The joys of small-town living

Though I’ve lived in the area for over 11 years, I still feel like a newcomer. So many of the folks here are related and have been here for many years. I was raised nowhere near the midwest, but lived in Springfield, Missouri for 30 years and visit often. My grandchildren live in Republic, and many of my friends and former co-workers still live in the area.

There are many reasons to live in a bigger city like Springfield. The cultural venues alone attract many people, and the commercial attractions invite many more to visit. I often avoid the latter due to the crush of people. I much prefer the quieter places when I visit. My friends and I go to the independent theater to see movies that don’t come to the large screen. We go out to eat in locally-owned restaurants, as opposed to chains. I often visit the smaller flea markets and shops owned by local residents. It’s always a treat to be in town for art events, but I try to visit on the days when fewer people attend them.

I think I’ve gotten used to a quieter life, living in the country and driving roads less traveled. Springfield can be exciting and the libraries here are large and full of activity. But the traffic alone has become overwhelming. Everyone is in a rush, riding your back bumper to get wherever they think they need to be in a hurry. Parking has become difficult to find, even on weekdays. Major stores are crowded, and lines for takeout foods can be long.
My visits give me a lot of ideas to bring back to the library, and how to accomplish them. I attended an author’s presentation Thursday evening. She’s written two New York Times Bestsellers, and her visit was funded in part by the library’s Friends organization. Their twice-yearly book sales often net $100,000! The author event drew about 200 people, something we cannot match here. There was a large staff to assist the author and the visitors. The line to purchase her latest book and get her signature was long. While an event like that is enviable, I have truly enjoyed the authors we’ve had in the Pleasanton Library. The setting is more intimate and everyone has a chance to meet the authors. Our local donors help fund their visits and they are much less expensive.

I follow what’s going on in big-city libraries to get ideas that we can scale back to accomplish here in Pleasanton. The same goes for the new bookstore in Springfield. I’ve visited, purchased a few books and photographed the teen room. We could easily replicate the look with a couple gallons of paint and some big posters. So you may see a few changes in our library so we can stay up-to-date with trends and keep things fresh. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my short drive to work, watching out for deer, turkeys, squirrels and stray calves. It’s peaceful here, and easy to find a parking space!

National Library Week April 7-13 Libraries = Communities

If you’ve never been to the library or only visited to check out a movie or use a computer, you might be surprised at what else is available. Yes, there are many DVDs available for check out, including a number of television series. There are eight computers available for use by the public as well. Of course we have thousands of books, including fiction, non-fiction, audio books, large print, magazines and books for children and young adults.

We have comfortable seating for reading or checking messages on your phone. There are tables near electrical outlets where you can plug in a laptop and access our free Wi-Fi. We even have a charger that accepts a variety of cables so you won’t run out of power. The Bistro is a great place to work on your laptop while you enjoy your coffee, or you can purchase one from our assortment of K-cups. A microwave is available to heat a meal should you have a lengthy project and need to stay through lunch.

There’s a meeting room at the back of the library where you can work in relative quiet, or if you need to meet with someone privately. Just check in with us before using the room to ask if it’s already scheduled. The Friends of Pleasanton Gardening meet there monthly, as does the Pleasanton Library Board and other organizations. During tax season, AARP volunteers provide free tax service by appointment. Our comfortable children’s area is a fun place where little ones can play, or be read to by parents or caregivers. We require those under 10 years of age to be accompanied by an adult while visiting the library.

We have a separate area for tweens and teens, surrounded by a large assortment of books for their age groups. We’re happy to help them find what they want to read, or can introduce them to something that may be of interest. Of course, we are willing to try to find materials for all our visitors. If you would like to check out books or movies, we require you to be a cardholder. Signing up is a simple process. We ask you to fill out a form with your name, address, phone number and e-mail address, if you have one, and would like to be contacted that way.

