County Library Continues to Evolve


How can 3,150 square feet provide so much to a community? It takes ingenuity, tenacity, and funding. And a dedicated Library Director. 

Stop by the Hamilton County Library and you will find a multitude of people from all walks of life and all ages patronizing this welcoming establishment. Smiling, joyful readers walk out with a book in their hand, research completed, or happy they found a local wifi spot. In fact the library has so many programs and opportunities for the community - from grabbing tax forms to children’s programming to high school student groups. 

Amy Brucker, Hamilton County Library Director, is filled with excitement to show off the new furniture bought with grant money. There are modern movable, adaptable, and cleanable chairs, and work stations that come with potential power ports. 

The State Library of Kansas offered the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Grant to all public libraries in Kansas. Libraries could apply for up to $25,000 for the purpose of responding directly and immediately to the pandemic, as related to economic and community needs through equitable approaches. The library was awarded $24,941 in grant money, with the remaining cost of the furniture ($2,188.11) coming from the library’s General Fund.

 Brucker commented, “The grant had to be covid related to qualify. Thankfully we had the generous Sparks funding to  the county that helped fund laptops and mifi units (MiFi is a small portable router that acts as a mobile hotspot for any of your devices (cellphone, tablet, etc.). to connect to Wi-Fi instead of cellular data.). So we pursued the furniture route.” 

Brucker applied in July 2021 for the grant and received word in September they had received the monies needed.

She contacted Jessie Hinkley with Total Office Solutions out of Colorado Springs who designed the Circulation Desk. Hinkley is certified in selling furniture to meet pandemic concerns. She completed a Global Biorisk Advisory Council Fundamentals Training Course with an emphasis on SARS-CoV-2/COVID 19 as the grant was released.

The library works hard to adapt to its needs. These new movable and adaptable pieces of furniture can help with spacing issues. But overall the library is fast outgrowing it’s facility. 

There is no on site storage. Many need space to use their laptops. People passing through Syracuse use the library as a work station. An attorney comes in often and uses the area as an office.  But it is not conducive to privacy. 

 One of Brucker’s hopes is to eventually have a community room and private small stations to allow for the many different privacy needs that often come in simultaneously. 

“We often have an attorney come in at the exact time a class is in checking out books as well as a child services meeting. “

The furniture can help with the varying groups that utilize the library. Children’s programs such as the well attended summer reading program and library camps, school checkouts weekly, storytime on Wednesdays,  Dolly Parton’s Imagination library,  1000 books before Kindergarten, and the two high school groups - the Library Leadership group and SAFE  all have different spacial needs.

Both students and adults can take advantage of the Wonder Book collection  that helps those learning English with books that read to you as you follow along.

Adults have access to interlibrary loan books, great new titles, and reading challenges specifically for them.   The library also offers assistance with the State Library Card and Resources (CloudLibrary, Mango Languages, etc).

In addition, it’s the place to go for free wireless connectivity. 

The Hamilton County Library moved from the basement of the courthouse in 1979. The county jail stood in its place. 

And it’s no wonder the floor coverings are worn. In 2021 alone, there were 519 class visits from USD 494 meaning they had  11,656 student interactions

The library hosted 18 special events with 396 in participation for children Age 6-11, 16 summer library programs, birth to 11, 297 in attendance. They hosted 42 story times, 

Other interesting library statistics include an average  6,000 unique computer use sessions annually (recent stats are hard since they were closed/limited hours for 2020 and some of 2021.

They average 15,000 wireless sessions annually.and 30,000 visitors to the library annually (for all purposes).

Nikki Schwerdfeger shares the joy of the library in her family memories and her life, “The Hamilton County Library is one of the shining jewels of our county.  Long before the computers and school children, the Library was an integral part of my family.  Burge was an avid reader and used the inter library loan system (before internet reading services) often.  For me, it was a wonderful, peaceful place to wait for appointments for children at after school practice or  before sports events.  The children’s section was my boys favorite place growing up as there was never a shortage of materials to keep them occupied.  It has also been my choice of memorials to our friends and neighbors at their passing.

Amy, and Joyce (Armstrong) before her, have been great stewards of the minds of our readers and I congratulate Amy for the many awards she has won for our County Library System.  Within the limited walls, so many of our children have found a place of learning and entertainment and I hope that at some time soon, the building’s footprint can be expanded to meet the demands of the future.”

So head over to the Hamilton County Library where there is something for everyone!




















