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World War I

John Pecoraro, Assistant Director, Manhattan Public Library
One hundred years ago on July 28, 1914, the Great War, the War to End All Wars, started in Europe. By the time of the armistice ending the war on November 11, 1918, the conflict was worldwide, and over 9 million soldiers, sailors, and Marines had been killed. This is the war we now refer to as World War I.

By now the participants in the conflict are history. The last remaining United States veteran of the war, Frank Buckles, died in 1911, at the ripe, old age of 110. In a strange footnote to history, Buckles was captured by Japanese forces during World War II while working in Manila, and was imprisoned for over 3 years.

gunsSelected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time, “The Guns of August,” by Barbara Tuchman is a classic history of the early days of World War I. Tuchman traces each step during those 30 days in August 1914 that inevitably lead to all-out war. Why inevitable? Because all sides involved had been plotting their war for a generation.

In “Harlem’s Hell Fighters: The African-American 369th Infantry in World War I,v” Stephen Harris tells the story of one of the few American Army units to serve under French command. The volunteers of the 369th, mostly from New York, faced racial harassment from civilians and white soldiers alike while training in the South. First sent to France as laborers, they later proved themselves fighting valiantly beside French Moroccan troops. The French government awarded the Hell Fighters the Croix de Guerre, their highest military honor. German soldiers gave them the nickname “Hell Fighters” because of their toughness, and the fact that they never lost ground to the enemy.

Imagine a battle raging over nearly a year, devouring hundreds of thousands of men. This is battle Paul Jankowski recounts in “Verdun: the Longest Battle of the Great War.”  Beginning on February 21, 1916, Verdun ended on December 18. Casualty estimates range between 714,000 and 976,000. It was the longest and one of the costliest battles in terms of human lives lost. The battle accomplished little; the town and its fortifications had limited strategic value to either France or Germany. So, “Why Verdun?,” Jankowski asks. As in so many things about war, there is no definite answer. (more…)

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

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Hurricane Katrina Anniversary

On this day in 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. With almost $200 Billion in damage resulting from the storm, it was the most expensive disaster in US history. The human toll was unfathomable and the effects continue to be felt in that region today.

Manhattan Public Library has several titles about Hurricane Katrina and it’s effects:

  • Not just the levees broke : my story during and after Hurricane Katrina /Phyllis Montana-Leblanc. 976.044 Phyllis Montana-Leblanc gives an astounding and poignant account of how she and her husband lived through one of our nation’s worst disasters, and continue to put their lives back together. New Orleans Hurricane Katrina survivor Phyllis Leblanc reveals moment by moment the impending doom she and her family experienced during one of the greatest disasters in contemporary American history. The initial weather forecast, the public warnings from officials, and then the increasingly devastating developments — the winds and rain, the rising waters — Not Just the Levees Broke begs the question, What would you do in a life-and-death situation with your family and neighbors facing the ultimate test of character? Not Just the Levees Broke is a portrayal of the human spirit at its best — the generosity of family, neighbors, and strangers; the depth of love that one can hold for another; the power to help and heal others.
  • The great deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast / Douglas Brinkley.  976.044  An account of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it left in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast documents the events and repercussions of the tragedy and its aftermath and the ongoing crisis confronting the region.
  • Breach of faith : Hurricane Katrina and the near death of a great American city / Jed Horne.  976.044  “Hurricane Katrina shredded one of the great cities of the South, and as levees failed and the federal relief effort proved lethally incompetent, a natural disaster became a man-made catastrophe. As an editor of New Orleans’ daily newspaper, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Times-Picayune, Jed Horne has had a front-row seat to the unfolding drama of the city’s collapse into chaos and its continuing struggle to survive.” “Horne takes readers into the private worlds and inner thoughts of storm victims from all walks of life to weaver a tapestry as intricate and vivid as the city itself. Politicians, thieves, nurses, urban visionaries, grieving mothers, entrepreneurs with an eye for quick profit at public expense – all of these lives collide in a chronicle that in harrowing, angry, and often slyly ironic.”
  • Five days at Memorial : life and death in a storm-ravaged hospital / Sheri Fink.  362.11  Fink provides a landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina– and a suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Fink unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.

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Decadent Displays for Every Age!

With school well under way – and football season just around the corner – the helpful librarians in the MPL Children’s Department have created some wonderful displays for your viewing pleasure:

Back to schoolbusSchool – The back to school display has some of the best titles for children who are starting school or students who are veterans. Books displayed are all from the picture book collection, and can be located near the JPB stacks.


footballFootball  – Our football display has been created in honor of the first home game of the season – against SFA. In this display you can find numerous nonfiction books featuring various football teams and athletes! This display islocated near our JNF collection.


