Christmas giving or taking?

In addition to Christmas cards sent to your home there are countless requests for donations from national organizations. They encourage you to make year-end, tax-deductible contributions. At stores in nearby cities you’ll hear someone ringing a bell and hoping you’ll share the change in your pockets. There are local funds gathered at local schools, churches and businesses to help those who cannot afford food and warm clothing. This is done in the same spirit of giving as the wise men did for the Christ child.

These efforts were created in addition to the government assistance given throughout the year for those in need. While we’re doing better since the recession, many folks still struggle to find jobs and pay their bills. Some, particularly the elderly, are too proud to ask for assistance. They may be afraid to do so, as it might bring to light their situation. Perhaps they’re concerned social services might remove them from their homes and place them in a care facility.

Hopefully, those who can afford to give to others will do so. Many are so inclined at Christmastime, even though they can hardly afford their own holiday. It’s how we’re wired. Then there are those who think it’s better to take what they want from others. The recent break-ins and thefts from local families have brought out the worst in some. At this joyous time of year, they’ve caused dismay among Pleasanton residents. Some who never locked their doors now securing everything in sight.

One might imagine the thefts are the result of great need on the part of the thieves. This is hard to imagine with assistance available locally and nationally. Is it greed that causes these crimes? Are they done on a dare, or from the assumption they won’t get caught? With social media so prevalent, and citizens on alert for the stolen items, it’s a matter of time before these thieves are caught.

How does this relate to your library? It has also been the victim of theft. Every time a cardholder refuses to return materials, whether they lose them, damage them or move away with them, they’re stealing from local citizens. Your tax dollars pay for materials in the library so they can be checked out then returned for others to use. Our employees work hard to remind you by phone, text, e-mail or letter that items in your possession are overdue. Books can be renewed twice, giving borrowers a total of six weeks to read them. Fines on books are only 10 cents a day. This seems very reasonable, and yet some are never returned. This is especially grievous when they’re borrowed from other libraries, who charge us for the loss.

Those who don’t return library materials should consider their fellow citizens and not just themselves. Greed and irresponsibility is not what Jesus taught. Please join us in celebrating this season by giving not taking.

The colors of Christmas

When I was growing up in Florida, we typically had a cut Christmas tree. We lived near the woods, but most of those trees were slash pines and scrub oaks. Mom did scare up the occasional cedar, but quickly figured out its branches didn’t hold heavy ornaments. As we could afford it, she began choosing our tree from a lot, usually set up near the A&P grocery store where she shopped. Dad would secure the tree in one of those flimsy red and green metal stands and then mom would string lights. After adding every ornament we had on the branches, it was often my duty to add tinsel. I was the only one with enough patience to drape strand by strand.

The décor remained the traditional red and green until I was away in college and mom purchased a n aluminum tree. She decorated it solely with dark green, pink and gold balls. I thought it was awful and longed for the days of our real tree covered with decades of family decorations. The tree remained for some years and then disappeared. After an early marriage while still in school, our first tree was creatively “built” from a folded art easel wrapped in blue/green tinsel garland. It was so small we had to heighten it by placing it on a black vinyl hassock. Small green trees were the norm for several years to follow with branches crowded with small felt ornaments made my mother-in-law.

Children and pets necessitated artificial trees and a lack of tinsel, and branches were strung with popcorn and cranberries and covered in ornaments made at school. As the children grew older, we used real trees with ornaments switched in varied color schemes. I never succumbed to decorator trees in blue, pink and all-white that became popular. They just didn’t seem like Christmas to me.

While the library’s trees may be artificial, but they are more traditionally colored. Last year’s tree tucked in a corner of the meeting room was lavishly decorated in shades of gold and cream with draped ribbons and white lights. Elsewhere we used turquoise and bronzed magnolia leaves with white snowflakes tucked in garland and mini trees around the front doors.

This year we’ll add a wishing tree made of books lit with traditional multi-colored, large-bulb lights,
— a nod to nostalgia. The books will be stacked flat with catalog cards tucked in here and there. Each card will be printed with a wish for the library. Some cards will contain things we need, or would like to have. Others will contain tasks we hope to accomplish with your help. Wishes include items of varying cost in funds or time. We hope you’ll visit to see if you can help with any of these things. Our biggest wish is a better community library and a most colorful Christmas for all!

