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What’s Happening, Manhattan?

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian


Homecoming and pumpkins and trick-or-treaters, oh my! Fall is officially here, and with it, all the exciting seasonal activities. Homecoming and Halloween are center stage both this weekend and next week, so make sure to clear out some space on your calendar for these annual traditions.

  • October 19-25: K-State Homecoming Week
    • October 24 at 5pm: Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally. Starting at Manhattan Town Center and ending at City Park, the homecoming parade will feature former Wildcat football players and brothers, Kevin Lockett and Aaron Lockett, as the grand marshals. Following the parade, there will be a pep rally at 6:30pm at the Larry Norvell Band Shell featuring the KSU Pep Band, cheerleaders, Classy Cats and Willie…plus appearances by football coach, Bill Snyder, and women’s basketball coach, Jeff Mittie.
    • October 25 at 11am: K-State vs. Texas Homecoming Football Game
  • October 24, 3PM-7:30pm: Trick-Or-Treat Aggieville. Aggieville gets spooky starting at 3pm for its annual, family-friendly Halloween celebration. Bring the kids for trick-or-treating at Aggieville businesses, but stay for the The Dusty Bookshelf’s haunted house, the free mini-donuts at Varsity Donuts, and the Halloween photo booth. Bonus: Get there early and snag a prime spot for watching the K-State Homecoming Parade.
  • October 25, 8am-1pm: Happy HalloBirthday! Downtown Farmers Market is hosting its 35th birthday party AND a Halloween party this Saturday. Come in costume, trick-or-treat at vendor stalls, and enter the pumpkin decorating contest. Pumpkins must be turned in at the market by 10am.
  • October 31: Halloween! Whether you are in it for the costumes, the candy, or just the general festiveness of the holiday, there are lots of great spots in the Manhattan community to visit on Halloween.
    • All Treats Day from 4-6pm in downtown Manhattan. Make sure to stop by Manhattan Public Library for a special treat!
    • Bewitching in Westloop from 4-6pm
    • Boo Party at Manhattan Town Center from 5:30-7:30 pm

Please make sure to stay safe as you enjoy the community activities. The City of Manhattan offers a number of valuable safety tips for making sure costumes, treats, and decorations are safe, and ensuring a fun time for everyone.

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Do you have a Revolutionary Heart?

Women suffragists in Ohio

If you approached the polls this November and were blocked at the door, what would you do? If you were insulted, ridiculed, told you were less than a person and not intelligent enough to participate, would you simply go home or would you stand up and demand to be heard?

On October 30 at 7:00 p.m. you will get a chance to discuss these questions and many more with author and independent historian Diane Eickhoff at the Manhattan Public Library’s Good Books Club meeting.

Eickhoff will lead a discussion sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council entitled “Women Rising: How Kansas Women Gained the Vote, 1859-1912.” The discussion is based on research Eickhoff did when writing her book Revolutionary Heart:  The Life of Clarina Nichols and the Pioneering Crusade for Women’s Rights.

Revolutionary Heart is the featured read for the October Good Books Club, and was named a Kansas Notable Book in 2007. This gripping and poignant work tells the story of a 19th century pioneer who was a passionate and tireless advocate for women’s rights and the abolitionist movement in Kansas.

Stop by the library to request a copy of Revolutionary Heart, or purchase a copy at the discussion. Participants in this Good Books Club event will get the chance to connect with other book lovers, explore local history, visit with the author, and get their books signed!

The Good Books Club is organized and facilitated by staff at the Manhattan Public Library. The club is free and open to the public. Meetings are held once a month to discuss intriguing books, enjoy delightful conversation, and sample delicious treats and refreshments.

The Kansas Humanities Council conducts and supports community-based programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities.  For more information about KHC programs contact the Kansas Humanities Council at 785/357-0359 or visit online at


For more information about “Women Rising: How Kansas Women Gained the Vote, 1859-1912” or the Good Books Club, visit the Manhattan Public Library at 629 Poyntz Avenue, call (785) 776-4741. Find the library on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, too.

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Share Books to Introduce Fire Safety

By Jennifer Adams, Children’s Services Manager

MHKFDDuring National Fire Prevention Week, our local firefighters visited schools to talk to students about fire safety and prevention, show them some equipment they use and make sure they would never be afraid of a firefighter in uniform. Notes were sent home reminding families to practice with their kids so they know what to do if the smoke detector goes off. Reading books about firefighters and fire safety is a great way to start this discussion with young children and let them talk about their concerns.

