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Librarian Tips

  • PCL with sign


    “The public library is one of the few places where people are still treated as citizens rather than consumers.” – Kevin O’Kelly

    1. Materials

    Libraries know that information is key, but there comes a time when you can’t simply consume information any more, you have to produce it. So yes, the library has books and references, magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks and many of these resources are available online which means you don’t need to come to library (or even put on pants) to access them. But beyond these resources, the Library offers the space to learn and the materials to succeed. Things like toys designed to foster creativity in children and technology to empower adults the library's free materials offer a lifeline to those without it at home.

    2. Local Art and Performances

    Despite the rising costs of concert and theater tickets, the library acts as a center for the arts by hosting events like concerts, recitals, and gallery displays often offered free of charge and enabling people of any income level to attend. Provo City Library's two galleries are dedicated to bringing in the best art, science and history exhibits from around the country and in Provo.

    3. Games

    Designed to encourage learning or simply to have fun, the games at the library never stop. With activities things like the Whodunnit Murder Mystery, video games, board games, scavenger hunts, contests—the only end to playtime is our closing hours. 

    4. Hobbies

    If you’ve ever wanted to try out a new hobby but didn’t know where to start, the library has a program for that. With free classes offered each month like yoga, beekeeping or coloring, there's something for everyone. See upcoming activities here.

    5. Life Skills

    Often referred to as “the people’s university,” the library is a place where every one of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels can learn something that will change lives. Whether you want to build a career with databases like or take free software or budgeting classes, libraries welcome everyone who sets foot in their doors and prepares them to leave as citizens of the world.

    6. Authorlink

    Okay, so this kind of is related to books but it’s awesome. The library invites several authors every year to speak to you. Meet internationally recognized authors like Cressida Cowell (HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON), Shannon Hale (PRINCESS ACADEMY, GOOSEGIRL) and Gail Carson Levine (ELLA ENCHANTED) and as well as popular local authors like Brandon Sanderson (MISTBORN, The Wheel of Time Series).

    Hear from your favorite authors, get books signed and ask questions like, where on earth does Julianne Donaldson (EDENBROOKE) get inspiration for her romantic heroes? (Answer: Pictures of Christian Bale, Ryan Lochte and Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark taped to her computer.) See upcoming author visits here.

    7. History and Genealogy

    Beyond being housed in the culturally significant Academy Square, beyond the books that hold the diary of the human race, the library contains access to the vital records that immortalize the memories and wisdom of generations. Obituaries, photographs, cemetery records and historical databases have you set for any genealogical project.

    8. Databases

    Albert Einstein said that one should never commit to memory anything that can easily be looked up, and all the sourced, peer-reviewed and free information not accessible to Google is still just a click away with a library card. More than just the obscure information you no longer need for that one paper you wrote in high school, these databases also have the practical information and resources you need to participate in government, fix your car, learn Photoshop, get certified, practice tests or even learn a craft. It’s kind of like Pinterest but with directions that actually work because they’re written by professionals instead of your niece during her Christmas vacation.

    9. Librarians  

    It’s very rare to meet a human who knows everything and yet still knows how to have fun, but these are the exact requirements for a librarian—there’s even a school for it! Author Patrick Ness called librarians “tour-guides for all of knowledge,” because no matter who you are, librarians are here to help you find the answers to your questions.

    In one of our recent blog posts, Provo Librarian Carla said that when one of the best things about being a librarian is knowing that you’re not working to increase profits, but to improve quality of life.

    10. Library

    The fact that communities even have libraries is a miracle in and of itself. Libraries champion democracy because they allow any person to inform themselves and become advocates for themselves and their communities. A realization of the American Dream, libraries act as the refuge where personal background cannot keep anyone from opportunities.

    What is your favorite thing about libraries? 

  • tensecrets

    1. We know where the Dinosaurs are off hand and on command…it’s 567 if you’re wondering.

    2. We look at the titles you are checking out… because if we see it twice it means it was good!

    3. We’ve seen every condition a book can come back in… from sodden to crispy.

    4. We make and keep booklists for a wide array of topics and genres.

    5. Taken together, our librarians read two books a day. Our individual average is 6 books a month.

    6. We’re constantly updating our collections; we add a sorting cart full of books almost every week!

    7. We love having downloadable audiobooks; it’s the only way some of us have time to read!

    8. We often recommend books from unfamiliar genres; some us keep lists of bestsellers and friends’ recommendations so that we can know what to suggest.

    9. We love people doing scavenger hunts here; just remember to be quiet on the second floor!

    10. We love suggestions for books and activities.

  • next paper

    When I was in school, I really, really hated writing papers.  So much that once when I had a paper due the next day, I forced myself to write a page on Why I Love to Write Papers (all lies) to try to convince myself to WRITE IT ALREADY.  I did end up getting the paper done in the middle of the night, but if you don't want to go to the trouble of coming up with a three-point thesis on why you love writing papers, check out the resources we have on our website!  They're a huge help and I wish I'd had them back in high school and college!

    1. First, you've got to figure out what to talk about.  That means you've got to do a little research to see what interests you.  Our How to Research page will help you know where to look for the right information.
    2. If you need credible sources for your paper, a simple Google search won't do.  You need to look at websites that show you academically relevant articles.  Luckily you have access to a whole bunch of those websites with your library card!  Our Homework Databases page lists several golden nuggets of websites that have tons of articles perfect for school papers.  A couple of favorites: Points of View will give you great information if you're writing on a much-debated subject or issue (it will give arguments for both sides of the issue!). EbscoHost also has sources on a ton of helpful topics - biographies, literature, science, history, and health just to name a few.
    3. If you still want to try your luck with Google searching, you should check out our Evaluating Online Sources page.  It will help you figure out which articles and books are going to be the most valuable so you don't waste your time with bad sources!
    4. Once you've done some research it's time to get down to it.  Our How to Write a Paper page breaks it down into steps - just take them one at a time!  You'll be done before you know it.
    5. Of course you need to show where you got all of this lovely information.  Time to Cite Your Sources.  Many online resources and databases have handy citation builders that will build the citation for you, but if not we also have links to a few websites that can help put it all together for you.

