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The Good Books Club

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

It’s a natural order of events for a book lover. Go to the library, get books, look for a book club. The first two things are easy to accomplish, but it isn’t always easy to find a book club. In fact, one of the questions that we often get asked at Manhattan Public Library is whether we can  recommend a great local book club. Well, now we can!

Starting this fall, Manhattan Public Library has its very own book club here—The Good Books Club. Meeting at 7pm in the Groesbeck Room on the last Thursday of every month, The Good Books Club will feature delightful conversation with community members and local experts; intriguing books that are sure to capture your imagination; and delicious treats and refreshments. Everyone is invited!

Here are some of the upcoming titles for this fall, and their featured guests:

  • Revolutionary Heart by Diane Eickhoff: 19th century pioneer, Clarina Nichols, was a passionate and tireless advocate for women’s rights and the abolishionist movement. She was also a Kansan. Revolutionary Heart is an engaging, thought-provoking biography of this extraordinary woman who lived in a time when little was certain and battles were perilous. This book group discussion is sure to be amazing, especially because Diane Eickhoff, the author, will be joining us. This event is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council and it’s not to be missed!
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brian: Manhattan Public Library is participating in Kansas’ The Big Read this year, and we’re excited to feature the book, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brian. A moving portrait of the lives of soldiers serving in the Vietnam War, this book illuminates a part of our history that is fraught with complex emotions. There will be numerous events to highlight the book, including two book club meetings:
    • November 14th: Join us for a special evening of books, brews, and converation at the Little Apple Brewery. Starting at 6pm, the Books and Brew group will chat about The Things They Carried and enjoy some great food and company.
    • November 20th: Our final Good Books Club meeting for the fall, we will meet to discuss The Things They Carried. Refreshments will be provided.

Interested in joining us? Contact Manhattan Public Library to put a hold on one of the featured titles at 785-776-4741 ext. 141.

After the holidays, our book club meetings will resume on January 29 with and exploration of British Classics. The selected writers have delighted the minds, warmed the hearts, and frozen the blood of readers from every corner of the world.  Readers meeting to discuss these stories will travel back to the days when books were the center of conversation among friends and neighbors. How could you stay home?

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September Construction Update

The Children’s Library is really shaping up! Everything is still on schedule to be completed in mid-December and the big party will happen on January 17, 2015–unless we’re in the middle of a giant snow storm, that is. (And if that’s the case, come out and party with us the following Saturday.)

exterior of new construction

Flooring and lights have been installed in the storytime room. We have visions of sweeping up glitter, laughing when kids spill glue, and running around like very happy librarians with space for all the kiddos, parents and strollers who come to storytime.

Rachel in the storytime room

New furniture has been arriving by the truckload. We’re unpacking very cool, blue, kid-sized chairs, giant pillows for the window seats, new storytime rugs, and puppet trees. Stay tuned for the play house, loft, and funky couch that will be arriving soon.

blue chairsand table








We also have a big stack of new computers to install. The new space will feature twelve brand-new computer stations with touch screens. Parents will be pleased to learn that each station has a 30 minute time limit. If no one is waiting in line, kids will be able to stay for an additional 30 minutes, however, the timer is also pretty handy for parents who want to say, “Okay, time’s up. Let’s go read a book outside!”

Laura with new computers

Which brings me to the patio and garden space. The fence is up and plants will be arriving soon. The big patio will let us hold storytime out in the sunshine and the sturdy fence will keep kiddos safe from cars.  We’ll have some very nice tables and chairs in place so you and your children will be able to relax enjoy a good book outdoors throughout the day, too.

patio as seen through the storytime room doors

Librarians have been organizing the children’s books into neighborhoods. Miss Rachel announced yesterday that she labeled the very last book! Here’s a preview of how things will look on the shelves. We hope books will be even easier for you to find.


Staff have been given a sneak peek of the new spaces and “ooohs and aaaaahs” were heard from everyone. Architects and construction crews have done a fantastic job creating a new children’s library we can all be proud of.

staff in the new library

Thank you for all the patience and support! I think you will be very impressed with the finished product, and I think kids are going to have a lot of fun reading at Manhattan Public Library.

If you have any questions about the project, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (785) 776-4741 ext. 125 or

Posted in: Children's Expansion, News

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Pack the Kids in the Stroller and Roll on Over!

This Saturday, September 20 from 10 a.m. to noon, join us for the first ever Roll and Read day at the Riley County Family and Child Resource Center at 2101 Claflin Blvd.

Walk, push a stroller, or pull a wagon over a one-mile course, stopping along the way for three storytime stations.  This is a come-and-go event so please feel free to go at your own pace.  If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the event will be held indoors at the same location.