Dinosaudinosaurrs – What kind of librarians would we be if we didn’t have a display all about dinosaurs? This display features our favorite Dino-themed stories, and even some great nonfiction. The best feature of this display is that it has a little bit of everything: fun, adventure, and information! The Dino-display is located near the Children’s entrance, between the game computers and reference desk!


So come by and browse our displays – or the entire collection for that matter! Who knows, you may find your next tremendous read!

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, library services, Parents

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Spotlight On: Community Profiles

by Judi Nechols, Adult Services Librarian

060526-N-3271W-001Are you new to Manhattan, or are you looking for a local organization or support group? From garden clubs to autism support groups, you can find the resources you’re looking for in the Manhattan Public Library’s catalog.
Here’s how to find community groups in town:

  1. Click the “Catalog” button on the library’s homepage
  2. Then, click the “Community” tab at the top of the catalog
  3. From here, you can search with a keyword, such as “gardening.” If you aren’t sure what you are looking for, you can also browse all of the listings
  4. When you find an organization that interests you, click for contact information, meeting times, and links to a website or Facebook page
  5. The column on the left of the page also lists a variety of organizations related to your search

You’ll also notice that when you search for books or other materials in the catalog, related organizations will be listed on the left of the screen.

Manhattan Public Library has had information about community resources available for many years and in many formats. Last year, the library added the Community Information database to our online catalog, and Adult Services staff entered the information for the 280 groups that are currently listed. By incorporating this into our catalog, the information is always available on our web site, 24 hours a day, from wherever you are at!

If you are part of a non-profit or service organization in Manhattan that is not listed in our Community Information catalog and you would like to be listed, please contact us at 776-4741 x141. We can complete a registration form and enter your contact information so that your group may be included!

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Book Discussions this Fall at MPL!

If you or your book club would like to join us for book discussions this fall, check out the books and start reading!

ghostSeptember 25 at 7:00 pm, we will discuss The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. This is the K-State Book Network’s Common Read for 2014, and the devastating effects of cholera and the search for the cause of this deadly disease is written about in this book–a fascinating look at scientific investigation in the Victorian era.


October 30 at 7:00 pm we will have the exciting opportunity to discuss the book Revolutionary Heart with the author, Diane Eickoff! The main character of this book is a charismatic suffragist who helped pave the way for change for women.



carriedNovember 20 at 7:00 pm, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien will be discussed with a guest discussion leader. Sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council, this discussion is part of the events planned for the Manhattan Big Read of this poignant and fascinating look at American soldiers in Vietnam.


We hope you can join us for any or all of these discussions!

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KSBN Focus: The Ghost Map

By Marcia Allen, Technical Services Manager


Each academic year, the K-State Book Network (KSBN) selects an exceptional book for a common reading experience. In conjunction with that all-university-read, campus activities, classroom experiences, and community programs are offered that share additional insights into the book. In the past years, enthusiastic participants have been fortunate enough to share in the reading of outstanding titles like Ready Player One, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Zeitoun, and The Hunger Games.

This year’ title is an equally stellar selection. The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, which was first published in 2006, is an amazing tale of detective work and perseverance that will demand your attention despite its sometimes appalling content. Here’s a hint about the levels of appeal that the book presents.

First of all, it’s a graphic examination of living conditions in 19th century London. While the story begins with a lengthy description of the scavengers (night-soil men) who sought items for recycling in the filth of the city, the real focus is on a cholera epidemic which began in 1854 in the neighborhood of Broad Street. As is often the case, the first one or two deaths quickly multiplied, and in a period of some ten days, more than 500 people lost their lives.

Secondly, the book is an excellent account of the life of disease, as well as the common beliefs about contagion. Johnson does an exceptional job of describing the source, the growth, and the resulting symptoms and death that accompany a cholera outbreak. The close proximity of cesspools to drinking water sources and the density of the population combined for a perfect hosting environment for the epidemic. Coupled with those physical conditions were the common beliefs in “miasma,” or poisoned atmosphere, as the cause of sickness. Neither medical experts nor average citizens understood the actual causes of contagion, so few productive efforts were made to stop the spread of disease.

Third, and perhaps most interesting, this is an incredible detective story. Dedicated physician John Snow had done pioneering work with the newly discovered use of anesthetics, but he had also pondered the frequent outbreaks of cholera for some years, and even attempted to chart the deaths. When this sudden horrific outbreak near Broad Street caught his attention, he began questioning the unthinkable: Could the water supply be related to the epidemic? At the same time, local clergyman Henry Whitehead began work on his own study involving the reach and duration of the outbreak. Because Whitehead knew his congregation so well, he was able to pinpoint dates of deaths as well as numbers lost to the outbreak. In fact, it was actually his discovery of the timespan when the first victim sickened and died that brought the two investigators together. From that point, the two men were able to chart the spread of the epidemic throughout the neighborhood. Thus, the “ghost map” of the title is the carefully documented layout of the related deaths throughout the area.
Of course, these dedicated souls did not bring about immediate change in London. But their pioneering work served as an impetus for early developments in waste-removal and sanitary water supply that not only improved the health of thousands, but also restored the vigor of the much-polluted Thames River.

