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Notable November

by Brian Ingalsbe, Youth Services Library Assistant

October is already behind us, and our lives seem to get more eventful as the holidays draw near. Manhattan Public Library is no exception. Throughout the month of November, the Youth Services Department has a wide variety of programs and parties that will keep you on your toes!

Read with a Dog is one of the most engaging programs MPL has to offer – occurring Sundays, November 8th and 16th. At this event, children can sign up for a fifteen-minute time slot to read to a dog. All dogs are certified therapy dogs; they are eager and waiting to hear your favorite stories! Read with a Dog is a great program because it offers a lot of flexibility for all ages. What if your child doesn’t read? No problem! These dogs thrive on human contact and would love nothing more than to sit and keep your child company. Let’s be honest: is there anything more exciting than corgis in the library?

Fast forward to the week of November 16th. This is when the real excitement begins! Kansas Reads to Preschoolers (KRP) is a statewide event that celebrates a love of all things literacy. Every year, an esteemed board chooses a book, which is featured during this week-long celebration. This year’s winner – Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino – features a young llama, comparing his mother’s attributes to those of his close animal friends.

MPL will be endorsing this book at our regular storytimes throughout the week, by focusing on animal families and llamas. A FREE book will be given to children attending a storytime. The week will culminate with the wonderful Zoofari Tails storytime, a partnership between MPL and the Sunset Zoo, which will feature animal bio facts pertaining to llamas. Can you think of a better way to celebrate early literacy?

If KRP is not enough of a reason to come and visit the library, let me give you another: story quilts – courtesy of the Konza Prairie Quilter’s Guild – will be on display the same week as KRP. The guild’s theme, Cuddle Up in a Good Book, was chosen to commemorate the 2014 children’s expansion. Each quilt will feature children’s works in some capacity – including Dr. Seuss books, Harry Potter, Charlotte’s Web, and The Pokey Little Puppy, as well as some more traditional quilts with fabric and shapes inspired by children’s literature. I have not seen them for myself, but my sources have informed me that these quilts are absolutely stunning. Do not miss this wonderful opportunity.

The week of November 16th keeps its momentum moving forward until the very end of the week. As mentioned above, Zoofari Tails will be hosted Friday, November 20th. That same day, Youth Services staff will host a Holiday Card Crafts party. Children ages three to twelve will have an amazing time creating crafts and cards for the upcoming holiday season. The party is a come-and-go event beginning at noon – meaning you can craft till your heart’s content, or until 4:00, whichever comes first. If you have a teen – grades seven to twelve – we will be hosting a Holiday Pinterest Party on Saturday, November 21st. This party will be full of crafts and creations inspired from the near infinite number of Pinterest boards. Do you have the crafting ability to create a masterpiece? Come and find out!

As the week of November 16th comes to a close, MPL has one more event to keep your child occupied before Thanksgiving. The Youth Services Department will be hosting a kids’ movie marathon on Wednesday, November 25th. A movie for preschoolers will be shown beginning at 10:00, followed by a school-aged-appropriate movie at 2:00. Feel free to bring your own easy-to-clean-up snacks!

MPL is a great resource, and our staff is always ready to help you find your next great read, explore the online world, or answer any question you may have. You can contact the Youth Services Department staff at or (785)776-4741 ext. 125.

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

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The Women Who Made America Stylish


by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

 The Manhattan community is in for a treat when Linda Przybyszewski, Associate Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, visits Manhattan this Thursday and Friday, October 22-23, to talk about her book “The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish.”  She will speak at Manhattan Public Library, at the Kansas State University College of Human Ecology, and in the Meadowlark Hills Community Room.  Her visit is funded by the Chapman Center for Rural Life and sponsored by the Manhattan Public Library, the KSU History Department, the Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design, and the University Archives of Hale Library.

Home Economics as a 20th century academic discipline grew out of the earlier Domestic Science movement.  It applied scientific and economic principles to managing American homes and included research and teaching on nutrition and food safety, family and child development, consumer science, family economics, interior design, clothing and textiles, and more.

