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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Same story, different cover

By Emilyn Linden
<style="font-family: new="" roman",serif;"="" times,"times="">Adult Services Librarian

It’s a popular belief that there are no new stories, only different ways of telling them. And sometimes that isn’t such a bad thing. The old myths and fairy tales became popular for a reason. They are stories that tell us about people’s deepest desires and fears. Retellings of the old myths and fairy tales go in and out of style periodically. This is one of those periods of popularity, and there have been some recent imaginative, worthwhile retellings.

If you’re interested in reading retellings by some of the best writers currently writing fantasy, horror, and young adult fiction, you’ll want to pick up Happily Ever After, an anthology of 33 myth and fairy tale retellings from the past two decades. Some of the authors included are Susanna Clarke, Gregory Maguire, Kelly Link, Garth Nix and Holly Black.

A new book that came out in February of this year that has received a lot of attention is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. The novel is based on the Russian folk tale, transplanted to 1920s Alaska. Jack and Mabel are a childless couple who move to Alaska from Pennsylvania to start over after a heartbreaking miscarriage. After two years they are each slowly succumbing to despair. To distract themselves from their worries one evening, they build a girl out of snow. The next day the snow girl is gone and Jack sees a real, seemingly feral, child running in the woods.

Another book set in the winter but meant for middle-grade readers, is Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. Jack and Hazel have been best friends for five years, so when Jack suddenly stops talking to Hazel, she’s devastated. We find out a shard of magic mirror has made its way into Jack’s heart, and he later disappears without a trace. Hazel must brave the cold Minnesota winter and enter the woods to find her friend. This imaginative tale contains many allusions to beloved children’s stories from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to A Wrinkle in Time.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is meant for teenage readers, but it’s proved very popular with adults, too. This may be because the title character, Cinder, is a cyborg mechanic who has a hopeless romantic of an android for a sidekick. Cinder is a second-class citizen, as are all cyborgs, in this futuristic retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. Cinder lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters and supports her family through her work as a mechanic. Her reputation reaches Prince Kai, the heir to the throne, who brings her an android to repair.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman is not a new novel. It originally came out in 2001, but a new, enhanced edition came out in 2011. This is a novel about the complex religious and mythological heritage of America and is, therefore, complex and meandering itself. Shadow is released a few days early from prison when his wife dies in a car accident. He accepts a job from Mr. Wednesday, a former god, and embarks on a trip across America, where he encounters the old gods and creatures of myth immigrants brought with them to the United States. If you’ve read American Gods before, it’s probably worth it to pick it up again, since the 10th Anniversary edition has a new introduction and contains Gaiman’s preferred text.

The end of the world seems like a good place to end this list. In Norse mythology, the end of the world comes with the deaths of the gods and the world being squeezed by a serpent that has grown so large she encircles the world and crushes it. Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt takes this story and presents it through the eyes of a young girl living through World War II who has been presented with a book of the Norse myth Asgard and the Gods.

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The Cure for the Downton Abbey Blues

by Susan Withee
Adult Services Manager

If you’re one of the millions of viewers of the PBS Masterpiece series Downton Abbey, no doubt you’re feeling the first pangs of loss on the brink of tonight’s second-season finale.  Downton Abbey is an award-winning, lavishly-detailed period production and costume drama which has a stellar cast and a legion of fans.  The series’ first season opens in Edwardian England in 1912 at Downton Abbey, a stately English country house, and follow the lives of the wealthy Crawley family and their servants as the clouds of World War I loom and break.   Season two takes the story through the upheaval and tragedy of the war back to peacetime, but to a world where personal relationships, social structures, and politics have all been irrevocably altered.  Although season three is in production, scheduled to air first in Britain in autumn 2012 and later in the U.S, the coming months will be a long, long wait for diehard fans.  But it’s my happy task to tell you that Manhattan Public Library has plenty of diversions to help get you through the coming Downton-Abbey-less months.
Firstly, if you’ve missed out on the series so far, you have plenty of time to catch up, starting with Downton Abbey’s first season on DVD and moving on to season two, both now at Manhattan Public Library.  There is also a companion book to the series, The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes, filled with photographs and illustrations, production sketches and research.   Downton Abbey was filmed at Highclere Castle, the real-life ancestral home of the Earls of Carnarvon, and screenwriter Julian Fellowes drew inspiration from the history of the great home and the life of Almina, the Countess of Carnarvon during the same time period.  Read more about the Almina’s life and times and the history of the castle, including its use as a wartime hospital, in Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: the Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona, current Countess Carnarvon.  Downton Abbey fans can also check out Below Stairs: the Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir that Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey by Margaret Powell, a book which rocketed to best-seller status in the UK following the airing of Downton Abbey.
While you’re waiting for DA season three, why not revisit that other classic PBS series focusing on the intertwined lives of the upper class and the servant class, Upstairs, Downstairs?  The library has all five seasons of the series, which originally aired in the 1970s and enjoyed an audience of nearly one billion viewers in over 40 countries.  Also set during the Edwardian Age, Upstairs, Downstairs takes place in a large London townhouse, home to the wealthy Bellamy family.  In its entirety, the combined seasons of this series offer an intimate view of the lives of both masters and servants from 1903 to 1930, as well as a panoramic overview of the social and technological changes taking place during those years.

