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2022 Ellinwood Libraries Year in Review
Check it out
Sheri Holmes

Ellinwood Library staff had a year of difficult transitions, but they rose above the expectations, and our library is better for it! Our library joined a new cataloging system and every barcode on every library item continues to be changed. This also means that every item was entered into the new system. This occurred in both the Ellinwood School/Community Library and the Ellinwood Grade School Library. Library staff had a lot of training on Pathfinder throughout the year. We couldn’t have done it without all of the volunteers who came in to help, along with Michael Adamyk and the CKLS staff.

Through all of this transition, Amy Hammeke has kept our patrons updated via Facebook. You can follow us at 

She gives step-by-step directions to utilize our new system, from searching for your next favorite book to requesting your own materials. Check it out at! We also had to transition our Hoopla and Libby (eSunflower) accounts, so if you need assistance with them, come in and Julie Blakeslee will help you out.

StoryTime with Karie Gibson and Baby & Me with Treva Paden continued without a hitch. We ended last spring with our Dr. Seuss theme and began this fall with our Peanuts gang. Our facilitators plan excellent read-alouds and activities for our littles! We will be starting up again in January, so if you want to learn more about either session, stop in to check them out.

Our library enjoys collaborating with EGS PAC to provide a Family Reading Night! This year, parents, friends, cousins, grandparents, teachers, and our principal, Mr. Kahnt joined us in reading books we borrowed from CKLS Youth Services. We appreciate Heather Dombroski and all she did to make the night successful!

We host several displays throughout the year. Madisyn Schlochtermeier created our Senior Spotlight last year, and it has been continued by library student assistant, Hytomi Nuno for this year’s seniors. It is featured on our hallway bulletin board as well as in our Check It Out newspaper articles. 

St. Joseph’s School and St. John’s CDC students shared their creativity with us in February. We are very fortunate that the Twilight Stitchers Quilt Guild shared their wonderful variety of designs of quilts in our library in March! EHS art students, under the direction of Greg Maxwell, provided their 2-D and ceramic artwork in April. We closed out the school year with the artwork of our EGS students, provided by Lisa McMullen!

Melody Johnston facilitated our “Oceans of Opportunities” Summer Library Program with the assistance of Treva Paden and student volunteers Kiley Troyer, Lily Hoskins, Mahra Johnston, Heidi Brauer, Gracyn Dombroski, Brayden Robl, Grace Sturtz, Madison Dombroski, RhiAnn Dauber, and Shelby Steffan. We kicked it off with a read-aloud evening featuring Mike Westerman. Parents signed up with Julie Blakeslee, Amy Hammeke, and Monica Hammeke to use the app, Reader Zone, to track the number of books or the amount of time read by their child. Children earned prizes provided by Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Sunflower Bank, and the library as they reached their goals. Special programs were included from the Kansas Wetlands Education Center and Smoky Hills PBS. Our end of Summer Library bash was held at the Ellinwood Splash Pad. Thank you to the City of Ellinwood for allowing us to utilize their facility!

Our After Harvest Festival display was Hometown Roots, featuring memorabilia from Pop & Shop, the Opera House, Kimbo, and Dairy Queen from Ellinwood days gone by. Larry Drees once again conducted school tours after the AHF Parade. We appreciate all that Larry does to promote our community, school, and library!

The library enjoyed hosting our USD 355 New Staff Meet and Greet Chamber Coffee before the start of the school year. We also host a display of the new staff, so that our patrons, students, and staff may learn more about them.

Monica Hammeke was our first patron to receive a new library card for Pathfinder! If you have not had the opportunity to pick up your card, it’s never too late! You will then be able to check out books/library materials from any of the member libraries!

In September, Jefferson Knapp was the author the library hosted for our EGS and St. Joseph’s students. He shared his adventures of becoming an author. His books are available for checkout at Ellinwood Libraries. We also had the privilege of visiting with State Librarian Ray Walling to see how the State Library of Kansas may continue to support public and school libraries!

There were many highlights to this year, including our Q&A session with Mildred Schindler Janzen, author of “Surviving Hitler, Evading Stalin.” Her daughter, Karen Van Allen, and cousin, Margaret Wilkens joined her for our presentation. We appreciate their time and sharing their story! Thanks also to the Ellinwood Historical Society and Museum of Ellinwood for providing the wonderful breakfast!

Providing the “50 Years of Ellinwood High School Musicals” display of costumes, props, and playbills from the 1970s-2020s was so much fun! We couldn’t have accomplished this display without Mike Westerman, Leon Sobba, Allison Ricker, Lily Hoskins, and Hytomi Nuno! Thank you to the Ellinwood Chamber for allowing us to host the coffee where cast members of the “Beauty and the Beast” musical performed a few songs. The conversations of the memories of days gone by were the best!

Mandy Kern from the Kansas Wetlands Education Center came to EGS to share her book “Ava: A year in the life of an American Avocet” with our students. She also challenged them to build a nest. This was a great opportunity for them!

Gingerbread houses provided by the EHS KAY Club, green screen photos, and a movie are always great ways to be involved in Christkindlmarket! We had a wonderful turn out for this community celebration!

As you have read, our community comes together to support our library and each other. We had to do this in a difficult way for one of our past Children’s Librarians, Michele Martin, as she, her family, our school, and community had to lay to rest Michele and Casey’s son, Tate. Tate will always hold a special place in our hearts! We continue prayers for their family, as well as for Trace Ritterhouse and his family. Trace is in the hospital in Wichita.

It has been a year of change for all of us! We invite you all to come in and see what the library has to offer you!

Sheri Holmes is the director of library and media services for the Ellinwood School and Community Libraries. She can be reached by email at