The library has an excellent collection of children’s materials on this topic, thanks to the Manhattan Firefighters Union Local 2275. They have donated funds for the past three years to boost the library’s collection, so more kids and teachers can check out books and make sure everyone knows how to stay safe.
For some fun read-alouds to start off with a lighter approach, these picture books are sure to be a hit:

“I’m Brave” by McMullan is told from the point of view of a “good looking” fire engine. He goes through all his equipment, including the usual hoses and axes, as well as duckbill pliers and rabbit ear bolt cutters. Kids who love fire trucks will also enjoy  “Firefighters: Speeding, Spraying, Saving” by Hubbell.

The exciting illustrations in Dale’s “Dinosaur Rescue” make it a perfect book to share with preschoolers, and Scarry’s “A Day at the Fire Station” in Busytown will always be good for some giggles, too. “Fire Drill” is a short picture book by Jacobs that describes the scenario of fire drills in a school setting with simple text and pictures, making the actual event a little less scary.

fire safety 1Some children are fascinated by emergency vehicles, from police cars to fire engines. For facts and photos about fire trucks, check out “Fire Trucks and Rescue Vehicles” from the Mighty Machines series, or “Fire Trucks in Action” by Hanson. “Rescue Vehicles” by Gilpin includes cross-section illustrations to show what is inside fire engines, ambulances, police cars and more. These books are now housed in our “Transportation” neighborhood in the Children’s Room.

A number of books for children have a very direct educational approach, which is great for covering the basics of fire prevention and procedures in case of a fire. “Contain the Flame” by Donahue covers outdoor and campfire safety, and “Being Safe with Fire” by Kesselring provides safety tips in everyday living, as well as steps to make an escape plan. Learn more specifics about firefighters’ jobs in books like “Firefighters Help Us” by Murray or “A Day with Firefighters” by Shepherd.

Our newest additions to the collection this year are two kits that include multiple books plus activities that can all be checked out together. The tote bag story kit, “Firefighters,” is geared toward preschool and early elementary ages. It includes six fun picture books, such as “Miss Mingo and the Fire Drill,” two informational books, a DVD of “Elmo Visits the Firehouse” and a cool firefighter costume for dress-up play.

The discovery pack, “Fire and Rescue,” comes in a backpack and is for kids in grades 2-6. It includes informational books about firefighters, fire dogs, smoke jumpers, rescue vehicles and fire safety. A large maze game will challenge older kids to think about fire safety, as well as test their logic and problem-solving skills.

fire safety 2Special thanks goes out to our local firefighters for all they do to keep us safe, educate us, and provide this kind of support to the whole community.

Posted in: Children's Dept, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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Teens at the Library

by Amber Keck, Children’s Librarian


Teenagers in Manhattan and surrounding areas have many opportunities to be a part of Manhattan Public Library. Not only can teens have access to materials and activities, but they also have the chance to log community service hours and connect with other teens and adults in the community.  With their parents’ permission, teens may own their own library card and have access to any unrestricted materials, including comic books, video games, fiction and nonfiction books. Programming for teens include Yu-Gi-Oh dueling, After Hours parties, crafting afternoons, and much more. Any activity or program for teenagers is free, but they do sometimes require pre-registration because of high attendance.

Teens can be a part of the brainstorming and implementation of programming in the library, as well. Keri Mills, MPL’s Young Adult Librarian, hosts a meeting of the Teen Library Advisory Board (TLAB) every month. During this time, TLAB plans activities and programs, discusses the library’s young adult book collection, and keeps Keri up-to-date on topics of interest to teenagers in the community. These meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of the month from 3:30-4:30 pm.  The next TLAB meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 23rd in the Friends’ Room. Anyone is welcome to attend these meetings.

Rebecca Price, a summer teen volunteer and consistent contributor to TLAB, likes that she gets to meet a lot of new people through the volunteer program and TLAB. As a lover of the library, being an active member of TLAB is important to her. Over the years, she has had the chance to plan a number of different programs and activities, but the Catching Fire After Hours was by far her favorite.

During the summer months, teenagers can also be a part of the teen volunteer program, in which they assist library staff in presenting programs and giving out prizes to summer reading participants. During the summer of 2014, teen volunteers logged in 520 hours! The children’s staff simply could not pull off the extensive programming and awesome summer reading incentives without the help of the teen volunteers. Spots for this program go fast, so be sure to start inquiring about it in the wintertime.

At Manhattan Public Library, teenagers have a space to share their ideas, connect with the resources they need, and make a positive impact on their community.

Posted in: For Adults, For Teens, News, Young Adult Dept

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by Judi Nechols, Adult Services Librarian

Did you know that lightning strikes produce O3 which is ozone, and strengthen the ozone layer of the atmosphere?

