• harry potter reveals


    In honor of our Harry Potter Middle Movies Marathon tomorrow (see our movie page for more info!) I've assembled a list of the 10 best secrets that JK Rowling has let slip since the end of the Harry Potter series.

    1. She has a detailed plan of what happened to most of the characters after the last book.

    Most people already know a lot of these character details, but it's fascinating to know that Rowling has mapped out the futures for many of her characters, she even knows the name of every child born in the Weasley clan for 20 years after Lord Voldemort is defeated.

    "Harry and Ron utterly revolutionized the Auror Department," Rowling said, with Harry becoming the department head. J.K. also said she could see Harry making an appearance every now and again to give the "odd talk" on Defense Against the Dark Arts. Hermione is "pretty high up" in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and Ginny was a professional Quidditch player until she had three children, and afterword wrote for the Daily Prophet.


    2. Being on a chocolate frog card is Ron's personal "Finest Hour."

    In fact, Harry, Ron and Hermione all wound up with their own chocolate frog cards. Harry's card says that he is "the first and only known wizard to survive the Killing Curse, most famous for the defeat of the most dangerous dark wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort."

    Ron's card gives him credit for "destroying the Horcruxes and subsequent defeat of Voldemort and revolutionizing the Ministry of Magic."  Rowling says that being on a chocolate frog card is Ron's "finest hour." On hers, Hermione gets credit for being "the brightest witch of her age" and that she "eradicated pro-pureblood laws" and campaigned for "the rights of non human beings such as house-elves."


    3. Harry and Lord Voldemort are family.

    The wizarding world is a small one, and Harry and Voldemort are linked through the three brothers who possessed the hallows.  Harry's father, James, is a direct descendant of Ignotus Peverell, who passed the Invisibility Cloak down through his family.  Voldemort's mother, Merope Gaunt, is a descendant of Cadmus Peverell, who possessed the Resurrection Stone.  Although it's possible to infer this from the seventh Harry Potter book, Rowling confirmed that the pair are "distantly related" through the Peverells, saying: "nearly all wizarding families are related if you trace them back through the centuries."

    Source: and

    4. We've all been pronouncing 'Voldemort' wrong.

    Rowling admitted in September, 2015 that she always intended the 't' of Voldemort to be silent - and that she was pretty sure she was the only person who pronounced it as such.


    5. Ron left his job as an Auror to co-manage Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.

    Ron joined his brother, George, as a partner at their successful joke shop, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. George's first child (named Fred... cue heartbreak), grows up to have a very successful career, helped by Ron.


    6. When Draco met Harry Potter, he thought Harry could be the next Dark Lord, which is why he tried to befriend him.

    “Draco was raised in an atmosphere of regret that the Dark Lord had not succeeded in taking command of the wizarding community,” Rowling wrote, revealing that before meeting Harry on the Hogwarts Express, Draco, his family and other ex-Death Eaters thought Harry could be “another, and better, Voldemort.”


    7. There's a list of "sacred 28" pureblood families.

    An anonymous male created a list called the “Sacred Twenty Eight,” a definitive list of Purebloods, and the Potters are not on it. In the early 1900s, Henry Potter publicly condemned the Minister for Magic, who didn’t want the magical community to help Muggles in World War I. This was “a strong contributing factor in the family’s exclusion” from the list. The Weasleys deplore their status as one of the twenty-eight, for which many other family clans call them "blood traitors."


    8. There's a spell that will let you see through an invisibility cloak, and Dumbledore used it on Harry.

    Ever suspect that Dumbledore knew Harry was at some of his most secret meetings? That's because he did. Rowling said he could silently use the incantation "homenum revelio" to see him.  Dumbledore uses the spell to see Harry and Ron under the Invisibility Cloak in Hagrid's hut in Book 2.  Hermione later uses this spell in Book 7 when they arrive at 12 Grimmauld Place, and it's used again by Death Eaters when looking for Harry at Xenophilius Lovegood's house.


    8. There are 11 wizarding schools... that we know about.

    Rowling has revealed so far that there are 11 schools registered with the International Confederation of Wizards.  The largest of these is in Africa, called Uagadou.  There are also schools in Japan, Brazil, France, North America, Russia, and a few other undisclosed locations.


    9. Hagrid and Dumbledore are two halves of a father figure for Harry.  

    “The colours red and white are mentioned many times in old texts on alchemy,” Rowling writes, explaining that some say these colors symbolize base metal and gold, representing “two different sides of human nature.” These colors inspired the names of two relevant characters in the Potter universe: “Rubeus (red) Hagrid and Albus (white) Dumbledore…both hugely important to Harry,” Rowling writes. “Seem to me to represent two sides of the ideal father figure he seeks; the former is warm, practical and wild, the latter impressive, intellectual, and somewhat detached.”


    10. Hogwarts tuition would cost you $43,000... if it wasn't free.

    When a Mic journalist estimated it would cost more than $43,000 to attend Hogwarts, including the cost of wands, robes and cauldrons, Rowling shut down the rumor, explaining that there is no tuition as the Ministry of Magic covers the cost of all magical education.


    I hope this whets your appetite for a Harry Potter fest tomorrow!  Come to the ballroom for all three films or just stop by for your favorite.  Feel free to bring some blankets to spread out on or use our chairs.  We'll have crafts and activities to do while you watch the films, and there may be a few prizes to win as well!

  • superheroes 01


    It seems like superheros have taken the world by storm!  These larger-than-life characters fight crime, save lives, and somehow we still relate to them at the end of the day.  If you're a superhero fan, I have a list that will satisfy your need for justice in between movie and comic book releases:

    by Mike Lupica

    Zach's father was a confidante of the president until he was killed by "the bads."  Now Zach is starting to feel changes: sharpening of his senses, incredible strength and speed, and he's beginning to realize his father was no ordinary man. 


    by Brandon Sanderson

    This inventive book by rockstar Brandon Sanderson turns the notion of Superheroes on its head, asking the question, "What if people got superhero powers and didn't do good with them?"  David Charleston watched his father die when he was young, all at the hands of a heartless but incredibly powerful "epic."  David wants nothing more than to stop Steelheart, but what chance does he stand? 


    by Austin Grossman

    Experience the superhero story from the side of the villain this time!  Doctor Impossible is the world's smartest man with deep thoughts and observations on the world and the people around him, but he won't hesitate to shout, "You'll never take me alive, fools!" when the situation calls for it. 


    falsememoryFALSE MEMORY
    by Dan Krokos

    Miranda wakes up on a park bench with no memory, and in her panic she releases an energy that incites terror in everyone around her.  Except one boy who doesn't look surprised at all by her ability.  She must trust him in order to find out what has happened to her.


    by Marie Lu

    June is a prodigy who has been groomed for success in the highest military circles.  Day is the country's most wanted criminal.  When their paths cross and they are forced to work together, they realize they have more in common than meets the eye.

  • If you're like me you're still riding on a high from last month's Star Wars release.  The new film brought back all the old feelings I got when I watched Episode 4 for the first time: laughing with beloved characters, believing in the Force, and wanting my own light saber. The only way this feeling can be diminished is realizing it will be 2017 before we get a new Star Wars movie!!  So if you need something to help you pass the time, here's a list of awesome books that will fill the gaping hole in your life left by Star Wars Episode VII.  Each one is an excellent book with an epic tale of good versus evil!