The Lost Art of Dress” is the story of a remarkable group of women, pioneers in Home Economics as an academic field, who spearheaded a nationwide movement in the early 20th century toward fashion that was beautiful, economical, and practical.  Nicknamed the Dress Doctors, they included home economists from Kansas State University and they reached out in particular to rural, small-town, and working class women, offering advice on radio shows, at women’s clubs, in magazines, and through 4-H clothing clubs.  Using scientific and artistic principles, they taught American women how to bring stylish fashion into their lives and create affordable clothing for their families.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were times of great change for American women in many arenas of life.  More and more women were being educated at colleges, even heading academic departments.  Lots of working-class and middle-class women were moving into wage work and factory jobs.  There was a movement encouraging young women to exercise for health and wellbeing.  And as women gained the right to vote in various states and then nationally, they were becoming more active in civic and public life.

All of these women needed practical, comfortable, affordable, yet stylish clothing that was easy to keep clean, offered freedom of movement, didn’t compromise safety on the job, and expressed the seriousness of their endeavors.

The social upheaval and economic shortages of the two World Wars and the Great Depression also brought challenges and changes to women’s lives in the 20th century and the Dress Doctors offered practical wisdom and simple principles that enabled ordinary women to weather difficult economic times in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.

Professor Przybyszewski’s book is a well-researched look at the teaching and writings of the Dress Doctors but, happily, it is also witty, entertaining, and delightfully opinionated.  Join us as we welcome her to Manhattan on October 22nd and 23rd and learn about the simple design techniques, artistic principles, practical skills, and enduring wisdom of the Dress Doctors.

Events are free and open to the public:

Thursday, October 22, 7:00 p.m., Manhattan Public Library Auditorium.  Author presentation: “The Wisdom of the Dress Doctors: Dressing for the Modern Age.” Books available for sale and signing at the event.

Friday, October 23, 10:30 a.m., Meadowlark Hills Community Room.  Presentation: “The Wisdom of the Dress Doctors: Dressing for the Modern Age.” Books available for sale and signing at the event.

Friday, October 23, 3:30 p.m., Hoffman Lounge and Room 163, Justin Hall, KSU Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design.  Reception and presentation: “The Role of Home Economics in Fashion Education in the Early 20th Century.”

The Wisdom of the Dress Doctors:

  • Practice the art of dress.  You may be self-conscious because you are far better dressed than the people around you, but maybe you can inspire them.
  • Mark your day by the pleasures of dress. Change in some small way for a dinner out.  Own something comfortable and beautiful to slip on at the end of a hard day’s work.
  • Less is more. So long as you value beauty over novelty, five outfits are all you need for work.  (Or maybe just one!)
  • Dress for the people you love. Yes, the people who love you will forgive those torn gym shorts, but don’t ask them to if you can help it.
  • Balance concealment with revealment.  Flesh exposed all the time has far less effect than flesh revealed on special occasions and for a privileged few.  People who receive privileges should be appropriately grateful.
  • Celebrate girlhood and womanhood, and the difference between them.




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Tech Tuesdays Fall 2015

Tech Tuesdays Connecting Users to Technology at the Library

Starting September 15, Manhattan Public Library will offer a wide range of fun and useful workshops to help beginners explore the world of technology.

Twice a month, from September 15 through December 1, Tech Tuesday workshops will help people learn about a variety of subjects, ranging from Beginning Ancestry to Basic iPad skills. Registration is required for these free, two-hour workshops to guarantee small class sizes and plenty of time for questions.  Register online using the library’s website, call (785) 776-4741 ext.141 or visit the public library at 629 Poyntz Avenue.

The fall season of Tech Tuesdays starts with a Library Catalog class on September 15 at 2:00 p.m.  Participants will learn pro tips for using all the extras available through the catalog including how to make book lists, how to keep a history of what you check out, and how to use expert searching strategies.

