Art, Auction and Authors on General Pleasonton Day

You won’t want to miss the bright Fall day that’s coming up this Saturday. The summer’s heat is finally turning cooler just in time for Saturday’s events on Main Street. Pleasanton Chamber members have been busy preparing lots of activities for young and old alike. In addition to food booths, there will be an assortment of products for sale. The Pleasanton Garden Group will hold a Farmer’s Market early that morning. Maybe you can pick up a pumpkin to decorate your house.

Some new activities are planned as well. We’ve added some local authors who can tell you about the books they published, offer them for sale and sign them. Christmas is just around the corner, so please stop by to meet them and consider the purchase of a gift for a loved one, or for yourself.

We’ve also been gathering artists of all kinds to display their work. There are some very talented people in this area, and we hope this show will continue to grow each year. Some of the work is for sale, while other pieces are just for show. I believe some of the entries will surprise and delight you!

rons-raffle-quilt

There will also be a bright and lovely quilt to try to win. It was presented to the Pleasanton Library to help raise funds for future books and projects there. We are grateful to Ron and Sharon Howard for this donation. Ron will also have some beautiful paintings on display.

These events will be in the Labette Bank on Main Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please drop by to greet the authors and see the beautiful artwork. We look forward to seeing you there!

Shaking up our world

Last Saturday, our ground shook once again. I was not home in Kansas, but visiting Springfield, Missouri. I understand tremors were felt by some on the west side of town there. As Pawnee, Oklahoma is pretty much due south of Wichita, we might assume the cause is once again fracking. I’m sure research will be done, then an accurate determination can be made.

The town where I grew up, Titusville, Florida, had a recent shakeup as well. A SpaceX explosion occurred September 1, destroying a $200-million dollar satellite. I read the explosion could be heard as far as 30 miles away, so it would have been heard at my old home. For local residents, I’m sure it brought back memories of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion January 28, 1986, that killed seven crew members.

Missile explosions occurred frequently during the early years of the space program. The technology was new, computers filled entire rooms, and technicians were learning on the job. My Dad worked there then, and would occasionally bring home small pieces of metal that washed up on the beach near the launch pad were he worked. Those early attempts contained no humans, so the impact was mostly financial, but discouraged those who worked so hard to meet deadlines and aspirations.

In Pleasanton, we’ve dealt with fires more than earth-shaking events. But they also shook up our lives. The town is finally on the road to recovery, with new businesses in our midst. The Community Center’s completion is near with plans are in place to use it on General Pleasonton Day, Oct. 1. We hope you will join us for an art show and auction located there.

Those who live and work near Main St. are used to the ground shaking, thanks to heavy coal trains that often travel the rails. At Pleasanton Library, we often delay phone calls and meeting activities until we can be heard over those trains. We keep a watchful eye on books and décor that shimmy toward the edge of shelves. We cannot imagine what it would be like for a major earthquake to take place. We’d likely close the library to replace fallen books, or maybe to right the shelves themselves.

At libraries in the Wichita area, the resulting damage from earthquakes can be extensive. The earthquakes in our area tend to be caused by plate shifts occurring much deeper in the earth than those to the west, and are not as high on the Richter scale. But it’s disconcerting to have the ground shake beneath us. It may be some time before the New Madrid Fault creates another “big one,” but for the time being we are in a pretty safe place to live. We offer prayers for the safety of those in more dangerous areas of the world and are thankful for the benefits of living and working right where we are.

Traveling the world — by car

My husband Mike and I celebrated our tenth anniversary with a trip out West. We hoped to see the Grand Canyon, but bad weather threatened. We revisited Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos, enjoying lovely weather.

Mike drove, giving me the chance to travel to places far beyond the roads of Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. I rode a Greyhound bus to New York, flew to St. Louis and drove to Chicago with young Kirby Rose in Emily Giffen’s, “Where We Belong.” I borrowed the interlibrary loan book from Iola Public Library, but you can find the audio version on our shelves.

Next I traveled with Julia Win of New York, in search of her missing Burmese father. I heard stories told by mysterious U Ba, sipping tea and learning to be patient as he talked for hours telling Julia about her father’s former life in Burma. The book “ The Art of Hearing Heartbeats,” by Jan-Phillip Sendker. was a donation to our library, a discard from the Johnson County Library.

