There’s reading going on

The Summer Reading Program is underway at the library and we’re encouraged by the number of children visiting for books. They’ve already been returning for their prizes and anxious to read more books. We’re not limiting the encouragement to children this year, but to teens and adults as well. As incentives, we have two whole display cases of items to choose from as readers meet their goals.

Don’t know what to read? Each of us who work at the library have different tastes in books and can suggest authors and titles for you. Parents might even encourage their children to read by offering a movie as incentive for completing a book.

We began registering readers May 10, but it’s not too late to begin. Our program continues through mid-July, so there’s plenty of time to catch up. In addition to racing toward the goal finish lines that readers set for themselves, we have other challenges they can meet. With this summer’s theme of On your mark, get set, READ! It’s only natural that we’d include some games as incentives. We have several reading bingo games for all ages, and readers can review the books they’ve read for additional prizes.

Our scheduled activities began this week, with a special art project that will hang on the wall for all to see. Each child had the chance to show off their artistic side by painting their part that will be added to the others to create a masterpiece. In addition, they were involved in motion activities to keep their blood pumping. You know, it’s hard to sit still when you’re a little one! After all that activity, there was a healthy snack to enjoy.

Next Tuesday, our craft will be kite decorating (and flying, wind permitting), and more healthy snacks. As the weeks go by, we’ll continue to let you know what’s coming, so you won’t miss a thing. You’re welcome to visit the library for a schedule to plan in advance.

Along with all these activities, we’d like to let you know there will be some new faces working at the library this summer. The first is Megan Sabine, who began work last week as a summer clerk. She’s a bright, busy girl who can barely fit us into her schedule. She’s been looking forward to working here for the last several years, and we’re glad to have the opportunity to have her join us for a few months. Be sure to come in and welcome her when you can.


We continue to seek donations of all sizes to provide activities for the community this summer. Any amount is appreciated, large or small. Donors who got in the game early include Erica Kern, Labette Bank, Tina’s Place, Farmer’s State Bank, Lil’ Gals Closet, Conely Sales, Casey’s Convenience Store, Mercy Hospital, Ken Baugh, Food Fair, Ellis Construction, Florine O’Rourke, The Barn Antiques and Florine O’Rourke. We thank each of them, and would love to add your name to the list of supportive folks. They all believe literacy helps win the race. Readers succeed!

On your mark, get set, READ!

After a lovely weather weekend for graduation and parties, we began the week with light rain to wash school parking lots clean. Work will continue through the summer at the schools as janitors polish floors, make repairs and clean.

All this behind-the-scenes activity goes on just as our summer activities at the library begin. We’re enticing the students to stay busy over the next few months. Reading during their school break will help them this fall. It’s proven that students who read while school is out will return to classes in the fall with no loss of momentum.

Encourage your children to read this summer. It keeps them entertained, gives you a break from them asking, “What can I do, I’m bored,” and can be lots of fun! If they need some suggestions about what to read, send them to the library. We have lots of ideas! We’re always on the hunt for new series and stand-alone titles that will interest even the most discerning reader. If we don’t have a title, we can borrow it from other libraries in southeast Kansas, and beyond.

We’re not just about reading this summer. We also have some exciting activities planned. This year’s Summer Reading Program theme is, “On your mark, get set, READ!” Our weekly get-togethers will focus on physical activity, healthy eating and having a great time! Our program begins early this year, on May 24, and runs through mid-July. Students should have received a schedule of activities on their last day of school. But if they missed them, we’ll have copies at the library.

Some of the highlights include music by a local guitar teacher, a traveling percussionist, a program on healthy food choices with the K-State Extension office presenters, and a visit from K.C. Wolf! Many of the activities will take place on Tuesday afternoons at 1 p.m., but there are a few exceptions. We’re even planning some lunch and learn classes for teens that will take place on Wednesdays.

It will be fun to have the library full of children again. Even if they choose to play video games and board games while they’re her, we’ll enjoy their presence. We know they’ve been looking forward to summer, and we’ll help keep them busy. We will encourage them to read with prizes for their efforts, so don’t be too surprised if they bring home a book or two. We love reading, and hope to pass along that interest as well. We look forward to seeing all of you while school’s out!

Spring Cleaning

Every year, after the excesses of the holiday season, we’re programmed to review how much we own. We begin “spring cleaning” which often means divesting our homes of things we no longer want or need.

At the library, we see evidence of this in the number of items people donate. Recently, we were gifted numerous bags of VHS tapes. We also receive boxes of books that include everything from 20-year-old textbooks to romance paperbacks. There’s even a variety of items people think we might use in the library. For example, framed prints, furniture and even two large fish tanks, complete with all the necessary equipment.

