I Believe

  • IB Books FB

    I care about the kids in my life. My nieces and nephews can be bundles of energy or calm, thoughtful thinkers; and my guess is that the children in your life are as changeable and important as my favorite munchkins. Each child needs a vast array of support and love. But there is one other thing that I believe every kid needs—books. 

    Books are tools for learning in so many ways:

    • Books teach language and thought processes

    • Books are entertainment—sometimes acting as an important escape from homework

    • Books help expand understanding and introduce new ideas

    • Books help navigate emotion and teach empathy

    All in all, books are pretty important for kids as they grow and develop. 

    Even though all kids need books, not all kids need the same type of book. A baby needs a book that she can hold (and often taste), while a child in early elementary school needs a book that is interesting but simple enough to read on his own. Thankfully, there are millions upon millions of books in the world! And a large collection of children’s books can be found here at the Provo City Library! We have books that span all types of subjects, formats, and reading levels. We have everything from baby board books to 800-page fantasy epics. There are Very Easy Readers for those just starting to sound out words and Discovery Kits for kinesthetic preschoolers who want to play as they learn. Basically, we have something for every child. 

    There is a saying that a child who doesn’t like to read just hasn’t found the right book yet. Here are just a few of the ways we help kids find what they need:

    • We have all kinds of book lists for those who only want a small amount of direction in their book hunting.
    • We also write a children’s books review blog, so you can know about some of the best books being published.
    • And, of course, we have amazing librarians who are trained to help youngsters find books that meet their individual needs.

    My hope is that every child can find something to read that they really enjoy. Because I believe children need books!

  • IB Creativity FB 1

    I believe that creativity matters. This may seem a little strange to talk about as far as libraries go, but bear with me. Many effective adults are masters of using creativity or imagination. Important innovators change the world based on their ability to think beyond what has already been done—a trait gained when they were young. Authors and illustrators (which are well-loved in library world) create stories and pictures from their imaginations. And as a manager, I often use imagination or creativity to tackle tough problems and to find successful solutions. In fact, being able to think creatively may be one of the traits most needed in the world today.

    A kid’s job is to play. When children play they exercise their brains, developing imagination and creativity. When they pretend one object is something else (like pretending a toy block is a phone), they grow in the ability to take what they have and turn it into what they want. But preschoolers playing pretend aren’t the only ones being creative. Kids also exercise their creativity when they work to make things—from artwork to music to a science slime project. This sort of creation requires children to think through what to draw, what medium to use, what note to play, or what amount of ingredient to add. The process of thinking ahead to create something they are excited about strengthens their ability to think through tough problems at school, and later as adults in the workplace.

    At the library we encourage creativity. One great way we do this is with events like our Fairy Tea Party. The first weekend of March, we turn the library ballroom into a magical fairyland. Kids ages 3 and up come dressed in fairy costumes to participate in the festivities. Even the library director gets to become the Fairy King to personally greet each little fairy. We believe that inviting children to use their imaginations with us will help them recognize the importance of keeping creativity a part of their lives. Because when a child has learned the magic of creativity, the world becomes a better place.  


    There is a stigma about learning: Learning is often associated with school and tests and things that happen between kindergarten and college—and it’s often seen as something a kid or teen is forced to do. However, I believe that learning can be fun and is actually a life-long process. 

    Think about how a baby will giggle once he learns how to mimic sticking his tongue out. He can’t get enough of the new skill. On the other end of life, I think about my grandmother who up until just a few months before she passed away was learning Spanish, studying Latin, watching documentaries about subjects that interested her, and knitting or crocheting afghans. She was in her 90s and still had an active mind that could run conversational circles around me. And she enjoyed it. (She often played games against me and declared she was the “Grand Champion of the Universe” when she beat me—which was quite frequently!) So, I do not believe that learning is boring or only something that kiddos in school should be doing. We can all enjoy being life-long learners! 

