Yesterday the kindergarteners from USD 347 visited the exhibits.  They saw many images of Black Sunday and listened to three stories of people remembering April 14, 1935.  Children caught in a storm were taught to hold hands, follow a fence, make protection out of tumbleweeds, and wait for help.  One story tells of how a dog safely leads some teenage boys home when they could not see.  The children thought it would have been very scary being caught in Dust Storm.  They had an opportunity to look at the pictures in the exhibit and find ones that made them feel scared of sad.  They decided they would not have liked livingK1 during the Dust Bowl days and hoped it never happens again.

Library showing of documentary

Today the library showed Parts 1 & 2 of Ken Burn’s “Dust Bowl” documentary.  It is really amazing at how the people experienced and faced all of the adversities of the drought in the 1930’s  This documentary has lots of movie footage, still photos, and interviews of people who lived through it including Kansans from Morton County.  So next Sunday, Feb. 1, if you are looking for a way to avoid the hours of pregame Super Bowl coverage, join us for Parts 3 & 4.  It will be showing from 2-4 p.m., so you can still get home for kick off at 5:30.Jan25b 002

Ken Burns “Dust Bowl” to show January 25

You are invited to the Kinsley Library on Sunday, January 25, when we will be showing parts 1 & 2 of Ken Burns’ “Dust Bowl” from 2-4 p.m.  This PBS documentary chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history.  It is being shown in conjunction with the “Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry” exhibit now on display at the library.   There are vivid interviews with more than two dozen survivors of those hard times, along with with dramatic photographs and seldom seen movie footage.  If you haven’t seem this film, It will bring to life stories of incredible human suffering and equally incredible human perseverance.

“Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry” open house was a great success today. People came from as far away as Salina. Everyone enjoyed the exhibits, the homemade cookies (thank you Friends of the Kinsley Library) and Sand Hill Plum punch. Many people took advantage of the QR codes to listen to people remembering the Dust Bowl days. (Some used their cell phones and others used library tablets.)

Just a reminder that our first “It Blew So Hard” series meeting is tomorrow, Sunday, Jan. 11 from 2-5 p.m. (The library will open at 1 p.m. for those who want to take in the exhibit first.) Dr. Leo Oliva will be providing an introduction to the Dust Bowl Era and we’ll have a reenactment of a Dust Bowl farmer by Nolan Sump. Hope to sDDDopenHouseeditDDDopenHouseEdit2ee you tomorrow at the library.



Our 2015 discussion series, “It Blew So Hard: The Dust Bowl and Great Depression in Western Kansas” is all set for you to register.  The Kansas Humanities Council awarded the library $2,705.00 in support of the series which will again be led by Dr. Leo E. Oliva.  I am really excited about the series and all of the presenters, films, oral histories, and exhibits that will be involved.
Meetings are set from 2-5 pm on Sunday afternoons: January 11, February 8, March 8, and April 12.  It is free and open to the public.  People are asked to register for the series at the Kinsley Library website or by calling (620-659-3341) or coming to the library.
I’ll be telling you a little about the series in the next few days or you can get the whole schedule with session details and additional information about presenters and suggested readings.  Why not check it out and register today!

1965 Arkansas River flood movie


Here’s a link to a 3 minute 16mm film of the Arkansas River flood in Kinsley taken from a helicopter on June 21, 1965 by Marvin Ryan.  Gizmo Pictures digitized the film for the library to archive.

It and the interview transcripts and display from the “Turning Point:  Stories of Change” premiere can all be found linked on the Kinsley Library site:

The next post will leave the world of floods and enter the world of droughts as we continue our investigation of the Dust Bowl.  The outline of the discussion series, “It Blew So Hard:  The Dust Bowl and Great Depression in Western Kansas,” winter discussion series starting January 11 will soon be posted.

Premiere a Success

The premiere went well despite a couple of technical problems (Thanks to James DuBois, we were able to get through most of them.)  We had a nice crowd and it was fun to see everyone up on the big screen.  If you missed it, we’ll have the films on the website in early December after the premieres have all happened.   You will then be able to enjoy it on the small screen.

I put together an exhibit of photos, newspaper articles, and quotations from the interviews which was unveiled at the premiere and is now on display at the library.  Visit  to view the exhibit on line.  There are also complete transcripts of the interviews made for both films online.

A big shout out to Leslie Von Holten, Program Director for the Kansas Humanities Council, who oversaw this project.  It was great to have her here yesterday.  I also want to thank Marsha Bagby, Jay Dill, and Steve Samuelson for serving on the panel.  I believe citizens got some answers to questions and at least one learned how to get documentation that would stipulate that her house was not in the floodplain.

This project gives the library an extensive file on the areas flooding.  I have enjoyed researching this historical perspective and appreciate all of the information that the local people have provided in the form of interviews, pictures, and documents.  This blog will be leaving the realm of Too Much Water to one of Not Enough Water as we proceed with our exploration into the Dust Bowl Era.  So stay tuned for more enlightenment from the Best Small Library in Kansas.  (Wamego Public Library will take over that title later this week.)



Over the years many misconceptions and resentments have been around in regard to FEMA flood regulations and flood insurance.  This Sunday after the KHC Turning Points:  Stories of Change film, the Kinsley Library is hosting a panel discussion with some experts to help us understand, work with and existence under these requirements.

SteveSamuelson  One panelist will be Steve Samuelson.  His  title is National Flood Insurance Program Specialist for the  Kansas Department of Agriculture/Division of Water Resources.  He is a Certified Floodplain Manager and has been in his current position since August of 2007. Prior to that he worked in Lyon County as Zoning Administrator and Floodplain Manager.

As the NFIPS , he provides technical support to communities with floodplain management. This usually involves helping community officials with FEMA rules and regulations, showing people how to access resources, looking at flood maps, and helping people with flood insurance problems. He also  provides training classes for community officials, surveyors, realtors and lenders.

Also on the panel will be Marsha Bagby, past Kinsley City Manager who worked hard to have some areas removed from the floodplain map and Jay Dill, the current Kinsley City Manager.

So come out for the free movies, including:  Navigating Rough Waters about Kinsley’s struggle to survive on a floodplain and “The Chickens Survived” about the 1965 Arkansas River flood going through rural Offerle.  You’ll see your friends and neighbors on the big screen and get a free bag of popcorn.  It’s all happening October 26 at 2 p.m., in the Palace Theater in downtown Kinsley.


Countdown to the Premier

This Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Palace Theater in downtown Kinsley will be the premier showing of the Kansas Humanities Council’s Turning Points:  Stories of Change featuring “Navigating Rough Waters.”  This is Kinsley’s very own story of living on the floodplain.  You won’t want to miss seeing your friends and neighbors on the big screen, enjoying the free popcorn, viewing another short film about the 1965 Arkansas River Flood in Offerle, and having your questions about FEMA regulations and Flood Insurance answered by a panel of experts.  Mark you calendar.  Navigating Rough Waters