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All things Austen!

by Judi, Adult Services

AUSTEN139 years after her birth, the works of Jane Austen remain popular, both in print and on film. Born to a clergyman on December 16, 1775, Austen was familiar with the habits of the gentry and aristocracy, and wrote satires for the entertainment of her family. She self-published her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, in 1811, and followed that novel with others—Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). Her works had been published anonymously, and their authorship was announced by her brother Henry only after her death in 1817. He also arranged for the publication of two more of her works in 1818—Northanger Abby and Persuasion. Austen’s wit and social commentary have caused her novels endure, making her one of the most widely read British authors.

emmaThe TALK program at Manhattan Public Library will be discussing one of Austen’s most popular works—Emma—on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 7:00pm. Join fellow Austen-lovers in discussing this comedy of manners as Emma Woodhouse, a young, beautiful, privileged woman decides to become a matchmaker. But she learns the hard way that people don’t fall in love according to plan. The discussion will be led by Thomas Prasch, professor and chair of the History department at Washburn University and has been leading KHC TALK discussions since 1999. Pick up a copy of “Emma” at the Information Desk and join us for the discussion!


Another indication of the continuing popularity of Austen’s works are the many novels that have been written in recent years about characters from her books:

worldIf you are a lover of all things Austen, Manhattan Public Library has numerous items that will interest you—from the fiction already mentioned to non-fiction titles from designing a garden to crochet to tea time recipes all in the style of Austen. To learn about the times in which she lived, try “Jane Austen’s World” or “Jane Austen’s Country Life”. Or you can immerse yourself in one of the many film adaptations of her books. Manhattan Public Library has what you need to celebrate all things Austen!


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How to Read More

little boy reading

image courtesy of wikimedia

As the new year approaches, you may find yourself with goals to slow down and enrich your life by adding activities that you thoroughly enjoy but don’t make enough time for. It just so happens that reading falls into both of these categories—it is an activity that lets you pause your day-to-day life while also enriching it.  As you consider what resolutions or changes you might make in 2015, we want to help you add in more reading time to every day.

You know we’re all about the books, but there are also many digital resources that can help you add more reading to your life.  MPL is a part of a digital library service, Sunflower eLibrary, which provides access to thousands of titles in ebook and audiobook format.  After downloading the Overdrive or Kindle application to your smart device, you can check out and download up to five titles at a time from the Sunflower eLibrary.  Having a title directly on your device gives you more opportunities to sneak in reading time.

Another way to enhance your reading (and listening skills!) throughout the day is with an audiobook.  MPL offers audiobooks in CD format, as well as titles on the Sunflower eLibrary, which can be downloaded to any smart device.  Titles in physical or digital format vary from children’s materials to poetry, with everything in between.  Here are a few audiobooks that our staff would recommend checking out:

woman reading on subway platform

image courtesy of

You might be wondering when exactly in your day you could possibly fit in extra reading time.  Here are 10 opportunities to sneak in a few more pages:

  • During your commute to and from work
  • Running errands throughout your day
  • While cooking meals or cleaning up after meals
  • Waiting in line at the post office, grocery store, or pharmacy
  • Lunch or dinner breaks
  • During your daily run, walk or other exercise
  • In place of that extra episode you might want to watch
  • Mute the commentary of that afternoon of NFL games and listen to an audiobook instead
  • Read aloud with your significant other before heading to bed
  • While trying to beat that next Candy Crush level

Whenever you can fit it in, reading time will help you (and your brain) by improving your concentration and memory, expanding your vocabulary, and stimulating your imagination. Library staff would love to help tailor a reading list just for you, help you find books you’ll love, introduce you to a new author, or just generally spread the joy of reading. All you have to do is ask.

