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Martin Luther King, Jr. 2015 Art and Writing Contest

by Keri Mills, Young Adult Librarian


Manhattan Public Library (MPL) hosted and sponsored the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Art and Writing Contest, which has been an important part of MLK Day events for over 15 years. The theme for this year’s contest was “Only Love Can Drive Out Hate,” which was taken from one of Dr. King’s most famous quotes: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” This year’s entries acknowledged the importance that each individual can play, no matter how young or old he or she may be, in promoting Dr. King’s message of nonviolence. They also understand the importance of Dr. King’s place in the world that still resonates throughout our society today. There was participation from kids of all ages, as well as adults in this year’s contest. We had entries from almost all of the area elementary schools, Eisenhower and Anthony middle schools, Manhattan High School, Manhattan Catholic Schools, Flint Hills Christian School, Riley County schools, Kansas State University, and homeschool students.

Submissions for the contest were accepted beginning in December through January 11th, with the judging taking place on January 12th. All entries were judged based on five criteria: originality, creativity, artistic quality or writing style, content, and relevance to the theme. Winners were chosen by a panel of volunteer judges from the community. A thanks goes out to this year’s judges for volunteering their time and effort! Writing Judges included: Beth Bailey from the Union Program Council at Kansas State University; Carol Russell, English Professor at Kansas State University; and Deborah Murray, English professor at Kansas State University. Art judges included: Marrin Robinson, art instructor at Kansas State University; and Karen Schmidt, retired USD 383 middle school art teacher.

Besides Manhattan Public Library, this year’s sponsors included the Gallery for Peace and Justice, Manhattan Library Association, and Manhattan Town Center. Best of show winners received $50 gift certificates from Varney’s or Claflin Books and Copies and $20 gift cards from Manhattan Town Center. First place winners from each of the five age categories received a $25 gift certificate from Varney’s or Claflin Books and Copies. All winners received a certificate of recognition from the MLK Art & Writing Contest Committee.

Award winners were recognized at the annual awards ceremony which took place during the community MLK celebration at Manhattan Town Center on Monday, January 19. Manhattan Mayor Wynn Butler presented the winners with their awards at the recognition ceremony. Here are the 2015 contest winners:


Best of Show: Usha Reddi’s first grade class from Ogden Elementary

 First Place

K-2nd Grade: Ritodeep Roy, Lee Elementary

3rd-5th Grade: Micah Craine, Bluemont Elementary

6th-8th Grade: Kaden Vandorn, Flint Hills Christian School

Adult:  Paulicia Williams

 Honorable Mention

K-2nd Grade: Justin Orvis, Manhattan Catholic Schools

3rd-5th Grade: Sahana Datta and Ananya Pagadala, Marlatt and Amanda Arnold Elementary Schools

6th-8th Grade: Ann Hess, Flint Hills Christian School

9th-12th Grade: Ames Burton, Riley County Schools


Best of Show: Chase Rauch, Manhattan Catholic Schools

First Place

3rd-5th Grade: Halle Gaul, Frank V. Bergman Elementary

6th-8th Grade: Blaise Hayden, Manhattan Catholic Schools

9th-12th Grade: Elijah Irving,  Flint Hills Christian School

Adult: Randy Jellison

 Honorable Mention

3rd-5th Grade: Hannah Loub, Frank V. Bergman Elementary

6th-8th Grade: Abby Cronander, Manhattan Catholic Schools

9th-12th Grade: Amanda Dillon, Flint Hills Christian School

9th-12th Grade: Caleb Linville, Flint Hills Christian School


Congratulations to all of our winners, and thank you to all of the individuals and groups who participated in the contest. The winning entries will be on display at MPL in the atrium through the end of February. Be sure to stop by and take a look!

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Great Start to the Year in Children’s Dept.

Thank you to the community for celebrating our Children’s Room Grand Opening with us on Saturday, January 17th! It was a fun-filled afternoon of music, activities, costumed characters, balloons, cookies and more!  Special thank goes out to Sunset Zoo for bringing several live animals kids could see and touch. Also to the Junior League of the Flint Hills and the local Girl Scouts who volunteered all afternoon.  We initiated the new Storytime Room this morning with more than 80 people at our first Toddler Move & Groove Storytime session in our finished room.  It’s going to be a great year!crowd

IMG_5727IMG_5799IMG_5739IMG_5712olivia hugrockin robballoons in roomoutside doorchalk girl]gear walltunnelready

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

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Winter Book Series Tackles British Classics

by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

emmaWith the holiday season behind us and 2015 ahead, Manhattan Public Library is happy to resume monthly readers’ events for adults and will again host our annual winter series of TALK book discussion programs. The TALK series, “Talk About Literature in Kansas,” is a service of the Kansas Humanities Council and is sponsored at MPL again this year by the Manhattan Library Association. Avid readers will meet on the last Thursday of each month from January through April at 7:00 p.m. in the Library’s Groesbeck Room and will explore a different book each month, guided by knowledgeable and insightful discussion leaders from the KHC. Please join us for any one, all four, or as many of the discussions as your schedule will allow.

