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The Good Books Club Focuses on Native American Mysteries

by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

 Manhattan Public Library’s monthly book discussion group, the Good Books Club, will again host a winter-spring series of programs from the Kansas Humanities Council’s TALK (Talk About Literature in Kansas) program. Our theme for this series will be Native American Mysteries and will feature books that are rich in varied geographic locales and atmosphere, Native American cultures and spiritual traditions, and the changing social, ethnic, and political face of America. Book group meetings are on the last Thursday of each month – January 28, February 25, March 31, and April 28 – and will start at 7:00 p.m. in the library’s 2nd floor Groesbeck Room.

On January 28th we’ll introduce the series with “DreadfulWater Shows Up”, a stylish mystery debut by Hartley GoodWeather, pseudonym of literary author Thomas King. Cherokee ex-cop Thumps DreadfulWater has left law enforcement behind and moved to a reservation in Montana in an attempt to shed memories of a killer who got away. Thumps now pursues a career as a fine-arts photographer and hopes to reignite a past relationship with Claire Merchant, head of the local tribal council. After a murder at the reservation’s glitzy new casino and resort development, Claire’s son becomes a suspect and Thumps reluctantly decides to track the real killer. The leader for the January discussion will be Trish Reeves, a retired English teacher at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence.

Our book choice for February 25 is fast-paced mystery thriller “Dance for the Dead” by Thomas Perry. A member of the Seneca Wolf clan of upper New York State, clever, beautiful, and fearless sleuth Jane Whitefield runs her own witness protection service, making victims vanish. Relying in part on ancestral traditions of mysticism and woodland lore, she conjures up new identities for people with nowhere left to run. When an eight-year-old boy, heir to a fortune, is stalked by the same killers who murdered his parents, Jane takes readers on a wild ride of switched identities and super killers, facing dangerous obstacles that will put her powers and her life to a terrifying test. Discussion leader for February is Erin Pouppirt, a member of the Kaw Nation and an independent scholar.

On March 31, we’ll read and discuss “The Shaman Sings” by James D. Doss. Ute Tribal Police investigator Charlie Moon and Granite Creek, Colorado, Police Chief Scott Parrish join forces when confronted with the brutal murder of an ambitious and unscrupulous female university researcher. Aged Ute shaman Daisy Perika draws on native spirituality to guide the investigation, including visions and foreboding dreams that, inexplicably, are shared by other characters. Combining Ute prophesy, scientific investigation, and Mexican fatalism, the author switches points of view and exposes complex motivations as these characters track and find the killer before he strikes again. Our March discussion will be led by Deborah Peterson, an instructor of Chinese language and East Asian civilization at KU.

The final book in our series, on April 28, will be “Dance Hall of the Dead” by author Tony Hillerman, one of his series of complex, colorful, and compelling Southwestern mysteries starring Lt. Joe Leaphorn of the Navaho tribal police. Two young Native-American boys, one of them a Zuni, have disappeared into thin air, leaving a pool of blood behind. Lt. Joe Leaphorn is called to the case but his investigation is complicated by an important archaeological dig under way and by roadblocks created by the unique laws and sacred religious rites of the Zuni people. Hillerman is a master of recreating the exotic atmosphere of Zuni and Navajo culture and ceremonies overlaid by the splendor of the natural setting of Southwestern Native American lands. Discussion leader for the April meeting will be Mickey Chance-Reay, an author and historian who teaches at Kansas State University.

Please join our intrepid and enthusiastic band of avid readers for these discussions this winter and spring. This series is sponsored and by the Manhattan Library Association (the Friends of MPL) and by the Kansas Humanities Council.

 

  

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The Women Who Made America Stylish

 

by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

 The Manhattan community is in for a treat when Linda Przybyszewski, Associate Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, visits Manhattan this Thursday and Friday, October 22-23, to talk about her book “The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish.”  She will speak at Manhattan Public Library, at the Kansas State University College of Human Ecology, and in the Meadowlark Hills Community Room.  Her visit is funded by the Chapman Center for Rural Life and sponsored by the Manhattan Public Library, the KSU History Department, the Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design, and the University Archives of Hale Library.

Home Economics as a 20th century academic discipline grew out of the earlier Domestic Science movement.  It applied scientific and economic principles to managing American homes and included research and teaching on nutrition and food safety, family and child development, consumer science, family economics, interior design, clothing and textiles, and more.

