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Library Secrets

By Danielle Schapaugh

Psst…I have a secret to tell you. There are free services at the library that you don’t even suspect!

scannerFor starters, Manhattan Public Library has a high-quality digital flatbed scanner. Users can scan documents, photos, articles, or even maps in color at high resolution, and save the images to a flash drive or send them directly to an email account. All for free.

If you’re in need of a high speed Internet connection, the library’s got you covered. Cardholders can access free 30Mbps WiFi in the building and at three WiFi hotspots around town: the Douglass Community Center at 901 Yuma, City Park Playground, and the Wefald Pavilion in City Park. The library received a grant in 2013 to test TV Whitespace as a way to provide free Internet access and it has been very successful. Log in to using your library card number and password. If you forget your password, visit the library to have it reset.

For those of us who feel outpaced by new technology, the library offers technology classes twice a month. In addition, Wandean Rivers in the Assistive Technology Center is available for one-on-one technology tutoring by appointment. Call Wandean at 776-4741 ext. 202 to schedule a session. Desk staff can also help with basic questions and assist you in finding the resources to learn more. These services, like all the services at the library, are free to cardholders.

Lynda_homepage_icon2If you prefer to explore on your own, the library offers several options for self-education. The most exciting new service is called lynda.com. With topics ranging from Improving Your Memory to 3D Video Game Design, lynda.com provides training to interest any user at any level. I’ve used the service to improve my professional skills in office programs and graphic design. I can’t say enough about lynda.com; I want to shout about it from the rooftops! Try any of the thousands of video tutorials and you will be amazed. Lynda.com is available completely free for all library card holders through the library’s website.

Perhaps you are someone who is “all about the books.” If you just want something good to read, ask a librarian. We have resources to recommend books based on your tastes, authors you like, genres you enjoy, bestsellers, and more. If you want a complete and customized list of recommendations, take a minute to fill out a personalized reading list request.  A librarian will comb the collection and give you a long list of books you’re sure to love. Why waste time reading mediocre books when there are so many great books to enjoy?

There are resources galore for children and families, but you may not have noticed the storytime kits and discovery packs. Librarians package books, games, toys, and even costumes in a backpack for a complete learning and entertainment experience. Find topics like New Siblings, Fire and Rescue, Potty Training (complete with Potty Elmo doll), World Records, and Dinosaurs. Discovery packs are perfect for grandparents with visiting grandkids!

Another resource you may not have noticed is simply space. The library has three meeting rooms and one computer classroom that are available to the public. Community and civic groups can reserve space to hold meetings, conduct classes, and even teleconference in the library’s meeting rooms for free. No groups can charge admission or conduct sales at the library, and some other restrictions may apply. For more information please call or visit the Manhattan Public Library.

I could go on and on, and then some. You can find language learning programs, resources to help teach your child to read, fun events, Consumer Reports, Ancestry.com, and more. If you would like a group tour of library services, please call us at (785) 776-4741 ext.120. We would love to show you all the wonderful resources available at your local library.

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

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It’s a winter wonderland out there! Or is it?

by Amber Keck, Children’s Librarian

picture of young girl reading

Winter is definitely still upon us, and parents and caregivers may be scrambling to find indoor activities for their toddlers, preschoolers, and older children.  Thankfully, Manhattan is a great community which offers a lot opportunities to stay indoors and still have tons of fun.

Flint Hills Discovery Center (FDHC) currently has a Kansas exhibit where students and their families can learn interesting facts about our great state.  On the third floor of the FDHC, you’ll also find an excellent play and exploration area for younger children, including a fort, bouncy area, and lots of fun toys.  Admission is $9 for adults and $4 for children ages 2-17. Opt for a yearly pass at a cost of $22.50 per adult, and $10 per child.

The Riley County Family and Child Resource Center offers several playgroups throughout the week for younger children ages 0-5 years.  Staffed by Parents as Teachers, these playgroups give parents and children the opportunity to socialize, engage in imaginative play, and learn the basics of parenting from early childhood educators.  The playgroup schedule caters to specific age groups each time the playroom is open.  View the complete schedule here.  All playgroups are free of charge and do not require pre-registration.

Manhattan Public Library has so much to offer families who are looking for free activities in the wintertime!  Storytimes are currently in session, with ten weekly programs for children from birth to early elementary.  These sessions are free and do not require pre-registration.

The newly expanded children’s library has many activities available all the time, including a puppet theatre, reading corner, arts and crafts table, and science toys.  The children’s library staff is more than happy to assist you in finding more activities in the community to do with your children.

Manhattan is a wonderful community comprised of many families with children.  Though the winter months are sometimes difficult to get through, especially with small children, there are many opportunities throughout the city to enjoy playtime indoors.

If you know of any fun winter activities for kids that aren’t mentioned here, tweet them to us @ManhattanPL.

Posted in: Children's Dept, News

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Eagle Day at Milford Lake

untitledTomorrow,  January 17, 2015, head to Milford Lake State Park for their annual celebration of Eagle Days. View live eagles and see various programs on raptors of Kansas at the Milford Nature Center. Take a guided bus tour and view the Bald Eagles as they soar above Milford Lake or watch them as they sit in the tall cottonwood trees along the lake’s shore. Learn about nesting eagles in Kansas and watch the Live Eagle program. Bus tours for viewing will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the last tour at 3:30 p.m., departing from the Milford Nature Center parking lot. It’s all free! We are lucky to live in an area where these magnificent birds spend the winter and where we can get great views of them soaring above the Flint Hills, so take advantage of this great opportunity to learn more about our national bird! Check Facebook for more information!

eagle days

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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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:

 

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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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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