Rolling Hills Consolidated Library

Library Updates

Halloween parties in works; costumes sought

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The library is preparing for its annual Halloween parties, and part of the festivities include giving away gently-worn costumes that youths can keep for their own trick-or-treating.

The Belt Branch will stage Boofest from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28. Kids of all ages can enjoy safe trick-or-treating, games and crafts. The Kiwanis Club will serve a free hot-dog lunch to the first 200 children.

Youths who don’t have costumes can visit “Uncle Fester’s Closet” to pick out free costumes they can wear to Boofest and keep to wear on Halloween. The free giveaway features gently used and some new costumes and costume pieces that have been donated to the library. The closet opens at 10:30 a.m. and will be open throughout the party.

Costumes — either complete sets or parts such as fairy wings and astronaut gloves — can be donated until Oct. 28 at the Belt Branch or the Savannah Branch.

The Savannah Branch will have its Halloween open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, with safe trick-or-treating, Halloween stories and a treasure hunt in the library stacks. Library staff will pass out treats to children until the library closes at 8 p.m.

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Volunteer Opportunity

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Volunteers are needed to help staff The Amazing Castle™ exhibit in the Belt Branch Upper Story now through Jan. 5. Volunteers would act as greeters and monitor activity inside the exhibit. Individuals and civic organizations are invited to apply by contacting Hans Bremer at 205-7125.

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Children will learn while playing at castle exhibit

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The latest traveling exhibit coming to the Belt Branch Upper Story will transport children and families to a magical place and time – inside a castle’s stone walls where a peaceful community exists and everyone has a special job to do.

Opening Friday, Sept. 22, and continuing through Jan. 5, 2018, The Amazing Castle™ is designed for families and school groups with children ages 2 to 8 years old but can be enjoyed by all ages.

The free exhibit will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Thursdays; and 1-5 p.m. Sundays in the Upper Story, 1906A N. Belt, which is upstairs from the Belt Branch. A grand opening is planned for 5-7 p.m. Sept. 22, and other special programs are being planned in conjunction with the exhibit.

“We are happy to present this early-learning experience for our community and think children and families will be delighted with it,” Rolling Hills Library Director Michelle Mears said. “It also will be a great learning experience that day-care centers and schools can visit.”

The exhibit features eight themed areas where children can don costumes and engage in role-playing by becoming lords and ladies, villagers and even a court jester. Visitors can try their hands in royal workshops where a blacksmith, tailor, gardener, cook and others work and visit a tower where a sleeping dragon resides.

Upon entering the castle, visitors will find graphic panels that introduce Lord Ben and Lady Evolent and the castle community. A large book that tells the castle’s story is nearby for visitors to read.

Children can play with a castle-inspired dollhouse and build their own fortress out of “stone” blocks. Friends and family can take a seat at the royal table in the Great Hall while children prepare a meal using food from the royal pantry and garden. Then they can become castle entertainers in the royal puppet theater and dress up in costumes to model in a distorted mirror.

Before they leave, children can try to wake Herald the Dragon, who has important announcements to make but keeps falling asleep.

No matter if they visit once or many times, each trip through The Amazing Castle™ will be a unique learning experience. The exhibit was created by the Minnesota Children’s Museum with funding from Curtis and Marjorie Nelson and The Curtis L. Carlson Family Foundation.

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Library programs taking hiatus in August, Sept.

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Just like it’s difficult for a mechanic to work on a car while it’s going down the road, it’s not easy for librarians to evaluate and improve the programs they offer to the public while still putting on multiple events every week.

That’s why Rolling Hills Library is taking a programming break in August and September. Except for two eclipse programs on Aug. 19, the library will not offer public programs from Aug. 1 until mid-September.

“A lot of stuff happens in a public library that the public never sees,” Library Director Michelle Mears says. “When it comes to programs, the people who attend usually don’t know how much time and effort goes into planning and preparing for them. Right now, our programs are relatively successful, with adequate attendance and good reviews from patrons.”

The break will be used to gather information, to discuss ideas and to make plans for improving programs. The library is updating its strategic plan and wants to align programs with that plan and is also considering how to take programs outside the normal space of the library.

“Taking this short break will give us the time we need to become more efficient and to offer even more creative and meaningful programs to our patrons,” Mears says.

Programs will return in mid-September with the opening of a traveling exhibit for children and families in the Belt Branch Upper Story. “The Amazing Castle” is an early-learning exhibit from the Minnesota Children’s Museum that allows children to play in a medieval setting with costumes and props to learn about communities and enhance their imaginative play.

The exhibit will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from Sept. 22 through Jan. 5 for families, daycare centers and schools to visit. Other library programming, such as Storytimes and reading groups, will resume the week of Sept. 24.

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Eclipse programs planned for Aug. 19 at Belt Branch

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To prepare patrons for the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, we will be handing out free eclipse glasses in August and will have two programs to help explain and prepare for the celestial event.

The glasses will be available at the Belt Branch, the Savannah Branch and from the Bookmobile beginning Aug. 1 and will be distributed in limited amounts.

The free programs are planned for Saturday, Aug. 19, in the Belt Branch Upper Story.

At 11 a.m., Mad Science of Kansas City will present an interactive program for kids about space using several booths to teach about the sun, moon, stars, planets and atmosphere. Kids also will make pin-hole viewers to use for safely watching the eclipse.

At 2 p.m., retired Northwest Missouri State University physics professor Dr. John Shaw will present “The Nature of Solar Eclipses,” discussing how eclipses occur and offering tips for viewing the celestial event.

On Aug. 21, the Belt Branch will begin showing a short documentary about eclipse chasers at 10 a.m. in the Community Room and repeat the video throughout the day. The main areas of the Belt and Savannah branches will be closed 12:30-1:30 p.m. so staff and patrons can be outside to view the eclipse totality that begins at 1:06 p.m. Library lobbies will remain open to provide restrooms and cool places for patrons to relax.




