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Lynda.Com: Helping You Learn in the New Year

by Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Manager is now a resource you can use with your library card, and they have lots of fantastic tutorials on how to help improve certain skills in your life.

As part of the library’s social media team, I decided to try out’s expertise and up my photography game. My previous experience with photography has been minimal. I love how new cameras can make taking a nice picture relatively easy but feel I could learn more to make them really pop and stand out.

To get started, I chose a “Photography 101” course. The classes are broken down into a variety of five to eight minute sessions so that you can pause and start again easily if you’re not able to watch the whole tutorial. Before getting started I snapped this picture of the MPL sign so I can compare all I’ve learned against it:


The tutorial starts with a man informing me that this is a class for anyone who’s never taken a DSL camera out of automatic mode.*hangs head* Yup, that’s totally me! Let’s hope I learn something helpful.

Next the instructor goes over how to hold the camera. At first my thoughts were, Oh, come on, we all know how to hold a camera, but quickly turned into…Ooh wait. Oh jeez. I’ve been holding it wrong this whole time. In what’s known as a “tourist” hold? Oh, dear. I don’t wanna be known as a tourist! Luckily, the instructor provides several suggestions on how to hold and carry the camera so I no longer look like a tourist.


Shortly after is a brief explanation on how to hold the camera steady. This is helpful, as the camera is a little bulky and I don’t want to look like an amateur again.

Next we go over all the little dials on the camera. Ha! Knew those were important. The instructor explains aperture mode and how a large aperture and a shallow depth of field can create a great shot. I grimace, still not entirely sure what that means. But after several example shots showing how changing the aperture can change a picture, I think I’ve got it. We then go over shutter speed: the time for which a shutter is open at a given setting, changing ISO: which is adjusting your camera’s sensitivity to light, and the exposure compensation dial: a way to correct improper exposure. The instructor is calm and explains things well, and I find myself following him without a problem.

Fabulous! I shall soon be a pro, and will have gorgeous pictures forever more.

We continue to learn additional procedures for fantastic shots. I learn that dropping down into a crouch is an easy way to change perspective, and a small tilt or rotate of the camera can a big difference.

We wrap up with a “Buying New Gear” section which is very tempting to this librarian to go out and get more fun gear. With that, I’ve finished my course and am ready to be a solid photographer! Here is my after shot using all the tricks I learned using

mpl 2

Not too shabby! I will definitely be checking out the rest of the videos, and you should too! Make sure you have your library card and know your PIN, and you will be good to go! Call the library at 785-776-4741 for further details!

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, News

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Winter Book Series Tackles British Classics

by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

emmaWith the holiday season behind us and 2015 ahead, Manhattan Public Library is happy to resume monthly readers’ events for adults and will again host our annual winter series of TALK book discussion programs. The TALK series, “Talk About Literature in Kansas,” is a service of the Kansas Humanities Council and is sponsored at MPL again this year by the Manhattan Library Association. Avid readers will meet on the last Thursday of each month from January through April at 7:00 p.m. in the Library’s Groesbeck Room and will explore a different book each month, guided by knowledgeable and insightful discussion leaders from the KHC. Please join us for any one, all four, or as many of the discussions as your schedule will allow.

This year’s ambitious theme is British Literary Classics of the 19th Century, and our selections are “Emma” by Jane Austen, “Far from the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy, “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, and “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot. These authors represent the great age of British novelists and our four novels are among the best of the era. They were written as the Industrial Revolution began to transform England forever and usher in the upheaval, uncertainty, and excitement of the modern age. Copies of the featured books are available for checkout at the Library’s Information Desk and available in free down-loadable e-book format from Project Gutenberg. And for reluctant readers, or those of you in a time crunch, the good news is that all four of our selections are also available from the library in DVD format!

