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Archive for Children’s Expansion

September Construction Update

The Children’s Library is really shaping up! Everything is still on schedule to be completed in mid-December and the big party will happen on January 17, 2015–unless we’re in the middle of a giant snow storm, that is. (And if that’s the case, come out and party with us the following Saturday.)

exterior of new construction

Flooring and lights have been installed in the storytime room. We have visions of sweeping up glitter, laughing when kids spill glue, and running around like very happy librarians with space for all the kiddos, parents and strollers who come to storytime.

Rachel in the storytime room

New furniture has been arriving by the truckload. We’re unpacking very cool, blue, kid-sized chairs, giant pillows for the window seats, new storytime rugs, and puppet trees. Stay tuned for the play house, loft, and funky couch that will be arriving soon.

blue chairsand table








We also have a big stack of new computers to install. The new space will feature twelve brand-new computer stations with touch screens. Parents will be pleased to learn that each station has a 30 minute time limit. If no one is waiting in line, kids will be able to stay for an additional 30 minutes, however, the timer is also pretty handy for parents who want to say, “Okay, time’s up. Let’s go read a book outside!”

Laura with new computers

Which brings me to the patio and garden space. The fence is up and plants will be arriving soon. The big patio will let us hold storytime out in the sunshine and the sturdy fence will keep kiddos safe from cars.  We’ll have some very nice tables and chairs in place so you and your children will be able to relax enjoy a good book outdoors throughout the day, too.

patio as seen through the storytime room doors

Librarians have been organizing the children’s books into neighborhoods. Miss Rachel announced yesterday that she labeled the very last book! Here’s a preview of how things will look on the shelves. We hope books will be even easier for you to find.


Staff have been given a sneak peek of the new spaces and “ooohs and aaaaahs” were heard from everyone. Architects and construction crews have done a fantastic job creating a new children’s library we can all be proud of.

staff in the new library

Thank you for all the patience and support! I think you will be very impressed with the finished product, and I think kids are going to have a lot of fun reading at Manhattan Public Library.

If you have any questions about the project, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (785) 776-4741 ext. 125 or

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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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Construction Halfway Point

By Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator

Construction is going well and the project is starting to move indoors. Windows will be installed soon, and the roof work is almost completed, just in time for the warmer weather and some wild storms. The expansion is on schedule to be completed in December and we hope to have the grand opening celebration in January.

Here are a few photos from a perspective the public doesn’t usually get to see.

If you have any questions about the construction project, please contact us at   old storytime room mid-construction We’ll call this one “before.”

roofers covering project in the rain What do roofers like less than heat? Rain!crane lifting new HVAC onto roof

This way! The new HVAC system was hoisted into place by crane.Roofers from Topeka worked hard to get the job done. The roof was finished very quickly, once the rain stopped!

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Letter from the Director – Children’s Library Construction

two men putting steel ibeams into place on the north side of the libraryIt’s finally spring! While it may look like work on the expansion of the children’s library just popped up like a crocus, construction crews have been on the job for the past four months in all kinds of weather. The early stages of site demolition and utility relocation are complete, and the foundations have been poured. The south entrance is open again, with a new sidewalk.

If you drive by, you will see the steel construction, defining the outline of the new space. Soon the frame will be covered with the exterior sheathing and masonry. Some of the activity will move inside during late June with work on electrical and mechanical systems. Late summer to fall, interior walls will start to go up, along with some furnishings. A few of the supplies and materials in the children’s room will need to be moved or shifted temporarily during this time, but we anticipate that the room will still be open for use, as the work progresses in phases from one end of the area to the other. Library staff have been meeting with the interior architect to finalize the layout of furniture and fixtures. We are particularly excited about the new larger storytime room with multi-media equipment and the adjacent garden. “Neighborhoods” in the collection will create interesting area for books and materials, with features for learning and play.

man pouring concrete at the library with snow on the groundWe want you to know that things are progressing well and you can see the impact all the community’s contributions have made. Additional information will be posted as the year progresses and the project nears completion. If you have any questions, please contact me.