Also on September 15, the library will offer a Basic Microsoft Word class at 7:00 p.m.  Learn how to set up, save, print, and edit a Word document in the library’s technology center classroom.

The next course, Learn on Demand, will be held October 6 at 2:00 p.m. and October 20 at 7:00 p.m.  This workshop offers a guided tour of the service, which is available free to all Manhattan Public Library cardholders.  Participants will learn to access thousands of expert-led video courses on topics ranging from music production to Photoshop.  During this class, you will take a short course together and explore the functions of the site.

Back by popular demand, the Riley County Genealogy Society will teach a course on Basic Ancestry October 20 at 2:00 p.m.  Attendees will learn how to find their ancestors using, also available for free at the library.

On November 3 at 2:00, learn Basic iPad skills with technology experts.  The course will offer instruction on changing basic settings, working with apps, and effective navigation of the device.  Please bring your iPad along with your Apple ID and password so you can access your device’s settings.

Beginning Genealogy will be offered November 17 at 2:00 p.m.  Experts from the Riley County Genealogy Society will return for a more in-depth look at research tools including  Please bring a four generation record if available so you can begin your search.

The final class of the fall season, What is Social Media, will be held December 1 at 2:00 p.m.  This workshop will answer the big questions such as, why do people use social media and how can it be useful for me?  Specific platforms covered will include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Tech Tuesdays are an ongoing series of workshops at the Manhattan Public Library designed to provide the community with introductory technology instruction on a range of topics. These events are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit the Manhattan Public Library at 629 Poyntz Avenue, call (785) 776-4741 or visit the Events Calendar on library’s website at Find the library on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, too.

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New York Times

New York Times available online

Manhattan Public Library cardholders in Kansas can now read the complete eEdition of the New York Times from inside the library or from anywhere Internet is available.
To get started, visit the library’s Research page at

In the library

  1. Click the New York Times “Available on library computers” icon on the Research page
  2. Register with the Times using your email address or your facebook account

Note: The NYT will send you periodic email notifications but will not share your email address with outside vendors.

Outside the library

  1. Click the New York Times “Remote Access” link on the Research page
  2. Enter all 14 digits of your library card number and your password
  3. A window will open with details about how to redeem your complimentary access to the New York Times
  4. Copy the access code
  5. Click the link
  6. When the new window opens, paste the access code into the empty field
  7. Click Redeem

Note: If you don’t already have a library account with the New York Times, you will need to create one using your email address or facebook account in order to redeem the access code.

The code will give you 72 hours of unlimited access to all the articles on the New York Times website.

When the 72 hour period is over, you can re-enter the code by following the steps above to get another 72 hours of access.

You can renew the 72 hour access as many times as you like.


Please contact library staff using the chat/text service, by emailing, or by calling (785) 776-4741 ext.141.

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Dissecting the Catalog Record

by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

The Manhattan Public Library’s catalog is much more than a list of the books, DVDs, CDs, and other types of materials in the library’s collection. If we dissect a catalog record, we find a treasure trove of information about books and authors to enhance the searching experience.

Let’s search for Harper Lee’s new novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” for example. The first screen, the results of your catalog search, gives you what’s called a brief record. In addition to the title and author, this includes the call number, copies available, cover image, and buttons on the right for the full display, and to place a request or hold on an item that is checked out. You might be tempted to stop there, but don’t.

By clicking the Full Display button, or on the title, you’ll discovery much more. The full record includes a brief summary of the title, a list of subject headings assigned to the title, and genres. The author, subjects, and genres are hot links. Click on them for additional titles by the author, or of the same subject or genre. You might even be tempted to stop there, but again, don’t.

