Springtime in Bugland

Springtime in Bugland by David Carter is a fresh new Easy Reader, and it is perfect for the child learning to read independently. The rhyming text tells about how all the bugs in Bugland love the beginning to spring so much, they simply must celebrate!

Pay close attention to notice all the humor in the charming illustrations.


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Hot Rod Hamster Early Literacy Station

The Children’s Department has started featuring some exciting stations your child can explore during your next trip to the library! The stations are designed to develop skills to get chidlren ready for reading.

If your kid loves cars and racing, she or he will need to check out the really fun Hod Rod Hamster station in the storytime room.

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Library Services You May Have Missed

by Linda Henderson
Adult Services Librarian

Have a new E-Reader?  Want to know how to use your E-Reader?   Want to download e-books and audio books to your mobile device?  Manhattan Public Library scheduled four help sessions in April which, to our delight, filled quickly!  If you didn’t get the news in time to schedule one of these sessions, please let us know at  776-4741, ext. 200, weekdays  between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. , or e-mail Marc Nash at  mnash@manhattan.lib.ks.us .  If people indicate an interest, another training session may be scheduled in May.  We also offer individual help sessions.

Manhattan Public Library offers free downloadable e-books, audio books, music, and videos on our homepage at www.manhattan.lib.ks.us.  Click on the Sunflower E-Library  icon and log in with your Manhattan Public Library card.  In the “Getting Started” box, you will find “Help/FAQs” which offer a tour, help with downloading, and information about lending periods.  The many compatible devices are listed on the website with helpful explanations. You can download available items, keep a “wish” list for future use, or place items on hold for future downloads.

Manhattan Public Library also offers one-hour computer use classes, one-on-one  with a librarian, to learn Mouse Basics, Beginning Computers, Intro to  E-mail, using the Internet, and navigating Manhattan Public Library’s online catalog.  We will also help you learn to use the library’s online resources listed under the Research tab on the MPL website, covering subjects like basic auto repair, genealogy searches, learning another language, business and investment, career resources, test preparation, and more .  World Book Encyclopedia is also free online, and phone numbers and addresses nationwide are available on Reference USA.   You can make an appointment for a class at the Information Desk on 1st floor, or by calling 785-776-4741, ext.  173, or via e-mail:  refstaff@manhattan.lib.ks.us.

For local history research, Manhattan and some Riley County newspapers are available on microfilm at the library, beginning in the late 1850’s.  Many microfilms are now indexed, which makes name-searching easier.  Manhattan Public Library has new computerized microfilm readers which allow much better viewing, adjustment of the image for darkness and size, and the ability to isolate specific articles for printing.  Articles may be printed in the library, or may be e-mailed to your home computer or added to a flash drive.  Library staff are available to help you get started.

If MPL does not own an item you want, you have two options.  For recently published materials, you may place a Request for Purchase at the Information or Reference Desk or from the Manhattan Public Library website.  For other items, you may fill out an Interlibrary Loan request at the Information or Reference Desks or on the library’s website.  To place your own interlibrary loan requests online, you will first need to register in person at the Information Desk,  at the Reference Desk or by calling 785-776-4742, ext . 141 or ext. 173.  If the item is available from other libraries in Kansas, there is no charge for the service.  If the item is requested from a library in another state, the lending library may charge for the service.  An active MPL Library card is required.

Homebound Book delivery services are available if you have physical limitations and are unable to come to the library.  Once a month, an Adult Services librarian will bring a selection of books based on your reading preferences and pick them up the following month.  There is a simple application form which can be mailed to you.  Again, you will need an active MPL card.  Please call 785-776-4741, ext. 141 or e-mail refstaff@manhattan.lib.ks.us for details.

Your Manhattan Library Card Patron Account offers a number of services—by logging into your account with your library card number and your pin number (the last four digits of your phone number), you can review your account, renew books if no one else has a hold on the item, check due dates , check on your “hold requests” and any fines or fees.   Did you know that you have the option to keep a list of the books you check out? You can also make your own lists of interesting items for the future.  Adult Services staff will be happy to show you how to use any of these options.