These items are donated with good intention, and also because donors don’t want to see them go to waste. We utilize what we can, store some in case we might need them, and try to find new homes for those we can’t use. In the case of books, we follow simple guidelines: Do we already have the book on our shelves? Is the donation in better condition? If so, we process it to keep. We check the publication date. If it is a current book visitors might read, we process it. If it’s in good repair, we place it on our sale rack for a very reasonable price. A few books are set back to use for craft projects in the library. If the item is heavily damaged (has been wet, or needs repair) we recycle it.

Items on our sale rack include books, as well as movies. We rotate new items on a monthly basis, so visitors can return regularly for fresh inventory. Those remaining at the end of the month are sorted. Large print books and selected magazines are donated to the Residencies and Walnut View Estates assisted living facilities. Some magazines are given to the school for reference and art projects. Children’s VHS and DVD movies might be given to Southeast Mental Health Alliance. Some books are shipped to other libraries or Ethiopia Reads. Some go to Concern for resale to the public, and they have locations beyond their store that use them as well.

In addition to donated items, we regularly review our shelves to locate items no longer checked out. We want to make space for the latest books patrons want to check out, so weeding these older books and movies is a necessary step. If we didn’t perform this process, we’d quickly be out of room. Culled items go on our sale rack and many are still in great shape. If you’ve made space in your home after your own spring cleaning, you might stop by at the beginning of each month to see if we have something you want or need for your own collection. Don’t want to keep it after you’ve read it? You can always return it to us to continue the cycle of reuse.

You have such a nice library

We moved into our new space just over three years ago, and other librarians told me we’d receive a “bounce” in numbers. We would see more people and more items would be checked out than ever. They said enjoy it while it lasts. We did see that bounce and loved it! While those numbers leveled off we continue to have visitors tell us how much they like the library.

Having been located in a space of about 1,000 square feet, we thought our new space of 4,800 square feet was a cavern. We figured we’d never be able to fill the bookshelves. Yet, here we are a short time later wondering how in the world we ever squeezed into the smaller space. The answer was easy – we weren’t able to purchase many books, or have much furniture. There was a tiny children’s area, no area for tweens and teens, and no privacy for computer users.

What a difference a few years made. We now have seven computer stations for adults, a children’s computer and tablet, and free WiFi for anyone inside or out. Our meeting room is used by numerous local organizations, and “school” has been held there for the past year. Every spring, volunteers from AARP Tax Aide help people file their taxes. Appointments fill up fast, but we also schedule some at nearby libraries. Head Start groups have met in our children’s area since our move, and court-appointed visits are possible in our public spaces as well.

We provide outreach to the preschool and volunteers visit daily during Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week. Our Friends group provides chili and bake sales to help fund books for the library, and prizes during our Summer Reading Program. We work with our district library to bring in special presenters during summer, and had record numbers for our programs. Our fire station visit last year entertained over 60 children, and we were told their tour was better than four they had attended in Kansas City!

This year we’ll work in conjunction with the Extension office in Mound City to provide programs for children, teens and adults that help them make healthy eating choices. A Family Night Meal is planned, so watch for details about time and place.

We continue to stock our Little Free Library outside our front doors, and maintain our raised bed gardens for all to enjoy. There are picnic tables in the former loading dock where you can enjoy the sunshine and have a bite to eat. If the weather is too warm, you can visit our Cafe to work on your laptop while you sip a cold soda.

Best of all, we have a much larger selection of books, audio books, DVDs and magazines than ever. Ready to visit and read or relax? We welcome you to join us in Pleasanton’s “nice” library. Let us know what you think about the improvements to your local library.

April showers bring May flowers

Coleman & James small

Ever since we received a grant from the Friends of Kansas Libraries last year for entryway improvements, we have had gardens on our minds. It all began with Pleasanton school students visiting to help us prepare to put in raised beds at our west entrance on their Community Work Day. 17 students and 6 teachers arrived that morning. The teachers not only instructed the students as they went about their tasks. They also got down on their hands and knees to work alongside them. What great role models they were for the students, and we were appreciative of everyone’s efforts.

They plan to return this year, and we look forward to their help. This time they won’t be carrying buckets of gravel, hauling away dirt removed from the trench for edging blocks and moving concrete planters. This year they’ll have the opportunity to work with the plants we planted. They’ll learn which ones are weeds to be removed, and which ones over-wintered. They’ll learn how to enhance the soil by adding worm castings, and remove unwanted grass using rock salt, rather than chemicals.

Depending on the weather, which was perfect last year, they should enjoy the day. They’ll not only be outside the classroom learning about the natural world. They’ll be learning about providing community service, giving back to their hometown and accomplishing something of which they can be proud. They’ll even learn a little about caring for the Earth, which is in desperate need of their concern. For they will be the ones making the decisions about how she fares in years to come. They’ll be voting on issues that concern us all.

