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Watch the online course How to Use

Your Manhattan Public Library card now gives you access to the 4,595 video courses on All you have to do is follow the link , enter your library card number and password, create an account, and you can start learning from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

But what is is an online library of video courses on topics ranging from Improving Your Memory to Creating Textures for 3D Animation. Each subject is broken down into smaller video tutorials so you can stop and start, and learn at your own pace. There are videos for all learning levels–from beginner to professional.

Here is a video introducing the service.

Courses focus mainly on computer and software skills, but include information on teaching, stress management, job interview skills, and more. Browse the library to get an overview of what’s offered, or if you have a specific interest, use the search bar to find courses.

Software is s good topic to start with. You’ll find a quick list of the most popular software tutorials, or you can browse alphabetically for everything from Access to GarageBand to Zoomerang.

Is it really free?

Yes, all library resources are free. Manhattan Public Library has paid for the subscription and all library card holders have access to the service. Residents of Chase, Clay, Dickinson, Geary, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Morris, Pottawatomie, Riley, Wabaunsee, and Washington counties can follow this link to get a library card.

Do I have to be in the library?

No, you can access from library computers or from outside the library using your own device. 35 users can access the site simultaneously. After 1 hour of inactivity, you will be logged off so other people can log on. Lynda will keep track of the videos you’ve watched, and hold your place when you log off.

Searchable Transcripts

Read along with closed-captioned transcripts–or search the text to quickly find information within a course.

Download Exercise Files

Download the files used in the video courses so you can practice on your own. Please note: library computers do not have access to all the software taught on, such as Photoshop and AutoCAD. You must have your own copy of the software you’re learning in order to open the exercise files.

Certificates of Completion

Earn a certificate of completion for each course viewed. Print the certificate to show coworkers, friends, and employers what you’ve accomplished.


Contact the library at or (785)776-4741 x141


Posted in: For Adults, For Teens, News

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Icons in the World of Music: The Latest in Unforgettable Biographies

By Marcia Allen, Collection Development

Hard times were a daily reality for Elmo and Mamie Lewis in the state of Louisiana during the 1930s. Elmo made a living sharecropping and sometimes cooking whiskey, until he was caught and sentenced to five years in prison. Son Elmo, Jr., who often sang in church and who cared for his younger brother Jerry Lee, was killed at the age of nine when a drunken driver struck him. That left Mamie and little Jerry Lee to make the best of the situation.

jerryIn 1940, four-year-old Jerry Lee realized the path his life was to take. During a visit with his mother’s sister, he pressed down a single key on his aunt’s piano. He later described the experience as one similar to fire reaching through his head. With no previous experience, he immediately began the opening chords of “Silent Night.”

Yes, Jerry Lee went on to lead a scandalous personal life, shocking his followers with his many marriages and his exploits with drugs and alcohol, but he also produced a phenomenal library of songs that few have matched. Songs like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” which were considered provocative when they were first released, are now deemed groundbreaking rock and roll with hillbilly overtones
What makes “Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story” remarkable is author Rick Bragg’s flair for retelling the musician’s story. Bragg, author of award-winning tales like “All over but the Shoutin’” and “Ava’s Man,” brings to the story an incredible skill for southern storytelling and a genuine fondness for Jerry Lee. This story packs a wallop as a colorful character study. (more…)

Posted in: For Adults, Mercury Column, News

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Relax with Holiday Books and Movies!

snowmanThe holiday hustle and bustle is upon us, with lists galore of things to do and shopping and baking to finish. It is often difficult to find time to sit down and just relax. A great way to escape the holiday rush is with a book or film about the holiday season.
Manhattan Public Library has an excellent selection of holiday-themed fiction from which to choose. Many popular writers publish a Christmas novel each year. Anne Perry, a popular mystery writer, has a series of Christmas mysteries, beginning with the title “A Christmas Journey.” Other authors with books in a holiday series include Richard Paul Evans and his Christmas Box Trilogy, and Donna VanLiere and her Christmas Hope series.

Known for his best-selling legal thrillers, John Grisham is the author of “Skipping Christmas” –“Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether… skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences-and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined. A classic tale for modern times, “Skipping Christmas” offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.” Another author known for his thrillers is David Baldacci, whose book “The Christmas Train” is popular at this time of year. There are many new holiday-themed romance novels, such as “What a Lady Needs for Christmas” by Grace Burrowes;  “By Winters Light” by Stephanie Laurens; and “Mr. Miracle” by Debbie Macomber. Other new titles include “Death of a Christmas Caterer” and ” All He Wants for Christmas”. Look for our display of holiday-themed fiction for books by these and other authors, in a display case on the first floor of the library. (more…)

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, News

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December Construction Update

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

We now wrapping up the final stages of the Children’s Expansion Project, and while each step has been exciting, it seems like all of the fun stuff came in at once! If you’ve been in the library, you might have seen some of the exciting additions to the Children’s Room. If not, we’d love for you to come and check it out!

