Author Archive

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The Librarian who Came in From the Cold

I was once accused of working covertly for the CIA. This would have been quite funny if I hadn’t been staring down the barrel of an AK-47 at the time.  It was a colossal case of being in the wrong place (Mozambique) at the the wrong time (in the middle of a

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Going to the Dogs This Summer

When local teacher, Mary Jo Staab, volunteered to come to the library each week this summer with her therapy dog, we jumped at the chance to make it happen. Callie is a beautiful black labrador with a sweet, friendly disposition.  She’s also a highly trained therapy dog who works in the local

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“Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya!”

One of our student workers just returned from a vacation to Jamaica. While rearranging the staff schedule to cover her absence, I was a more than a tiny bit jealous of her — sun, sand, palms swaying in the breeze.  I could just picture her returning with a gorgeous tan, a Caribbean

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The Supreme Sacrifice

Memorial Day rolls around again. Many of us will make a trek to a cemetery to place flowers on the headstones of relatives and friends long departed. Somehow it all seems remote and distant — those long gone saints and heroes. But the past came back with haunting echoes recently as I

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Librarians as Control-F Keys

I remember the days when people came to the front desk asking us to look up the capitol city of Azerbaijan or the lines of a Kipling poem. And we actually looked those things up in BOOKS!  What role is left for library staff to play in an era where this kind

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The Good News from Africa

Africa, the land where I spent the first 18 years of my life, conjures modern images of suffering, conflict, and poverty.  Darfur, disease, genocide, ruthless dictators, blood diamonds, land mines, famines — we’ve all seen the headlines. And yet, Africa continues to show it’s sunnier face in some of the new books written by sons,

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Frogs, Locusts, and Flies

As the Jewish festival of Passover approaches, the plagues visited on Egypt – remembered either from our Sunday School days or from this film classic  – are recalled with some familiarity. During my second summer as a McPherson resident (1980), the city was inundated with a plague of miller moths.  Hundreds of

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Westward Ho!

Library carts served as our Conestoga wagons last month as we moved the entire fiction collection — all 22,449 books — to different shelves in the fiction area. The hardy pioneers on our staff loaded up carts and made many treks back and forth to get all the books re-shelved. We started at the

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Love at First Sight

It was love at first sight.  The first time I picked up these books, I was smitten.  I had to read ALL of them!  Fortunately, the tiny library in the small corner of Africa where I lived had plenty on the shelves.  And so began my love affair with books and libraries. Around

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It’s Been a Very Good Five Years!

 Where were you on February 13th, 2009?  Were you one of the hundreds of people who came to the grand re-opening of the library on that day? It’s five years later and we’re celebrating the still-lovely and spacious surroundings – the beautiful stained glass, the refurbished Sandzen behind the service desk, the doubled space for the collection, the comfortable basement