Omicron Variant in Hamilton County

On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, the KDHE announced that as of February 1, 2022, COVID-19 contact outreach and monitoring would be discontinued. The KDHE contact tracing staff will be reassigned to contact investigations.  The letter added that individuals who are positive... [More]


Where Are They Now? Roxie Yonkey

Dr. Erol Ozan, an information technology professor and author, understood how life’s journey is often richer through the unscripted and unplanned moments and destinations that seem like lost moments when he was quoted saying, “Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered... [More]


JL Farms Wins State and District Awards

As a farmer, being a good steward of the land is one of the most important responsibilities. This term is often used in conservation circles, but some people may not even realize what that term means. Simply, a steward is a person whose job is to manage or look after the land... [More]

High Impact Intense Wind Wednesday

Wind gusts from 75-85 mph possible. Please take precautions! From the US National Weather Service in Dodge City - ...High Impact Intense Wind Wednesday... Here is the timeline for the expected windstorm on Wednesday. South winds will remain elevated and gusty Tuesday night... [More]


Syracuse's Parade of Lights

Majestic, fabulous, magical are a few words to describe the setting for the annual City of Syracuse’s Parade of Lights on Wednesday, December 1 on Main Street and the annual appearance of Santa at the Hamilton County Library.  Keeping with a long-standing tradition,... [More]


Hamilton County Hospital Lab personnel shortage addressed

The Hamilton County Hospital is reporting a shortage of lab personnel, which is compounded by a severe nationwide shortage of experienced lab technicians.  This shortage has resulted in a delay in their ability to quickly obtain certain lab values.  As a result, the... [More]


Four Shine In High School Ag Programs

Handicapped platforms have recently been added to the seating area at the Herndon Gym, thanks to four high school seniors, Yriel Ibarra, Keith Hedberg, Jaden Grilliot, Connor Ochs. Superintendent Paul Larkin explained the project was brought about with input from someone who... [More]

Kansas contractors offer college scholarships for students in construction-related programs

Kansas contractors offer college scholarships for students in construction-related programs ELIGIBILITY INCLUDES TECHNICAL, COMMUNITY AND FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE PROGRAMS The Kansas Contractors Association is now accepting scholarship applications from students interested in the construction... [More]

More News


Look for a new angle

A social media challenge is going on. It’s called the “ten year challenge”. There is that little nagging suspicion that this is in part a ploy to get people to post pictures so their facial recognition software can be up to date. However my initial thought... [More]

Let's Be Careful Out There

Many years ago I took a fun, impromptu weekend trip to Los Angeles. I convinced a friend to join me. We got off the plane, rented a convertible and decided to let loose. We stopped to eat, threw our bags in the trunk of the convertible, and walked across the street to the restaurant.... [More]

Great Expectations

It’s the end of 2021 and there is a strong possibility of snow on New Year’s Eve. I can’t think of a better way to end the year than with hope and moisture. Some people may say it won’t happen. The odds are in their favor honestly as we live in a very... [More]

Christmas Spirit

It’s here! It’s Christmas! It’s the birth of Jesus. It’s when astrologers and farm animals treated Jesus better than religious people. It’s lights, music and people giving. And I am NOT in the Spirit right now. I prayed, I have given. I have... [More]

Don't forget your raisin'

Don’t forget your raisin’. I laugh because when I first heard this, I thought what do raisins have to do with the storyline of the show I was watching - Country Music by Ken Burns. Then I got it. Don’t forget where you come from. I remember growing up... [More]

The Gift of Today

There’s never enough time! Look at the obituary section. No one escapes. Young and old pass on, all before their time. I have hopes and dreams for my family and myself.  I look back at when I was young and single and making disastrous life choices that led me into... [More]

Petty Thoughts

I am the first to admit, I can get irritated with everyone from my family to people in town. Maybe they commented on something on social media I didn’t care for or maybe I didn’t love a look they gave me. Maybe they said something without thinking or I did. Maybe... [More]

Thankfulness - Something we work at.