Scroll down the page for a link to expert fiction and nonfiction recommendations for books and audiobooks provide by NoveList. Click on the NoveList bar for reviews of “Go Set a Watchman,” author and title read-alikes, and an extensive list of the book’s appeal terms. Appeal terms address the question of why readers enjoy a particular book, and include genre, tone, location of the story, writing style, and subject. You can get to NoveList from your catalog search, or by selecting it from the Research page of the library’s website. Avid readers use NoveList to browse by genre (mysteries, romance, and science fiction among others), appeal terms, and award winners.

Continue to scroll down for suggestions of other titles in a series, similar series by other authors, similar titles, and a list of authors you might also find appealing. Keep scrolling for recommended lists and articles from NoveList, followed by reader reviews and ratings provided by Goodreads.

Goodreads is the largest social network for readers. Its members rate and review books, offering personal opinions to help other readers determine if they would enjoy a title. In our example, “Go Set a Watchman,” Goodreads includes over 8,500 reviews by readers just like you. Not bad for a book that was only published July 15. You can browse other readers’ reviews, or add your own. Click the write a review button, and sign up for Goodreads with your email address. If you’re already a member, click the sign in button on the right.

Don’t stop yet. Scroll on for professional reviews from trade journals including “Library Journal,” “School Library Journal,” “Publishers Weekly,” and “Booklist.”

Once you’ve found a great title to read (or view, or listen to), don’t stop yet. There is so much more you can do in the library’s catalog. Do you need to change your address, phone number, or email address? You can do so by logging into your account with your library card number and password. You can see a list of the items checked out to you, and their due dates. You can renew items. You can place items on hold. You can request to borrow an item through interlibrary loan, or make a purchase request for items you don’t find in the catalog. You can request a personalized reading list prepared by one of our expert librarians.  You can create a list of titles you might want to read later, or save a search you made in the catalog, that will remain a part of your account after you log out. In addition the catalog features lists of newly arrived books on CD, music CDs, books, and videos. You can even see what items the library has on order.

Your library catalog takes the guess work out of choosing something good to read, view, or listen to. Remember that if you need assistance, library staff is another excellent resource for ideas on what to check out.

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Adventures in Technology

Betty is a library patron who is legally blind and has some hearing loss. She loves to read, has an active social life, walks in the park as often as she can, and she loves her new iPhone and iPad. You may be wondering how all of this is possible for someone with hearing and vision limitations. Thankfully, Betty has a brave spirit, and she also has an advocate in the Manhattan Public Library’s Assistive Technology Center.

Wandean Rivers has been working at the library for 14 years. She specializes in training people to use adaptive equipment such as talking books, screen readers, and iPads, but she also helps connect people with resources.

When Wandean identifies a grant opportunity, she will help qualified patrons fill out the online application. She also provides much-needed moral support. She tells her clients “All they can say is no. We’re going to keep knocking on the door until they flat-out refuse us.”

Betty has applied for grants and subsidies to help purchase adaptive equipment. She was refused, applied again, and now she is the proud owner of her very first cell phone, an iPad, and a CCTV that is also a screen reader.  Betty is no longer at the mercy of strangers to make calls for her when a ride is late. When mail arrives, the CCTV will read it to her. She can even download new books that will be read aloud by an app on her iPhone and iPad.

“She was a little timid at first. Now, she just says ‘well, let me check my phone.’ It’s the difference between having to ask someone to do it for you and being able to do it for yourself. It means independence.” says Rivers.

People are often intimidated by technology.  We’re afraid to push the wrong buttons or break things. With her easy laugh and positive spirit, Wandean has helped people learn to use Word, check their email, try out screen readers, and now she has taken primary responsibility for one-on-one technology training for anyone at the library who needs help.

If you would like help with the basics of computer use, make an appointment with Wandean by calling (785) 776-4741 ext. 202.  She will help you accomplish specific goals and let you know if you might benefit from adaptive technology.