    By Brandon Sanderson


    This book is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES, and even if it's not technically a "teen" book, it has a teen protagonist and is perfectly suitable for Young Adult readers.  It also is a perfect choice for Star Wars fans!  It has interesting, likable characters who discover that they have mythical kick-butt powers, and a truly epic fight between good and evil.   


    By S. J. Kincaid


    This is a great one for Sci-Fi geeks like me who can't wait to own their own virtual reality unit and start exploring the galaxy.  The main character, Tom, is a sort of VR prodigy who gets noticed by the government for his gaming prowess and is offered a place with the Intrasolar Forces: an elite fighting force controlling the drones out there battling in WWIII. 


    By Kristin Cashore

    A young protagonist who has special abilities she is just beginning to understand goes on a journey of self discovery.  Sound familiar?  Warning: this one will be hard to put down so make sure to clear some time in your schedule.


    readyplayeroneREADY PLAYER ONE 
    By Ernest Cline


    Another technically non-"teen" book that features a teen protagonist and that content-wise I think is suitable for young adults, READY PLAYER ONE is a book I can't recommend enough to fans of sci fi adventures.  Part puzzle solving mystery (think Indiana Jones), part virtual reality reality romp (think The Matrix), and part homage to 1980's nerd culture, this book fits in perfectly with any Star Wars fan. 


    By Stuart Hill


    Thirrin is a beautiful princess but also an intrepid warrior, and she must find a way to protect her land from a terrible invasion.  She'll need to ally with strange creatures and cultures in order to lead her people to victory.  Fans of Leia will follow Thirrin with interest to see if she can rise above all of her challenges.



    Hopefully a few of these will scratch that Star Wars itch we'll all be plagued with until next year!!  Until then... may the force be with you.

  • 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!  The Homework Help section of our Online Resources 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.  This 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.

  • underground parking

    Did you know we have an underground parking lot? Sometimes it feels like a staff secret! For those of us who work at the library, we love parking in the underground lot, but it’s time to let the word out and tell you how it works and why it’s our favorite place to park. 

    1. It has more spaces!

    The underground parking lot consistently has more open spaces than our above-ground lots. Do people not know that it’s there? Or have they not learned how it works yet? I admit I was intimidated the first time or two that I drove down to the underground, but once you learn how it works, it’s a breeze. And on days when a popular event may be taking place at the library, it’s sometimes the only place to find a spot!

    2. It's a one-way road, shaped like a U 

    There’s one entrance and one exit, both located on 100 East. You take the ramp down into the underground and drive in a big loop around the library to the exit. All of the parking spaces are angled to accommodate the direction of traffic.

    Parking Garage Layout

    3. If you're going to the 3rd or 4th floor of the library, it's the best parking option

    There are three entrances to the library from underground parking, on the south, west, and north sides. The west entrance (Academy Entrance) leads to the Basement Creative Lab and an elevator that has access to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors on the academy side of the building. This elevator goes straight up to The Attic on the fourth floor, and the third floor where the ballroom is!  You’ll want to look for a sign in the underground lot called “Academy Entrance.” If you park in above-ground parking, you’ll have to take more than one staircase or elevator to get to these spaces in our building.

    4. It's the best option for handicapped parking and patrons with strollers

    When you park underground, it’s a simple elevator ride to get to the library, whereas if you park above-ground, you’ll need to park in the south lot and use our wheelchair ramp to get to the entrance of the library.  It’s a small difference, maybe, but it’s one that experienced patrons prefer.

    5. Stay out of the rain and snow, or keep cool on overheated summer days

    This one is self-explanatory, but you can’t beat staying nice and dry when it’s pouring, or staying cool in the middle of July!

    6. The ramps are heated for safety 

    Don’t be nervous in the winter! No matter how heavy the snowfall, the ramps are heated so that snow melts and runs into a drain at the bottom of the ramp.   

    7. If the gate at the exit is closed, it will magically open as your car nears it

    Okay, it’s not magic, but it seems that way! When the library closes, the gates to the underground parking will close, but as you approach the gate at the exit ramp, a sensor will detect your car and it will open to let you out.

    Just be aware that if you park underground, you need to be back in the building or the underground lot before the library closes! The exterior entrances to our underground parking close at the same time as the library, so whether you're coming down the outside stairs on foot or wanting to come down the entrance ramp in your friend's car, you'll need to do those things before our closing time if you don't want your vehicle to be stuck overnight. If you're still inside the building at closing time, though, you'll be able to use the basement doors to exit directly from the building into the underground lot.

    That’s it! Please take advantage of your new insider information and enjoy our wonderful underground parking lot.  

  • burnout

    Stress is a fact of life, and Americans are reporting higher levels of stress than ever these days.  Maybe you’re clawing your way through a tough semester or life event.  Maybe you’re in a rut at work, or feel trapped by financial circumstances or relationship worries.  While I wish I could offer solutions for all of these situations, I do know of a few books that may be able to offer some relief, reprieve, or respite from life’s troubles… at least for a little while. 

    Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green Gables
    By L. M. Montgomery

    There is just something about Anne that heals me.  She sees so much beauty around her, every budding flower or sunset seems like a miracle.   Anne of Green Gables was my first read after completing my bachelor’s degree, and I felt myself coming alive again as I read her descriptions of springtime and life at Green Gables.  Maybe it’s a bit simplistic, but maybe we need some of that simplicity when we’re going through hard times.


    By Shawn Achor

    This book asks an interesting question: what if instead of thinking certain goals will bring us happiness, what if instead happiness can help us accomplish our goals?  Achor points to many studies that show when we are positive, our brains become more engaged, resilient, energetic, and productive.  Some parts of this book are targeted at business readers, but I found that reading it led me to think about positivity more often and to often feel more positive as a result.  Sometimes orienting your thinking away from all the negatives can really help your overall outlook to be more sunny.


    By Ingrid Lee

    Designer Ingrid Lee explains why balloons make us smile, why orange creamsicles and sunsets make us happy, and why baby animals make us coo.  In this book, you’ll find tips for bringing small moments of happiness into your everyday life.  I found that reading this book and just thinking about small, joyful things helped to elevate my mood more than a few times.


    12.11 Man Called OveA MAN CALLED OVE
    By Fredrik Backman

    Ove is the curmudgeon inside all of us!  He may be a crank, but he’s relatable for anyone experiencing burnout.  When some new neighbors disrupt his plans, he finds that being forced outside of his comfort zone might be the exact thing he needed.  If that isn’t a metaphor for all of us burned-out, tired people, I don’t know what is!  But like me, you might feel yourself coming back from the brink as you see Ove doing the same.

  • SR 2017 FB

     One of the challenges in our Summer Reading Program is the “Ask a Librarian” Challenge.  Patrons can click on the blue "Ask a Librarian" tab on the right side of every Provo City Library web page, and either send us a question or tell us their favorite joke.  We have gotten so many interesting questions over the past few weeks, it’s allowed us to flex our librarian muscles!  But I have to admit – my personal favorite has been seeing all of the jokes submitted by our hilarious patrons!  Below is a collection of the jokes submitted so far. Thanks for all the laughs! 

