Month: July 2021

by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

You Are Not an Imposter

You Are Not an Imposter
By Hannah Atchison, Children’s Librarian

The imposter phenomenon, sometimes known as imposter syndrome, is the feeling that you don’t belong or deserve a title. Any skills or accomplishments do not feel sufficient or deserved. This internalized self-doubt sits on my shoulders. And I know I’m not the only one.
When I was young, I used to devour books. When I got to college, I barely read for pleasure at all. In the last two years, I purposefully made more time for reading and felt a bit better. I was able to fight off the nagging thought that I couldn’t really be considered a ‘real’ librarian if I was only reading three chapter books a year. But then a new unpleasant thought appeared. Do audiobooks and graphic novels really ‘count’? Yes. They absolutely do. And our brains need a break. You need a break.
If you’re reading for fun, it’s supposed to be, well, fun. It doesn’t have to be another thing you have to cross off your list. It can be a time for reflection, mindfulness, or an escape or vacation if that is what you need. Here is a list of graphic novels and audiobooks that I have enjoyed, all of which count towards summer reading by the way!

  • Strange Planet” by Nathan Pyle. This is a graphic novel about humanoid alien creatures and their everyday life in our world. Their words for things and descriptions of tasks are quite humorous. There is an eBook available on Hoopla through the library’s online resources and a new picture book recently arrived about their cat called “The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature.”
  • Catana Comics” by Catana Chetwynd. These are about the life of a romantic couple and the way they experience the world together. “In Love and Pajamas: A Collection of Comics about Being Yourself Together”, “Snug: A Collection of Comics about Dating Your Best Friend”, and “Little Moments of Love” are all available as eComics on Hoopla.
  • The Tea Dragon Society” by Katie O’Neill. There are now three graphic novels in this series. Book 3 just arrived! These graphic novels are children’s fantasy. There are many types of dragons in these books. Book 1 focuses on the domesticated form of dragon called tea dragons. Tea dragons can be temperamental and challenging to look after, but once attached to a caregiver (dragons are not the only fantastical species in these books), they can produce teas that are infused with happy memories of their times with their loved ones. All three books are available at the library, and books 1 and 2 are also available on Hoopla.
  • Calvin and Hobbes” by Bill Watterson. These were my favorite graphic novels to read when I was little and I still enjoy them quite a bit. These are about a young boy named Calvin and his imaginary adventures with his best friend, a stuffed tiger, who in Calvin’s mind is very much alive, named Hobbes. The two of them get into all sorts of mischief. Most of these are in the children’s section, with the exception of “The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes: a Calvin and Hobbes Treasury” in the adult graphic novels.
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill. This is a children’s fantasy story about a young girl who is rediscovering her magical abilities that have been hidden from her. The book and book on cd are in the children’s section, and the audiobook is available on Hoopla and Sunflower eLibrary through the library’s online resources.
  • Aru Shah and the End of Time” by Roshani Chokshi. This is book one in a children’s adventure series. If you enjoy mythology and magic, you will enjoy this story about a young girl in a fight against time and fate as she struggles to save the world and rescue her mother. The audiobook is available on Sunflower eLibrary.
  • Coraline” by Neil Gaiman. This book may be written for a middle-grade audience, but it can still scare the pants off you. If you like the movie, this is one of those rare cases where the movie actually did the book justice. The audiobook is available on Hoopla and Sunflower eLibrary.

Give yourself permission to relax. Reread an old favorite or find a fun new picture book. Remember: reading does not have to be hard and picture books are for everyone! Sit in your favorite chair or hammock. Grab a glass of tea or your preferred beverage and settle in.

by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

Quilting Stories

Quilting Stories

by Rhonna Hargett, Associate Director of Learning & Information Services

Quilts are often associated with stories: sometimes the story is sewn into the quilt, and sometimes quilts are woven into the story.   So it is appropriate that the Manhattan Library Association collaborated with the Konza Prairie Quilt Guild, the Prairie Star Quilt Guild, and other creative library supporters to celebrate our “Tales & Tails” Summer Reading Program with a quilt raffle. Local quilters have used their talents to make a variety of designs, including Dr. Seuss, the Konza Prairie, dinosaurs, Eric Carle, and more. Purchase raffle tickets by the end of July for a chance to win one of these beautiful quilts. The proceeds will benefit literacy programs and projects at the library. While you’re waiting for the raffle, we have some great titles to keep you occupied.

We can’t talk about quilting books without discussing the “Elm Creek Quilts” series by Jennifer Chiaverini. Centered around Sylvia Bergstrom Compson and the quilter’s retreat she created at her family estate, this popular series consists of heartwarming tales of friends and family, with a little light romance thrown in. Many of the books are about the relationships between the quilters, but some of the titles in the series focus on Sylvia’s ancestors and their place in American history, all with a tie-in to quilts and accurate details of quiltmaking. The series starts with “The Quilter’s Apprentice,” in which we learn about Sylvia’s background and the origins of the retreat. With likeable characters and a relaxed pace, the “Elm Creek Quilts” series is among the best in gentle reads.