The library offers many ways for people to learn new technology.  For people who are a little more familiar with basic computer functions, Tech Tuesday classes start in mid-September.  Librarians will provide training on a specific topic for beginning and intermediate users. You’ll learn as a group and have plenty of opportunities to ask questions. This season’s schedule includes topics such as: Microsoft Word, Basic iPad, and What is Social Media? For a complete schedule or to sign up for a Tech Tuesday class, visit the library’s online events calendar at, call Janet at (785) 776-4741 ext.141, or visit the library.

Online resources through the library’s website offer the next level of training.  If you’re comfortable with basic functions but want to get more adept at using a computer, try Learning Express on the Research page of the library’s website. The Computer Skills courses can help you learn how to use Windows and Mac operating systems, practice with popular software applications such as Excel, Word, and Outlook, or learn the basics of navigating the Internet. Visit the library’s Reference Desk on the second floor for help signing up.

If you’re a professional interested in learning new software, is the perfect program for you. Through the link on the library’s website, you can access all of the online training courses and practice files available through with your library card and password. Develop advanced skills to master common office programs, learn web design, AutoCAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, video game design, video editing, and much more.

Betty was brave enough to try something new and her life has been improved. If you’re intimidated by technology, or are simply interested in learning something new, the library is the best place to visit. You will be surprised how easy it can be to explore the world of technology and librarians are more than happy to help you on your journey.

Posted in: For Adults, library services, Mercury Column

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Electronic Devices and Resources for Kids

By Jennifer Bergen, Youth Services Manager

Tired of your child making off with your iPad, tablet or phone?  Soon the library will have kids’ tablets available for check out, preloaded with fun and engaging learning apps for children as young as 3 years old. Playaway has come out with a new product called the Launchpad, a tablet created for libraries to circulate. While many tablets or devices for kids work fine at home, Launchpad touts durability and security as top qualities that make it possible for libraries to lend them out.

The library will eventually have 30 Launchpads available for check out this fall, each with a different theme and various apps for a target age group of 3-5 years, 5-7 years or 8-10 year olds.  The state library has also acquired some Launchpads for a “floating collection” throughout the state, which will be available through interlibrary loan to all libraries in Kansas.

“Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom” is the theme for a Launchpad that will be available at Manhattan Public Library. It includes apps for ages 3-5 for learning letters and numbers, exploring colors and solving puzzles with games featuring cars, trucks and other vehicles. The “Little Picasso” tablet for ages 5-7 encourages imagination and creativity with artistic games and stories.  For older kids, “Math Planet” will challenge their math skills as they explore the galaxy.

Science, reading, cooking, problem-solving and many other areas are covered in apps on different tablets, making each one unique and fun. You can place a request on a specific title if it is checked out.  Take one home for a week and see what the kids can do!

Library account holders also have access to two excellent online learning and literacy databases for kids: BookFlix and TumbleBooks.  Both resources are available through the library’s webpage with a valid library card number and password.

BookFlix is Scholastic’s read-along database with the wonderful Weston Woods video adaptations of popular children’s books.  You can choose “read-along” mode so the words will show up along with the video, highlighting each word as it is read.  They stay completely true to the storybooks, just enhancing the illustrations to create movement, and often well-known actors are the narrators.  “All the World” is favorite picture book of mine, and Scanlon’s poetic text is heightened with narration by Joanne Woodward and the perfect background music touches.  My kids’ favorite is Kate & Jim McMullan’s “I’m Dirty,” the muddy story of a busy backhoe, narrated by Steve Buscemi. Each of their high-quality videos is paired with a nonfiction book that relates to the topic. Kids can try out links to simple games related to story comprehension, a Meet the Author link, and more web pages that are approved by Scholastic.

TumbleBooks is similar to BookFlix and has been around for a while, with many of the local schools using it to enhance language arts and reading skill building.  It also has created videos by animating picture books but still retaining the book-like quality of the stories. You can let the story play in read aloud mode, or adjust the pacing to “manual” so your child can choose when to “turn the pages,” or even mute the narration so your child can read the story on his or her own.  Lots of popular titles are available including “Scaredy Squirrel,” “Mercy Watson” and all of Robert Munsch’s humorous stories narrated by the author. Longer chapter books are available for more advanced readers, including some classics such as “The Wind in the Willows.”  The interactive features make these literacy databases enjoyable for parents and children to view and play together.

