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Library Secrets

By Danielle Schapaugh

Psst…I have a secret to tell you. There are free services at the library that you don’t even suspect!

scannerFor starters, Manhattan Public Library has a high-quality digital flatbed scanner. Users can scan documents, photos, articles, or even maps in color at high resolution, and save the images to a flash drive or send them directly to an email account. All for free.

If you’re in need of a high speed Internet connection, the library’s got you covered. Cardholders can access free 30Mbps WiFi in the building and at three WiFi hotspots around town: the Douglass Community Center at 901 Yuma, City Park Playground, and the Wefald Pavilion in City Park. The library received a grant in 2013 to test TV Whitespace as a way to provide free Internet access and it has been very successful. Log in to using your library card number and password. If you forget your password, visit the library to have it reset.

For those of us who feel outpaced by new technology, the library offers technology classes twice a month. In addition, Wandean Rivers in the Assistive Technology Center is available for one-on-one technology tutoring by appointment. Call Wandean at 776-4741 ext. 202 to schedule a session. Desk staff can also help with basic questions and assist you in finding the resources to learn more. These services, like all the services at the library, are free to cardholders.

Lynda_homepage_icon2If you prefer to explore on your own, the library offers several options for self-education. The most exciting new service is called lynda.com. With topics ranging from Improving Your Memory to 3D Video Game Design, lynda.com provides training to interest any user at any level. I’ve used the service to improve my professional skills in office programs and graphic design. I can’t say enough about lynda.com; I want to shout about it from the rooftops! Try any of the thousands of video tutorials and you will be amazed. Lynda.com is available completely free for all library card holders through the library’s website.

Perhaps you are someone who is “all about the books.” If you just want something good to read, ask a librarian. We have resources to recommend books based on your tastes, authors you like, genres you enjoy, bestsellers, and more. If you want a complete and customized list of recommendations, take a minute to fill out a personalized reading list request.  A librarian will comb the collection and give you a long list of books you’re sure to love. Why waste time reading mediocre books when there are so many great books to enjoy?

There are resources galore for children and families, but you may not have noticed the storytime kits and discovery packs. Librarians package books, games, toys, and even costumes in a backpack for a complete learning and entertainment experience. Find topics like New Siblings, Fire and Rescue, Potty Training (complete with Potty Elmo doll), World Records, and Dinosaurs. Discovery packs are perfect for grandparents with visiting grandkids!

Another resource you may not have noticed is simply space. The library has three meeting rooms and one computer classroom that are available to the public. Community and civic groups can reserve space to hold meetings, conduct classes, and even teleconference in the library’s meeting rooms for free. No groups can charge admission or conduct sales at the library, and some other restrictions may apply. For more information please call or visit the Manhattan Public Library.

I could go on and on, and then some. You can find language learning programs, resources to help teach your child to read, fun events, Consumer Reports, Ancestry.com, and more. If you would like a group tour of library services, please call us at (785) 776-4741 ext.120. We would love to show you all the wonderful resources available at your local library.

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

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It’s a winter wonderland out there! Or is it?

by Amber Keck, Children’s Librarian

picture of young girl reading

Winter is definitely still upon us, and parents and caregivers may be scrambling to find indoor activities for their toddlers, preschoolers, and older children.  Thankfully, Manhattan is a great community which offers a lot opportunities to stay indoors and still have tons of fun.

Flint Hills Discovery Center (FDHC) currently has a Kansas exhibit where students and their families can learn interesting facts about our great state.  On the third floor of the FDHC, you’ll also find an excellent play and exploration area for younger children, including a fort, bouncy area, and lots of fun toys.  Admission is $9 for adults and $4 for children ages 2-17. Opt for a yearly pass at a cost of $22.50 per adult, and $10 per child.

The Riley County Family and Child Resource Center offers several playgroups throughout the week for younger children ages 0-5 years.  Staffed by Parents as Teachers, these playgroups give parents and children the opportunity to socialize, engage in imaginative play, and learn the basics of parenting from early childhood educators.  The playgroup schedule caters to specific age groups each time the playroom is open.  View the complete schedule here.  All playgroups are free of charge and do not require pre-registration.

Manhattan Public Library has so much to offer families who are looking for free activities in the wintertime!  Storytimes are currently in session, with ten weekly programs for children from birth to early elementary.  These sessions are free and do not require pre-registration.

The newly expanded children’s library has many activities available all the time, including a puppet theatre, reading corner, arts and crafts table, and science toys.  The children’s library staff is more than happy to assist you in finding more activities in the community to do with your children.