    There you go, your next paper should be a breeze.  Of course if any of this gives you trouble, come in to the library - our librarians are trained in this stuff and we're ready to help you any time!  It might just be the extra oomph you need to get your next paper underway.

  •  Brandon Sanderson

    Whenever people find out I study English and work at the Provo Library, they immediately ask me what books I recommend. My immediate response is, “Any book by Brandon Sanderson.”

    It would be an understatement to say that I’m an avid fan. When I first read his books, I thought, “Boy, this is what a novel should be.” Then I discovered the man is from Utah, publishes about a book a year, has several different series, and nearly all of these books connect. That’s right, Sanderson has created a universe called “The Cosmere” and several of his book series take place within this universe.

    Take a breath with me; it’s a lot to take in. I remember when I first discovered this, the subtle connection between the books, and I was already several books in. I had to go back and reread all the books (not to mention many internet searches to find out what people much smarter than me already put together).I’m here to do the hard work for you. After my considerable time in the worlds of Brandon Sanderson, I have come up with an order for my friends to read the books. My purpose today is to share that list with you and to highlight an amazing author’s career.

    One last tip, keep a lookout for the name “Hoid.” You may see him pop up here or there.

    By Brandon Sanderson

    This is the first Sanderson book I read. In this society, a God-like tyrant, the Lord Ruler has set up society where there are two social classes: Skaa and Nobles. A group of thieves, the leader of which, Kelsier, has a personal vendetta against the Lord Ruler, plans to overthrow the government. The story is a trilogy with a great magic system and great stakes. It can be on the heavier side for those just getting into Sanderson. If you feel this way, go ahead and read the next one (Elantris) first and save this one for second.


    11.30 ElantrisELANTRIS
    By Brandon Sanderson

    Elantris is the first book Sanderson wrote. Many say for this fact alone it should then be the first to read. There is an argument for this, but I put it second just because I feel this one is easier to get into after the introduction of Mistborn. Once some people in this world would be taken by the Shaod (as it is called in the book) and become like gods. That is before the events of the Reod, when this blessing became a curse. Now those taken by the Shaod are thrown into the city of Elantris, where the cursed people will live for all eternity.


    11.30 WarbreakerWARBREAKER
    By Brandon Sanderson

    Some people have the tendency to skip this one because it isn’t as popular as some of the others like Mistborn or Way of Kings. I beg of you, don’t skip this book if you are fascinated by the connective quality of the books. This one is important for some of those mind-blowing Sanderson moments. Warbreaker is mostly about two sisters, princesses who come from a land where color isn’t widely used. You see, color is part of the source of the magic, along with that which they call “breath.”

    Note: Hoid’s name won’t be mentioned in this book. If you pay attention and perhaps search Wikipedia a little, you’ll be able to find out where he is.


    11.30 Way of KingsWAY OF KINGS
    By Brandon Sanderson

    This is the one where things really seem to start colliding. In this monstrous novel (1007 pages, see why I had you warmed up of the ones half that size?) Sanderson gives us a world currently in a ten year war, following the assassination of King Gavilar. This book is Sanderson’s pinnacle of world building, as he builds amazing magic systems, multiple political systems, and several character viewpoints. Not to mention that Hoid character I told you about makes a special, and much longer, appearance. This is the first of three, but Sanderson plans to write ten total of this series. 


    Ultimately Sanderson has many more books to read, even in the Cosmere, but I hope you will find this a great beginning guide to your new book obsession.



    Summer.  Summer.  Summer.  We can hear it whispering on the breeze, feel it pulsating through the growing grass, and sense it drifting off the blossoming trees.  It seems to be all we can do to survive the next four weeks until that blessed last school bell rings, propelling both kids and parents alike into 11 weeks of homework-free bliss. 

    For many, it’s the best time of the year:  vacations, family reunions, days at the pool, moonlit night games, and glowing fireflies.  Unfortunately with all of that fun comes the dreaded “summer slide” – a research-proven loss of math and reading skills in our kids.  Children from low-income households fare worse than average, losing “more than two months in reading achievement” over the summer when they no longer have access to the academic resources available through their school (National Summer Learning Association). 

    The good news is that, together, we can beat the summer slide! Scholastic offers the following three tips to prevent loss of reading skills over the summer (follow the link for more in-depth descriptions):

    1. Six books to summer success: Research shows that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing.  Take advantage of your local library.  (That’s us!) 
    2. Read something every day: Encourage your child to take advantage of every opportunity to read.  Find opportunities throughout the day in the comics, the weather report, a recipe, or even online. 
    3. Keep reading aloud: Reading aloud benefits all children and teens, especially those who struggle.  One benefit is that you can read books your children can't, so they will build listening comprehension skills with grade-level and above books.

    The Provo City Library is here to help your children have fun AND keep reading this summer.  Our Summer Reading Kickoff event will be on Saturday, June 4 from 9 am to 5 pm.  Come sign up and get a jump start on our 2016 Summer Reading Program.  Parents, you too!  Register for the adult program and be a great reading model for your kids.  The Children’s Department will be hopping with lots of fun programs and challenges throughout the summer, so let’s work together to beat the summer slide!

    *The Children’s summer program schedule is now available at the Children’s Reference Desk.*

  • podcasts


    Podcasts are quickly becoming one of the most enjoyable ways to revel in the world of books. Some of you may already be on the podcast bandwagon. Others may be wondering why I still think it’s 2005. 

    With the invention of the iPod in 2001, it didn’t take long for a genre of narrative audio named after the device to become a cool new trend. There were podcasts about politics, sports, literature, comedy, and much more. However, sometime around 2009, the trend seemed to die off. Downloading podcasts was cumbersome to say the least. You had to subscribe to the podcast on your computer, download the episode, then plug in your iPod’s cord to transfer the episode. The process then had to be repeated for every new episode. 