If you are a Kansas resident, you are also eligible to sign up for a state library card. With that card, you can access books, movies, and even e-books. If you don’t find what you’d like to check out in our library, we can order items for you from other libraries. These are delivered to us through a courier service that visits five days a week. New or very popular items may take longer to obtain, but we do our best to purchase up-to-date books and movies for our visitors.
In addition to all this, we have numerous programs throughout the year. Our upcoming Summer Reading Program begins June 1 and runs through July. We’ll have weekly activities for children, including special visits by Mad Science, representatives from the Cosmosphere, and an Astronomy Ambassador. Our Maker Space will be busy with craft programs, games and reading contests with prizes. Come in soon to see what you might be missing.

Billions of puzzle pieces!

Pleasanton Library received a large collection of 1,000-piece puzzles from resident Beth Foster recently. Beth was thinning her collection and thought our visitors would enjoy them. From left: Wendy Morlan, Frances Marshall, Missy Good, Angelia Duckwall and Susan Brown.

Board of Trustees Meeting

The next meeting of Pleasanton Lincoln Library Trustees will be Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 5:15 p.m. The library is located at 752 Main St.

The waiting is over

Spring has finally arrived, and we’re busy gearing up for our Summer Reading Program. We recently attended a workshop to get new ideas for crafts for children. But we’re always on the lookout for ideas for adult crafts as well. Our next craft is painting colorful zinnias, out of pinecones! We hope to continue these craft sessions throughout the summer, so watch for what’s coming next.

Better weather means we’ll be outside more, taking care of the library’s grounds, planting flowers in the raised beds, and trimming trees. One of our tweens offered to water the iris bed, but we waited, and the next day we had that gully-washer. So now the irises are growing like crazy. I’ve noticed some jonquils peeping out of the ground around town as well. Walk Kansas began March 17, so you’ll likely see lots of folks burning off those holiday desserts as they get outside to walk. Set a goal for yourself and do the same.

We’re not the only ones busy now that spring is here. The Mine Creek Battlefield Historic Site and Marais des Cygne Massacre Site will participate in National Park Day on Saturday, April 6 with volunteers clearing the trails, washing windows and removing winter debris from these wonderful destinations. By the way, the Battlefield is a great place to walk some trails. It’s like having our very own nature center.

Toward the end of April, the middle school students will be providing their youthful muscles to help complete community projects, right around Earth Day. In the past, they’ve helped outside the library and we hope to see them again this year. It’s fun having them visit, and we all have fun!

On May 14 at 1 pm, the Marais des Cygne Extension Office will visit the library to provide a class on using air fryers. This is a free program and the knowledge might help you save some money when you invest in one of these healthful ways to cook. The following week, several library board members will join a couple of staff members for a Southeast Kansas Library System bus tour. We’ll visit numerous libraries in Southeast, as well as Northeast Kansas to get ideas and see how other libraries function and flourish.

Put the beginning date of our Summer Reading Program on your calendars now, because the fun will commence on Tuesday, June 4 at 11 am with a visit from Kansas City’s own Mad Science. In addition to our weekly programs and activities on Tuesdays, we’ll also begin a four-week Kid’s Gardening program that’s provided by the Extension Office. Participants will learn about raising their own healthy foods during classes that begin at 10 am, beginning Wednesday, June 12. Watch this space for more information.

So get outside and enjoy the warm days, and wave if you see us walking.

We need YOU!

If you’ve ever brought your children, or grandchildren to the library during our Summer Reading Programs, we invite you to join us once again. We have lots of exciting things planned this summer, beginning Tuesday, June 4. We’ll be sure to let you know what’s coming as our schedule is finalized.

In the meantime, perhaps you would consider helping us gather supplies for the many craft and learning activities we have planned. Perhaps you have some of these items in your home already. Or, perhaps you could begin saving some before our program begins. If you have any questions about sizes or number of items to save, please give us a call, 913-352-8554.

Here are some of the items we will need: glass jars with lids (i.e. Mason jars, Starbucks coffee, Voss water, etc.); mini pie tins; clear plastic cocktail cups and/or condiment cups; Dove Body wash or International Delight creamer bottles; metal findings that resemble gears and buttons; 2-liter or 1-liter pop bottles; clear glass votive/tea light jars; 4 oz.-6 oz. jars (glass or plastic); small bottles of clear school glue; 6-inch embroidery hoops; plain, light-colored fabric; embroidery thread (blue, yellow, purple, red, orange, light green); embroidery needles; plastic squeeze bottles (like restaurant condiment bottles).

