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Paperback Book Day

Heather holding a mug of coffee and a copy of the Princess Bride

Demonstration: right hand coffee; left hand book.

By Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Supervisor

Today we celebrate the paperback: the small and inexpensive soft-covered book. (By decree of the Days of the Year calendar.)

The history of the paperback is intriguingly similar to that of the e-book: the ability to produce them cheaper and sell them at lower prices appealed to consumers but frustrated publishers and bookstores. However, despite the controversy created around them when they began, and the worry that e-books might take their place in modern times, paperbacks are still around and making their way into reader’s hearts today.

Like many readers, my favorite way to read is to curl up with a good paperback and a cup of coffee. Long before I tried out an e-reader, a paperback was the most convenient way to read. It was light, fit into my budget and was easily shoved into a backpack or purse if I needed to carry it around with me.

It also hurt a lot less than a hardback if I dropped it on my face while reading.

A paperback still has the “book” feel to it: textured pages and the papery scent that booklovers around the world know so well. It has a bendy cover that allows you to hold it one-handed. While you do have to go to an actual store to buy one, paperbacks have the bonus of being low-priced to also accommodate a visit to the coffee shop.

For me, a well-loved paperback means a familiar story on a rainy-day, with rain pinging on the window and a mind engrossed in a different world.

If you’re looking for your own paperback to read and cherish, stop by Rosie’s Corner Used Book Store on the first floor of the library to purchase one for $1.25 or browse the library to check out as many as you can carry!

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World War I Begins

franz-ferdinandandsophie2The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia von Hochenberg by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip was the event that ignited World War I on this day in 1914. This marks the 100th anniversary of the “Great War”. Manhattan Public Library has many resources to help you learn about this time in history–check our catalog to find out more!

Posted in: Adult Services

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Bedtime Books for Summer Nights

by Grace Benedick, Children’s Librarian

As a child, I loved the long summer days and the warm summer nights, but if there was one thing I really hated about summer, it was bedtime. I think we can all remember the childhood trial of trying to fall asleep before the sun had set—when it seemed the whole world was still wide awake. Fortunately, for all of you grown-ups with children undergoing that yearly trial, the library is full of wonderful bedtime stories to appease your wakeful children. In fact, over 200 titles will come up if you search our catalog for picture books about bedtime, so here’s a small selection of summery favorites to get you started:

atnightJonathan Bean’s debut picture book, At Night is all about one of those restless nights when sleep just won’t come. The story moves at a poetic, quiet pace, following a restless girl as she chases the night breeze up to her city roof. With her curious mother trailing behind, she takes her pillows and blankets upstairs to the rooftop terrace, where she can see the moon and feel the breeze, and better yet—fall asleep.



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

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indexU4IF9XSTA genre that deserves attention (and is a natural favorite of book lovers) is the bibliomystery.
Bibliomysteries are a genre of mystery novels which have books as the central theme of the plot. They may be have manuscripts, libraries, publishing houses, booksellers, or writers occupy a prominent role.
One of the very best bibliomysteries is Booked to Die by John Dunning (1992). Booked to Die is Dunning’s first novel in his “Bookman” series, and it’s a minor classic, especially if you’re a fan of the bibliomystery genre or a book collector. It’s the story of a Denver cop-turned-rare book dealer Cliff Janeway, and it will teach you a lot about the book trade while taking you on a mystery thrill-ride at the same time. Dunning is himself a rare book dealer, which makes the story even more authentic. (more…)

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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!!

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, For Teens, library services, News

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Book Your Summer

Man sitting on park bench, reading.Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

For me, the fast-approaching summer calls up childhood memories of lounging on my jungle gym, drinking gallons of sweet, sticky lemonade, and devouring book after book. I’ve since traded the jungle gym for a porch swing and lemonade for iced coffee, but voracious reading has remained a constant. Being a big reader poses a serious threat–running out of reading material. In the age of computer recommendations, you can always turn to Amazon or GoodReads to get ideas, but in my experience, those selections can be impersonal and inaccurate. My preference is always to ask my coworkers for their reading suggestions. It’s a perk of working at a library…and it’s a perk that you can take advantage of, too.

As summer approaches, keep in mind the many services that Manhattan Public Library offers to help you find the perfect books for your summer reading. We can help you stay stocked up on reading material–and you’ll hardly have to lift a finger.

Personalized Reading Lists: You may have noticed the super-helpful booklists located by the Information Desk at MPL. These lists are full of reading suggestions, and we take great care to update them regularly to reflect the newest and the best books in our collections. Perhaps you would like something crafted more to your own unique tastes, though. That’s where our personalized reading lists come in handy. Fill out a short survey telling us all about your reading likes and dislikes and within 10 days, you’ll get a completely customized list of at least 10 books for your enjoyment.