Even if we don’t often think about the topic of chemistry outside of a school setting, the chemical interactions of the world affect everything, from our cars to our food, and even to our senses themselves.

“Everything you hear, see, smell, taste, and touch involves chemistry and chemicals (matter). And hearing, seeing, tasting, and touching all involve intricate series of chemical reactions and interactions in your body. With such an enormous range of topics, it is essential to know about chemistry at some level in order to understand the world around us.” (from the American Chemical Society)

To help Manhattanites gain a deeper understanding of chemistry and the world at large, each year the Kansas State University branch of the American Chemical Society donates a selection of chemistry-related books to Manhattan Public Library. The variety of books in the collection include study guides for the AP Chemistry exam, books with information about careers in chemistry, guides for science fair experiments using chemistry, and many more.

Library staff and patrons are most grateful for these generous donations from the KSU chemists. A display featuring some of the donated books can be found across from the Information Desk on the first floor of the library. Explore the world of chemistry with titles like The Periodic Table: a Visual Guide to the Elements, Chemistry Connections:  the Chemical Basis of Everyday Phenomena, and Non-Traditional Careers for Chemists.

National Chemistry Week begins October 18, so this is the perfect time to brush up on cool chemical facts to impress your friends and learn to say things like, “I could really use a glass of dihydrogen monoxide (H2O) right now.”

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2014 Teens’ Top Ten

Keri Mills, Young Adult Librarian

The Teens’ Top Ten is a teens’ choice list sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Each year, teens nominate their favorite books from the previous year. Nominations are posted in April, and teens ages twelve to eighteen can vote on their favorite titles. The winning books will be announced on October 20, so teens still have one more week to vote for their favorites at As usual, there are a wide cross-section of genres represented on the list, so if your teen is looking for something to read, this list is a good place to start. Many of the titles have crossover appeal to adults, as well. Here are a few of my picks from the list of nominees this year:siege

“Siege and Storm” by Leigh Bardugo
This is the last book of an excellent trilogy, so be sure to start with the first one, “Shadow and Bone,” or you will be lost. Alina and Mal, who have been best friends since childhood, are soldiers in the First Army of Ravka. Ravka is a harsh place, ravaged by war and currently split in two by the Shadow Fold. The Fold is a place of darkness and danger, where creature called volcra snatch and eat men who attempt to cross through to the other side.  While attempting to cross the fold, Mal is gravely injured and Alina manifests the rare ability to summon light in order to save Mal’s life. Alina is immediately taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, those who can wield magic, and swept up in the intrigue of the court. Those who enjoy fantasy or historical fiction (many elements of the story were based on Russian myth and culture) should give this one a try.

“Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell
I put off reading this book even after hearing all the buzz about it, thinking it was just another typical romance. However, this turned out to be one of those rare books that sticks with you, long after you are done reading it. The year is 1986, and Eleanor is the new girl in town. She is forced to walk the gauntlet of the school bus where she is exposed to taunting and bullying because she is overweight and dresses strangely. She ends up sitting next to Park, who is half-Korean and something of an outsider at school. This is definitely not love at first sight. For awhile the two completely ignore each other, but gradually throughout the course of the year, they begin bonding over comic books and music. Eventually, they fall in love, but there is likely no happily ever after to this story. Park gradually learns about Eleanor’s poverty and her volatile family situation, which finally explodes.steel

“Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson
This is a fun, fast-paced superhero story that is the first in a projected series. In this story, superheroes are the villains. Twelve years ago when the Calamity came, Epics were created, giving random humans incredible powers (and of course weaknesses). These Epics began subjugating the rest of humanity and taking over different parts of the world. Ten years ago, David’s father was killed by one of the most powerful Epics, named Steelheart. Ever since, David has made it his life’s mission to study the Epics and find their weaknesses. His one goal is to avenge his father’s death and take down Steelheart.

“In the Shadow of Blackbirds” by Cat Winters
Mary Shelley Black, age 16, has been sent to live with her aunt in San Diego. Like many cities in 1918, it is not only dealing with World War II, but also the Spanish flu pandemic which is killing millions all over the world. Surrounded by loss many have turned to spiritualism in an attempt to speak with dead loved ones. Taking advantage of this is Julius, the older brother of Mary’s love Stephen, who claims he can capture ghosts in photographs. Soon after finding out that Stephen has died, Mary begins being visited by his tormented ghost, who talks about the blackbirds who tortured and killed him. Mary embarks on a quest to learn the truth about Stephen’s death.5th

5th Wave by Rick Yancey
There couldn’t be a teen list without some post apocalyptic fiction. This one is the best of the bunch. This time the earth has been decimated by an alien invasion through four separate waves: an electromagnetic pulse, tsunamis, the Red Death, and Silencers (humans who were implanted with alien intelligence as fetuses). One of the rare survivors, Cassie, armed with an M16 and her brother’s teddy bear, is trying to reunite with her brother while escaping Silencers and the 5th Wave.

