by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

The Importance of Wordless Picture Books

The Importance of Wordless Picture Books

By Hannah Atchison, children’s librarian, Manhattan Public Library

You Can't Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum

As a child, I was told I had a wild imagination. My family would engage in dramatic adventures with me, using every pillow we owned. And before bed, we would read. Though the books my parents read to me grew longer with fewer pictures, picture books always held a special place in my heart. My favorites were the wordless ones by Peter Collington. I could spend hours with one, reimagining the story a little differently each time. Wordless books are important for children because they teach context clues, emotional intelligence, body language, and imagination. In Manhattan Public Library’s collection, we have a growing number of wordless picture books. I recommend these titles.

Where’s Walrus?” by Stephen Savage is a fun look-and-find book appropriate for toddlers. Walrus runs away from the zookeeper and puts on costumes to hide in the city. While looking for Walrus with your little one, you can talk about occupations, colors, and places you see.

The Line in the Sand” by Thao Lam is also in our toddler section. Friendly monsters are playing on the beach. One draws a line with a stick. As one monster attempts to cross it, another blocks them. Tempers rise and a crowd gathers. The monsters’ imaginary problem is resolved by the arrival of a bee. All of this is communicated with body language. Ask your child how they think the monsters may be feeling. You could even talk about similar human-created problems in the world.

Imagine!” by Raúl Colón introduces us to a boy visiting an art museum. He imagines the characters in the paintings climbing out to have fun with him there. On his way home, he creates beautiful street art of his friends from the museum and thinks of them as he falls asleep. Art coming to life is a wonderful subject for the imagination. Does your child have an art piece they wish they could interact with?

You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum” is a funny adventure by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman that compares art to life as the museum doorman chases a girl’s balloon that flies off while she is in the museum with her grandmother. Talk about the similarities between the art pieces and the balloon adventure. Ask your child what they think will happen next.

Another” by Christian Robinson is a science fiction adventure. A little girl and her pet discover an opposite world with people just like her. Imagine together what other worlds might be like or what you wish your world was like.

Sidewalk Flowers” are collected by a girl going on a walk with her father. JonArno Lawson’s tale is about being thankful for the small things and sharing that joy with others. The girl leaves the flowers she has collected with a dead bird, a man sleeping on a bench, strangers, animals and family. Practice empathy and ask your child if benches are comfortable to sleep on and why the man might be sleeping there. Ask them why they think the girl is giving away her flowers to each of the people/animals they encounter.

Once Upon a Forest” by Pam Fong is about a little furry forest creature who sees smoke. The furry friend gathers tools to put out the fire, but there is still damage. The furry creature clears away the dead trees’ branches, prepares the soil, and plants new seeds. The creature guards the trees as they grow and protects them from hungry deer. When they are full grown he sets off again into the forest. The furry forester expresses many emotions, which you can help your child identify as you read.

The Brain Storm” by Linda Ragsdale is about a boy in a bad mood, pictured as a scribbly ‘storm’ floating above his head. He doesn’t know how to make the storm go away so he brings it to his grandmother who helps him understand it. This book is about emotions and uses body language to communicate it.

Free Fall” is a dreamworld adventure by David Wiesner. A boy travels through an imaginary world with strange creatures as he dreams. These unusual encounters and explorations are an opportunity for children to expand their own imaginations.

Journey” is the first book in a magical trilogy by Aaron Becker. The fantastical adventures are colorful and grand, despite the small pages in which they are contained. Themes of bravery and friendship weave through these imaginary adventures.

Some say you can’t read a wordless book. I disagree. Reading is an interpretation of symbols and the connection of those symbols to their meaning in the world. Pictures are a form of expressing communication just like letters and words. The skills gained from reading a wordless picture book— interpretation of context clues, emotional intelligence, body language, and imagination—are just as valuable. Wordless books are an invitation to participate in the story you are reading. If you would like more suggestions of wordless books, you can find your local librarians here at the Manhattan Public Library.

Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Learn more at


By Hannah Atchison, children’s librarian, Manhattan Public Library

by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

Spring Photography

Spring Photography

by Victoria Lafean Library Assistant 2

How to Photograph Absolutely Everything: Successful Pictures from Your Digital Camera: Tom Ang: 9781405319850: Books

With Spring arriving most people will want to get out of their houses to enjoy the weather. One thing I like to do when the weather is better is photography. Photography has a special place in my life; it was my minor in college, and at one time I had my own photography business. However, you don’t need to major or minor in photography or have a business to enjoy it. Photography is a popular hobby in today’s world, especially with all the advancements mobile phones have within their cameras. But let’s step away from the camera phones and put a true camera in your hands. If you’re unsure how to proceed with this new hobby, head over to the Manhattan Public Library and browse their shelves for resources like these: “Basics of Photography” by Diego Garcia (2019); “Digital Art Photography for Dummies by Matthew Bamberg (2006); “The Photographer’s Mind by Michael Freeman (2011); “Digital Photography Essentials” by Tom Ang (2011); and “How to Photograph Absolutely Everything” by Tom Ang (2007).