Book Reviews: If you are more the type to browse for yourself, our brand-new book review website is up and running at BookTALK is the (virtual) place to go in Manhattan for the lowdown on the newest bestsellers, as well as books you may never have heard of. All BookTALK reviews are written by MPL staff themselves, and you won’t find a more passionate, in-the-know group of readers than librarians. We cover every genre and all age groups on BookTALK, making it much easier for you to find a book for yourself AND for kiddos. We don’t just do reviews, either! We cover book awards, create fun and quirky book lists, and just generally share our love of reading. A must-visit site for anyone of the bookish persuasion!

But wait (as they say)! There’s more! On BookTALK, you can find more than just reviews, awards, and lists. It’s also a portal to many of our other reading resources. You’ll find our personalized reading list survey and links to children’s book resources and NoveList (a book review database). You’ll also find our new subscribable email book lists. For maximum convenience, select the genres and subjects that you are interested in and every month or two, depending on your choice, you’ll get a brand-new list of books in the library’s collection. Bonus points: Just click on the title of the book in the list, and you’ll be whisked away to our catalog to place your requests!

Get Social: Enjoy sharing your reading on social media? So do we. You’ll find all sorts of cool stuff on our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts. We share library events, book news, awards, reviews, literary fun facts, and more. To find out what’s going on at MPL and to get reading advice without setting your smartphone or tablet to the side, find us online.

Of course, if you want to beat the heat AND find a book to read, Manhattan Public Library staff can always provide in-person, on-site help finding a book. In fact, there is really nothing we love more than being asked for reading suggestions. Just stop by the Information Desk or the Reference Desk and tell us what you’re in the mood for. You’ll be just a few questions away from an armful of great reads.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, Mercury Column, News

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Award-Winning Fiction of All Kinds!

Susan Withee, Adult Services Department Manager

Hands down, the most popular books with adults in public libraries are what we in the biz call “genre fiction” – mysteries, romances, westerns, science fiction, and so on.  And every spring and summer, various national writers’ organizations hold their conventions and give out awards for the best books written in those different fiction genres during the past year.  For enthusiastic readers, the nominated books and authors can be an instant reading list of the newest and “best of the best,” and checking into that group’s online archive of prize-winners and nominees from previous years can keep you reading happily for a good long time.  Here are just a sample of this year’s nominees. (more…)

Posted in: Adult Services, Mercury Column, News

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Understanding thankfulness

It’s the season to talk about and celebrate thankfulness, but how can we help instill a grateful attitude in our young children when our culture often promotes self satisfaction and instant gratification?  The Zero to Three website is an excellent resource for knowledge and advice.  Their article on Raising a Thankful Child has some good tips, such as not giving a child too many gifts at birthday parties and holidays, and helping others within your community to encourage empathy and giving with hands on experiences.  Reading books about the topic can help children understand the concept of thankfulness beyond the usual prompting they get from parents to have good manners (“And what do we say when someone gives us something? That’s right, thank you.”)  Some from our collection that I like are The Most Thankful Thing by Lisa McCourt, The Thankful Book by Todd Parr, and Thank You, World by Alice McGinty.  Some books to spark discussion about gratefulness or generosity include A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams, Stone Soup (multiple authors), The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, A Castle on Viola Street by DyAnne DiSalvo, or All the World by Elizabeth Scanlon. 




Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Parents

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Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein

Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein

Squirrels are all around our city this time of year, and you might have even heard one scold you from a tree! Ol’ Mama Squirrel tells the story of one very protective squirrel mama. She always makes sure her squirrel babies are safe from dangerous predators, though sometimes she gets carried away and scolds kites and airplanes. This funny story is wonderful to read aloud to preschoolers and early elementary students.

-Reviewed by Laura

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Parents

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Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five by Valorie Fisher

Cover image of everything I need to know before I'm five by Valerie Fisher

“Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five” is the ultimate concept book. It has it all–the alphabet, counting, shapes, colors, opposites, seasons and weather. With bright colors and fun photography, Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five is engaging and educational. There is no narrative, it is just pure concept and imagery. This is not a book to be read cover to cover. It is a book to be browsed, and talked through, concept by concept. When I read the book with my 4 year-old niece, she enjoyed the numbers and opposites but did not have the patience to read the entire book in one sitting.

Whether your child is learning these concepts for the first time or reinforcing their knowledge, this book is a great way to explore concepts together.

Reviewed by Grace


Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Parents

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