Mid-Continent libraries provide more than books these days

Did you know you could publish your own book at the library? Or check out a tie from the “tie-brary?” Libraries offer more than books these days.

The Espresso Book Machine can publish your book in a matter of minutes

What do you need? The library probably has it

By Jill Draper

Libraries provide a lot more than books these days, and the Mid-Continent Public Library system is no exception. Some branches loan out fishing poles and puzzles, while one (Blue Ridge) even has a “Tie-brary” so users can check out ties for special occasions or job interviews.

Here are some of the most popular offerings:

Publish your own book

Have you written a cookbook, novel, family history or collection of poems? You can become a published author by visiting the MCPL Story Center at 8900 NE Flintlock Rd. near Liberty. That’s where you’ll find the Espresso Book Machine, a state-of-the-art device that prints, binds and trims a paperback book in minutes. It’s not free, but the price is reasonable—the library charges a flat fee of $10 plus 5 cents per page and local sales tax (for example, a 100-page book would cost $16.37). You can also submit a copy of your book to the MCPL Collection Development Department to see if it meets their interest.

You’ll want to make a self-publishing appointment by calling the Story Center at 816-883-4774 or by emailing DBurns@mymcpl.org. Publication manager Dave Burns will guide you through the process, or  you can attend a workshop on Monday, Aug. 26 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Woodneath Library Center to learn more about formatting, layout and printing options. Registration is required.

Record family or community stories

Do you have a family reunion coming up, or an older relative willing to chat? Make a recording of family and community stories with the help of a trained oral history technician. Because oral history is an important part of genealogy and local history, this free program is managed by the Midwest Genealogy Center at 3440 S. Lee’s Summit Rd. in Independence. Make an appointment by calling 816-252-7228.

For those who are homebound, the library system also loans out kits—each comes with a recording device, instructions and sample questions if you need help getting the conversation started. Suggestions include focusing on broad themes like seasons, work, pets, school days, fun and games, etc.

Early literacy games

Young kids can learn while they play a variety of board games available for checkout. For example, Dress Up teaches words for the things we wear, and Play Action emphasizes acting and listening skills. Other games focus on learning shapes, the alphabet, counting, colors, critters, patterns, and identifying objects and recalling them. Most games come in a zip-up case and can be requested from any library branch.

Online magazines

You can read more than 200 online magazines on subjects ranging from art, crafts, travel, food, science, sports, business news and more. There are various ways to access these. One way: go to mymcpl.org and select the Research & Learning tab, then enter either RBdigital magazines or Flipster and browse through their offerings. If you’re looking for Consumer Reports, enter that title directly in the search bar after selecting the Research & Learning tab. If you have trouble, call any library branch and a staff member can talk you through the process.

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