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Back to School at K-State

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

by CollegeDegrees360

by CollegeDegrees360 at

K-12 students may have been back in school for almost two weeks, but students at KSU are just now gearing up for another (or a first!) semester at school. The first semester at college can be a daunting thing, with all the new places, new people, new expectations. Even if you have a few K-State years under your belt, the new semester always comes with a sense of anticipation of the unknown professors, classes, and the looming future on the horizon.

Just a stone’s through away from campus, Manhattan Public Library has lots of free resources and services that can help make life as a student a little easier, and maybe a little more fun. Here are just a few of the things we offer:

  • Study Rooms: Tired of fighting for space at Hale Library? Need a change of scenery while you cram for your calc midterm? MPL has spaces designed for quiet study so you can focus on your assignments, and meeting rooms where you can gather for your Elementary Spanish study group. Add in our free WiFi (plus free parking) and you’re all set.
  • Databases: Whether you need to brush up on a foreign language for a placement test (Mango Languages), study for the GRE (Learning Express), or do some research for a term paper (Masterfile Premier), we have the easy-to-use databases that will get you up-to-speed quickly. Most of them are accessible from your home computer, too, so there is no need to even leave your couch to use them.
  • Computers: However, if you don’t have a computer–or you are in between computers–MPL has free computers available for community use. Stop by anytime during our open hours to use them, as well as scan, copy, and fax materials. (Scanner, copier, and fax machine located by the 1st floor Information Desk.)
  • Personalized Reading Lists: Need an escape from your required reading, but don’t have the time to test-drive books? We can help you make sure you spend your precious pleasure-reading hours on books you’ll love with our free personalized readings lists. Fill out our short questionnaire, and within ten days, you’ll get a list of ten or more books picked specifically for you. For our book super fans, take note: you can request a new list once a month, so there is never a need to run out of things to read.

While you don’t have to have a library card to use our study rooms or computers, a library card will get you all the books you could want, plus a stash of DVDs for when you’d rather be binge watching Sherlock. To get a library card, all you need is a photo ID and proof of current local address. (And did I mention that all of this is free?)


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Keri Mills
Young Adult Librarian

sherlockThe series, “Sherlock,” premiered in 2010 and has since gained legions of followers. If you are one of the many, like myself, who have been “Sherlocked,” then you were unhappy with the news that season 4 will not even begin filming until the winter of 2015. Having to wait two years for new episodes practically qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment! Other than watching reruns of previous seasons, what are Sherlockians to do? Here ae a few suggestions to get you started.

Try some classic Sherlock Holmes. Start with “The Sherlock Holmes Collection” by A&E Television. This collection presents the five surviving episodes of the classic BBC show that aired in the 1960’s with Sherlock played by Peter Cushing. Or, watch “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous Sherlock mysteries. This movie adaptation was created in 1983 and stars Ian Richardson as Holmes.

For a more contemporary take, there is the movie “Sherlock Holmes” and its follow-up “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” both directed by Guy Ritchie and released in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Holmes is played by Robert Downey, Jr. and Watson is played by Jude Law. These films diverge quite a bit from the classic Sherlock Holmes portrayal, in that Holmes and Watson are more like big blockbuster action heroes than intellectuals. However, Holmes is still arrogant, impulsive, intelligent, and of course, amazing at deductive reasoning. Another option is “Elementary,” a CBS TV series that debuted in 2012, with the third season slated to premier in October. Originally, producers garnered a lot of flak as they seemed to be riding on the coattails of “Sherlock’s” success, but this show can definitely stand on its own. Like “Sherlock,” it is set in the modern day, but, the setting is New York instead of London. And, while Holmes (Jonny Miller) still has a sidekick, she is now a woman, Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).

expressBesides watching other adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, anything based on Agatha Christie’s mysteries is a good choice. One of the great classics is “Murder on the Orient Express.” This 1974 film is star-studded with such actors as Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, and Vanessa Redgrave. In the movie, the Orient Express, a luxurious passenger train, is stopped by deep snow, and passengers discover that a murder has been committed. Luckily, or not so luckily for the murderer, famous detective, Hercule Poirot, happens to be on board. He must identify the murderer before he or she decides to strike again or is able to escape from the train. Another option is “And Then There Were None.” In this 1945 movie, based on Christie’s book by the same name, ten people are invited to an island for the weekend by the mysterious Mr. U. N. Own. Left on the island by boat, and then stranded, the ten begin being murdered one by one. Will they discover the murderer before all ten are dead?