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2014 Shaara Prize for Civil War Fiction Goes to “Nostalgia”

by Mary, Adult Services Librarian

The Michael Shaara Prize for Civil War Fiction was awarded a few weeks ago on the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Each year the prize is given to an author of a novel about the Civil War published for the first time in the current calendar year to “encourage fresh approaches to Civil War fiction”

nostalgiaThis year Dennis McFarland won the prize for his stunning Civil War novel, Nostalgia.  A young private is fighting to find his way to safety after being injured physically with deafness and disorientation.  His friends have deserted him and he is battling emotional trauma.  Unable to write his name Hayes struggles in a military hospital with what is then called “soldier’s heart.”  He encounters a captain who is convinced that Hayes is faking his illness, an amputee that shows compassion and an eccentric visitor to the ward, Walt Whitman, who becomes his advocate.  This timeless story, whose outcome hinges on friendships forged in crisis, reminds us that the injuries of war are manifold, and the healing goodness in the human soul runs deep and strong.

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Welcome to

Watch the online course How to Use

Your Manhattan Public Library card now gives you access to the 4,595 video courses on All you have to do is follow the link , enter your library card number and password, create an account, and you can start learning from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

But what is is an online library of video courses on topics ranging from Improving Your Memory to Creating Textures for 3D Animation. Each subject is broken down into smaller video tutorials so you can stop and start, and learn at your own pace. There are videos for all learning levels–from beginner to professional.

Here is a video introducing the service.

Courses focus mainly on computer and software skills, but include information on teaching, stress management, job interview skills, and more. Browse the library to get an overview of what’s offered, or if you have a specific interest, use the search bar to find courses.

Software is s good topic to start with. You’ll find a quick list of the most popular software tutorials, or you can browse alphabetically for everything from Access to GarageBand to Zoomerang.

Is it really free?

Yes, all library resources are free. Manhattan Public Library has paid for the subscription and all library card holders have access to the service. Residents of Chase, Clay, Dickinson, Geary, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Morris, Pottawatomie, Riley, Wabaunsee, and Washington counties can follow this link to get a library card.

Do I have to be in the library?

No, you can access from library computers or from outside the library using your own device. 35 users can access the site simultaneously. After 1 hour of inactivity, you will be logged off so other people can log on. Lynda will keep track of the videos you’ve watched, and hold your place when you log off.

Searchable Transcripts

Read along with closed-captioned transcripts–or search the text to quickly find information within a course.

Download Exercise Files

Download the files used in the video courses so you can practice on your own. Please note: library computers do not have access to all the software taught on, such as Photoshop and AutoCAD. You must have your own copy of the software you’re learning in order to open the exercise files.

Certificates of Completion

Earn a certificate of completion for each course viewed. Print the certificate to show coworkers, friends, and employers what you’ve accomplished.


Contact the library at or (785)776-4741 x141


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City Cemetery Information

SunsetThumbThe city of Manhattan has created a Cemetery Search to look for interments within Sunset and Sunrise Cemeteries. You may search by cemetery or by last name. After the map downloads, click on the magnifying glass in the upper right corner to search. If you are doing family genealogy work, this will be a great help in locating grave sites! Click on this link to find more information!

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‘Tis the Season for Zoofari AT THE ZOO!

It is time for our final ZZoofarioofari Tails storytime of 2014! With great excitement I give you the December theme: Bears and Hibernation. Get ready to growl, yawn, and maybe even dance like a bear! Stories read will include The Mitten, If You Were a Panda Bear, and Bear Snores On. As usual, Rhymes and music will also be included. Since this is our final Zoofari of the year we will also be doing our annual membership drawing – MAKE SURE YOU BRING YOUR FINISHED PUNCH CARDS for a chance to win a year-long membership! Zoo docents will also present animal biofacts featuring “animal ornaments”. Children who attend will be eligible for a chance to win a free book. Families who attend will also be allowed to visit the zoo free of charge!  Please note that this is the last Zoofari that will be held at the Zoo. Finally I would like to say thank you to all of the children and parents who have made this past year of Zoofari’s possible! It has been a privilege to work with you! You all are great!