    What do you call a camel with three humps?
    What did the right eye say to the left eye?
    Between you and me, something smells!  
    Why did Adele cross the road?
    To say hello from the other side. 
    How did the hipster burn his tongue?
    He drank his coffee before it was cool 
    What did the ocean say to the other ocean?
    Nothing, it just waved. 
    What happens to a frog's car when it breaks down?
    It gets toad away 
    What are bears without bees?
    What do you call a cow with 5 legs?
    A Moo-tant 
    What do you call a pig that knows karate?
    A pork chop! 
    Why can't you give Elsa a balloon?
    Because she will Let it go...  
    Knock knock.
    Who's there?
    Rita who?
    Rita lot of good books! 
    When the pig ate the mole, the mole and the pig ran away! 
    What do you say to comfort a grammar nazi?
    There, Their, They're. 
    What do you call a reptile that works as a detective?
    An investigator 
    Why did the Chicken cross the playground?
    To get to the other slide! 
    What is Darth Vader's favorite dessert?
    Do you know why elephants paint their toenails Red?
    So they can hide in Cherry trees.Have you ever seen one in a cherry tree? Good Camouflage isn't it? 
    If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?
    What kind of dog can tell the time?
    A watchdog. 
    If a fly did not have wings would we call it a walk? 
    What's green and has wheels?
    Grass!!! I lied about the wheels. 
    Why did the chicken cross the möbius strip?
    To get to the same side! 
    What do you call a fish with no eyes?
    A fsh. 
    What do you get when you divide a jack-o-lantern’s circumference by its diameter?
    Pumpkin Pi  
    Knock, knock...
    Who's there?
    Boo, who?
    Don't cry, it's only a joke! 
    Knock Knock
    Who's there?
    Doctor who?
    Why was the tomato blushing?
    Because it saw the salad dressing!  
    What kind of food does a racehorse eat?
    Fast Food! 
    Why did the cookie go to the doctor?
    Because he was feeling crumby!    
    Why did the Invisible Man turn down the job?
    He just couldn't see himself doing it. 
    What do you call an elephant that doesn't matter?
    Where is Flash's (superhero) favorite place to eat?
    At a fast food restaurant.  
    How do you make an elephant float?
    1 scoop of ice scream, 2 squirts of soda, and 3 scoops of elephant 
    And God said to John, come forth and you shall be granted eternal life.
    But John came fifth and won a toaster. 
    What do you call cheese that is not yours?
    Nacho cheese! 
    Knock Knock
    Who"s there?
    Pizza Who?
    Pizza really great guy 
    Why does a chicken coop only have two doors?
    Because if it had four, it would be chicken sedan. 
    How do you get Pikachu on a bus?
    You poke him on. 
    Knock, knock. 
    Who's there? 
    Banana who?
    Knock, knock. 
    Who's there? 
    Banana who?
    Knock, knock. 
    Who's there? 
    Banana who?
    Knock, knock. 
    Who's there? 
    Orange who? 
    Orange you glad that I didn't say banana anymore?  
    Knock Knock.
    Who's there?
    Boo who?
    Is your tummy hurting? Is that why you said boo who? 
    If you are annoyed and I am annoyed, does that make us paranoid?!!  
    Why do cows wear bells?
    Because their horns don't work!  
    Why didn't the skeleton go to the dance?
    Because he had no body to go with. 
    I will be telling you a Spanglish joke.
    What do you call Dora con tualla?
    What is the difference between a gross transit terminal and a lobster with plastic surgery?
    One's a crusty bus station and one's a busty crustacean.
  • Text

    Still Uses Her Phone as a Phone

    I was born in the 80s, but I must admit, I hate using my phone as a phone.  Why would you call someone when you can send a perfectly good text message instead?  There are no awkward pauses or talking over each other, you can take time to compose a response, and if something else (like perhaps any distracting young people in your house) needs your attention, you don’t have to put anyone on hold.  When someone texts me, I can multitask to the extreme!  Basically: if your phone is ever ringing with a call from me, you know it’s an emergency and something is probably on fire.

    If you’re anything like me and can relate to the bliss of easy, fast, brief written communications, the library’s messaging service is for you!  You can chat with a librarian anytime we’re open through live chat, text message or email. 

    From any page on our website you can click on the blue “Ask a librarian” button on the rightmost side of the page and choose whether you’d like to start a live chat or ask a question and receive an answer in text or email.

  • 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.

  • finding waldo 01

    If your childhood was anything like mine, you relished getting a new Where's Waldo book from the library! I loved cracking the cover and doing a leisurely search through all the folderol, until finally: Waldo!  But I still wouldn’t turn the page until I had looked through all the quirky and often hilarious vignettes.  Plus you could explain the vast amounts of time you spent with the books, "But Mom, this is practically a history book, these lions are eating Romans in the Colosseum."

    I have to admit I still look at these books now and again.  I even get a rush when I'm at events with thousands of people like Comic Con and I find someone dressed up as Waldo.  I tell myself, "Found him!" and do an internal happy dance.

    Teens, if you want to re-live the thrill of the hunt for Waldo, come to the library next week!  We'll have him hidden in various spots in the library, and if you find all of them you can win a prize for being such a smartie!  Come to the First Floor Reference desk anytime between Monday the 25th and Saturday the 30th to get started. 

    Happy Hunting!

  • bring spring


    Spring is upon us, and I don't know about you, but I suddenly find myself invigorated and ready to get some things done! There are many things I have been neglecting over the winter, and now that the sun is shining and I don't have to wear my heavy winter coat outside, I think I'm just about ready to tackle them. Here's my list of biggest things to tackle over the next few weeks and the books I’m going to use to get them done.

    pruning plant by plantPRUNING PLANT BY PLANT
    by Andrew Mikolajski

    My yard feels like a wild forest sometimes, and it seems like the reaching branches sneak up on me each season. For many plants, the end of winter and beginning of spring is the right time to prune and get them ready for the new growing season. This book is a DK publication, which means it is especially gorgeous to flip through, and the many photographs are sure to perfectly illustrate just what you need to know to get your garden ready for the warm weather.


    by Francine Jay

    I don't know what it is about cold weather, but I can't help but accumulate growing piles of things that need to be organized.  Stray junk mail, art projects from my kids, and thank you letters seem to find their way into a box that I always intend to “go through later.” Somehow, the warm weather of spring always manages to inspire me to unpack my piles and get organized again, and this book has many helpful tips and hints to inspire anyone like me.


    by Sandra Block  

    Tax season always seems to sneak up on me, and each year I promise myself that I'm going to pay more attention to saving receipts throughout the year and looking for ways to lower my taxes. This book is a great resource for just this endeavor!




    by Erica Stauss

    Each spring I get so inspired by things growing everywhere that I recommit to eating produce in season. We have a few seasonal cookbooks that are committed to showing which recipes will make the best of each season, and I especially like this book as it includes information on preserving and homekeeping as well.


    complete home repairCOMPLETE HOME REPAIR: WITH 350 PROJECTS AND 2,300 PHOTOS
    Black & Decker Corporation

    These Black & Decker books are amazing in their ability to help novices like me understand what to do. From patching part of my driveway concrete that chipped from the ice in the winter, to touching up the caulk in my bathroom, to improving the efficiency of my appliances, this book is a gold mine for homeowners who need to do small repairs or simply making things work better.