Running low on books, I visited New England in the May 2016 Smithsonian magazine article, “Traitors and Haters” by Nathaniel Philbrick. I’d recently read, “The Traitor’s Wife, The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray America” by Allison Pataki. Its author relates the story of Peggy Shippen, who seduces Arnold and encourages him to become a turncoat so he can afford her expensive lifestyle. The magazine and the book were purchased from the library’s sale rack.
In an effort to find something else to read, we visited the Santa Fe Public Library to find their Friends of the Library bookstore. No one attended the store, locked with an iron gate. But the helpful library clerk directed us to a nearby book store. I bought a book I’d read, “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro for our library. The store owner recommended, “The Remains of the Day,” by the same author. It followed the ordered, slow-paced life of head butler, Mr. Stevens of Darlington Hall in England. I traveled the countryside with him in his wealthy employer’s motor vehicle, as he headed to Cornwall seeking his former housekeeper. I plan to order the movie of the same name for our library.

On our return trip, I began “Stealing the Ambassador” by Sameer Parekh. I fly by international jet with young Indian American Rajiv Kothari as he navigates between America and his parent’s homeland of India. I discovered the book in a booth at an Albuquerque antique store.
If you don’t have time or funds to travel, you can visit the world by reading. Choose from books on our shelves including audio books, great for those who can’t ride and read. Or request books through interlibrary loan at our front desk, or online through SEKnFind. Traveling takes you away from the cares of daily life to experience the diversity of people from other times and places.

Success requires goals

Freddy's workwork

Though I typically don’t watch sports, I have always watched the Olympics. I’m amazed at the effort that these young men and women put forth. But we only see part of their story when we watch them compete. We don’t see how them get up early to drive to their gym and work out day after day. We don’t see them compete in competitions leading up to the Olympics. We don’t know how much time, and money, their parents spend helping them as they attempt to reach the pinnacle of their dreams. We don’t hear a lot about their coaches who encourage them for years.

When I first moved to the midwest it was to help my in-laws run a 15-cabin resort near Branson. We arrived near the end of the season. The town was mainly built around tourism, so it emptied of people for the winter. Then my in-laws moved into the city where my father-in-law taught and coached. My husband got a job and I was left to do chores at the resort. I emptied the pole of over 100 30-gallon containers of leaves. I raked five acres of additional leaves. I painted the steps and balconies of the cabins. This was during the Olympics. I was inspired by the competitors, so I filled my work hours as though I was in training. I had rather boring work to do, but the goal to complete it gave me the drive to do so.

It was like that when we decided to move from our old building to the new library location. We had a goal and a plan. It was a tremendous amount of work to pack the thousands of books and equipment. We had to coordinate the packing while remaining open for all but two weeks. We had to physically move all but the heaviest items, which were moved by a Ft. Scott company. Prior to our actual move, Theresa Miller and a revolving crew of workers raced to complete the renovations at our new location. In the photo above, you can see Theresa’s husband, Freddy, retrofitting paneling from Thelma Parker’s former home.

Beyond the goal-setting and planning, this was all very physical work and required a team effort of numerous employees and volunteer supporters. It was not a four-year effort as it would be for Olympians, but it was a big effort for non-athletes. Yet, we were able to accomplish it because we had a goal. Once we reached that goal, we created more goals. It’s still a physical job to maintain the building and exterior. I’ve written that this takes many people to do this. But the result is a library of which we can be proud. Out ongoing goal is to provide an attractive, clean, friendly environment with fun and educational resources for our visitors. No medals involved, but we welcome appreciation!

Apply online

No, we don’t have any positions open at the library. This column is about the trend to have all your official transactions move to the internet. Almost daily, we are asked to help a patron with a detail of the process to apply for employment, or print from an attachment that disappears when they try to open it. Few of us are computer illiterate these days and yet, our online lives seem to get more complicated all the time. It is explained to us that this is to make our lives easier. But how many still believe this?

Most of us have figured out it’s just the opposite for us. More believe it means we are being subjected to the whims of the government or corporations. Many of the support processes for this trend are shipped overseas. This is not a rant against the system, just a commentary on how much our lives have changed in recent years. Each of these transactions are different, and many are personal. So it’s difficult for librarians to stay informed about every online transaction that must take place. But we do the best we can, or contact technical support at our district library if we must.

We often wish we could afford a full-time computer technician. There are so many upgrades to the system, the software and content of online processes that we struggle to keep up. Like the rest of life, the library world has changed considerably from the time I worked in my hometown public facility. I shelved books, read to children, and stamped due date cards. Now I’m on the computer the majority of the day researching information, tracking transactions, and ordering materials. Clerks at the circulation desk also provide online support in addition to actually conversing with patrons.

