The Adventures of Nelson the NEKLS Gnome and Sherri the ShareIt Gnome (UPDATE 5/24/2024)!

The Adventures of Nelson the NEKLS Gnome and Sherri the ShareIt Gnome!

Sherri and Nelson are the best of friends. They popped into existence together at the Seneca Free Library just as the last throws of winter began to sputter out. They came to the library to spread good cheer and excitement about the upcoming summer reading program.

“Adventure Begins at the Library,” Sherri mused. “What fun! There’s so many adventures to have and explore. Thrilling ones, mysterious ones, funny ones, mushy romantic ones, action-packed ones… oh my, and those are just the adventures to READ about!”

“Just imagine all the things our friends can do themselves in the real world!” Nelson agreed with excitement. “Camping, exploring, traveling, star gazing, picnicking, flying kites, solving puzzles and mysteries, playing games, swimming, bird watching… gosh, the possibilities are endless, really!”

And so, these two cheerful friends spent the remainder of the winter and all through the spring tickling the minds of their new librarian friends and whispering ideas and inspirations to them. Before they knew it, the end of the school year arrived, and Summer Reading was just around the corner! There were even plans for the adults at the library to have fun too! Everyone at the library was eager and excited to get started. They did such a good job helping to get things ready, they even inspired each other to consider their own adventures!

“Gosh! All of these adventures sound wonderful and exciting! Do you think we should do something on our own?” Sherri suggested with nervous anticipation.

“Let’s do it!” Nelson agreed with excitement. “Then we’ll have our own adventures to tell our friends about!”

And so, just like that, Sherri and Nelson started making their plans and prepared to make their way out into the world. Each adventurer planned a different journey so they could share their stories with each other when they got home as well! Their librarian friends wished them good luck, and off they went to explore and discover wherever their journey might take them next!


Sherri is making her journey through the Kansas ShareIt Library System (courier transfers only please!). Nelson is traveling across the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS) via courier. They are leaving Monday, May 20, 2024, and should start their journey back to the Seneca Free Library on or around Friday, August 16, 2024. The goal is for them to visit as many network libraries as possible and hopefully learn a little bit about the library, their communities, and, of course, the wonderful library staff who work there!

Here at the Seneca Free Library, we’ll be posting updates on where Sherri and Nelson are at, tracking their journey on our Kansas map where our patrons can see it, and sharing all the fun and interesting pictures, info, and whatever else our creative librarian peers across Kansas might come up with. (Library Staff, please submit updates and media to Librarian@senecafreelibrary.org. Thank you for participating!) We are super excited to follow and share this journey with all of you RIGHT HERE! So don’t forget to check back often to see what our intrepid duo are up to!

Kansas is Bigger than we Thought!

Track That Trip! (Updated 5/24/2024)

Nelson Arrives in Bonner Springs
(Stop #1 – 5/23/2024)!

Our friends at Bonner were delighted to meet Nelson, but unsurprisingly buried in work with their own Summer Reading startup. They introduced Nelson to their busy beaver friend and let the duo do some camping before Nelson had to go on his merry way.

Bonner Springs City Library
201 N Nettleton Ave
Bonner Springs, KS 66012
Website: bonnerlibrary.org

Bonner Springs has an estimated population of 7,666 (as 2022). It is part of the Kansas City Metro area, but is itself home to the Azura Amphitheater, Kansas City Renaissance Festival (August 31-Oct 14), Moon Marble Company, and Exit Games KC (Escape Room challenge available for our Summer Adventure Theme!)

Thanks to Bonner Springs City Library for hosting Nelson and sending him on to his next destination!

SUMMER READING Registration Begins Monday, May 20!

School’s wrapped up. Graduates have been sent off in style. Summer is hot on our heels. That means it’s time for SUMMER READING 2024!

This year, Summer Reading registration for all ages begins May 20 and continues through June 8. Paper reading records are available here at the library or you can use the MyLibro app on your mobile device (access to the online log won’t open until May 20). Once you’ve met the summer reading goal you can return your record to the library between June 24 and July 31 for a super fun surprise that focuses on our program theme “Adventure Begins in Your Library!”