    We also have an online resource for home improvement just like this book except that it also includes videos and magazine articles, through our Home Improvement Reference Center database. 

    Looking for more springtime recommendations? You're in luck!


  • text friendly

    Epistolary novels are stories written as a series of documents like journal entries, letters, and newspaper clippings. It’s an interesting feature that can lend a sense of intimacy between the reader and the characters. But with our world going increasingly “online,” we’ve begun to see emails, text messages, and blog posts shaping communication and expression – even in books! When I came across my first text-message-heavy novel, I was dubious: is this going to cheapen the story? I was surprised to find that the author was able to take something so mundane and tell a compelling story with it. Below are five young adult novels that incorporate electronic messaging into the story. They might surprise you! 

    8.18 Darcy Swipes LeftDARCY SWIPES LEFT
    By Courtney Carbone

    Jane Austen meets the smart phone in this fun, modern telling of Pride and Prejudice. Told via text messages, Tinder, emails, and more, this translates smartly into modern culture.  Mr. Collins finishing his line with a #humblebrag or Mary's esoteric status updates fit perfectly in with my ideas of the characters from this classic novel. 


    8.18 TTYLTTYL
    By Lauren Myracle

    Zoe, Maddie, and Angela are starting their sophomore year, and use instant messaging to keep each other updated as they start dating, sort out other friendships, and cope with disasters.  Each character has a distinct voice and the story deals with genuine issues even though it is told completely through texts. 



    8.18 Bad KittyBAD KITTY
    By Michele Jaffe

    Seventeen year old Jasmine “Calamity” Callihan is spending the summer in Las Vegas with her father, stepmother, and snotty cousin Alyson.  Thank goodness she can keep her friends updated via text when she gets tangled up in an outrageous adventure and has to outwit a crazed killer before he takes more lives.



    8.18 The Future of UsTHE FUTURE OF US
    By Jay Asher

    It's 1996, and Emma Nelson has just gotten the internet. Her former best friend Josh gives her an AOL CD, which she installs, but when she logs on, she finds a weird site called Facebook. She can see herself in the future - and she doesn't really like what she sees. Josh, on the other hand, has a future that looks pretty ideal. Emma tries to find ways to change her future, while Josh tries to keep his the same. 


    8.18 Little Blog on the PrairieLITTLE BLOG ON THE PRAIRIE
    By Cathleen Bell

    Gen Welsh does not want to spend her summer living as if it's 1890, but since her mother signed the family up for a summer "historical reenactment" camp, Gen finds herself milking cows, churning butter, and using an outhouse. Desperate for some normalcy, Gen uses her totally-against-camp-rules hidden cell phone to text her friends about camp life, but when her friends secretly post her messages to a blog, it goes viral.



  • blogfood

    It's no secret that I love fall!  This is my favorite season as the leaves start to turn, the weather starts to get chilly, and I can break out my collection of scarves and gloves that have been neglected for too long.  Looking at some of the season's new cookbooks is equally enjoyable for me – the lovely roasts and stews on the covers, treat ideas to share on special occasions, and plenty of ideas to create new memories with the people you love.  Here are a few recently purchased cookbooks to get your autumn groove on:

    by Allison Day

    This book definitely ushers in an excitement for all-things pumpkin!  In Purely Pumpkin, blogger Allison Day celebrates the most famous vegetable of the season with savory and sweet recipes that take advantage of pumpkin’s many incarnations: pumpkin flesh, puree, seeds, spice, even pumpkin seed oil.  Simply flipping through this book will warm your chilly fingers and have you wondering if the scent of cinnamon is in the air.

    by Daina Falk

    I don’t think we can talk about fall cookbooks without mentioning game-day treats and tailgating with friends.  This book celebrates the art of feeding hungry sports fans from Wisconsin-style Fried Cheese Curds (go Packers!) to Chipotle Chicken Potato Skins.  Daughter of legendary sports agent David Falk, Daina Falk presents more than 100 recipes as well as tips on planning menus, packing, along with fun facts and team trivia.

    by Michal Moses and Ivana Nitzan

    You may have been expecting the caramel-covered apples on the cover, but did you see the Salmon with Soy Caramel Sauce coming?  This book covers it all, with fifty recipes covering caramel candies, bars, cakes, desserts, and even savory dishes.  If you’ve ever been intimidated by creating your own caramel this book will walk you through the basics, and for more experienced caramel-makers, there are some truly inventive recipes that will make your mouth water.

    by Monica Sweeney

    Take full advantage of all of those end-of-summer fruits and orchard offerings with this delicious book on cobblers and crisps.  It even boasts a few pumpkin creations and sauce recipes that will have you glazing and whipping with the best of them.  If the changing leaves outside have you craving a pie in the oven to fill your home with the smell of nutmeg and ginger, you can spend a fraction of the time instead and have a lovely crispy-topped cobbler to show for it!

    by Kristin Donnelly

    Let’s face it – this is the season of potlucks.  From holiday parties to office celebrations to elaborate weekend family dinners, we’re cooking for crowds these days.  One thing that I love about this book is that it will help you to accommodate gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets that inevitably come up amongst large groups.  This is also a gorgeous, pleasing book to flip through, and will reward you with extras like tips on event planning and packing food for travel.  These extras are a real bonus, as it’s no fun to spend hours to prepare for guests only to mildly hate them when they finally arrive!  Here you’ll find help to not only cook for the season, but to enjoy those moments with your loved ones more.

  • groundhog

    Today is Groundhog Day, that holiday when a little creature emerges from its burrow to see if it's sunny or not and decides whether it wants to hurry back home and curl up for 6 more weeks of beauty rest.

    Regardless of what the groundhog decides to do this morning, I think curling up for a while with a good book will be my goal of the week. So grab a warm blanket and a cup of cocoa while I present for you: four teen books to help you ignore the outside world!

    inreallifeIN REAL LIFE
    by Cory Doctorow

    Nothing helps you ignore the real world better than a book about a girl ignoring the real world! Anda starts playing a massively-multiplayer-role-playing game and begins to see how the lines between the real world and the online one can become blurred. This is a gorgeously illustrated graphic novel with an interesting message to share.



    chasinglincolnkillerCHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER
    by James L. Swanson

    If your preferred reason for staying in bed is because you can't put your book down, this one is for you. Working from letters, manuscripts, reports, books, and other documents, Swanson has pieced together the story of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the ensuing chase of John Wilkes Booth. Readers not only follow the course of Booth and his co-conspirators, but also Lincoln's final moments and the reactions of those around him. It's a serious page-turner, and you have the added bonus of saying it's a "history book" if anyone asks you any questions.


    eleanorandparkELEANOR AND PARK
    by Rainbow Rowell

    If you haven't read this one yet, go get it from a library right now. Eleanor and Park are both misfits in 1986 who have no choice but to sit next to each other on the bus one day. That act starts an unlikely friendship that grows from comic books and shared music. I know it doesn't sound like much, but you won't be able to eat, sleep, or breathe until it's done.



    selectionTHE SELECTION
    by Kiera Cass

    If you've ever spent a night on the couch watching The Bachelor while texting your friends to say you're watching The 100, this book is for you. America Singer is "Selected" to participate in a televised competition to compete to be the bride of Prince Maxon. The only problem is it's the last thing America wants. This book is a guilty pleasure that is best enjoyed from behind the book sleeve of something serious and intimidating like Crime and Punishment.