The Lost Art of Dress” is the story of a remarkable group of women, pioneers in Home Economics as an academic field, who spearheaded a nationwide movement in the early 20th century toward fashion that was beautiful, economical, and practical.  Nicknamed the Dress Doctors, they included home economists from Kansas State University and they reached out in particular to rural, small-town, and working class women, offering advice on radio shows, at women’s clubs, in magazines, and through 4-H clothing clubs.  Using scientific and artistic principles, they taught American women how to bring stylish fashion into their lives and create affordable clothing for their families.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were times of great change for American women in many arenas of life.  More and more women were being educated at colleges, even heading academic departments.  Lots of working-class and middle-class women were moving into wage work and factory jobs.  There was a movement encouraging young women to exercise for health and wellbeing.  And as women gained the right to vote in various states and then nationally, they were becoming more active in civic and public life.

All of these women needed practical, comfortable, affordable, yet stylish clothing that was easy to keep clean, offered freedom of movement, didn’t compromise safety on the job, and expressed the seriousness of their endeavors.

The social upheaval and economic shortages of the two World Wars and the Great Depression also brought challenges and changes to women’s lives in the 20th century and the Dress Doctors offered practical wisdom and simple principles that enabled ordinary women to weather difficult economic times in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.

Professor Przybyszewski’s book is a well-researched look at the teaching and writings of the Dress Doctors but, happily, it is also witty, entertaining, and delightfully opinionated.  Join us as we welcome her to Manhattan on October 22nd and 23rd and learn about the simple design techniques, artistic principles, practical skills, and enduring wisdom of the Dress Doctors.

Events are free and open to the public:

Thursday, October 22, 7:00 p.m., Manhattan Public Library Auditorium.  Author presentation: “The Wisdom of the Dress Doctors: Dressing for the Modern Age.” Books available for sale and signing at the event.

Friday, October 23, 10:30 a.m., Meadowlark Hills Community Room.  Presentation: “The Wisdom of the Dress Doctors: Dressing for the Modern Age.” Books available for sale and signing at the event.

Friday, October 23, 3:30 p.m., Hoffman Lounge and Room 163, Justin Hall, KSU Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design.  Reception and presentation: “The Role of Home Economics in Fashion Education in the Early 20th Century.”

The Wisdom of the Dress Doctors:

  • Practice the art of dress.  You may be self-conscious because you are far better dressed than the people around you, but maybe you can inspire them.
  • Mark your day by the pleasures of dress. Change in some small way for a dinner out.  Own something comfortable and beautiful to slip on at the end of a hard day’s work.
  • Less is more. So long as you value beauty over novelty, five outfits are all you need for work.  (Or maybe just one!)
  • Dress for the people you love. Yes, the people who love you will forgive those torn gym shorts, but don’t ask them to if you can help it.
  • Balance concealment with revealment.  Flesh exposed all the time has far less effect than flesh revealed on special occasions and for a privileged few.  People who receive privileges should be appropriately grateful.
  • Celebrate girlhood and womanhood, and the difference between them.

 

 

 

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March Events at the Library Include Baseball and Charles Dickens

by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager 

What do Internet safety, the Kansas City Monarchs, Manhattan history, Charles Dickens, and great books for sale all have in common? They’re all at Manhattan Public Library in the month of March.

Last weekend, the Manhattan Library Association (the Friends of the Library) annual book sale was a huge success, in spite of the snow, and the effort raised thousands of dollars to support summer reading and other library programs for all ages. The tremendous generosity and support of our Friends and the tireless year-round efforts of book sale volunteers are truly appreciated. Thanks, also, to all those in the community who donate so many wonderful books each year for our library sale. It’s a gift that benefits us all.  If you didn’t get a chance to stop by and browse the thousands of books for sale, don’t worry! You can find great deals on gently used books all year long at Rosie’s Corner Book Store on the first floor of the library.

Mark your calen20monarchsdar for Sunday, March 29, for a fun and informative program that’s sure to appeal to fans of baseball, local history, and African-American history. Author and historian Phil Dixon, a co-founder of the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City, will present “The Kansas City Monarchs and Our Home Town,” a program about the Monarchs’ unique history, with special emphasis on their connections to Manhattan and on the history of Negro Leagues Baseball. Mr. Dixon has authored nine books and will offer his books at the program for sale and signing. Join us at 2:00 p.m. in the Library Auditorium. This program is appropriate for all ages and is co-sponsored by the Riley County Historical Society.