In “Confessions from the Quilting Circle” by Maisey Yates, the three Ashwood sisters gather after their grandmother’s death to clear out her shop and home. All of them have secrets they are carrying that they feel they must handle on their own. When they decide to work together with their mother on an unfinished quilt left by their grandmother, they find healing and support with one another. Touching and complex, Yates’ novel is a vivid tale of the family bonds among women.

If you’re looking for how-to books, we have a huge collection for you. Beginners might enjoy “Sarah Payne’s Quilt School.” TV personality Sarah Payne breaks down the basics of quilting into quick projects, such as cushions, tote bags, and table runners, to teach the skills needed to tackle a quilt. Packed with good information, but also full of beautiful photographs and easy-to-follow instructions, this is a great book for beginners. For those with a little more experience, we have “Quilt Block Genius” by Sue Voegtlin. This go-to guide contains over 300 pieced quilt blocks for those who want to be creative and try something new. With basic quilting tips, thorough instructions for planning a quilt, and helpful illustrations, this guide will help expand your quilting horizons. We also have quilting tutorials available online through CreativeBug if you prefer video format.

For younger readers, we have “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend” by Susan Goldman Rubin. Gee’s Bend is a community that was originally a plantation in Alabama. When those enslaved there were freed, they stayed as sharecroppers, and eventually were able to buy the land. Through all of the challenges they faced, the women shared a love of quilting that they handed down to their descendants. They turned scraps of work clothes and flour sacks into works of art. In recent years, they have been displayed in art museums and featured in books, shining the spotlight on these talented artists.

We also regularly have quilting books for sale in Rosie’s Corner, if you prefer to take your time with books or refer back to them again and again. You can find out more about the titles I’ve listed, the quilt raffle, or Rosie’s corner at our website,

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Introducing the Middle School Collection

Introducing the Middle School Collection

by Crystal Hicks, Collections Librarian

In addition to our regular summer reading-related shenanigans, library staff have been hard at work on another project this summer: creating the new Young Adult Middle School Books Collection. Due to sixth grade joining the local middle schools this fall, we decided to highlight books that appeal to middle schoolers as a group by creating a collection just for them. The new middle school collection has joined the rest of the young adult books on the second floor of the library, located on the shelves closest to the atrium.

The middle school collection contains books for youth in grades 6-8 (ages 11-14), pulling in books from both children’s fiction and young adult fiction. The middle school collection includes plenty of coming-of-age books of all stripes and a wide variety of adventure. Many bestselling fantasy series are now in the middle school collection (think Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl), as are newer excellent series (like Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond and Tristan Strong), along with many of the current William Allen White nominees and this year’s Newbery winner, “When You Trap a Tiger” by Tae Keller.

For many people, middle school is a time of change. Friendships and relationships can begin and end, and many young teens are exploring their identity and the world around them. Fittingly, many books for middle schoolers reflect and explore these changes. However, escapism provides comfort during times of change, and there are still the classic genre standbys of survival, fantasy, and science fiction. Here are some of the major genres and themes that you can find in the middle school collection, alongside a recent book on each topic.

Friendships:Turning Point,” by Paula Chase, revolves around the friendship of Mo and Sheeda as they spend a summer apart. Mo tries to fit in as a Black girl at a mostly-white ballet program, and Sheeda worries about being forgotten by Mo while also spending time at her aunt’s church and with Mo’s brother.

First romance: Ami Polonsky’s “Spin with Me” looks at the budding romance between Ollie, a nonbinary tween who’s struggling to find an identity outside of their queer activism, and Essie, a girl who’s in town for one semester with her visiting-professor father.

Exploring new hobbies: In “The Chance to Fly,” a local summer production of “Wicked” is the perfect opportunity for Nat, a thirteen-year-old wheelchair user, to finally get cast in a musical. “The Chance to Fly” is clearly written by people who know and love musicals: Ali Stroker was the first wheelchair user to appear on Broadway, and Stacy Davidowitz is a playwright.

Puberty and body image: In “Taking up Space,” by Alyson Gerber, Sarah finds that her changing body keeps slowing her down on the basketball court. Her solution inadvertently gives her an eating disorder, and the book follows her through intervention and treatment.

Racism:Finding Junie Kim,” by Ellen Oh, focuses on Junie as she and her friends deal with anti-Black, -Jewish, and -Asian graffiti at their school. While working on an oral history project for school, Junie also learns about her grandparents’ childhood experiences during the Korean War.