    You have your list, now grab a blanket and stay inside until it's warm out!

  • freegal

    In the world of online music streaming, there are a variety of options and each with its own quirks. For simplicity’s sake, I often find myself loading Youtube, finding a song I want to hear, and then letting the website automatically load more music as I go throughout my day. Unfortunately, I’ve been growing increasingly frustrated with YouTube’s ads and their odd recommendations (Youtube: “Remember that one time you listened to a Jimmy Buffet song? You love Jimmy Buffet now. Here are 20 other songs by him”). I’ve also tried Pandora and Spotify’s free services but the ads tend to drive me crazy. Happily, Provo City Library’s subscription to Freegal means that I can listen to 5 hours of ad-free streaming music every day! A big bonus is that if I find any songs I’m crazy about, I get three free downloads each week, so I can download them to my phone and listen when I’m away from data and wifi connections: perfect for summer hiking and camping trips.

    As I’ve been exploring Freegal’s music library, I’ve been creating a list of gems, some well-known and others I’d never heard before. I’ve tried to include a variety of genres below in the (likely) case that your music taste isn’t a dead-ringer for mine. Not every genre is covered as these are just my recent favorites, but try giving one or two a listen – you can hear them in their entirety via streaming, and if you really love it, you can download it for free! Just grab your library card so you can log in.


    7.18 Bohemian RhapsodySong: BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY 
    Artist: Pentatonix
    Album: PTX Vol. IV – Classics

    Pentatonix’s YouTube channel is currently the 13th most-subscribed music video channel, so it’s fair to say they are popular, but their albums consistently top our most-checked out here at the library as well as among our patron’s downloads on Freegal. This album is their most recent release and features some of their best work to date – every track is recommended.


    7.18 LocationSong: LOCATION 
    Artist: Khalid
    Album: Location (single)

    Khalid is a classically-trained vocalist who hit the R&B scene last year with this single, which he wrote as a senior in high school, and later in the year it went platinum. The highlight of the song is his soulful voice, backed mostly by light prickles of strings, bass, and background vocals. The biggest appeal of this track is just how fresh it sounds – it’s R&B but it’s been elevated into something else.  A single from his latest album, American Teen, is also available on Freegal and is worth checking out as well.


    7.18 MalibuSong: MALIBU
    Artist: Miley Cyrus
    Album: Malibu

    When Miley Cyrus released this single a few weeks ago, listeners were surprised – it suggests that Cyrus is heading in a new artistic direction, leaning back into her alt-country roots. This song will undoubtedly be the sound of the 2017 summer for many young people around the world.


    7.18 God Only KnowsSong: GOD ONLY KNOWS
    Artist: John Legend & Cynthia Erivo featuring yMusic
    Album: God Only Knows

    Okay, so this is an updated cover of the classic tune by the Beach Boys, but believe me, it is WORTH checking out. John Legend and British actress-singer Cynthia Erivo sang it at the 2017 Grammys as part of the “In Memoriam” segment, and it drew rave reviews. Luckily, Legend had a studio version to share with the world. This rendition is stripped down, replacing the original lush production with simplicity and warmth that showcases the gorgeous voices of Legend and Erivo. 


    7.18 Feux dartificeSong: PRELUDES BOOK NO. II: FEUX D'ARTIFICE
    Artist: Claude Debussy, Krystian Zimerman
    Album: Maestros de la Música Clásica, Vol. I

    If you are a classical buff, I hope you can forgive me for only recently becoming familiar with Krystian Zimerman, the Polish virtuoso pianist who I am now obsessed with. All of the lofty adjectives that people use to describe musical genius – I need them ALL to describe him. If you’ve never had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with his work, I’d highly recommend checking out this track which will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions from the impassioned to the sublime.


    7.18 TrollsArtist: Various

    This album has been on Freegal’s “Most Popular” list since it came out last year, and if you’ve got kids they will love you for streaming this up-beat toe-tapping collection. Featuring many covers as well as a couple of originals, and artists like Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, Zooey Deschanel, and Ariana Grande, there’s something here for everyone in the family to enjoy.


  • 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.

  •  Gardening

    Sometimes I feel like the best way to describe me is: A Food Moron. I grew up in a metropolitan area, in an era when convenience foods were the new miracle of the food industry, and dinner came more often from a can or a box or even a window than it did from the ground. Now that I am in our lovely community here in Provo, I have felt often that I have a huge amount of catching up to do. So many people around me seem to already have a grasp on how to grow your own food and put it on the table for your family without any cardboard boxes involved at all!  And while I don't feel like I have the benefit of a lifetime of knowledge of good food practices, I am trying to learn now as an adult so that I can improve my life and the lives of my family. 

    But food is becoming an increasingly tricky subject, almost as perilous to navigate in social settings as politics and religion.  You can find as many different opinions on food practices as there are people in the room. The publishing industry reflects this trend as well, with a new food-related book coming out almost every day prescribing one method or another.

    While I don't claim to have any more answers than the next person, I have read several interesting books recently that have helped me to learn about the food industry, and more importantly, that have inspired me personally to make changes. Which is why I've spent the last two months digging through the dirt in my backyard, pulling up roots, hammering and drilling: things I never thought I'd be doing when I was growing up!

     Garden 1.1
    My yard in February 2018

    Garden 2
    Versus April 2018

    I heartily support anyone who's trying to make their life better with better food practices, whatever they are! But these are the books that have educated me and inspired me to get out the shovel and do something.  

    Michael Pollan

    Michael Pollan has been a critical player in our national conversations about food for the better part of two decades.  While he's written many important books on the subject of the environment and agriculture, Cooked was a culmination of sorts where much of his knowledge and research was encapsulated in practical application. 


    By Michael Moss

    This book takes an in-depth look at major players in the food industry, and examines how research and development of their products is done to help it become as desirable as possible to consumers today.  It's a fascinating look at how food products are specifically designed to keep people eating ("bet you can't eat just one") while no real attention is paid to nutrition unless it can be used as a market appeal.   


    6.20 The Dorito EffectTHE DORITO EFFECT
    By Mark Schatzker

    While part of this book covers similar ground as the book above, Schatzker takes it another step further to examine agricultural practices over the last century as well.  Many varieties of grown food have been bred for decades for its resistance to disease and bigger yields, but practically no consideration for taste.  As a result, many grown foods have lost much of their true flavors and intensity, and people increasingly turn to the processed food industry to provide flavor, at the expense of nutrition. 


    6.20 Animal Vegetable MiracleANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE: A YEAR OF FOOD LIFE
    By Barbara Kingsolver

    Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family moved from Tuscon to Virginia to live for one year eating only what they produced themselves or what they could find locally produced.  Kingsolver's mindfulness of the world around her and passion for responsible eating are incredibly inspiring.  I haven't yet found someone who wasn't motivated to make even a small change after reading this. 