Join us for tea, cookies, and Brit Lit on Thursday, March 26th, 7:00 p.m., when our monthly book series will continue with a discussion of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations.” We’ll meet in the Groesbeck Room and our discussion leader this month will be KSU Professor Michaeline Chance-Reay. “Great Expectations” is the story of orphaned Pip, his desperate early years, his struggles to overcome his past, and his dreams of becoming a gentleman. Drawing on the his frequent themes of Victorian wealth and poverty, love and rejection, weakness or strength of character, and the eventual triumph of good over evil, Dickens weaves multiple storylines into a tight plot, imagining scenes rich in comedy and pathos and introducing a succession of unforgettable characters. This TALK series of programs is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council and the Manhattan Library Association.

book discussionThe Tech Tuesday series at Manhattan Public Library continues in March with two different technology programs. On Tuesday, March 10th, at 2:00 p.m., members of the Riley County Genealogical Society will lead a workshop on “Intermediate Ancestry and Kansas Resources,” a look at more advanced techniques for using the online resource Ancestry.com and at unique genealogy resources for the state of Kansas.

Our second March workshop will discuss privacy and security in the digital world of the 21st century. On Tuesday, March 24, at 7:00 p.m.,  we will feature “Online Privacy and Security,” led by Lucas Loughmiller, Director of Library Services at USD 383, who will focus on ways in which adults can get the most out of the online world while maximizing the safety and security of their own personal information. Tech Tuesday programs are held in the library’s Groesbeck Room. You can register for Tech Tuesdays on the library’s website at www.mhklibrary.org or by calling us at 785-776-4741 Ext. 141.

Hope to see you in the library this month!

 

 

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Why I Love My Library

by Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Manager

February is Love Your Library Month and lately I’ve had a lot of good reasons to love my library. From the grand opening of the children’s room in January, to the Good Books Club, to the addition of Lynda.com, the library continues to get better and better.

And those aren’t the only reasons why I love my library! I’ve worked at MPL for over ten years, and have been a card carrier for quiiiite a bit longer! Here are a few reasons why I love our particular library!

  1. The Books. Books! Great books everywhere! MPL has always had a fantastic collection (being one of the only places I could get my Sweet Valley High fix back in the day) and the collection continues to grow and become more fantastic every year. Whether it’s the latest Nora Roberts or a new trend in YA, MPL has it. And if it’s one of the few they don’t, there’s Interlibrary Loan services and a Suggest a Purchase page on the website.
  2. The Community. There are a lot of wonderful people who visit the library each week, and some of them I’ve gotten to know pretty well. It’s incredibly awesome when kids who used to visit each week come back and visit over spring break after going to college, or a frequent patron proudly displays pictures of their new grandchild. Working at the front desk, I get to see a bit of everything, and mostly what I see are some truly amazing people who also love their library.
  3. The Staff. They’re friendly and FUN. They aren’t afraid to declare their love for Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie books with my kiddo, or spend ten minutes helping me remember the name of that documentary that looked interesting. They’re also all very indulging when I appear with a camera and ask to take their picture for social media. The smiling faces are very genuine, and some of my very best friends have been co-workers from the library.
  4. The DVDs/Blu-Rays/Video Games. Another wonderful collection of the latest movies and games, and they’re free to check out!
  5. The Events. MPL has a Good Books group where I can go and be an adult for a while, discussing literature with actual adults other than my husband, and I don’t have to pay for it as a class! (Also, there are cookies!) The story times are always fantastic, and aids my kids in developing their love of reading. The Children’s events are also excellent at being on top of the latest trends! (There’s a Frozen party coming up soon, y’all! Bust out your Elsa & Anna dresses!)

Do you love the library, too? If so, stop by and send us a valentine!

valentine display at the library

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The Good Books Club + TALK Winter Program

by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

emmaWith the holiday season behind us and 2015 ahead, Manhattan Public Library is happy to resume monthly readers’ events for adults and will again host our annual winter series of TALK book discussion programs. The TALK series, “Talk About Literature in Kansas,” is a service of the Kansas Humanities Council and is sponsored at MPL again this year by the Manhattan Library Association. Avid readers will meet on the last Thursday of each month from January through April at 7:00 p.m. in the Library’s Groesbeck Room and will explore a different book each month, guided by knowledgeable and insightful discussion leaders from the KHC. Please join us for any one, all four, or as many of the discussions as your schedule will allow.

