Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The State Library of Kansas

Of all the state and federal agencies that we've covered on this blog, we've neglected to familiarize you with our own, the State Library of Kansas.

What is the State Library of Kansas (SLK)?
The State Library was founded on the basis of the Kansas Territorial Library first funded in 1855. In 1863 the Kansas Legislature made the first appropriations of $2,000 to establish the Kansas State Library. The initial annual salary of the State Librarian was $500. At this time, the State Library was housed in a room in the East wing of the Capitol. In 1900 the State Library was moved to its current site in the North Wing on the third floor of the Capitol.

The State Library’s services have changed and adapted as Kansans' needs have changed. In 1889, the State Library began a traveling library service to serve rural Kansans. In 1964, a system of grants was developed to assist rural libraries. The needs of individuals with low vision are met through the Kansas Talking Books service, begun in the early 1970s. A service to help Kansans obtain important U.S. and Kansas census information began in 1980. The State Library continues to serve the needs of state agencies, legislators, and the general public and will continue to evolve.

Our Mission
In service to Kansas libraries, residents, and government, the State Library of Kansas:

Collects and shares resources and government information;
Delivers information and solutions;
Educates librarians and trustees:
Promotes literacy and reading for everyone; and
Advocates for open and equitable access, intellectual freedom and excellence in library services and support.

Learn more about us and our programs at

Briefly: what does SLK have and what do they do?

Search SLK's holdings:

Services and Programs of the State Library:
-Audiobooks, Music and More- website which allows Kansas residents to download audiobooks, ebooks and music to their computers or mobile devices
-online statewide databases- available to all Kansas residents
-In-house research databases- available to visiting patrons
-Talking books services- audio books and devices available to those with low vision or reading disabilities, braille services
-Reference Services
-Kansas Reads to Preschoolers
-Homework Kansas- free online tutoring for Kansas residents K-college
-Grants and funding to local public libraries
-Continuing education for public librarians and library trustees
-Interlibrary Loan
-Library and Trustee Certification
-Letters about Literature
-Kansas Notable Books
-Marketing assistance for libraries

Who does SLK serve?
Namely: YOU! Our patrons also consist of legislators and state government agencies.

Article contact: Kim Harp

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beat the Heat!

Cole Porter put it best, "It's too darn hot!"

As this oppressive heat wave continues we are hearing news stories of tragic deaths associated with the weather. The elderly, children, athletes, joggers, pets and agricultural animals... All are affected by extreme heat.

Below are links to some resources on beating the heat, staying hydrated and taking heed of the signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion:

State Officials Urge Precautions Against Heat
(From, The Wichita Eagle)

Current Watches, Warnings and Advisories for Kansas
(List of Active Alerts by County provided by the National Weather Service)

National Heat Warnings
(From the National Weather Service)

Heat: a Major Killer
(From the National Weather Service)

Heat Index (Apparent Temperature) Chart
(From the National Weather Service)

Heat Stroke, Children and Cars
(From Safe

Hot Weather and Vehicles
(Pamphlet from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment)

The Heat Is On!
(Ways in which you can beat the heat in order to protect yourself under hot conditions from Texas A&M University)

Cool Tips for Beating the Heat
(From Kansas Department of Health and Environment)

Precautions for Heat-Related Illness
(From Kansas Department of Health and Environment)

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
(From K-State Research and Extension)

Hot Weather, Dogs and Outdoor Activities
(From Kansas State University News Services)

Heat-Related Animal Calls on the Rise
(From The Lawrence Journal World)

Extreme Heat and Kansas Cattle
(From The Kansas City Star)

Article contact: Bill Sowers
(Check out recent additions to our collection)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Have you registered to vote yet?

It's time to start thinking about the August 3, 2010 primary election. Primary elections decide which candidate will be on the general election ballot for each party. The deadline to register to vote for the August Primary is Monday, July 19, 2010. You still have time to get out there and register.

Where can I register?
Libraries, many banks, some grocery stores, while getting your drivers license, Online

Step 1. To find your district for Congressional leaders, State Board of Education, and state officials, go to . Type in your address and your current elected officials will pop up, as well as your districts.