The best place to start is to choose a camera. There are different types of cameras for different skill levels. Tom Ang in “Digital Photography Essentials” lists the different types you can choose from. There are entry level compacts, enthusiast compacts, interchangeable lens compacts, hybrid zooms, four thirds DSLR, entry level DSLR, and finally prosumer and professional DSLR. Key considerations in choosing a camera include: what are your subjects, the size of camera you want, the ease of use you need, and the control available for creativity. With my experience I use an entry level DSLR.

To advance your abilities past the normal point-and-shoot phase, Diego Garcia’s “Basics of Photography” may be helpful. The first task is to switch your mode setting from auto to manual. Garcia says, “Manual is the setting you want to use because it lets you control all of the camera’s functions.” Garcia also states, “The exposure (the image or photograph) is made of three things: the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.”

Let’s look at these three settings. The aperture is the section of the camera that can be adjusted to let in more or less light. It is measured in F-Stop numbers. The lower the number the less in focus the background will be. The higher the number the more in focus the background will be. ISO is how much light you’re adding to your image or the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor. Garcia advises, “Try to keep the ISO as low as possible. The higher the ISO number is the grainier the photograph will be.” The shutter speed is the last of the trio. Shutter speed is how fast the shutter opens and closes. Low speed should be used for long exposures; this lets in more light. A high shutter speed is used for short exposures and capturing fast moving subjects. These are the three foundation settings used to capture an image in photograph form. Photography is like writing with light.

In “Digital Art Photography for Dummies,” Matthew Bamberg explains, “Photographs are a personal thing; a photograph is a way for you to show the world how you see something in your own perspective. How personal do you want to get?” As a new photographer it is good for you to work on defining yourself as an artist, defining your audience, mastering the tools, and honing in on your craft.

If you’re uncertain what to take photographs of, Michael Freeman in “The Photographer’s Mind,” says, “Most people visually like to look at the familiar, rich colors, brightness, contrast, harmony, definition, clarity, and beauty.” Bamberg says to shoot what you like. He also suggests to look at photographs you’ve already taken and see if you have a majority. I personally like to photograph things up close, also known as macro photography. Whether it’s a close up of a flower, a rusted sign, puddles, a blade of grass, or pebbles, I like to make my images look like a piece of art. Bamberg says to “Find the art around you. Think of your community as a place to find art objects for your images.”

In “How to Photograph Everything,” Ang muses, “When you take any photograph you are freezing a moment in time.” This book will teach you how to photograph people, landscapes, nature, animals, architecture, and events. Capture that moment. It is a great resource to assist you with this photography phase. Likewise, when you’re out honing your new craft, Bamberg says to, “Get a little nuts and be creative. Play with light, reflections, and zooming. Try taking photographs with an intentional lack of focus and intentional under or over exposure. Filters are also a creative avenue you can take.”  Just have fun.

Other avenues you can take with photography are activists group photography, scrapbooking photography, and catalog of collections photography. As Ang says, “The limitations of photography are within yourself, for what we see is only what we are.”

You can find these titles amongst others on the shelves at the Manhattan Public Library to help you on this digital art photography journey or your photography phase.  Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Learn more at

by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month

by Audrey Swartz

The Wild Ones

Spring is springing, or is it? We won’t truly know until it has passed us by, especially in Kansas. What I do know is that March has long been set aside to celebrate the amazing things women have done throughout history. This year’s Women’s History Month is focusing on Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Institutions around the country will celebrate in their own ways, from performances to exhibits to storytelling. Manhattan Public Library will have displays in every age group: children’s, young adult, and adult, featuring books about or by a diverse cast of women.


In our young adult section, located on the second floor of the library, you will find displays on women authors, being lucky, and Women’s History Month. The first two are located along the wall on floating shelves, and the last is on a cart in front of the new books. Below is a list of featured books on these displays. All information for these titles has been taken from our catalog, which can be accessed at


The Women Authors display will feature:


The Wild Ones: A Broken Anthem for a Girl Nation” by Nafiza Azad.