    Ironically, now that the iPod has been discontinued, we are experiencing a resurgence. This is likely happening for a few different reasons. Technology has finally improved enough to make listening to podcasts easy and convenient. There has also been a rise in the production quality. Talented professionals including radio outlets like NPR have begun to focus on the medium. Although, there are still plenty of great amateur podcasts, and what they lack in polish they make up for in energy. One final reason for the resurgence in podcasts is…cars. People are becoming more and more interested in consuming media while on the move. This also includes listening while performing household chores, exercising and more. Listeners are now able to access on-demand podcasts instantly and wherever they are. 

    According to the 2017 Edison Research report, 67 million Americans listened to at least one podcast in the last month. Today, a very different problem exists. We are in a golden age of podcasting, and there are just too many great podcasts to keep up with including when you narrow it down to just book related podcasts. With that in mind, I have curated a list of some of the best podcasts that talk about books. 

    For part one, I wanted to focus on podcasts that discuss books such as what to read next or book club podcasts. But be sure to check back soon for part two which will discuss themed podcasts and some of the best storytelling podcasts being created. 

    bbc world blook clubBBC World Book Club

    Schedule: Weekly 

    The BBC’s World Book Club features some of the most famous authors on the planet discussing their most renowned works. Imagine showing up at a book club where the author is there to discuss and offer insights into their work. While many podcasts focus on new and buzzworthy books, this podcast mixes current hits with classics of yesteryear. One week might feature a current best-selling author. The next week has a lively discussion about Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, or J. D. Salinger. 


    book riot podcastBook Riot Podcast

    Schedule: Weekly 

    Brought to you by the editors of Book Riot, a blog covering book-related news, reviews, commentary, advice and information, the podcast features Jeff O’Neal and Rebecca Schinsky, two smart and quick-witted hosts who will make you laugh out loud. 

    Along with great book recommendations (making your TBR pile explode), the hosts discuss insights into the publishing world, tips on diversifying your reading selection, and research-oriented programming such as notes and commentary on how reading affects human behavior. 


    books on the nightstandBooks on the Nightstand

    Schedule: Weekly 

    Funny and knowledgeable hosts, Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman, two friends and colleagues working in the book publishing industry, discuss all things related to the world of books, bookstores and especially publishing. You don't have to work in the publishing industry to love this podcast, though. It is designed for anybody who likes to read and wants to stay up to date with what's happening in the world of books. 

    One of the most popular features is the last segment, “two books we can’t wait for you to read.” It’s where the hosts tell you about books that they love, most of which are newly published or about to be published. 


    dear book nerdDear Book Nerd

    Schedule: Bi-weekly 

    Another Book Riot podcast, Dear Book Nerd is hosted by librarian, Rita Meade, and features an always changing lineup of guests from the world of books. Together they answer readers’ book-related queries and dilemmas, including writing advice, the risky business of lending books, how to talk to people who don’t like reading, and how to avoid friends who provide poorly thought-out book recommendations. It’s a bit nerdy in the best possible way, and the format ensures that the podcast will never grow stale. 


    guardian books podcast1Guardian Books

    Schedule: Weekly 

    Guardian Books is a product of popular British newspaper, The Guardian. Guardian Books editor Claire Armitstead is the force behind the podcast which is a hodgepodge of book related topics that include literary reviews, author interviews, and of course book recommendations. 

    Though perhaps a little drier than some of the others on this list, it is never short of interesting angles and big name guests making it a good podcast to find the current pulse-point of the literature world. 


    KCRW BookwormKCRW Bookworm

    Schedule: Weekly 

    Michael Silverblatt has been the host of Bookworm, a nationally syndicated radio program focusing on books and literature since 1989. It is a premier literary talk show providing intellectual, accessible, and provocative literary conversations. Now available as a podcast, Silverblatt interviews writers of fiction and poetry both established and emerging drawing them into conversations about their works. Bookworm is a fascinating podcast that, at its heart, is a discussion on how to read, listen, and engage. 


    literary discoLiterary Disco

    Schedule: Bi-monthly 

    Julia, Tod, and Rider are three writers who are friends and also happen to be self-proclaimed “book nerds.” The show covers a diverse mix of books from literary fiction to children’s books and focuses on the hosts who chat about books like you would with your own friends. They have a way of slipping in pop culture references and intermixing them with books in a way that is highly entertaining. Like any great book chat, the discussions are personal, informative and prone to tangents. 


    Slates Audio Book ClubSlate’s Audio Book Club

    Schedule: Monthly 

    Slate Magazine, an online magazine that covers current affairs, politics, and culture in the United States, offers a lively book club podcast. Each month, a rotating group of Slate’s writers and guests discuss buzzworthy books in the traditional back-and-forth of a book club format. If you’ve read the book, it’s especially easy to get caught up in the debate as the hosts argue with one another in entertaining and sometimes heated ways. You also find the discussions typically provide additional insight into the characters and the book itself which you may have missed. 

    Can't find a book club in your neighborhood? Then this is the podcast for you. 


    what should i read nextWhat Should I Read Next? 

    Schedule: Weekly 

    Have you ever finished a book and been confronted with the problem of not knowing what to read next? In the podcast What Should I Read Next?, book blogger Anne Bogel A.K.A. the Modern Mrs. Darcy, invites a guest to share three books they love, one book they hate, and what they’ve been reading lately. Then, she makes recommendations about what to read next. This podcast is for every reader who wants help finding that next great read.

  • podcasts

    In The Best Book Related Podcasts—Part 1, I listed the best podcasts that discuss the book world such as buzzworthy new books, what to read next, and book club podcasts. For part two, I will be discussing podcasts that focus on stories. 

    Storytelling has been around since the dawn of man. We all love stories. Stories ignite feelings and emotions without having to go anywhere or do anything. They appeal to the power of our imaginations, to our curiosity, and to our desire to know more. 

    Unlike in Britain where the audio drama has been going strong for nearly a century, the audio storytelling resurgence in the U.S. has taken a while to get here—previously American audio dramas hit their high point between the 1920s and 40s before television took over. But with the innovation of the podcast and the ease with which we can now access them, the format has provided a platform for creators to produce compelling new audio dramas. Great audio storytellers don’t need an image because they possess an incredible ability to make you feel like you are there. Podcasts give us opportunities to revel in stories whether they are new creations or discussing our favorite printed stories such as Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings. 