    By Dan Barber

    Written by the renowned chef of the Blue Hill restaurant and one of the original chefs of the farm-to-table movement, Dan Barber explores the evolution of American food, its effect on our environment, and most importantly the environment's effect on food.  This is a fascinating discussion of true sustainability, and how the practices that will benefit our environment the most will also help to provide us with the most delicious food possible. 

  •  End of the World

    Does it say something about you if all you want to read is a story about the end of the world? I hope not, because lately it’s all I seem to be reading! There’s something intriguing about a story set in a world where things can be so much worse, and lately I seem to live for those small threads of meaning that bind people to hope in the face of bleak events. Here are five stories set in familiar but fundamentally altered worlds where people are redefining life as we know it. 

    6.29 The Last PolicemanTHE LAST POLICEMAN
    By Ben H. Winters

    Suppose you were a beat cop who wanted to be a detective and you were suddenly granted your wish because the world is going to collide with an asteroid in the near future. This is Hank Palace's situation, and in a world where suicide is commonplace, the remaining police force of Concord, New Hampshire, thinks Hank is a nutcase for investigating an apparent suicide as a murder. And yet… why did the man hang himself with a belt other than his own? The end of the world scenario of this detective novel makes it both thought-provoking and strange.  


    6.29 Station 11STATION ELEVEN
    By Emily St. John Mandel

    Outside of Toronto, a famous actor, Arthur Leander, collapses from a heart attack in the middle of a performance of Shakespeare's King Lear. Shortly thereafter, a deadly super-flu quickly spreads and wipes out approximately 99% of the world's population. The novel switches back and forth in time, before and after the pandemic, and centers on the lives of Arthur and people connected to him in one way or the other. In the years after the Fall, one of these people, Kirsten, join a group of traveling actors/musicians who are determined to keep a modicum of culture alive because as their motto says, "Survival is insufficient."


    6.29 Life as We Knew ItLIFE AS WE KNEW IT
    By Susan Beth Pfeffer

    Sixteen-year-old Miranda begins her diary with accounts related to boys and prom. Her writing shifts dramatically after a meteor hits the moon altering the moon’s gravitational pull. This collision changes life forever on earth. Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and the loss of electricity abound. Through the ten-month ordeal, Miranda records how her family through everything and how every day death is a constant threat. Will they have enough food and fuel to make it through the long, cold winter? Will life ever return to normal? Is there even such a thing as “normal” anymore? 


    6.29 The FiremanTHE FIREMAN
    By Joe Hill

    Harper Grayson is a nurse volunteering her time to help those infected by a terrifying plague that is spreading throughout the country. The doctors have named the infection Draco Incendia Trychophyton, but everyone else just calls it Dragonscale. The first symptom is an array of tattoo like marks across the body and the final symptom is spontaneous combustion leaving victims mere ash. When Harper contracts the disease she is quarantined in her home until a mysterious fireman with uncanny pyrotechnic abilities takes her to a hidden community of survivors.


    6.29 The Age of MiraclesTHE AGE OF MIRACLES
    By Karen Thompson Walker

    On a Saturday just like any other, Julia and her friend Hannah have had a sleepover. As they wake up and the day progresses however, they discover that the world as they know it will never be the same. The earth has suddenly begun rotating slower and slower adding minutes and then hours to each day. Not only do the days and night grow longer, but gravity as well as growing food is affected. Julia is facing her world being turned upside down in other ways as well, friendships dissolve, her parents’ marriage is strained, and they boy she likes doesn’t ever seem to notice she’s around.

  • FTN FB event

    You may have heard the term STEM before (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in the education world.  Right now there is an emphasis on teaching children these skills, because analysts predict that in the next decade, 80% of professions will require a deep understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math.  Educators are motivated to teach these skills so that children will have the opportunity to later pursue careers in these fields.

    But is focusing solely on STEM skills a complete education? Definitely not. It's important to balance STEM activities with fun and creativity, or even better, combine the two. I believe arts education and STEM education can enrich each other. Technological advances are furthered by creativity, and artistry is enhanced by sharpening the mind, increasing our understanding of the world around us and how it works. Physics plays a role in sculpting with different materials. Exposure to art can make the technology we create more interesting, and more relevant to the human experience.  

    STEM learning combined with creativity and play has been something we have been thinking about a lot here at the library. Participating in tech activities encourages youth to be curious, ask questions, and make connections with the world around them, and we can think of no better setting for these activities than with family. Even if we, as parents, don't have honed STEM skills ourselves, we can learn alongside our children, and as we do our relationships are enriched and children can see from the examples of their parents that STEM skills aren't scary or hard. When kids participate in learning play with their families, we make it more accessible to them simply with our prescence, our interest, and our attention, and we open many doors of possibility for them in the future.

    I'm excited to announce that we have created a Family Tech Night series where we will explore different science, technology, engineering, and math principles with fun and creative play. Families can come and have a guided demonstration from a librarian before getting a hands-on experience with the tech themselves. Our first Family Tech Night is this coming Wednesday, September 20th at 6:30 in the Shaw Programming Room #260. We will be using littleBits, small circuits that easily snap together, to create fun inventions and learn how one type of circuit can affect the next.


    We're excited to demonstrate this simple but foundational technological principle, as well as create some fun tech, and we hope to see you there!

  • college prep

    You might think that the Library was a good resource for your 5th grade state report (and you are right! It is!), but we can help you well beyond 5th grade! The Library has fantastic resources that are accessible remotely, which means that you can do them all without even changing out of your pajamas (I can hardly think of a better way to prepare for college!). Here are some great ways our website can help you prepare for college: 

    Do you need to prepare for college entrance exams like the ACT and SAT? We have a database with free practice tests, tutorials, and e-books. All you need is a library card to log in.

    Do you need to strengthen your academic skills to prepare for placement tests? Our College Center can help with that.

    What if you're preparing to take the GED? You can take practice tests and build your skills with the High School Equivalency Center.

    What about community service to strengthen your application appeal? Consider doing volunteer work at the library (okay, this one will require you to change out of your PJs...).

    You can also be part of our monthly Teen Volunteer Board, where you can volunteer with a group and work on projects together and help the librarians with special projects!

    Come in and ask a librarian how we can help you prepare for college, or check out the "Plan for College" section on our Homework Resources page.  We're ready to help!

  • tech savvy

    Sometimes I feel like I bridge some interesting gaps in my marriage. My husband, a lover of all things technological, has fully moved into the 21st century and never looked back. While I try to join him in this brave new world, occasionally I fall behind and he likes to tease me for still belonging to the age of analog. Why buy sticky notes when you can just create a task list on your phone? Why are we keeping the kids’ school papers in binders when we can just save them to the cloud? Why are we turning on the lights with switches like animals when we could just get Alexa?

    While some might think that libraries also belong in the bygone era, more and more I realize that the library is evolving right along with the rest of the world, in ways that surprise my tech-embracing spouse and others I tell. Here are a few examples of sarcastic questions my husband has posed over the years, and the surprising ways the library continues to solve our problems:

    “Why are people still making CDs? Who even uses CDs anymore?”

    Yeah, this one is irking, since I purchase all of the music CDs for the library’s collection, and I know that people are definitely still using CDs thank you very much. I may have uttered this last statement with my arms folded petulantly, to which he reluctantly agreed.

    But then of course I remembered the library has also subscribed to Freegal, an online music streaming website where you can even download a few songs every week FOR KEEPSIES. Even if you don’t want to use CDs anymore, the library still has a way to bring you music for free.