For a different and highly-entertaining twist on life in a great English country house, check out the 2001 Robert Altman film, mystery-drama-comedy Gosford Park.  This time landed gentry, their upstairs guests, and the downstairs servants gather for a “shooting party” in 1932 and are joined by members of the local village police constabulary as mayhem, drama, and high-jinks ensue.  In addition to the interdependence of privileged and servant classes, the film subtly explores changing sexual mores of the time and the impact of the First World War.  With a script by Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes, the film features a large ensemble cast that includes the indomitable Maggie Smith as well as Helen Mirren, Jeremy Northam, Kristin Scott Thomas, Michael Gambon, Stephen Fry, Derek Jacobi, Clive Owen, Alan Bates, and others.
Or look for Flambards, another great series on DVD at the library, which was based on the novels of  K. M. Peyton and originally aired on PBS in 1980.  Orphaned heiress Christina Parsons is sent to live with her tyrannical, bitter Uncle Russel and his two sons at their neglected and decaying country estate, Flambards. Speculation is that Russell plans to marry her to brutal, fox-hunting-obsessed son Mark and then use her inheritance to restore Flambards and the family’s finances.   Christina, however, befriends second son, William, who is involved with early experiments in flight, hoping to become an aviator.
And finally, treat yourself to John Galsworthy’s absorbing, monumental work (in print or on DVD), The Forsyte Saga, which chronicles the lives and trials of generations of the upper-middle-class Forsyte family from 1906 into the 1920s.

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Party, Party, Party!

>Library column printed in The Mercury, February 12, 2012

I am sure “party” is not the first word that comes to mind when thinking of libraries, but we like to break out of the mold sometimes. We have parties and programs for kids and teens this month, so don’t be surprised if you smell yummy food or hear distant music and laughter while you are passing through.

Our ten weekly storytimes started in January, averaging about 20 children at each session. Last week, we added another option – Spanish Storytime! Marisol Teran-Apadaca from the Bebe Language Academy will be presenting these bilingual storytimes every month on the 2nd Friday and Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Spanish storytimes will feature picture books read in both English and Spanish, interspersed with traditional rhymes and songs. Spanish speaking families are encouraged to come, as well as children who do not know any Spanish. Last Friday and Saturday, Ms. Marisol read Biscuit/Bizcocho, Wiggle/A Tu Ritmo, and Good Boy, Fergus/Muy Bien Fergus. Join us again March 9-10 for Spanish and English zoo stories, including an all-time favorite: Brown Bear, Brown Bear/Oso Pardo, Oso Pardo.

We celebrated Chinese New Year on Friday afternoon when USD 383 kids were out of school. Children who came to the “Year of the Dragon” party led a Dragon Parade through the library, ending with party “poppers,” and participated in a “Sweep out the Bad Luck” broom relay. The group made cool crafts such as Chinese lanterns, good luck Kanji, lucky money envelopes, and dragons. Children’s librarian Melendra Sutliff-Sanders came up with the idea for this party because “it’s a celebration that is fun to all different cultures and, at the same time, exposes kids who are not from China to some important traditions of another society.”

We will continue celebrating the year of the dragon at the library with our newest early literacy station activities. These simple games and puzzles are designed to go with the picture book Dragon Dancing by Carole Lexa Schaefer, and they are available for young children to play with in the Children’s Room for the next six weeks. Create an alphabet dragon on our magnet board, make new poems with alliterative action words from the book (like “slip-sliding” and “mish-mooshing”), or don a mask and scarf to perform a dragon dance.