Posted in: For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, Mercury Column

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Spring Planting Song

Going along with our April theme of “Spring,” here is a fun and easy song to sing with your child. It would be simple to incorporate actions, so improvise, and let us know if you come up with more fun verses!

This book includes the original version of the song.












Sung to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”

The farmer plants her seeds

The farmer plants her seeds

Hi-ho, the dairy-o

Tha farmer plants her seeds.

More verses:

The rain begins to fall…

The sun begins to shine…

The seeds begin to grow…

The plants grow big and tall…


Did you know? The old nursery rhyme, “The Farmer and the Dell,” is said to be almost 200 years old.

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Theme for April: Spring


One of the library’s most fun resources for kids has to be our storybook boxes. This month we’re featuring our “Spring” box, which has lots of fun stories, DVDs, and even a watering can puppet!

Books featured in the Storybook box:

Signs of Spring

Hooray for Spring

Be sure to check back for lots more ideas about sharing the beautiful season of Spring with your child!

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A Century of Memories: The RMS Titanic

By Marcia Allen
Technical Services & Collections Manager

She was the pride of the White Star Line.  Built over the course of two years in the shipyards of Belfast, the RMS Titanic was not only the largest ship afloat at the time, but she was also labeled “unsinkable,” due partly to her watertight compartments. On her maiden voyage she carried a wide mix of passengers: steerage quarters were filled with new immigrants, and upper levels hosted the wealthy and famous.  She sailed on April 10, 1912 and ran into disaster in the North Atlantic in the late hours of April 15, 1912.  While her initial collision with an iceberg was not considered lethal, the fact that some five of her 16 airtight compartments were compromised proved fatal.   In a little over two hours, the ship foundered and sank, leaving some 1500 people of over 2200 passengers to perish in the icy sea.
This month marks the 100th anniversary of that terrible tragedy.  For those who curious to learn more, there are countless resources available designed to inform about the ship’s specifications, the passenger lists, and the even the resulting courtroom investigations. We can read of survivor testimonials and burial sites for the unfortunate, as well as efforts to salvage the wreckage.
Of course, Walter Lord’s 1955 fascinating book, entitled A Night to Remember, remains a classic.  Lord’s account follows the passengers and the crew as each faced the disaster in his or her own fashion. Destined to become a film of the same name, this story remains among the more famous of the retellings.
Dr. Robert Ballard is considered a scientific authority on the event, given his expertise in locating and exploring the wreckage.  With the aid of a small robotic submarine, Ballard was able to locate the debris field that others had been unable to pinpoint for so long.  Titanic Revealed, a haunting dvd documentary, recalls Ballard’s original discovery.  Ballard also assembled an excellent picture book of photographs taken during his exploration.  Called Titanic: The Last Great Images, the book offers us eerie glimpses of the crusted bow and the battered remains of children’s shoes found on the ocean floor.  The book also offers period photos taken both during the ship’s construction and as she departed.
Another beautifully arranged book of photographs, Titanic: An Illustrated History, involves the work of author Don Lynch.  Among other highlights, Lynch presents a foldout of the ship’s layout and interior shots of the first class staircase, the second-class public rooms and the third-class dining room.  The book also supplies a valuable overview of the tragedy as it unfolded.  Readers can even see the position of various lifeboats over the course of the sinking.
For those who seek a more personal look at the tragedy, Titanic Voices: Memories from the Fateful Voyage seems the perfect book.  Donald Hyslop, Alastair Forsyth and Shelia Jemima assembled this fine collection of letters, photos and testimonials.  Of particular interest are the personal recollections supplied by the many survivors and the heartbreaking photographs of various memorials, such as the White Star Company’s church service in Southampton.
For those who wish to do more reading on the event, Stephanie Barczewski’s Titanic: A Night Remembered includes detailed biographies of some of the dead.  Among them are the ship’s captain, Edward Smith, and band member Wallace Hartley, who played music to the end.
And Brad Matsen, author of Titanic’s Last Secrets, adds more to what we know by retelling the explorations of John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, who not only investigated the wreckage of the Titanic, but also the remains of the Britannic.
Interested in one of this year’s titles?  Shadow of the Titanic by Andrew Wilson is one of the finer offerings.  Wilson’s take is unique, however, in that he conveys the dismal lives of the survivors after the collision. So many suffered from what we now recognize as survivors’ guilt.   For example, Madeleine Astor, widow of John Jacob Astor, went on to marry several more times and eventually lost her portion of the Astor fortune.  Duff Gordon, one of the many wealthy, never overcame rumors that he had paid lifeboat rowers to ignore those struggling in the icy waters.
Reflection on the fate of the Titanic leads to thoughts on the nature of heroism, vulnerability, and randomness of chance.  The library has an excellent collection of titles that can offer you more about that fateful trip aboard the pride of the White Star Line.