Here at the library, we would like to keep these young people involved. We would like them to grow up to be thoughtful, intelligent adults ready to face the larger world. They have much to learn and though much of it can be learned in their classes, even more can be learned outside them. They don’t have to go away to college, or travel the world to do this. That helps, but isn’t necessary. What is important is that they learn all they can about the world by learning how to care for it. That can be done in their own backyards, in the town where they live, even if it is a small town. They are young, and seem to be totally distracted by electronics. But it’s the real world they should see. Their Community Work Day is an excellent way to begin, and so appropriate for it to be held near Earth Day, April 22.

National Library Week

Drop everything small

National Library Week is observed this week April 10-16 with the theme, “Libraries Transform.”

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.

Celebrations during National Library Week include: National Library Workers Day, celebrated the Tuesday of National Library Week (April 12, 2016), a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers; and National Bookmobile Day, celebrated the Wednesday of National Library Week (April 13, 2016), a day to recognize the contributions of our nation’s bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities.

In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee’s goals were ambitious. They ranged from “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time” to “improving incomes and health” and “developing strong and happy family life.”

In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!”

National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship.

Credit: American Library Association website

Sherrie brings Silly Willard to life

Sherrie Philpott

Earlier this year, the Linn County News covered a story about budding young author Sherrie Philpott from Linn Valley. Her new children’s book, “Silly Willard It’s Time for Bed,” was published this year and she’s been visiting nearby libraries and schools ever since.

Sherrie contacted me about visiting Pleasanton Library, wanting to present her new children’s book to the children of Pleasanton. Due to our space restrictions, I suggested she could reach many more children by visiting the elementary school and contacted them for her. Happily, it will work out for her to visit next week. Thursday, March 31, Sherrie will travel to Pleasanton Elementary School to read to each of the classes, and offer her book for sale.

Written in rhyme, the book begins, “Silly Willard was a sweet little boy, who brought his family lots of joy.” The story follows Silly Willard through his day and into the evening as he readies for bed. The colorful illustrations were done by Christopher Friend.

Be sure your child attends school next week, so they can experience meeting a real author and hear this delightful story.

Sherrie, as well as two other authors are scheduled to appear during General Pleasanton Days on Saturday, October 1. Stay tuned for more information about their appearance this fall.

For those of you interested in the outcome of last week’s State House presentation of House Bill 2719, it was revised in committee and libraries were removed from the bill altogether. This was welcome news as so many rural libraries, like ours, are dependent on the funding our regional systems provide. One of most notable ways they help us is the ability to provide library customers with access to materials from other libraries. These are delivered to us five days a week. This is an invaluable service that allows us to share materials between libraries, and saves us from purchasing more books and movies than we can afford.

Sharing is a good thing, in the case of a young author generous with her time and talents, and libraries willing to transfer their holdings for others to borrow.

Will we remain a district library?

In 2008, supporters in Potosi Township petitioned to become Linn County Library District #5. No longer part of the city’s budget, we could offer critical services to the local community. By the time you read this, this may have changed. Please read the following from the Central Kansas Library System:

“In 1965 legislators sensing the need to provide equitable library service in all corners of the state set up 7 Regional Library Systems; Southeast, Northeast, North Central, Central, Northwest, Southwest and South Central library Systems. Our mission is to provide the best library service to rural patrons by making sure our city libraries remained relevant and vital in their communities. We were given a ¾ mil levy with provisions to move to a 1.5 mil. As Budget levy limits were sunset (ed) in 1999, with the ever-changing nature of library service, we moved our mil levies between 1.5 and 2 mils. Systems have been excellent stewards of tax monies. HB 2719 would not only remove funding authority and set the mil levy back to ¾ of a mil, but require a vote in every county every year to keep the levy. The cost of an election in every county would far exceed the revenue produced. This bill will destroy Regional Library Systems in Kansas.

“There are 329 public libraries in Kansas. Of these, 294 libraries serve communities of less than 10,000 (and are considered rural). 503,326 people are served by these 294 libraries. If HB2719 passes and makes it impossible for these 294 libraries to be funded, more than half a million Kansans will be without library service including access to the Internet (which is often only available to these residents through their library). This is undesirable especially in an age when government is becoming more and more dependent upon providing its services through the Internet (including income tax receipt). CKLS libraries in my 16 counties would lose:

1.Enough grant money (over 300K) so 10-15 communities will lose their library (Just in CKLS, 48 possible in the state).
2.Interlibrary loan resource sharing will stop
2.The state-wide courier will go away
3.Rural patrons will be charged to use city libraries
4.As school libraries have been disseminated so will your local library
5.The promise of small libraries having the resources of large urban libraries will no more

“CKLS Director Harry Willems urges you to call your local legislator to protest the ill-conceived, badly written HB2719. It was introduced into committee March 9 and will be heard in committee Monday, March 14.