First up, on Thursday, January 29, is “Emma,” Jane Austen’s beloved comedy of manners. Lovely, privileged, and headstrong Emma Woodhouse is the doyenne of her small county society. She takes a keen interest in the affairs of her neighbors and enlivens her quiet, uneventful life with efforts at match-making. The characters in Emma’s circle are drawn with good-natured humor, the plot entertains, and the dialogue sparkles. In the end, Emma finds out the hard way that people don’t fall in love according to plan, but the outcome is happier than even she could have planned.

In “Far from the Madding Crowd,” February’s book selection, beautiful, willful, and independent Bathsheba Everdene attracts the passionate attentions of three very different suitors in a 19th century English village. Like her biblical namesake, the choices she unwittingly makes cause catastrophe for the men who love her and particular heartbreak for Gabriel Oak, a man of stalwart courage and integrity.  Set against a backdrop of the lush English countryside and the rhythms of rural life, this is an absorbing, beautifully descriptive, character-driven masterpiece.

greatFor March 26th, we’ll read Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” the story of orphaned Pip, his desperate early years, his struggles to overcome his past, and his dreams of becoming a gentleman.  Drawing on Dickens’ frequent themes of Victorian wealth and poverty, love and rejection, weakness or strength of character, and the eventual triumph of good over evil, the novel weaves multiple storylines into a tight plot, imagines scenes rich in comedy and pathos, and introduces a succession of unforgettable characters.

We’ll finish up on Thursday, April 30, with “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot.  The most autobiographical of all Eliot’s novels, this is a tale of English rural life, rival families, and sibling relationships.  As a child, Maggie Tulliver is independent and intellectually curious, but her thirst for knowledge and desire for meaningful relationships is eclipsed by family financial calamity and thwarted by her conventional rural community.  As she grows to womanhood, tensions with her family and community increase, and the novel explores the conflicts of love and loyalty and between desire and responsibility.

millPlease join us to discuss the first book in this winter series, Jane Austen’s “Emma,” on Thursday, January 29th, at 7:00 p.m. in the library’s Groesbeck Room.





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

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Eagle Day at Milford Lake

untitledTomorrow,  January 17, 2015, head to Milford Lake State Park for their annual celebration of Eagle Days. View live eagles and see various programs on raptors of Kansas at the Milford Nature Center. Take a guided bus tour and view the Bald Eagles as they soar above Milford Lake or watch them as they sit in the tall cottonwood trees along the lake’s shore. Learn about nesting eagles in Kansas and watch the Live Eagle program. Bus tours for viewing will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the last tour at 3:30 p.m., departing from the Milford Nature Center parking lot. It’s all free! We are lucky to live in an area where these magnificent birds spend the winter and where we can get great views of them soaring above the Flint Hills, so take advantage of this great opportunity to learn more about our national bird! Check Facebook for more information!

eagle days

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MLK Art and Writing Contest Winners Announced


Honorable Mentions

Grade category           Name                                             Teacher/School (if applicable)

9-12                       Ames Burton                                 Riley County Schools

3-5                         Sahana Datta and                        Marlatt and Amanda Arnold Elementary Schools

Ananya Pagadala

K-2                        Justin Orvis                                    Manhattan Catholic Schools

6-8                         Ann Hess                                       Flint Hills Christian School

First Place Awards

K-2                        Ritodeep Roy                                 Lee Elementary

3-5                         Micah Craine                                 Bluemont

6-8                         Kaden Vandorn                             Flint Hills Christian School

Adult                     Paulicia Williams

Best of Show

K-2                        Usha Reddi’s first grade class        Ogden Elementary


Honorable Mentions

3-5                         Hanna Loub                                   Bergman Elementary

6-8                         Abby Cronander                            Manhattan Catholic

9-12                       Amanda Dillon                              Flint Hills Christian School

9-12                       Caleb Linville                                Flint Hills Christian School


First Place Awards

3-5                         Halle Gaul                                     Bergman

6-8                         Blaise Hayden                               Manhattan Catholic Schools

9-12                       Elijah Irving                                   Flint Hills Christian School

Adult                     Randy Jellison

Best of Show

6-8                               Chase Rauch                                  Manhattan Catholic Schools

Posted in: Adult Services, Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, News, Young Adult Dept

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Celebrate National Geographic’s Birthday!

by Mary, Adult Services Librarian

natgeoThe National Geographic Society has been producing fascinating magazines, books, television programs and movies ever since their founding on January 27, 1888. On that day a group of 33 geographers, explorers, cartographers, teachers and other professionals met at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, to discuss organizing “a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”  The first National Geographic magazine was published nine months later in October 1888.  The Society is one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world. What began as a club for an elite group of academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel, has developed into a multi-media outlet that reaches over 600 million people monthly.