Creatively yours

Perhaps you have noticed how creative we have been in decorating your library. From the discarded book-spine countertop designed by Frances Marshall, her clever restroom signs and end caps in the fiction section to the terrarium arranged by board member Charline Klopfenstein, we are artistic!

The interior is filled with decorator touches by Theresa Miller – floral arrangements abound. Furniture was selected and placed for comfortable seating and the walls are covered with carefully chosen artistic prints. The overall effect was intended to look homey, but with an elegant flair. Our displays vary by season and encourage readers to choose from our growing selection of fine books.

All of us enjoy making crafts in our spare time and have donated items for the Friends of Pleasanton Library’s craft sales in December. This year, we hope to expand our horizons by requesting fine crafts from the community to sell in support of the library. If you have a special talent and would like to donate a craft of value, please consider doing so by December 15. You are welcome to contact us at 352-8554 for more information. The crafts will be on display at the library and available for sale. You are welcome to provide business cards along with your donated craft to garner additional business from interested buyers.

The Friends organization will hold an all-day event on Friday, December 19 from 10 a.m. To 5 p.m. They’ll be serving chili and winter soups, nachos and beverages. There will be crafts for sale to benefit the organization, and all are invited to participate by donating or purchasing a craft, or enjoying the food and beverages. We look forward to seeing you all between now and Christmas, when we’ll be closed Christmas Eve day and Christmas day.

Giving thanks

Your library doesn’t just operate through the labors of the gals you see behind the circulation desk. While Frances, Brenda and Bonnie are adept at what they do, there are others behind the scenes and we could not provide our services without them. This seems like the best time of year to publicly let them know we appreciate them.

Let’s start with Jackie Taylor and her staff who print this column on a near weekly basis. It must be accepted online, reviewed for errors and arranged on a page. As a matter of fact, they have done this over 200 times since I began the column! In addition, they provide wonderful coverage of special library events.

Of course, there are the members of our wonderful Board of Trustees who meet monthly to review our expenditures and make decisions about the direction of the library. Currently, the co-chairs are Kenton Bell and Sheilah Umphenour. Our secretary is Charline Klopfenstein, and our treasurer is Tel-lea Cox. These board members have been on the board since I began working at Pleasanton Library and we appreciate their dedication. Our newer members are Kathy Secrest, Florine O’Rourke and Mark Willard. All these folks are supportive, wise and essential to our success as a viable community resource.

Members of Friends of the Library have been enthusiastic fundraisers and overall cheerleaders for the library as well. Sherry McCulley and Shirley Smith lead the group by setting up candy and baked goods sales and sponsoring a big Scholastic sale in the library. This season, they’ll hold a Christmas Cheer event selling chili, crafts and more on Friday, Dec. 19. You won’t want to miss this event!

Thanks to each of the volunteer readers who helped us with Kansas Reads to Preschoolers last week. April Umphenour and Tristan Snyder kicked off the week on Monday with wonderful stories. Then Allene Campbell delighted the children with a book about Thanksgiving on Tuesday afternoon. She’s also been volunteering regularly to help the students make crafts. Stella Thompson provided two rounds of reading a wonderful “vintage” story from her own collection. On Thursday morning Doug Barlet, Dee Horttor, and Natasha Hunter wowed the kids with their uniforms and firefighting gear. In the afternoon, Tel-lea Cox joined the class for a funny story about a frog in space. Elisha Gilbert and Rosalea DeMott rounded off the week with cute stories of their own.

A special thank you to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionaries for installing shelves and putting together book browsers for us. They are absolutely joyful as they work to help us improve the services of the library.

Then, there are those folks who help when asked at a moment’s notice to carry a heavy box, hold a door, bring in treats and make baked goods and crafts for our events. We appreciate each and every act of kindness. We couldn’t accomplish everything we do without you. Happy Thanksgiving!

Not ready for winter?