Step 2. Once you know your districts you can find out who is running foroffice in your districts at the Secretary of State’s candidate list at:

Step 3. To find out where you need to go to vote, contact your county election office. A list of offices and their phone numbers is available from the Secretary of State’s website at:

Another way is to access your personal voter registration information. This will name your polling site. You can find that at:

Step 4. Be sure to mark August 3 on your calendar! If you would like to vote in advance, follow the steps provided at:

*For more information on registering to vote and advanced voting go to

Article contact: Kim Harp

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kansas Wheat

"Wheat was and is the crop of first importance. It is the backbone of our economy and has made Kansas famous around the world." --Erich Freuhauf (KSHS Wheat in Kansas Lesson Plan)

The Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reported today that 84 percent of the wheat acreage in our state had been cut before rains over the July 4th weekend shut down the harvest.

Besides the nickname, "The Sunflower State," Kansas is also known as "The Wheat State" or "The Breadbasket of the World." About 25 percent of the U.S. hard red winter wheat harvest is grown in Kansas.

"Nearly one-fifth of all wheat grown in the United States is grown in Kansas. Kansas ranks first in the nation in flour milling, wheat gluten production and wheat stored. Roughly one-third of Kansas' 63,000 farmers grow wheat. Normally, Kansas farmers produce about 400 million bushels of wheat a year, with a production value that hovers around $1 billion." [from: Kansas Dept. of Agriculture]

Wheat is a vital part of our economy, culture and history. Below are links to information on Kansas wheat provided by various state and federal agencies.

Kansas Wheat Commission
(The Kansas Wheat Commission is a grower-funded, grower-governed wheat products advocacy organization)
Their site includes:
--Educational Materials
--Information for Buyers and Processors
--Information for Consumers
--Information for Wheat Producers
--Just For Kids
--Kansas Bakeries Directory
--Kansas Wheat Blog
--Online Videos
--Photo Gallery
--Straw Art
--Wheat Facts
--Wheat Mania: All About Wheat

Wheat Page
(Kansas State University Research and Extension)

Wheat People: Celebrating Kansas Harvest
(An online exhibit provided by the Kansas State Historical Society)

Kansas Memory: Wheat
(Digitized primary sources provided by the Kansas State Historical Society)

Kansas Wheat History (2009 publication by Kansas Agricultural Statistics cooperating with the Kansas Dept. of Agriculture)

Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas
(A transcription of a 1944 history of wheat in Kansas agriculture written by James C. Malin)

Kansas Wheat (FaceBook)
(A FaceBook page that promotes wheat growing and growers in the Sunflower State)

Article contact: Bill Sowers
(Check out recent additions to our collection)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kansas Lakes

Photo by Ian Kluft 2009
Happy Fourth of July to all! Many Kansans will be headed out to various Kansas lakes and reservoirs to enjoy a day on the water and some quality fireworks. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks teamed up with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide beautiful lakes across Kansas for water control, drinking, fishing, camping and pure entertainment. More than 150 lakes, 10,000 stream miles, and 55,000 ponds make the state attractive to boaters of many types. Most of the lakes are well-served by public access facilities and provide excellent opportunities for anglers, swimmers, skiers, sailboaters, powerboaters, canoeists and others. In addition to firework displays at many state parks, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has planned a number of special park events. Fishing tournaments continue as a favorite summer pastime, while other events — including a veterans reunion at El Dorado State Park, a sand castle contest at Lovewell, boat races at Kanopolis, and a trail run at Perry — make state park visits a July treat.

Find a map of state parks and contact information at:

Find a list of all lakes in Kansas and the US Army Corps of Engineers parks:

Find a map of where you can put your boat in:

Going fishing this weekend? Find out the best fishing holes:

Check your catch against the record holders:

Make sure you're fishing in accordance with state regulations:

Don't forget to bring a few dollars to pay park fees and/or permits:

And don't forget to register your boat!

On Monday, be sure to wash out your boats to prevent zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species from migrating:

Article contact: Kim Harp