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One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

Like many people this time of year, we’re going through the stage where we’re feeling good about packing away the Christmas decorations. It makes the library feel fresh again, and we want to keep going. So we’re straightening up the storage area, going through accumulated clutter and finding new homes for unused items. We realize this trend in an answer to the directives of all those women’s magazines and TV shows about getting organized, but that’s OK.

It also seems to be a trend among younger folks not to collect so much stuff. They don’t want to accept Granny’s dishes and dust collectors. Instead they want dishes that are less likely to break, and can be placed in the dishwasher and microwave. Instead of dusting, they want to spend more time with the kids, and more time online checking messages.

So what becomes of all the detritus of life these days? Well, at the library we try to find new homes for everything we can’t keep. While our generous patrons often donate books and movies they no longer want, we try to incorporate what we have room for or sell the rest. Items that don’t sell are placed on our sale racks once a month. If still there when we’re ready to switch them out, they might go in the Little Free Library outside. Or they might be donated to other local organizations. Sometimes they do end up being recycled, although that is the last resort.

We repurpose what we can, turning some books into art projects, like the book spines covering the circulation desk. While at a large Wichita antique flea market this weekend, I saw some clever booth décor made from books that I can’t wait to try at the library. I’ll be sure to post photos on our Facebook page.

In the meantime, if your organization is in need of magazines, old books or other specific items, let us know. The request will be music to our ears as we continue our Spring cleaning.

Board of Trustees Meeting

The Board of Trustees Budget Meeting will be held Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. in the library located at 752 Main St.

For Old Lang Syne

This time of year is for remembrances of friends of old, and for looking ahead to new beginnings. We gather with family and friends over the holidays, eating good food and sharing stories of Christmases past. We photograph the children opening presents and sitting on grandma’s lap. We treasure those special moments that will become memories in years to come.

Then, we carefully pack away the ornaments, vacuum the needles the tree has shed and move forward into the new year. The house looks spare, and we feel a little wistful, yet renewed. After all the excesses of the season, we look forward to making positive changes in ourselves and our surroundings. We can’t wait for spring, when we can open the windows and shake out the dust from the previous year.

The cycle is a good one, to look back fondly of good times and then move forward with a clean slate. It follows the pattern of nature, as leaves turn color and then fall in layers about our feet. Trees sparkle with ice crystals that decorate them for the season. Then after a short rest, the ground comes alive with tiny sprouts that bloom into spring’s first flowers. In this we way, we are part of nature and part of life. We have the chance to improve. We make resolutions to eat better, exercise more and lose old habits. We have hope to make things better, living a fuller, more joyful life.

Our hope at Pleasanton Library is to make your life better by offering you the best library we can, with books to entertain and educate you about a variety of subjects. We strive to delight your children with programs and activities that stretch their minds and keep them interested in reading. We collect movies you can share with your friends and family. We maintain computers so you can connect with those nearby as well as the world beyond Pleasanton. We offer a warm environment where you can sit and read, work or visit over a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

As we review the past year, write our yearly reports and plan for the year to come, we welcome your suggestions about how we can improve your library. Please share your ideas about how we can make your library a better place. We resolve to listen, consider and move forward.

Renew, refresh, recharge

It has been a good year at Pleasanton Lincoln Library. We’ve accomplished many tasks and although we have many more to go, the help we’ve received has been tremendous. In addition to an excellent staff who work well together, we have some terrific volunteers that help us with tasks we never seem to find enough time to do. Our Friends of Kansas Libraries-Pleasanton are essential in helping us raise funds for special programming and projects. We also have a dedicated board who are supportive and offer their assistance on a variety of projects.

This time of year is always a great time to reflect on the year that has passed, and to look ahead to the new year. The major magazines fill their January issues with ideas about how to take charge of your life, lose weight, and get healthy. It happens every year just after Christmas when you’re encouraged to overspend, overeat and overindulge in general. Of course, the January issues tell readers this in a way that doesn’t seem like work, so readers look forward to this cleansing process. We’ll likely go through a similar process at the library. We began in early December by reorganizing the storage room. Of course that had to be done in order to get to the Christmas decorations!

Once the decorations are taken down and packed away, we can continue the process of streamlining. This will likely be a year-long endeavor, as the daily work of the library continues. We are constantly looking for ways to improve your library and hope you will share your ideas with us. It’s important to us to have a viable library that meets the needs of the members of the community. That is the only way libraries will survive in the future.

We look forward to seeing you in the new year and wish our library visitors a very Happy New Year!

Holiday bustle

As Christmas approaches activities at the library seem to get even more busy! The Friends of Kansas Libraries-Pleasanton held their 2nd Annual Christmas Sale last Friday and Saturday. Visitors were treated to scrumptious cinnamon rolls, and could shop for crafts and baked goods. At lunchtime, there were two kinds of chili to taste test and both disappeared in a hurry. The homemade crafts were flying off the display shelves and the Friends members were kept busy restocking the baked goods table.

Members Sherry and Mike McCulley, Shirley Smith, Maxine and Richard Goucher brought lovely handmade items for the sale to add to those donated to the library in previous weeks. A big thank you to each of them as well as Andrea Poag, Marsha Leisure, Charline Klopfenstein and Frances Marshall for their crafty work.

The Friends members also held their 2nd Annual Christmas Coloring Contest through the Pleasanton Elementary School. Students in each grade were given coloring pages to color and enter into a contest for prizes. One winner was selected from each class and offered a prize, in addition to having their entry framed by the group. Photos of the winners will be taken throughout the week, and posted online.

Christmas carols have been playing for the last few weeks and the festive spirit pervades the library, which is once again decorated to the nines by tireless volunteer Theresa Miller. The former owner of a decorating shop graciously spends several days adding her creative touches to the holiday décor, which is worth your visit to the library alone.

Now that children are on their holiday break, we have added a Storytime each morning to help keep them entertained. Lia Duckwall will join us each morning to offer a story, song or craft. This Friday, her little dog, Millie, will visit while she reads, “Stanley’s Wild Ride.” Children of all ages are welcome to come for these 11 a.m. Storytimes.

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.

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.