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Posts Tagged library programs

Book Discussions this Fall at MPL!

If you or your book club would like to join us for book discussions this fall, check out the books and start reading!

ghostSeptember 25 at 7:00 pm, we will discuss The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. This is the K-State Book Network’s Common Read for 2014, and the devastating effects of cholera and the search for the cause of this deadly disease is written about in this book–a fascinating look at scientific investigation in the Victorian era.


October 30 at 7:00 pm we will have the exciting opportunity to discuss the book Revolutionary Heart with the author, Diane Eickoff! The main character of this book is a charismatic suffragist who helped pave the way for change for women.



carriedNovember 20 at 7:00 pm, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien will be discussed with a guest discussion leader. Sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council, this discussion is part of the events planned for the Manhattan Big Read of this poignant and fascinating look at American soldiers in Vietnam.


We hope you can join us for any or all of these discussions!

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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KSBN Focus: The Ghost Map

By Marcia Allen, Technical Services Manager


Each academic year, the K-State Book Network (KSBN) selects an exceptional book for a common reading experience. In conjunction with that all-university-read, campus activities, classroom experiences, and community programs are offered that share additional insights into the book. In the past years, enthusiastic participants have been fortunate enough to share in the reading of outstanding titles like Ready Player One, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Zeitoun, and The Hunger Games.

This year’ title is an equally stellar selection. The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, which was first published in 2006, is an amazing tale of detective work and perseverance that will demand your attention despite its sometimes appalling content. Here’s a hint about the levels of appeal that the book presents.

First of all, it’s a graphic examination of living conditions in 19th century London. While the story begins with a lengthy description of the scavengers (night-soil men) who sought items for recycling in the filth of the city, the real focus is on a cholera epidemic which began in 1854 in the neighborhood of Broad Street. As is often the case, the first one or two deaths quickly multiplied, and in a period of some ten days, more than 500 people lost their lives.

Secondly, the book is an excellent account of the life of disease, as well as the common beliefs about contagion. Johnson does an exceptional job of describing the source, the growth, and the resulting symptoms and death that accompany a cholera outbreak. The close proximity of cesspools to drinking water sources and the density of the population combined for a perfect hosting environment for the epidemic. Coupled with those physical conditions were the common beliefs in “miasma,” or poisoned atmosphere, as the cause of sickness. Neither medical experts nor average citizens understood the actual causes of contagion, so few productive efforts were made to stop the spread of disease.

Third, and perhaps most interesting, this is an incredible detective story. Dedicated physician John Snow had done pioneering work with the newly discovered use of anesthetics, but he had also pondered the frequent outbreaks of cholera for some years, and even attempted to chart the deaths. When this sudden horrific outbreak near Broad Street caught his attention, he began questioning the unthinkable: Could the water supply be related to the epidemic? At the same time, local clergyman Henry Whitehead began work on his own study involving the reach and duration of the outbreak. Because Whitehead knew his congregation so well, he was able to pinpoint dates of deaths as well as numbers lost to the outbreak. In fact, it was actually his discovery of the timespan when the first victim sickened and died that brought the two investigators together. From that point, the two men were able to chart the spread of the epidemic throughout the neighborhood. Thus, the “ghost map” of the title is the carefully documented layout of the related deaths throughout the area.
Of course, these dedicated souls did not bring about immediate change in London. But their pioneering work served as an impetus for early developments in waste-removal and sanitary water supply that not only improved the health of thousands, but also restored the vigor of the much-polluted Thames River.

If you are interested in learning more about the book and its contents, the following programs are scheduled:
On Science Saturday, September 6 at 10:00 a.m., in the MPL’s lower atrium, Ginny Bernard from Riley County Extension will guide listeners of all ages through some hands-on experiments concerning diseases, germs and water contamination. You can register here.

On Thursday, September 11th at 7:00 p.m., there is an author talk in McCain Auditorium with Steven Johnson. Tickets are required to attend the free event and will be available for community members on Wednesday, September 3 at the Manhattan Public Library.

On Thursday, September 25th at 7:00 p.m., there is a Good Books Club Book Discussion to be held in the Groesbeck Room of MPL. Snacks will be provided.

Please plan to attend these events if your schedule allows, and enjoy your reading of the book. It’s a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

Posted in: For Adults, Mercury Column, News

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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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Science Saturdays: Bug Surprise!

Join us at the library Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. in the Groesbeck Room for Bug Surprise sponsored by the KSU Entomology Department. They will lead us in a hands-on workshop all about insects. The program will include information on insect biology with live specimens that you can touch. They will also go over the importance of insects for humans, both positive and negative aspects. And, for the all the brave souls, there will be an insect cooking and tasting activity! The workshop will be geared towards teens and adults, but is probably appropriate for upper elementary school kids, as well.