The speed with which we can find information online is astounding, and will no doubt increase in years to come. But we’ve already seen the effect our dependence has had on our communication skills. We find it difficult to carry on a conversation with young people who are on their phones more than looking us in the eye and speaking. It’s disconcerting to us who were raised to greet someone we meet or from whom we need to get information. So next time you see us on the street, or in the library, please say, “Hello,” and look us in the eye. We will be reassured you’re a real person and not a robot!

It takes a community

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Those of us employed at your library are proud of the building and the services we provide. We work hard and are recompensed for our efforts. But there are times when others step in to help. Some of these are planned, as in the fundraising efforts of our Friends of the Library. Shirley Smith and Sherry McCulley and her family bake items to sell, staff the Scholastic book sales for hours at a time and plan additional fun events to help support the library. There are chili feeds on General Pleasanton Day and candy sales throughout the year.

The Pleasanton Junior High students have visited two years in a row with several instructors to help build and maintain our entry garden. Theresa Miller directed their efforts this year, and returns on occasion to attempt to tame the corkscrew willows that try to engulf the library.

Each year, numerous community members agree to visit the preschool classes with a picture book to participate in Kansas Reads to Preschoolers week. Allene Campbell began her volunteer efforts that way, and now returns monthly to teach craft skills to the children on a one-on-one basis. This year she also assisted with the preschool graduation tea party, hat and all.

Alexis Swearingen and Brialee Lowe began the summer as volunteers at the library, organizing and shelving books, watering plants and painting chairs. We enlisted the help of others during the Summer Reading Program. Mary Kay Smith welcomed newcomers, while Taryn and Jessi Cox and their friend, Hailey, helped run the Fun & Games Party.

There were many others who just stepped in to help whenever they saw a need. They carried heavy boxes, changed the occasional light bulb, moved tables, or just held a door as someone entered or departed. They included the rotating LDS Elders, and Sterling Pennington. Josh Ralle was enlisted to help with the Xbox, as its inner workings were beyond our capability.

Sometimes are patrons left their own projects to help with ours. Our north door leaked cold air until Bill Peterson added weather-stripping. Then Dale Pennington re-adjusted the hinges and switchplate to try to make it easier to open and shut. Bill Bundy took on the maintenance of our Little Free Library, trimming the base, sealing cracks and touching up paint to weatherproof the structure.

We also appreciate book donations from local residents and the sale of these help us buy new books for all to enjoy. When those books, and others we’ve culled from our system don’t sell, they are donated to local organizations including Concern. We appreciate their volunteers who help unload the boxes we take them.

Our gratitude to all our helpers runs deep, as it means the community supports our efforts to maintain a viable library that everyone can proud of, and enjoy for years to come. Thank you all!

It’s cool in here

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As soon as temperatures began to rise, the number of people visiting the library to escape the heat followed. It’s a great place to sit in our many comfortable seating areas to chill out. Whether you visit to check out some summer reads, share your summer vacation photos via Facebook, or just pop in for a cold drink of water, we look forward to seeing you.

Now that our Summer Reading Program has ended, our normal routine will return. No drums or cheers for K.C. Wolf, but hopefully children’s voices will continue to be heard when they visit. The city pool will continue to be a draw. But when it’s raining and they want a movie to stay inside and watch, we’re a good place to stop. We can even host a small group of children to watch a movie here. We’d love to experiment with our new projector and show a film on the wall in the children’s area. Is there one your kids haven’t seen? Let us know and we’ll pop the popcorn!

We have quite a few local residents who bring their visiting grandchildren in during the summer. Those who return year after year have been growing like weeds, and it’s always great to reconnect. As they transition away from Easy Readers, we have a great selection of Junior Fiction and Young Adult books for them to choose. Many local adults have been enjoying the latter as new and popular authors have begun writing in that category.

Not sure what might interest your kids, just ask us for suggestions. The same goes for adults who need a new author to read. We often hear that your favorites don’t write sequels quickly enough. Let us find you a similar author while you wait for your favorite writer to catch up with you. Reader’s Advisory is one of our favorite things to do, and we can point you in a similar, or exciting new direction.

Teachers love to have extra time to read in the summer, and we’re always glad to see them come in for a stack of books. Retirees are kept busy as we order books by the dozens from other libraries far and wide through our Interlibrary Loan system that spans the state and beyond. If we don’t have that new or unusual title in our library, we can likely find it elsewhere and you can have it in about a week.

Babysitters, having trouble keeping your little charges entertained? Visit us for picture book suggestions. We have hundreds of new ones, plus many old favorites. Let us know in advance, and we can even arrange to read to them and give you a little break.