For something a little different, “Doctor Who” is a good alternative. For those of you unfamiliar with “Doctor Who,” it is a long-running British science fiction TV series (recently celebrating 50 years). The Doctor, who is a Time Lord, explores the universe in his TARDIS, a time-traveling space ship that resembles a blue British police box. Along with various companions, the Doctor travels throughout time to save civilization and right various wrongs. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, co-creators and writers for “Sherlock,” are also writers for “Doctor Who” (Steven Moffat is also the executive producer for “Doctor Who”).
If you just want to see more of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the library has several of their movies. To see the two of them together again, watch “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” See Martin as Bilbo Baggins, and hear Cumberbatch’s marvelous voice as Smaug, the fire-breathing dragon.

imagesRRCDMDWQWhile none of these movies can take the place of “Sherlock,” hopefully they will help to tide us over for awhile. All of the above titles can be found at MPL. And, while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the original Sherlock Holmes adventures by Sir Arthur Conan D

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August Construction Update

By Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator

The year is flying by and the children’s library expansion is flying right along with it.

The limestone masonry that defines so many of the beautiful buildings in Manhattan is almost complete. It is impressive to see how quickly this talented crew can make a wall out of a pile of stones. They have been able to match the existing structure perfectly!

stone masons building limestone wall

Soon, only the interior work will be left. Paint colors are being selected and the new carpeting should start to arrive in September.

green wall in storytime room

Erin Wages, the interior architect, is creating a fun and welcoming space for kids and parents. The wall of windows and window seats are sure to be big favorites.

second floor windows

I could only get access to the second floor space. The windows on the first floor look just like this, only lower.

Staff in the children’s department have chosen some fun colors and patterns for the furniture and flooring. They’re currently test driving chair samples to make sure everything will be comfortable. I’ve noticed people taking their breaks on the new chairs, so I think we’ve found some winners.

Amber sitting in lounge chair

Amber demonstrates the extreme comfort.

Choices are being made for the garden, too. I’ve heard talk of a Walking Stick Tree that may be planted soon. What a perfect spot to sit and read Grimm’s fairy tales!

walking stick tree

Contorted Filbert aka “Waling Stick Tree” photo courtesy of

Patrons and donors have given so much support to the children’s library expansion project, and you are all invited to the grand opening celebration that is planned for mid-January. In the meantime, feel free to stop by to see the progress (and check out a few books and movies while you’re here).

If you have any questions about the library or the expansion project, please contact us at 785-776-4741.

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Tips for Keeping Information Safe Online

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

blog imagesMy very first email account was through AOL in 1996. I didn’t get much email–after all, I was a teenager and I hardly knew anyone outside of my small hometown, where we barely got internet service anyway. Still, I doubt I gave one single thought to Internet pitfalls; I freely made chatroom handles with my real (and distinctive) name and I used passwords so simple, they are the building blocks of preschool curriculum.

Almost twenty years, and numerous computer viruses later, I know a lot more about keeping myself and my personal information safe online. It’s a never-ending battle, though. Lately, it seems that every six months, there is something new to watch out for, whether it is the Heartbleed Bug, a virus that took advantage of a security flaw in OpenSSL, a popular data encryption standard, compromising millions of web users last winter; or the 1.2 billion (yes, billion) users who had passwords stolen by Russian hackers just last week.

The fact of the matter is that there is no one thing you can do to stay safe online. However, there are a number of simple things you can do to make yourself more secure, and decrease the risks to your personal information.