Manhattan is a wonderful community comprised of many families with children.  Though the winter months are sometimes difficult to get through, especially with small children, there are many opportunities throughout the city to enjoy playtime indoors.

If you know of any fun winter activities for kids that aren’t mentioned here, tweet them to us @ManhattanPL.

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Read a Tale, Tell a Tale

By Jennifer Bergen, Children’s Services Manager

February 26 is National Tell a Fairy-Tale Day.  I know you already know them, but in case you need some inspiration for your Thursday bedtime story, come visit our Fairy Tale and Folklore Neighborhood in the Children’s room. Look for the banner with the impressive Neuschwanstein Castle pictured atop its woodsy Bavarian hillside. In this section, we have pulled together our fantastic collection of anthologies and picture books so you can find plenty of options, including classic tales, tall tales, new tales, whimsical or “fractured” fairy tales, and stories from around the world.

A few recent additions to this neighborhood include:

chickenBrave Chicken Little retold and illustrated by Robert Byrd. Chicken Little is sure the sky is falling, and he gathers an even larger than usual crowd of animals in his wake when he runs into that sly Foxy Loxy.  This time, Loxy has a wife and seven little kits “who frazzle my wits,” and they are all hungry. Down to the cellar the other animals go, waiting for the stew water to boil. Can little Chicken Little save the day?  Byrd turns the tables on this tale and gives kids an unlikely champion for problem-solving and resourcefulness.

My Grandfather’s Coat retold by Jim Aylesworth. Children love the old Yiddish tale “I Had a Little Overcoat,” with the continual surprises of what the old man will make out of his clothing next.  This retelling has just the right amount of repetition for young listeners to get into the rhythm and start chiming in: “He wore it, and he wore it. And little bit by little bit, he frayed it, and he tore it, until at last…he wore it out!”  Barbara McClintock’s illustrations of family life add a personable tone, showing how the overcoat lasts for generations until “there was nothing left at all. Nothing, that is, except for this story.”

Twelve Dancing Unicorns by Alissa Heyman. In this magical fantasy, a king has 12 unicorns chained to trees in a pen. Only a little girl with a special cloak can discover the mysterious secrets of the mythical creatures and try to save them. This story is sure to satisfy young unicorn lovers with beautiful illustrations by Justin Gerard.

blueThe longstanding favorite anthologies by Andrew Lang are being reissued with the original illustrations, and you can find The Blue Fairy Book, The Yellow Fairy Book and The Green Fairy Book in the library’s collection, each with dozens of tales from around the world including both well-known stories and rare little gems. Lang’s prefaces are worth reading aloud, during which he generally acknowledges the superiority of the child’s mind over the dull thinking of grown-ups.

Two Robert Sabuda pop-up books are also displayed in the Fairy Tales & Folklore Neighborhood: Dragons & Knights and Beauty & the Beast. They are not available for check-out due to their delicate inner workings, but kids and adults love to pore through them while sitting on the fanciful purple bench.  So come read some books, play dress-up with your child, gaze into the “magic” mirror and be inspired to tell a thrilling tale with your own new endings on Fairy-Tale Day.

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

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Spring Book Sale at the Library

little boy reading a book in the romance section

The Manhattan Library Association’s annual book sale will be held Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1. 

Visit the library at 629 Poyntz Avenue to find incredible prices on books, CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks that have been donated throughout the year or removed from the library’s collection. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the Manhattan Public Library.

The annual book sale has the best bargains in town with hardcover books for $1.50, paperbacks for 75 cents, DVDs and CDs for $2, audiobooks for $4, and children’s books for 75 cents. All of the money raised will be used to fund library programs such as guest speakers, children’s puppet shows, and summer reading programs.

The first night of the sale is open to Manhattan Library Association Members only from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 27. Memberships are available at the door starting at $10. Join the Association to get first choice of materials.

Stop by the sale on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can also find extra fuel for your shopping at the Teen Library Advisory Board’s Annual Bake Sale from 10:00 – 2:00 p.m.

On Sunday, March 1, the sale will be open from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. with special deals on the remaining materials.

This is truly a community event, staffed by wonderful volunteers like Bob Newhouse, Roger Brannan, Wilma Schmeller, and Carol Oakrup who devote countless hours of work organizing the sale.

For more information, visit the library at 629 Poyntz Avenue or call us at (785) 776-4741.

Posted in: For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, News

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National Geographic Society Resources – Food for the Mind

by Mary Newkirk, Adult Services Librarian

natgeoOn January 27, 1888 a group of thirty-three 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.”  We know that group now as the National Geographic Society, 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 wealth of resources that reach over 600 million people monthly.

