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The Season for Bicycling

Complete Bike by Chris SidwellsI love biking all year around, but it is especially wonderful in the fall. The cool air, the crunch of leaves under the tires, and the perfect speed for viewing the scenery all add up to an exceptional transportation experience. Manhattan has been named a “Bicycle Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists but we’re not resting on our laurels. Improvements are continuously being made to make biking in Manhattan safer, easier, and more enjoyable. Check out the city’s website to find Manhattan’s Bike Everywhere map, bicycle safety rules, and the latest happenings of the Bicycle Advisory committee. If you want to venture beyond the bounds of our fair city, you might want to check out the Kansas Bicycle Guide from the Kansas Department of Transportation. They have some helpful information and a great bicycle map for the state.

Biking is a great way to get around town, but it can also be a fun social activity. Flint Hills Area Bike Club plans bike-related gatherings and provides an online place to socialize with fellow bike lovers. Two local bike shops, The Pathfinder and Big Poppi Bicycle Company, organize group rides. You can also learn more about repairing and maintaining your bike at UFM.

Of course we also have resources at the library for everything from learning the basics to inspiration:


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Dog Days of Summer

Baths-1-Although the cool temperatures of the last week would suggest otherwise, we are officially in the dog days of summer now. The dog days of summer has its roots in Roman astronomy. Romans called the time of the year from July 24th to August 23rd, “diēs caniculārēs,” or the Dog Days. Why Dog Days? Astronomers of that time associated this season with Sirius, the Dog Star, which rose and set with the sun in July and August. This led to the assumption that the star Sirius was the cause of the steamy summer weather.

Most of the history of the dog days of summer has been lost over the last millennia. However, we do share one similarity in how we handle the hot weather—swimming! Romans built magnificent public baths, or thermae, throughout their entire empire and were important spots for socializing and doing business, as well as keeping cool.

These days, we prefer our swimming in the form of pools. Manhattan’s own pools and splash parks are a wonderful antidote to hot weather. They may not be the opulent thermae of the Romans, but they do have one advantage—waterslides!

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Science Saturdays: Survival 101

Couldn’t survive five minutes out in the wilderness? Then, this program is for you. Learn the ropes of wilderness survival with Daniel Schapaugh. Katniss and Peeta will have nothing on you after this program. Be there on Saturday, July 19th at 10:00 in the Groesbeck Room. See you there! Recommended for tweens to adults.

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

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Summertime Fun — Out and About with Books

By Jennifer Adams, Children’s Services Manager

It is summer break, and the kids here are reading maniacs! In June, more than 30,000 children’s books and audiobooks were checked out from the library.  So far, 2,000 children have registered for the library’s summer reading program and read more than 600,000 minutes.  They are earning cool prizes to keep them motivated, including squirt toys, magnifying glasses, free books, and a wide choice of free food coupons or free kids’ day passes to the zoo and Discovery Center. The last day to collect prizes is July 31, and it is not too late to get your children signed up and include all the reading they have been doing since June 1st. 

Amidst the kids checking out books and getting their prizes, you may have noticed construction crews on the grounds, up on the roof, and in and out of the building.  The Children’s Room is shrinking while this phase of the construction project proceeds with renovations inside the current space, and with connecting the room to new spaces on both the north and south ends of the Children’s Room.  This will double the size of the space when the project is completed at the end of this year.

blue chickenLuckily, we are able to keep all our children’s materials available to the public, but space is getting more and more crowded for children’s events.  Children’s librarians will be doing some fun programs out and about the community during this phase.  Ms. Amber is leading weekly storytimes at Bluestem Bistro.  Meet on the patio on Wednesday mornings at 10:00 during the month of July to hear fun stories, rhymes and songs about colors.  This week’s theme is “blue” featuring Deborah Freedman’s Blue Chicken. What happens when an energetic chicken stumbles off the page and into a pot of blue paint?  Join us on the patio to find out. (more…)

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, library services, Mercury Column, Parents

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Wonder Workshop Underground Railroad Tours

wonder WorkshopWonder Workshop Children’s Museum is led by director Richard Pitts in their new location oat 506  S. 4th   Street  (776-1234).            

 One of the opportunities available through this gem of a museum is a tour of the Undergound Railroad locations in Wabaunsee County just east of Manhattan. We have Mr. Pitt’s book, A Self-Guided Tour of the Underground Railroad in Kansas.  In it you will find a number of locations that were part of this history that can still be visited by taking an afternoon tour beginning on K-18 or Zeandale road. Chris Barr’s cabin is very close to the popular swimming spot, Pillsbury Crossing.  It was built during this time period and was then enclosed within the walls of a larger home which preserved it.  The Zeandale community has dismantled the house and left this little cabin with newspaper glued in the cracks verifying the date of when it was first built in the 1850’s.  A trap door by the fireplace could have led to a hiding place for fugitive slaves and a crawl space could have also.  We have quite a number of books chronicling this period of our countries history including slave narratives such as Remembering Slavery : African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery which includes two sound cassettes of actual interviews of former slaves from the Archive of Folk Culture/Library of Congress.

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Manhattan Tree Walks

treeThe days of early summer are a great time to take a self-guided tree walk in Manhattan City Park or on the KSU campus. Guides for both of these tree walks can be found online by going to, then entering City Park Tree Walk or Campus Tree Walk in the search box.

Before or after your walk, learn to recognize trees and appreciate their beauty and strength with The Urban Tree Book: and Uncommon Field Guide for City and Town by Arthur Plotnik or the masterfully illustrated Sibley Guide to Trees  by Davod Allen Sibley. Both books are available from Manhattan Public Libraryi


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Municipal Band Concert Schedule

Manhattan’s Municipal Band is truly a city treasure, now in its 94th  summer season. The band performs weekly through June and July, with an extra performance on the 4th  of July. Performances are in City Park’s open-air Norvell Band Shelter and are free of charge. Musical selections cover a wide range, from patriotic marches to classical selections to Broadway tunes, regional folk music, inspiring hymns, and more. For the full 2014 summer schedule of the Municipal Band, go to

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Enter to win our Oz Trivia Contest!

To celebrate L. Frank Baum’s Birthday, MPL is sponsoring an Oz Trivia contest. The winner will receive passes to the Oz Museum and a gift certificate for food from Friendship House (yum!), both in Wamego. Stop by the Baum display near the Information Desk for an entry form and see how much you know about the merry, merry Land of Oz!!

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