  1. Keep things updated: Making sure that your software and operating systems are up to date is a good first step to making sure your computer is safe. Viruses can be used against out-of-date software and operating systems, so use current versions to ensure you stay protected.
  2. Create strong passwords, and change them often: What makes a good password? The more complicated and difficult to guess, the better. There are lots of great resources on how to create a strong password. Here are some basic tips to get you started:
    1. Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. This very important. Reusing passwords may make it easier for you to access your information, but it also makes it easier for hackers.
    2. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols…but avoid using common strings like “mypassword” or “abcd1234.” While it is important to be able to remember your passwords, bear in mind that the more complex the password, the harder it is to break.
    3. Don’t use passwords linked to any kind of personal information, whether it is your birthday, Social Security number, or the year your first child was born.
    4. Change passwords regularly. Microsoft recommends every 30 to 90 days. Using a (paper) notebook to keep track of your passwords helps make this a less daunting task.
  3. Choose wisely when clicking on links: Not sure why your friend in Colorado would send you an email that says “OPEN THIS EMAIL?” Or maybe you don’t recognize the email sender at all? If there is anything that seems off or suspicious about an email or website, don’t open it. Always take the better-safe-than-sorry perspective on this issue.
  4. Never share your sensitive information (account numbers, passwords, etc.) with others, especially over social media or email.

These tips aren’t just meant for laptop or desktop computers, either. They absolutely apply to your tablet and smart phone. In fact, many of us are much less cautious when it comes to our mobile devices, even though they carry many of the same risks as computers.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use technology safely, there are lots of tech training opportunities in Manhattan. UFM, the North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging, USD 383 Adult Learning Center, Manhattan Area Technical College, and (of course) Manhattan Public Library offer computer classes for all levels of users. Even if you are starting at the beginning, training can make using a computer more fun, and definitely more secure, experience.


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Perseid Meteor Shower

By Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Supervisor

perseid meteor shower in AustinBetween August 10-12 Manhattanites will have the opportunity to see one of the brightest meteor showers of the year: the Perseid Meteor shower. Named after the constellation and the Greek mythological hero Perseus, the Perseid Meteor Shower lies in the north-eastern part of the sky (this information and more found here).

If you’re interested in catching a glimpse of the shower, grab a blanket and head out to one of the following spots around Manhattan. You shouldn’t need a telescope, but it’s easiest to see the shower when it’s fully dark out, after 10pm. (Please remember to abide by park closing times!)

For awesome, away-from-city-lights viewing opportunities, try:

  • On Top of the World: Head north on Seth Child’s and turn left on Top of the World Drive. Follow the road to a parking lot that is a perfect spot for star gazing.
  • Manhattan Hill: Turn left onto Ehler’s Road from Tuttle Creek Boulevard. Another left on Bluemont Scenic Drive will lead to a parking lot. You can choose to look for the meteor there, or exit the car and take a short hike around the water tower to Manhattan Hill, where you can stand on the word “Manhattan” and look out over the town.
  • Observation Point Drive: Take Tuttle Creek Boulevard to Highway 13 and turn left onto Tuttle Cove Road and right onto Observation Point Drive. You’ll find a parking lot with a great view of the lake and the night sky.
  • K-177 Overlook Park: Head out of town on K-177. A few miles out of town there will be a lookout on your right which offers yet another fabulous spot to stargaze.

If you need a good excuse to stay up late to see the meteor shower, stop by the library and pick up a good book or movie to keep you company while you wait!

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Coming Soon to Theater Near You–Favorite Books Made into Movies!

In the coming weeks and months, several books that have been favorites at Manhattan Public Library have been made into films and will be coming to a theater near you! Some of the films coming soon are:

hundredThe Hundred Foot Journey, coming to theaters on August 8, stars Helen Mirren and Manish Dayal, tells how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian restaurant and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. It is a fable that is a testament to the inevitability of destiny.