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New Ideas from Public Library Association conference

Library column printed in The Mercury, 3-25-12

I recently attended the national Public Library Association (PLA) conference in Philadelphia, a biennial event that is always jam-packed with speakers, exhibits and sessions on new ideas to try in your public library.Here are a few highlights in the area of children’s services.

Early literacy “spaces” were the buzz at the conference. This is a trend that has been building for a number of years, and we are starting to see some amazing changes in the way large and small libraries are serving “pre-readers.”In addition to amazing book collections and storytimes, many libraries now provide early literacy stations that help prepare preschoolers for learning how to read once they start school. The spaces often include a table with a writing activity, such as composing a letter to put in a play mailbox or practicing ABC’s on a dry erase board.Playing with puppets or dress-up clothes encourages storytelling and imaginative play.Puzzles, gears, magnet toys and Legos help children develop their fine motor skills and cognitive thinking.Nursery rhymes and song lyrics encourage parents and children to sing and rhyme together.Many of the creative ideas I heard at the conference are things we can incorporate into our own small early literacy activity area, and we can consider ways to expand this space in the future.

Thinking outside the box for storytimes, several librarians presented their format for “traveling” storytimes. They advertise a storytime that will take place in a different venue, such as the farmer’s market or the splash park – an idea we had already considered trying.Libraries that made traveling storytimes a regular part of their programming had tips and advice to share, and during small group discussions we came up with many more great places to present a storytime.The idea is that some of your loyal storytime families will seek you out, and some new families who do not come to the library might try the storytime, too.Passers-by may stop in to see what is going on, and viola – you’ve just drawn in a bunch of new potential library users.

Of course, technology advances were an important theme at the conference.Exhibitors highlighted features for eBooks, enhancements to library catalogs, and new equipment for using and viewing materials. Some libraries have started lending out e-readers, such as Nooks or Kindles, and have experimented with using iPads in library programs or to aid with routine tasks, such as weeding collections.A reference librarian reported they have tried strapping an iPad to their hand while doing roaming reference, which, while awkward, can be especially useful in a large library where they find themselves assisting patrons far from a computer station.

A personal highlight for me was attending an inspiring session led by children’s book author and illustrator Kevin Henkes.His mouse characters (Lilly, Chrysanthemum, Owen, etc.) are beloved by so many children, and it was fascinating to hear about his beginnings and his book writing process, and most importantly, how he always keeps the child reader in the forefront.He read a few amazing and humorous letters from young fans, and he seemed to genuinely love hearing from and meeting his readers.

Henkes also talked about his illustrations in several books in great detail. He is an artist who takes pains to make his illustrations “speak” as loud as the words he writes.In his very simple book, Little White Rabbit, Henkes showed how the things the bunny wanted to become have an up and down motion like hopping – grass, tree, rock, butterfly.In Owen, Henkes made sure that Owen was always separated from his parents by the intrusive neighbor lady, Mrs. Tweezers, who thought Owen was too old for his favorite blanket.With such attention to detail, children can read and re-read Henkes’ books and gain new insights each time.Henkes read his newest book to us, Penny and Her Song, a beginning reader that came out in February.Luckily, this is the just the first in a series about the delightful mouse, Penny, and her family.

