On July 22 my husband, son and I welcomed a baby boy, Leo Tony, to our little family. He’s an easy baby to care for and I feel quite spoiled that both my kids are turning out to be good sleepers. I’ll miss being at home with my boys, but it helps to have a job that I love in an environment that nurtures its employees like the Hays Public Library. As of this week, I’m back to work and back to planning programs.

Fall is a busy time in the library as the community adapts to its “back to school” schedule. This September the library is offering a fantastic concert series, featuring music from as far away as Africa and as close as western folk tunes. The series begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday with Sean Gaskell. Gaskell plays the Kora, a 21-string harp native to western Africa. He will delight his audience with traditional west-African music. At 6 p.m. Monday, the Otter Creek Duo will return to the Hays Public Library and offering a medley of folk, bluegrass, old time and Celtic music. Later in the month, at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30, Kerry Grombacher will come to the library to share contemporary folk and western tunes on his acoustic guitar.

The Kansas Room also is sponsoring a concert this month. Adam Miller, a folksinger, storyteller and autoharp virtuoso, will be at the library at 2 p.m. Sunday. His family-oriented concerts are as enjoyable for children as they are for parents and grandparents. Audiences of all ages will have a great time learning about American folklore and folk traditions while singing along. All concerts in the September concert series will be in the ground floor of the library in the Schmidt Gallery and are free to the public.

Fall means an end to grilling (or at least a tapering off) and the beginning of crock-pot season. I get excited thinking about the dinners I can “set and forget” when I leave for work in the morning. Stews, soups and chili all fall into the “slow-cook” category.

With that in mind, it’s time to announce the third annual Hays Public Library chili cook-off. This year’s cook-off will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 18 in the Schmidt Gallery. Contest participants are required to bring a crock-pot of their favorite chili recipe to the gallery by noon on the 18th. Library patrons will have the opportunity to taste and vote for their favorite chili throughout the afternoon. The winner will receive a prize! All participants must register with me by Sept. 16. Please call (785) 625-9014 to register.

The Hays Area Genealogy Group will resume meetings this month. The next scheduled meeting will be at 10 a.m. Sept. 19 in the Kansas Room. Meetings are informal and open to anyone with an interest in genealogy and family history.

The Kansas Room is located in the basement of the Hays Public Library and is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and by request. Stop by anytime to say hello.