You are invited to listen to the stories at each station as a group or sit on a picnic blanket with your children and read one of the books provided.  One of Manhattan Public Library’s READ with Dogs volunteers will be there, too!  The first 200 children who attend (birth to pre-K) will receive a free book.

Officers from the Riley County Police Department will be on hand to provide free car seat safety checks in the parking lot, too.

Roll and Read was organized by USD 383 Parents as Teachers and sponsored by the Manhattan Public Library, RCPD, Raising Riley Right, and the Riley County Health Department.

For more information, contact, visit the Manhattan Public Library at 629 Poyntz Avenue, call (785) 776-4741, or visit the library’s events calendar.

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How to Become a Lifelong Learner

By Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator

Wikipedia tells me that lifelong learning is the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.” To me, it means becoming your own teacher, which I think is a wonderful and worthy thing to do.

But why would a person subject herself to teaching and learning after schooling is finished? Doesn’t “finishing” mean that you don’t have to read, write, or do arithmetic anymore?

Absolutely not! Even if you haven’t made a concentrated effort to bring learning into your life, you’ve been learning every day. You’ve made new discoveries and found new topics to excite your senses.

Learning is a vital part of being human; that’s why we aren’t born knowing how to do everything. So why not be proactive and teach yourself something that’s always piqued your curiosity? Also, the National Institute on Aging sites “engaging in social and intellectually stimulating activities” as an important part of preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Plus, it feels really good to learn!

So, now that you’ve decided to try something new, the first thing you have to do is pick a subject. Have you always wanted to paint, make fire with sticks, or speak French? Start with something exciting and see where it leads you.

Next, it’s time to visit the library. You will find resources to study, as well as information about classes offered by local organizations, like UFM and the Manhattan Arts Center, and clubs and groups you can join.

But what if you can’t pick a topic or aren’t familiar with the library’s resources? Just talk to a librarian: we can help point you in the right direction. You can even get a customized list of titles to explore, on any subject you can imagine, with our reader’s advisory service.

Now here’s a secret weapon you might not have considered: the children’s library.  When I’m looking for something completely new, I start there because some of the very specialized research material can be a little dry and intimidating. I don’t necessarily want to read an esoteric paper about cumulonimbus clouds; I just want to know more about the weather. So, I slyly pretend I’m gathering books for children I don’t have and get an armful of fun subjects to explore.

Visiting the library is like building your brain muscles. No one ever says “I wish I hadn’t learned how to _______,” so spend a few minutes daydreaming about new subjects, then take the first steps to becoming your own teacher.

The library is also hosting a trial of the digital service from September 17-27, which offers thousands of video courses on topics ranging from Managing Stress to Responsive Web Design that you can explore on your own. To participate in the trial, call the library at 776-4741 ext. 120 and make an appointment.

There’s a whole world of ready information within your reach!

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Welcoming Renowned Author Steven Johnson

Author Steven Johnson at McCain September 11 at 7As part of the annual K-State Common Read this fall, students and community members alike will have the opportunity to take part in a community-wide read of The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. The Ghost Map is equal parts medical thriller and social history of 19th century London, exploring the 1854 cholera epidemic that claimed more than 500 lives. Widely acclaimed as a “tightly written page turner,” The Ghost Map is both compelling and enjoyable.

To augment the book, K-State will have a variety of student activities, and professors and instructors will integrate themes and topics from the book into their curriculum. Beyond the classroom, a variety of events will be offered to the community. Manhattan Public Library will be offering several opportunities for enthusiasts of the book, including a special edition of Science Saturday on September 6th at 10am. Ginny Barnard, the Riley County Extension Agent for Health, Nutrition, Food, and Safety, will walk attendees through the details of contamination with fun hands-on experiments.

Moreover, as part of the brand new Good Books Club at Manhattan Public Library, on September 25th from 7-8:45pm, there will be a guided discussion of The Ghost Map with refreshments provided. There is also a trivia activity at the library, and unique displays related to the book.

The highlight of the Common Read experience this fall, however, will be a visit from the author of The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson, on September 11th at 7pm at McCain Auditorium on the K-State campus. The event is free, but tickets are required. Students, faculty, and staff can get tickets at McCain Auditorium, and community members can pick up tickets at Manhattan Public Library. Don’t delay, though—tickets are limited!

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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.