    “Why didn’t you just send me a link to the article… like a normal person?”

    This one came after I brought home a photocopied article I had thought he would find interesting. He held the papers like I had handed him a discarded banana peel and asked me this question sarcastically. My husband is still alive because I knew he was joking (although he probably suffered a smack to the arm), but then I realized: I could have done just that.

    The library subscribes to dozens of databases, including several that have newspaper articles and access to magazines. And even if I did find the article in one of our print magazines, I could have used the library’s scanner to quickly scan the article and email it to him for free. He could potentially never touch a paper again!

    I heard about this cool book that Neil deGrasse Tyson wrote, do you think we have time to stop by Barnes and Noble?

    He has only been married to a librarian for THE PAST 10 YEARS where I have access to free books on a daily basis, and I still get questions like this. But even when I have brought home books for him, too often I see them resting by the bed while he is off listening to a podcast and washing dishes (he may be snarky, but the man does dishes and laundry, I’m not complaining).

    But of course, the library has an answer for even this situation with OverDrive, our database of downloadable e-books and audiobooks. You can download books anytime, day or night, and play them right from Overdrive’s new app, Libby. Now he can keep up with the latest books right alongside his podcasts and Reddit threads.

    I hope I didn’t make him sound too snarky in this post, because he is actually delightful and these things he says are always meant in jest. But hey, if I can convince him that the library can still be a relevant part of his life in this new digital world, I can convince anyone!

  • Retro Game FB

    It came unexpectedly.  I was visiting my mom and she pulled an old, crinkley bag out of the garage with wires hanging out of it.  “After all this time?” I said with disbelief.  I pulled open the bag and there they were: all my old Sega Genesis games that I played in the 90s.  It was during a Christmas vacation when she remembered to give me the bag, wanting to clean out her garage.  Why had she even kept it?  I had no idea, but it was like she pulled a treasure out of that big warehouse in Indiana Jones.  Needless to say, I spent a lot of time that holiday exploring dungeons filled with monsters, racing with Sonic, and discovering that my fingers still knew how to do that really tricky triple jump in my favorite game.  Best. Christmas. Ever.

    If you’re like me, perhaps it takes just a few chiming notes of the Super Mario Brothers theme to put a smile on your face.  Whatever your favorite console was – arcade games, Atari, Intellivision, Nintendo, Sega, Playstation, X-Box, PCs, etc, playing these games from your childhood can bring back fond memories.  An unexpected pleasure has been showing these games to my kids, which stirs up feelings somewhere between the satisfaction of passing down beloved childhood traditions to thrill of an evil mastermind converting disciples to his twisted ways.

    Naturally, I had to plan a library event around all this!  I’m happy to say that this Saturday, July 9th, from 2:00-4:00 in Room 201 we’ll have all sorts of classic games for you to come reminisce with (and maybe even show your kids).  If perhaps you didn’t grow up with some of these games, it’s a great chance to introduce yourself to gaming’s origins and get firsthand experience with classics everyone keeps talking about.  We can’t wait to see you there!

  • writerfriendly


    Here at the library, we love having authors come to speak with our patrons about the books they've written. But one thing I've noticed at almost every single author event is that they also talk about the act of writing, and they give advice to others on how to improve their writing experiences. It strikes me as an incredible opportunity to hear from people in the trenches, who have a lot of experience and knowledge to share.

    Libraries would be nothing without writers and authors, and we try to support them here at the Provo City Library. I know several writers who come here regularly to write on our quiet floor. Each November we host a series of NaNoWriMo events to encourage and support writers in our community. Our Authorlink events are a great opportunity to meet with professional writers and get advice and maybe even a little cheerleading from them.

    We also have a few items in our collection that may help you on your path as a writer. I'd like to recommend these titles if you're looking to improve your craft or even turn your work into a profitable creation:

    (note: we also have Novel & Short Story Writer's Market, Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, and even Poet's Market) 

    These amazing books are published yearly, and have thousands of listings for book publishers, magazines, contests, and literary agents. They also include interviews, articles, and advice from top writers and instructors.

    by Chris Baty

    The founder of NaNoWriMo has written the definitive handbook for extreme noveling.  It's a mix of optimism and practical solutions that are perfect for both first-time novelists and seasoned writers.  It's the perfect kick-start to get your next novel written.

    by Francince Prose

    Reading is a key tool for writers.  Prose invites you to take a guided tour of the tools and tricks of master authors. A heightened appreciation and understanding of their work not only leads to better reading, but better writing as well!

    stiefvater signing

    This picture is from a signing that Maggie Steifvater did.  I loved her advice and it's one of the best things I can recommend for up-and-coming writers!  Best of luck!

  • top albums 2016

    The music landscape has been changing drastically over the past decade or so, and 2016 was the most unusual year of all. CD sales dropped by over 10 percent, downloads dropped by almost 30 percent, and instead more people than ever are streaming music.  In 2016 alone, 45 billion audio tracks were streamed, which is a huge 68 percent increase over the previous year.  

    Though CD sales might be declining in the larger market, they are alive and well here at the Provo City Library.  We're glad that we're able to give access to current popular (and even older and more classic) music for our patrons.  Thinking on this, I ran the numbers on our best new albums from the past year.  Below is the list of the top 20 circulating albums of 2016 for the Provo City Library – this is what our community is listening to and checking out the most.

    Oh and one extra thing: the streaming bug has hit the Provo City Library as well!  Through our new resource, Freegal, you can stream five hours of music every day!  Freegal has put together some nice playlists that you can choose from (with no ads like Pandora and Spotify), 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.  Cool, huh? 

    Without further ado, here's our list of the Top Albums of 2016. 

    20. LEMONADE by Beyonce


    18. RIPCORD by Keith Urban

    17. LOVE YOUR LIFE by Hilary Weeks

    16. ANTI by Rhianna

    15. IF I'M HONEST by Blake Shelton

    14. DEATH OF A BACHELOR by Panic at the Disco

    13. WILDFIRE by Rachel Platten - available on Freegal


    11. A PENTATONIX CHRISTMAS by Pentatonix- available on Freegal

    10. NINE TRACK MIND by Charlie Puth

    9. THANK YOU by Meghan Trainor - available on Freegal

    8. THIS IS ACTING by Sia - available on Freegal


    6. LUKAS GRAHAM by Lukas Graham

    5. CLEOPATRA by The Lumineers

    4. UNCHARTED by The Piano Guys - available on Freegal

    3. ILLUMINATE by Shawn Mendes 

    2. A HEAD FULL OF DREAMS by Coldplay 


    It's no surprise that Hamilton comes in at #1 on the list!  The Broadway show has been taking the world by storm, and in 2016 they released an edited version that we were able to add to our collection!  Many of the others are understandable, although a few surprises like Love Your Life by Hilary Weeks are shaped by our unique community.  If you have a favorite that isn’t available on Freegal, don’t dismay, you can still check it out from our library and enjoy the music for free.

    A few things that didn’t make the list but are definitely honorable mentions: 

    TROLLS ORIGINAL MOTION SOUNDTRACK - Available on Freegal – This soundtrack features a host of top musicians and artists, and is catchy to boot!   Your kids will love you for downloading a few of the tracks.

