Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Yesterday afternoon my family and I had the opportunity to tour the new wastewater treatment plant here in Parsons. Now how does this tie in to library service? First, because I was taking two young children along I wanted a book to take home and read to the kids before we went on our field trip. I discovered that the library had one book, Down the Drain by Thompson Yardley. I mentioned to our children's librarian that we needed to add a few more items to our children's room about sewers and wastewater. Next, I checked for items in the adult area. There are quite a few items on plumbing and on garbage, but next to nothing on sewers and wastewater except for Alice Outwater's book Water: A Natural History. Then I checked the internet and found some good sites on the history of sewers, a report card on infrastructure (bridges, water and wastewater plants, schools) for Kansas, and the EPA site on water security. The children's book was my best bet so I took it home and read it to the kids. When we went to the plant later that afternoon my oldest had lots of good questions for the employees including, "What was the weirdest thing you ever found in the trap?" (answer: bowling balls), "What are the sewers like? Are they scary?" and "What happens to the overflow?" (answer: they kept the old tanks to handle overflow). We were given an excellent tour by Derek Clevenger, Director of Utilities and learned alot about the water we use every day.
Yes, parts of the tour were very smelly, but the opportunity to find out where our water goes once it leaves the house and how clean it looks flowing back into Labette Creek were invaluable.
For those of you wanting to know a bit more about your garbage and where it goes
you might want to check out Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte. For the kids two excellent picture books are Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and I Stink! by Kate McMullan. I am checking out the book on water by Alice Outwater, so you will have to wait on that one!

Friday, November 18, 2005

My Del.icio.us Sidebar

The list on the sidebar under the title of "My Del.icio.us" is something new I added yesterday and am still playing with. This is a list of websites that we have used recently to answer our patron's questions. You can click on any of the sites listed and look at the website that we used. If you want to see our complete list then just click on the title "My Del.icio.us" at the top. You can also go to this website for more information and create your own personal set of links that you like or use quite often. I would love to see or hear about how you have used del.icio.us so please leave a comment or send me an email or IM.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Online Medicare Registration Nightmare

Just this week I have helped two patrons try to find some information about the new Medicare prescription drug program. When I read this post I was shaking my head in agreement. It was hard work to locate exactly what these two people needed, but finally I found the websites that they had written down and the insurance rate information. One of the problems I came up against was that I was working with people who had not used the internet and did not know what an internet address even looked like. They each came in with one word written down on a piece of paper which they thought would lead them directly to the right place.
The local Social Security office has been helpful in providing us with handouts and the name of a contact person for those people with questions. One difficulty though is that the nearest Social Security Office is located 30 miles away. I am hoping that most people can get answers over the phone.
Here are a couple of other internet sites provided by the Kansas State Library that might be helpful if you are struggling with this new program


Feel free to contact us if you need access to a computer or instruction in using the internet.

Update: Here is another internet site to look at if you have questions:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Dreaming about Library Catalogs

I was just doing some library related reading and found an article about library card catalogs at SearchEngineWatch. I would love to have some of the options mentioned as part of our card catalog. At the least, I would love to have our card catalog available to you on the internet. In order to do this we would have to purchase an additional server and some new software, but at the same time I have heard rumblings from the Kansas State Library (in Topeka, not Manhattan) that they are looking into the option for a statewide real time card catalog. It would be even better to be a part of it. A real time catalog would not only allow you to search one place and find out if Parsons Public Library owns an item, but it would also tell you if the item was on the shelf. I will be monitoring this and keep thinking about how to make our card catalog more accessible in the next few months.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Movies at the Library

On Friday, October 28th we had a very successful movie night at the library with many of our adult patrons asking for more movies and programs for them. How about a movie followed by a discussion time? If we continue to show movies then our focus will probably be on older films and documentaries. We would love to hear your suggestions for future programs.

Calling All Preschoolers

The weather is getting cooler and there are not a lot of indoor play spaces for little ones in our town. Preschoolers and their caregivers who need to get out of the house during the day can find a wonderful opportunity at Parsons Public Library every Wednesday at either 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. On Wednesdays we gather together to listen to stories, work on crafts and get to know each other a bit better. If Wednesday's or daytime does not work for your family then we also offer an evening storytime once a month on Thursdays. Here is our complete schedule.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

RSS Feeds

For those of you who have found our blog and are unsure of how to subscribe to it so that you will receive automatic updates when we add new information, take a look at some of the following sites:

Librarian.net has some good links to RSS information.

Thomas Ford Memorial Library, a public library in Illinois has a nice page with explanations.

You can also call us, email or IM (instant message) us for help.