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Icons in the World of Music: The Latest in Unforgettable Biographies

By Marcia Allen, Collection Development

Hard times were a daily reality for Elmo and Mamie Lewis in the state of Louisiana during the 1930s. Elmo made a living sharecropping and sometimes cooking whiskey, until he was caught and sentenced to five years in prison. Son Elmo, Jr., who often sang in church and who cared for his younger brother Jerry Lee, was killed at the age of nine when a drunken driver struck him. That left Mamie and little Jerry Lee to make the best of the situation.

jerryIn 1940, four-year-old Jerry Lee realized the path his life was to take. During a visit with his mother’s sister, he pressed down a single key on his aunt’s piano. He later described the experience as one similar to fire reaching through his head. With no previous experience, he immediately began the opening chords of “Silent Night.”

Yes, Jerry Lee went on to lead a scandalous personal life, shocking his followers with his many marriages and his exploits with drugs and alcohol, but he also produced a phenomenal library of songs that few have matched. Songs like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” which were considered provocative when they were first released, are now deemed groundbreaking rock and roll with hillbilly overtones
What makes “Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story” remarkable is author Rick Bragg’s flair for retelling the musician’s story. Bragg, author of award-winning tales like “All over but the Shoutin’” and “Ava’s Man,” brings to the story an incredible skill for southern storytelling and a genuine fondness for Jerry Lee. This story packs a wallop as a colorful character study. (more…)

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Gingerbread Decorating Day(December 13)

by Janet, Adult Services

gingerGingerbread is a classic holiday tradition. Imagine the wonderful aroma  wafting throughout your home as the gingerbread is baking. Then the fun begins as you decorate your gingerbread men, houses or cookies. These creations make great gifts and holiday treats for your gatherings. MPL has wonderful books all about gingerbread to help you with your creations.

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Relax with Holiday Books and Movies!

snowmanThe holiday hustle and bustle is upon us, with lists galore of things to do and shopping and baking to finish. It is often difficult to find time to sit down and just relax. A great way to escape the holiday rush is with a book or film about the holiday season.
Manhattan Public Library has an excellent selection of holiday-themed fiction from which to choose. Many popular writers publish a Christmas novel each year. Anne Perry, a popular mystery writer, has a series of Christmas mysteries, beginning with the title “A Christmas Journey.” Other authors with books in a holiday series include Richard Paul Evans and his Christmas Box Trilogy, and Donna VanLiere and her Christmas Hope series.

Known for his best-selling legal thrillers, John Grisham is the author of “Skipping Christmas” –“Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether… skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences-and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined. A classic tale for modern times, “Skipping Christmas” offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.” Another author known for his thrillers is David Baldacci, whose book “The Christmas Train” is popular at this time of year. There are many new holiday-themed romance novels, such as “What a Lady Needs for Christmas” by Grace Burrowes;  “By Winters Light” by Stephanie Laurens; and “Mr. Miracle” by Debbie Macomber. Other new titles include “Death of a Christmas Caterer” and ” All He Wants for Christmas”. Look for our display of holiday-themed fiction for books by these and other authors, in a display case on the first floor of the library. (more…)

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December Construction Update

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

We now wrapping up the final stages of the Children’s Expansion Project, and while each step has been exciting, it seems like all of the fun stuff came in at once! If you’ve been in the library, you might have seen some of the exciting additions to the Children’s Room. If not, we’d love for you to come and check it out!

Last Wednesday, we got truckloads of furnishings to be added to the Children’s Room. We could hardly wait to start moving it all in!









Some of these new items included spiffy tables and chairs, and some very, very cool interactable furniture. We are in love with the cool colors and fun textures–they make the Children’s Room look so lively!









We also received new shelving for our interactive items and signage with beautiful, bright pictures for the different neighborhoods in the Children’s Room. We were

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Thanks to a skilled team of workers, everything was assembled and hung on the wall quickly, including our lovely donor wall.

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That meant more time for people to come in and start testing things out, from climbing on the foam blocks to sitting on our comfy new seats to studying at the tables and playing with the fun toys.












Thanks to everyone in the community for their support and enthusiasm! If you’ve got any questions about what comes next, just let us know!

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