This year’s ambitious theme is British Literary Classics of the 19th Century, and our selections are “Emma” by Jane Austen, “Far from the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy, “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, and “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot. These authors represent the great age of British novelists and our four novels are among the best of the era. They were written as the Industrial Revolution began to transform England forever and usher in the upheaval, uncertainty, and excitement of the modern age. Copies of the featured books are available for checkout at the Library’s Information Desk and available in free down-loadable e-book format from Project Gutenberg. And for reluctant readers, or those of you in a time crunch, the good news is that all four of our selections are also available from the library in DVD format!

madding
First up, on Thursday, January 29, is “Emma,” Jane Austen’s beloved comedy of manners. Lovely, privileged, and headstrong Emma Woodhouse is the doyenne of her small county society. She takes a keen interest in the affairs of her neighbors and enlivens her quiet, uneventful life with efforts at match-making. The characters in Emma’s circle are drawn with good-natured humor, the plot entertains, and the dialogue sparkles. In the end, Emma finds out the hard way that people don’t fall in love according to plan, but the outcome is happier than even she could have planned.

In “Far from the Madding Crowd,” February’s book selection, beautiful, willful, and independent Bathsheba Everdene attracts the passionate attentions of three very different suitors in a 19th century English village. Like her biblical namesake, the choices she unwittingly makes cause catastrophe for the men who love her and particular heartbreak for Gabriel Oak, a man of stalwart courage and integrity.  Set against a backdrop of the lush English countryside and the rhythms of rural life, this is an absorbing, beautifully descriptive, character-driven masterpiece.

greatFor March 26th, we’ll read Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” the story of orphaned Pip, his desperate early years, his struggles to overcome his past, and his dreams of becoming a gentleman.  Drawing on Dickens’ frequent themes of Victorian wealth and poverty, love and rejection, weakness or strength of character, and the eventual triumph of good over evil, the novel weaves multiple storylines into a tight plot, imagines scenes rich in comedy and pathos, and introduces a succession of unforgettable characters.

We’ll finish up on Thursday, April 30, with “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot.  The most autobiographical of all Eliot’s novels, this is a tale of English rural life, rival families, and sibling relationships.  As a child, Maggie Tulliver is independent and intellectually curious, but her thirst for knowledge and desire for meaningful relationships is eclipsed by family financial calamity and thwarted by her conventional rural community.  As she grows to womanhood, tensions with her family and community increase, and the novel explores the conflicts of love and loyalty and between desire and responsibility.

millPlease join us to discuss the first book in this winter series, Jane Austen’s “Emma,” on Thursday, January 29th, at 7:00 p.m. in the library’s Groesbeck Room.

 

 

 

 

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All things Austen!

by Judi, Adult Services

AUSTEN139 years after her birth, the works of Jane Austen remain popular, both in print and on film. Born to a clergyman on December 16, 1775, Austen was familiar with the habits of the gentry and aristocracy, and wrote satires for the entertainment of her family. She self-published her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, in 1811, and followed that novel with others—Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). Her works had been published anonymously, and their authorship was announced by her brother Henry only after her death in 1817. He also arranged for the publication of two more of her works in 1818—Northanger Abby and Persuasion. Austen’s wit and social commentary have caused her novels endure, making her one of the most widely read British authors.

emmaThe TALK program at Manhattan Public Library will be discussing one of Austen’s most popular works—Emma—on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 7:00pm. Join fellow Austen-lovers in discussing this comedy of manners as Emma Woodhouse, a young, beautiful, privileged woman decides to become a matchmaker. But she learns the hard way that people don’t fall in love according to plan. The discussion will be led by Thomas Prasch, professor and chair of the History department at Washburn University and has been leading KHC TALK discussions since 1999. Pick up a copy of “Emma” at the Information Desk and join us for the discussion!

 

Another indication of the continuing popularity of Austen’s works are the many novels that have been written in recent years about characters from her books:

worldIf you are a lover of all things Austen, Manhattan Public Library has numerous items that will interest you—from the fiction already mentioned to non-fiction titles from designing a garden to crochet to tea time recipes all in the style of Austen. To learn about the times in which she lived, try “Jane Austen’s World” or “Jane Austen’s Country Life”. Or you can immerse yourself in one of the many film adaptations of her books. Manhattan Public Library has what you need to celebrate all things Austen!

 

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Thursday’s Book Discussion!

index3ALTS5PAThursday at 7:00 pm in the Grosebeck Room at Manhattan Public Library will be our final event in our Big Read programs regarding the book “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. We are especially excited to have Dr. Kim Stanley, a professor at McPherson College and a representative of the Kansas Humanities Council, here in Manhattan to lead our discussion. Dr. Stanley is very knowledgeable about this book and promises to provide an informative and lively discussion. Refreshments will be served. Join us for this interesting discussion!