“Meet the Wild Ones: girls who have been hurt, abandoned, and betrayed all their lives. It all began with Paheli, who was once betrayed by her mother and sold to a man in exchange for a favor.”


Deadly Little Scandals” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

“No one is quite who they seem to be in the twisty, soapy, gasp-inducing world of the Debutantes. Think of the White Gloves like the Junior League — by way of Skull and Bones. Reluctant debutante Sawyer Taft joined Southern high society for one reason and one reason alone… “


Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard” by Echo Brown.

“Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor.”


The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy” by Mackenzi Lee.

“Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind–avoid the marriage proposal and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.”


On the Just a Little Luck display will feature:


The Curse of The Specter Queen” by Jenny Elder Moke

“Samantha Knox put away her childish fantasies of archaeological adventure the day her father didn’t return home from the Great War, retreating to the safety of the antique bookshop where she works. But when a mysterious package arrives with a damaged diary inside, Sam’s peaceful life is obliterated.”






The Good Luck Girls” by Charlotte Nicole Davis

“The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.”


Luck of the Titanic” by Stacey Lee

“Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic. One moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens. Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive.”


Witches of Ash and Ruin” by E. Latimer

“Told in multiple voices, seventeen-year-olds Dayna Walsh and Meiner King, witches from rival covens, team up in a small Irish town to seek a serial killer with motives enmeshed in a web of magic and gods.”


The Women’s History Month display will feature:


#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women” edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

“Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. #Not Your Princess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman.”


Finding Her Voice: How Black Girls in White Spaces Can Speak Up & Live Their Truth” by Faye Z. Belgrave, PhD, Ivy Belgrave, Angela Patton; [foreword by Lauren Christine Mims, PhD.].

“Find the strength and confidence needed to speak up, be heard, and assert yourself in a world filled with microaggressions and discrimination. Have you experienced stress, frustration, anger, or sadness as a Black girl?”


Rolling Warrior: The Incredible, Sometimes Awkward, True Story of a Rebel Girl on Wheels Who Helped Spark a Revolution” by Judith Heumann with Kristen Joiner.

“One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her story of fighting to belong in school and society -a powerful role model for young adults with a passion for activism.”


We Are Not From Here” by Jenny Torres Sanchez

“Pulga has his dreams. Chico has his grief. Pequeña has her pride. But, none of them have illusions about the town they’ve grown up in and the dangers that surround them. When those threats become all too real, the trio knows they have no choice but to run: from their country, from their families, from their beloved home.”


I hope to see you exploring our library and these special displays as the month goes on. And a huge thank you to the Library Assistants who help create these display lists and displays!

Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Learn more at




# # #

Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian


by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

Let’s Talk About Fandoms

Let’s Talk About Fandoms

by Alessia Passarelli Library Assistant II

Everything I Need I Get from You: Tiffany, Kaitlyn: 9780374539184: Books

Fandoms may remind you of screaming fans at a concert or somebody cosplaying as their favorite fantasy character at a convention. Regardless of what comes to mind, fandoms have been around for many years because of how important they are to the entertainment industry, and they might represent more than you think. I have been part of various fandoms for as long as I can remember, from musical artists like Taylor Swift and One Direction to book franchises like “Harry Potter” and “Shadow and Bone”. Fandoms provide a unique support system, a dependable community of like-minded individuals, and possibly most importantly, they can offer an escape from reality. These three books from the Manhattan Public Library catalog illustrate an understanding of what it means to be in fandoms and how these unique communities can provide an essential support system.

Everything I Need I Get From You: How Fangirls Created The Internet As We Know It” by Kaitlyn Tiffany is my favorite nonfiction book because of how appreciated it makes me feel. Tiffany explains how fans from different fandoms and backgrounds create the slang and social dynamics that we all experience on the internet today. While friends in real life have their inside jokes and jargon with each other, fandoms do as well. From memes and references to even having their own anniversaries and traditions, each fandom creates a family with its own unique subculture. The internet creates a space for people to unapologetically come together to collectively adore something without shame. Fans can become long-term friends in these online spaces, whether they meet in real life or stay as friends virtually. Tiffany is a One Direction fan, so the novel’s examples of internet culture are mostly dedicated to that fandom. However, I think this is a valuable read if you want to have a greater understanding of the rise of the internet and the role it plays in fandom culture today.

