The frenetic days of Fall

The lazy days of summer are over. Students have returned to school and are busy balancing classwork, after-school activities, sports and homework. We’re already thinking about upcoming holidays, which seem to fall one right after the other. Homecoming and General Pleasonton Days are behind us. Time seems to race by more quickly. The library is decorated for Fall, but soon we’ll switch harvest pumpkins for Jack-O-Lanterns. We already have Halloween books on display for children. We’ll have candy on the counter for trick-or-treaters before you know it.

With school back in session, my visits to the preschool have resumed. This year there are enough youngsters to have a morning and an afternoon class. I visit twice a month to read to them and make crafts. The children are adorable! It’s delightful to see how much they learn and grow over the school year. Watch for photos on the library’s Facebook page: “Pleasanton Lincoln Library.”

October is a busy month in our library world. National Friends of Libraries Week will be held October 19-25. Our local Friends of Pleasanton Library provides year-round fundraising efforts that allow us to obtain new children’s books for our Summer Reading Program. They also purchase needed items for the library such as the storage shed behind the library. They have assembled shelving, created flower beds and painted walls. Shirley Smith and Sherry McCulley regularly provide yummy baked goods and candy for sale. Our group is small but dedicated, and is always looking for new members. Call the library for contact names and numbers if you are interested in joining. There are no yearly dues and member’s efforts benefit Pleasanton’s wonderful resource – your library!

At the end of October, Kansas Library Association will hold their annual conference in Wichita. Attendees will learn how to better provide services to their library’s customers. We hear presentations from library consultants from across the country, as well as authors of all types of books. Vendors crowd the conference hall to talk about their wares and offer librarians discounts on books and services. It’s a wonderful networking opportunity. Rural as well as city librarians in Kansas meet and share ideas about making their libraries the best they can be.

Closer to home, your library’s Board of Trustees continue to meet monthly to review the library’s activities, finances, policies, and stay abreast of ways they can best serve their library. The elected positions are four-year terms. Those who hold them are local residents dedicated to keeping the library a viable resource for the community.

These crisp Fall days are busy ones. But try to slip into the library when you have a chance. View our selection of new books and movies. Let us know how we can make this a library of which Pleasanton can be proud.

Board of Trustees Meeting

The Board of Trustees Budget Meeting will be held Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 5:00 p.m. in the library located at 752 Main St. As always, the public is invited to attend.

Fall is in the air

It’s getting dark earlier each evening and before long, we’ll be setting the clocks back. That means more time indoors to watch television’s season premieres and read! While you might not be ready to snuggle under a blanket and read a book, perhaps you’d be interested in a magazine, or two!

We have quite a variety in the library on a display rack near the DVDs — almost everything from A to Z. Like many libraries they are displayed in alphabetical order, but in this case they’ll be organized by topic. That way you can see there’s something for everyone. We keep three consecutive issues of each magazine, so even if one is checked out, there are others from which to choose.

There are several magazines dedicated to crafts, or containing regular crafting sections. They include Do It Yourself, Family Fun, Mary Jane’s Farm and Paper Crafts. In addition to Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living, Family Circle and Woman’s Day, they are filled with ideas to decorate your home for Fall. If you can’t feel the crisp air by flipping through their pages, try Midwest Living. The travel destinations it includes will have you dreaming of leaves falling and bonfires by a lake. If the midwest is too close, you can dream about lands farther away by perusing the pages of National Geographic. Though many of us rarely leave the country, it’s nice to imagine the exotic locales through the magazines glossy pages.

If you’re already planning for next year’s garden, you could check out Country Garden, Garden Gate, Horticulture or our new subscription to Mary Jane’s Farm. They’ll make you feel warmer on the coming chilly nights. If indoor projects are more your speed, you could pick up a few copies of Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living, HGTV, House Beautiful or Real Simple.

For those interested in history, select from the following: American History, Guns of the Old West, Smithsonian, True West, or Wild West. The ladies will enjoy All You, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, MORE and Woman’s Day. The fellas might enjoy American Cowboy, Hot Rod, and Rod & Custom (now called Street Rodder). For anyone interested in food we have Everyday with Rachel Ray, Simple and Delicious, and Taste of Home.

Last but not least are the titles more difficult to categorize like Arts & Craft Homes, Horse & Rider, Kiplinger’s and WebMD. We’ve also recently placed subscritpions orders for three children’s magazines. If we don’t have one in which you’re interested, let us know and we’ll consider ordering it.

So, if you thought we only had books in the library, come in soon and see the variety we have to offer.