Before I Go to Sleep, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, is scheduled for release August 12.  Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love–all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine’s life. (more…)

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Back to School Day is August 12th


Photo by Michael Bently via Creative Commons at

by Amber Keck, Children’s Librarian

Championship t-ball games have been played, dance recitals have been performed, and the summer reading program at the library has come to a close. (Participants in the children’s summer reading program logged in over one million minutes–wow!) This can mean only one thing—the beginning of the school year is just around the corner.

For USD 383 students, the first day of school is Tuesday, August 12th. To ease the transition back to school, the first day will be a half day, with the students to be released before lunch. To help parents and students prepare for the upcoming year, most schools will be hosting  an open house. Don’t miss out on a sneak peek into your child’s school. If you need to pick up school supplies, lists are provided at major stores in town, such as Target and Wal-Mart. Remember that if this is your child’s first year attending USD 383, you will need to present a health assessment, immunization card, transcript from their previous school (if applicable), proof of identity and social security number, before they can be enrolled.

With the transition from summer to school, there is sure to be anxiety amongst parents and children alike. The first day of school is not like any other day, though. There are forms to be filled out, fees to be paid, and the ever-present butterflies to be calmed before even walking through the door. And it’s not always the kids who are nervous about the new school year, either. However, the library has a number of great resources in order to prepare families for going back to school.

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Water Matters Day 2014

by Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Supervisor


Photo by Jamie McCaffrey via Creative Commons at

You wake up and don’t even think about it. After stumbling out of your bedroom and making your way down the hall, you turn the faucet on and begin the mindless task of brushing your teeth. Next you might make coffee, fill your dog’s water bowl, or water your plants.

But imagine if waking up in the morning wasn’t so simple. Imagine that, once you wake up and leave your bed, you don’t have a convenient way to brush your teeth. That water isn’t automatically accessible from your faucet for your coffee pot or to fill your dog’s water dish. There is no water in the hose that gives your plants their daily drink. What would you do?

How would you get your water?

Water Matters Day is a day to educate people around the world about water issues, and help people without such easily available water get what they need. Locally, it addresses the need we have to assist other Kansans who might be dealing with drought or water accessibility issues of their own.

On August 9th head to City Park Poll at 1pm to participate in the 4th annual Water Matters Day. The Manhattan Konza Rotary Club will be there all afternoon, with activities to help increase awareness about water resources. There will be booths, giveaways, food, activities and prizes for the whole family. The library will be present with a booth of activities and information to hand out as well!

If you’re interested in continuing your education even further, stop by the library after and pick up a few books on the subject! MPL has numerous resources, so stop by our Adult Services Department for a brochure on the best Water Matters information!

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Election Day is August 5th

by Judi Nechols, Adult Services Librarian

voteThe summer has flown by and it’s already election time—Primary Elections will be held in Riley County on August 5. The Riley County Clerk’s web site has LOTS of information about voter registration and elections.

Although voter registration is closed for the upcoming primaries, you still have time to register to vote in the General Election held on November 4, 2014. The last day to register to vote in the General Election is October 14, 2014. To register to vote, you will need:

  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship
  • A Completed Voter Registration Application, available online or at the County Clerk’s office. Mail your completed form or walk-in to the Riley County Clerk’s Office at 110 Courthouse Plaza to finish your registration. There are also many places around town and throughout Riley County to pick up a Voter Registration Application, including at the check-out desk at Manhattan Public Library!
  • Your voter registration information and sample ballot for the Primary Election are also available at the County Clerk’s web site.  Enter your name, birthdate and county to view a sample ballots for either Democrat or Republican candidates, your personal voting history, and where your polling place is located. For the Primary Election, your ballot will be available according to your party affiliation. If you are Unaffiliated, you may choose a party ballot when you go to the polling place, but you must declare your party affiliation when you select a ballot.

Advance voting is conveniently located on the second floor of the Riley County Office Building, weekdays through August 1, 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, and Saturday August 2 from 8:00 am until noon. The last day for advance voting is Monday, August 4 from 8:00 am until noon.