Nerd: Adventures in Fandom from This Universe to the Multiverse” by Maya Phillips is a collection of nonfiction essays written as a love letter to the fandom community. Phillips touches on multiple fandoms and her experiences as a Black woman in these communities. Philips provides a refreshing outlook comparing how different backgrounds may interact differently with other fandoms. She grew up in New York and first explored the fandom world through 90s cartoons that she watched in her childhood. These experiences catapulted her into joining many fandoms throughout her life, making her a fandom expert. Phillips also discusses important topics surrounding racism, classism, and sexism, including the portrayal of Black people and women in the media. This is a must-read that can broaden your understanding of everything that goes on in fandoms behind the scenes and on the screens. Regardless of your background, community and relatability can be found in any fandom. Phillips encourages everyone to embrace their interests, lean into being a “nerd”, and be open to all of the possibilities that can stem from it.

Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell is a beloved coming-of-age Young Adult fiction novel following Cath who writes fanfiction about Simon Snow and how she adapts to her new life in college without her sister by her side. Cath and her twin sister, Wren, live and breathe Simon Snow because it helps them cope with their mom abandoning them. In college, Wren doesn’t want to be Cath’s roommate, leaving Cath to experience the trials and tribulations of college alone with her social anxiety. Cath acknowledges how dull the real world can be, and when it is, her fanfiction is her ray of light before life gets better again. Whether your reality feels dark for days or years, your online community can be the most stable and accessible asset in your life when you need it most. For Cath, this was especially true when her life changed so drastically, but her fictitious world stayed the same and she could still call it home.

Escapism allows us to temporarily forget our reality. We escape when we wind down at night to watch a TV show or read a book. When the real world becomes too much, we can rely on a make-believe world to get us through it. Being a part of a community centered on escapism with friends aligned with our interests enhances our well-being. I’ve met some of my closest real-life friends because of fandoms and other friendships were made stronger because of it. When your real-life support system cannot provide the space to be there for you when you need it, you can bet that at least one person in the thousands of your online community can. Pursue your interests wherever they lead you. You could make new friends and learn more about yourself, and Manhattan Public Library has the books and media to get you through your dark days.


Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Learn more at

by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

Black History Month

Black History Month

BLK ART: The Audacious Legacy of Black Artists and Models in Western Art: Ware, Zaria: 9780063272415: Books

It’s February! Beyond celebrating the wintery weather, super great for this Michigan girl, 2024’s Black History Month is being celebrated across the country in homes, schools, libraries, and museums. The theme of ”African Americans and the Arts” takes the forefront in our public spaces with The National Museum of African American History and Culture “highlighting the ‘art of resistance’ and the artists who used their crafts to uplift the race, speak truth to power and inspire a nation.” The Smithsonian is focusing on “the many impacts Black Americans have had on visual arts, music, cultural movements, and more.” Here at Manhattan Public Library, we will have several book displays throughout the library and have created multiple booklists located in our library catalog and  the Beanstack app. Below is a summary of those lists and some of the books that will be included.


Catalog booklists can be found on our catalog page and are changed monthly. These lists are created by library staff to reflect current trends, monthly themes, and events. To explore these lists fully, visit

All information about these books has been taken from our catalog.

Adult fiction: These books can be found in our fiction section located on the first floor of the library.

The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett:

“The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a

small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white.”

My Sister the Serial Killer: A Novel” by Oyinkan Braithwaite:

“Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends. Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic.”

Adult non-fiction: These books can be found in our nonfiction section located on the second floor of the library.

BLK Art: The Audacious Legacy of Black Artists and Models in Western Art” by Zaria Ware:

“A fun and fact-filled introduction to the dismissed Black art masters and models who shook up the world. Elegant. Refined. Exclusionary. Interrupted.”

By Her Own Design: A Novel of Ann Lowe, Fashion Designer to the Social Register” by Piper Huguley:

“A Black designer who has fought every step of the way, Ann knows this is only one struggle after a lifetime of them. She and her seamstresses will find the way to re-create the dresses.”

Beanstack booklists can be found on, you guessed it, the Beanstack App. These lists are also created by staff monthly and more closely reflect the happenings in the library. You will find lists for children, young adults, and adults covering a wide range of topics both fiction and nonfiction. All information for these books has been taken from our catalog.

Picture Books: These books can be found in the Children’s Library on the picture book shelves, on the first floor of the library.

The ABCs of Black History” by Rio Cortez; pictures by Lauren Semmer:

“B is for Beautiful, Brave, and Bright! Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy.”

Maya’s Song” by Renée Watson; illustrated by Bryan Collier:

“This unforgettable picture book introduces young readers to the life and work of Maya Angelou, whose words have uplifted and inspired generations of readers…Maya was the first Black person and first woman to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration, and her influence echoes through culture and history.”