We have printouts of this list if you prefer to work from them, or post them on your fridge. If you’re intrigued about what we’re planning to make with all this stuff, just ask. We’ve been able to get some wonderful ideas from recent workshops and Pinterest!

Currently, we have adult craft projects going on once a month, but could increase this number if there is interest this summer. The folks who have been participating have been making some beautiful items for their homes, or to give as gifts. Let us know if you’re interested, and we’ll share additional information. Supplies are provided, and there is no fee to participate. Come in and have some fun!

Hoping for spring, planning for summer

In spite of the weather, we’ve been busy at the library this winter. Not just shoveling snow, mind you, but also doing inventory, dusting shelves as we go, doing year-end reports and previewing new children’s books. On days when local schools have been closed, we were as well. Once we re-opened, we played catch-up with incoming and outgoing books ordered by our customers, as well as those from other libraries.

At the beginning of the school year last fall, I resumed visiting LeaAnn Davenport’s pre-school classes. After a year’s hiatus, I looked forward to visiting the students, reading stories and doing crafts with them. Once they turn five, they are eligible to obtain their own library card. This is a big event for many of them, and we see them often as they visit with their parents. It’s been fun over the years to watch these youngsters grow up as they visit the library.

Hopeful that the weather begins to warm up soon, we’ve begun planning for our Summer Reading Program. We’ll have weekly activities during June and July, with visits from Mad Science and representatives from the Cosmosphere. I’m attending a special workshop this week, hosted by the Northeast Kansas Library System, and provided by instructors from NASA. This is particularly exciting for me because my father worked at Cape Kennedy for 24 years during the heyday of the Space Race. We’ve amassed a treasure trove of books about space at the library, and this year’s Summer Reading Program theme “A Universe of Stories” will feature space. The workshop will provide lots of ideas for projects to make this summer, so fun will be had by all participants.

We’re looking forward to warmer weather, when we can get outdoors to tend the raised bed gardens and trees on the library’s grounds. Winter winds took their toll on the plantings, so we hope to restore their vigor. We need to re-hang our sign on front of the building, and hopefully get our entry sidewalk repaired. There is also a directional sign to install once we receive assistance from city employees.

While we wait for spring, there are still enough cold days to stay in and stay warm reading a few good books. Let us know what you’d like to read. If we don’t have it, we can order it for you from another library. We can also guide you so you can order items on your own. Thank you for helping keep your library vital!

Digging up your roots

Since 2009 when I joined Ancestry.com, I have compiled notebooks of family records. Prior to that time, I hesitated to pay the fee to access the site. Though I’d been interested in family history from age 10, I didn’t inherit the published genealogy. I remembered few of the names my paternal grandmother shared with me when I visited her. She had a box of photos with no names and I’d spend hours trying to match them by studying noses, ears, eyes and backgrounds.

Fast forward to 2009, when I Googled the family name, and discovered the published genealogy had been reprinted. Though it was quite expensive, I decided to spring for the book that launched my search. When it arrived in the mail I spent hours poring over it, looking for links to family members. It was originally printed in 1937, so I could search prior to that date, but not forward. Going online allowed me to locate more current information. Though census records are limited to 70 years ago or older, it’s still difficult to track relatives after 1940.

But Ancestry.com allows you to locate what others have entered, and you can build your family tree from there. I have been able to connect with cousins from all over the country, as well as some outside the country. Though I don’t have time to search on a daily basis, when I discover another clue, I’m totally immersed in my continued search.

If you are interested in your background, and have some basic information about your ancestors, you can learn more on the Kansas State Library’s website. The My Heritage section allows you access to some limited genealogy information at no charge. The site is powered by Ancestry.com and can help you develop a love of genealogy. If you don’t have access to the internet at home, you can use the library’s computers to search. If you don’t have a library card, we’re happy to assist you in applying for one.

The success of Louis Gate’s PBS show, “Finding Your Roots” is a fascinating journey into the lives of people who often knew very little about their backgrounds. They are surprised, touched and grateful for what they learn about those from their past. They often comment that the show helped them find “their people.” Perhaps you can too when you visit the library, and search for yours.

