“Tumble” into a good book

If you are a resident of Kansas, you are invited to sign up for a library card to the State Library. This card allows you to access the state’s collection of free online books. There are many other features on the website that are just waiting for you to discover. One in particular can help your children learn to read and build their vocabulary at the same time. Tumblebooks offers online animated, talking picture books in an innovative and exciting format, and would be a great homeschool asset.

Tumblebooks contains 200 story books, quizzes, lesson plans and games and puzzles in English, Spanish and French. It includes storybook favorites and best-selling titles. There are read-along chapter books for older readers with unique features to optimize individual learning. Sentences are highlighted as they are narrated and pages turn automatically. You can choose different fonts, sizes, line spacing and paragraph widths. It also includes read-along graphic novels.

Tumble TV includes a pre-set playlist that combines books with similar themes, subjects and authors for 10-35 minutes of entertainment. These remain in the every collection on every computer and don’t need to be saved. There is also an animated TV show that introduces brand new books not yet available on the website.

The Puzzles and Games section includes a variety of entertaining activities that teach children to read by having them play educational puzzles and games that relate to stories they’ve just read. The Language Learning section gives children the opportunity to read from a selection of books in Spanish, French, Russian and Chinese. Non-Fiction pictures books are located all in one place and prove that learning can be fun.

There is a Tumble Search feature that helps you decide the best category for you as you search by title, subject, language, author, publisher, illustrator and reading level. You can customize how you view books when sorting by newest book, author, title or reading level. You can save a default setting to remain the same each time you visit the page.

In the Storybook section books are read to you and pages turn automatically so you can follow along. You can also choose manual mode to turn pages yourself. The sound can be muted so you can read at your own speed. There is a word help feature that allows you to hear certain sentences and highlights certain words that are sounded out. Read-along books can be set for auto or manual mode as well.

Each book description includes the reading level, and you can click on the level to see other books in that same category. You can find accelerated reader information on each book as well. To test your reading skills, you can click on Tumble Quiz and try to get a perfect score.

There are many other features on Tumblebooks that is offered to you on the State Library’s website. Visit Pleasanton Library soon and get ready to “Tumble” into a wonderful children’s book!

Board of Trustees Meeting

The Board of Trustees Annual Meeting will be held Wednesday, March 31, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in the library located at 752 Main St.

Wearin’ ‘o’ the blue?

After reading a tidbit in the library’s March issue of “Better Homes and Gardens” magazine, I decided to do more research. It stated: “Before the ‘wearing of the green’ became the norm in 1798, the original color of Saint Patrick’s Day was blue.”

With help from Wikipedia I learned the following. Saint Patrick was believed to be born in Roman Britain to a wealthy family. Captured by Irish raiders at age sixteen, he was forced into slavery in Ireland. He worked as a shepherd for six years, and during that time “found God.” He escaped to the coast, found his way home and was determined to become a priest. According to the “Declaration,” allegedly written by himself, he returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. He spent many years evangelizing in northern Ireland and converted “thousands.” He was said to use the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. Over the centuries many legends were told about Saint Patrick and he became Ireland’s foremost saint.

In 1783, the Order of St. Patrick was established as the senior order of chivalry in the Kingdom of Ireland. In choosing a color to represent the order, several colors were considered. The light blue of the Irish arms was selected, and knights and officers of the order wore this color. Over the years since, there has been much debate about which shade of blue should represent Ireland. The color of the Order of Saint Patrick was sky blue in British usage and a rich, dark blue in Irish usage. The color is still found in symbols of the state and the island. Wikipedia includes a multi-hued image of the variety of blues used over time.

Since the early 17th century, Saint Patrick’s Day has been celebrated as an official Christian feast day. Held to commemorate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. During the 1790s, green became associated with Irish nationalism, due to its use by the United Irishmen. This republican organization – led mostly by Protestants but including many Catholic members – launched a rebellion in 1798 against British rule. The phrase “wearing of the green” comes from a song of the same name, which laments United Irishmen supporters being persecuted for wearing green.

Today, public parades and festivals are held with many wearing the color green or shamrocks. Over the years celebrations have become more secular, which concerns Christian leaders in Ireland. There have been efforts to reclaim the day as a church festival. Meanwhile, the day has been used to showcase Ireland and its culture. Celebrations are held all over the world, particularly in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

To learn more about Saint Patrick, the Irish and the earlier Celts, be sure to visit the library!

Teach your children well

Do you remember how you learned to read? Maybe it was during your early days of school. More likely it was your mother or father that read to you as you followed along. You’d request your favorite stories again and again. Eventually, you’d learn to recognize some of the words you’d heard. If your parents gave you this early start in reading, you likely did well in school. Reading is so important in our everyday lives. There are instructions to understand, forms to fill out, tests to take, letters to write. Literacy is an important factor in a successful life. You use it throughout your life and it can serve you well.