Getting to know Jo

I promised to tell you more about an upcoming visit from State Librarian Jo Budler. But I understand Linn County News reporter Amber Coulter is planning to interview Budler and feature her in an article. That’s exciting and I don’t want to duplicate her information. Instead I’ll tell you how I met Ms. Budler.

At the 2010 Kansas Library Association (KLA) conference in Wichita I was listening to a speaker promoting children’s AWE computers. I realized the presentation overlapped another event I was scheduled to attend. The State Librarian’s luncheon, where our new State Librarian would be introduced was starting at any minute. By the time I slipped into the luncheon most of the seats were taken. People gravitate toward others they know and were all clustered in their groups. I found an open seat at a table where I knew no one at all, but I enjoy meeting new people and introduced myself. It was Jo Budler’s table. We chatted briefly and discovered we were both originally from New York. She is personable, approachable and I liked her immediately.

Because of my current connection to the statewide Friends of Kansas Libraries (FoKL), I have had a number of occasions to visit with Ms. Budler. FoKL holds a yearly meeting and luncheon at KLA and Ms. Budler always attends. She speaks to the audience and often sits with the winners of the awards we present. In addition, the FoKL board held an annual meeting in Topeka at the newly renovated State Capitol and Ms. Budler allowed us to tour her offices and meet her employees. She joined us for lunch on the Capitol floor and we presented her with a check to help fund the state’s membership in United for Libraries. United for Libraries provides information and education to Friends organizations and library trustees.

Just one week later, I participated on a library bus tour provided by our Southeast Kansas Library System. We toured several northeast Kansas libraries including the State Capitol’s library, so I was able to see an additional portion of the State Library and see Ms. Budler again.

We’re so looking forward to having Ms. Budler visit Pleasanton to see our library and show her what can be done with limited funds and big hearts. We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and hope she will be impressed as well. You are welcome to visit the library next Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 2 p.m. to show your support for the library, greet Ms. Budler and welcome her to Pleasanton.

Paperless society?

Have you seen those commercials that advertise scanners that can turn your piles of papers into electronic files? I need two of those. One at home and another at the library. We have more papers at the library than we do books! We go through cases of paper each year, printing reports and lists of author’s books, sending faxes and pages of names of borrowers to call with reminders to return materials. Some of these get reused, but many of these printouts remain around for a long, long time. They get sorted into stacks and tucked into files and then they seem to multiply.

We all have important documents we need to save for future reference, right? Well, what about all the other papers that pile up? An organizational tip is to open your mail right next to your paper recycling bin. That way you can toss in the junk mail and envelopes you don’t need to save. You pay your bills with stubs, save the remaining invoice, file it away and forget about it. Until you run out of drawer space. At the end of the year you pull out all the folders and transfer them to a plastic tote. Pretty soon you have stacks of totes. These all take up room, but you never seem to have time to review what needs to be saved and what can be recycled, or shredded.

It would be great to review the year’s assortment of papers in files, drawers of folders and toss them then. But that’s when you’re busy paying year-end bills and preparing for tax season. So, they stack up year after year until you can no longer walk through your office. At least, this has been my experience. If any of you have ever peeked into my office at the library, you’d see what I mean. On top of all these papers to file and folders to tuck away annually, I have Summer Reading materials, prizes and books that have piled up. I also store materials for the Friends of Kansas Libraries in my office.

But, along comes a reason to straighten up. State Librarian Jo Budler is coming for a visit in a couple of weeks. While she may only peek into my office, it gives me incentive to get organized. The same impetus occurred when I was a child and heard we were having company. I’d pick up, put away and polish furniture until it glowed. I was proud of my room and enjoyed showing it off. I feel the same way about the library. It’s exciting to have a visit from an esteemed leader in our library field and all the work to get ready for her visit will be worth it. Stay tuned … I’ll tell you more about Jo next week.

Planning for the future

Each year around this time we prepare a budget for the coming year that we hope will provide funds for all we need to do at the library during next year. This isn’t an easy task as we depend on tax revenues from Potosi Township, and don’t always know whether the needed taxes will be collected. So we compare expenses to the previous year, review expenditures for the current year and then project ahead for the coming year. We watch our pennies carefully, look for ways to save, try to determine what our customers want the most and then hope for the best.

While it’s easy to plan to spend a certain amount monthly on books, movies and computer upgrades, it’s more difficult to plan for unseen maintenance issues like the heavy downpour in June of last year that caused some flooding in the library. While we planned to make repairs and improvements to resolve the damage last year, they didn’t occur until this year. It pays to be flexible and it behooved us to create a capital improvement fund. Of course one can never know what might happen in the future, but we work hard to make the best use of your tax dollars. We look for grants, encourage donations and shop wisely for items we need.