As always, meeting colleagues from around the country and hearing about so many wonderful initiatives and creative plans for libraries made this a truly positive experience.

by Jennifer Adams

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Busy Spring “Break” ahead; Call for Teen Volunteers

by Janene Hill

There’s no Breaking this Spring at Manhattan Public Library! While there are no regular storytimes this week, several events have been planned for all ages to help keep the family occupied while school is out.

Events begin this afternoon as a Saxophone Quartet from Fort Riley’s 1st Division Band performs at MPL. This is the third time a group from the Band has made an appearance at the library and performances are always enjoyable. The quartet performs in the Auditorium beginning at 2 p.m.

Also today, the weekly R.E.A.D. With Dogs program takes place in the Storytime Room of the Children’s Department from 2 to 4 p.m. During this program, children can read to a certified therapy dog which gives them the opportunity to practice and enjoy reading in a fun, non-judgmental environment. Pre-registration is not required, but participants are asked to sign up for a time slot upon arrival.

Tuesday, children are invited to join K-State Riley County Extension staff, Gregg Eyestone and Ginny Barnard, for the How Does Your Garden Grow? event at 2 p.m. in the Auditorium. Kids will hear fun stories and learn how plants grow. Participants will also get to make a garden craft and seed tape.

Wednesday the fun with a G-rated Kids’ Movie beginning at 10 a.m. in the Auditorium. In this movie, a bear named Pooh wakes up absolutely famished, but has no honey. Pooh is joined in the Hundred Acre Wood by friends Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo, and Eeyore, who has lost his tail.

Everyone can participate in Make & Take Crafts on Wednesday afternoon. This come-and-go event takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Auditorium. Crafting stations will be set up for preschoolers through teens. Parents are welcome to join in the fun.

For the older crowd, the Young Adult Department hosts a Hunger Games Event on Thursday beginning at 6:30 p.m. The evening will include trivia, a Cornucopia Challenge, themed snacks, Tribute Training activities, and door prize drawings for books, a poster, and movie tickets. Hunger Games fans of all ages are welcome.

Also Thursday evening is the monthly TALK Program. This month’s featured book is The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. The book discussion begins at 7 p.m. in the Groesbeck Room.

The week winds down on Friday as Lightning McQueen and his best friend Mater travel overseas for the World Grand Prix. This Kids’ Movie is rated G and begins at 2 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Call for Teen Volunteers

Teen Volunteers play an important role in the success of Summer Reading Programs at Manhattan Public Library. Having teen volunteers throughout the summer makes the experience more fun for participants and less stressful for staff. Kids are proud to speak and interact with the teenagers and staff are ever-grateful for the priceless assistance of the teens.

While being a vital attribute to the summer’s success, volunteers are expected to be dependable, responsible workers who are able to work independently and/or with minimal supervision. Teens gain valuable work experience while having fun, earning service hours, making professional contacts, and learning about the library. Many volunteers also experience a boost of self-esteem and sense of involvement through their work at the library.

Duties vary throughout the summer, but most notably, volunteers work at the Summer Reading Prize Desks where they help children and teens register for Summer Reading and pick up prizes throughout the summer.

Other tasks include a variety of things such as assisting with preparations for storytimes and clubs, assisting with programs and clubs, helping keep book shelves organized and cleaned, along with numerous other responsibilities.

Teen Volunteers must be between the ages of 13 and 17 as of May 25, 2012.  Workers may be on duty 2 to 10 hours per week from the last week of May through the last week of July.

Other qualifications and expectations are listed on the Informational Brochure.

Applications must be completed and turned in at the Information Desk by Monday, May 7. Candidates will be required to participate in an interview prior to being offered a position in the program. A maximum of 15 volunteers will be accepted as MPL Summer Teen Volunteers.