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

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Week Two of Summer Clubs and Storytimes

We had a great time last week with more than 300 kids who attended our storytimes and club sessions!  Some highlights were the reader’s theater in Curious Chaos Creators clubs, meeting Ms.Frizzle in Ms. Frizzle’s Science club and capturing germs in petri dishes during Minion Madness clubs.  Storytime kids loved the “touch and feel” activity table to go with the stories on our senses of sight and touch.

Join us again this week for lots more great stories and activities, including storytimes about noises, from animal sounds to the drumming of raindrops, and clubs about interesting scientific topics – metamorphosis, bees and electricity!kids doing readers theater at clubboy swabbing his mouth for science experiment

kids transferring germs to petri dishes for science experiment

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids

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Need help with learning computers?

Do you or a family member struggle with using your computer? Or is there someone you know that could use some help with computer skills? We can help! Sign up for a 1-hour, one-on-one basic computer class to help get started in the digital world. Bring your questions and we will help fine the answers! For more information, check our web site or call 776-4741 x173 to sign up for a class.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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Outreach Services

booksFor those who can’t leave home, the world can come to them. If you find yourself unable to come to the library because of physical disability or a medical condition, librarians will select books for you and deliver them to your door, within city limits of Manhattan. An application form will be mailed to you that will ask for your reading preferences, then we will select materials and deliver them once each month. Call the library and speak to the Adult Services Department about this wonderful service at 776-4741 x141.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, News

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We’ve Got Game(s)!

Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

Most people associate libraries with books first. We’ve still got the books, but we’ve got some great other collections, too—like our video game collection! If you are a gamer, the library can be an awesome (and, as always, free) resource for you. Thanks to some help from our friends at Game Hounds and MPL’s Technology Center, we’ve spent the last year building our video game collection. With nearly 300 titles (and growing), we’ve got games for all ages, and for a wide variety of consoles.

callof dutyStill rocking a PS2? We’ve got “Call of Duty: Finest Hour,” “Kingdom Hearts,” and “Tekken Tag Tournament,” among other old school favorites. For the Wii, we’ve got “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” the super popular and addictive fighting game that lets you play as game characters, like Mario, Pikachu, or Sonic the Hedgehog. Looking for a Wii game with more of a storyline? Try Okami,” the critically-acclaimed Japanese RPG (role playing game) wherein you become the wolf incarnation of the Japanese sun god Amaterasu. The storyline might sound obscure, but it actually translates beautifully, thanks to the game’s visual artistry and engaging characters. 

Video-games-as-movies have been popular recently, so even if you don’t usually play games, you might recognize the some of our titles, like Prince of Persia.” Jake Gyllenhaal won’t be making any appearances in this game, but the animation, starwarsgameespecially for our XBox version of the game, is gorgeous, so you won’t miss him. We’ve also got “Star Wars,” which has been almost as successful a video game series as the films. Want a little bit of exercise with your video games? You’ll be excited to hear that we also have games like “Dance Central 3,” which was one of the best reviewed games of 2012. Because “Dance Central 3” lets other players join in the mix, it is perfect for get-togethers with friends and family.

If you are on the PS3, you will have tons of options for games as well. We have popular action-adventure games, like “Uncharted 3” and “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” and role-playing games, like “Final Fantasy XIII” and “Resonance of Fate.” But don’t overlook some of the quirkier games, like “LittleBigPlanet 2,” a game that is reminiscent of the SIMs games, but starring an odd little rag doll. This might sound like an odd sales pitch, but the creativity and freedom of play that this game allows you is addictively enjoyable.

carsvideogame For the littlest gamers, there are some fun, family-friendly options, too. We’ve got a wide variety of Lego games, as well as the Disney and Pixar games, like “Disney’s Epic Mickey 2” and “Cars.” Many of our family-friendly games are also great for multiple players; for example, “Mario Kart,” a fast-paced racing game featuring characters from all the beloved Mario Bros. series, is one that parents and kids will love playing together. But not surprisingly, these video games are extremely popular, so if you see one that you have been dying to play, put a hold on it by logging on to our website!

 MPL also throws some great gaming parties. The first Monday of every month, we have a teen gaming program where kids in grades 7-12 can play Wii and xBox 360 games. MPL is also a big fan of Minecraft, the wildly popular building game that lets you create and interact with entire worlds. Keep your eye out for Minecraft events here at Ready_Player_One_coverthe library in the near future! Finally, video game fans who also love to read have something to be very excited about this fall. For their annual common read book, the K-State Book Network has chosen “Ready, Player One,” an excellent sci-fi/dystopian novel about a future where people compete to inherit the fortune of a wealthy video game builder. While “Ready, Player One” has a broad appeal for all readers, it is especially fun for fans of retro video games from the 1980s. Grab a copy of the book and get ready for the cool programs this fall at MPL and K-State that will go along with it.

Posted in: For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, Mercury Column

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