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With the coming of that most famous and famously auspicious of days, thanks to Shakespeare, here are some excellent books about or set in ancient Rome. Fiction and nonfiction both.

by Mary Beard

Mary Beard, a Cambridge don, presents a fresh and enlightening history of Rome's first thousand years. The author brilliantly combines scholarly insight with engaging storytelling. An excellent book!



by Tom Holland

A fascinating account of the events of the first century, when the Republic decayed, ushering in the imperial era. Emphasis is placed on the roles and influences of key historical figures, such as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Brutus and Octavian.


by Robert Harris

A tale of ambition, this story traces the life of famous orator Cicero, from his years as a rising lawyer to his entrance into the political arena, facing off against the leading men of the day. This is the first of a trilogy, continued in Conspirata and concluding with Dictator.


first in romeTHE FIRST MAN IN ROME
by Colleen McCullough

The first in a series, this is the story of men ambitiously striving for glory and power in the Roman arenas of politics and war. This is for anyone who likes their historical fiction truly epic and rich in historical details.

The Provo City Library first jumped into the Instagram world almost two and a half years ago. We started simple, with a picture of our Circulation desk’s Halloween decorations. Now, we have over 1,070 followers and more than 550 posts. We’ve used the account to promote books and programs, hold competitions, and generally keep people informed about what we’re doing and what we love. In addition to all that, we’ve used it to hold moments of remembrance for past events in Provo and the library, i.e. Throwback Thursdays. Shown below are our most liked Throwback Thursday (#tbt) posts.  


5. In fifth place, we have a three-way tie: The first post is a snapshot of our building back when it housed the Brigham Young Academy. The second is of the Lewis Building, where Brigham Young Academy first began. The third shows the library’s beehive fountain, which was part of the original building grounds, and was rebuilt as close to the original as possible when the library was redone in 1999.

ig1 copy

“Before there was the Provo City Library, there was… the Brigham Young Academy! Looking back to the early days of such a beautiful building made for learning and looking forward to a bright future. “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” –Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol” 


ig2 copy

“Throwback to the original home of the Brigham Young Academy before it moved to where the Library is located now! Located on the northeast corner of 3rd West and Center St., the Lewis Building burned down in 1884, the year after this picture was taken. (University Archives, BYU)”


ig3 copy

“ 'A new fountain exactly like the old one will be placed in the same spot when construction is complete… The top section of the old fountain—the granite beehive—will be part of the new fountain. Workers will replicate the rest of the fountain from old photos.' –Amy K. Stewart, The DailyHerald, August 6, 1999”


4. In fourth place, we have a then-and-now comparison picture, showing the 1876 Brigham Young Academy building next to the current-day Provo City Library.


ig4 copy

“Throwback Thursday! This photo is the original Brigham Young Academy, dated 1876. The restored building reopened at the Provo City Library at Academy Square in 2001.”


3. The third place picture shows a couple standing outside the original Provo Library, which, at the time, was located in the basement of the courthouse. 


ig5 copy

“Throwback Thursday to the old Provo Library! This couple knew when it was time to bundle up and celebrate the first snow of the year!”


2. In second place, we have another tie, both stunning original pictures of the Brigham Young Academy building. The former is dated appx. 1906, the latter 1897.


ig6 copy

“Throwback Thursday #provolibrary #provorocks #gelatinsilverprint #1906live #trees #thatmountaintho”


ig7 copy

“Throwing it back to 1897! Long before this was the #provolibrary, it was the Brigham Young Academy. (Photo courtesy of BYU L. Tom Perry Special Collections).”


1. And finally (drumroll please), our first place prize goes to the photo of the 25th Anniversary celebration of the founding of the Brigham Young Academy. That one was cool enough that the Utah Valley paper asked if they could use it in one of their Sunday editions.


ig8 copy

“In October 1890, a crowd gathered outside the Academy Building to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Brigham Young Academy #throwWaybackthursday #oldiebutgoodie #october #provo #nofilter”


Like what you see? Follow us @provolibrary on Instragram. 

childrens sculptureWe get many questions at the Children's Desk about the distinctive artwork featured in our area. The large sculptures of a unicorn and a dragon that sit behind the desk are especially good at eliciting curiosity and admiration. We often find toddlers who have sneaked behind the librarians' chairs so that they can stare up in awe at the fantasy creatures and try to touch them.

These colorful and whimsical creations are the work of local artist Jean Jeppson Clay. To make her "cloth machê" art, she first builds a framework of the shape and then covers it with cloth dipped in a glue mixture. When this dries it becomes very hard, and then Jean adds paint and adornments until her one-of-a-kind masterpiece is complete. Besides the two sculptures behind the Children's Desk, many more of Jean's creations are displayed throughout the children's side of the library on top of shelves and in window wells. 

Come visit us and experience the talent of a great local artist!


You can also see more of Jean’s work at!

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