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.

Winter Reading Program is Back!

The Winter Reading Program for Adults is here again. Last year was our first year to try an adult reading program and more than 50 people signed up to read for fun and prizes.

Sign up begins Jan 12, you can begin returning books Jan. 19. The last day to turn in books and get your name in for prizes is March 3. That gives you 7 weeks to read (or listen to) at least 3 books. After reading each book, you’ll be asked to fill out a short form about the books you’ve read. Those forms will then go into a container and we’ll be holding a drawing for prizes each week! This program is for patrons 18 years and older.

Now you know why the kids look forward to summer reading.  The more you read, the more chances to win a prize!

Winter Reading Program a Success!

Our first Winter Reading Program for adults was a great success. Over 50 people signed up for the 7 week program.  Those who signed up had tickets put into a drawing for a prize February 22.  Patrons were asked to fill out a short form about each book they checked out.  Those forms were stuffed into a container and each week we drew out a lucky person’s name.

The Winter Reading Club will definitely be back next year.  Surveys were taken at the end of the program this year so we hope next year will be even better!

Winners were Brandy Weber, Mary Lindeen, Kathleen Fischer, Vi Megill, Loyola Engelken, Barb Chilson, Irene Koelzer and Connie Taylor.

Thank you, Virgil!

Monday morning, January 14, we looked out the front window of the library and there was a man out picking up all those annoying little sticks left on the ground after the ice storm.  The big limbs and fallen branches had been gathered up and carried off by the City Crew a long time ago.  We just hadn’t decided who to get to do the dirty work of raking all those little sticks.

Our problem was solved when Virgil Engelken decided he needed something to do on a frigid winter morning, so he came to the library, not to pick up a book to read, or a movie to watch, but to clean up our yard!  Thank you, Virgil, we really appreciate your hard work.  Virgil’s wife Loyola sits on the library board of directors.


Book Club 2008 Reading List

Want to try something different than the books you ususally read? Here is the list of books our Book Club members will be reading this year:

January In Cold Blood – 2008 Kansas Reads book

February  Memory Keeper’s Daughter – F

March Year of Magical Thinking – Bio

April  Time-Traveler’s Wife – F

May  May Last Days as Roy Rogers – Black History

June  The Book Thief – Young Adult

July  Ladies No.1 Detective Agency – Mystery

August  Innocent Man – True Crime

September  Water for Elephants – F

October  Fahrenheit 451 – Classic

The Seneca Library Book Club meets the third Tuesday of each month. Contact the library if you are interested in joining the book discussion group.

Study Shows our Library rated Best in State

Library board president Sheryl Heinen, left, and director Karen Holthaus, center are congratulated by Seneca mayor Joe Mitchell on the number one ranking by the Seneca Free Library

By Karen Holthaus, Director

People from outside the area come into the Seneca Library everyday and comment on what a wonderful library Seneca has.  Local residents often come in and tell the staff how proud they are to have such a great library in our community.  The whole community has supported and helped make the library what it is today.

Now everyone in Seneca knows it too!  Seneca Free Library is number one in its size category based on a rating index for the entire state.  Out of 45 libraries across the entire state with a population of between 1500-2499, Seneca Free Library is at the top of the list.  Number One.

The Kansas Public Library Rankings for 2005 were made public in October 2006.  The rating is based on many factors, including resources and usage in the library.  These factors include components such as staff, number of collection materials, collection expenditures, and the number of hours open per week.  Also included are usage factors such as number of items checked out each year, number of materials borrowed from other libraries for patrons, information requests, attendance at children’s programs each year and number of electronic resources, including the internet and computers.

Each library receives a resource score, a usage score and a final composite score, upon which the library is ranked.  The resources make up 50% of the final score with usage data making up the remaining 50%.  This rating is based on the National Hemmen Index, which compares 9000 libraries across the nation.  Seneca has scored in the top ten in this index twice in the last 7 years.

The Kansas Puclic Library Ranking Index is an improvement over the national ranking because it does not include weighted scores.  The data in the Kansas Index is based on the same number of points for each data element.  Seneca and the surrounding area has always been there to help support and improve the Seneca Free Library.

This number one rating shows that everyone has done a wonderful job of being there for the library and has made it an important and vital part of the Seneca community.


A History Note

The old part of this building,on the left side of the picture on our home page, was originally known as “the Old Stone Church”.  This part of our building was built in 1868 and was the first Universalist Church in Kansas. The Methodist, Presbyterians and Universaliists all donated money to the new building but they were short the money needed to finish the building. The Universalists contributed an extra $1,600.00 and thus it bacame their church, which the other denominations could use.

In March of 1872, the court house burned and the church was rented to the county for a court room and office which payed off the debt remaining on the building.  The Memorial windows were added when the church was remodeled in 1905.

In 1928 a garage mechanic in town wanted to buy the building and turn it into a garage. An election was held to turn the old stone church into a public library.  The Seneca Women’s Club worked very hard to help get out the vote and get the building for the library.  The library moved into its new home in 1931 and was there until 1997.  In 1957 the library was remodeled with new wall paper and the ceilings were lowered about six feet.

Blanche Riffer, the woman who lived in the house that had originally been the parsonage, deeded the house to the library after her death.  The old house was torn down, a bond issue was passed and donations were collected to bring about the building you see today.  The old library was freshened up again and is now used as a community room for library activities and other civic events.