Questions about the program can be directed to Janene Hill, Young Adult Librarian at jhill@manhattan.lib.ks.us or 785-776-4741 ext. 170.

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Custer in Kansas: Breaking in the Boy General

By John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

George Armstrong Custer is one of the most iconic figures in the history of the American West. Colorful and controversial, he was brevetted a general at age 23, a Civil War hero, and dead on the plains of Montana at age 36. Most people know the story of his and the 7th Cavalry’s defeat at the Little Big Horn, but perhaps fewer people realize that Custer spent several years in Kansas.

From November 1866 until 1871, while posted to Fort Riley, Kansas, Custer found some of his greatest success and failure as a commander. Custer’s years in the state are the focus of author Jeff Barnes’ program, “Custer in Kansas: Breaking in the Boy General,” which he will present at the Manhattan Public Library on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m.

Barnes is the author of the newly published “The Great Plains Guide to Custer.” In this historical travel guide, Barnes pinpointed 85 forts, battles and other sites west of the Mississippi associated with the legendary general. A former newspaper reporter and editor, Barnes writes and lives in Omaha. He is a Nebraska native, a journalism graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a frequently requested speaker with the Nebraska Humanities Council.

There is a wide range of titles and resources available to Custer history buffs. Websites of interest include www.garryowen.com, featuring Custer’s genealogy, a photo gallery, and a list of curious questions and topics. Jeff Barnes’ website, http://fortsofthenorthernplains.com/, includes links to historic sites associated with Custer.

Manhattan Public Library has dozens of titles about Custer’s life and the Little Bighorn battle, and hundreds of titles about the history of the American West. In The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, author Nathaniel Philbrick sketched the two larger-than-life antagonists: Sitting Bull, whose charisma and political savvy earned him the position of leader of the Plains Indians, and George Armstrong Custer, a man with a reputation for fearless and often reckless courage. Philbrick reminded readers that the Battle of the Little Bighorn was also, even in victory, the last stand for the Sioux and Cheyenne Indian nations.

A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn by Jim Donovan explored the disastrous battle and the finger-pointing that was its aftermath. Custer, conveniently dead, took the brunt of the blame. The truth, however, was far more complex, and this book related the entire story, bringing to light details of the U.S. Army cover-up.

In The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn, Joseph Marshall revealed a picture of the battle previously available only in the Lakota oral tradition. He explored the significance of the battle to the Lakota, and considered the consequences it had for all Native Americans.

Louise Barnett investigated the life, death, and mythic afterlife of Custer in her book Touched by Fire. Barnett traced the complexities of Custer’s personality and attempted to understand how this famed military tactician waged an impossible attack at the Little Bighorn.

Evan S. Connell’s Son of the Morning Star is part study of Plains Indian life, part military history, and part character study. This author used meticulous research and a novelist’s eye to tell a story of heroism, foolishness, and savagery.

Elizabeth Bacon Custer remained a devoted widow for fifty-seven years after her husband’s death. She was an outspoken advocate for her husband’s legacy. The myth of Custer, his place as an iconic figure in American history, is largely due to her efforts. Elizabeth Custer, or Libbie as she was known, wrote two books about the experiences and hardships she shared with the General. Tenting on the Plains concerns the Custers’ experiences immediately after the Civil War in Texas and Kanas. In Boots and Saddles, Libbie wrote about their final years on the plains at Fort Abraham Lincoln in Dakota Territory.

Finally George Armstrong Custer also wrote a book about his experiences, My Life on the Plains: or, Personal Experiences with Indians. In this collection of his magazine articles, Custer recounted his life in the years immediately following the Civil War and revealed his often ambiguous attitudes towards the Indians.

If you’re interested in George Armstrong Custer and Kansas, you won’t want to miss “Custer in Kansas: Breaking in the Boy General,” presented by Jeff Barnes at the Manhattan Public Library on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m.

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