-Linda Knupp
Director, Manhattan Public Library

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Construction Time-Lapse Video April Update

Kerry, the Manhattan Public Library’s IT Department Manager, has been documenting the construction of the new children’s library using time-lapse photography.

Watch amazing footage of the north and south side expansions as the steel I-beams are installed and the new storytime room’s foundation is poured. From our vantage point on the third floor, this looks like one giant lego project!

Stay tuned for more video updates as the construction progresses.

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Progress in the Children’s Room

Things are looking  a little different in the Children’s Room of the library.  We are shifting collections around to make space for interior remodeling that will begin later this spring or summer. If you can’t find what you are looking for, please ask a librarian! We will do our best to make sure all our books and materials are still accessible, but they will be squeezed in more tightly than usual.  Here are some things that have moved around:

  • Some of the Children’s Nonfiction (0-499), as well as the Parents’ Shelf and Reference collections, have temporarily been moved to the 2nd floor near the Adult Services Desk.
  • Toddler picture books and board books moved to shelves closer to the Children’s Services Desk.
  • Children’s Graphic Novels moved to shelves near the entrance to the Children’s Room.
  • Children’s New Books moved to the white display shelves near the Children’s Services Desk.
  • Magazines are in bins above the Children’s Picture Books.

Shelves Emptied to Prepare for Interior Construction Work children's nonfiction books moved to 2nd floor

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South Doors Re-Opened!

The library’s main entrance is now open! You can tap your toes on a brand new sidewalk leading into the atrium. Thank you for your patience during construction on the new children’s library.

Construction will continue throughout the summer and fall, and we hope to open the new space by the end of the year. If you’re curious to see what the new children’s library will look like, check the plans and artist sketches on the Children’s Library Expansion Page.

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Watching Us Grow

Construction workers in 1904 unloading timber to build the Carnegie library

1904 image courtesy of the Riley County Historical Society

The original Carnegie Library, built in 1904 with a $10,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie, still stands at 5th and Poyntz. A largely volunteer labor force erected the structure and fit the limestone blocks in place using hand tools, horses, and wagons. It took only ten months to complete the project, and in December 1904, the first Manhattan library opened its doors with a collection of 1,000 volumes. Can you imagine the scope of the project when horsepower was really horse power?

Today, the library houses a collection of more than 160,000 items. The collection is constantly being refreshed and refined with daily deliveries of new books, DVDs, music CDs, and now a collection of ebooks.  An average of 1,000 people per day visit MPL, and a recent PEW report revealed that two -thirds of Americans are “actively engaged” with their local libraries. Impressive numbers, indeed.

It’s been exciting to watch the big cranes unloading steel girders that will become the new children’s library, to marvel at the skill of the workers, and to see the building’s frame take shape. The new children’s library expansion should be completed by the end of the year, and, in the words of a young patron, “The library is the best!”

The library’s first leader, Mary Cornelia Lee, wrote in 1929, “It is fitting now to remember and honor the early pioneers of Manhattan who lived and labored, planned and thought and dreamed, through the years of the first half century of our civic life, as well as to give credit to the later citizens who voted for the Free Public Library and who have supported it through the first quarter century of its existence.” As we go through this new construction process, it is still fitting to remember the people who make the library possible, and to thank them for creating such a vibrant, welcoming place for the community to share information and ideas.

April 2014 construction workers attaching steel beams to framelarge truck delivering construction materials

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Time-Lapse Video of Drilling

One of the most watchable recent events at the library has been the drilling of 27 giant holes in the north lawn. These 30-foot-deep holes will be filled with a concrete mixture and serve as piers to support the new two-story addition. A giant crane was brought in to do the drilling and we had a great time watching through our window. We are also very grateful for the precision and expertise of the crew. One false move and things would have turned out very differently for the audience.

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