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?


Through the years we’ve had calls asking if we have yearbooks for local high schools. We always had to say no. That changed this week when a patron brought in a cart full of books for us. We found shelves in our Genealogy Room for these treasures. We posted a picture and announcement on Facebook and Instagram with a promise to let you know what volumes we are missing. Here we go:

Seneca High School, these are the years we HAVE: ’49. ’53, ’54, ’57, ’59, ’60, ’61, ’65, ’66, ’68, ’69.

Nemaha Valley High School, these are the years we are MISSING: ’75, ’76, ’78, ’83, ’84, 2011, 2012, 2013

B&B High School, these are the years we HAVE: 1986, 1987, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2014.

A complete set of Nemaha Central yearbooks has been donated to the Library!

I you have any missing volumes and are ready to part with them, the library would be happy to have them on our shelves. These items are not for circulation, but you are welcome to stop in and enjoy during regular library hours.

STEP UP Nemaha Match Day Announced

The Board and Staff of Seneca Free Library would like to thank everyone who supported the Library on Match Day. We will share more when we have official word from the STEP Foundation.

Nemaha County STEP Foundation will be holding Match-Day, August 26 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm in the library Community Room. This year the library will be one of the entities eligible for receiving funds.

Donations to the STEP Foundation can be made *that day in person, *by mailing the funds made payable to STEP Foundation,  in care of P.O. Box 165, Seneca, KS 66538, or *online at www.stepupnemaha.com. Online transactions must be completed on August 26 only.

The library is using any funds received to pay for restoration work on the bell tower of the old stone church. You can contact the library or any STEP Foundation member with questions about Match Day.

The purpose of Match Day is to help area non profits raise monies for their funds.

Each fund will be eligible for matching funds (dollar for dollar) for up to at least $2,000. per organization/agency. [Some may have additional matching funds.]

PHOTO: The Library Board finalized plans they’ve been working on to establish a new fund that will be eligible to participate in Match Day. Pictured from left to right in front are Board members Bruce Hermesch and Donna Zinke, STEP Board President Marceil Hasenkamp; standing in the back row is Library Director Kate Haynie, Board president Cathy Enneking, and Board member Michael Philbrick.

Kansas State Park Permits Available at Your Library

The permits are here, waiting for you to decide on a date to travel Kansas!

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has teamed up with Kansas Public Libraries to offer free park passes to library patrons. Seneca Free Library is participating so our patrons can get free one day passes to any of the 28 State Parks in Kansas. Permits are good for one day only and expire at 2:00 pm the following day. Pick up a pass, stick it on your windshield, and away you go! What a great time to explore our state! This program runs through December 31, 2022, but don’t wait that long because the number of passes will be limited. 

Kansas State Parks offer many activities. Use the link below to search for State Parks and read information about what each has to offer, its history and more.


How long is a permit good for? A permit is good for 1 [one] day in the Kansas State Parks and all permits expire the following day at 2:00 PM.

Is the permit only valid at a specific park? No, the permit is good at any Kansas State Park, so a patron could visit more than one State Park in the allotted time frame.

How does a library issue a permit? 1. A patron goes into a participating library, presents a library card, and requests a permit. 2. The librarian asks patron to SPECIFY THE DATE they will be visiting the Parks. It could be the date the permit is issued or a future date. 3. The librarian will issue a valid permit with date of park visit written on it. 4. Patron uses the permit on this date to visit Kansas State Parks. 5. Once the patron has finished with the permit or the permit has expired, the permit should be recycled or discarded. There is no need for return.