Preschool Story Time with Ms. Dee will be Wednesdays, June 5, 12, 19, and 26th at 10:00 AM (ages birth to post-kindergarten) and includes story and craft time.

Elementary Story Time with Ms. Dee will be Wednesdays, June 5, 12, 19, and 26th at 1:30 PM (ages 1st to 3rd grade) and includes story and craft time.

Cooking with Kids will return in June! Dates and times will be confirmed and posted soon!

Kady and Izzy the Corgi will be here Tuesday, June 4 at 10:30 AM for a read-aloud from Kady’s books and a “How-to-draw” session. (Age appropriate for first grade and up.)

Jet Pack Jason of Mad Science and “The Adventures of Biblio, the Superhero” RETURNS Tuesday, June 18 at 10:30 AM. (This patron favorite’s program is appropriate for elementary age students, first grade and up.)

And don’t forget our new adult program (18+), “Passport Seneca Extravaganza 2024!” Registration for this summer adventure also begins May 20 and ends June 8.

It’s a summer of Activities and Adventures here at Seneca Free Library! Don’t miss out! We look forward to seeing you!

Passport Seneca: Your Guide to Summer Adventures in 2024!

Need a little adventure but running short on funds for a big ticket vacation? Need a chance to get away but your schedule says, “Not unless you can fit it in on this specific afternoon in June!”? Partner or friends disappointed that “We never do anything fun together anymore.”? Look no further than your local Seneca Free Library for your guide to all this and More!

Passport Seneca Extravaganza 2024 is a sizzling fresh new program for adult patrons 18+ sponsored by the Seneca Free Library! Inside this free passport is a page by page list of recommended activities to do Right Here in Seneca either by yourself or with a group of avid adventurers like you. Interested? Here’s what you have to do:

Step 1: Between May 20 and June 8, hot foot it down to the Seneca Free Library and visit the circulation desk. Talk to your Librarian and ask about the Passport Program. We’ll get you registered and ready to go with your physical passport* and a reminder of what to do with it! (*This is not a legal or government authorized document, that’s a completely different agency! But if you want us to take a really terrible photo of you just for kicks, we can.)

Step 2: Pick your path to Adventure! Decide which opportunities you want to knock out and when you want to do them! Most of them are even Free! (Savvy Adventurers should take note, Saturday, June 8th, is Museum Day and it’s a super efficient chance to check off a bunch of activities without having to schedule individual tours with the museums’ staff.)

Step 3: As with the official government document, Don’t Lose Your Passport! Why? Because your passport isn’t just a list of fun things to do and get checked off, it’s also your ticket to FABULOUS PRIZES! (If you do lose your passport, no worries, we can get you a new one at the circulation desk, you’ll just need to repeat the activities you already had checked off. Nothing replaces experiences, not even the magic of the library.)

Step 4: Keep track of your stamps and receipts. 5 stamps gets you the first tier prize from the library. 10 Stamps gets you the second tier prize. A full passport not only means you had a great summer, but it gets you entered into our Grand Prize Adventure Pack Giveaway drawing at the end of the summer!

Step 5: Turn in your passport at the circulation desk BEFORE JULY 31 to be eligible for the grand prize drawing! Tier 1 and Tier 2 prizes can be claimed and marked off at the circulation desk any time between June 8 and July 31. Only ONE passport is eligible for completion per Patron.

That’s it! Pretty simple, right? So come in and get registered between May 20 and June 8, get out there and have some fun, and be sure to tell us about your adventures when you come to report your progress! We look forward to seeing you this summer! Happy Adventuring!

Trivia Night at Seneca Free Library! Friday, June 7, 2024

Fire up those synapsis, stock up on your favorite brain foods, and hone your team communication skills. It’s TRIVIA NIGHT at the Seneca Free Library!

Friday, June 7, 2024, Seneca Free Library is serving up another round of brain teasers and hijinks for fabulous prizes and community bragging rights. Do you and your friends have what it takes to take on the challenges set by our Librarian Mega Minds? Only one way to find out!