It truly was a godsend to be able to purchase our current building and we’ve worked hard to maintain it and improve it as we can afford to do so. In addition to using a paint additive on floors, exterior walls and ceiling that increases the R-value and makes the library more energy efficient, we’ve replaced the old windows with double-pane, argon gas-filled ones. We initially sealed the metal roof and will be doing so again to increase its efficiency.

All those nuts and bolts aside, we often hear very positive comments from our visitors about how much they like the library. They comment that they are surprised upon entering after seeing the rather plain exterior to find out how warm and inviting the interior has been decorated. After visits to many other libraries, we can’t help but agree. Ours has character and makes people feel at home while they’re visiting. There are no rows and rows of book stacks, cold seating areas and glass windows. Instead there are numerous comfortable seating areas where you can sit and read, a cafe where you can snack while using your laptop, and a more private room for quiet meetings.

It is a good value for your tax dollars and we aim to continue to provide this service for a reasonable cost. Visit us soon to see your tax dollars at work.

I think the couch looks better over there

Have you ever begun rearranging your furniture, and then struggled to make it look any better than your original arrangement? Well, we’ve been rearranging since moving into the “new” library space two years ago. Our basic layout remained the same, but the Friends of Pleasanton Library added a meeting room behind the children’s area earlier this year. That left us half the storage area we once had. Then the Friends members purchased a storage unit and placed it behind the library so we could move lesser-used materials there. It was painted to match the library and now looks great.

Recently, we’ve rearranged the books to fill a shelving unit the Friends members pieced together from salvaged shelves from another library. We also removed some of the book shelves in the children’s area and added book browsers on wheels. This allows little ones to more easily access the books they want, and toys can be stored below. The best part of these units is they are on wheels, allowing us to move them when extra space is needed for programs.

We also installed new flooring in the cafe, using materials donated to us by Brandon Cox. His generous gift was welcomed and made a world of difference in that area. Last Monday, we made a trip to Coffeyville Public Library to pick up some shelves they were donating. This unit will replace the sagging wood shelving in the Teen Area, and make more space for gaming. We are the recipients of a Gaming in Libraries grant through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the only federal program exclusively for libraries. It will provide us with funds to purchase gaming equipment for use by our local teens. In addition, a 32” television has been donated by one of our board members which allows us to connect the gaming console. This will require some more rearranging as we make room on the teen area for the new equipment. Soon we’ll have some different seating to go with the game console, thanks to another library to our north. Lawrence Public Library has been renovated an they are sharing their wealth of items no longer needed.

Another delivery recently received was two recycled picnic tables from Champlin Tire Recycling in Concordia, Kansas. They will be put together soon and installed in the new patio area once used as a loading dock. One of the tables is built specifically for use by those in wheelchairs.

Inside and out, we want to keep improving our library to make it the best it can be. We welcome suggestions and hope you enjoy the changes we’ve already made in your community resource.

A very fortunate summer

Thanks to the support of many generous library supporters, Pleasanton Library had a wonderful season. During our Summer Reading Program, parents, grandparents and caregivers gave of their time to bring children to our events. Many stayed during programs, kept an eye on their children, participated and enjoyed the programs as well. Kids and attendants from SEK Mental Health Alliance visited regularly and were some of our most enthusiastic attendees. With our science theme, home-schooled children as well as Pleasanton school students, learned a lot this summer.

Guests were welcomed even if only attending occasional programs. Some libraries separate children into age groups, but we found a mixture of ages has the effect of a one-room schoolhouse. Older children help and watch out for younger ones. The library’s teen helpers assisted with decorations, crafts and snacks. Frances Marshall provided lively entertainment, disguising the fact attendees were actually learning!

The generosity didn’t stop there. The Friends of Pleasanton Library provided lollipops and made dozens of cookies each month offering sweet snacks to visitors. They met frequently to plan their next fundraiser or event. After a busy school year working on PTO projects, Sherry McCulley and Shirley Smith redoubled their efforts to help the library as well. Along with Rhonda DeLaughder and Maxine Goucher, they scheduled, set up and held a week-long Scholastic Book Fair garnering 500 Scholastic dollars for the library. Library patrons donated money toward the purchase of additional books. Doug and Becky Grant visited and purchased an entire basket of books on our wish list!