    Below you will find a list of some of the best podcasts that appeal to our love of stories. Though, if none of these appeal to you, there are hundreds more out there! 

    black tapesThe Black Tapes

    Schedule: Bi-monthly 

    The Black Tapes is a fictional, docu-drama podcast brought to you by Pacific Northwest Stories, a former radio show that now functions as a podcast network. Hosted by Alex Reagan, The Black Tapes is a serialized story about “one journalist’s search for the truth, her subject’s mysterious past, and the literal and figurative ghosts that haunt them both.” 

    This podcast is just finishing up its third season, so you may want to go back and start at the beginning. 

    If you like The Black Tapes, be sure to check out their other productions like Tanis


    harry potter and the sacred textsHarry Potter and the Sacred Text

    Schedule: Weekly 

    The world just can’t get enough of Harry Potter since the first book was released 20 years ago. People have grown up loving these stories. In Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast, hosts Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile reread a chapter of the series each episode (beginning with book one) and then discuss in relation to a theme or moral issue they have picked out. Themes include concepts like commitment, loyalty, hospitality, forgiveness, escape, belonging, shame, control, and more. It’s the meaningful conversations you didn't know you craved about Harry Potter. 

    So far the podcast is in its fourth season with each season devoted to one book. Start at the beginning or dive right in. 

    If you love Harry Potter, but this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then be sure to check out MuggleCast, the most listened-to Harry Potter podcast on the web. 


    home frontHome Front

    Schedule: Daily 

    Home Front, produced by BBC Radio 4 is a British radio drama that began August 4, 2014 which was exactly 100 years after the beginning of World War I. Each episode is set exactly one hundred years before the day of the broadcast and tells the story of World War I from the perspective of those affected by it in wartime Britain. Part of the BBC’s World War I centenary season, the radio drama is planned to run until November 11, 2018, one hundred years after the Armistice. 

    Each episode is about 12 minutes long and focuses on a single character's point of view as they progress, day by day through the war. Though, the characters and stories are fictional, it is firmly rooted in the actual events of Great Britain during the First World War. 


    the messageThe Message

    8 episodes published in 2015
    Schedule: Weekly 

    Looking for something a little shorter to test the podcast waters? The Message is an eight episode scripted podcast in the style of an old radio drama. It follows “the weekly reports and interviews from Nicky Tomalin, who is covering the decoding of a message from outer space received 70 years ago. Over the course of 8 weeks, listeners follow a team of top cryptologists as they attempt to decipher, decode, and understand the alien message.” 

    The Message is a science fiction podcast co-produced by Panoply and GE Podcast Theater. If you subscribe to the podcast, you will also get bonus production, LifeAfter, a 10 episode scripted show. 


    selected shortsSelected Shorts

    Schedule: Weekly

    Produced by Symphony Space, a multi-disciplinary performing arts center in New York City and distributed by Public Radio International, Selected Shorts is a carefully curated selection of spellbinding short stories written by established and emerging writers which take on a new life when they are performed by a variety of recognizable stars of the stage and screen. The show is recorded live at Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City and also goes on tour. 


    there and back againThere and Back Again

    Schedule: Weekly 

    Originally produced by StoryWonk and now transferred to Point North Media, story expert Alastair Stephens dives deep into the pages of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Delightful, insightful and funny, this podcast is great for both lifelong fans and those new to the fantasy series. 

    Point North Media also offers Dear Mr. Potter, an extremely close reading of the series. You might also want to consider StoryWonk’s back log of podcasts dedicated to Pride and Prejudice, Star Wars, Outlander, and more. 


    the truthThe Truth

    Schedule: Bi-monthly 

    One of the longest running podcasts on this list, The Truth was ahead of its time in 2012 when it set out to revitalize the audio drama for a new generation. The show features dramatic short stories that combine great writing with feeling performances and subtle sound effects. Its tagline is “movies for your ears.” Every story is different, and they're usually around 10 to 20 minutes long. From an alternative history trip to the moon, to the death of Edgar Allen Poe, The Truth’s subject matter has always been very eclectic. 


    welcome to night valeWelcome to Night Vale 

    Schedule: Bi-monthly

    Taking the form of a darkly funny radio show, Welcome to Night Vale is a serial podcast about the fictional desert town of Night Vale where every conspiracy theory is true. The town plays host to ghosts, aliens and a whole host of other shadowy characters. 

    Where other audio dramas usually contain a full cast of actors, Night Vale is performed by one narrator with some sound effects. If you like suspense and horror mixed with humor, Welcome to Night Vale is the podcast for you. The show has also been converted into two novels, WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE and IT DEVOURS! which can be checked out from the library. 


    wynebago warriorWynabego Warrior

    Schedule: Monthly 

    In one of the only audio comedies on this list, this is the tale of John Waynnabe who yearns to live in the old west he remembers from the silver screen of his youth. One day he decides to trade in his old beat up Pinto and hit the road in search of that life, heading west, in a Winnebago R.V. where he looks for people in need of help. The story is full of peril and danger, redemption, and renewal and is sure to appeal of fans of adventure stories and westerns.

  • borrow ebooks

    I recently learned that Google has made finding free legal eBooks that can be borrowed from the library easier than ever. I was curious how well it worked, so I experimented with the feature. Here is what I discovered for both desktop and mobile versions.

    Desktop Computer3.12 Desktop Version

    After entering a book title on Google, the feature appears on the right side within what is known as the Google Knowledge Graph display. Basically, there is a box on the right side of the screen next to the search results. The box contains information about the book including ratings and reviews from various websites, book summary, publication date, author, genre, awards (if any), online bookstores where it is available to be purchased and FINALLY the Borrow ebook section.

    Be aware that if the book title is not available from the library, you will not see the Borrow ebook section. However, keep reading for additional search quirks.

    If the eBook is available, you will see a list of libraries within your geolocated range or, in other words, libraries nearby. If the wrong libraries are displayed, you can change your location by clicking on the Edit Location link and entering your zip code or city name. The library list will then reload.

    Don’t see Provo City Library listed? No problem.