This year’s ambitious theme is British Literary Classics of the 19th Century, and our selections are “Emma” by Jane Austen, “Far from the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy, “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, and “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot. These authors represent the great age of British novelists and our four novels are among the best of the era. They were written as the Industrial Revolution began to transform England forever and usher in the upheaval, uncertainty, and excitement of the modern age. Copies of the featured books are available for checkout at the Library’s Information Desk and available in free down-loadable e-book format from Project Gutenberg. And for reluctant readers, or those of you in a time crunch, the good news is that all four of our selections are also available from the library in DVD format!

First up, on Thursday, January 29, is “Emma,” Jane Austen’s beloved comedy of manners. Lovely, privileged, and headstrong Emma Woodhouse is the doyenne of her small county society. She takes a keen interest in the affairs of her neighbors and enlivens her quiet, uneventful life with efforts at match-making. The characters in Emma’s circle are drawn with good-natured humor, the plot entertains, and the dialogue sparkles. In the end, Emma finds out the hard way that people don’t fall in love according to plan, but the outcome is happier than even she could have planned.

In “Far from the Madding Crowd,” February’s book selection, beautiful, willful, and independent Bathsheba Everdene attracts the passionate attentions of three very different suitors in a 19th century English village. Like her biblical namesake, the choices she unwittingly makes cause catastrophe for the men who love her and particular heartbreak for Gabriel Oak, a man of stalwart courage and integrity.  Set against a backdrop of the lush English countryside and the rhythms of rural life, this is an absorbing, beautifully descriptive, character-driven masterpiece.

greatFor March 26th, we’ll read Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” the story of orphaned Pip, his desperate early years, his struggles to overcome his past, and his dreams of becoming a gentleman.  Drawing on Dickens’ frequent themes of Victorian wealth and poverty, love and rejection, weakness or strength of character, and the eventual triumph of good over evil, the novel weaves multiple storylines into a tight plot, imagines scenes rich in comedy and pathos, and introduces a succession of unforgettable characters.

We’ll finish up on Thursday, April 30, with “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot.  The most autobiographical of all Eliot’s novels, this is a tale of English rural life, rival families, and sibling relationships.  As a child, Maggie Tulliver is independent and intellectually curious, but her thirst for knowledge and desire for meaningful relationships is eclipsed by family financial calamity and thwarted by her conventional rural community.  As she grows to womanhood, tensions with her family and community increase, and the novel explores the conflicts of love and loyalty and between desire and responsibility.

millPlease join us to discuss the first book in this winter series, Jane Austen’s “Emma,” on Thursday, January 29th, at 7:00 p.m. in the library’s Groesbeck Room.





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

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MLK Art and Writing Contest Winners Announced


Honorable Mentions

Grade category           Name                                             Teacher/School (if applicable)

9-12                       Ames Burton                                 Riley County Schools

3-5                         Sahana Datta and                        Marlatt and Amanda Arnold Elementary Schools

Ananya Pagadala

K-2                        Justin Orvis                                    Manhattan Catholic Schools

6-8                         Ann Hess                                       Flint Hills Christian School

First Place Awards

K-2                        Ritodeep Roy                                 Lee Elementary

3-5                         Micah Craine                                 Bluemont

6-8                         Kaden Vandorn                             Flint Hills Christian School

Adult                     Paulicia Williams

Best of Show

K-2                        Usha Reddi’s first grade class        Ogden Elementary


Honorable Mentions

3-5                         Hanna Loub                                   Bergman Elementary

6-8                         Abby Cronander                            Manhattan Catholic

9-12                       Amanda Dillon                              Flint Hills Christian School

9-12                       Caleb Linville                                Flint Hills Christian School


First Place Awards

3-5                         Halle Gaul                                     Bergman

6-8                         Blaise Hayden                               Manhattan Catholic Schools

9-12                       Elijah Irving                                   Flint Hills Christian School

Adult                     Randy Jellison

Best of Show

6-8                               Chase Rauch                                  Manhattan Catholic Schools

Posted in: Adult Services, Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, News, Young Adult Dept

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Storytimes start next week in our new room!


