The library gives you bang for your buck

Return on investment. You may hear those three words when you’re talking about the stock market or real estate investments, but how often do you hear them when you’re talking about the library? Probably not as often as you should, if ever.

In these tough economic times, everyone is always wondering if they are getting the best bang for their buck. Am I getting the most with my money? I can tell you that the library is one place where you are getting your money’s worth.

Recent studies have shown that for every one dollar that goes to the library, you get five dollars back on your return. That’s pretty good, huh? I’d say that the library is a pretty darn good investment.
Where else can you borrow books, DVDs and magazines for free? Where else can you use a computer and surf the internet for free? Where else can you test drive the latest technologies of an e-reader or tablet like the Nook or Kindle Fire for free?

And don’t forget about all the programs and events we offer like after school club, summer reading, Fall Fiesta and most recently, Free Comic Book Day and ComicCon.

It’s easy to forget the library is here until you need it. The library is a community resource and an investment. The more you put into it, the more you can get out of it.

Liberal has been great in supporting the library and understands it’s a valuable commodity. Still, it never hurts to give a reminder of its value.

For more information on how much you’re getting back on your library dollar, check out

What is a library? By definition, “it’s a place in which literary, musical, artistic, or reference materials (as books, manuscripts, recordings, or films) are kept for use but not for sale.”

What if you asked somebody on the street that question? The answer would probably be a place where you can read and check out books for free. Well, that was it back then. Nowadays, it’s probably more like use computers and the internet and check out DVDs.

But what I think people don’t realize is that we’re much more than that. The library is a place of information and as librarians we’re here to help them get that information.
It seems that when people need help they turn to us. And it’s where people are directed to go when they need help.

And as one librarian said to me, “Well, duh! That’s what we’re here for.”
And I get it. We are here to help people.

It’s about people not knowing where else to go. It’s about people looking for help. It’s about people looking for answers. And that’s what we’re here to do. The library will do the best it can to provide answers.

A lot of people might be under the impression that the patrons looking for help are just lazy. They don’t want to do the work. They just want someone to do it for them.

There may be some that do, but most of them just want a helping hand. They may seem that they want you to do it all for them and they may not want to because they’re scared, but if you nudge them you’ll find that they actually want to learn how to use the resources the library has to offer.

When you first get them started, it seems like they’re completely lost and they want you to do it for them. But then you realize that they simply need to gain confidence. They may look at you with a blank stare at first, but once you get them rolling, they realize they can do it themselves and they’re on their way.
Along the way, you’ll find that the patrons are patient and appreciative. They’ll start telling you about themselves and wanting to share their life with you. In the end, you’ll have they really don’t take you for granted. I think they really understand that the library is a place where they can come in and get help.

April showers

The old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” The implication is that April is a dreary and miserable month. I say, “Ha!” In fact, I say, “Double Ha!” There is hardly anything dreary and miserable at the Liberal Memorial Library. It’s all fun and exciting and bright this month!

We’ve got programming galore. More programming than you can shake a stick at. So much programming, it’s hard to contain it all in one month. Good thing there’s 12 months in a year. But this month is just busting out.

Holy cow! We’ve got a book sale, a 60-year celebration, National Library week, trivia night and a writing workshop.

What??? You want more??? I say, “Triple ha!!!!!” We’ve got more! We’ve got all our monthly programming like Monday Night movie, Library and Lunch, after-school activities, storytimes and lapsits and a genealogy club.

So where do I start??

The Friends of the Library will be holding a book sale from Tuesday, April 14 through Thursday, April 16 in the Cooper Clark room. Not only will there be books for sale, but DVDs, too!!!

But did you know that you can get a jump on everyone else? How is that you may ask. Let me fill you in on a little secret. If you become a Friend of the Liberal Memorial Library, you can attend an opening reception on Monday, April 13 starting at 6 p.m. and get the first shot at all those wonderful books and DVDs before anyone else.

Funds from the Book Sale go to the Friends to help support the library programs including Baby’s Bookshelf, Summer Reading Program, etc.

And during the book sale, we’ll be celebrating National Library Week. This year’s theme is unlimited possibilities. And it’s a very apt theme.

Today’s libraries are more than just books. Increasingly, they are places of creativity where people can meet to share a hobby, edit a video, or use software to record their own music. Libraries offer access to the tools and technology essential to the economic and cultural lives of their communities.

What have you created with the help of your local library?  Did you research or write your book, learn how to make a hand-knitted scarf or culinary creation? Did the library help you find a new job or get your small business off the ground?

