Archive for Thursday, January 19, 2006

Library, Ben Franklin mark anniversaries

January 19, 2006

Because Benjamin Franklin started the first lending library, it was fitting for him to visit Lansing Community Library on Tuesday to celebrate the library's eighth anniversary and the 300th anniversary of Franklin's birthday.

There was no seance to bring Franklin to life; instead, he was represented by Frederick Krebs, a humanities professor at Johnson County Community College.

Krebs, speaking in character as Franklin and dressed the part in knee pants, a ruffled shirt and a three-point hat, talked about Franklin's life, accomplishments and personal philosophy.

Franklin loved to read, and his father borrowed books for him from many people, Krebs said. He did not have much formal education, but he had two apprenticeships: the first was to his father, making soap; later, he worked for his brother, who had started a newspaper in Boston. As a young teen, Franklin began writing opinion letters to the paper under the false name of Silence Dogood. Publishing the letters eventually got his brother thrown in jail and fined for one that suggested the royal governor of New Jersey was embezzling, Krebs said.

Franklin later moved to Philadelphia and started his own newspaper, the Philadelphia Gazette. He also published Poor Richard's Almanack, which Krebs said earned a reputation for the accuracy of the tide and weather forecasts.

"Then people began to like my sayings," Krebs said as Franklin. About one-fourth of Franklin's sayings were original, Krebs said, such as "Haste makes waste" and "Fish and visitors both smell after three days."

Franklin lived into his 80s in an era when most men died in their 50s, Krebs said. Franklin followed a philosophy of three V's - vegetarianism, ventilation and virtue - which he thought kept him healthy for so long, Krebs said.

Krebs said he had been representing historical figures for the Kansas Humanities Council since 1985. He researched Franklin by reading Franklin's autobiography and other major biographies, as well as back copies of Poor Richard's Almanack and other published works of Franklin. Krebs said he had four to five hours worth of lecture material on Franklin.

Rose Anne Sachse of Leavenworth was one of about 30 people who attended.

"I thought he was very good," she said.

Grace Uhart, Leavenworth, said she also enjoyed Franklin.

"It's wonderful that the libraries have these," she said. "Keeps the mind stimulated."

After the lecture, City Clerk Karen Logan announced that the library had several books about Franklin available if patrons were interested.

In its eighth year, the library is scheduled to begin more adult education classes, said librarian Darlene Dean. The library already has started a new story time for children at 3:30 p.m. Thursdays, and its hours expanded this year.

The first of the adult education courses will cover tax preparation. Volunteers will be at the library at specified times Jan. 23 through April 13 to help people E-file their taxes. Sessions will be 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays.

Lansing Community Library

Calendar of Events

All year

Story time for preschoolers, 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays

After-school story time, 3:30 p.m. Thursdays


Income tax e-filing assistance, 3 p.m. 5 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 4 p.m. 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. noon Wednesdays, Jan. 23 April 13


Reading logs for the winter reading program are due Jan. 31. Prizes will be distributed at the library's Family Night, 6 p.m. Feb. 15. Participants receive free books based upon the number of pages read during the program, which started in November.


Celebrate Seuss Family Night, 6 p.m. Feb. 15. Participants will Celebrate Seuss with games, activities and trivia. The theme is in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, whose 102 birthday would be March 2.


Springo! reading program will run March 1-31. To participate, register at the library during March and receive a Springo! Bingo card. Read books to complete the spaces and get prizes for each bingo.

Book Bingo Family Night, 6 p.m. March 15


William Allen White Ice Cream Party, 3:30 p.m. April 4. The William Allen White Book Award winner is determined by the votes of third- through eighth-grade students throughout Kansas. Lansing third- through eighth-graders who have read at least three of the 2006 award nominees may come to the party to vote. Nominees are on display at the library.


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