To vote in advance or at your polling places (open 7am to 7pm on Tuesday, August 5), every voter must show a photo ID. Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • Kansas Drivers’ License
  • U.S. Passport
  • U.S. Military ID
  • Student ID from an accredited post-secondary institution in Kansas
  • Employee ID or badge issued by a government office
  • Public Assistance ID card
  • Concealed Carry or Handgun License issued by a state government

If you have any questions about your registration or the elections, please contact the Riley County Clerk’s Office at 785-537-6300.

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Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary Women

Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

Learning about other people’s lives can be endlessly fascinating, particularly if they are people who inhabit another place or time very different from your own. In my case, I love to read about the domestic and personal lives of ordinary women in American history as told through their journals or letters, the artifacts of their lives, or the evidence of historical sources and documents. Here are some outstanding books from Manhattan Public Library about the lives of American women.

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Martha Ballard, the subject of this Pulitzer Prize-winning book, was a housewife, midwife, and healer in Maine in the 18th century. Her diary is compelling reading, an intimate, personal view of the daily concerns and events in Ballard’s own life and the lives of the women she served, as well as happenings and social dynamics in the communities she traveled.

perfectionPerfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century, by Laura Shapiro, recounts the development of the Domestic Science reform movement in the Progressive-era U.S. between 1880 and 1930. The movement was an ambitious plan to improve the lives of American women and their families by applying “modern” scientific knowledge to common domestic activities, thereby boosting efficiency, promoting better health and sanitation, and improving food and nutrition. The impact of this movement on American homemakers and its legacy up to the present time include both positives and negatives. This is an enlightening and entertaining book.

Never Done: A History of American Housework, by Susan Strasser. Using plentiful illustrations and primary sources, this book offers a comprehensive overview of housekeeping and women’s work in U.S. history, from colonial and pioneer households through the industrialization of America to the consumer culture and time-stressed lifestyles of the 20th century.

No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting, by Anne L. Macdonald. Great fun for knitters as well as armchair historians, this book chronicles the role of “the womanly art of knitting” through our national history. “From the Colonial woman for whom idleness was a sin to her Victorian counterpart who enjoyed knitting while visiting with friends, from the war wife eager to provide her man with warmth and comfort to the modern woman who knits as a creative and artistic outlet, this book offers a unique perspective on American women’s changing historical roles.

The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, follows 14 handmade artifacts of American domestic life through their history and the lives of the people who made and used them. An engaging combination of women’s studies, history, and the study of museum artifacts, this book guides the reader through American material culture of colonial times, Revolution, frontier life, the growth of commerce, and the Industrial Age in America.

Our Own Snug Fireside: Images of the New England Home, 1760-1860, by
Jane C. Nylander. The image of the early American home has been idealized over time and infused with great nostalgia. In “Our Own Snug Fireside”, author Jane Nylander draws from the journals of four women to discover the truth about the customs, traditions, friends, families, and work of the historical New England household, and creates a “fine social history of forgotten routines.”

Linoleum, Better Babies, and the Modern Farm Woman, 1890-1930, by Marilyn Irvin Holt. Studying the Domestic Science movement and the resources and programs it offered to the lives of rural women in America (home economics education, Extension Home Demonstration Units, etc.), this is a very readable, well-illustrated history of changing roles for women in agriculture that is significant in its inclusion of African-American and Hispanic American farm women.

somethingSomething from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America, by Laura Shapiro. The story of how post-war overcapacity in the food manufacturing industry intersected (collided?) with the needs of 1950s housewives to produce dramatic changes in American kitchens, women’s lives, and family life. Characters in this entertaining history include modern marketing and food science, the advent of television advertising, advances in the American kitchen and diet, changing race relations in America, and the appearance of homemaking and cooking icons, both fictitious and real, from Betty Crocker to Julia Child to Freda De Knight. Close enough to present day to strike the chords of memory for many of us, this is fun and fascinating social history.


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