    Provo City Library’s eBook holdings are found within the Utah’s Online Library collection. Utah’s Online Library gives Provo City Library card holders access to both the Provo City Library eBook collection and the Utah State Library collection.

    After searching, click on Utah’s Online Library to either borrow the item immediately or place a hold which will then notify you via email when the eBook is available.

    Please note, to borrow free legal eBooks from the online library, you will need a Provo City Library card. Library cards from other Utah libraries can also be used to check out eBooks from Utah’s Online Library, but will not give you access to Provo City Library’s collection.


    Mobile Device3.12 Mobile Version

    After searching Google on a mobile device, look for the block of color in the search results that shows the title and author of the book. Just below the title and author is a mini menu.

    Tap on Get Book in the mini menu. Then look for Borrow ebook. This section can be found just below the list of online bookstores.Tap on Utah’s Online Library. You will then be redirected to the eBook entry for the title you entered. Here you can either borrow the item immediately or place a hold which will then notify you via email when the eBook is available.

    Please note, to check out free legal eBooks from the online library, you will need a Provo City Library card. Library cards from other Utah libraries can also be used to check out eBooks from Utah’s Online Library, but will not give you access to Provo City Library’s collection.

    My Discoveries

    Through trial and error, I have discovered some quirks to be aware of with this search feature.

    Only OverDrive: There are other eBook collections out there including RBdigital which you also have access to with your Provo City Library card. However, Google search currently only works with OverDrive, so you will not see any results for other eBook collections.

    No audiobooks: Even though Utah’s Online Library also offers free legal audiobooks to borrow and listen to, Google’s search feature only works for eBooks. No results will come up if there is an audiobook but no eBook.

    Books made for the silver screen: Books made into movies or TV series don’t always return results. For example, I tried searching for Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library which is a movie and a book. The title does not return any free eBooks even though the book is available in Utah’s Online Library collection. However, a search for the second book in the series, Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Race, which does not have a movie version, does come up.

    I have discovered that sometimes, adding “book” to the end of the title will help return the correct results, but not always.

    Correct titles: You know how Google is great for finding something even if you can’t quite remember what it’s called? Well that doesn’t work so well when finding eBooks. I tried experimenting with variations on book titles with poor results. For example, I search for Mistborn but no eBooks came up. However, when I changed my search to Mistborn: The Final Empire, then it came up.Tip: if you can’t remember the title, search for it on Google. After finding the correct title, perform a new search.

    Vague titles: Titles that are not specific enough to return good results can also be problematic. For example, Hunted. Just entering “hunted” in the search box will not return any eBook results. However, try adding “book” to the end of the title or the author’s name and you will have far better luck.

    My Conclusions

    While this is a handy new, automatic feature built into Google, the results are still a little sporadic. Readers that frequently look for books by searching Google will find this a useful tool. However, if you really want to know if an eBook is available, I would recommend directly searching Utah’s Online Library ( For me, I think this is a great new feature for browsing and chancing across interesting books, but it is less useful when I am looking for something specific.

  • bedtime stories

    Reading books before bed has been known to foster parent-child bonds as well as prepare a child for sleep, but did you also know that recent research has shown many more benefits to adding reading into your child’s bedtime routine? Reading to or with your child helps stimulate brain activity, foster creativity and imagination, and promotes and develops language and literacy from an early age.  

    This research is highlighted in an article published by The New York Times, which asks several pediatricians and psychologists about the topic.   

    “When kids are hearing stories, they’re imagining in their mind’s eye when they hear the story,” said Dr. John S. Hutton, a clinical research fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “It will help them later be better readers because they’ve developed that part of the brain that helps them see what is going on in the story.”  

    The child also develops a greater vocabulary and understanding of language through reading with a parent. In comparing the words found in books to the words used by parents talking to their children, researchers found that the picture books contained more “unique word types” that the child may not typically hear, and sometimes even complex sentences and rhymes.  

    So, not only does reading books with children help them hear more words, but at the same time, their brains are hard at work imagining things they associate with those words. Both creativity and logic are being developed all while you and your little one are sailing with Max to the land of the Wild Things, exploring the zany worlds of Dr. Seuss, or saying goodnight to the moon.  

    “I think that we’ve learned that early reading is more than just a nice thing to do with kids,” Dr. Hutton said. “It really does have a very important role to play in building brain networks that will serve children long-term as they transition from verbal to reading.”  

    It’s incredible to see what such a simple activity can do for a child. Come to the Library and pick out some books to read together tonight. We have a great list of perfect bedtime stories both you and your child will love.  

  • SR 2017 FB 1

     The Summer Reading Program theme this year is “Build a Better World”. As librarians, we’re a little bit biased because we already know what an impact the many amazing programs, services, and resources we provide can have on our community and by extension the world. It’s getting the word out that has always been a little difficult for us.

    Since most of Provo City Library’s many great services can be found on our website, we created a Summer Reading challenge to browse the library website and discover something you didn’t know. As a result, we’ve been getting many fantastic and excited comments from our summer reading participants about cool things they had no idea the library offered. We thought we would share some of them here and maybe inspire you to discover something awesome too.

    “I didn’t know that the 4th floor is called “The Attic” and that it has an exhibit space that changes every couple of months. Right now the Little Builders Exhibit is in the space.”

    “I learned that the library has book club sets that can be checked out by book groups.”

    “I learned about the Teen Volunteer Board. I love the library and have always wanted to be a librarian or author when I grow up. This sounds like so much fun and I will for sure do it!”

    “I found the Provo Historic Tours App. I think we will try it out as a family this summer.  That looks like a fun activity to do together.”

    “I didn’t know there was an app called Bookmyne where I can browse and hold books, renew stuff, and manage my account. So cool!”

    “I didn't know you had career databases. Now I've got to check them out!”

    “That you have access to Academic Search Premier. Since I graduated school, I haven’t searched academic articles, since I didn't have a university ID. But now when I do research on my family history I know I gain access online again, without going to a university library.”

    “I learned that you have an online calendar that is packed with activities! I never knew so much went on at the library.”