Posted in: For Teens, Mercury Column, News

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Those are my relatives??!!

by Judi Nechols, Adult Services Librarian

charetingPopular here at Manhattan Public Library are our Genealogy Resources. We have many print resources—books such as Genealogy Online for Dummies, Charting your Family History:  Includes Legacy; Family Tree software version 2.0, on CD-ROM, for Microsoft Windows, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska Civil War Veterans; and A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering your Female Ancestors: Special Strategies for Uncovering Hard-to-find Information about your Female Lineage. (more…)

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The Good Books Club

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Book Discussions at MPL

by Janet Ulrey, Adult Services Librarian
The “Good Books Club” is off and running. If you have a desire to join great book discussions with other book lovers, come talk about books with us! This fall we are launching a monthly Thursday night book discussion series. The meetings will be held at 7 p.m. in the Groesbeck Room of the Manhattan Public Library.

revolThe October “Good Books Club” is scheduled for Thursday, October 30th. It features Diane Eickhoff’s book, “Revolutionary Heart: The Life of Clarina Nichols and the Pioneering Crusade for Women’s Rights.” Eickhoff tells the story of Clarina Nichols, a charismatic Kansas suffragist and abolitionist, who helped pave the way for revolutionary changes. Author Eickhoff will join us for this book discussion.

Diane Eickhoff has been a writer and an editor of educational materials for children and young adults for many years. She received her MA in history from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Diane has been involved with the Kansas Humanities Council since 2003 and joined the Council’s Speakers Bureau in 2009. She spent six arduous years studying and analyzing Nichol’s writings and papers. In fact, her biography of Clarina Nichols was named a Kansas Notable Book for 2007. Her insight and expertise in history will greatly enhance this discussion. It will be a privilege and honor to have Diane Eickhoff here with us, and we hope you will join us in welcoming her to Manhattan. (more…)

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Yell like a Wookie. Train like a Jedi. Chill with Storm Troopers.

Wookie cutout posed behind the circulation desk

Return of the Wookie

The force is strong in Manhattan, Kansas! On Saturday, October 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Manhattan Public Library will celebrate Star Wars Reads Day with an Empire-sized party for all ages.

Star Wars Reads Day was started in 2012 by Lucasfilm and its publishing partners as a way to highlight the vast number of books written about Star Wars, its characters, and its universe. Last year, there were more than 2,000 schools, bookstores, and libraries that marked the day with read-a-thons, movie showings, and creative activities that feature the beloved sci-fi series and its characters.

This year, Manhattan Public Library is getting in on the fun with a full day of activities and events for all ages. The celebration will kick off at 10:00 a.m. with crafts and activities, including Star Wars origami, a Yoda ears project, and Star Wars magnetic poetry. Adventurous folks can also step outside to participate in a Jedi Training Academy and obstacle course to earn a Jedi knight certificate.

From 12:00 to 2:00 p.m., there will be a Star Wars photo booth on the second floor. Using a green screen, you can be transported to the distant land of Tatooine or the dangerous halls of the Death Star. To add to the fun, you can pose with one of our resident librarian-Jedis!

For everyone who wants to make a little noise in the library without getting shushed, you can participate in a Wookie Yelling Contest from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. in the third floor atrium. Local Star Wars experts from Project Nerd will be on hand to help judge the event, and the top three Wookie yells will win prizes. Keri Mills, Young Adult Librarian, says, “Try to sound like a cross between a bear and a walrus.”

At 1:00 p.m., relax and enjoy some lovely Star Wars chamber music with local musicians in the first floor atrium. Then, at 2:00 p.m. in the Groesbeck Room, laugh your blasters off with a montage video of comedy Star Wars spoofs.

Throughout the day, there will be opportunities to try your hand at Star Wars trivia. Plus, you can participate in a trivia contest at 2:30 p.m. in the Groesbeck Room.

Star Wars Reads Day wouldn’t be complete without a movie showing. Join fans in the Groesbeck Room at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. for a PG movie, plus snacks and Yoda soda.

Costumes are strongly encouraged. We would love to see you dressed up in your finest Star Wars memorabilia. Librarians will be wearing their buns over both ears today , and Storm Troopers will be collecting fines!

Star Wars Reads Day is generously sponsored by the Manhattan Library Association, Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, GameHounds, and Wheat State Pizza.

For more information, contact or call (785) 776-4741 ext.141.

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