Manhattan Public Library patrons will find quite a number of National Geographic resources available at the library, ranging from books, ebooks, and videos to the iconic magazines.  A computer card catalog search for books shows a return of over 670 titles.  These are  divided between children’s books and adult books. Look for age-appropriate labeled books for children such as Prereaders – enchanting books for little ones just beginning their journey with books.  A quick glimpse shows beautifully illustrated books on the “Titanic”, “Saving Animal Babies”, “Race Day”, and “Dinosaurs” to name a few.  Every grade level can find something fun.

medicinalAdult books are also hugely varied… “Expeditions Atlas”, “Gypsies”, “Encyclopedia of Space”, “Medicinal Herbs”, “Tales of the Weird”, “Travel Gems”.  The incredible photographs are the real draw for perusing these books. In 1897, Alexander Graham Bell was elected president of the Society. He insisted on “pictures, and plenty of them….Leave science to others and give us a detail of living interest beautifully illustrated by photographs.” This was the beginning of their use of photography to show the common man the wonders of the world.

 

 

dawnAs I researched the books that our library offers to our patrons, I was surprised to find that a local Kansan is a prominent freelance photographer for National Geographic.  I was flipping through one of our newer books, “Dawn to Dark Photographs: The Magic of Light” and came upon a beautiful photo of fireflies taken in the Flint Hills by Jim Richardson. If you have ever dreamed of seeing your photos published, check out the FAQ’s on his website, www.jimrichardsonphotography.com.  He is very forthcoming about how to pursue your dream.

Most of us love to be entertained by great videos. Our library has 35 dvds 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 the Society has covered. Climb Everest with the first Americans to conquer it, plunge into the incredible underwater world of explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and see animals of every kind in their natural habitats.  This is nature footage without editing, so your children may find it a bit raw as animals display their violence by fighting for their spot in the food chain.

 

warI have a profound appreciation for those who served in the Vietnam War after participating in this past Veteran’s Day Forum with the Flint Hills Veteran’s Coalition members. The National Geographic Society has produced “Brothers In War,” a video released last May about Charlie Company.  Reviewers on Amazon.com have praised this as the most authentic depiction of the hardships faced by young draftees in the Mekong Delta.  It is based on the book “The Boys of ‘67” by Andrew Wiest, which examines the experiences of a company from the only division in the Vietnam era to train and deploy together in similar fashion to WWII’s famous 101st Airborne Division. Of the 160 men, only 30 were not killed or injured by the time they came home in December 1967.  Wiest interviewed more than 50 officers and enlisted men of Charlie Company and had access to personal papers, collections of letters, a diary, an abundance of newspaper clippings, training notebooks, field manuals, condolence letters, and photographs from before, during, and after the conflict.

Additional titles of popular videos are: “In the Womb”, “Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West”, “Alien Deep”, “Titanic Revealed”, “Life in a Day”, and “Fundamentals of Photography.”

We subscribe to four different magazines published by the Society:  National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Little Kids, National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler.  I especially enjoy the latter for its peek into the best travel destinations, both domestic and international. These are available to be checked out for a week and enjoyed at home.

The library will be closed Monday, February 16, President’s Day, for an all-employee staff training.

 

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It’s Academy Awards time!

by Judi, Adult Services Librarian

There are lots of awards shows for actors and films at this time of year, but the most sought-after award continues to be the Academy Awards, which will be televised this year on February 22. Many of us try to see as many of the Oscar-nominated films as possible. Manhattan Public Library can make it easier for you to choose your favorite film of the year as we have some of the Best Film nominees already in our collection! Most are very popular titles and are frequently checked out, but you can get on the hold list for the films with your library card. Some of the films, such as American Sniper, Selma, The Imitation Game, Whiplash and Birdman are still in the movie theaters and are not yet available on DVD or Blu-Ray.

The films now in our collection that have been nominated for this year’s Best Picture are:

  • boyhoodBoyhood: A story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a boy named Mason, who ages from six to eighteen years old on screen. The film was shot intermittently over a twelve-year period from May 2002 to October 2013, showing the growth of Mason and his older sister, Samantha, to adulthood.

 

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel: The adventures of Gustave H., a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune.

 

  • The Theory of Everything: (released on DVD 2/17/15) Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones this is the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of–time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed.

 

12Of course, Manhattan Public Library’s DVD and Blu-Ray collection has Academy Award-winning pictures from previous years, including The Sting (1973), West Side Story(1961), Out of Africa(1985), The King’s Speech (2010), 12 Years a Slave (2014) and many others.