“Points to stress to legislators:
All library material across the state can currently be shared efficiently and effectively through existing programs facilitated by the regional library systems. Loss of regional library system services due to this legislation would eliminate these programs and deny residents access to reliable, accurate information Sharing keeps everyone’s mill levy lower.

32.4 percent of libraries in Kansas have budgets less than $20,000. These libraries cannot survive without grants and professional services from the regional library systems. 48 communities lose their libraries; 58 more would be at risk.

Regional library systems publish their budgets and conduct annual public budget hearings. There is oversight at multiple levels. The statutory processes provided for budget oversight for regional library systems have worked well for 50 years. Regional library systems have proven to be prudent and fiscally responsible.”

Dig into your history


A recent meeting I attended helped formulate an idea for a program I hope we can provide through the library. We learned that a branch manager of a library in a small town in Indiana received a grant to help provide a program to help young girls under age 15 get a sense of who they were. They learned how they could find out about family who came before them, what their ancestors looked like, and if they were related to someone famous, or infamous. The program taught them to research their family’s ancestry and they put together scrapbooks of what they found.

They even went on a day-long field trip to their state’s historical society and museum, and held a High Tea and lunch they shared with a significant woman in their lives. Their findings were displayed for those gathered to view. This year is Indiana’s bicentennial, and the library will open the program to young boys as well. They’ll be learning about the history of their families as they help Celebrate Indiana’s History.

There is so much history in our area, and we are also blessed to have a wonderful resource right her in town. The Linn County Historical Museum and Genealogy Museum has been directed for over forty years by Ola May Earnest. She has a wealth of knowledge about the families who have learned here for many years, and about all the local cemeteries. The collection of books and documents in the genealogy library is astounding. While there are bigger library’s with more books and documents, none focus on our town or county like the one right here.

I was introduced to my ancestry through my grandmothers on my mother’s and father’s side. One grandmother shared old photos in a velvet-covered album with a mirror and brass trim. The other grandmother had a box of loose, unmarked photos. She let me sit for hours and compare those photos trying to figure out which of them were family members by matching eyes, ears and noses. That box of photos has long since disappeared, but I’ve retained many others. There was also a 1937 published genealogy of the first immigrant to America. I flipped through the pages laughing at the unusual names of my ancestors, like Happiness and Zipporah. I love researching those from my past and it has given me a sense of who I am. It would be wonderful to share this fascination with younger generations.

If a program like this interests you, or you would like your children to participate in a similar program this summer, please contact me at the library. Help them discover how to dig into their history through resources at the library, and beyond..

A sense of community

A high school classmate is currently working on her sixth book. This one is about beloved Florida author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who wrote “The Yearling.” The story takes place on the St. John’s River near where we grew up, just west of the Atlantic Ocean. We’re very proud of Ann and look forward to the publication of this one. Because she’s an author, she feels strongly about independent bookstores. She recently posted a story about one in California that strives to survive the onslaught of bookstore giants like Barnes & Noble, and online competition from Amazon.

Booksellers like those don’t provide the sense of community that independent bookstores provide. They are typically run by people who love books and want to share them with others. The article’s author, James Utt wrote, “They are so much more than sellers of books. They have open mic nights, poetry readings, book clubs, authors, both locally and nationally known.”

Though we don’t have an independent bookstore in Pleasanton, there are at least two in Kansas City.

According to their website, Rainy Day Books prides itself in providing a ‘Legacy of Literacy’ for the community. It’s the oldest independent bookstore in the Kansas City metropolitan area. They are internationally famous for their knowledgeable staff, exceptional customer service, and commitment to the Kansas City community. A full-line, full-service bookstore, they carry an array of carefully selected new books for adults and children alike. In addition, they provide a forum for debut novelists destined for greatness, to prize-winners, bestseller, and the biggest names in the news.

Prospero’s Books include three locations, and cater to the artistic sensibility of the communities they serve. They offer new releases, as well as previously published books. Their uptown location features Cafe Caliban, specializing in “soups and panini sandwiches, creative sides, pastries and the finest pour-over coffee in the city.” Imagine the cafes and coffee houses of Paris when artists and authors gathered to discuss life and their art. You can’t get this at Amazon.

Yet, independent bookstores must be patronized in order to remain viable. Many chain bookstores have failed over the past twenty years. Remember Walden Books, Borders, and B. Dalton? They offered many of the same features as those that survived. Those that remain possess what is most important, a sense of community.

This is what libraries offer as well. Staff makes an effort to learn your reading preferences, help you find your favorite authors and guide you toward new ones. We have summer reading programs to introduce children to reading and develop a love for it. Staff helps those with limited computer skills stay connected to the world on our computers, and offers those with superior skills the ability to connect on our WiFi. Let us help you expand your world through reading, listening and connecting. Support your local libraries to keep them viable.

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