    “I didn't know that you can get personalized reading recommendations according to your interests.  That's pretty cool...I'll be using that.”

    “I didn't realize the library website had such an extensive list of things to do in Provo and nearby cities. Good resource–wish I knew about it earlier.”

    “That I can register my one-year-old son for an early literacy program called 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.”

    Finally, there were good number of people astonished to learn of the many, many programs we offer. The comments we received looked something like this:

    “I didn’t know the library has…”

  • In late summer 2007, we began offering a new online service called Personalized Reading Recommendations. To get a personalized list of reading suggestions, you just fill out the online questionnaire with your reading preferences. Then a librarian sends you five suggestions based on your answers. 

    Ten years later we are still happily offering reading suggestions to anyone who requests them. 

    personalized recommendations 01

  • booklists

    In the children’s section, we have compiled several lists of various reading material to help encourage young readers to find books they will truly enjoy. These lists can help children explore and find stories about some of their favorite subjects as well as find similar topics that may interest them. 

    We have hundreds of books on select “hot topic” lists featuring fairies, pirates, dinosaurs, princesses, horses, and more. Some of the lists are even categorized under themes, such as mystery, action and adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. These lists contain books for all reading levels, including picture books, easy readers, intermediate, and fiction. 

    We also have lists of grade-appropriate books from preschool up to 6th grade. We guarantee young readers will find something that interests them and if not, then we will work together to find something that does. We even have read-alike lists for children who have already read some of our most popular books. Reading should be a great experience for everyone and we hope to help each child succeed in their quest for the perfect book. So come take a look at our selection of book lists, they are brightly colored and located on the pillars next to the librarian’s desk, you can’t miss them!

  • MC web header


    It's there, in your closet: a shoebox full of old audio cassettes. In your storage room: a box of VHS tapes. You haven't even had a working VHS player for at least 5 years. But in those boxes are a hodge podge of silly things you recorded from radio and TV in the 90s, notes to yourself you thought you were going to listen to later, and most importantly, moments from your life with your friends and your family that you can't just throw out.

    I understand! I have these boxes, too. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I found out our library was going to get media transfer devices, and that anyone could use them for free! We have devices available for audio cassettes, LPs, VHS tapes, and even a photo scanner. These devices record the orignal material as it is played and then sends it to the computer in a digital format, so you can save it to a thumb drive or even upload things to the internet.

    little bre

    I've already brought in several audio cassettes and VHS tapes (starting to unload those boxes I thought I could never get rid of), and tried out the digital transfer devices. Everything worked perfectly, and it was a lot simpler than I was expecting. I've also been amazed (and amused) at the things I've been finding on these devices. The sounds of my sisters playing piano in our house as we grew up, reports I did in school as a kid (seen to the left here), even just the sound of my own voice from those years is crazy to hear.

    Come in and preserve your memories with our media center devices (and also clear out some valuable closet space)! You can make a reservation to use the equipment by calling 801-852-7681.

  • donations


    It’s the new year! Time to make resolutions and find space for all of the new things you got for Christmas! In other words, it’s time to get organized. Of course the Provo City Library has books on organization (THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, anyone?). We also have a library program dedicated to organization. Come to the library on January 10th at 7:00 pm to get organization tips from local organization guru Vicki Winterton.

    As you clean out the nooks and crannies of your home with your newfound organization knowledge, please consider the Provo City Library a possible place to donate unwanted books, movies, and music.

    For those who are curious, here’s a brief summary of what happens when you donate items to the library.

    All donations are sorted:

    • If the item is current and in pristine condition (For books, nice, clean pages with no underlining or bent pages.  For movies and CDs, no deep scratches or wear, not rated R or explicit), it is sent to the librarian in charge of that collection for consideration of inclusion in the library’s circulating collection.
    • If the item is older, with yellowed pages, underlining or other markings, or slight wear, the item is boxed up to be sold in our book sale.

    Money earned from the book sales is used to fund things like our summer reading program, so it’s definitely a worthy cause.


    Donation Drop

    Look at our donation box, just eagerly awaiting your donations!

    There are a few things the Provo City Library doesn’t consider for inclusion in our collection; these items go directly to the book sale (or sometimes get passed along to another organization or the dumpster):

    • Magazines
    • Textbooks
    • Books with water damage or that are in extremely poor condition
    • VHS tapes and cassettes  

    Are you feeling the need to get organized now?  If so, the Provo City Library is here to help!

  • fake news

    Fake News.

    These two little words can be found all around right now. For me, besides just being over-used, the phrase is slightly taunting, laughing at my profession. You see, librarians and educators have dedicated themselves to something we call Information Literacy. One of my favorite classes when I was getting my Masters in Library Science was an Information Literacy course. I talk with people about Information Literacy on a daily basis whenever they ask me for research help. When I buy items for our various non-fiction collections, I use what I know about Information Literacy to buy things that can be trusted to contain good information. I also plan the Learn It @ Your Library programs, which means I try to find experienced presenters with the proper Information Literacy credentials to teach classes at the library on a variety of subjects.

    While Information Literacy sounds stuffy, it is the parent of a very non-stuffy acronym meant to help people separate the Fake News from the Real News. We call it the C.R.A.P. test. Here’s how it works. Whenever you wonder if something you read can be trusted, ask yourself:


    How recent is this information?

    If found on a website, when was the last time this website was updated?


    Where does the information come from?

    Is it a first-hand account? Or based on hear-say?

    Are references provided?

    Is the information balanced? Or biased?

    Who published the information?


    Who wrote this information?

    What are their credentials?

    Are they generally considered experts on this topic?

    Purpose/Point of View

    Who is the intended audience?

    How is the author connected to the information?

    Is the information intended to inform, persuade, sell, entertain, etc.?

    By giving everything you hear or read the C.R.A.P. test, you can learn to spot Fake News from a mile away. And when your friends and neighbors ask you how you got so smart, you can tell them you are an expert in Information Literacy.

  • beyond


    Too often, mentally at least, we all assign books into only two categories: fiction and nonfiction. Either a book is a true story or it is not. However, within these two overarching categories, there are many, many subcategories. These subcategories include different types of genres such as mysteries and romance as well as different types of formats such as large print or graphic novels. In the Children’s Department there are also a variety of reading levels.  