Those with laptops can bring them in and sit in our cool kitchen with a big ice tea for a break from the temperatures outside. We look forward to seeing all of you as you escape the dog days if summer. No wet bathing suits, please!

Party at the Park

Our Summer Reading Program is almost over, and each week has been so much fun! Our last scheduled event will be an activity at Dunlap Park on Wednesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. It will likely be a warm day, so please remember to dress cool. We’ll have bottled water to stay hydrated as the kids play a variety of games. They’ll probably work up an appetite, so we’ll have a light snack as well. Please remember to bring a blanket or chairs for extra seating.

Those who attend and participate in the games will have the chance to win some great prizes. There will also be some give-a-ways for those who join us that day. Since our theme of Get ready, get set, READ! was all about healthy eating and activity, we’ve tried to keep the kids moving and making the right food choices throughout our summer program.

We send out a big thank you to the City of Pleasanton for allowing us to use the park, and to all our generous donors for their support. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to provide all the activities and performers who visited the library this summer. We hope we made some great memories for your youngsters and for parents and grandparents who attended as well. An extra big thank you goes out to Angelia (Miss Lia) Duckwall for all her efforts in planning, promoting and presenting our Summer Reading Programs.

Just a reminder for children, tweens and teens – be sure to complete your reading records and activity sheets by Tuesday, June 12 to be eligible for the terrific prizes on display in the library. There are some wonderful ones to choose from, so you won’t want to miss out.

Our Teen Cooks had so much fun last week making their healthy dish with Carolyn from the Marais des Cygne Extension office. We hope to have additional classes in August, so let us know if your teen might be interested in continuing this fun activity. Call us at the library, 913-352-8554.

Here comes K.C. Wolf!

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The official mascot of the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs will don his costume and visit Pleasanton Lincoln Library on Wednesday, July 6 at 11:15 a.m. K.C. Wolf, first introduced in 1989, was named after the Chief’s “Wolfpack,” those boisterous fans in the temporary bleachers at Municipal Stadium.

His main claim to fame are his duties during the football season. But during the last 13 years K.C. Wolf averaged 350-400 appearances a year. These included visits to major and minor league baseball games, community activities, conventions, grand openings, parades, and libraries! The man beneath the costume is Dan Meers, who has portrayed the mascot since its inception and is known as one of the most recognizable mascots in sports. He was also the first NFL mascot inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2006.

A year later, Meers helped the stadium’s security guards stop a fan who entered the field. He followed that assist with a display of bodybuilding poses. He dances, imitates Elvis and performs hilarious routines that guarantee lots of laughs and smiles. Not content to appear just around Kansas City, K.C. Wolf entertains fans of all ages at ballparks throughout the United States and other countries.

All are invited to visit the library to greet the K.C. Chiefs’ lovable mascot!

Nature Reach visits the library

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Tuesday, June 28 at 1 p.m., a presenter from Pittsburg State University’s Biology Department will come to Pleasanton Library with a hands-on experience for attendees. This interactive program will engage children, get them thinking and asking questions. Looking closely and touching is highly encouraged.
In keeping with our Summer Reading Theme, “Get Ready, Get Set, Read!” we invited Nature Reach and asked them to bring their most active critters of all — raptors! These powerful hunters of the sky have intrigued humans for years. Students will be amazed as they get a close look at these live predators, learn about their importance and learn why many are endangered.

Nature Reach is partially supported by Pittsburg State University, and also by a generous donation that allows them to offer free programs to schools and libraries. We look forward to their Raptors, Birds of Prey visit!

On Wednesday, June 22 from 11 a.m. to noon, we’ll hold our second Teens Can Cook! Event in the library’s Cafe. Attendees will learn basis cooking skills to make and then sample a healthy lunch. This program is provided by the Marais de Cygne Extension Office, located in Mound City. The teens who participated last week had a wonderful time, and even went home and recreated the dish they learned to make.

The Extension Office is prepared to hold a Family Night on Tuesday, July 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. There is no charge, but registration is required in order to provide enough food. The event will be held at Labette Bank in their spacious finished basement. Call Pleasanton Library at 913-352-8554 for more information.
Our Summer Reading Program continues into July, so there’s still time to join us for the remaining programs we’ve scheduled. It’s nice and cool in the library, and we’ve got great books for all ages. Fight the “summer slide” and start back to school with no lapse in learning this Fall. Teachers — this is a great time to catch up on the reading you’ve meant to do this year, too!

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