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South Doors Re-Opened!

The library’s main entrance is now open! You can tap your toes on a brand new sidewalk leading into the atrium. Thank you for your patience during construction on the new children’s library.

Construction will continue throughout the summer and fall, and we hope to open the new space by the end of the year. If you’re curious to see what the new children’s library will look like, check the plans and artist sketches on the Children’s Library Expansion Page.

Posted in: Children's Dept, Children's Expansion, News

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Watching Us Grow

Construction workers in 1904 unloading timber to build the Carnegie library

1904 image courtesy of the Riley County Historical Society

The original Carnegie Library, built in 1904 with a $10,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie, still stands at 5th and Poyntz. A largely volunteer labor force erected the structure and fit the limestone blocks in place using hand tools, horses, and wagons. It took only ten months to complete the project, and in December 1904, the first Manhattan library opened its doors with a collection of 1,000 volumes. Can you imagine the scope of the project when horsepower was really horse power?

Today, the library houses a collection of more than 160,000 items. The collection is constantly being refreshed and refined with daily deliveries of new books, DVDs, music CDs, and now a collection of ebooks.  An average of 1,000 people per day visit MPL, and a recent PEW report revealed that two -thirds of Americans are “actively engaged” with their local libraries. Impressive numbers, indeed.

It’s been exciting to watch the big cranes unloading steel girders that will become the new children’s library, to marvel at the skill of the workers, and to see the building’s frame take shape. The new children’s library expansion should be completed by the end of the year, and, in the words of a young patron, “The library is the best!”

The library’s first leader, Mary Cornelia Lee, wrote in 1929, “It is fitting now to remember and honor the early pioneers of Manhattan who lived and labored, planned and thought and dreamed, through the years of the first half century of our civic life, as well as to give credit to the later citizens who voted for the Free Public Library and who have supported it through the first quarter century of its existence.” As we go through this new construction process, it is still fitting to remember the people who make the library possible, and to thank them for creating such a vibrant, welcoming place for the community to share information and ideas.

April 2014 construction workers attaching steel beams to framelarge truck delivering construction materials

Posted in: Children's Dept, Children's Expansion, News

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Extraordinary Bunnies

cover image for Battle BunnyIt’s Easter, and so I’m writing about bunnies. Bunnies are perhaps a little overdone in children’s literature, I’ll admit. They are so cute and cuddly and kind-looking. It seems the perfect match for our cute, cuddly, kind young readers, right? Think Pat the Bunny, or Big and Little Nutbrown Hare in Guess How Much I Love You. Did I mention Goodnight Moon? They are sweet and make you want to snuggle in for your bedtime treat, but sometimes enough is enough. Let’s take a little of Peter Rabbit’s feistiness, mix it with James Howe’s beloved Bunnicula, and now – enter Battle Bunny.
Here’s an oryctolagus cuniculus with a little zing, a little daring, a little ammunition! Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, two quippy authors well-known for their ability to tell hilariously ironic, sarcastic or plain silly tales for children, team up to re-do the saccharine sweet picture book Birthday Bunny by allowing “Alex” to scribble, draw, and rewrite the story to fit Battle Bunny. With a few extra lines drawn here and there, the birthday bunny becomes a lean, mean fighting machine among the evil forest critters. It’s no longer a birthday; it’s “doomsday!” Luckily, Alex himself makes an appearance to save the world from Battle Bunny and celebrate his own special day. You can expect a lot of hoots and hollers and probably jumping on the bed when you read this one at bedtime!
There aren’t as many chapter books featuring bunnies (not as many as mice or dogs, for example), so I guess the older kids graduate out of the super soft, squishy, hopping phase. So I was interested when one of my favorite off-the-beaten-path children’s authors, Polly Horvath, came out with Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire (by Mrs. Bunny, and translated from the Rabbit by Polly Horvath). And truly, these are no ordinary bunnies.

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny decide to move to a new hutch and have no clue of the adventure that awaits, an adventure which is slowed down some by the delightful and humorous dialogue and storylines following the Bunnies and the humans in the book. When, out of the blue, Mrs. Bunny suggests they become detectives, Mr. Bunny is unsure and wonders if they will need detective licenses. “I think fedoras are enough. Anyone who sees a bunny in a fedora will not feel the need to see a license,” replies Mrs. Bunny. “It is very hard to find fedoras with holes cut out for our long and fuzzy ears, Mrs. Bunny. On the other hand, if we go to town we can drive our bright and shiny red Smart car.” Later, Mrs. Bunny explains to a girl how she gets her information:

“Google,” said Mrs. Bunny.
“I didn’t know you could Google marmots,” said Madeline.
“You can Google anything, dear,” said Mrs. Bunny patronizingly. “I just learned how to use the computer this year. Mr. Bunny taught me.”
“And I’m never teaching you anything again,” said Mr. Bunny.
“You got that straight,” said Mrs. Bunny.

If you enjoy this hilarious and really rather in-depth ride into the fascinating world of married bunny detectives, you will be thrilled to know a sequel is already out – Lord and Lady Bunny – Almost Royalty.
But I don’t mean to sell the long-lashed, cottontailed, warm and fuzzy bunnies short. They have their purpose and their time. Try Carol Roth’s Little Bunny’s Sleepless Night for an updated bedtime story, gorgeously illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev, one of my favorites. Or check out a classic like the newly reissued Velveteen Rabbit with illustrations reproduced from the 1922 first edition. Follow it with Goodnight Moon – yes, definitely do that – and put on the lullaby Bunny in the Moon by DidiPop for an excellent night’s rest. Tomorrow may be time for more battling with Battle Bunny!

Posted in: Children's Dept, Mercury Column

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Dueling Saturday

It is time for our monthly Yu-Gi-Oh! dueling this Saturday from 10-12. Anyone in 3rd grade on up to adults is invited to participate. There will not be a formal tournament, but you can duel and trade with other competitors as much as you would like. Please bring your own cards. Snacks will be provided, and one lucky person will win a door prize for a Game Hounds gift card.

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

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Analog Games Day at KSU’s Hale Library

Looking for something to do on Saturday? Come to the Great Room at KSU’s Hale Library on Saturday any time between 11-5 and have fun playing some games. There will be board games, cards, interactive fiction, and even a chess tournament. Bring your favorite board game or play the ones provided. Duel and trade with fellow Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic fans. There will be Warhammer demonstrations going on for anyone interested, as well. Snacks will also be provided. Analog Games Day is for all ages, so come with your whole family.

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

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North Atrium Doors Closed

Starting Monday, March 10th, the north atrium entrance to the library will be closed so that construction crews can work in that area. Please use the southwest entrance by the Tech Center to enter the building. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we appreciate your patience as we grow!

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

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Pick up MLK Art and Writing Contest Entries

All of the MLK Art and Writing Contest entries have now been taken down. If your child is in USD383 school district or Manhattan Catholic Schools, we will return your entries to the schools sometime next week. All other entries can be picked up at the Children’s Desk in the Children’s Room through the end of March.

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

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