    This is not done just to provide job security for library staff (though it surely does add some time in purchasing, shelving and maintaining the collections). The reason all of this is done is to help us all, patrons and staff alike, find the right book for the right situation. No one wants to sift through big thick novels when looking for a short easy reader. Thus, we break things down to smaller sections to allow all of us to search for similar books without having to wander all over the library.  

    In the Children’s Department we have fairly recently broken things down a little further. We went through our J Informational section and pulled out all of the easy readers and children’s graphic novels and moved them to their own section. The Easy Reader Nonfiction books are now right by the Easy Reader section so you can get both story and informational books for your beginning reader without having to take more than ten steps (though I suppose the number of steps you take depends on several factors including leg length and the path you take while in the Easy Reader section).

    The children’s nonfiction graphic novels are now a part of the J Comics section back against the green wall. These titles come right after all of the fiction comics and graphic novels. So if you have a child who wants to know about a specific person or informational topic but really loves graphic novels, take them to this section and let them have at it. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind grabbing a BIG NATE or BABYMOUSE book while they’re right there.

    As always, if you need any help finding any type of book—fiction, nonfiction, mystery, romance, graphic novel, easy reader, etc.—don’t hesitate to ask a librarian. We are fairly good at finding the right book for the right situation.  

  • book crush

    True Confessions of Carla: I have several serious author crushes, people I would totally stalk if I weren’t actually too lazy to put forth that kind of effort.  But, if I were to find where they live, I would picket their homes with signs reading “Write FASTER!!”  and “What’s Taking So Long?” My biggest crushes currently are on Markus Zusak (I know THE BOOK THIEF is a hard act to follow…but I’d fly to his doorstep in Australia and rifle through his garbage if I thought I’d get more of his lyrical writing), Justin Cronin (Fortunately, his final book in the PASSAGE series comes out this spring so I can take him off my potential stalkee list for a while), and Mary Roach (Who is also safe for a while since her new book will be released this summer). 

    The problem is, pretty much the only author I know that can actually keep up to demand is Brandon Sanderson.  James Patterson tries, but he maybe cheats and has help from co-writers, so I don’t think he counts.  The solution is finding authors who write a lot like my favorites to help tide me over in the interim.  And the Provo City Library is here to help!

    We have a special part of our website called our Author Read-alikes.  We take an author and provide three suggested authors that write like them.  For example:

    If you love, like I do, Marcus Zusak, you should check out Barbara Kingsolver, Charles Frazier, or Michael Chabon.
    If you can’t get enough of Kiera Cass, maybe look into Amy Ewing, Catherine Linka, or Holly Bodger.
    And if David McCullough’s books are what you crave, see if Stephen Ambrose, John Meacham, or Jeff Shaara can tide you over.

    We have a couple hundred authors listed!  Visit to see if we can help you find your next favorite author.  (Or at least someone to keep your mind off the interminable wait before your favorite author’s next release date.)

  • curved shelves

    “I’m looking for a book.”

    I’ve heard it hundreds of times, and my first thought is always, “Great! You’ve come to the right place.” Generally, this statement is followed by the title of a specific book. In addition to looking up specific titles for our patrons, we get many other questions about books. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions our librarians get asked on a near daily basis.

    Can you suggest a good book for me to read?

    This is a fundamental library service. There’s even an official term for it called Readers’ Advisory which involves asking questions about the types of books the reader has enjoyed in the past and listening for certain characteristics described by the reader. This can be quite a daunting task because our librarians really, really want to make sure they recommend books readers will love. Fortunately, beyond our personal reading expertise, we also have several resources available to help us find that next great book to read.

    Library Booklists
    Our booklists suggest books grouped by genre, theme, reading level, time period, award winners, etc.

    Librarian Review Blogs:
    Teen & Adult Book reviews
    Children’s Book Reviews 
    These blogs feature reviews of what our librarians are reading and will be tagged if it’s astaff pick, anaudio pick, or aclean read.

    Author Read-Alikes
    This resource can help you find a book based on an author that you already know and love. We add new authors a few times a year.

    Personalized Reading Recommendation Service 
    Fill out the online questionnaire telling us a few things about the books you like to read and one of our librarians will tailor a list of books just for you!

    NoveList Plus 
    The librarian’s secret weapon. NoveList is an extensive database of fiction and nonfiction for adults, teens, and children offering reviews of books, multiple ways to search for books, read-alike suggestions by author, title, and genre, information about book awards, discussion guides for book clubs, book talks, and feature articles. It’s kind of awesome!

    How can I find a book I read years ago?

    Remember the cover but not the title? Maybe you remember a few details, but you’ve tried searching online with no luck. Librarians to the rescue!

    First, librarians have vast amounts of experience searching for books. Even if we use the exact words you've tried searching for, we know what to look for. We may ask to get back to you, but 99% of the time, we’re going to find that book for you.

    Second, as someone describes the book out loud, they often remember more details. Just talking about the book with a librarian has helped people find books they were looking for.

    You also might like to know that NoveList Plus allows you to describe a book in the search box. Then a list of results with the same keywords is returned.

    What’s the next book in this series?

    Is it so hard for authors and publishers to list this information? Yes, apparently it is. Fortunately, your librarians have put a lot of effort into tracking this information for you. We have put together a great resource that lists all book series owned by the library.

    The Book Series Order section of our website can be found by browsing under “Books & Media” in the drop-down menu at the top of every page. Once there, you can browse a list of authors organized alphabetically, or you can search for a specific series by typing in the author or title of the series or a title of a book in the series.

    Do you have eBooks?

    Yes, we do! Provo City Library provides immediate access to thousands of best-selling eBooks and audiobooks. Free access is provided for all Provo City Library card holders in good standing.

    OverDrive (eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, and some videos)
    OneClickdigital (audiobooks and some eBooks)
    Learning Express Library (eBook study manuals)
    World Book (educational eBooks mostly for children)

    Can I suggest a book be purchased by the Library?