We are super excited about library storytimes beginning next week, January 19, in our new Storytime Room.  Storytime Schedule

The storytime space has doubled in size and has beautiful flooring, walls and butterfly decor, with access to an outdoor patio and garden area.  Special thanks goes to our donors who have memorialized loved ones with these wonderful spaces, The Tami Borck Storytime Room and The  Goldstein Garden.

garden doorsThis semester, we are trying out some new storytime ideas and formats, as well as keeping many of our treasured favorites.  Nature Storytimes on Tuesday and Saturday mornings will feature stories about plants, Earth and animals, and will include an activity or craft. When possible, this storytime will take place outdoors in the garden.

Evening Storytimes on Tuesdays at 6:30 will be led by Mr. Brian. Families are encouraged to attend together, and children are invited to wear pajamas so they ready for the bedtime routine when they get home.   Mr. Brian will also include “Night for Knowledge” some weeks, which is geared at helping children and caregivers familiarize themselves with the new Children’s Room.

Move and Groove Storytimes will continue with two options per week for toddlers (18-36 months) and two for preschoolers (ages 3 & up).  These popular storytimes feature lots of lively music, dancing, and action rhymes, as well as fabulous stories and puppets to keep young children engaged.

Reading Round Up will take place on Tuesday afternoons for older preschoolers (age 4 and up), with longer books, fun props, music, and activities that challenge growing minds.

If you have a little one under 18 months old, Baby Rhyme Time is the perfect opportunity for you to bring in your baby and enjoy bouncy songs, nursery rhymes, short books, and fun music.

Our fabulous six children’s librarians have been working to prepare our best storytime semester yet. We hope to see you next week in the fabulous Storytime Room for lots of fun!


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

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Grand Opening Celebration for Children’s Library!

young children holding up a thank you sign

The new Children’s Library is finished, and we’re throwing a party on Saturday, January 17, 2015 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. to celebrate!

The new space is twice the size of the old library, with new features like 1,683 sq. ft. of new storytime space with state-of-the-art A/V equipment, neighborhoods of books, a magnetic gear wall, puzzle-shaped seats, twelve touch-screen computers just for kids, dress up clothes with a magic mirror, a toddler playhouse, and cozy window seats perfect for enjoying a good book.

At the celebration, kids and parents will get a chance to meet and take pictures with Olivia and Curious George. Manhattan Public Library staff, and volunteers from the Junior League and Girl Scouts will help kids make crafts.  Musician Rockin’ Rob will perform at 2:00 p.m. Plus, everyone will get the chance to explore all the features of the brand new library!

Special thanks to fundraising committee chairs Jerry Pettle and Katie Philp, honorary co-chairs Bill and Sharon Snyder, and all the generous people in the Manhattan community who made the new children’s library possible. Your support has provided a beautiful place for children and their families to explore a world of imagination and information, for years to come.

The Manhattan Public library is located at 629 Poyntz Avenue in Manhattan, Kansas. If you would like more information about the celebration, or any other library-related events or services, please call (785) 776-4741,  or email us at

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Adults, For Teens, News

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Only Love Can Drive Out Hate: MLK, Jr. Art and Writing Contest 2015

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

2014MLKBestofShow_Seoyon_KimThe creativity found in art and writing has a unique ability to capture the spirit of a concept, an idea, or a movement. Each year, we are privileged to see the artistic interpretations of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and messages as part of the MLK Jr. Art and Writing Contest, an event in conjunction with the Manhattan community’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations. As the deadline approaches for the 2015 contest, we hope you will share your experience with Dr. King’s message of non-violence, social justice, and human rights, and help us pass on his message of peace, “Only Love Can Drive Out Hate.”

Original works of art or writing on this theme can be submitted at Manhattan Public Library until 6pm, January 11, 2015. Please include an entry form with your work. All works must meet the requirements noted on the form. We cannot accept late submissions.

Entries will be evaluated by professional, independent judges not affiliated with Manhattan Public Library. Each age group will be evaluated separately, with categories for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, and post-high school.

Certificates will be awarded to the first place winners in each category, best of show winners, and honorable mention winners. Winners will be recognized at the community celebration at Manhattan Town Center on January 19 at noon .

Sponsors of this year’s contest include the Gallery for Peace and Justice, Manhattan Library Association, Manhattan Public Library, Manhattan Town Center, and Varney’s.

More information on the event can be found by visiting the Manhattan Public Library at 629 Poyntz Avenue or by calling 785-776-4741.

Posted in: Adult Services, Children's Dept, For Teens, News

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Building Your Brain in 2015

By Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator

road sign with learning in all directions

image courtesy of

Learning is Good for You

What’s the best way to improve your memory, make sure your mind stays sharp as you age, and keep your skills relevant at work? Learn something new!

