of the Year calendar.)

The history of the paperback is intriguingly similar to that of the e-book: the ability to produce them cheaper and sell them at lower prices appealed to consumers but frustrated publishers and bookstores. However, despite the controversy created around them when they began, and the worry that e-books might take their place in modern times, paperbacks are still around and making their way into reader’s hearts today.

Like many readers, my favorite way to read is to curl up with a good paperback and a cup of coffee. Long before I tried out an e-reader, a paperback was the most convenient way to read. It was light, fit into my budget and was easily shoved into a backpack or purse if I needed to carry it around with me.

It also hurt a lot less than a hardback if I dropped it on my face while reading.

A paperback still has the “book” feel to it: textured pages and the papery scent that booklovers around the world know so well. It has a bendy cover that allows you to hold it one-handed. While you do have to go to an actual store to buy one, paperbacks have the bonus of being low-priced to also accommodate a visit to the coffee shop.

For me, a well-loved paperback means a familiar story on a rainy-day, with rain pinging on the window and a mind engrossed in a different world.

If you’re looking for your own paperback to read and cherish, stop by Rosie’s Corner Used Book Store on the first floor of the library to purchase one for $1.25 or browse the library to check out as many as you can carry!

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Don’t Forget to Get Your Summer Reading Prizes!

Thursday, July 31st, is the last day of our Summer Reading program.  More than 2,100 children participated, and together they have read for nearly ONE MILLION MINUTES this summer!  Special thanks to our awesome Teen Volunteers who have helped give out prizes to these amazing readers all summer.  Come to the prize desk this week to pick up the prizes you earned!

magnifying glass

THANK YOU to our Summer Reading sponsors:
Famous Dave’s
Flint Hills Discovery Center
Manhattan Kiwanis Club
Manhattan Library Association
Noodles & Co.
Papa Murphy’s Pizza
Sunset Zoo
Texas Roadhouse
Varsity Donuts
Vista Drive-In

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids

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World War I Begins

franz-ferdinandandsophie2The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia von Hochenberg by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip was the event that ignited World War I on this day in 1914. This marks the 100th anniversary of the “Great War”. Manhattan Public Library has many resources to help you learn about this time in history–check our catalog to find out more!

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National Park and Recreation Month


by Judi Nechols, Adult Services Librarian

Getting outdoors is good for us!When we go outdoors we get active, connect with nature, and even improve our mental health and stress levels. How often do you get outside, though? A recent survey by the National Park and Recreation Association found that almost three out of every ten U.S. adults do not spend time outdoors on a daily basis.

July happens to be National Park and Recreation Month, and the National Parks and Recreation Association is hoping to make 2014 the year people go outside, change their outlook, and get involved in their community through parks and recreation. There are lots of ways to do this through the Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department, which offers:

  • Classes
  • Day camps
  • Team sports for all ages
  • Pools
  • Splash park
  • Arts in the Park outdoor concerts

The philosophy of the Recreation Division of the Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department is to provide and create affordable, recreational, cultural, educational and leisure opportunities to benefit and enhance the lives of all citizens in the community. For a more a detailed listing of all the exciting events they have going on for the duration of the summer, check their web site for a copy of the summer activities brochure!

We don’t need formal classes or activities to enjoy the outdoors—take a hike around Marlatt Park and enjoy the beautiful prairie wildflowers; walk the nature trail at River Pond or the River Trail near the Outlet Tubes; walk or bike along the linear trail or the trail around Anneberg Park. There are lots of activities and parks around Manhattan that can take you into the great outdoors, so remember “Out is IN!” and take advantage of living in one of the most beautiful areas in Kansas.

As always, visit the library to find more information about outdoor resources including trail maps, course schedules, and all the books you want to read while you’re enjoying the outdoors.

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Bedtime Books for Summer Nights

by Grace Benedick, Children’s Librarian

As a child, I loved the long summer days and the warm summer nights, but if there was one thing I really hated about summer, it was bedtime. I think we can all remember the childhood trial of trying to fall asleep before the sun had set—when it seemed the whole world was still wide awake. Fortunately, for all of you grown-ups with children undergoing that yearly trial, the library is full of wonderful bedtime stories to appease your wakeful children. In fact, over 200 titles will come up if you search our catalog for picture books about bedtime, so here’s a small selection of summery favorites to get you started:

atnightJonathan Bean’s debut picture book, At Night is all about one of those restless nights when sleep just won’t come. The story moves at a poetic, quiet pace, following a restless girl as she chases the night breeze up to her city roof. With her curious mother trailing behind, she takes her pillows and blankets upstairs to the rooftop terrace, where she can see the moon and feel the breeze, and better yet—fall asleep.