Of course, it’s always been an important skill for those who visit libraries. The thousands of books that fill the shelves wait for those who come through the doors. They beckon to readers of all ages to lift their covers and be drawn into their pages. Their pages can enlighten, brighten and take you away. You can visit other countries, other times and other lives. Library books are there are all ages to read. There are board books small enough for little hands to hold, colorful pictures and few words. There are big picture books with large pictures, short stories and interesting characters. As children begin to read, they can check out Easy Reading books. Their small hands can hold these books, read the few words per page and learn the story. They will graduate to chapter books, to be consumed bit by bit. There are choose-your-own-adventure books, biographies of famous people, spooky stories, historical books and more for the younger set.

As these readers become teens, there is a whole collection of books written just for them. Many of these are interesting enough to draw adult readers as well. As a matter of fact, it’s a good idea for parents to read these books. It may help them understand how their teens think. Many of these stories also become popular movies that teens enjoy. In this formative time in their lives, they will likely relate to the characters. All the more reason for parents to consider what teens are reading.

While much of the reading teens do is for school classes, the Young Adult genre of books has sparked a revival in reading for entertainment. Our collection of these books is extensive and growing. It now includes Manga books and popular series. It’s encouraging to see teens (as well as adults) reading books from this section of the library.

Of course books don’t interest everyone. Our collection also includes audio books for commuters, and those with vision problems. There are magazines for those who have little time to read, but enjoy articles. Last of all, we have hundreds of movies to entertain those who prefer their stories told directly to them through images.

So, think back to the days when you learned to read. Give thanks to those who helped you learn.

Library Director Wendy Morlan and her brothers Skip and Wayne intently listen to their mother, Dorothy, read to them before bedtime.

Library Director Wendy Morlan and her brothers Skip and Wayne intently listen to their mother, Dorothy, read to them before bedtime.

It’s all about the people

I’ve visited many libraries over the past few years, from Florida to Seattle and in between. Many are large, modern buildings with expansive rows of windows and thousands of books. Some had coffee shops and self-checkout machines. Others had dozens of programs for adults as well as children. I visit to get ideas we might utilize in our library and take photos to remind me of the libraries I’ve visited.

The ones that stick in my head are those where I made connections to the people who work there. When I entered I paid attention to whether I was greeted or if everyone was too busy to notice me. My typical destination was the children’s area, but I’d generally make a sweep through the entire building. Sometimes I’d make a point to speak with someone working in the stacks, or at a desk. I’d ask questions about a display, the artwork on their walls, or comment on the beautiful facility. I didn’t always tell them I worked in a library as well.

Most folks I spoke with were more than happy to answer my questions or show me around. You could tell they loved their job and the facility in which they worked. It didn’t matter if their building was new, or an older historic building. They were excellent advocates for libraries in general, and made sure my visit was a pleasant one. I also remembered the libraries where the reception was not so friendly. They were the ones that might be large and beautiful, but nearly empty.

Friendly, helpful staff make a big difference in a library. We’re there to serve our customers, to help them find books or movies or assist them on the computer. We can’t answer every question, or solve every problem, but we love a challenge. We’ve made many friends along the way, and have enjoyed watching their little ones grow. We appreciate the kind comments about our library, and enjoy helping people. Like any business, we must have rules and policies and attempt to mete these out evenly. They’re designed to keep our visitors safe and protect the materials in the library.

The least favorite part of our job is dealing with those who don’t respect us or the library. We have been cursed, yelled at and threatened. Most of the time it is over unreturned items. We know everyone has bad days, so we try to be understanding and stay professional. We try to treat others as we would want to be treated. We sometimes must bite our tongues. Please be patient with us, we want your library experience to be a positive one.

Manga – not your grandmother’s comic books

Many adults recall their reading journey starting with Dick and Jane and See Spot Run. From there they often went on to Little Lulu, Richie Rich, and Archie and his gang. Some even remember Classics Illustrated as their introduction to Moby Dick, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Hamlet. While they may not be respected as great literature, comic books kept many reading until their tastes matured, and they credit their adult love of books to the practice they received from this light reading.

Children and young people still enjoy reading comics even though today’s comics may not look the same as the ones from forty or fifty years ago. Manga is very popular among teens; this Japanese comic form comprises a large variety of genres from action/adventure to science fiction to comedy to sports and more. Graphic novels are an American form more like Classics Illustrated but not limited to the classics; while many are original stories, popular books such as those by James Patterson and even the Nancy Drew series have also been issued as comic book-style novels.