Pleasanton Library staff works hard to keep our frequent readers stocked with enough books to keep them through a weekend when we’re closed. We have a notebook filled with lists of their favorite authors series so they can read them in order. These readers nearly panic if they believe they might run out of something to read. So we order Interlibrary Loan books for them in advance and they visit on a weekly, if not more often, basis. Not all of them are retired with lots of time on their hands. Some work, but prefer to spend their hours away from work reading. Television doesn’t excite them like the stories in the books they choose. We know the recent cold weather will worry them. They don’t want the library to be closed during school snow days.

Neither do parents of children who visit the library on a regular basis to use our seven internet-connected computers. The kids, aged 7 and above, are able to visit the library throughout the day and sign in to use a computer, play video games and contact their friends through Facebook. Our Xbox 360 and Xbox One games are popular as well. When school is closed, we are packed with residents young and old who want to stay in touch with the world and each other.

We make every effort to get to the library early after a snowfall, shovel the walks and warm the building. We have coffee available to warm those who enjoy it, and often have baked goods available for purchase. The funds raised help us buy more books and movies for our collection. Most of our visitors check out two DVDs and take them home to watch them. But, we also have a small TV available for the little ones to quietly watch a movie in the children’s area.

There are lots of comfy chairs and couches available to sit and read, use personal laptops, glance at the Linn County News or a magazine from our collection. The atmosphere is homey and beautifully decorated. There are frequent displays of themed books in case you need some inspiration for choices of something good to read. We also maintain an up-to-date fiction collection of New York Times Best Sellers. If you have a favorite author we don’t have in our collection, let us know and we’ll do our best to order a book through Interlibrary Loan. Books available in the Southeast Kansas area generally take less than a week to arrive, although brand new books take longer if there’s a waiting list.

So, if you begin to get cabin fever any time during this cold winter, remember there’s a place to visit where warm smiles and friendly service will greet you. Just be very careful getting here. Bundle up and drive safely, or take extra care walking here.

Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week

Kansas Reads to Preschoolers is an annual event that promotes reading to all Kansas children from birth through age five. Through the statewide program, parents, librarians and caregivers are encouraged to read the chosen title during a selected week and month. The program is sponsored by the State Library of Kansas.

The book selection
 for this year “Is Everyone Ready for Fun?” was written by Jan Thomas
. This humorous title will appeal to babies and toddlers, as well as the traditional 3- to 5-year-old preschoolers. “Is Everyone Ready for Fun?” has simple text and bold illustrations that feature three cows who jump, dance and wiggle their way to fun on Chicken’s sofa — to Chicken’s growing frustration.

Each child in Ms. Davenport’s morning and afternoon classes will receive a copy of this book to take home and enjoy again and again. The books were purchased for Pleasanton Lincoln Library, which participates in Scholastic’s FACE program (Family and Community Engagement). FACE brings together research-based programs and strategies that empower families, communities, and students in support of teaching and learning.

To involve the community with this event, we have enlisted the assistance of members of the community. Each day of Kansas Reads to pre-schoolers, a community member from various businesses, or community organizations will visit the preschoolers and read them a story. The students will hear local men and women who value the community’s efforts to provide quality education, as well as safety as they grow.

Please watch for photos of the volunteers reading to the children on the library’s Facebook page, Pleasanton Lincoln Library, and coverage in the Linn County News.

Parents and grandparents, you are encouraged to continue this pattern of reading to your children throughout the year. Visit the library soon to choose from a fabulous collection of wonderful books for youngsters.

National Friends of the Library Week

October 19-25, 2014, is the ninth annual celebration of National Friends of Libraries week making it a good time to publicly thank the Friends of the Pleasanton Library who contribute so much of their time and energy to significantly enhance library services. How do libraries benefit from Friends groups? They benefit by the expansion of their resources to serve the public. Friends extend a library’s capacity through dollar gifts, volunteer and program support, and through advocacy.

I know that Pleasanton Library is a source of pride for our community. Your Friends group is a source of pride as well. I hope this week everyone will call the library to find out how they can join and support this outstanding group.

Carolyn Little
Friends of Kansas Libraries
President

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, Dec. 17 at 5:00 p.m. in the library located at 752 Main St.

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.

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