If you are interested in learning more about the book and its contents, the following programs are scheduled:
On Science Saturday, September 6 at 10:00 a.m., in the MPL’s lower atrium, Ginny Bernard from Riley County Extension will guide listeners of all ages through some hands-on experiments concerning diseases, germs and water contamination. You can register here.

On Thursday, September 11th at 7:00 p.m., there is an author talk in McCain Auditorium with Steven Johnson. Tickets are required to attend the free event and will be available for community members on Wednesday, September 3 at the Manhattan Public Library.

On Thursday, September 25th at 7:00 p.m., there is a Good Books Club Book Discussion to be held in the Groesbeck Room of MPL. Snacks will be provided.

Please plan to attend these events if your schedule allows, and enjoy your reading of the book. It’s a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

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National Peach Pie Day is August 24th.

Mary Newkirk, Adult Services Librarian

Celebrate with a really easy and delicious recipe courtesy of Taste of Home.







Easy Peach Pie

6 medium-size ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pastry shell

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees F. Arrange peach slices in the bottom of the pastry shell. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, flour and salt; stir in cream until mixture is smooth, then pour over peaches.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until filling is almost set. Serve warm or cold, with ice cream or whipped cream on top.

**note: this recipe can also be made using canned peaches

Enjoy many other irresistible fruit desserts found in Seasonal Fruit Desserts From Orchard, Farm and Market by Deborah Madison and Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies and More by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson.


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What’s Happening, Manhattan?!

by Amber Keck, Children’s Librarian

4052061478_eb3980d0ae_zSchool has started for Manhattan students and KSU students are slowly rolling back into town for the fall semester. As the summer comes to a close, there are many events coming up this weekend that will help you enjoy the long days and warm weather.

OK Kids Day is a statewide event intended to encourage kids to take part in outdoor play. Starting at 8am, children and their parents can grab a “passport” and make their way through numerous activities throughout the day. Older children can climb the rock wall and throw tomahawks and hatchets, while younger children can jump on large inflatables and ride the Little Apple Train. All the events are near the River Pond Area and there is no entrance fee or need for a parking permit while enjoying the day at Tuttle Creek State Park.

The Cattle Baron’s Ball is an annual event to support the American Cancer Society. Held at a different location each year, the event features great food, entertainment, and a silent auction. This year, the ball will be located at Copeland Ranch and begins at 7pm. Auction items this year include a Canvas and Cork Party donated by Straight Upp Creative Studio, a night at the Comfort Inn and Suites, a large array of handcrafted jewelry, and other valuable items. Tickets are still on sale now.

Art Happens is the annual fundraiser benefiting the Manhattan Arts Center. The center includes a performance hall, two galleries, and art studios. Throughout the year, the center features artwork in the galleries and offers opportunities for students of the arts to take part in performances and classes. During the Art Happens fundraiser, donors can enjoy wine and appetizers while watching art demonstrations from featured artists.

If you can’t make it to these events but still need something to do this weekend, stop by the library for some weekend entertainment.  The Saturday hours for the library are 9am to 6pm and Sunday hours are 1pm to 6pm.

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Interested in Aggieville History?

Linda Henderson, Adult Services Librarian

Picture1 Aggieville Archives online at

“Aggieville Archives was created to help you remember, discover, or research the history of the Aggieville Shopping District in Manhattan, Kansas.

I decided to launch a Facebook page in November of 2011 called Aggieville Archives. The feedback I’ve received from posting over 2,000 pictures has shown me clearly that many people have a strong interest (and enjoyment) in looking back at the history of Aggieville. Some people connect with personal experiences in a certain location, some have relatives that worked or owned businesses in the area, and some have just enjoyed knowing that there is a lot more to Aggieville than they ever realized.”

Dan Walter, served as Secretary, Treasurer, and then two years as President of the Aggieville Business Association. After publishing his second book on Aggieville history in 1998, the ABA Board of Directors voted Dan as the official Aggieville Historian.

Manhattan Public Library has a number of Dan’s books for you to enjoy.  Aggieville Through the Years, 1880′s to the Year 2000!;  The American College Town;   The Drug Stores of Aggieville:..and a Few Other Tangents Along the Way;   Manhattan Mysteries: Stories of the ‘Little Apple’;      Aggieville, 1889-1989: 100 Years of the Aggieville Tradition  ands The Harrison Building Scrapbook, 1915-l998.  MPL also has a Manhattan  history file that you may find interesting.




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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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