Good excuse to stay in and read

Last week was a challenging one for anyone who had to get outdoors to work. The drive alone was treacherous, yet there were animals to feed and jobs that had to be done. Thankfully, schools were closed for several days and that protected parents and children from the freezing temperatures. It may also have kept the flu from continuing to spread.

As long as the power remained on, and food had been stocked, most of us were glad not to have to get outside. I was home recuperating and for several days only wanted to remain under a blanket with a box of tissues nearby. But as the week went on, I began to feel a little better and by the weekend was able to get up and around. The week’s “vacation” not only gave me time to get well, it gave me permission to read in blocks of time. That is a luxury I usually only get when I’m on a long trip and my husband is driving. I also had the chance to stay in bed later than usual and finish a book I started the night before.

When I finished all the library books I’d checked out the week before, I had the chance to dig into my “stash” of orphan books I’d bought from the library’s sale rack. This reorganized bunch of books contains junior fiction and non-fiction, young adult fiction, and adult fiction and non-fiction. Some of these rescued books are fabulous, and will be returned for resale. Even though they may have been written years before, good writers can make the stories timeless. The library has a wonderful collection of books for children, and some of them might be of interest to adults as well. For younger readers, it might help to have an adult around to read with them. They could help explain some of the messages the stories build into the book. Rather than pointing them out as they occur, the adult might ask questions along the way. Or wait until the child asks one, and then offer their perspective on the meaning.

There are parents who actually begin reading to their unborn babies, or new babies. It helps create a bond with a child, and they grow to understand how important reading can be. Reading is important, but understanding what was read is a critical life skill. If you need suggestions on what books might be good for children of different ages and comprehension levels, don’t hesitate to ask us. We’re all readers, we read to children, and enjoy reading ourselves. We’ll find books that you and your child can enjoy together. Help build their imagination by reading to them, or with them!

Should libraries declutter?

There are dozens of popular books on the market right now about paring down your belongings. There are several motivations for doing this. Margareta Magnusson, the author of “The Swedish Art of Gentle Death Cleaning” believes we should each dispose of our own excess belongings. That way our children don’t have to be burdened with the difficult process. Another popular writer, Marie Kondo, believes you should only keep what “sparks” joy. There are numerous methods to review and delete excess items like clothes, books and extra kitchen utensils from your life. You can find lists of “89 things you should dispose of right away” and what to do with all the items you no longer want.

This discussion goes on in the library world as well. Librarians have an ongoing process to inventory, and delete, books and movies from our shelves. If non-fiction books contain outdated information, they are deleted. They can be replaced with more up-to-date books. Classics are typically retained, but fiction books that haven’t been checked out in five years of more are targets for removal. The same goes for movies. This allows us to make space for newer items.

What happens to all these deleted items? Books and movies with considerable damage are discarded. Others are added to our sale shelf on a monthly basis. Our prices are reasonable, and funds help us buy new books and movies. If they don’t sell, they are boxed and donated to Concern.

At home I don’t follow the same process. As a matter of fact, I’m one of the best customers of our sale shelf. I have likened my shopping habit to visiting an animal shelter and bringing home rescue puppies. I’ve also read such books called “orphan” books. I have way too many and have been sorting, and rearranging them for two weeks. It’s a crazy habit to collect more books than you could read in 100 years. I plan to regift some of my books to the library, and to friends I hope can benefit from them.

We receive boxes of books and movies others have collected and no longer want or need. There’s no specific time of year this happens. You would think spring cleaning would increase the donation of books, but this occurs all year long.

Should you want to donate books to any library please consider a few things. We prefer clean boxes and books, without mold, mildew or bugs. Although the library is sprayed for insects on a monthly basis, we’d like to prevent an infestation. There are many who hate to throw away books, but if they are not usable, they really are worthless. There are lots of ways to repurpose them through craft projects, but even those should be in good shape. We encourage donations, but please know we cannot value them for tax purposes. We are happy to provide a form for your accountant, should you itemize. We sincerely thank everyone who cares for books and passes them along when no longer needed!

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