Last Wednesday, we got truckloads of furnishings to be added to the Children’s Room. We could hardly wait to start moving it all in!









Some of these new items included spiffy tables and chairs, and some very, very cool interactable furniture. We are in love with the cool colors and fun textures–they make the Children’s Room look so lively!









We also received new shelving for our interactive items and signage with beautiful, bright pictures for the different neighborhoods in the Children’s Room. We were

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Thanks to a skilled team of workers, everything was assembled and hung on the wall quickly, including our lovely donor wall.

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That meant more time for people to come in and start testing things out, from climbing on the foam blocks to sitting on our comfy new seats to studying at the tables and playing with the fun toys.












Thanks to everyone in the community for their support and enthusiasm! If you’ve got any questions about what comes next, just let us know!

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Holiday Baking

by Keri Mills, Young Adult Librarian

It’s already time to get started on your holiday baking if you haven’t already. Many of us have favorite, traditional family cookie recipes, but if you are looking to switch things up a little bit, the library has plenty of cookie cookbooks to help you out.


decoratingOne of my favorites is “Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations, & Everyday” by Bridget Edwards. This is the book for you if you have always wanted to get your sugar cookies to look like those beautiful bakery frosted sugar cookies. There are only a few basic recipes included for sugar cookies and for royal icing, but the specific step-by-step decorating instructions are easy to follow and perfect for beginners. Only a handful of the decorating ideas are specific to Christmas cookies, but they should be enough to spark your own creativity.


If you want to make some cookies for a Christmas party, but are short on time, try “Smart Cookie: Transform Store-Bought Cookies into Amazing Treats” by Christi Farr Johnstone. As the title indicates, learn how to spruce up store-bought cookies into something unique and beautiful. There are only a few cookie ideas that pertain directly to Christmas, but there are many other ideas that could be adapted for the holidays. My favorite part about this book is that you don’t have to be an expert decorator to create most of these cookies!

xmasFor more traditional Christmas cookies, start with “A Baker’s Field Guide to Christmas Cookies” by Dede Wilson. This cookbook has a wealth of information in a very easy-to-use format. Each cookie has its own page with a picture of the finished product. There is also information on its type (dropped, rolled, bar, etc.) country of origin, description of its flavors, traditions, tips, variations, and length of time the cookies will keep. Helpful symbols are included that tell you which cookies are good to make with kids, freeze well, are quick to make, and sturdy enough to send in the mail.


Can’t figure out what type of holiday cookies to make? There is always the good ole American chocolate chip cookie, which is featured in the book, “The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book” by Carolyn Wyman. There are over 75 recipes in this book for chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip dessert variations like truffles and brownies. One interesting page gives suggestions on simple additions/substitutions to the basic Toll house cookie recipe, such as bacon, cereal, donuts, ice cream cones, and Brussel sprouts. While your cookies are baking, read up on the fascinating history of the chocolate chip cookie in the United States which is included in this book.


Cookie swaps are particularly popular this time of year. If you don’t have time to bake 50 different kinds of cookies this holiday season, then, hold your own cookie swap. “Cookie Swap!” By Lauren Chattman tells you exactly how to organize one. There is a handy checklist for planning your party and an example invitation. And, of course, there are also a number of cookie recipes suggested for your swap.

veganIf you are vegan yourself or baking for vegan friends or family, try “Chloe’s Vegan Desserts” by Chloe Coscarelli. There is a whole chapter that focuses on cookies and bars. There are full color photos of most of the recipes. Bake homemade Oreos, ginger molasses cookies, snowballs, black and white cookies, or the many others included in the book.

If you really want to switch things up, make an ice cream cookie sandwich from “Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich” by Tessa Arias. The recipes in this book are as aesthetically pleasing as they are delicious. They are almost too pretty to eat (almost). Can’t decide what cookies to start with? Try a few from the “Holiday” chapter, such as Maple-Nut, Gingerbread, Hot Cocoa, Candy Cane, or Eggnog ice cream sandwiches.

The library has all of these cookbooks mentioned, and many more to satisfy all of your holiday baking needs, so get started today!






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

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Use Research to Fuel Your Holiday Planning!

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

As the holidays get into full swing, the last thing I usually think about is doing research. Why do research when I can drink hot cocoa and curl up on the couch with good book? However, a little bit of time spent researching and planning for the holidays can save you hours of stress and hair-pulling as you try to cross things off your holiday to-do list.