The library also has many of the films in which outstanding Best Actor and Best Actress performances were given, including Dustin Hoffman for Rain Man, Tom Hanks for Forrest Gump, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Meryl Streep for Iron Lady, Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln and Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side. Stop in for a list of the Best Picture winners or to check out some of the outstanding Oscar-winning performances from past years!

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday, Charlie D.

by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

Charles Dickens, English authorYesterday marked the 203rd birthday of Charles Dickens. Born in Portsmouth, England on February 7, 1812, Dickens is considered by many to be one of the greatest authors in the English language. In addition to writing some of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century, Dickens also penned countless short stories, nonfiction pieces, and plays. Dickens also attracted large crowds to his public readings of memorable scenes from his works.

During his life, Dickens enjoyed unprecedented popularity. His novels were published first in monthly or weekly installments, and later printed in volumes. Some of his novels sold several hundred thousand copies in book form during his lifetime (Dickens died in 1870).  His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular today. “A Tale of Two Cities,” for example, has sold over 200 million copies to date.

Dickens’ father, John Dickens, was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. He was constantly in debt and ultimately landed himself in debtor’s prison. To help support his family, by supporting himself, Dickens was put to work in a boot blacking factory at age 12. Though he only experienced the evils of child labor for a few months, the experience colored Dickens’ attitudes for the rest of his life. This led him to champion children and the poor, and to castigate the injustices of the education and justice systems, and the wealthy.

The library owns copies of many of Dickens’ works. Some may be familiar to you, such as “Oliver Twist,” the story of a workhouse orphan and his adventures with a gang of juvenile pickpockets. “A Tale of Two Cities,” is another familtaleiar title, set against the French Revolution and the cities of London and Paris. The novel boasts one of the most famous opening lines in literature with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….” “David Copperfield,” is one of Dickens’ most well-known novels. This thinly veiled autobiographical novel follows the fortunes of its hero as he grapples with a hateful stepfather and an unscrupulous clerk (the infamous and unforgettable Uriah Heep) as he tries to make his way in the world.

Dickens wrote a total of 15 novels. His last, the unfinished “Mystery of Edwin Drood,” is the story of title’s namesake, his fiancée Rosa Bud, and the hot-tempered Neville Landless. Landless, also in love with Rosa Budd, is no friend of Edwin Drood who disappears under mysterious circumstances. Since Dickens had written and published only six of the twelve installments of the novel at the time of his death, the world will never know what happened to Edwin Drood.

Memorable characters abound in all Dickens’ work. We easily recognize Pip, Estella, and Miss Havisham in “Great Expectations;” Little Nell in “The Old Curiosity Shop;” and of course Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol.”

Dickens has been a popular subject of biographers since his friend, John Forster, completed the first biography in 1874. More recently, Peter Ackroyd wrote a comprehensive biography entitled “Dickens,” and Claire Tomalin wrote “Charles Dickens: A Life.” Dickens was a biographer of the city of London and wrote of it as no one has since. If you are interested in daily life in Dickens’ time, read “The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London,” by Judith Flanders. Or, try “What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist – The Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England,” by Daniel Poole.

Hundredcharless of film and television adaptations have been made of Dickens’ works, including nearly fifty of “A Christmas Carol.” All the novels and many of the shorter works of Charles Dickens are available as free eBooks from websites including Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks.net. The collection of titles in Project Gutenberg is also searchable through the library’s Sunflower eLibrary.

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Why I Love My Library

by Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Manager

February is Love Your Library Month and lately I’ve had a lot of good reasons to love my library. From the grand opening of the children’s room in January, to the Good Books Club, to the addition of Lynda.com, the library continues to get better and better.

And those aren’t the only reasons why I love my library! I’ve worked at MPL for over ten years, and have been a card carrier for quiiiite a bit longer! Here are a few reasons why I love our particular library!