    25 by Adele - Available on Freegal – This couldn’t quite make the list as it was released on 20 November, 2015, but it’s circulation has been one of the strongest all year, and it being available on Freegal is a particular boon!

    THE VERY BEST OF PRINCE – All of our music by Prince surged after his death in April 2016.

    BEST OF BOWIE – The same happened for David Bowie and we needed to buy extra copies of his albums early in 2016.

  • Funny Book

    I love to read books about comedians, comedy’s impact in the world, and books that are just plain funny.  I’ve been known to send many jokes to friends and loved ones because I can’t resist sharing a good laugh with those I love.  There are countless books that contribute to the laughs in the world, and I find them irresistible!  Here are a few favorites that are too good for me to keep them to myself, in a few of my favorite packages:

    Comedian Biography

    A comedian’s biography will usually overview their life, and can sometimes examine their personal demons as well as their greatest triumphs, as is the case with Dave Itzkoff’s book about Robin Williams called ROBIN.  One of the most popular of this group has to be BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey, which not only talks about the course of her career, but is sprinkled along the way with her (often hilarious) observations.  It’s well worth the read, and the audiobook, narrated by Fey herself, is a winner.  This category also definitely needs to mention Billy Crystal’s STILL FOOLIN' 'EM, the story of his life which has its share of laughs combined with heart, personal loss and redemption, and some absolutely amazing experiences.

    Comedy as the Subject

    Many books love to talk about comedy as a phenomenon, especially because their stories are usually a roller-coaster-ride of their rise in popularity, bumps along the way, and eventual fall or translation into something new.  SEINFELDIA: HOW A SHOW ABOUT NOTHING CHANGED EVERYTHING by Jennifer Armstrong and AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE by Cary Elwes are excellent examples.  But my personal favorite is probably THE DAILY SHOW: AN ORAL HISTORY AS TOLD BY JON STEWART, THE CORRESPONDENTS, STAFF, AND GUESTS by Chris Smith.  Not only is this the story of a show which singled-handedly created a new genre of humor, but an overview of the major events of America during its time, especially the political landscape and its shifts.  It’s an interesting way to review the events of the past two decades, to be sure.

    Comedy as the Content

    Lastly, you can just go straight for the jokes.  There are quite a few excellent comedians out there who are willing to package up their trusted material and let the masses experience them without the cost of admission.  Ellen DeGeneres has published a delightful collection of bits in SERIOUSLY... I'M KIDDING, but my favorite comedian-turned-author has to be Jim Gaffigan, whose titles even crack me up: DAD IS FAT, and FOOD: A LOVE STORY being a couple of favorites. These books are best suited to audiobook listening because they are usually performed by the author, and you get the benefit of all their skillful delivery and timing. 

  • When Book Groups Cant Meet 

    Being stuck at home can disrupt a lot of day-to-day life, and book clubs are no exception!  If you need to stay home, but are missing the ability to meet and connect with others (especially to discuss books!), there are a few tools that can help.

    Group Chat and Videoconference Software

    There are a few free products that allow groups to communicate together instantly without the need for long email threads.  Both Slack and Facebook, among others, have instant messaging service that can be used on devices or computers, and instant message groups can be created that can chat together.  There are also several videoconferencing software options, although many of them will only facilitate one-to-one video calls.  Skype can broadcast free video calls to groups of up to 25 individuals, and can also be used for group chats and photo and file sharing.  For multiple video streams, Zoom can pull in up to 50 streams at the same time.  It offers video, audio, and screensharing, as well as group messaging, although there is a time limit for the free version.  Freeconferencecall also provides teleconferencing for up to 24 people, and as an added bonus, calls can be recorded for viewing later on.

    What about reading a book together?

    Getting enough copies of a book can be difficult when supplies and mobility are limited, but thanks to Overdrive's Always Available Audiobooks, everyone in your book club can still access books!  "Always Available" means that there are no waiting lists and no check-out limits on individual titles.  Everyone in your group can check them out and start listening right now!  Overdrive maintains 75 Always Available Audiobooks (the list changes periodically to allow for fresh titles).  Currently, 10 of those titles are books included in the Provo City Library’s book club collection, and following is a list of those titles and links to our discussion guides with questions that can help facilitate your group’s discussion.

    3.18 The Goose GirlTHE GOOSE GIRL
    By Shannon Hale

    The Goose Girl Discussion Guide


    3.18 The Screwtape LettersTHE SCREWTAPE LETTERS
    By C.S. Lewis

    The Screwtape Letters Discussion Guide


    3.18 The Count of Monte CristoTHE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
    By Alexandre Dumas

    The Count of Monte Cristo Discussion Guide


    3.18 The Hiding PlaceTHE HIDING PLACE
    By Corrie Ten Boom

    The Hiding Place Discussion Guide


    3.18 Next Year in HavanaNEXT YEAR IN HAVANA
    By Chanel Cleeton

    Next Year in Havana Discussion Guide


    3.18 Nothing to EnvyNOTHING TO ENVY
    By Barbara Demick

    Nothing to Envy Discussion Guide


    3.18 Little WomenLITTLE WOMEN
    By Louisa May Alcott

    Little Women Discussion Guide


    3.18 The Life changing Magic of Tidying UpTHE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP
    By Marie Kondo

    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Discussion Guide


    3.18 The Year of LessTHE YEAR OF LESS
    By Cait Flanders

    The Year of Less Discussion Guide


    3.18 Pride and PrejudicePRIDE AND PREJUDICE
    By Jane Austen

    Pride and Prejudice Discussion Guide

  • vhs danger 01 1

    I was shocked a few months ago to learn that my VHS tapes are in danger. While I thought that they had another few decades of life in them, it turns out that 15-20 years is about the healthy age range you can expect. The reason for this is their magnetic fields, which fade over time until the magnetism is so weak that the tapes become unplayable - and it’s not possible to get it back. Most tapes were recorded in the 1980s and 90s, which means now is the time to save them!

    If your VHS tapes aren’t stored carefully, that lifespan can be even shorter.  “VHS tapes degrade easily from exposure to heat and humidity, causing poor tracking, reduced color saturation, and static.  Many tapes stored in attics or garages break during fast-forward or rewind operations.  Unless the case unscrews, which is rare, there is no easy way to repair the tape" (Saving Stuff: Digital Preservation for Family Historians, pg. 19. Computers in Libraries, April 2017).

    Before you break out in a sweat thinking of all the childhood memories stored on tapes hiding in a closet somewhere in your house, you should know that there are plenty of services out there to digitize tapes, including a VHS converter we have right here at Provo City Library. The best part is that it’s free to use!

    I have been bringing in a few tapes at a time to convert, and the process is easy enough to do yourself, although our librarians can also walk you through it. It’s pretty magical seeing memories I haven’t thought of in 20 years come back to life before me. Even if the tapes weren’t expiring soon, the thrill of re-visiting important moments from my life and sharing them with family and friends online has been worth the time.

    You can call 801-852-7681 to make a reservation to use this equipment any time the library is open. We also offer audio transfer services if you have old LPs or cassette tapes (those cassettes were created with magnetism just like your VHS, and will be fading soon, too!). More about our digital transfer services can also be found by visiting this page.