Thankfully, the online databases at Manhattan Public Library are the perfect tools to save you from impending holiday doom.PicMonkey Collage

Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is hands down the best resource available for researching purchases. All their reports are written by independent expert product reviewers who will give it to you straight whether or not something is a good buy. (Bonus points: Consumer Reports subscriptions can cost a bundle for individuals, so you are saving time AND money!)

AtoZ Databases

AtoZdatabases provides access to 220 million residential listings in the United States, making it great for finding contact information for long-lost friends and family.

Often times, the list of people I’d like to send cards to is longer than the list of addresses I have on hand. That’s when resources like AtoZdatabases can save you.


Finally, if you are more preoccupied with the end of the semester than with holiday preparations, MPL has several excellent databases with full-text options to help you finish those final projects. From ERIC (great for students of education and the social sciences) to MasterFile Premier (provides authoritative information on a broad range of research topics). Need help getting started navigating these resources? MPL staff have created a helpful tutorial to using MasterFile.

Now you have become the Jedi Master of holiday shopping and end-of-semester projects. Pat yourself on the back, grab another slice of pie, and enjoy the rest of the season.

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Furniture and Signage is Arriving!

This week, the Children’s Room will be getting new signs to help customers locate our books and media, and to identify the new “neighborhood” sections.  New tables and chairs will be arriving, along with some fun, comfy seating and playful pieces.

Most of the new furnishings will  be installed on Wednesday and Thursday.  The Children’s Room may not be accessible during all open hours on those days.

Come by this weekend to see the transformation!

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large letter A and other foam furniture chairs small


Posted in: Children's Dept, Children's Expansion, For Kids, Parents

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Yummy Reads

The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber‘Tis the season for merry-making, generosity, sentimentality, and most importantly, gathering together to eat. The food we eat is an important part of our stories and our cultural identity. It is a vital way through which we build community, bond as families, and demonstrate love. The act of cooking can help us to feel a sense of accomplishment and the joy of sharing with others. It can even help us work through family conflicts and grief. I recently lost a beloved relative. In the midst of frantic planning and the rush of details and needing to provide food for gathering family, I found myself pulling down her cookbook. The final product wasn’t as good as hers, but it was such a comfort to me to go through the act of preparing a meal that she once prepared for us.

The richness that food brings to our lives is demonstrated in some of my favorite books. My love of food writing probably began with Diana Abu-Jaber. In her memoir, “The Language of Baklava” she shares the challenges of growing up straddling two cultures, which included her Jordanian father’s Middle Eastern cooking and her American grandmother’s roast beef. Her father tries to hold on to the culture and food of his home country, filling Diana’s childhood with the scents of Jordan and she learns from him and from her aunt how food forms us and draws us together.

Many already know this title, but it can’t help but be mentioned when talking about great food writing. Julie Powell was despondent about her dead-end career when she decided that she would cook every recipe in Julia Child’s classic cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Over the next year, she created a few disasters, expanded her horizons, and took charge of her life. Her memoir of the experience, “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen” provides cooking commiseration, laughs, and hope for those of us who are still mastering the art of home cooking.

Speaking of mastering the art of cooking, another fascinating memoir about food is “Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking” by Anya von Bremzen. The author, who grew up in the Soviet Union but immigrated to the U.S. in her early childhood, is a food critic for the New York Times who is clearly fascinated by nostalgia and food. Sharing the history of Russia through its food, from the austere apple cake of Lenin’s era, through the food shortages of the 1940s, and the banning of American foods during the Cold War, this culinary memoir explores the links between food, culture, history, and family.

Not all great books about cooking are nonfiction, though. In Anthony Capella’s novel “The Wedding Officer,” British officer James Gould is sent to Naples during World War II to monitor the marriage requests between British soldiers and the local Italian women. His staid and regimented life runs up against the draw of passion when Livia Pertini comes to cook for him. Her amazing cooking disorders his outlook and opens his heart. A beautiful story of love blooming even in the midst of devastation that touches the heart and inspires in the kitchen.

Ruth Reichl has an established reputation as a food writer, but her debut novel “Delicious” is aptly described by the title. Billie struck out on her own, moving to New York to start her job as an assistant for a food magazine. She is revealed as a natural foodie early on, but assiduously avoids the kitchen. When the magazine abruptly folds and she is asked to stay on to respond to letters, she discovers a treasure-trove in the archives. Her exploration of letters about making the best of what food is available in the worst of circumstances helps her to gingerly pick her way through her own difficult associations with cooking and to open up to love. The descriptions of the food district in New York were so vivid I could almost taste it.