“Learning a new skill can help ward off dementia by strengthening the connections between parts of your brain,” says cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman. Plus, it’s interesting and exciting to explore something you’ve never tried before.

Taking care of your brain by learning a new skill would be a great bullet point to add to your New Year’s Resolution for 2015–and the Manhattan Public Library is here to help.

First, you should check out a new service called, which provides excellent video training courses in a wide variety of subject areas. Library card holders have access to the entire catalog of 4,500+ training videos on through the library’s website at

Each subject on 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. I just watched a course called Introduction to Graphic Design, and my brain is brimming with ideas!

Courses on 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. Watch the classes on your own computer, tablet, or smartphone, or use one of the library’s computers.

If you’re having trouble getting started, check out the nineteen-minute Overcoming Procrastination course!

Like all library resources, access to is completely free for cardholders. Residents of Chase, Clay, Dickinson, Geary, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Morris, Pottawatomie, Riley, Wabaunsee, and Washington counties can get a Manhattan Public Library card. Just stop by the library at 629 Poyntz Avenue–remember to bring proof of residence with you.

Tech Tuesdays

Next, the library’s 2015 season of Tech Tuesdays begins on January 13 with a class called “Basic iPad.” If you are the proud owner of a new iPad and would like to figure out how it works, sign up for this free, two-hour workshop at the library and exercise your brain with new technology skills.

The Tech Tuesday season continues with “How to Download eBooks” on January 20 & 27, then “Beginners Ancestry” on February 10. Stop by the library or visit our online events calendar to see the complete schedule.

Mango Languages

Learning a new language would be another excellent exercise for your brain–plus, it would give you the perfect excuse to start planning that trip to Italy this summer! Mango Languages is another learning program that is available through the library’s website. Find Mango on the Research page. With more than 40 languages to choose from, you can add as many countries to your travel list as you can handle.


Playing chess, “the game of kings,” might be one of the very best activities for your brain. It can help you improve concentration, gain problem-solving skills, increase creativity, and prevent Alzheimer’s.  The library has chess boards available for checkout and also hosts chess club meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 3:30-6:00 p.m. The next meeting is January 13. Participants ages 9+ are invited to learn, practice, and play chess with members of the KSU Chess Club. Meet in the auditorium on the second floor. No registration is necessary.

Time to start!

With so many resources available to exercise your brain, you should have no trouble finding new ways to build your “mind muscles.” The benefits of keeping your brain healthy with new skills, fresh ideas, and unique perspectives will help you in every aspect of your life–from making you a delightful dinner companion to helping you get a promotion.

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to say “this wine is an excellent vintage” in French, how to crush a chess opponent in six moves, or how to expertly retouch photographs, what are you waiting for? 2015 is here, and it’s time to get moving. Step one: get a library card. Step two: start exploring!

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What a Great Year!

It’s a little sad to say good-bye to 2014. After all, this year was very good to the Manhattan Public Library. Between the Children’s Expansion project, Star Wars Reads Day, and Summer Reading, we were busier, bigger, and more boisterous than ever. Here are some of the highlights of the last year.

Children’s Library Expansion Project

Kelley construction broke ground on the children’s library expansion project in January 2014 and finished on schedule in December. A total of 5,332 square feet were added to the children’s library–and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results! Stop by anytime to explore the new space, and remember to join us for the big Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, January 17 from 1:00 to 4:00pm.

kids watching construction equipment

kids and parents in the new library

World Book Night

Librarians left the safety of the service desk and went out into the wilds of Manhattan on April 23 to give away armloads of free books. World Book Night is a global celebration of literature. We were proud to distribute copies of “Where’d You Go Bernadette,” “After the Funeral,” and “The Catcher in the Rye” downtown, at City Park, and Aggieville, live tweeting all the way. If you can’t make it to the library, sometimes the library comes to you.

women at world book night

librarian at world book night


Summer Reading

Readers had another record-breaking summer with more than 1 million minutes of combined reading time in June and July. With more than 64 storytimes and clubs in June alone, librarians were busy juggling schedules and construction demands! The summer reading theme for 2015 is all about superheroes, and we’re going to have more fun events and programs than you can shake Thor’s Hammer at. Don’t miss the kickoff celebration on May 30th.

summer storytime with puppet

kids at summer science club

Star Wars Reads Day

What on earth are are storm troopers doing at the LIBRARY? In honor of Star Wars Reads Day on October 11, more than 250 Manhattanites gathered to make crafts, play trivia, watch movies, and harness the power of the force. The event was such a success, we’re planning to go even bigger and badder for the 2015 celebration!

kids at the wookie yelling contest

band members posing with green screen

The Big Read

In November, we honored veterans by exploring Tim O’Brien’s book about the war in Vietnam, called “The Things They Carried.” This poignant piece of literature guided discussions inside and outside the library. A panel of veterans shared their stories at the Wareham Opera House on November 11, 25 book lovers met at the Little Apple Brewery to sit down and talk on November 13, librarians handed out books during the Veterans’ Day Parade, and postcards were circulated at the library for people to sign and send to veterans. It was a powerful and important month for everyone involved.

