America’s Star Libraries of 2010, given out by Library Journal, the top professional publication for public libraries in the country, is out. Rating 7,407 libraries across the country, 258 libraries have received 3, 4, or 5 stars, with 17 libraries in Kansas being part of the top libraries.  4 Kansas libraries, including Seneca Free Library, have a 5 star rating, the highest rating given.  Seneca Free Library is also the 4th out of  the 30, 5 star libraries, in the $100,00 to $199,000 budget category. This means in all categories used to decide who are the top libraries, Seneca has a 5 star rating, the best available.

The criteria in which the libraries are judged is based on four per capita service categories: library visits, circulation (how many items are checked out in a year), attendance at library programs and use of public internet computers. To be scored in this index a library must meet four criteria: 1) be a defined public library; 2) serve a population of at least 1,000; 3) have a total operating expense of at least $10,000; 4) report all of the four service criteria on which the Library Journal rates libraries.

The statistics we keep to show our communities how important our local library is, is  more important now than ever. This award shows that during tough times as well as good times the library plays an extremely important part in supporting a community. Today providing internet use, programming, friendly atmosphere and dedicated staff, offering programs for adults and children makes the library a central place to be for many citizens in a community.  The Seneca Library provides not only books but dvds, music cds, books on tape, a community room for meetings, a genealogy room for people from all over the country to find information on local ancestors; all of which contribute to the high standards that the Library tries to maintain at all times.  Technology, including wireless access for those patrons with their own computers, computers with internet access, a circulation system that allows patrons access to over 600,000 items all make Seneca Library up-to-date and available to the communities needs. Statistics don’t tell the whole story but they indicate whether the Library is meeting the needs of it’s patrons and Seneca Library is definitely on the right track.

Seneca Free Library is always working to improve the quality of service it provides to its patrons. The following quote expresses how important it is to collect data that can be used to show how well a library is serving its population:

“There is no branch of library economy(management( more important, or so little understood by a librarian as helps to himself, as the daily statistics which he can preserve of the growth, loss, and use of the collection under his care. The librarian who watches these things closely and records them, always understands what he is about, and what he accomplishes or fails to accomplish. The patron to whom he presents these statistics will comprehend better the machinery of the library and be more indulgent toward its defects”.  This quote comes from Public Libraries in the United States of America from 1876. Seneca Library will continues to work on improving its statistics and it’s library to better serve the Seneca Community.

Being a 5 Star Library and being on the Star Library list for the 3rd time in the last 2 years shows that the Seneca Community is being well served by the Library, the Staff and the Library Board.

Last Week of September is BANNED BOOK WEEK

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books across the United States. {Copied from the American Library Association website}The library has a display of a few of the books that have been banned or challenged over the years.

The ALA has compiled a list on their website, just copy and paste to view the list:


The Kansas Notable Books is a list of books published by Kansans or about Kansas. This list contains books published in 2009. There is something for everyone, young and old, included.

The alphabetical list by title of the 2010 Kansas Notable Books follows:

Addie of the Flint Hills: A Prairie Child During the Depression by Adaline Sorace as told to Deborah Sorace Prutzman

The Blue Shoe: A Tale of Thievery, Villainy, Sorcery, and Shoes by Roderick Townley, illustrated by Mary GrandPre

Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford

The Evolution of Shadows by Jason Quinn Malott

Ghost Town by Richard W. Jennings

A Kansas Year by Mike Blair

Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano by Kevin Rabas, edited by Dennis Etzel, Jr.

Nothing Right: Short Stories by Antonya Nelson

One Kansas Farmer: A Kansas Number Book by Devin & Corey Scillian, illustrated by Doug Bowles

Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen by Joe Drape

Silver Shoes by Paul Miles Schneider

The Storm in the Barn written and illustrated by Matt Phelan

To the Stars: Kansas Poets of the Ad Astra Poetry Project edited and with commentary by Denise Low

Under Seige! Three Children at the Civil War Battle for Vicksburg by Andrea Warren

Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl by Albert Marrin



Over 75  young summer readers completed the Make a Splash! Summer Reading program before the July 31 deadline and were eligible to attend our library Pool Party last Thursday. Seneca Free Library invited Bern, Centralia  and Corning libraries to join in the fun too. Each library set their own rules for earning a ticket to the pool party. There was a great turn out for the party.  For pictures, look at the Flickr photo badge on the left side of this web page. To see the pictures enlarged, click on the badge to open the Flickr page.

“Beneath the Waves”Art Contest Entries Due

“Beneath the Waves” art contest is for students who have just completed grades 4 through 6th grades. Use any medium you like as long as it depicts life beneath the waves. Entries are due by Friday June 11. All entries will be displayed in the library.  Call to sign up today!

Official rules listed below.

Entries not picked up by July 31 will become property of the library.

OFFICIAL RULES:  1. You can use any medium you choose~water colors, markers, colored pencils, clay, etc. No supplies will be provided by the library. 2. Paper size must not exceed 11×17″.  If making a free form piece, it can be no larger than a standard shoe box.  3. Must have entrant’s name, age/grade, parent’s name, and phone number on the artwork or the piece will not qualify. 4. Art must be picked up by July 31 or it will become the property of Seneca Free Library. 5. Your artwork will be on display in the library. 6. Prizes will be awarded  for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places.