Manhattan Public Library patrons will find quite a number of National Geographic’s publications available at our library ranging from books, ebooks,  videos to magazines.  A computer card catalog search for books shows a return of over 670 titles.  They are nearly equally divided between children’s books and adult books. Prereaders are enchanting books for little ones just beginning their journey with books.  A quick glimpse offers beautifully illustrated books on the Titanic, Saving Baby Animals, Race Day, and Dinosaurs to name a few.  Every grade level can find something fun.  Adult books are also hugely varied… Expeditions, Gypsies, Space, Medicinal Herbs, Tales of the Weird, Travel Gems

We have 35 dvd’s that are fascinating looks at a myriad of subjects.  Try the set of programs called, Thirty Years of National Geographic Specials for a great introduction to many of the topics they have covered.

geoWe subscribe to four different magazines published by the Society:  National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Little Kids, National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler.


Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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Thanks for your generosity!

mittens_christmas_winter-512Our holiday decorations have been taken down and we are ready at Manhattan Public library for a new year! We want to thank our patrons and RSVP for their generosity in adding items to our annual Mitten Tree. We were able to deliver over 275 new and handmade items to College Hill Preschool, Riley County Head Start and Ogden Friendship House. These beautiful hats, gloves, mittens and scarves will warm lots of hands, heads and hearts during this cold winter. Thank you!

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Grand Opening Celebration for Children’s Library!

young children holding up a thank you sign

The new Children’s Library is finished, and we’re throwing a party on Saturday, January 17, 2015 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. to celebrate!

The new space is twice the size of the old library, with new features like 1,683 sq. ft. of new storytime space with state-of-the-art A/V equipment, neighborhoods of books, a magnetic gear wall, puzzle-shaped seats, twelve touch-screen computers just for kids, dress up clothes with a magic mirror, a toddler playhouse, and cozy window seats perfect for enjoying a good book.

At the celebration, kids and parents will get a chance to meet and take pictures with Olivia and Curious George. Manhattan Public Library staff, and volunteers from the Junior League and Girl Scouts will help kids make crafts.  Musician Rockin’ Rob will perform at 2:00 p.m. Plus, everyone will get the chance to explore all the features of the brand new library!

Special thanks to fundraising committee chairs Jerry Pettle and Katie Philp, honorary co-chairs Bill and Sharon Snyder, and all the generous people in the Manhattan community who made the new children’s library possible. Your support has provided a beautiful place for children and their families to explore a world of imagination and information, for years to come.

The Manhattan Public library is located at 629 Poyntz Avenue in Manhattan, Kansas. If you would like more information about the celebration, or any other library-related events or services, please call (785) 776-4741,  or email us at

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Adults, For Teens, News

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New Year, New Goals?

new yearIt’s a new year and many of us see this as a time to set new goals for ourselves or our families. Manhattan Public Library can assist you in achieving those goals! Stop by our display case filled with books about fitness, diet and exercise, financial management, organizing your home and work spaces or time management. Start on your way to keep those New Years resolutions with the help of some of our great resources!

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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January is for Skating!

skatingJanuary is National Skating Month. So lace up your skates (or rent a pair!) and head to the GTM Sportswear Family Center Skating Rink in City Park. Admission is $3 per person and skate rental is also $3. For hours of operation and other information, check the Manhattan Parks and Recreation web site. Skating lessons are also available, and the rink is also available to reserve for group use. See you on the ice!!

ice skates

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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