Posted in: Children's Expansion, News

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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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Exploring the Great Outdoors

by Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator

bison grazing at the tall grass prairie preserve

Bison grazing at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.  Wash your spirit clean.” –John Muir

If you’ve ever visited one of the 401 locations in the national parks system, you know how powerfully beautiful and restorative a trip to the outdoors can be.  July happens to be “National Parks and Recreation Month,” and this is a perfect time to get outdoors to do some exploring, even if you’ve never ventured any farther than your own backyard.

Kansas offers several short trips to get a beginning trekker started. The Konza Biological Preserve, located just southeast of town off McDowell Creek Road, offers six miles of hiking trails through native tallgrass prairie. At the highest points you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Flint Hills and might even spot a few members of a bison herd in the distance.

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve presents opportunities for closer contact with bison, if you’re lucky, and more than 44 miles of trails through pristine prairie grasses. You’ll find this national park about two miles north of Strong City, along Highway 177. The visitor’s center has many resources to help you explore the park, including cell phone tours of the historic buildings on the site, a short orientation film, and books for sale.

The Flint Hills Discovery Center in downtown Manhattan is another wonderful place to start your journey. It has exhibits and interactive features to explore the geology, biology, and cultural history of the Flint Hills. Plus, they have a fun gift shop full of local products, artwork, and books by local authors.

Speaking of books, if you would like to find suggestions for exploration, naturalist inspiration, or if you prefer armchair travel, the library has a wealth of outdoor adventure books, both fiction and non-fiction, to aid in your quest.

If you are looking for a volume to carry with you, try one of the comprehensive plant identification books, such as Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas by Michael John Haddock. The detailed descriptions and great pictures will help you find everything from big bluestem to western yarrow.

Or, you might want to try a nice bird-watching guide. The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Sibley  is the most comprehensive book available. It features hundreds upon hundreds of detailed illustrations to help you identify every bird in North America. This book can be a little intimidating at first, but I suggest you dive right in and see what you can find.  If you’re a budding naturalist, just start with the index and explore from there!

I would also suggest sampling some of the outdoor inspirational classics like the works of John Muir, located in the library at call number 508.794. His Eight Wilderness Discovery Books are available bound in one volume or in smaller groupings. They are fantastic reads, but probably won’t fit in your day pack!

For armchair adventure, I strongly recommend Wild by Cheryl Strayed (813.6). This memoir chronicles a young woman’s 1,100-mile journey alone along the Pacific Crest Trail. It is a heart-wrenching tale of struggle, sorrow, determination, and redemption that will leave you wondering how far you could push yourself if you tried.

After you visit the Tallgrass National Preserve, that still leaves about 400 more places to explore. If you’re planning a trip to another state, the library has handbooks and field guides available for many different regions, identifying plants, trees, birds, and insects. It’s a lot of fun to point out butterfly milkweed or old plainsman when you pass them in the field. Plus, you look pretty smart when you do!

You’ll also find maps of Kansas, local bike trails, local rivers, and much more when you visit the Manhattan Public Library. Have fun exploring the great outdoors!

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Youth Volunteer of the Year

photo of Amyby Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator

In 2013, library volunteers donated 2,041 hours of their time, and the library wouldn’t be the same without them. We are fortunate to have the support of these dedicated volunteers, and I would like to take a few moments each month to highlight their contributions.

This month, I would like to introduce you to one of our younger volunteers, Amy, who helps out in the children’s department. Amy has been donating her time for several years now, helping kids register for summer reading, writing nametags and giving out stamps at storytimes, and answering questions. Amy was recently recognized by the K-State School of Leadership Studies as the “Youth Volunteer of the Year.” She was awarded $250 in prize money, which she promptly donated to the library.

One of the many things that impresses me about Amy is her positive attitude. Whenever I pass her in the children’s library, she gives me a giant smile. Amy says it feels wonderful to know she’s really helping, and calls the library “one of the most welcoming places you can ever be.” She is definitely one of the people who makes it welcoming!

Amy will be attending the University of Kansas this fall as an English major. She says that her love of books and reading started when her mother brought her to storytimes as a kid, and she saw all the fun puppets. After Amy earns her BA in English, she plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Library Science, and then become a librarian. We are all very proud of her, but I’m sure we can’t match the pride felt by Amy’s mother, Lori, a professor of Early Childhood Education at K-State, who first introduced Amy to the written word.

We are all incredibly grateful for the dedication and enthusiasm Amy has brought to her work at the library. We wish her all the best as she starts college this fall, and hope she will consider applying at MPL when she earns her degree. If you see Amy working this summer, please take a moment to say thank you.

Teens, if you’re interested in volunteering at the library, check the volunteer section of the Young Adults page at the beginning of the semester. Positions are filled seasonally. Adults can fill out the volunteer application and return it to any public service desk anytime.

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