More days off from school this week may leave some kids (and parents) looking for free entertainment. Make your way to the library on Thursday afternoon for our “Origami Yoda” Party. For those of you who don’t know, Tom Angleberger’s hilarious children’s novel, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, has been on the New York Times bestseller list, along with the sequel, Darth Paper Strikes Back. Fans of the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are eating up this new, silly series about sixth graders who begin to believe the weird kid’s origami Star Wars finger puppet can actually predict their futures and provide wise advice. Kids who come to our party on February 16 at 2:00 will get to make their own origami characters and Star Wars masks and participate in some fun games. Children’s librarian Jessica Long adds that “Someone will get to destroy the Death Star piñata!” A couple of lucky kids will get to take home a prize book, too. Following the party, the library will show an animated movie following the adventures of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Count Dooku.

Friday is our kids’ Wii Play Day from 2:00-3:30, recommended for ages 5 and up. We will have two Wii stations with games projected onto big screens. Kids can sign up when they arrive for a spot to play Smurf Dance Party or Mario & Sonic Olympic Winter Games. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to make sure all kids get a chance to play, and parents are asked to stay with children under age 8. Teens can play Wii games at the monthly “Last Tuesday Gaming” in the Groesbeck Room on February 28, 4:00-6:00.

Speaking of teens, young adult librarian Janene Hill has planned an interesting and tasty event for kids in middle school and high school on Saturday, February 18, at 2:00: Microwave Experimentation! Do you know what happens when a frozen grape or bar of soap gets nuked? You’ve heard you should never put aluminum foil in the microwave, but have you ever seen what it looks like? Join us at the library to see what we can light up, fire up, and melt down with several interesting experiments, followed by yummy microwave snacks (not made in the same microwaves).

You can support teen programming at the library by visiting the Teen Library Advisory Board’s bake sale on Saturday, March 3, from 10:00-2:00. Eat your baked goodies while you browse for cheap books at our Friends Group’s Annual Book Sale that day. Book sale proceeds and other donations help fund our fun programs and parties, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

By Jennifer Adams

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All in the Family of Authors

by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; sometimes literary talent doesn’t either.  Consider the Bronte family. Most people have heard of the sisters: Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. Charlotte is best known for Jane Eyre, with its portrayal of a strong, rational female character (which was something new at the time). Charlotte published under the pen name Currer Bell.

Emily Bronte’s only novel, Wuthering Heights, the story of the doomed love of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, was met with mixed reviews on publication. It provided a stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty. It’s not surprising that Emily also published under a pseudonym, Ellis Bell.

Anne, the youngest sister, wrote two novels. Agnes Grey, dealing with the oppression of women and governesses, was an autobiographical novel paralleling Anne’s own experience as a governess. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, with its depictions of alcoholism and debauchery disturbed the sensibilities of nineteenth-century readers.

The Bronte sisters were not the only gifted members of their family. Their brother, Branwell, was also a poet and artist. The head of the family, Patrick Bronte, an Anglican curate, was a published poet, as well as contributor to a biography of his daughter, Charlotte. Tragically, the father of the Bronte clan survived all his children.

The twentieth century is also replete with writing families. Stephen King, the master of horror, is married to Tabitha King, author of several novels including Caretakers, The Book of Reuben, and Candles Burning. The writing talent doesn’t stop there. The King’s sons are also writers. Joe Hill has published several graphic novels, the horror novel Heart-Shaped Box (a chip off the old block), and the dark fantasy Horns, as well as a collection of stories 20th Century Ghosts. His younger brother, Owen King, is the author of a book of stories We’re All in This Together and has recently sold his first novel to Scribner’s.

John Steinbeck, winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, and author of such American classics as The Grapes of Wrath, and East of Eden is the father of Thomas Steinbeck. Thomas is the author of Down to the Soundless Sea, In the Shadow of the Cypress, and the forthcoming Silver Lotus. Much like his father’s, Thomas Steinbeck’s books chronicle events of California life.

Sons aren’t only following in their fathers’ footsteps; sometimes they’re following in their mothers’. Sandra Brown, well known and prolific author of mysteries and romance novels (Lethal, Chill Factor, Thursday’s Child) is the mother of Ryan Brown. The son has written a thriller entitled Play Dead, a zombie shocker combining football and the undead.

P. J. Tracy, author of the Monkeewrench series, is actually the pseudonym for the mother-daughter writing team of Patricia Lambrecht (Mom) and Traci Lambrecht. Titles in the series featuring the Monkeewrench crew of computer geeks include Shoot to Thrill, Snow Blind, and Dead Run.

