Sunday, August 21, 2005

Travels in North Central Kansas

Fred Atchison, director of the NCKLS and Manhattan Public Library invited me to visit libraries in seven towns in the North Central Kansas Library System: Frankfort, Blue Rapids, Waterville, Greenleaf, Clay Center, Wakefield and Junction City.

I started my travels on August 11 from Manhattan with Fred and Richard Miller, NCKLS Technology Consultant. Our first stop was in Frankfort where I met Lorrie Stenson, her staff and a number of her board members. After a tour of the library, we had coffee and cookies and talked about the neat things being done in the library and the challenges that they faced.

As part of the summer library program, Frankfort staff held a castle making contest. One of the winners built this stunning castle out of beans!


Next stop was Blue Rapids, and the oldest library in continuous use in Kansas! Trustee Gwen Turner greeted us and showed us around the lovely little library.

We visited Waterville Public Library and chatted with Heather Drieth. This library was formerly a bank; it was founded by the town’s Shakespeare Club and many of the library’s board members are still members of the group.

This lovely old book case holds many of the earliest documents of the Waterville library and the Waterville Shakespeare Club.



In the afternoon, we visited the little town of Greenleaf and the little volunteer library which is managed by Omar Pickett.


The Clay Center Library is directed by Kay Ostoff and is housed in a century old Carnegie library. Carnegie libraries have a distinct architecture with a beauty and grandeur rarely seen in more modern libraries. However, they were built for the early 20th century library and usually need much remodeling in order to adapt to today's inclusive society and new technology.

Here, Fred and I are behind the circulation desk with Kay, trustee Kathy Smith, and the Mayor of Clay Center.


Wakefield was probably one of the most unique libraries I have ever seen. It was built as a WPA project and is constructed of Kansas limestone. Director Rita Braden gave us a tour of the lovely little library which is located strategically near the recreational center of Wakefield.

Iasked Rita to strike a relaxed pose in the reading area of the library. She says she doesn't get to sit like this very often!!


Our final visit for the day was to the Dorothy Bramlage Public Library in Junction City. So much is going on at this library! Director Susan Moyer told us about the many outreach programs including an active program for Junction City youth, and a literacy program just being launched.

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