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I spend far more time on YouTube than I probably should, but it’s easy to get sucked in. I watch to learn, to be entertained, to live vicariously, and to satisfy curiosity.

After being a viewer for so long, one day I thought, I can do that! I can make YouTube videos! I’ve dabbled in videos related to librarianship, and then started dabbling in vlogging. Since my family lives 1000 miles away, I thought it would be fun for them to see what I’m up to when they can’t see me in person.

My mom enjoys my videos… because she’s my mom. In all honesty, I’m a terrible vlogger. I feel like I never turn the camera on at the right time, I’m stiff and awkward when I talk, my videos aren’t cohesive, and frankly I don’t even want to watch them.

But I persist… because it’s kind of fun to make something (even if it’s terrible) for my family. So I might as well learn and improve, right?

A couple years ago I discovered the 8 Passengers YouTube channel. They are a local family documenting their daily life by posting videos to YouTube. In just three short years they have amassed nearly 1.5 million subscribers, and their daily videos often get 200k-500k views.

How is it that I can spend an entire week trying to find things to film (and hopefully remember to turn on the camera), but they can make something like an average trip to the grocery store interesting enough that I eagerly tune in every morning?

I must know their secrets!

So I invited Ruby, the main vlogger and editor of 8 Passengers, to come and share what she’s learned. How does she manage to make an average day become an interesting video? What are things she’s done to engage their audience and keep people coming back? What has she learned about tagging videos to make them more findable so that they can reach new viewers?

If you or someone you know is interested in making videos for YouTube, join us on Thursday, April 26th in the Shaw Programming room for Learn It @ Your Library: Create for YouTube where we will learn tips and tricks from a creator who’s already doing it successfully.

I’m ready to take my videos to the next level, are you?

threenager

Over the past two years, I’ve checked in periodically to share my son’s favorite books. It’s been fun to look back on his past favorites (as a one-year-old and then as a toddler), and to see his interests growing up and diversifying as he gets older. It's possible that as his parent, I find these posts more interesting than anyone else, but I feel like it’s worth checking in on the blog every year, because whether you’re reading to a baby or a toddler or a threenager, you always need good books.

Now that Calvin is three, he’s a little bit more interested in reading lots of different kinds of books rather than the same books over and over. As you’ll see, he spends a lot of time in the 500’s (nonfiction animal books), but he also loves Dr. Seuss and Mo Willems.

It’s getting harder to pick his favorites; what I’ve chosen to highlight here are the books that Calvin keeps asking us to get every time he comes to the library (which is often). There’s also a strong bent toward books that I enjoy reading out loud, because if you are also someone who spends a lot of time reading to children, you will know that not all books are created equal in this regard. I want Calvin to have books he’s interested in, but our reading is a shared experience, and it’s nice if I can enjoy it too.

 

4.19 SpidersSPIDERS
by Nic Bishop
(2007)

Calvin is obsessed with bugs and creepy crawly things. When we go to the aquarium, he runs to see the bird-eating tarantula; when we play outside, much time is devoted to catching and attempting to feed various insects (Calvin is always dismayed that Box Elder Bugs don’t seem interested in sticking around for the feast he’s created out of grass and twigs). I credit a lot of this interest to a copy of SPIDERS by Nic Bishop that I brought home from our Used Book Store. 

If you have small people living in your house and haven’t checked out Nic Bishop’s books yet, repent immediately and get them. Nic Bishop is a photographer first, and it shows. However, one of my favorite things about his books is that they offer a lot of information but remain easy to read aloud (a surprisingly difficult balance to strike!). Calvin’s favorites so far are SPIDERS, BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS, and SNAKES, but we haven’t really met a Nic Bishop book we haven’t liked.

 

4.19 Zombie MakersZOMBIE MAKERS: TRUE STORIES OF NATURE’S UNDEAD 
by Rebecca L. Johnson
(2013)

This book is cool and gross. Calvin loved it so much we exhausted our renewal options from the library. For the first week we had it, Calvin asked for this book by saying, “Can we read that book that has that worm coming out of that girl’s leg?” Great bedtime book or stuff of nightmares? You decide… 

ZOMBIE MAKERS is about parasitic organisms that cause involuntary reactions in their hosts’ bodies. From a fungus that makes a fly stop flying (does that mean it’s called a walk?) to a virus that makes rats attracted to cats, this book makes you realize how bizarre the world can be. It also makes me realize that wasps are the biggest jerks in the animal kingdom. You’ll have to read more to find out why! 

 

4.19 Pigeon NeedsTHE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH
by Mo Willems
(2014)

It’s hard to choose which Mo Willems book is Calvin’s favorite; between the Elephant and Piggie books and the Pigeon books, there’s usually at least one of them in the bedtime lineup. But THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH was our first, and I credit it for teaching my toddler the phrase “That is a matter of opinion!”, so it gets the feature here. 