The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on food and traditions. Go forth to cook, eat, and read!


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Holiday Happenings in Manhattan

snowman ornament with snowy backgroundThe recent cold weather and snow flurries are good reminders that the holiday season is quickly approaching! Participating in holiday events can help make the season bright. Here is a list of holiday activities in town that will be fun for the whole family.

Books, movies, and music

The library has holiday music CDs and holiday movies on display to help you get in the spirit. Look for the library’s holiday decorations soon–we love to deck the halls!

Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Join friends and neighbors on Thanksgiving Day for a community dinner being held this year at Old Chicago from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Dinner is free of charge but donations are appreciated. Call (785) 537-0730 for more information.

Festival of Lights at Blue Earth Plaza Nov. 28-Dec. 31

The lighting ceremony (with a special appearance by Santa!) will be held Friday, November 28 at 7:00 pm. The music and lights will dazzle viewers this holiday season!

Small Business Saturday Nov. 29

Shop locally and support Manhattan businesses.

College Musicum Free Concert – Monday, Dec. 1

Enjoy a free concert from K-State’s historical performance ensemble on Monday, December 1 at 7:30 pm in Kirmser Hall at McCain Auditorium.

Winterdance ’14 – Thrusday, Dec. 4- Monday, Dec. 6

WinterDance is K-State Dance’s annual fall concert that features faculty dance choreography. Jazz, modern, tap, ballet, movement theatre, and African dance styles will be shown. The performances will be in the Chapman Theater in Nichols Hall at 7:30 each evening December 4 through 6. Call for tickets 785-532-6428 or check their web site at

Mayor’s Holiday Parade – Friday, Dec. 5

This festive parade starts at 5:30 at the mall and ends with a tree-lighting ceremony in Aggieville’s triangle park. You’ll see lighted floats and might even catch a special appearance by Santa Claus!

Family Holiday Workshop – Sunday, Dec. 7

The Beach Museum of Art is hosting a workshop on Sunday, December 7 from 2:00-3:30 pm, with winter-themed art projects for the whole family. For For more information, go to Fee charged.

KSU Orchestra – Sunday, Dec. 7

Get into the holiday spirit with beautiful music at this free concert at McCain Auditorium Sunday, December 7 at 3:00 pm.

Horse-drawn Carriage Rides Dec. 6-21

On Saturday and Sunday evenings December 6-21, enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride around downtown Manhattan free with a donation of cash or goods for the Manhattan Emergency Shelter. Start at 3rd and Poyntz.

Helping those in need

• The Mayor’s Holiday Food and Fund Drive assists the Flint Hills Breadbasket in collecting food for needy families. A donation of $40 provides a food basket for a family of four. Food donations, or cash donations, are always welcomed at the Breadbasket either in person at 905 Yuma Street on online. Don’t let families go hungry this holiday season!
• Individuals, families or businesses may adopt a family in order to provide gifts for a family that otherwise might not celebrate the holidays. The Junior League of the Flint Hills is sponsoring the Adopt-A-Family Program this year and matches donors to families. Call 785-410-5086 or email to offer your help.

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NaNoWriMo is Wicked Hard–We Can Help!

By Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Manager

old typewriter

image courtesy of

We’re halfway through National Novel Writing Month! If you’ve hit the halfway point of 25K, congratulations! Even getting one thousand words down is a huge accomplishment, and you’ve gone way beyond that. Give yourself one large pat on the back!

Haven’t hit the halfway mark yet? Don’t despair! Being down a few thousand words will not keep you from getting to that finish line. And MPL has plenty of services to help you on your way to NaNoWriMo success!


For starters, we have a lot of great tables where you can spread out your laptop and get down to writing. Want to write in a quiet space? Go online or call Administration and book the Friends Room, a quiet, solitary area. Going to be holed up for a long time writing? Feel free to bring your coffee…and even snacks if you are working in the Friends Room.


Not finding the exact resource you need on Google? Our Adult Services librarians can help you look up a fact or find the perfect book to help you learn all about the habits of blue-fined tuna.

Stuck in a scene and not sure where to go next? The books in our 800s section have tons of helpful writing books, full of tips and tricks. (Personally, I’d start with Stephen King’s “On Writing.” LOADS of useful advice!)


Want to look update your NaNo word-count, or chat in the forums about your success/troubles? The library has free WiFi access. All you need is your library card or a visitor’s pass from the checkout desk.

Need even further help? Keep an eye out on our Twitter and Pinterest pages, where we will be posting writing tips and tricks as the month continues.

Good luck and happy plotting!

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