 Here we are, Thanksgiving! And then Christmas and then New Years. Whew I am tired already! LOL Thanksgiving - a time to be thankful, a time for gratitude. I like how in Spanish it is Dia del accion de gracias, the action of thanks.  To me it says thankfulness is... [More]

More Opinions




The Lady Bulldogs were undefeated during the Border Wars, defeating Eads on Friday, 42-7 and Walsh on Saturday 62-5, bringing their record to 3-1. But the winner wasn’t announced until Tuesday evening. Syracuse Athletic Director Josh Johnson explained, “It came down... [More]


JH Basketball Season Underway with JH Boys sweeping Lakin

Monday night at home at the Herndon Gym, the Junior High boys swept Lakin! Head coach Vance Keller said, “We’re a young team with only six eighth graders and 12 seventh graders. We’ve had six total that started the season with injuries so we haven’t had... [More]


Senior Night Volleyball

Three Syracuse High School volleyball seniors were honored on Tuesday, October 5, during the volleyball tournament at Syracuse.  Kaetlin Thomeczek, daughter of Joe and Dami Thomeczek has played volleyball since the third grade, playing with Syracuse Youth Activities Association... [More]


HS Track

Head coach Steve Navarro said, “The coaching staff has really enjoyed working with this group of kids this year. They have been putting in hard work despite some less than stellar conditions for practice and meets. We are excited to see what they can do now that we are... [More]



Baseball: The Bulldogs faced the Goodland Cowboys at home on Thursday, April 8, losing game one, 2-22 and game two, 1-17. Head Coach Dustin Doze said the Bulldogs really struggled throwing strikes again and they had too many errors. We need to clean things up if we want to... [More]


Spring Sports Start

One year ago, athletes and coaches were beginning practice for their spring sport, some practicing during spring break, others enjoying the break from school. Soon they found out their break was extended a week, some with great joy, others with apprehension. Then came the unfortunate... [More]



Substate began and ended quickly but these Varsity teams left it all out on the court. In heartbreaking last second baskets, our basketball season was over. The boys lost by two points in the last five seconds and the girls lost by three. A wrap up of the season will come in... [More]



The SHS Bulldogs faced the 4-A Holcomb Longhorns for the final home game of the season, with the varsity teams unable to win. The boys will be the number three seed in first sub state match up at home, Monday, March 1, against the number 6 seed, Stanton County. This will be the... [More]

More Sports



Richard L. James

Richard L. James died quietly in his sleep on January 13, 2021 from complications arising from a leg infection.  Richard or “Mr. Rich” as his family called him was born in Syracuse, KS on July 9, 1941 to Albert and Rowena James.  He grew up in Syracuse and... [More]


Elvin G. “Tex” Hazen

   Elvin G. “Tex” Hazen was born May 5, 1948, in Holly, Colorado to Willie and Florence (Wear) Hazen.  He passed away at his home in Holcomb, Kansas on Saturday, January 8, 2022.        On December 31, 1967, he married Lynda M.... [More]


Betty L, Warner

Betty L. Warner went to her heavenly home on January 3, 2022. At the time of her death, she was at the Holiday Resort Care Center in Emporia, Kansas. She was formerly of Ulysses, Kansas and was 88 at the time of passing. Betty was born on November 10, 1933 in Granada, Colorado... [More]


Janis Maureen Baker

Janis Maureen Baker Janis Maureen Baker, 88, Hays, died Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at Rush County Memorial Hospital. She was born May 11, 1933 in Scott City, the daughter of Maurice and Ruby (Couch) Liggett.  Janis was salutatorian of her class at Syracuse High School... [More]



Curtis Allen Dowell, left this Earth on Monday January 3rd in Springfield, MO at 8:30 AM, at the age of 61. Curt had lead a rich and adventurous life, he was a person to enjoy life to the fullest. He was born December 29, 1960 in Syracuse, KS to Charles & Gaylene Dowell.... [More]


Sherry Lou (Reinert) Finlay

Sherry Lou (Reinert) Finlay, age 68, passed away at the Kearny County Hospital in Lakin, Kansas on Monday, December 27, 2021. She was born on May 25, 1953 in Garden City, Kansas the daughter of Leslie Harry Reinert and Marjorie June (Sneath) Reinert. She started her journey... [More]


Curtis Clifton Young

     Curtis Clifton Young, 80, died Friday, December 24, 2021, at his home in Lakin, Kansas.  He was born June 17, 1941, in Lakin, Kansas the son of Otis & Helen (Uhler) Young.      Curtis has been a lifetime resident of Lakin.  He... [More]

Warren Eugene “Gene” Wright

A funeral service for Gene Wright will be held at 11:00 a.m, on Tuesday, December 28, 2021, at Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel in Holly, Colorado. Interment will follow in Coolidge Cemetery.   Warren Eugene “Gene” Wright, age 76, of Holly, departed this life... [More]

More Obituaries

View All Obituaries