    Yes, please! We value suggestions from our patrons. You can suggest a book be purchased by filling out the Purchase Suggestion Form. Please read through the instructions to ensure we can best serve your needs. Once you have made a suggestion a librarian will assess the request and let you know if we decide to acquire the item or not.

    Do you have any books for sale?

    Yes! The Used Book Store is located across from the Circulation Help Desk. Everything sells for $1.00-2.00. There are also great sales each month. The third week of each month, everything is 50% off and the last week you can fill a bag for $5.00.

    We also hold periodic book sales in our Ballroom. Our next big book sale will be Saturday, June 3rd.

    Have other book related questions or really any questions at all? Feel free to call, 801-852- 6661, come into the library, or click on the “Ask a Librarian” tab on the right side of the screen! We would be happy to answer your questions.

  • reading slump

    I meet a lot of librarian stereotypes. I love cardigans. I occasionally rock the bun and glasses combo. And of course, I love to read. I believe reading opens doors and allows us to have experiences we wouldn’t have otherwise. It puts us in other people’s shoes, and helps us grow in empathy. However, at least once a year I still go into a reading slump. When my preferred genres seem old and tired, and literary plot devices seem over-used, I know it’s time to shake things up. In case anyone else out there also suffers from the occasional reading slump, I thought I’d list a few strategies that usually help me overcome it.

    Try a New Genre

    I read to relax and decompress, so I usually prefer fiction over non-fiction. But last year when I hit a reading slump I turned to non-fiction as a way to get interested in reading again. I read about art, cryptology, food, photography, and sports. I read motivational books, true crime, histories and memoirs, and I loved them all! Changing what I read opened my world up to new possibilities, and it got me out of my reading slump.

    Revisit a Favorite

    Sometimes I just want to read a book I know I’ll like. For that, I have my old standbys. Re-reading a favorite book is like visiting a beloved place I haven’t visited for a while. Recently, in honor of the movie release, I re-read A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle—one of my favorite books when I was growing up. It was great to get to know Calvin, Meg and Charles Wallace again and a relief to find that this childhood favorite also holds its appeal for Adult Me.

    Try an Audiobook

    Confession: I’ll sometimes keep listening to an audiobook not because I like the book, but because I like the narration of it. An example of this is READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline. I gave this book a chance not because I love gaming and 80s pop culture references, but because Wil Wheaton’s narration of the audiobook is superb. Listening to audiobooks also works for me because I can do something else while I’m listening. I can run errands, clean my house, and cook dinner, all while listening to a fascinating story. And since I’m occupied with doing other things, I’m sometimes less critical of the story I’m being told, and I get more enjoyment out of it. So listening to an audiobook is a great way to push me out of a reading slump.

    By the way, if you haven’t done so already, you should really download the Libby by Overdrive app. It makes listening to audiobooks a lot easier.

    Use a New Source for Getting Book Recommendations

    I have favorite places I go to look for book recommendations, but sometimes my usual sources offer nothing but duds.  That’s when I try looking at different book lists and blogs, and asking around for suggestions. Here at the library, we’ve done a lot of that work for you by compiling our own favorite lists and posting reviews of books we like on our book blog.  You can also ask us for a personalized reading recommendation, or even stop by one of our reference desks and ask us for recommendations.

    Practice the Rule of 50

    Librarian Nancy Pearl originally came up with the Rule of 50, which states that you should give a book 50 pages before you decide if you should continue reading. At the bottom of page 50, give yourself permission to either keep reading, skip to the end, or put the book down.

    Learning of this rule was a revelation for me. I’m a completionist, so there have been a lot of books in my life where I’ve soldiered on and reading wasn’t enjoyable for me. Using the Rule of 50 gave me permission to realize that I wasn’t in the right headspace for the book I was reading, and I needed to put it aside for the moment and read something else, whether I was on page 50 or on page 350. 

    Stick With It

    I realize this is the exact opposite advice from what I just gave above, but some books just take a bit longer to get going than others. An example of this is actually one of my favorite books of 2017. Reading the first four chapters of ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman made me think that maybe this book just wasn’t for me. But in chapter five all of that changed, and I loved the book wholeheartedly from then on.

    The next time you fall into a reading slump, don’t go months and months without reading. Instead, give yourself permission to stop reading a book you’re just not enjoying. Seize the day and find the book that’s right for you. Then come tell me what you read, because I’m always looking for suggestions!

  • Music

    How do our super patrons use the library?  They take advantage of all we have to offer, of course! The library offers a diverse amount of services, but today we’ll be talking specifically about how Super Music Lovers use the library.  As a music lover myself, I know the library might not always be the first thing we think of to satisfy our music needs, but the library offers several great musical resources!

    With just your library card, you can access Freegal, our music-streaming service that gives you access to five hours of ad-free music every day. Freegal has put together some playlists to choose from, or you can make your own playlists from the music available. This site also allows you to download three songs each week for free, and that's it: you own it. You can play it anytime from your music player on your phone or computer. 

    Music on CD and Sheet Music you can check out

    The Provo Library has thousands of albums on CD! We purchase CDs from a wide variety of genres and artists, and CDs have no fee to check out. We also have a growing collection of sheet music with hot titles like the complete libretto of the Broadway musical HAMILTON, and music from the motion picture THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.

    Monday Night Performances

    There’s nothing quite like feeling the energy of a live performance.  Luckily, performers and musicians from our community regularly come to perform at our library.  Some of our seasonal performances, such as the Utah Valley Handbell Ringers each December, are a community tradition!  These performances are always free, and you can see our upcoming schedule on our Monday Night @ the Library page.

    The Basement Creative Lab audiovisual production space

    Being a lover of music goes hand in hand with being a creator of music, when your passion pushes you to participate rather than simply enjoy!  Our new Basement Creative Lab provides a space for creators looking for a space to record sound and video, supplied with equipment and editing stations that is free for Provo residents to use. All you have to do to use it is take our free “Intro to Studio Production” class to get oriented with our equipment. We also periodically offer specialized classes on subjects like Audio Production.  More information and registration for our classes can be done on our Basement Creative Lab page.