Kindergarten-5th Grade: These books can be found in the Children’s Library in the children’s history neighborhood, on the first floor of the library.

Young Gifted and Black” by Jamia Wilson; illustrated by Andrea Pippins:

“Join us on a journey across borders, through time and even through space to meet 52 icons of color from the past and present in a celebration of achievement. Discover how their childhood dreams and experiences influenced their adult achievements.”

28 Days” by Charles R. Smith, Jr.; illustrated by Shane W. Evans

“The 28 days of Black History Month are commemorated with descriptions of the men, women and events that have been vital in defining our understanding of African-American history. The entries move chronologically from 1770 to the present, and encompass all walks of life.”

Young Adult: These books can be found in our Young Adult section located on the second floor of the library.

Forever Is Now” by Mariama J. Lockington:

“When sixteen-year-old Sadie, a Black bisexual recluse, develops agoraphobia the summer before her junior year, she relies on her best friend, family, and therapist to overcome her fears. Not feeling safe anywhere, Sadie retreats inside herself.”

Love Is a Revolution” by Renée Watson

“Harlem teenager Nala is looking forward to a summer of movies and ice cream until she falls in love with the very woke Tye and pretends to be a social activist. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.”

If you  need instructions on how to get Beanstack or you want to sign up for our current reading challenges: Cozy Up with a Good Book (Kinder-Adult) or 1000 Books Before Kindergarten (0-Kinder), visit us at I hope you find the time to visit our displays and check out our lists.

Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Learn more at


# # #

by Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian


by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

The Budget

The Budget

By Victoria Lafean, Library Assistant 2 Dear Debt: A Story About Breaking Up With Debt eBook : Lockert,  Melanie: Kindle Store

The Budget, those are two daunting words no one usually likes to hear. However, in my own life these words have recently reared their ugly head. Individuals usually are unable to plan for drastic life changes. Be that as it may, sometimes we have time to adjust and properly execute the changes needed, and sometimes we do not. Where do we start? Maybe, like me, you haven’t had the proper education or examples of good financial footing. Nonetheless, this change is fast approaching. I know my Budget needs to be modified.

In our Manhattan Public Library catalog, I found four sources to use in my budget journey: “The Money Answer Book” by Dave Ramsey, “You Need a Budget” by Jesse Mecham, “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin, and finally “Dear Debt, A story about breaking up with debt” by Melanie Lockert.

First thing that caught my eye in “The Money Answer Book,” is Ramsey’s statement, “Personal finance is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent head knowledge.” One behavior you can begin practicing is to be more money smart. Ramsey says to, “Say no to credit cards, make a budget, write it down, and give every dollar a name.” I did what Ramsey said. I wrote out our budget, money in and money out.

Ramsey and Lockert’s “Dear Debt” both speak about snowball budgeting. They state that this plan utilizes “small wins.” Budget the minimum payment for all your bills, then focus on your smallest debt first with your funds that are left over after all your minimums are paid. This will be the fastest payoff. The snowball budget is a great motivational tool to pay off your debts. Ramsey says, “You need some quick wins in order to stay pumped enough to completely get out of debt.” Lockert does state that with this method you will pay more interest over time, which is why she introduces the avalanche budget. This budget’s plan is to pay off the largest debt with the highest interest first. This method helps you save money because you’ll be paying less total interest and more toward the principal.

What kind of debt do you have? Is it student loans, big buys, medical, credit cards? Lockert gives us resources to find our debts, the amounts you owe, and your interest rates. Student loan information can be found at the National Student Loan Data System. If you have credit card, medical, mortgage, or automobile debt, the amount you owe can be found on your account statements. You can also contact the servicer. Figuring out your interest rates on your debts can be helpful in deciding which debt to pay first. Lockert gives this equation to figure out daily interest rate: “interest rate x principal balance / 365.” Lockert states, “Credit card debt should be priority.” Credit cards have an interest average of 15 percent. This definitely gives a lot of potential to incur a lot of interest. Student loans can be eligible for different types of repayment plans, and you can contact the servicer for these possible options. For medical debt, you can contact the provider to discuss payment plans, forgiveness options, or lower interest rates.

In “You Need a Budget,” Mecham says, “budgeting is designing the life you want.” He wants us to truly look at our expenses and see what is flexible. Mecham says, “Budgeting is a superpower for our life goals.” We need to make budgeting a positive part of our life. Robin states in “Your Money or Your Life,” “Ultimately you are the one who determines what money is worth to you. You ‘pay’ for money with your time. You choose how to spend it.”