Top Ten AGAIN!!

Out of thousands of libraries across the country, three Kansas libraries were recognized for their outstanding services – again!  The rankings were released in April by Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings 2010 (HAPLR). A total of 7,930 libraries were reviewed for the rankings. The Kansas libraries recognized in 2010 are all repeat winner. They include:

Seneca Free Library ranked seventh in the 1,000 to 2,499 population category out of 1,479 libraries and has made the list every year since 2004.

Hays Public Library ranked fourth in the 10,000 population category, out of 1,773  libraries serving the population 10,000 to 24,999. Hays Public has made the list every year since 2005.

Hardtner Public Library ranked fourth in the under 1,000 population category out of 1,010 libraries. They have made the list every year since 2004.

“It is quite a compliment that three Kansas libraries made the 2010 HAPLR list, and have bee recognized repeatedly for their outstanding service. This again confirms the importance of the library as an essential community resource.” said  State Librarian Jo Budler. “We are honored and challenge all libraries to continue to provide excellent service.”

Visit the Kansas State Library website at

“Under the Sea” Writers workshop entries due

Are you a poet, song writer, or a budding novelist? Choose any format  and create your masterpiece.
This workshop is designed for students who have finished the 4th – 6th grades. The pieces will not be judged but we will display all entries for library patrons to enjoy.
Write about anything “under the sea”.
Entries are due by 8:00 PM July 1.
Ask a librarian for official rules.
All pieces not picked up by July 31 will become property of the library.

Welcome to NExpress/KOHA

We are excited to see so many of our patrons using our new NEXPRESS catalog/circulation system. Every day we are receiving items that our patrons are placing holds on from their home computers.  When the items arrive at the  library, we scan them and an e-mail is sent notifying the patron, if an address has been provided! Not sure how to get started doing this yourself?  First, call the library to find out your Log In and Passwords.Then watch this tutorial video, just copy and paste the address below:
New Catalog Overview Video for Patron:

If you prefer to look at only the Seneca Library catalog, or any one library’s catalog, use the Advanced Search option.  Near the bottom of the Advanced Search page there is a drop down box that lets you select all libraries or choose which library catalog you want to search. Not only can you place books, DVDs, books on CD, etc on hold, you can renew your items online also, by going to the My Summary tab. As long as your books are not already overdue, you can renew them this way. Here is another video to help you learn how to use your library account:

New My Account Overview video for Patrons

Also new to this system, some of our new items have a ONE WEEK check out. We sometimes forget to mention this to our patrons. You’ll have to check your receipt or go on line to see when your material is due back to the library. Or sign up to receive advance notice on your e-mail account.

Helpful hint: NEXPRESS/Koha, an open source web based system, likes the Firefox search engine better than Explorer. If you are having trouble viewing the video or using NEXPRESS, try downloading Firefox. It is a free download. Go to and follow the prompts to download to your computer. MOST OF ALL HAVE FUN EXPLORING NEXPRESS!

Library Joining the NExpress Shared Catalog

The Seneca Free Library is joining NExpress, a regional shared catalog service of the Northeast Kansas Library System. Seneca Free Library will be one of over 30 libraries currently participating in the shared catalog.

The transition from the current library circulation system to the new Koha system will take place over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The library will close at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25, and reopen on Monday, November 30, at 10:00 AM with a new library circulation software system called Koha, an advanced open-source integrated library system, used by thousands of libraries worldwide.

Once our library is on the new system, Koha will:

  • allow patrons to renew materials, place requests and view checkouts, holds, and fines online with a secure username and password
  • enable requests for materials delivered to the patron’s home library from the shared collection of almost 500,000 items—movies, books and audiobooks
  • allow patrons to place multiple titles in a Cart for easy, one-step request processing, and create personalized lists
  • permit patrons to view their complete reading and checkout history
  • notify patrons via e-mail when holds are available for pickup and when materials are due

Library patrons will need a new NExpress library card to access the system. Talk to a librarian today if you don’t have your new card.

Library Receives Recognition

Seneca Free Library has received recognition again as a library with overall exceptional library performance. The Library Journal, a well-known and well respected magazine in the Library World, came out with an index rating that shows libraries across the country that are headed in the right direction for high quality service. Based on a 3, 4 and 5 star rating much like the Michelin star rating for restaurants, libraries are rated on real usage and outcomes like circulation, visits, programming and internet usage. A total of 16 Kansas libraries were rated, allowing Kansas to claim the third highest spot in the country. Only New York and Ohio received more stars.

Seneca Free Library and Johnson County Library in Overland Park were the only two libraries in Northeast Kansas to receive 4 stars. No other library in Northeast Kansas was rated in any 3, 4, 5 category. Seneca can be proud of this honor and it shows the care and concern its residents give to the local library.

The libraries were ranked using data collected by the State Library of Kansas for the National Center for Education Statistics and processed through a new assessment tool for public libraries called the “LJ Index”. The four categories used for analysis included: number of times an average individual visited the library, the average number of items checked out by an individual, the program attendance per person, and the number of times an average individual used a library computer terminal.

Kansas has 327 public libraries, about one library for every 8,500 people. Kansans use their libraries significantly and this rating shows that Kansas is headed in the right direction. The primary mission in each library in Kansas is to serve its residents through direct services with help from the State Libary of Kansas.