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Honoring Veterans

TBR-Logo-BWIt is hard to believe that it is the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War. For many of us, it seems like only yesterday that our families and friends were watching the draft lotteries on television (hoping for a high number—the higher the number, the less likely you would be drafted), and sending letters overseas to servicemen. This momentous anniversary will be recognized at our local Veterans Day celebrations, which include events at the Manhattan Public Library.

This year, the Manhattan Public Library received a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Arts allowing us to plan for a Big Read.  The Big Read is a program designed with the goal to encourage reading as a shared experience in the community, with grant funding allowing the purchase of books to give away, making speakers available, providing for the cost of printing materials and posters, etc. The Big Read  engages American readers by awarding grants to local communities for local Big Read projects.  By improving access to the art of literature readers will be able to connect with great works of literature. O
Our Big Read events have been planned in conjunction with the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. This award-winning novel is considered a literary classic and has been taught in classrooms around the world since its publication in 1990.

thingsThe book is a fictionalized account of the author’s experiences as an infantryman in Vietnam. A collection of stories that comprise the novel, O’Brien conveys the chaos, fear and other feelings that make up warfare in his writing. ““War is hell, but that’s not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love. War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead.”

Our Big Read events include the parade on Veterans Day, where we will be handing out copies of the book “The Things They Carried” (while they last!) as well as the Vietnam Veteran’s Forum later in the afternoon. Also, stop by on Veterans Day or at the library during November and write a note on a Thank You to Veterans postcard. We will be sending these for distribution to VA Hospitals and other agencies that serve our Veterans.

An exciting and important event will take place on Veterans Day at 4:00 at the Wareham—the Vietnam Veterans Forum. Several distinguished local Vietnam Veterans will discuss their experiences during the war in Vietnam. Join us to hear their stories and their reflections on the Vietnam War. The Flint Hills Veterans Coalition has been very helpful in organizing and planning for the forum.

We have planned two book discussions for community members. On Thursday Nov. 13 at 6:00pm, we are sponsoring Books and Brew—a discussion at Little Apple Brewery. Appetizers will be provided, and food and drink may be ordered. If you can’t make it to the Brewery, we will be having another discussion of the book at the Good Books Club on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7:00 pm at the library. Refreshments will be provided.

 

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October is National Reading Group month!

by Rhonna, Adult Services

Hopefully you’ve noticed that we have some options for gathering to talk about books here at the library  but even if you prefer to create your own book group, we’re here to help you out.
Two databases are available to help you. Novelist Plus is the go-to tool for exploring all information about books, including helpful discussion guides for some titles. BookBrowse also offers discussion questions, but goes beyond that to provide advice for starting and running a book group, book recommendations, and author interviews. Both resources are available from the library Research Page .
readingIt can be difficult to get enough books for your entire group to read. Fortunately, some libraries in Kansas have created book group kits, including several books and often a discussion guide. The Kansas Library has provided a list of all of the sets available in the state. If you find something that works for you, contact our Interlibrary Loan department at 785-776-4741 ext. 139.
We also have some books that might be helpful for you: Read It and Eat: A Month-By-Month Guide to Scintillating Book Club Selections and Mouthwatering Menus by Sarah Gardner, Reading Group Choices: Selections for Lively Book Discussions, and Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason.

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Women, the Vote and a Book Discussion!

by Mary, Adult Services

index06OGXZN8It’s a privilege to vote!  Did you know that not until 1971 were women allowed to vote in Switzerland? Other countries that were late adopters include France in 1944, Italy in 1946, and Greece in 1952.

Women’s suffrage- the right of women to vote and to stand for electoral office has a colorful history throughout the world and especially in the United States.  Diane Eickhoff has authored a fascinating book called Revolutionary Heart: The Life of Clarina Nichols and the Pioneering Crusade for Women’s Rights.  This crusader lived in Kansas during the wild frontier times of “Bleeding Kansas” where she spoke for the freedom of slaves as well as women’s rights. Due to her efforts and others like her, Kansas women gained the vote in 1912, eight years before Congress passed the 19th Amendment granting voting rights to all American women.

Contact the library to request a copy of this historical page-turner and put Thursday, October 30th on your calendar.  Join us as we hear the author present the story of Clarina Nichols, an example of our amazing Kansas forerunners that worked for the privileges we now take for granted.

7:00 pm in the Groesbeck room, second floor. Refreshments served.

 

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