Kellerman is a name well known to mystery aficionados. Jonathan Kellerman, whose Alex Delaware series includes When the Bough Breaks, Mystery, Bones, and Deception is married to Faye Kellerman. Faye is the author of the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series, including Sacred and Profane, Hangman, and The Mercedes Coffin. As a team, the husband and wife have collaborated on Capital Crimes and Double Homicide. As if this weren’t enough, the Kellermans’ son, Jesse, has written a few mystery/suspense titles himself, including The Executor, The Genius, and Trouble.

Want more? How about Frank Herbert, creator of the Dune series of science fiction novels? Frank’s son, Brian Herbert, took over the franchise after his father’s death. Kingsley Amis, English novelist, poet, and critic, author of Lucky Jim and The Anti-Death League, is the father of Martin Amis, author of The Pregnant Widow, Night Train, and other writings that explore the absurdities of the postmodern condition.

If you are interested in reading theses titles, or other titles by these authors, visit the Manhattan Public Library. Or, for your convenience, access the catalog from home twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Selected titles from many of these authors are also available in electronic format as e-books or e-audiobooks. Visit the library’s website at http://www.manhattan.lib.ks.us for more information.

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Life on the Edge: Smithsonian’s Mountaineers

By Marcia Allen
Technical Services and Collections Manager

Dorling Kindersley Publishing has long enjoyed a respected reputation for high quality books, particularly those with beautiful photography and interactive layout.  Each title seems to be an engrossing, all-encompassing tour of its topic, one which treats the reader to a visual feast.   Local readers may well be familiar with the lovely Eyewitness books that so many children love, or the Eyewitness travel books for adults that do so much more than simply describe a destination.
Fairly new to the library is one of the nicest books I have seen in the last year.  Mountaineers, which was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, was written by Ed Douglas and polished by a team of consultants.  I invite you to browse this wonderful book; though you may have little interest in mountaineering, you will be stunned by the audacity and determination of the central characters.
There are excellent references to climbers of ancient times.  In 1991, for example, German hiker Helmut Simon was exploring the Italian-Austrian border with a friend.  To the dismay of the two men, they discovered a skull protruding from a shelf of ice.  They reported what they thought were recent remains of a lost hiker, but further research indicated the man to have lived during the Neolithic Age, some 5000 years earlier.  The man, called “Otzi the Iceman” by scientists, had died as the result of an arrow wound that caused massive internal bleeding.
The Japanese monk Kukai, born in 774, is one of the more unusual climbers mentioned in the book.  He ascended Mount Koya located near Osaka in 818 to begin work on a monastery designed for meditation.  Avid followers brought about a permanent Buddhist refuge that is still in use today.
Albert Frederick Mummery was an avid pioneer of alpinism during the 19th century.  Though dogged by childhood ailments, this determined Englishman climbed the Matterhorn at the age of eighteen and went on to espouse unguided climbing.  He even wrote a seminal memoir about climbing, entitled My Climbs in the Alps of Caucasus.  Like so many other enthusiasts of the sport, he disappeared during a climb, probably the victim of an avalanche.
Another equally famous climber, Charles Houston, is featured in the book.  Houston, a 20th century American physician, was involved with several climbs, among them two tries at scaling K2.  His failed attempts nearly caused his death, but they also brought about a greater good.  Houston wrote a book entitled Going Higher: Oxygen, Man and Mountains, that has been a valuable resource for other climbers, particularly on the subject of altitude sickness.
Women climbers are also prominently featured in this book.  Lucy Walker, for example, was the 19th century daughter of Francis Walker, a British advocate of the adventure of climbing.  Lucy suffered from rheumatism and sought relief from it by joining her father and brother in a trek through the Alps.  Taken by the beauty of her new sport, she went on to become the first woman to scale the Matterhorn.
Lest you think the book omits the most famous of the climbers, rest assured that George Mallory, Edmund Hillary, and Reinhold Messner are not forgotten.  Their stories, along with those of the many other successful , as well as tragic, climbers are highlighted by drawings,  photographs and maps that make each venture a treat for the reader.
Mountaineering gear featured in the book is absolutely fascinating.  The ergonomically designed 20th century crampons that replicate the shape of the foot are now standards for serious climbers.  But 16th century wood and rope boot attachments, designed to steady steps in the snow, are also pictured.  The climbing rope, another vital component of a successful ascent, is also explained.  Hawser ropes from the 17th century, as well as highly specialized ropes from the 21st century, are featured along a timeline that illustrates clever uses by famed explorers.
Beyond hiking up a couple of the Colorado Fourteeners with my family several years ago, I have never climbed a mountain.  Nor do I intend to.  But the breathtaking photographs and thrilling adventures stories will bring me back to this book again and again.  It’s that good.