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

Leave a Comment (0) → Makes Your Brain Happy!

road sign with learning in all directions

While summer is often known as a time to take a break from learning, we’re here to convince you otherwise! Learning a new skill or hobby can be truly gratifying. Learning helps advance your mind and increase your happiness. And there’s no better place to learn new things than the library—especially when you are able to access amazing tutorials from free with your library card!

What is

It’s an online learning site that allows you to go at your own pace. You can choose to watch short videos on a variety of subjects, made by expert teachers. You can take the course at a pace that works best for you, and easily pick up right where you left off.

Find courses such as, Asking for a Raise, Humor in the Workplace, Cybersecurity with Cloud Computing, Video Editing, and thousands upon thousands more. There are courses for all skill levels, from beginner to professional.

Here are a few amazing benefits to using

  • Learn anywhere, anytime: courses can be accessed at all hours of the day, on any computer, phone or tablet. They allow you to switch back and forth between devices, so you don’t ever lose your place. ,
  • Learn a new hobby or improve job skills: With a wide range of classes including Business Skills, Computer Software, and Photography, you can explore new hobbies or advance your workplace skills to improve your current position.
  • New Courses added weekly: According to their website, adds new courses every week to keep your skills up to date with the fast-changing pace of technology.
  • Certificates of completion: When you finish a course you can get a certificate to show what you’ve accomplished!

To access through the library’s website, you will need your library card and your PIN/password. Find more information online, or call the library (785) 776-4741 ext.141 if you have questions.

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Summer of Heroes

Jessica Long, Children’s Library Assistant

Summer reading begins May 30 for all ages!

Every hero has a story, and you can discover them all at the library this summer. Super heroes will take over the library during summer reading with books, prizes, and programs for everyone from babies to adults.

Everyone is invited to kick off the summer on May 30th from 10:00-12:00 with activities for all ages. Magician Ken Garwick will perform in the auditorium at 11:00. Kids can try out their super hero moves in an obstacle course in the storytime room and conceal their identity by making masks in the arts and crafts neighborhood. Teens and adults can play a variety of board and card games in the Groesbeck Room. Come dressed as your favorite superhero and join our selfie photo contest that morning!

While you’re here for the kick off, be sure to sign up the whole family for summer reading. Keep track of the time you spend reading and listening to audio books to earn prizes like gift certificates to local businesses, free books and more.

Weekly storytimes and clubs for children, birth through sixth grade, will begin on June 1 and run through July 18.

The Power of Cute book cover

Baby Rhyme Time is designed for infants and young toddlers who will learn about their very own super power – being cute. In The Power of Cute by Charise Harper, they will discover a young protagonist who conquers a monster by making it undeniably adorable.

Move and Groove Toddler Storytime is geared toward older toddlers who want to get up and go. They’ll let their imaginations run wild with He Saves the Day by Marsha Hayles. This little boy can tackle anything – from daring flights to jungle adventures to fighting dragons – with a little help from mom.

Preschoolers can come to Move and Groove Preschool Storytime to hear about the adventures of an action figure who finds villains in his very own home. In Traction Man by Mini Grey, Traction Man and his owner make quite the team as they tackle mysteries like the Lost Wreck of the Sieve and the Mysterious Toes that steal the scrubbing brush.

Today I Will Fly book cover

Kindergarteners and first graders can join the Agents of Adventure Club. They will read a story and a non-fiction book each week, and then follow up with a craft. For the first week, agents will be studying a favorite super hero power – flight. In Today I Will Fly by Mo Willem, Piggie is determined to fly, but his elephant friend, Gerald, is skeptical. Kids will also learn the story of a real life hero in I Am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer.

