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.