The possibilities really are unlimited.

And during the week, we’ll be celebrating by giving away t-shirts and other prizes to our patrons because the library couldn’t exist without the support of our patrons and the community.

Also, the Library will be celebrating a milestone on Tuesday, April 14. On that date in 1955, the book cover entrance was completed. It’s been 60 years.

This month will also feature a Trivia Night on Tuesday, April 21 and a Writing Workshop on Thursday, April 30. Both programs are at 6:30 p.m.

Here’s our schedule of our monthly events:

  • Monday, April 6 at 6 p.m. – Monday Night Movie: “His Girl Friday” starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.
  • Tuesday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. – Adult crafts: Making coasters with ceramic tiles.
  • Tuesday, April 14 at noon. – Lunch and Library:  “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai
  • Thursday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. – Book Chat in under and Hour
  • Monday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. – Recipe Swap: Ballparks foods.

New Non Fiction: Dog Travels, Families and Sandwiches

The Library has new non-fiction books and they cover a wide spectrum. There’s one which deals with a man and his dog, trekking across the United States and encountering dog lovers along the way. There’s another one that takes a look at the history of two families, one black, one white, and how it traces back to the same slave plantation. And finally, if you enjoy those delicious Vietnamese sandwiches called Banh Mi and wanted to make them yourself, there’s a cookbook that delivers over 50 recipes. Check these books out!

Travels with Casey
By Benoit Denizet-Lewis

A moody Labrador and his insecure human take a funny, touching cross-country RV trip into the heart of America’s relationship with dogs.

“I don’t think my dog likes me very much,” New York Times Magazine writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis confesses at the beginning of his journey with his nine-year-old Labrador-mix, Casey. Over the next four months, thirty-two states, and 13,000 miles in a rented motor home, Denizet-Lewis and his canine companion attempt to pay tribute to the most powerful interspecies bond there is, in the country with the highest rate of dog ownership in the world.

On the way, Denizet-Lewis—known for his deeply reported dispatches from far corners of American life—meets an irresistible cast of dogs and dog-obsessed humans. Denizet-Lewis and Casey hang out with wolf-dogs in Appalachia, search with a dedicated rescuer of stray dogs in Missouri, spend a full day at a kooky dog park in Manhattan, get pulled over by a K9 cop in Missouri, and visit “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan in California. And then there are the pet psychics, dog-wielding hitchhikers, and two nosy women who took their neighbor to court for allegedly failing to pick up her dog’s poop.

Travels with Casey is a delightfully idiosyncratic blend of memoir and travelogue coupled with an exploration of a dog-loving America. What does our relationship to our dogs tell us about ourselves and our values? Denizet-Lewis explores those questions—and his own canine-related curiosities and insecurities—during his unforgettable road trip through our dog-loving nation.

Tomlinson Hill: The Remarkable Story of Two Families who Share the Tomlinson Name – One White, One Black
by Chris Tomlinson

“Foreign correspondent Chris Tomlinson returns to Texas to discover the truth about his family’s slave-owning history. Tomlinson Hill tells the story of two families, one black and one white, who trace their ancestry to the same Central Texas slave plantation. Tomlinson discovers that his counterpart in the African American family is LaDainian Tomlinson, one of the greatest running backs in the history of the National Football League. LaDainian’s father was the last Tomlinson living on the Hill when he died in 2007. LaDainian’s earliest memories are from the idyllic community built by former slaves on the former plantation grounds. Chris learns that many of the stories surrounding the Civil War and the South that he learned as a child are simply untrue. He finds family letters that detail the mix of brutality and meager kindness that his relatives used to maintain order. He then compares and contrasts what the two families experienced at Emancipation, during Reconstruction, through the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the Civil Rights era, and ending the day LaDainian’s father died. Tomlinson Hill is more than a history of two families; it tells the story of America and how slavery still shapes our society. And it ends with the fulfillment of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream that one day the sons of slaves and the sons of slaveholders would meet in brotherhood”

The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches
by Andrea Quynhgiao Nguyen

A cookbook devoted to the beloved Vietnamese sandwich, with 50 recipes ranging from classic fillings to innovative modern combinations. The Banh Mi Handbook opens a new realm of flavor for cooks who are tired of the same old sandwiches. Who can resist the addictive combination of crisp baguette, succulent fillings (such as grilled pork, roast chicken, or “the special,” which is loaded with garlicky pork liver pate and thin slices of Vietnamese cold-cuts) and toppings (like tangy daikon and carrot pickles, thin chile slices, refreshing cucumber strips, and pungent cilantro sprigs)? Banh mi are the epitome of delicious street food, and their popularity has skyrocketed in the US in recent years. Respected food writer Andrea Nguyen’s simple recipes for proteins, condiments, pickles, and more are a great introduction for those looking to venture into Vietnamese cuisine but who are intimidated by complicated recipes.