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Sign-up starts May 15 for 2017 Summer Reading

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A juggler, birds of prey, science experiments, fun music and one exuberant snake handler are just some of the highlights of a packed calendar of activities for the 2017 Summer Reading Program at Rolling Hills Library.

“Build a Better World” is the theme of the annual reading extravaganza for youths and adults from June 5 through July 28. Participants will win prizes for reading, with the grand prize being three $100 Walmart gift cards.

Sign-up begins May 15 at the Belt Branch, Savannah Branch and Bookmobile. Participants will set their own reading goals for the number of pages, minutes or books read and keep track of their progress on reading logs.

A four-page calendar brochure also will help them keep track of the many programs and events being offered. The events can be found online at

The summer gets off to a flying start on Monday, June 5, when Operation Wildlife, a wild animal rescue and rehabilitation organization from Linwood, Kan., presents a program about raptors and brings live birds to the library. The presentations are set for 11 a.m. in the Belt Branch Upper Story and 2 p.m. at the Savannah Branch.

Other major events include Touch-a-Truck events on June 12, juggler Brian Wendling on June 19, Mad Science of Kansas City on June 26, singer Rockin’ Rob on July 10 and reptile handler Serengeti Steve on July 24.

Rolling Hills will be going out to the ol’ ballpark on Friday, June 9, when we set up a table at the St. Joseph Mustangs game at Phil Welch Stadium to sign up fans for the Summer Reading Program and library cards. Fans who show their library cards will be able to play Plinko to win prizes.

Teens and adults have their own programs during the summer. Some of the events planned for teens include craft classes, a kite class, a cooking class and a book discussion for the novel “The Last Light.” Adult events include nights for playing mahjongg or chess and checkers, board game nights and a computer class for creating personal websites.

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Friends taking bus trip to Independence

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The Friends of the Library are planning a motor coach tour to Independence, Mo., on May 8 to visit several historic sites, including the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library.

Truman was born May 8 in Lamar, Mo., and moved to Independence with his family when he was 6 years old. He would call Independence his hometown for the rest of his life.

The daylong trip will leave from the Belt Branch at 8:30 a.m. and return at 6 p.m. Other stops in Independence include the 1859 Old Jail, Marshal’s Home and Museum, the National Frontier Trails Museum and lunch at the Italian restaurant Café Verona. The day will end with a glass of wine at the Top Hat Winery.

The trip, which is a fundraising project for the Friends, costs $125 per person and covers museum fees, lunch, wine tasting, luxury motor coach transportation and driver gratuity.

Registration forms can be picked up at the Belt and Savannah branches as well as at Books Revisited. The deadline to sign up and submit full payment is Friday, April 28. Participants can pay in person at Books Revisited or mail in their payments to Friends of the Library, 1912 N. Bely, St. Joseph, MO 64506.


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It’s tax time, and library can help with 2016 forms

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If you need help in filing your 2016 state and federal income taxes, the library can provide some assistance.

We have federal forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ and their instruction booklets for you to take home. We also have three-ring notebooks that contain instruction booklets and tax forms that you can check out for one week. Check their availability status in the library catalog or ask at the front desk of either branch.

Three-ring notebooks for Missouri income tax forms also are available for you to MAKE COPIES FROM. Available forms include MO-1040, 1040A, 1040P and a variety of others.

If you would like personal assistance in preparing your tax forms, AARP provides free preparation help at several locations in northwest Missouri, including the Belt Branch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays from through April 11. Please call (816) 809-2975 to schedule an appointment. More information is available at

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs also are offering free tax help for taxpayers who qualify. Sites include InterServe RSVP, 200 Cherokee St., in St. Joseph through April 15 (call 816-238-4511 to make appointments) and Andrew County RSVP, 12737 State Route E, in Savannah through April 11 (call 816-324-5634 to make appointments).

If you want to prepare your taxes yourself, you have a couple of options:

  • You can download and print forms using your computer. Federal forms are available at and Missouri state forms can be found at Use the search box at the top of either page to find the form you need. If you don’t have a home computer, use one of our public computers or ask a librarian for help. Prints cost 15 cents per page at the library.
  • Order paper forms to be sent to your home. Visit or call 1-800-829-3676 to request paper copies of federal forms. For Missouri forms, call 1-800-877-6881.
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Savannah Branch will reopen Feb. 18

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More time is needed to complete the remodeling project of the Savannah Branch, so the grand reopening is being rescheduled to Saturday, Feb. 18.

The branch has been closed since Jan. 7, and the original plan for the project was to reopen on Saturday, Feb. 11. The day-long open house will begin now at 10 a.m. Feb. 18.

The extra time is needed for construction work, carpet cleaning and moving all 60,000 items in the Savannah collection into their new locations, library Director Michelle Mears said.

The remodeling will flip the library’s floor plan, moving youth materials to the north side of the building and the adult materials to the south side. Two new study rooms are being added along with a designated teen area. A new Circulation Desk is being built along with a permanent wall between the Community Room and the library.

During the remodeling, the Bookmobile will be parked at the Savannah Branch from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and 3 to 5 p.m. Thursdays to serve patrons. Patrons can pick up items they have placed holds on at the Bookmobile.

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  • Hours

    Belt Branch

    M-Thu 9am-9pm
    F-Sat 9am-6pm
    Sun 1pm-5pm

    Savannah Branch

    M, W, F 9am-6pm
    T, Thu 9am-8pm
    Sat 9am-5pm
    Sun 1pm-5pm

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    Belt 816.232.5479
    Savannah 816.324.4569
    Bookmobile 816.205.7100
    Admin Offices 816.236.2106


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