I love voicing the pigeon. He is witty; he is funny; he is easily exasperated. I laugh every time when he complains that the bath water is “too reflective.” The pigeon is, really, an eloquent toddler, incredibly stubborn until he’s forced to try something new and discovers that it’s his new favorite thing. I think the character of the pigeon hits on the sometimes absurdity of these small people that share our houses, and helps us all laugh a little at those times when someone refuses to bathe or asks again and again to do something that they aren’t allowed to do. 

 

4.19 Bartholomew OobleckBARTHOLOMEW & THE OOBLECK
by Dr. Seuss
(1949)

I said I only wanted to share books that I enjoyed reading, but I lied a little bit. Maybe you are more Dr. Seuss savvy than I, but the thing that surprised me when we first read this book together is that it does not rhyme! I try not to be bothered by it, but it’s a bit strange read a Dr. Seuss book without that Dr. Seuss signature cadence.   

BARTHOLOMEW AND THE OOBLECK is the story of a king’s disastrous decision to try to rule the sky as well. In his hubris, he asks for his magicians to create something to fall from the sky other than the standard sun, rain, and snow his kingdom is used to. What he gets is oobleck, a sticky green goo that mucks everything up. I don’t know why Calvin loves this book, but he asked to check it out every time we came to the library, even if we already had it checked out (at one point we had two copies from two different libraries). My only thought is that he really likes the look of various people and livestock covered in green goop. 

 

4.19 Ballet Cat SecretBALLET CAT: THE TOTALLY SECRET SECRET
by Bob Shea
(2015)

Calvin really likes all the Ballet Cat books, but I think that THE TOTALLY SECRET SECRET is his favorite favorite. Like many easy readers, this one’s done all in dialogue, and is especially fun if you can have two readers to voice the different characters. We love the simple art; we love the different colored pages; we love this story about friends learning that it’s important to listen to each other. Our only complaint about the Ballet Cat books is that there aren’t more of them!

 

Preschool Play is available in the children’s department Mondays from 11:00 am-12:00 pm and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 4:00 pm-6:00 pm. Toys are placed in the story circle available for open-ended play, especially suited for preschool-aged children. Curious how many toys we have? (hint: it's a lot)

preschool play 01

dan wells

Provo City Library is a great place for fans to meet some really great authors—check out our AuthorLink page to see some of the exciting authors we’ll be hosting in the coming months. However, over the last few months, I was reminded that Barnes and Noble has author events as well. In my hunt to see who was coming to Utah Valley, I was reminded of an old favorite: Dan Wells. He is a local author that came to Barnes and Noble the first weekend in March.

If you haven’t heard of Dan Wells, I would definitely recommend him if you are keen on the supernatural or horror. Of the 14 books he’s written, I’ve read and would highly recommend the following:

4.11 I am not a serial killerI AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER
(2010) 

This book follows high school teen, John Cleaver. He recognizes in himself things he’s noticed in the serial killers he obsesses over; So he creates a set of rules that he lives by to not concede to the monster inside. When he learns that there is a serial killer in town, he has to embrace the inner monster to save his town. I generally describe this series as teen Dexter meets Supernatural. This was especially amusing to read while on public transit in Seattle. My coworkers would look at me with concern and ask if it was a self-help book. 

 

4.11 The Devils Only FriendTHE DEVIL’S ONLY FRIEND
(2015)

This book is the first in a second series that follows John Cleaver. It’s hard to talk about this book without giving away pertinent details of the first series, but basically, John hunts demons and works for a special government kill team. 

 

4.11 The Hollow CityTHE HOLLOW CITY
(2012)

The Hollow City is the story of Michael Shipman who has paranoid schizophrenia. He is haunted by voices and stalked by faceless men. He has been linked to a series of killings and no one believes his plea of innocence. The book is told from Michael’s point of view and the unreliable narrator has you questioning which experiences are his paranoid delusions and which are the real monsters he should be running from. 

 

3.11 Extreme MakeoverEXTREME MAKEOVER: APOCALYPSE EDITION
(2016)

Amazon’s summarizes this book as “Dan Well’s Extreme Makeover is a satirical new suspense about a health and beauty company that accidentally develops a hand lotion that can overwrite your DNA.” With that teaser alone I was so intrigued that I couldn’t help but take it home with me from my Barnes and Noble trip… but not before getting it signed. 

 

During the book signing I learned a couple things from Dan Wells that you should know too:

  1. All of his current series are complete! While there are a couple series he would like to possibly write more for, there will be no cliff-hangers or waiting to read the next one.

  2. You can just binge straight through.  He is working on a trilogy with Brandon Sanderson about heroes that go from earth to earth in parallel universes to save them from the end of the world. I am stoked by just the premise, and it is an excellent combination of writers. 

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