Step 1: Gather up your team of 4-6 players. These can be friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, or even some random strangers you bribe on the street (hey, as long as they show up we aren’t going to question it).

Step 2: Come up with a quirky, clever, funny, or even just a plain old placeholder team name. (This is an adult focused event, but kindly don’t pick anything your grandma would be deeply disappointed by.)

Step 3: Come into the Library and sign your team up at the circulation desk, or call us at 785-336-2377 to reserve your team’s spot. (Have your team roster, team name, and team captain’s contact info ready!)

Step 4: Collect the cash! Entry is $10 per Person, payable at the circulation desk before June 7, or on the evening of Trivia Night at the door. (Please pay as a group, we are not responsible for collecting your team member’s individual entry fees. Thanks!) Proceeds go to help fund this and other awesome events, including Kids Summer Reading, Cooking with Kids, and our shiny new Passport Seneca Adventure!

Step 5: Stock up on your favorite snacks and non-alcoholic beverages to mix and match and share with your teammates!

Step 6: Show up ready to test your mental might! Doors open at 6:00 PM on June 7th at the Seneca Free Library Conference Room (Please use the Library Main Entrance).

Step 7: Have a great time with all of us here at the Seneca Free Library!

Want to bone up on your factoids or narrow down your team draft picks? Our trivia questions are based on classic Trivial Pursuit categories (more or less), but be warned… we put a spin on some of the categories to give them just a little more crunch and flavor for each Trivia Night Event! Who knows what we might ask this time?

The Mailbox Adventures of Gerald and Tess!

Our library mascots, Gerald Giraffe and Tess T-Rex, have indicated that they are super excited for all of our young readers to come in for Summer Reading, but they’re feeling a bit left out of the Summer Vacation Adventures scene. Can you and your young adventure seekers help them out?

Mail Gerald and Tess a postcard from the road or a letter telling them about your vacation and summer activities! If you forget to mail cards during your trip or didn’t have a stamp handy, you can always drop your postcard or letter in their personal mailbox in the library yourself (located on the circulation desk across from the kids’ pagoda). One of the best parts of adventuring is sharing your story with others, so why not tell us about yours! They’d love to hear what you’re up to! Send post to:

Gerald and Tess

c/o Seneca Free Library

606 Main St.

Seneca, KS 66538

Check back on this page later and you just might find your story being shared with Gerald and Tess in fun and unique ways!

Summer Reading Adventures Begin SOON!

School’s almost wrapped up. Graduates have been sent off in style. Summer is hot on our heels. That means SUMMER READING 2024 is just around the corner!

This year, Summer Reading registration for all ages begins May 20 and continues through June 8. Our summer program theme will be “Adventure Begins in Your Library!”

Adventures we have planned include Preschool Story Time and Crafts with Ms. Dee, Elementary Story Time and Crafts with Ms. Dee, Cooking with Kids will return in June with Deb Haverkamp, Author and Illustrator duo Kady and Izzy the Corgi will be reading from her books and teaching a beginning drawing class, Jet Pack Jason of Mad Science and “The Adventures of Biblio, the Superhero” returns, and we will be kicking off our Adult Program (18+) “Passport Seneca Extravaganza 2024!”

It’s a summer of Activities and Adventures here at Seneca Free Library! More details and information will drop right here near the end of the week, so stay tuned!

Adventure Begins in Your Library: May’s Suggested Activity is Picnicking

The Summer Reading Program theme for 2024 is “Adventure Begins in Your Library,” but in May, adventure actually begins in your kitchen as the theme is “Picnics and Outdoor Dining.”

Now, I’m going to be super honest, I have a thing about bugs. Buzzing, crawling, jumping, doesn’t matter, I don’t want them near me, and I really don’t want them near my food. So as charming an idea as picnics have always been to me, I don’t know much about them. But if you’re an outdoorsy type, dining al fresco or in a beautiful and remote location may be right up your alley. The following article by Professor Teresa Hunsaker of Utah State University may help make your next picnic a major success instead of a cautionary tale of “this is why we stay inside.”

Ask an Expert: Five Tips for the Perfect Picnic

By: Teresa Hunsaker, USU Extension family and consumer sciences educator

Picnics are the perfect way to get out and enjoy the outdoors without going too far or spending a lot of money. Picnicking can fit almost any budget and can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. Some of the best picnics happen on the spur of the moment and don’t need a lot of planning. No picnic basket? No problem. Anything that holds your supplies will do.

Consider these tips for the perfect picnic.

* Pack your picnic with food safety in mind. If you will be gone longer than 2 hours from departure to eating, plan to pack a cooler. After 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour if temperatures are around 90 F), harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning multiply rapidly. USDA guidelines say cold foods should be kept as close to 40 F as possible and hot foods should be kept above 140 F.

* Keep your cooler ready. If you are planning to make picnics a regular part of your summer, consider investing in a cooler-on-wheels for portability. To help keep foods cold, chill them in the refrigerator before packing and keep them in the cooler until serving time.

* Get double duty from your cooler space. Fill empty drink bottles half full of water or juice and freeze. The frozen drinks will act as ice packs to keep the picnic cool in transit. At your destination, top off the bottles with water or a drink to enjoy with your meal.

* Be mindful of your picnic location. When planning your food items, consider where you are going. Even if it’s just to the park, it will help you prepare by considering the setting. Avoid anything that gets drippy, limp or wimpy in warm weather. Gelatin salad is a perfect example of what not to take, and even tossed salads will wilt if left in the sun or warm weather for very long.

* Make a menu. For a no-fuss menu, have a fix-your-own sandwich bar. Fill plastic containers with pre-sliced sandwich fixings such as lettuce, tomatoes, cheeses, meats, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, onions and spinach. Set out hearty breads, crusty rolls or tortilla wraps and condiments. To add a gourmet touch, splurge on a couple of interesting spreads, such as pesto, tapenade or flavored soft cheese. Everyone can build a custom sandwich for a fraction of what it would cost at the deli.

* Sometimes the fun of a summer picnic is the spontaneity, and having fruits and vegetables on hand will make packing a breeze. Simple finger food, like carrots, celery, sliced jicama and sliced bell peppers are cool, crispy additions to any picnic plate and a great way to include vegetables. Add a vegetable dip, and you have a quick and easy side dish.

* Keep supplies on hand. If you plan to picnic frequently this summer, make a standard packing list for spur-of-the-moment jaunts, and keep your pantry stocked with food that is suitable for a picnic. Include the following items on your supply list: napkins, plates, cups, dinnerware; garbage bags; plastic bags that seal; serving utensils and cutting knives; can opener; cutting mat or board; salt and pepper, packets of condiments; blanket to sit on; hand sanitizer, wet wipes or a wet washcloth in a plastic bag; paper towels; insect repellent; extra water; and don’t forget equipment for activities including balls, games, Frisbees, etc.

By: Teresa Hunsaker, Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences educator, (801) 399-8200, teresa.hunsaker@usu.edu

Summer Projects Need Your Help!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Weekend Warriors, Families of Graduates, and Mother’s Day Diners… we need your help again! Our pickle predicament is almost resolved, but another project calls. We need 6″ diameter plastic food container lids similar to the example shown. Like the jars, the brand and actual contents aren’t important, but the general size and shape are what we’re after (the example just happens to be a 48 oz potato salad lid as an example). With so many receptions, barbecues, and Mother’s Day dinners coming up this weekend we figure now’s the time to ask!

If you manage to rescue some of these lids from a fate in the dumpster, drop them off at the circulation desk during regular hours and we’ll be happy to take them off your hands. Thanks again for all your help! The pickle jar response has been fantastic (we can still use just a few more 24 oz jars to fill our order and maintain a couple of spares just in case)! You’ve all come through for us in a spectacular way and we greatly appreciate it!

Cooking With Kids @ Seneca Free Library

Tidy up the kitchen and get those dishes ready, we’ve got another round of Cooking with Kids coming up right around the corner! Deb Haverkamp will be hosting the next session on Thursday, May 9, from 3:15 PM to 5:00 PM after school. Kids ages 8-11 are eligible to participate in this fun and educational program. Attendance is limited to a class size of 6 students for safety reasons. Call us at 785-336-2377 to reserve your little chef’s spot (prior participants still need to register for each class). Drop in after registration to sign the required waiver if your student is a new participant this season. Spaces fill up fast, so call soon to make your reservation!

***As a special notice, this session will be the only Cooking with Kids event in May due to scheduling conflicts and our increased focus on Summer Reading enrollment starting the 20th.***

Thursday, April 25, 2024 the Cooking with Kids crew made Corn and Black Bean Salsa, fresh Guacamole, and Blackened Fish Tacos. Librarian Deb Haverkamp admitted the kids were a little tentative about the tacos at first, but once they tried them, the majority agreed they were a hit. Going in for pictures early on, the salsa smelled and looked amazing. And you know the kids loved what they made when the circulation desk workers don’t even see any leftovers!

Stay tuned for future Cooking with Kids Sessions with Deb coming up in May. She’s already got the wheels turning on what she wants to do next with the crew!

Time is flying by and we’re heating up the griddle for another round of Cooking with Kids with Librarian Deb Haverkamp! The next session is set for Thursday, April 25, from 3:15 PM to 5:00 PM after school. Kids ages 8-11 are eligible to participate in this fun and educational program. Attendance is limited to a class size of 6 students for safety reasons. Call us at 785-336-2377 to reserve your little chef’s spot (prior participants still need to register for each class). Drop in after registration to sign the required waiver if your student is a new participant this season. Spaces fill up fast, so call soon to make your reservation!

Thursday, April 4th Cooking with Kids featured spaghetti with homemade meatballs and sauce! It looked and smelled amazing. These kids have skills and keep learning new things each time! Special thanks to Librarian Deb Haverkamp for running this program and making it as fun and successful as it is!

As a reminder, we only have a total of 6 spaces for each Cooking with Kids session due to space, safety, and supervision reasons. Slots are filled on a first come, first serve order, as much as we hate having to turn anybody away for a session. Make sure your little chef is signed up well before the class starts. This isn’t a class we can slip in a last-minute addition as much as we might want to.

Our first Cooking with Kids session in April is coming up quick! On Thursday, April 4, Deb Haverkamp will be hosting another round of culinary adventures and learning opportunities! Kids ages 8-11 are eligible to participate in this fun and educational program that runs after school from 3:15 – 5:00 PM. Attendance is limited to a class size of 6 students for safety reasons. Call us at 785-336-2377 to reserve your little chef’s spot (prior participants still need to register for each class). Drop in after registration to sign the required waiver if your student is a new participant this season. Call soon, spaces fill up fast!

Cooking with Kids had another full turnout on Thursday, March 21, as Librarian Deb Haverkamp taught the class how to make biscuits and gravy from scratch! The kids had a great time working together and Deb reported that the biscuits and gravy were a big hit with everybody. Great job to our chefs in the making and Deb Haverkamp in cooking up a classic this session!

Cooking with Kids returns Thursday, March 21, with Librarian Deb Haverkamp hosting the session. Kids ages 8-11 are eligible to participate in this fun and educational program that runs after school from 3:15 – 5:00 PM. Attendance is limited to a class size of 6 students for safety reasons. Call us at 785-336-2377 to reserve your little chef’s spot (prior participants still need to register for each class). Drop in after registration to sign the required waiver if your student is a new participant this season. Call soon, space fills up fast!

Thursday, February 22, Cooking with Kids met for another learning experience in food and fun, this time baking coffee cake and trying out an assortment of smoothie recipes. The entry smelled like fresh baked cinnamon, drawing comments of delight from patrons and librarians alike.

Cooking with Kids is back for another culinary adventure on February 22! This program is for kids 8-11 years old and runs from 3:15-5:00 PM. Class size is limited to 6 students for safety reasons. Call us at 785-336-2377 to reserve your little chef’s spot (prior participants still need to register for each class). Drop in after registration to sign the required waiver. Call soon, space fills up fast!

Thursday February 8 Cooking with Kids was busy making Ham Loaf, Meat Balls and 7 Layer Salad! Don’t come on these days, if you are hungry, it’s hard to resist the aroma.

This week they made M&M pan cookies and Chocolate drop cookies. We forgot to take a picture of the results! Guess they will have to start over. It’s hard being a librarian. 1.25.24

First call the library to enroll your child. Then put it on your calendar so you don’t forget. But we know your child will NOT forget. If they have been Cooking with Deb before, they look forward to coming again. Class size is LIMITED.

Our next class is scheduled for Thursday, January 25 after school – as long as the weather cooperates. This is a really fun event for the kids and Deb. Class size is limited to 6 for safety reasons. Your child is not registered until you call us (785-336-2377) and have signed a waiver. Call soon, space fills up fast!

The pictures below are from the January 11th class making Chicken Noodle Soup.

Happy New Year! We’re kicking off cooking classes 2024 on Thursday January 11, starting at 3:00PM! Call 785.336.2377 to get on the list! Most of our parents have signed the waiver, but if you haven’t yet, please stop into the library when you drop your children off for class.

December 28, 2023 was about trying different pie crusts. They made a graham cracker crust with a no bake cheese cake and a flour pie crust for a” cheese, ham and egg thing” aka quiche. Which do you think they enjoyed most?

Be sure to call to get on the list to join Deb Thursday December 14 to make Gingerbread Houses!

This event is for children ages 8~11, space is limited and sign-up required. So, keep an eye on our Facebook page and put us on speed dial, our number is 785-336-2377.

Deb Haverkamp is teaching the class this year. So far they have made Apple Crisp and Quesadillas! The library smells SO good on Cooking night, everyone leaves very hungry. Deb teaches different skills each class and includes the art of clean up

Food Pantry Donations at the Library: May Focus is Canned Meats!

Seneca Free Library is a proud supporting partner with the Nemaha County Food Pantry. May’s Food Pantry Focus is Canned Meat. Turnover your tuna! Share your shredded chicken! Say it with SPAM! Handover your hash! Protein is a vital part of any diet and perhaps one of the hardest requirements to fill in a food pantry service. Every little bit helps, if it’s one can or a whole box of them! You can help make a difference by picking up a few extra cans (or other items) on your next trip to the grocery store, then dropping them by the library during our regular hours: Monday-Thursday 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. It takes so little to do so much. Make your impact today! Because hunger doesn’t just happen on the holidays.

This is a service we offer the community. The Food Pantry is staffed by volunteers and is open one day a week. Rather than having to remember what day and hours they are open, you can drop your donations by the library and we will deliver them for you! We highlight different items to donate each month just to offer some direction and promote awareness. When everything is needed on a regular basis, it can be helpful to have some guidance.

If you have large donations it is best to deliver them directly to the food pantry. We can help facilitate a drop off time if needed. Call us during regular business hours at 785-336-2377.

We have the cart near our door to make it handy for you to leave your donations. Thank you for your support.

Some Important Points to Note:

* The Food Pantry is closed the second Wednesday of every month.

* Paper goods and personal hygiene products are also always needed!

* Opened and outdated products are NOT accepted at the Pantry.

Each Family receives the following items Once a Month.

  • 1 breakfast item
  • 4 cans of vegetables
  • 1 can of beans
  • 1 package of rice
  • 1 pasta and sauce
  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 1 box of crackers
  • 2 cans of fruit
  • 1 can of tuna or chicken
  • 2 cans of soup
  • 1 dessert
  • 1 pound of meat.

While we highlight different donation items each month, the following items are ALWAYS NEEDED:

  • Paper products [toilet paper, paper towels, Kleenex]
  • personal products [feminine hygiene, sanitary wipes, etc.]
  • boxed cereals
  • oatmeal
  • pancake mix and pancake syrup
  • canned vegetables
  • rice
  • pasta and pasta sauce
  • peanut butter
  • boxed crackers
  • canned fruit
  • canned tuna
  • canned chicken
  • boxed tuna and chicken helper
  • canned soups
  • jello and pudding mixes
  • cookies
  • cake mixes and frosting
  • pie mix
  • and more!
  • They also accept laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, and bath soap.