Freading is Fundamental

If you’re interested in e-books, then the Liberal Memorial Library has what you’re looking for. All you have to do is go to our website at, look on the left hand side, click on the “Downloadable Audiobook, EBook and Magazine Help” link and you’ll be on your way.

There are a few sites that you can use to download books like 3M and Enki, but I’m going to talk about Freading because it works a little differently way than the other library eBook services. It is more of a rental/subscription model, but it’s free. You don’t have to buy anything. It works on a token system.

Each patron using the service is allotted five tokens per week. The State Library pays Freading based on how many tokens are used (we don’t pay for the tokens you do not use.) Freading then pays the publishers based on how many times each of their books were borrowed by patrons of all libraries using Freading.

Now here’s the real neat thing — all books on Freading are always available. There are no holds. If there’s a book that you want to read, provided that you have enough tokens, you can download it immediately.

When logged in, the number of tokens you have used is shown in the upper right side on the Freading website. Unused tokens roll over for four weeks (based on when you first logged in to Freading), then your account is reset to zero, and a new five tokens are issued.

Books “cost” different numbers of tokens (four, two, or one), usually based on the age of the book.   This is always shown on the cover of the book in the upper left corner. Each book is on loan for 14 days.

You may “spend” your tokens however you wish.  You could get as many as five books with your five tokens each week if you wish to read books that are no longer new.  And if you run out of time while reading a book, most renewals are free or cost one token.

Probably, the biggest drawback with this site is that the selection will be limited. While you may not find many of the major publishers and authors on this site, there should be something from smaller publishers and lesser authors that may pique your interest. The bottom line is that Freading gives you another alternative to eBooks.

For more information on Freading and how to get started, go to

Here are some books currently on Freading:

Charlie Brown and Friends by Charles M. Schulz
First published in 1950, the classic Peanuts strip now appears in more than 2,200 newspapers in 75 countries in 25 languages. Phrases such as “security blanket” and “good grief,” which originated in the Peanuts world, are now part of the global vernacular, and images of Charles Schulz’s classic characters—Charlie Brown kicking the football, Lucy leaning over Schroeder’s piano—are now universally recognized.

Brody by Larry Matysik
Written by his best friend and widow, this compelling biography of international wrestling superstar Bruiser Brody provides an unparalleled look at his life and death. At six-foot-five and a muscular 320 pounds, Brody was a giant in the ring who evoked fear in his opponents and respect from the wrestling community. In the geographical segregated wrestling world of the 1970s and 1980s, where each area had its own stars, Brodys intensity made him one of the few recognized as celebrities across the country. Featuring candid discussions about the nature of wrestling during Brodys heyday as well as a frank description of his horrific murder and its aftermath, this revealing account illustrates why Brody continues to be one of the most beloved figures in wrestling.

Safe At Home by Willie May Aikens
An intimate portrait of a tortured player, this memoir culls interviews, letters, and the personal account of former Kansas City Royal Willie Mays Aikens. Touted from a young age as the next Reggie Jackson, Aikens’ promising career quickly turned disastrous when he fell into drug abuse and was ultimately sentenced to the longest prison time ever given to a professional athlete. Not only an exploration of baseball and culture in the 1980s, this book also delves into the United States justice and penal systems.


Adult Summer Reading is still going on through the end of July with programs:

E-reader/Tablet workshop – Tuesday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Jump into the electronic age and find out how to use your tablet/e-reader as your own personal library. Learn how to find and download, audiobooks, e-books and e-magazines.

Sustainable Agriculture – Tuesday, July 22 @ 6:30 p.m.
Interested in finding out what is “sustainable agriculture?” This program will give you some insight on the integration of farming, animals, ecology and the environment as well as their relationships with one another.

Writing Workshop – Thursday, July 24 @ 6:30 p.m.
Have you ever wanted to write the great American novel, but didn’t know where to start? This will be the program that will get you going. We’ll have local authors come down and share their tales of how they got started on their novels and publications. They’ll show what techniques they used and how they got their inspirations for their ideas.


And don’t forget our monthly programming:

Book Chat – Thursday, July 18 @ 6:30 p.m.

Recipe Swap – Monday, July 28 @ 6:30 p.m.