  1. The Books. Books! Great books everywhere! MPL has always had a fantastic collection (being one of the only places I could get my Sweet Valley High fix back in the day) and the collection continues to grow and become more fantastic every year. Whether it’s the latest Nora Roberts or a new trend in YA, MPL has it. And if it’s one of the few they don’t, there’s Interlibrary Loan services and a Suggest a Purchase page on the website.
  2. The Community. There are a lot of wonderful people who visit the library each week, and some of them I’ve gotten to know pretty well. It’s incredibly awesome when kids who used to visit each week come back and visit over spring break after going to college, or a frequent patron proudly displays pictures of their new grandchild. Working at the front desk, I get to see a bit of everything, and mostly what I see are some truly amazing people who also love their library.
  3. The Staff. They’re friendly and FUN. They aren’t afraid to declare their love for Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie books with my kiddo, or spend ten minutes helping me remember the name of that documentary that looked interesting. They’re also all very indulging when I appear with a camera and ask to take their picture for social media. The smiling faces are very genuine, and some of my very best friends have been co-workers from the library.
  4. The DVDs/Blu-Rays/Video Games. Another wonderful collection of the latest movies and games, and they’re free to check out!
  5. The Events. MPL has a Good Books group where I can go and be an adult for a while, discussing literature with actual adults other than my husband, and I don’t have to pay for it as a class! (Also, there are cookies!) The story times are always fantastic, and aids my kids in developing their love of reading. The Children’s events are also excellent at being on top of the latest trends! (There’s a Frozen party coming up soon, y’all! Bust out your Elsa & Anna dresses!)

Do you love the library, too? If so, stop by and send us a valentine!

valentine display at the library

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The Hillerman Prize: The Best of Western Mysteries

by Marcia Allen, Collection Development

Tony_HillermanI still miss having a fresh, new Tony Hillerman mystery to read.  I never tired of reading the latest adventures of law officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, as they patiently sorted out the facts of murders and thefts that took place in the Southwest.  To me, and to so many other long-time fans, the characters and situations that Hillerman so skillfully described in each tale were among the best in American mystery writing.

The range of awards that the author earned was astonishing.  The Anthony, the Edgar, the Macavity, and the Nero were among his accolades, some of them received multiple times.  And one special honor was earned in 2002 when Hillerman received the Agatha Malice Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement for having written novels in the spirit of Agatha Christie.

While Hillerman died in 2008, the spirit of his creativity lives on.   The Tony Hillerman Writers Conference is held each year in Santa Fe, New Mexico during the fall.  Workshops led by award-winning writers and promotional activities supporting the writing of any genre are conducted.  One of the highlights of the event is the announcement of the year’s Hillerman Prize.  The lucky winner has the opportunity to meet the editor of St. Martin’s Press with whom he or she will collaborate on that first novel.  The author also wins a cash prize of $10,000.

Among other prbad countryize guidelines, the author must have never before written a published mystery or be under contract with a publisher, and the debut mystery must take place in the Southwest.  The crime itself must be murder or other serious crimes, with a focus on solution rather than the actual details of the crime.

Which brings me to C.B. McKenzie, the 2013 Hillerman winner.  I had never heard of the author, but the bold “Winner of the Tony Hillerman Prize” logo on the cover caught my attention.  Bad Country seemed promising, so I began to read of the adventures of Rodeo Grace Garnet, private investigator/warrant server in a desolate corner of Arizona called El Hoyo (The Hole).  The action begins when Rodeo discovers the battered body of a Native American near his home.  Further investigation reveals a whole string of violent murders, all committed against various tribal members.  Told by law enforcement to avoid involvement, Rodeo begins piecing together the similarities of the crimes.  Full involvement begins when a grandmother of one of the victims asks for Rodeo’s help, yet she displays no sympathy or compassion toward her deceased grandson.

What makes this mystery one-of-a-kind is a flawed but caring main character.  Rodeo has made a lot of mistakes, like his relationship with the treacherous Serena Ray Molina, but he also cares deeply about justice and the victimization of helpless characters like Samuel Rocha.  The mystery itself is a complex tale of deception and violence, with a hit-and-run accident that has far-reaching implications.  And the ending of the book is explosive.  Understated tones and short passages pack a wallop of a finale.

If you like this territorymystery, you’ll probably want to check out other Hillerman award winners.  MPL also has Andrew Hunt’s City of Saints (the 2011 winner).  This mystery takes place in Salt Lake City in the 1930s when and unusual pair of crime-solvers must discover the killer of a socialite.  Or, you might try the 2010 winner, The Territory by Tricia Fields.  This tale explores the nasty interactions between the inhabitants of a West Texas town and violent drug cartel members.  The 2008 winner, The Ragged Edge of Nowhere by Roy Chaney, concerns ex-CIA Agent Bodo Hagen, who turns to crime-solving when his brother, who somehow possesses an ancient relic, is murdered in the desert.

So, there you have it.  A variety of different styles and storylines that share only a focus on Southwest crime, but each special in its own way.  These are, after all, the prestigious winners of the Tony Hillerman Prize.

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Lynda.Com: Helping You Learn in the New Year

by Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Manager

Lynda.com 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 Lynda.com’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:

mpl1

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.

Excellent!

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 Lynda.com:

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!

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