A good financial footing isn’t only about paying off debt, it is also saving. Ramsey encourages us, “Without saving you aren’t really prepared for the future.” Have some healthy anger or fear involved to make saving important. Mecham encourages us to, “Think long, act now,” when it comes to saving.  I looked at my life. I have an elderly dog. I know that dog is going to need future care. Also, automobile tires will not last forever, have a fund set aside for that. If I look at myself, I might incur some medical debt that isn’t covered, so it is helpful to have funds set aside for that also. If it is possible, saving for home emergencies is also a good idea. To me this sounded like a lot to save for, also I didn’t know where the money was going to come from. I was encouraged that all this can happen in time. I will work on one thing at a time, so should you and we will not fret about it all at once. Ramsey states, “The bridge between success and failure is hope.”  The Manhattan Library has many resources to help you on your financial journey to better budgeting. They’ve helped me maybe they can help you.

Other financial budget books are available at the Manhattan Public Library such as: “Finance for the People” by Paco de Leon, “Rich AF” by Vivian Tu, “Pathfinders” by J.L. Collins, “Financial Feminist” by Tori Dunlap, and “The Great Money Reset” by Jill Schlesinger.


Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Learn more at

by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

Winter Reading Challenge 2024

Winter Reading Challenge 2024

By: Audrey Swartz, Readers Advisory Librarian

The cold weather has me wanting to curl up with a hot beverage and read a book, or ten. While I normally will do this without needing any reward, we at Manhattan Public Library do want to reward you for your winter reading! If you haven’t already, head on over to our reading challenges webpage,, and join Manhattan Public Library’s Winter Reading Challenge: Cozy Up with a Good Book. Record your reading time and complete some fun activities to earn badges.

  • What are the dates? The challenge runs January 1st through February 29th.
  • Is it free? Yes, it’s free and you get prizes for signing up, meeting the halfway goal, and completing the challenge.
  • Who can join? Adults, teens, and children kindergarten & up. Younger children can join the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge.
  • Did you say prizes? Yes! All participants will receive a small prize for signing up, a winter mug for meeting the halfway goal of 750 reading points, and a free book for completing the challenge by earning 1500 reading points.
  • How do I get points? Points can be earned by reading (each minute = 1 point) and completing activities in Beanstack, such as visiting the library or having a hot drink while you read. Log the time you spend reading or listening to books. Get extra points toward the goals with repeatable activity badges. You will get 5-20 points per activity.
  • Does it matter what I read? No! You can read anything, not just library books. Magazines, graphic novels, and audiobooks also count for your reading time.


Once you have registered, you are free to start reading and recording your minutes. Take some time out and explore the activities, another great way to earn points. Several of the activities are repeatable, like writing a book review, visiting the library, and having a pajama day! There are activities that encourage us to explore nature, our community, and library resources. Did you know that we create personalized reading lists? Or that we have monthly newsletters, based on subject, that recommend books?


Personalized reading lists (PRL) are a wonderful way to access new books without having to do the legwork, and a great way to earn up to 40 points. These librarian-created lists offer the opportunity to explore new genres, authors, and even new formats. We currently have two ways to fill out your personalized reading list request: you can complete one online or in person. To locate the online form, you will need to first go to our website at Click on “Recommendations,” which is located directly under the catalog search box. This will take you to our “Books & More” page. Click on the “Personalized Reading List” option,, and begin to fill out your form. If you prefer a paper option, you’ll find physical forms located near each service desk. When you complete a physical form, write as neatly as possible and make sure to return it to the Reference Desk, located on the second floor.


Our monthly email booklists are another easy way to get reading recommendations based on topic. The sign up link is located on the same page as PRLs, you will just have to scroll down a little further to selected the “E-mail Book Lists” option,, and fill out the sign up form. There are over 20 topics to choose from including Nature & Science, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and Current Events. There is no paper option for this, but we can assist you in signing up at the second-floor Reference Desk.


Still don’t know what to read? Come into the library and check out a book from one of our many displays, and also earn points for visiting the library. There will be one display in each department dedicated to winter reading, along with displays located throughout the library. We will also have displays featuring the first book in a series, what to learn in the new year, and the incomparable Danielle Steel. So grab a warm blanket, a hot beverage, and join us this winter in cozying up with a good book!


Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Manhattan Public Library serves more than 75,000 people in the Riley County area through curated book and other media collections, knowledgeable staff, relevant programming for all ages, and meeting space. Learn more at

by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

Year In Review 2023

Year In Review 2023

By: Eric Norris, Manhattan Public Library Director

It is amazing how fast the year goes and supports the old cliché that time flies when you’re having fun!  2023 was a big year for the Manhattan Public Library—we met goals, exceeded expectations, and started making plans for the year ahead.  As we turn the last page of this year, let’s take a quick look back at just a few highlights:

  • New 2nd Floor Layout – We reconfigured the 2nd floor to add more public access computers and improve the reference area to assist patrons.
  • Friends Community Room – With the change above, we were able to able to create more space for the community to meet, and the space includes three vending machines.
  • Record-Breaking Summer Reading – Our “All Together Now” 2023 Summer Reading Program had 3,480 participants who read 2,355,338 minutes, exceeding 2 million minutes for the first time!
  • Growing Book Sales – Our Annual Book Sale raised over $10,000 to support library initiatives, thanks to strong community support. Also, book sales from Rosie’s Corner Used Book Store also help our library serve the community. The 2024 Book Sale will be held February 23-25, helping you get a jump start on your beach reading list! This sale will be held at the library.
  • Library Merchandise – We brought back popular library tees and totes this year. Adult and youth sizes are available while supplies last.
  • Robust Programming – Thanks to support from the Manhattan Library Association, who were recognized in 2022 as Kansas’s premier library friends group, we offered new programs like a Teen Zone art contest and gaming tournaments, Community Craft Night, Book Clubs, Family Dinner Book Club, AI conference partnership with K-State, new themed storytimes, and many more.
  • Sharing the Warmth – Through December 30, contribute to the Community Mitten Tree by donating new mittens, warm hats, and scarves. Your gift could make all the difference for someone this season.

And did you know, a homeowner with a $200K property in Manhattan pays less than $10 per month in taxes for access to the library’s vast wealth of resources, from over 1 million resource items to engaging programs and events for all ages and interests, all free of charge! From skills training to language learning to business development, the library empowers individuals and strengthens our community at its very core.

Important Dates to Remember:

  • Closed December 24 and 25
  • Closed December 31 and January 1
  • 2024 Book Sale: February 23-25


Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Manhattan Public Library serves more than 75,000 people in the Riley County area through curated book and other media collections, knowledgeable staff, relevant programming for all ages, and meeting space. Learn more at

Happy holidays, and we look forward to seeing you in 2024!


Eric Norris, Manhattan Public Library Director

by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

Chilling Reads for Winter

Chilling Reads for Winter

By: Savannah Winkler, Public Services Supervisor

The Winter People: McMahon, Jennifer: 9781101973752: Books

Winter is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s the season for great food, spending time in good company and staying cozy indoors. In my opinion, winter is also an eerie time of year. The nights are long and the world feels a little quieter than normal. It’s no surprise that, historically, winter has been a time for telling ghost stories or other scary tales. While some may prefer putting “Home Alone” on screen, I’ve always enjoyed a good scary novel or page-turning thriller. If you’re like me, you may be looking for your next chilling read for this winter season. Here are some winter thrillers and horror titles that you can enjoy next to a warm fire or with a cup of hot chocolate.

The Winter People” by Jennifer McMahon is a suspenseful novel about the strange town of Westhall, Vermont. In 1908, Sara Harrison Shea is found murdered behind her farmhouse following the tragic loss of her young daughter. The story then moves to present day, where nineteen-year-old Ruthie is living in the farmhouse with her family. Ruthie’s mother is agoraphobic, and as a result Ruthie and her sister have had a sheltered upbringing. But when her mother disappears, Ruthie sets off on a journey to find her. She then discovers Sara Harrison Shea’s old journal and the terrifying parallels between Sara’s death and her mother’s disappearance. Set in the harsh Vermont winter, this atmospheric thriller will make you happy to be home and under the covers.

If you enjoy some horror but nothing too scary, you may prefer the children’s book “Dead Voices” by Katherine Arden. Ollie, Coco and Brian are close friends. When Ollie’s dad wins a contest, the trio and their parents set off on a wintery getaway at a ski lodge. But their vacation quickly goes awry. There’s creepy taxidermy throughout the lodge and a blizzard cuts off all power. The three friends start having the same dream of a frozen girl looking for her lost bones. Then Mr. Voland, a paranormal investigator, arrives and offers to help the children make sense of these hauntings. The children aren’t sure who to trust: Mr. Voland or the voices of the dead? “Dead Voices” is the second book in Arden’s “Small Spaces” series. I recommend all four books for lightly spooky reading.