There’s Plenty of Summer Reading Left

We may be heading into the home stretch of the summer reading program, but don’t worry. There are still plenty of activities ahead.

It’s true. We only have a week left on the Children’s and the Teen/Young Adult Summer Reading Program, but don’t worry. We’re going to end with a bang.

Rainbow Looming – Tuesday, July 1 @ 4 p.m.
Come make pretty stuff with your Rainbow Looms. You can give it your friends, your new teacher next year or keep it for yourself! We’ll figure out how to make new stuff and learn how, if you don’t already know. Bring your loom if you have one! We’ll have the bands and clips.

Movie – Thursday, July 3 @ 2 p.m.
A lowly Lego figure (voiced by Chris Pratt) joins a group intent on battling an evil force after a case of mistaken identity in this computer-generated comedy from the filmmakers behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and co-director Chris McKay (Robot Chicken). Will Arnett co-stars as the voice of Batman, who along with Superman, make appearances in the Warner Bros. picture. Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, and Alison Brie head up the rest of the voice cast.

Lava Lamps – Tuesday, July 1 @ 4 p.m.
Ever wonder how those groovy lava lamps work? We’ll show you how. And nope, we don’t have to find a volcano. You’ll be surprised how it simple and easy it is to make your very own lava lamp.

Firefighters: More than fighting fires – Tuesday, July 3 @ 4 p.m.
We all know that firefighters fights fire, but there are plenty of dangers besides battling blazing infernos. You’ll hear from firefighters on what other dangerous situations that they have to deal with.

And don’t forget to hand in your reading logs by Saturday, July 5!

While those summer reading programs are coming to an end, the adults still have an entire month left and that means a program-packed July.

Sherlock Holmes: It’s Elementary – Thursday, July 10 @ 6:30 p.m.
Learn everything you need to know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective – Sherlock Homes. We’ll discuss the books, movies, television and his place in popular culture. Also did he really say, “Elementary, my Dear Watson?” We’ll find out!

E-reader/Tablet workshop – Tuesday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Jump into the electronic age and find out how to use your tablet/e-reader as your own personal library. Learn how to find and download, audiobooks, e-books and e-magazines.

Sustainable Agriculture – Tuesday, July 22 @ 6:30 p.m.
Interested in finding out what is “sustainable agriculture?” This program will give you some insight on the integration of farming, animals, ecology and the environment as well as their relationships with one another.

Writing Workshop – Thursday, July 24 @ 6:30 p.m.
Have you ever wanted to write the great American novel, but didn’t know where to start? This will be the program that will get you going. We’ll have local authors come down and share their tales of how they got started on their novels and publications. They’ll show what techniques they used and how they got their inspirations for their ideas.

Also, don’t forget to join us for Recipe Swap on Monday, June 30 at 6:30 p.m. Hope you can make it!

The Future, the Past, Slaves, and Dorks are at the Library

The Liberal Memorial Library is constantly adding new material all the time. Here are some of the new items that we’ve acquired recently.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Have you seen the blockbuster “X-Men: Days of Future Past?” Did you wonder where they came up with the plot? Wonder no more as you can read the original story from the graphic novel – what else? – X-Men: Days of Future Past. The graphic novel is a compilation of X-Men issues 138-143 and Annual 4.

Relive the legendary first journey into the dystopian future of 2013 – where Sentinels stalk the Earth, and the X-Men are humanity’s only hope…until they die! Also featuring the first appearance of Alpha Flight, the return of the Wendigo, the history of the X-Men from Cyclops himself…and a demon for Christmas!?

The Days of Future Past arc is covered in issues 141 and 142. Take a read of the story, compare that to the movie and you’ll see immediate differences right away. It’s a great read and time travel is always incredibly thought-provoking. You’ll also get to enjoy the superb artwork of John Byrne and the embellishments of Terry Austin as well as the story telling abilities of Chris Claremont.

Dork Diaries 7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star
Everyone’s been rooting for Nikki Maxwell and her crush, Brandon—and fans will finally learn if they had their first kiss in this seventh book of the New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!

Nikki’s juggling a lot this month. A reality TV crew is following Nikki and her friends as they record their hit song together, plus there are voice lessons, dance practice, and little sister Brianna’s latest wacky hijinks. Nikki’s sure she can handle everything, but will all the excitement cause new problems for Nikki and Brandon, now that cameras are everywhere Nikki goes?

We also have Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid in Spanish.

12 Years a Slave (DVD)
Based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.

So come down to the Library and check out these and other new items!