Mission Valley JR/SR High School Library News

In This Newsletter...

Get the scoop on these stories.

  • Let It Snow.....
  • Library "Retires" the Circulation Desk
  • Book Clubs Meet to Discuss In Cold Blood and Al Capone Does My Shirts
  • Junior English Research Begins
  • THE BIG READ Comes to Mission Valley
  • New Books

Let It Snow, Let It Snow.......(but keep the hand sanitizer and tissues handy)

The holidays have come to a close and the winter season is in our midst. The JH/HS library is decorated to reflect the winter season with icicles, snowflakes and snowballs. Although we need the moisture, rain would be a lot safer for our drive to school. On the other hand, cold and snowy days are perfect to curl up with a blanket, a hot beverage and a good book (a crackling fire wouldn't hurt either). I hope you have time to enjoy reading this winter! Check out and to read some reviews for some great books that may peak your interests. That also might include The Great Gatsby, the BIG READ book spotlighted in February. (see story below)

Circulation Desk Has "Retired"

For any alumni reading this newsletter, the original circulation desk has been removed from the library and a new updated model added. The 1971 desk, designed for a checkout card check out system, has been replaced to accommodate the current automated library system, Alexandria. Although the library catalog has been automated for many years, the original desk was adapted to fit a desk top computer, and later a laptop version. The new desk matches the new shelving installed in the fall of 2010 and modernizes the look of the Mission Valley library.

Senior High Book Club

The Mission Valley Book Club met January 11th to discuss In Cold Blood, the non-fiction accounting of the 1959 Clutter family murders in Holcolb Kansas. Fifteen students, faculty and staff participated in the discussion. Foods that might have been popular with a rural family like the Clutters during the the late 1950's were served before the discussion began. This included strawberry gelatin, chocolate "one-bowl" vinegar cake and lemonade. The chocolate vinegar cake and its variations were commonly made from shelf staples, requiring no eggs, milk or fresh items. The recipe appears below for those who are curious and have these staple items on hand.

Vinegar Cake

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 c. sugar

1t. baking soda

½ t. salt

3 T. cocoa

1 T. vinegar

1T. vanilla extract

1 c. warm water (or coffee)

6 T. vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Mix dry ingredients together. Make a well in dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Mix well. If the batter isn’t very loose, add just a bit more warm liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get a thin batter. This will make a very moist cake.

3. Pour into an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and dust with a little more cocoa. Serves 16.

Per serving: 141 calories, 5 g fat, 0 mg chol, 1 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber, 152 mg sodium

Seventh Grade "Breaks Out" Al Capone

After reading Al Capone Does My Shirts, a young adult fiction story about a family who lived on Alcatraz Island in 1935, six students along with Mrs. Niland, Mrs. Spoon and Mrs. Converse sat down January 16th to discuss the story and the history of Alcatraz Island in the 1930's. The seventh grade book club was started by Mrs. Niland and Mrs. Spoon as a pilot project to test the interest in a book club group for junior high students. Both students and teachers participating agreed the first book club meeting was a success and they plan to continue with a second selection this spring.

Junior English Research is in Full Swing

Students in Mr. Stucky's Junior English classes have started the process to complete their research paper. Mrs. Niland, librarian, visited the classes on January 7th to review the research process and highlight the resources, both print and electronic, available in the MV Library. Resources highlighted included:

  • Print version of many titles in the Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints series
  • Kansas State Library Card access to many research databases online
  • Online access to Reader's Guide Online for periodicals, with several of the indexed titles available in the print version in our library
  • CQ Researcher, both online and print versions
  • Access through Mrs. Niland to the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library catalog and interlibrary loan through Kansas State University

Students may use most of these online databases with their home internet connections using the passwords given to them by Mrs. Niland. These sites are available through the links on the Mission Valley Home page. The rough draft of the paper is due February 15th.

Join Us For the BIG READ

The Mission Valley school community is invited to join Topeka, Wichita, other Kansas communities and other communities across America in the National Endowment for the Arts - THE BIG READ reading of F. Schoot Fitsgerald's The Great Gatsby. Follow part of Jay Gatsby's life in the 1920's in the book which was considered one of the best literary documents of the Jazz age. It was published in 1925, has about around 200-240 pages, depending on the published copy read. The Misson Valley English Department and the HS Library together have about 28 copies which will be distributed to Senior High Book Club members during February as a "Book Club Bonus" selection.

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library will host many public activities related to THE BIG READ during February including a fashion show of the 1920's clothing, speakers, book clubs, and gallery displays as well as numerous copies of The Great Gatsby available for check out for Shawnee county residents. Visit for a detailed schedule of events.

Coming soon.....details on how to use Freader, a free e-book service available through the Kansas State Library.

Contact Mrs. Niland for details if you can't wait!