Second and third graders will become Guardians of the Library this summer. For their club, origin stories of super heroes will be paired with biographies related to that hero’s secret identity. After hearing the story of Ironman, kids will learn about Nikola Tesla in Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World by Elizabeth Rusch.

Boys of Steel book cover

Fourth to sixth graders can join the Bionic Bevy of Bibliophiles. They will explore the history of comics with Boys of Steel: the Creators of Superman by Marc Nobleman. They will also recycle old comics into new wallets to take home.

In addition to the weekly programs, we will host special events throughout the summer. Check our webpage at for dates and times.


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The History of Baseball

by Keri Mills, Young Adult Librarian

With spring just around the corner, that means it is once again time for baseball, the all American pastime. To get yourself ready, or just to impress your friends with your vast knowledge, why not read up on the history of the sport?

If you want to brush up on your knowledge of the Negro Leagues, we have several books on the subject. Here are just a few to get you started.

monarchs“The Kansas City Monarchs: Champions of Black Baseball” by Janet Bruce:   This book traces the story of the Kansas City Monarchs from their beginning as a charter member of the Negro National League in 1920 until their demise in the mid 1950’s due largely to the integration of the sport. The Monarchs were a powerhouse in their league and employed some of the great stars of that era, such as Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson. Did you know that the Monarchs were the first team to regularly play night baseball? They brought a portable lighting system with them which they quickly assembled at each new location when they travelled on the road. Bruce fills the book with many other interesting anecdotes as well as over 90 photographs of various players or scenes.

“Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams” by Robert Peterson:   Originally published in 1970, this is a classic book that thoroughly covers Negro league baseball from start to finish. There is detailed history about the league and some of its greatest players. There are also biographical sketches of many great players who never had the chance to play in the major leagues. Peterson manages to capture the heart and soul of Negro league baseball, while underscoring the tragedy of the lost opportunities of Negro league players because of segregation.

jackie“Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy” by Jules Tygiel:   No baseball history would be complete without the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in the major leagues. Tygiel, through interviews with players, newspaper accounts, and personal papers, recounts how Jackie Robinson influenced not only baseball, but American society as well.




For a general look at baseball history, the library has many books to offer. Here are a few of my picks:

boys“The Boys of Summer” by Roger Kahn:   Many are of the opinion that this is the best baseball book ever written, or at least somewhere on the list.  Kahn describes his youth  growing up in the 30’s and 40’s near Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, as well as his time as a beat writer covering the Dodgers in the early 50’s. In a very poignant section, Kahn then recounts what happened to these great players long after their baseball days were over. Even non-baseball fans should appreciate this book.

“Mudville Madness: Fabulous Feats, Belligerent Behavior, and Erratic Episodes on the Diamond” by Jonathan Weeks:   For a lighthearted look at baseball, give this one a try. Weeks takes you chronologically from baseball’s earliest days up to the present day, recounting the strange, bizarre, and little-known events that happen on the field of play. For instance, in 1957, while a woman was being carted from the game on a stretcher after being hit in the face by Richie Ashburn’s foul ball, she was hit in the leg by another Ashburn foul ball during the same at bat.

baseballwomen“Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball” by Barbara Gregorich:   The story of women in baseball is a fascinating one. I had no idea that there were a number of barnstorming “bloomer teams” that travelled across the U.S. playing against men’s teams. Or, that during the 1930’s in an exhibition game, one woman, Jackie Mitchell, struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Gregorich’s book is an entertaining account of this little known piece of baseball history.

These are only a fraction of the baseball books that MPL has to offer, so be sure to stop in and see what we have. Also, don’t forget to come hear Phil Dixon speak at the library on March 29 at 2:00 p.m. Mr. Dixon is an African America sports historian, author of nine baseball books, and co-founder of the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City. Mr. Dixon will be discussing the history of the Kansas City Monarchs, games the Monarchs played in Manhattan, and the history of African American baseball players from this community.




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