Survival: Rebecca Behrens’s “Alone in the Woods” combines a classic survival tale with a friendship story, as ex-best friends Alex and Joss get lost in the woods and fight to survive while working through why their friendship ended.

Fantasy: The middle school collection has many mythology-inspired series from the Rick Riordan Presents line, including “City of the Plague God” by Sarwat Chadda. When a Mesopotamian plague god mistakenly believes that he has the secret to immortality, Sik and his friends must team up to save New York City.

Science fiction: Kwame Mbalia collaborated with Prince Joel Makonnen to write “Last Gate of the Emperor,” an Afrofuturist book set in the city Addis Prime after the fall of the Axum Empire to the evil Werari. When he reveals his real name while logging into a game, Yalen ends up on the run with his bionic lioness, Besa, and his former rival, the Ibis, looking for his missing Uncle Moti.

There are too many wonderful books in the middle school collection to mention them all, so do yourself a favor and go take a look. We’ve rearranged the entire young adult area as part of this change, so go ahead and familiarize yourself with the new shelving arrangements, too. I’m sure you’ll find some excellent books (middle school or otherwise) that you can read as you work toward your summer reading goal.

by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

Drought Gardening

Drought Gardening

by Bryan McBride, Adult Services Librarian

See the source imageDid you hear the one about how dry it is out there?  It’s so dry the cows are giving evaporated milk! (Ba-dum, crash!) We are knee-deep in a drought. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about cattle in times of heat and drought, but I do spend a lot of time thinking about my gardens in these conditions. For me personally, the problem is even more concerning this year as we are trying to start new gardens on a new property.

I always consider planting perennials that are heat and drought-tolerant, having success with iris and daylilies. Water conservation is perhaps most efficient in gardens that feature native plants and flowers that you can find growing in pastures and ditches in Kansas. If you walk out in grasslands of Kansas, you find an amazing array of flowers and color. Primrose, hyacinth, coral bells, honeysuckle, blue cornflower and columbine are just a few examples of what you’ll find on a nature walk. These can be transplanted into your own yard, and, once established, they seldom need to be supplemented with extra water, and they hold their ground against encroaching weeds.

If you’d like more ideas about drought gardening, we have several books in our collection that offer a variety of gardens. “Planting Design for Dry Gardens” by Olivier Filippi describes a variety of flora for dry gardens. A great aspect of this book is its descriptions of what “invasive” means and how to plan gardens that include plant species considered invasive. The book is loaded with pictures that show off the beauty of flowers available for dry gardening.

Another book that covers a lot of ground, no pun intended, is “The Water-Thrifty Garden” by Stan DeFreitas. How to improve the chemistry of your soil and how to map out a garden to make the most efficient use of water are just a couple of aspects of this book.

Did you know you can have your own soil tested by sending samples to K-State Research and Extension? They can do simple testing of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, or more extensive testing that might include pH levels, or even electrical conductivity. Seriously! These tests can help you determine the kind of plants that will thrive in the soil you have, or suggest potential alterations in your soil for the gardening you have in mind. Putting the right plants in the right soil is a good way to make efficient use of your water. The extension staff has an incredible amount of knowledge based on horticultural research. There is a brochure rack full of free publications in our community corner produced and distributed by K-State Research and Extension.

Another book that focuses on drought-tolerant plants is “Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens” by Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden. They include only plants that, when established, require less than one inch of water every two weeks in the hottest part of the peak growing season. One plant per page gives the reader ample information for choosing plants for your own property. Flora attributes are listed for each plant, such as how much sun is required, unattractiveness to deer, and attractiveness to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Gardening with Less Water” by David A. Bainbridge is filled with ideas for setting up irrigation systems. With this book’s publication seven years ago, Bainbridge accurately forecasted the deepening California drought. I saw a recent news story that Northern California’s Lake Orville, the second-largest reservoir in California, is expected to go offline with its hydroelectric power plant due to dropping water levels in the reservoir. (CNN, 2021) In his book, Bainbridge offers illustrated maps for laying out gardens as well as ideas for rainwater harvesting and setting up your landscape to capture water.

An attractive alternative might be a rock garden. I mean, this is the Flint Hills! The library has a couple of books, “The Prairie Rock Garden” by Donna Balzer and “Rock Gardening” by Joseph Tychonievich, which detail how to design rock gardens and the kind of flora that excels among rocks. In his book, “Essential Succulents,” Ken Shelf describes projects created with succulents, which often thrive with a minimum amount of water.  Although not limited to succulents, rock gardens are a good place for succulents like agave, cactus, and sedum, alongside other flowering perennials.

The bad news is climatologists predict furthering drought in future years.  The good news is a well-planned, drought-resistant garden can provide low-maintenance beauty in your environment despite this dire prediction.