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MLK, Jr. Art & Writing Contest Winners Chosen

By Janene Hill

Manhattan Public Library was honored again this year to host and help sponsor the Martin Luther King, Jr. Art and Writing Contest. This year’s contest garnered 150 entries, 64 artwork submissions and 86 written pieces.

With the theme “Looking Back, Looking Forward:  50 Years of Change”, this year’s entries acknowledge the importance of integration and cooperation as highlighted by Dr. King’s messages.

Submissions for the contest were accepted at Manhattan Public Library beginning in December, with judging taking place January 9.

Winning entries honor Dr. King and encourage us to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as we strive toward a brighter future in our community and world. All of the participants in this year’s contest understood the importance of Dr. King’s place in the world that still resonates throughout society today.

This year’s artwork came in the form of nail art, photography, chalk drawings, watercolor painting, and drawn artwork in pencil and crayon. Writing included a wide variety of formats including poetry, letters to Dr. King, creative writing pieces, and narratives.

Winning entries were displayed at Manhattan Town Center Mall during Martin Luther King Day activities, and are now on display at Manhattan Public Library (MPL) and on the library website, where they will remain for the next month. Several non-winning entries are also on display at the library in the Children’s Room.

With a grant from the Manhattan Fund of the Caroline F. Peine Foundation and matching funds from the The Gallery for Peace and Justice, along with other contributions, the contest committee is able to award over $1200 in prizes to this year’s winners.

Prizes included gift certificates from Varney’s and, for Best of Show winners, gift certificates from Manhattan Town Center Mall. They also received a book and bag from MPL and the Manhattan Library Association, t-shirts and certificates courtesy of HandsOn Kansas State, and a certificate of recognition from the MLK Art & Writing Contest Committee.

A huge thanks goes out to the Contest Committee Members and judges for this year’s contest. These individuals contribute valuable time and effort into making the contest a meaningful community event.

MLK Art & Writing Contest Committee Members include:  Jennifer Adams, Susan Withee, Laura Miles, and Janene Hill, all of MPL; and Cindy Burr, Director of the Gallery for Peace and Justice.

Judges for the 2012 contest included, writing judges:  Dr. Peter Pellegrin, Instructor of English at Cloud County Community College, Geary County Campus; Marcia Allen, Technical Services Manager at MPL; and John Pecararo, Assistant Director at MPL. Art judges were:  Jay Nelson, Director of the Strecker-Nelson Art Gallery; Amanda Hedrick, Education & Marketing Director at the Manhattan Arts Center; and Grace Benedick, a student at Kansas State University.

Award winners were invited to participate in two community ceremonies recognizing their achievement. The first was the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Celebration” sponsored by HandsOn Kansas State. Which took place on Sunday, January 15 at the KSU Leadership Studies building. The second took place during community MLK celebration at Manhattan Town Center Mall on Monday, January 16. Manhattan Mayor Jim Sherow announced the winners in the annual recognition ceremony.

Selected entries may be published or broadcast in or through local media outlets as schedules allow. Winning entries may also be used for development into greeting cards through The Gallery for Peace and Justice. More information is available through Cindy Burr at the Gallery. Last year’s winning art entries are currently available as note cards, on sale at all Varney’s locations.

MLK, Jr. Art and Writing Contest Winners

Best of Show:  Vonnie Neyhart (Adult)
First Place:
Grades K-2nd:  Ava Bahr, Manhattan Catholic School, first grade
Grades 3-5th:  Colin Hohenbary, Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School, third grade
Grades 6-8th:  Kaitlyn French and Nicki Keller, Amanda Arnold Elementary School, sixth grade
Grades 9-12th:  Heather Goodenow, Rock Creek High School, sophomore
Adult:  Mary Gordon, Kansas State University
Honorable Mentions:  Mason Camera, Manhattan Catholic School, fourth grade;  Jazmin Gantt, Lee Elementary School, third grade; and Erin Logan (Adult)

Best of Show:  Karis Ryu, Manhattan Catholic School, seventh grade
First Place:
Grades K-2nd:  Rachel Corn, Manhattan Catholic School, second grade
Grades 3-5th:  Elizabeth Hohn, Amanda Arnold Elementary School, fourth grade
Grades 6-8th:  Macie Frakes, Manhattan Catholic School, eighth grade
Adult:  Christy Sauer
Honorable Mentions:  Breigh Brockman, Manhattan Catholic School, second grade; and Carly Smith, Manhattan Catholic School, eighth grade

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