You won’t find any ghosts in “No Exit” by Taylor Adams, but you will meet some terrifying people. Darby Thomas is just trying to get home to see her mother who is dying of cancer. When a snowstorm closes the roads, Darby is forced to spend the evening at a Colorado rest stop. She meets other stranded travelers: cousins Ed and Sandi, Ashley and the off-putting Lars. Darby figures she’s in for a long and boring night with no cell service. Then she steps outside and makes a horrific discovery in another traveler’s car: a scared girl trapped in a dog cage. Surrounded by strangers and not knowing who to trust, Darby must find a way to save the young girl and escape. Her night quickly turns into a fight for survival.

If you are looking for more books to occupy you through the long winter season, the Manhattan Public Library has even more reading suggestions to offer. Stop by the library and check out some of the titles included in our book displays throughout the building. Our December book displays will feature topics such as “Cold Cases,” “If You Like Hallmark Movies” and “Holiday Party Cooking.” Library staff are also available to help you find your next great read.

Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Manhattan Public Library serves more than 75,000 people in the Riley County area through curated book and other media collections, knowledgeable staff, relevant programming for all ages, and meeting space. Learn more at



by Cassie Wefald Cassie Wefald No Comments

Home for the Holidays: New Recipes for Old Traditions

Home for the Holidays: New Recipes for Old Traditions

By: Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian

Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Li –  Kitchen Arts & Letters

From one feast to another, winter months are filled with reasons to cook, join with family and friends, and eat our hearts out. In my family, feasting also comes with the tribulations of food allergies and aversions. For years, I’ve struggled to find things that will satisfy everyone. You won’t find a casserole on our feast table for several reasons, most because we are picky creatures with even pickier tiny humans to feed. I am also allergic to mushrooms and according to the folks I feed, green bean casserole just isn’t the same when made with cream of chicken soup. I often resort to making copper pennies but am always on the search for a great recipe to bring green beans back to the table.


This year I’ve been consulting Manhattan Public Library’s vast cookbook collection and have found several recipes that sound delicious. To keep it simple, I choose to make the “long-cooked green beans with oregano” featured in the “Fine cooking Thanksgiving cookbook: recipes for turkey and all the trimmings.” This recipe takes about an hour to prep and fully cook. Don’t fret, these were great at room temperature and were still a hit the next day.


My only true complaint, has nothing to do with the recipe and more the amount of cooking in the kitchen at my house. My mother and I always split the cooking jobs. She handles the turkey while I handle the sides and pies. Since these need to be tended to throughout their cooking process, it made the kitchen a bit crazy for the last hour before meal time. If your house is a one-cook kitchen, one would need to make sure their time management game is strong or this would be a great dish to bring to a meal. I recommend it and will be making these again for my picky veggie kiddos.


In my house, rolls are definitely the most loved and eaten side dish. My oldest, on feast day, ate 16 rolls. She is a carb machine. Whatever recipe I was going to try this year, I needed to make a lot of them and make them ahead of time. I eventually picked the “honey-oat pan rolls” in the “Taste of Home 201 recipes you’ll make forever: classic recipes for today’s home cooks.” This recipe was incredibly easy to double and only took a few hours of my pre-feast day meal prep. Having never made rolls from scratch, I was nervous, but this recipe was easy to follow and a huge hit. I will absolutely be making it again and probably tripling it this next time if my children continue down their carb loving paths. Sides have long been my favorite part of feast day, and I am aware most people come for the pie.


In my quest to find a pumpkin pie I don’t hate, and that my pie loving family will still enjoy, I turned to Kate McDermott and her cookbook “Art of the pie: a practical guide to homemade crusts, fillings, and life.” Her pumpkin pie reflects the classic recipe you can find on any can of pie filling with the exception of switching out the evaporated milk for lite coconut milk. She concedes that you can use evaporated milk if you like, as I was trying something new, I went with the coconut milk. While this recipe didn’t change my mind on pumpkin pie, it was a major success with the family. The coconut milk added to the savory nature of the pie, which my mother appreciated, and did not take away from the apparent deliciousness. My youngest daughter is a pumpkin pie fanatic and devoured an entire quarter of pie by herself. As this creation did not add any more work to my pie-making time and is a new family favorite, I will continue to make it for our feasts and will concede I am not meant to like pumpkin pie. All the recipes I tried on my family this year were a hit and did not disappoint. I hope you had a wonderful time feasting and enjoying your time with your families, given or found.


Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Manhattan Public Library serves more than 75,000 people in the Riley County area through curated book and other media collections, knowledgeable staff, relevant programming for all ages, and meeting space. Learn more at

Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian