WiFi Hotspots Available for Check-out

The library has personal WiFi Hotspots for circulation! For our rural patrons who have trouble with internet access, these devices will be great. If you are traveling for vacation and don’t want to use all of your data, a hotspot can save you some headaches.

The hotspots can only be checked out to Seneca Free Library patrons over the age of 18, whose accounts are in good standing. They check out for two weeks with no renewals allowed. We don’t charge fines for any overdue items, except for these WiFi hotspots.

Fees begin the day after the due date. The hotspots must NOT be returned in either the outside or inside dropbox. They are to be returned to library staff at the circulation desk; devices not returned in this way are subject to a flat fee. For all the information on the WiFi hotspot and how to get one, talk to the librarians. 

Patrons will have to sign a user agreement, and there will be fines imposed if patrons do not follow the usage rules for these devices. They are expensive and the user will pay replacement costs, if need be.

Book Walk Taken Down

We are sorry to announce we have decided to take down the Book Walk. Some pages did not hold up in the strong Kansas winds. We were fortunate this time to have recovered the missing pages. The replacement cost for these books is prohibitive. We hope to try a different location at a later date. Maybe when lawn mowing slows down. If you know of a place out of the wind, please let us know. Stay tuned.


Yes, we are aware that there are three pages missing from the We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story walk. Two of them are safely in the library, the third is in the wind, so to speak. We had hoped to have a third story this spring, but now are not so sure. You can check out the actual book from the library if you really want to fill in those missing blanks. Or use your imagination and fill in the blanks.

We are as disappointed as everyone else. How do we control that Kansas wind?


Have you noticed the Book Walk near the school? You’ll find it along 11th Street, beginning at the driveway to Nemaha Central Elementary School, running south, and then turning the corner and continuing west onto Community Drive. Just in time for family evening walks in beautiful spring weather.

The book title is I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean. Take a stroll by the pages and be sure to count the book for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, if you are reading toward that goal.

Thank you to everyone at Nemaha Central Schools and the City of Seneca for allowing us to share this story along the sidewalks. Materials for this project were provided by the Northeast Kansas Library System and made available for our library to use.

Kate and Dee spent some time on this beautiful afternoon to measure and push these ‘pages’ into the ground. They even had the superintendent stop by to inspect their work.

Important KanCare Information

Public libraries in Kansas have been asked to help Kansas Action for Children [KAC] reach KanCare (Medicaid and CHIP) families about upcoming important changes. Beginning next month, the state will restart sending out KanCare renewal notices. We need to make sure KanCare enrollees and especially parents of kids with KanCare coverage are aware of two important steps before these notices are sent:

1.      Make sure their contact information is up to date with the state.

2.      Watch for renewal information in the mail, sent by the state.

Over 62% of KanCare enrollees are children — so we need your help getting the word out to parents of kids in your networks. A new report is out showing that 63.8% of the KanCare enrollment growth between February 2020 and August 2022 were kids getting signed up for coverage. These kids may have never had to previously renew their coverage and are at particularly high risk for losing their coverage in the months ahead, even as many may remain eligible. 

Overdrive App Will Sunset May 1

This post is to update our patrons on the timeline for sunsetting the OverDrive app and transitioning remaining users to Libby. The OverDrive app for iOS, Android, and Windows 8/10 will be sunset on May 1, 2023.

Beginning March 21, the following in-app message will appear for users, including a final reminder to switch to Libby:

Click on the Libby icon, above, to learn more about switching from Overdrive to Libby.

Policies in Review

We thought the start of the new year would be a good time to highlight and remind our patrons of a few of our policies. 

Sharing our catalog with 40+ other libraries is wonderful, if we don’t own it, or the item you want is currently checked out, we encourage you to place a hold on the item and it will be shipped to our library when it becomes available. But we often forget to remind patrons they have one week from the day it arrives at our library to pick up their hold. If you have an email address listed, you automatically receive an email, so it is important that we have your correct address and that you check your emails regularly. If no email is listed we call the number on the account the day the item arrives. This is a system-wide policy, all libraries in the system are asked to keep items moving and not let them sit on the shelf collecting dust.

If an item you have checked out is on hold for another patron, we cannot renew it. If possible we tell you when you check out an item whether it is popular and will need to be returned in 2 weeks. This, too, is a system-wide policy.

New movies have a one week check out with no renewals. Everyone wants to watch the latest releases, we’ve determined 1 week should be long enough for you to enjoy the movie and return it so another patron can check it out. We aim to please as many people as we can with this policy.

We are often reminding patrons to have their library cards with them to check out. We ask this to protect our patrons. We are happy to have people from all over the county coming in to use our library. However, we do not know everyone in the county well enough to know they are who they say they are, if they do not present a card. When something is checked out on your account you are responsible for that item if it is not returned, whether or not you checked it out. Not everyone gives permission for family members to use their accounts. Life is just easier for everyone if you have your library card ready when you reach the circulation desk. We actually have had neighboring libraries mistakenly check out items to our patrons because no library card was presented. Save your account and trouble by bringing your library card. 

Our copies cost 20 cents a page, one side. If you print on both sides of a sheet of paper it costs 40 cents. It doesn’t matter if it prints in color or black & white, 8 x 11 or larger. Also if you hit the print button we expect you to pay for everything that prints out. There is a way to print only the pages you need, if you need help figuring that out, just ask.

Color Coded Reading Challenge

It’s been several years since we have held a winter reading challenge. We found a fun one for you; a Color Coded Challenge!

Readers can choose their own books as long as they fit into one of the nine color categories. The book must include the name of the color or any shade of that color in the title or on the cover.  For brown, black, and white the author’s last name may be used instead of a color in the title.  Of course, audiobooks and eBooks count! The challenge runs from January 23—March 31, 2023, so you have time to plan your reading choices and schedule.

The categories are:

1. BLUE (navy, cobalt, sky, etc.)

2. RED (scarlet, carnelian, ruby, etc.)

3. YELLOW (amber, honey, flax, etc.)

4. GREEN (emerald, grass, hunter, etc. )




8. Any other color not included in  1 through 7

9. Any book with a word or image that implies color, such as rainbow, plaid, shadow, tint, paint, ink, etc.

Readers need to finish at least six books to complete the challenge. Competitors will be given a paper to track their book titles. We do have a list of books that will meet the challenge requirements, if you need help getting started.

For all the details, and to get started, talk to the librarians.


Please make sure that the door to the outside drop box is completely closed before you walk away. When temperatures dip towards freezing and lower our drop box gets frosty inside – actual frost and ice – even with the outer door closed. If the door isn’t completely closed then even more frost builds up in more areas. This causes a huge problem. When the sun hits the metal of the outer drop box it heats up and the frost melts. Melted frost and books are not a good combination. During the cold snap over Christmas, books did not get completely pushed through and the flap was left ajar. We had water damaged books and DVD case inserts. We don’t want to have to make patrons replace these items, but it may come to that if enough damage occurs. PLEASE make sure you close the drop box door. Parents, please talk with your children about this. FYI: We do know who the items blocking the door are checked out to; please help us help you.

Thank you for your help.



Our winter weather policy states that if the schools close early due to bad weather, the library will close at 5:00 p.m. Be sure to check our Facebook page, listen to KMZA radio and WIBW for an announcement that we are closed. Or you can even give us a call at 785-336-2377. Stay safe out there!

Wondering about conditions across the state? KDOT interactive map

Library Lingo Explained

We sometimes forget that not everyone understands our language when we talk about holds, requests, NEXT, KOHA, and so on. Even though there will not be a quiz, we will know whether or not you have been paying attention. We have decided to start Library Lingo Explained in our biweekly column in the Courier Tribune and copy them to our website, so here it is;

We will begin with: NEKLS = NorthEast Kansas Library System, a consortium of 14 counties of NE Kansas. Seven regional library districts were formed in Kansas in the 1960s. Within NEKLS there are 117 member libraries. NEKLS provides our software and hardware service, training and maintenance; tech support; grant funds; continuing education for librarians; website support; and more. Oh, and they oversee the statewide Courier Service.

 We continue Library Lingo with NEXT, which is the name of our shared catalog system. Our system was formerly called NExpress; that’s why it is on some of your library cards. It was upgraded a few years ago. There are 52 libraries in Northeast Kansas in the shared catalog.  These 52 NEXT libraries are similar to a branch library system; sharing resources but remaining autonomous. The shared catalog allows access to so much more than just a single library could offer. There are over one million items in the shared catalog for our patrons to borrow – imagine how many shelves that would take?  Not all libraries in Northeast Kansas are part of NEXT; Topeka – Shawnee, Johnson County, Wyandotte, and Lawrence Public are just a few of the libraries that are not in our shared catalog. Not all regional library systems have shared catalogs, so we feel very fortunate to be a part of NEXT. If you are interested in learning more about the shared catalog and how to use it, just ask the librarians. We will be happy to help. It just takes a few seconds to make sure your account is set up on our end in order for you to begin searching for and requesting items. If you are having trouble using your current account please let us know so that we can get you back online.

 To us courier means a statewide delivery service that transports books and circulating material between libraries all across Kansas. Seneca Library has five day a week courier service, some libraries have two to three. Each day our courier driver brings items that you have placed on hold and items being returned. Our courier driver begins his day at the Topeka hub, travels through Westmoreland, Waterville, Blue Rapids, Frankfort, Marysville, Seneca, Centralia, Corning, and Onaga, then returns home. The driver doesn’t just deliver books to libraries. He also delivers US mail to post offices, flowers to the flower shops, pharmaceuticals and supplies to hospitals and pharmacies, and sometimes FedEx orders to addresses that are “off the beaten path”. He really is quite busy. The statewide courier service was established by staff at NEKLS and is still administered by staff there. Kudos to our great Northeast Kansas Library System for having such foresight years ago! This great service allows us to easily get material that is not found in our shared catalog, but that is available within the state. 

  Our next Library Lingo phrase is HOLD. When we place a hold on an item we are basically putting your name on a waiting list. The Holds queue has changed over the years, and now functions better for our local patrons. Items on hold in the shared catalog are all on one list, and when you ask where you are on the queue we tell you the number overall. If our library owns the item you have requested then your hold will most likely be filled with our item. This is usually a much shorter list and wait time. It sounds complicated, but we have it figured out. It is never an inconvenience to place a hold for you. One of the best parts of the shared catalog is having so many items available for our patrons. What do you have on hold?

SUSPEND. When putting items on hold, there is a column labeled Suspend, which is very handy. If you are using the online catalog and know you want an item, but aren’t quite ready for it, just suspend the hold. When you are ready, click Resume and that will put the item on an active hold list. We do this often for patrons who are reading a series or watching a TV series on video. We place holds for the whole series and then resume the hold for the next book or season. You can do this at home also. It saves time having to look up a whole series each time. If you have any questions about the online catalog or how to use Suspend and Hold just ask the librarians. 

Hold Shelf: It is not a literal shelf, but rather a space where we hold items that you have requested. When items come in via the courier, they are scanned into the software. This lets us know which items are here at patron request. We then place the item on the Hold Shelf until patrons pick them up. Items can remain on hold for seven days, but if not picked up, are returned to the lending library or passed to the next patron on the waiting list. When we offer to put an item on hold for you, it is just another thing we do on a daily basis.

Share-It: The Kansas State Library uses software called Share-It to power their online catalog. When we cannot find the item you want in our shared catalog, we turn to the state library. This catalog includes public, academic, and university libraries across the entire state. There are millions of items within easy reach; let us help you find what you want or need. We also have a source that can get materials from out of state. In 2022 we received borrowed materials from Oklahoma, Texas, California, Colorado, and Arkansas. What can we help you find?