Posted in: Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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July is Family Reunion Month

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

Photo by Diane Strasbaugh via Creative Commons at

Photo by Diane Strasbaugh via Creative Commons at

Every summer, usually at the beginning of July, my family starts talking about where to meet for our next family reunion. I have no idea why we act like it’s up for discussion. We go to the same place each year, a small farm in southeast Kansas. It’s a long drive for everyone, but it’s a firmly rooted tradition for us. And even though everyone complains about the travel time, somehow those complaints quiet down once we all arrive and we get to enj0y one another’s company.

When we hit the road next week, we won’t be the only ones setting out to see family. With blue skies, warm weather, and the free time that summer vacation affords, it is the perfect month to call National Family Reunion month.

Are you still looking for a spot to have your own family reunion? Manhattan is full of fun options, from places to gather to things to do:

  • Manhattan City Parks: Did you know that Manhattan has 21 parks that encompass 1,000 acres within the city? Located throughout pretty much every neighborhood in Manhattan, our city parks have everything from picnic shelters to playgrounds to sports facilities. There is even a 5-acre stocked fishing lake! Plan ahead and make reservations by contacting Parks and Recreation.
  • If your family needs some time out of the sun, there are lots of fun ways to spend time together. The Sunset Zoo, the City Pool, Flint Hills Discovery Center, and the KSU Insect Zoo are all great activities for even the most extended family. If your family enjoys cultural outings, don’t forget about the Beach Museum of Art, the Manhattan Arts Center, or McCain Auditorium.
  • Kansas State Park: If your family loves the natural beauty of the Flint Hills, there are lots of spectacular campsites in the area.

If you’ve got a long road trip ahead of you in the coming weeks, don’t forget to check out our audiobooks. Here is a great list of family-friend books on CD from our BookTALK website. And if your reunion party is looking a little bit small, we’ve got genealogy research resources at hand. Use databases like and GenealogyConnect to explore your family tree and discover new relatives!




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Good Times at the Rodeo Round-Up!

The Rodeo Readin’ Round-up event this morning was very successful with about 95 kids and 50 adults.  Char Henton and others from the Kaw Valley Rodeo board helped coordinate this fun program. Cowboy poet Ron Wilson started out with some poetry with audience participation, followed by a skit performed by the librarians based on Jan Thomas’s “Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy.”  Legendary barrelman Rick Young and bullfighters Andy North and Dustin Brewer, dressed in their rodeo clown gear, talked to the kids about their interesting jobs in the rodeo. Andy North always reads his favorite book, “Those Can-Do Pigs” by David McPhail.  The Flint Hills Discovery Center was very kind this year to host the event in their facility.  Look for a picture on today’s issue of The Mercury! Check out the Kaw Valley Rodeo this weekend, Thurs-Sat. at 8:00 at the fairgrounds.





andy and lil cowboy

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids

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Dog Days of Summer

Baths-1-Although the cool temperatures of the last week would suggest otherwise, we are officially in the dog days of summer now. The dog days of summer has its roots in Roman astronomy. Romans called the time of the year from July 24th to August 23rd, “diēs caniculārēs,” or the Dog Days. Why Dog Days? Astronomers of that time associated this season with Sirius, the Dog Star, which rose and set with the sun in July and August. This led to the assumption that the star Sirius was the cause of the steamy summer weather.

Most of the history of the dog days of summer has been lost over the last millennia. However, we do share one similarity in how we handle the hot weather—swimming! Romans built magnificent public baths, or thermae, throughout their entire empire and were important spots for socializing and doing business, as well as keeping cool.

These days, we prefer our swimming in the form of pools. Manhattan’s own pools and splash parks are a wonderful antidote to hot weather. They may not be the opulent thermae of the Romans, but they do have one advantage—waterslides!

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