A grant from the State Library and the Library Science and Technology Act (LSTA), in partnership with Scholastic’s FACE program, provided $120 of books to give away to children. We also received a grant this past year allowing us to increase deliveries from other libraries from three days per week to five, providing readers and movie watchers quick access to materials. We’ll continue this service, thanks to continued grant funding.

Summer programming was another way community members gave back to our wonderful resource. Amy Coffman, assistant manager of Marais de Cygne National Wildlife Refuge, visited to teach attendees about nature journaling. Jean Winters, The Nutty Professor, led children through numerous science experiments. Buck Kids Productions came for a one-time visit to Kansas to perform a play called “The Smarty Pants Game Show,” to the delight of 50 attendees. Pleasanton schools’ summer coordinator, Robin Bortzfield, invited us to entertain over 70 children and adults with a space-based program. While our program officially ends July 8, we encourage reading to continue throughout the summer. This allows children to “hit the ground running” when they return to school next month. We have plenty of children’s books in our collection, thanks to previous grants received.

Last, but not least, Thank You to Jackie Taylor and her crew at Linn County News for allowing us to include weekly columns about our community service, events listed in Week at a Glance and special features.

Gaming in Kansas Libraries Grant

Recently, Kansas public libraries were offered a sizable grant to purchase a gaming console for their libraries. The non-competitive grant was funded through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). LSTA is the only federally funded program created exclusively for libraries. It’s administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. State libraries use the funds to support statewide initiatives and also distribute the funds through subgrants or cooperative agreements to public, school, academic, research, and special libraries. There is a requirement for a state match, which helps stimulate approximately three to four dollars for every federal dollar invested.

Every fiscal year, Congress provides funding for LSTA in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Federal resources help target library services to people of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, to individuals with disabilities, and to people with limited literacy skills.

At Pleasanton Lincoln Library, I polled some of our local teens who use the library to learn what kind of gaming console they would enjoy using. I also sought advice from local tech whiz Doug Grant and our technical support employees from the Southeast Kansas Library System in Iola.

Although our summer has been busy with our Summer Reading Program, I managed to send a grant application just under the wire. Priority for these grants was given to libraries without a current gaming console and/or those that serve communities with populations under 10,000. We agreed to purchase an Xbox One bundled with one controller to be covered by the grant. We also agreed to purchase additional controllers. Doug Grant agreed to help us with some video games, and we’ll purchase others as our funds allow.

Last week we learned we will receive the grant and we are very excited to get that news! After ordering the console and controllers, we will rearrange the teen area to accommodate the gaming console and screen. We hope to continue to hear from local teens about what kinds of games they would like to play. We also welcome feedback from parents and grandparents about this new feature at the library.

Portions of this article were drawn from the State Library of Kansas and American Library Association web sites.

Putting the Fizz, Boom, Read! into children’s summer

We’re off to a great start this year, with two programs already under our belt. Our first program, What Goes Up” explored the wonders of science through gravity and motion, with an interactive game, a video about how to balance a coin on the edge of a paper bill, and discussion about Isaac Newton and his apple tree. Children hopped up and down and shouted out answers to questions posed to them by Miss Frances’ pantomiming gravity or motion, with the able assistance from Miss Amanda. I’m sure they all went home to show off their new skill with a coin and a bill to their parents. Hint: it really works! They even tasted the results of two kinds of cookies made with gravity and motion – rolled, wrapped and pressed cookies, and German “Drop” cookies.

Last week, we had another wonderful program, this time discovering our natural world. “Look up, down and all around.” We’d planned to visit the new walking trail created by Travis Laver’s team of teachers and administrators behind the school. But the cool weather and damp conditions kept us in the library. Amy Coffman, assistant manager of the National Wildlife Refuge visited with a van loaded with backpacks packed with tools. She shared them with attendees, explaining how each could be used to explore the natural environment outside the library. Afterward, Miss Frances showed the children a how-to video and helped teach them to whistle for help should they ever get lost in the woods. The kids enjoyed cold water and trail mix as a snack, a reminder to always take something along when you’re hiking.

This week, we take our show on the road and visit the PELP summer program at the school annex. Three of us will split the students into groups and read age-appropriate books about space. The PELP program is focusing on the topic this summer, and it’s near and dear to my heart. I grew up in Titusville, Florida and my father worked at Cape Kennedy for almost 25 years. It was a great place to be raised and students were treated to numerous views of rockets being launched into space. Hard to believe that it’s been almost 45 years since we landed on the moon!

It’s not too late to visit the library for summer programs this year. You can drop in anytime for a calendar so you don’t miss any of the coming events. Keep your children reading throughout the summer to help them retain their skills for Fall’s back-to-school challenges.

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