If you missed the forum, check out the DVD of the event available in the library’s Veteran’s Oral History Project collection.

veterans at forum discussion

book discussion group

We hope 2014 was as fun-filled and exciting for you as it was for us. If you have any questions about upcoming library programs, stop by to pick up a calendar or visit our events calendar online. Happy New Year!

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

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New Year, New Room!

By Jennifer Bergen, Children’s Services Manager

It has been nearly a full year since Kelley Construction Company broke ground outside the library to begin the children’s room expansion. Now, on January 17, 2015, just 358 days after the ceremonial groundbreaking, we will have a grand opening celebration to showcase the new Children’s Room, including fantastic reading areas, imaginative play spaces, and a larger Storytime Room for programs.

Already, the room is drawing crowds of kids, from an excited after-school bunch needing a place to hang out before evening ball games, to little tots discovering the secret doors into the playhouse.

kidsWalking into the room, anyone familiar with the library will immediately notice changes. Colorful carpet tiles lighten up the room, and an innovative bookshelf in the entryway draws readers in to have a look at the newest books available.  Kids who find something they like can crawl right into the bookshelf and begin reading in a comfy built-in nook.

Picture books have grown in popularity, so that space is enlarged with more book displays to show off the fantastic illustrations that define this genre.  The area formerly used for storytime has been renovated to encompass both an early literacy space for preschoolers and toddlers, as well as a parent and teacher resource center with a collection of books for adults.  Parents can browse for the perfect “toddler years” guide while their little ones are entertained with puppets, puzzles and books.

The new Storytime Room is a fabulous space with media capabilities that will allow for innovative programs.  There will be plenty of room for all the kids an  caregivers and even the double strollers.  Our first storytime in the room will be January 19.  Until then, children are enjoying the large, open space, bean bag animals, and bright colored cubes for seating.  On nicer winter days, families can slip out the side doors and enjoy the fenced-in garden area, free to explore nature, read outdoors, draw with chalk or play with items on the outside table.  Our new storytime schedule includes a Nature Storytime twice a week that will take place outdoors as often as possible.

roomOn the other side of the room, a special feature kids of all ages seem to enjoy is the climbable “Mount Verde”, a large, lime green, multi-level structure where kids can sit, lounge, or pose as King of the Mountain.  The structure resides in the Reading Corner amidst giant pillows, puzzle shaped seats, and soft comfy chairs.  The oval sloped lounge chair and blue wavy couch are other fun pieces on which kids or adults can relax as they preview their library choices.  This is the scene passers-by see as they drive past the windows of the library on Poyntz, and it is often teeming with children and parents.

Nestled around the edges of the room next to the Reading Corner are “neighborhoods” of books: Arts & Crafts, Science & Nature, Graphic Novels, Transportation, Geography, History, Animals, and Fairy Tales & Folklore.  Excellent selections of books on these subjects are perfect for young browsers who want to find everything on their favorite topics.  Children are drawn in with interactive features such as a magnetic gear and propeller wall, an enormous globe to spin, crafts to make on the spot, rotating displays, objects to build with, and even some live fire-bellied toads.  The fairy tale dress up clothes have been very popular, too.

The library’s large collection of children’s fiction is also relocated to this part of the room, and it includes divisions for beginning readers and early chapter books to help younger children find titles at the right reading level.

The additional space has allowed room for the children’s media collections that had been housed next to the adult media.  Children’s movies are now next to the librarians’ service desk, along with the children’s music CDs and audiobooks.  Customers have commented that they didn’t know the library had books on CD or music CDs for children until now.

studySoon, the Technology Zone in the children’s room will be upgraded with twelve touchscreen computers just for kids, loaded with entertaining and educational games, and quick links to kid-friendly websites.

Check it all out first hand, and tell us what you think. We are interested in hearing feedback as we continue to organize all our new furnishings and materials to make it the best library possible for all the kids and families who come in.  Join us on January 17, between 1:00 and 4:00, as we celebrate this new space with donor recognition, fun activities around the room for children, a musical performance by Rockin’ Rob at 2:00, and costumed characters Olivia and Curious George roaming the library.

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