Recently, Pleasanton Lincoln Library received a $700 grant to enlarge our collection of Manga, comics, graphic novels, anime (Japanese animation movies) and other animated movies. Frances Marshall wrote the grant and was in charge of purchasing the materials. At the time we applied, we had a very active anime group that met every week. Her objective was to buy books and movies that would appeal to all ages from elementary students through high school and were not available through other libraries in our consortium. She made her selections from recommendations by members of the anime group and from lists which gave the reading level and popularity of books for easy readers and juvenile fiction.

To date we have added 32 books and 9 movies to our collection with more to come. Prior to this we had about 10 books and 5 movies.

Captions: Manga is enjoyed by females as well as males. These teens peruse the new collection of books on display in the teen area of the library.

Daelyn Whitby conceived the idea for an anime club, held at the library in the teen area this past year.

Beauty and the Beast

Most children likely know this story from Disney’s 1991 version. But how many adults recall the story from their youth? According to Wikipedia, it’s a traditional fairy tale written by French novelist Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and published in 1756. The story has similarities to Cinderella, and ends with the beautiful girl getting her prince. The similarities don’t end there. But rather then giving you a spoiler alert and sharing the whole story, bring your children and come see for yourself.

“Beauty and the Beast” will be performed Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 9:30 a.m. in the Pleasanton Elementary School gym by the Elsenpeter Marionettes. They are sponsored by Pleasanton Library and funded through local donations. The Elsenpeter Marionettes, headed by Richard Elsenpeter, is a professional, full-time performing marionette company that has entertained millions of people in live shows. In addition to performing more than 200-plus programs nationally each year, the troupe will write, produce, create and carve an entirely new program annually. They specialize in children’s classics and adapt stories familiar to most children.

Their tradition of puppetry started in Elen, Germany approximately 147 years ago, by Richard’s great grandfather. Elsenpeter describes his form of puppetry as the “old world style of puppetry.” It’s nostalgic and is rarely seen any more in America because of its technical difficulties.

This program is a wonderful way to help expose children to, and promote theater arts, reading, literature and cultural diversity in our community. “Beauty and the Beast” is full of humor, suspense and magic that will charm children, teenagers and adults alike.

We’d like to thank the following sponsors for making this program available: Labette Bank, Pleasanton PTO, Farmer’s State Bank, Friends of Kansas Libraries-Pleasanton, Kenton Bell and Neal Ostlie.

8 things you can get at the library for free

You may see attention-grabbing online articles like: “8 things to buy at a dollar store.” It may include items you hadn’t considered. Our library’s list may include a few surprises as well.

THE LATEST BOOKS
Did you know we feature New York Times Best-Selling Fiction? Regular visitors make a beeline for these books displayed just behind the circulation desk. Additional new books are shelved on the south wall. Look for the latest by your favorite author, or make a purchase suggestion. Every six weeks the SEK Library System sends a revolving collection of books. Located near our front doors, they include fiction, non-fiction and large-print books. Our old-style library corner features a special collection of books about the natural world donated in memory of naturalist Terry Heiser.

INTERESTING MAGAZINES
Our collection includes many popular issues, and some less likely to be found on supercenter shelves: “Smithsonian,” “Garden Gate,” “Wild West” and “Mary Jane’s Farm.” In addition, we carry a member subscription to the magazine published by the Kansas Historical Society. We recently added the teen magazine, “Kiki.” It’s described on Amazon as “an award-winning magazine and creativity journal published bi-monthly for tween and young teen girls. Among each issue’s features: From the Studio: design, clothing; Art Bin: art tools, projects; World Beat: international cultures, destinations; Biz Buzz: the business of money; and Kiki Care: healthy habits. Kiki affirms readers’ individuality and helps readers develop self-confidence.”

INTERLIBRARY LOANS
Our DVD collection on our north wall has doubled since we moved to 752 Main, and contains new movies and old favorites. Can’t find what you want to watch? We can order through our Interlibrary Loan system. Items generally arrive in a week, or less. Children’s movies located in the children’s area and include educational, as well as entertaining selections.

HIGH-SPEED INTERNET
We have seven computers with print capability. Our special children’s computer is packed with 60 games. For your child’s safety it’s not connected to the Internet. It’s easy for the youngest visitors to operate, and it will soon be joined by a tablet version.

STUDY AREAS
The cafe is the place to go to use your laptop, have a snack and a beverage. Students can bring their homework, and sit comfortably on the banquette. We have other study areas for use during the afternoon, including the Meeting Room at the rear of the library.

FREE TAX SERVICE
This service is provided by trained tax preparers between February and April. Call for an appointment, 352-8554.

MEETING ROOM
This well-appointed room can be used by non-profit groups at no charge. The room holds about 20 people, and must be reserved in advance.

CHILDREN’S SUMMER PROGRAMMING
This year’s theme is “Every Hero has a Story,” and will feature a mix of Superheroes and Everyday Heroes. Activities include stories, crafts and a special performer. Watch for more information. Summer will be here before you know it!

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.

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.

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