    The library is a great place for people who love to learn. We have so many great (and fun) educational resources. I can’t tell you how many times I see kids so excited that they are jumping up and down after getting out of an afterschool program—they just had so much fun learning! Yeah, you heard me right: Kids like learning. As long as it is a cool subject and they don’t have to take a test afterward…they will enjoy it. And let’s not forget about story time! There is so much giggling and laughing that goes along with those youngsters learning early literacy skills. Not to brag, but kids’ programs are one of our fortes. 

    But what about teens or adults? The good news is that the library has fun learning opportunities for us as well! First of all, the Adult and Teen Department does an amazing series of programs called Learn It. A Learn It can be about anything from personal finance to personal health. In September there is a Learn It about braiding and styling hair (even promising a few quick options for those mornings when you are running late). And there is a Learn It about the health benefits of chocolate. (Who knew that chocolate could be considered healthy?!?) 

    Another option for learning is the Lynda.com database that the library subscribes to. This is a great place to watch professional tutorial videos that are so much better than the YouTube alternatives. Lynda even has certification programs you can list on your resume. Plus, Lynda.com can be accessed from home! 

    Let’s not forget that there are all the regular (but incredible) materials that most people think about when it comes to libraries—books, movies, CDs, magazines—all of which you can check out! I personally love watching a random documentary about a fascinating subject at the end of a long week. Just last week I learned all about the Wright Brothers’ rival who helped change aeronautics as we know it. Who knew?! The point is, life-long learning is fun—and you can do it at the library!

  • IB Love FB

    For the past year I have been writing about library related topics that I believe in. To me the amazing things that libraries and reading can do are powerful and important—possibly even more important than slushies on a hot summer day (and to me and my family that is really saying something!). I can see how libraries have played an important part in my life. Without reading I would not be the person I am today. (And I don’t just mean being a librarian.) Reading has helped shape my character, study, and work habits as well.

    Knowing how reading and libraries have changed my life, I want to share why libraries are important to me. Just yesterday in a conversation I was asked if libraries were empty buildings that would eventually go out of business? Are people still interested in libraries since society could easily buy books to read on an electronic device? I shared that in addition to what traditionally comes to mind when one thinks of a library, there are also many other programs in addition to electronic books/audiobooks to check out. Libraries can also save patrons money by offering ebooks that can be checked out from their local library instead of buying them.

    Yes, libraries are great! They are diverse and robust and have something for everyone. What the mother of a toddler needs is different from the needs of the man I talked to yesterday which is why a library can help everyone. Libraries are unique in that they serve the whole community—no matter who you are or what you are interested in. It is a library's purpose to make sure that we can serve everyone in the community.

    It is sad that many people still think of libraries as quiet places with books, where cardigan-wearing librarians in glasses and buns shush anyone who so much as sneezes. Granted, I do tend to wear cardigans and I like to have my hair in a bun, but I am not the shushing monster librarian often portrayed in Hollywood. Instead I wish I could yell at the top of my lungs just how great libraries are. I want people to know how the Provo City Library can help them and how the library can change their lives just as it has for me. Only, I can’t do it alone. Will you join me? Do you love your library? Can you tell a friend about the Provo City Library—so that they too will learn just how amazing libraries are and how libraries can change the world, one person and one community at a time? Will you share what you love about the library?

  • IB More FB

    When I tell people that I work at a library many of them are surprised that libraries are more than just books. But they are! Yes, we have books—lots of them—for all different subjects and age ranges. But there is so much more to the library than just books. First of all, the Provo City Library has a variety of programs (like the Fairy Tea Party that I wrote about last month). Second, the library has a plethora of meeting rooms. Some are large and can be rented, like the Ballroom. Some are small and can be reserved at the First Floor Adult Reference Desk, such as our study rooms or smart room. Finally, some of my personal favorite things that aren’t books are the databases. Provo City Library has quite a few databases that can be especially helpful.

    AutoMate can help if you are fixing your car and you need diagrams or repair manual information.

    The Home Improvement Reference Center database can help those doing any sort of home improvement project.

    The Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center has loads of information on any craft or hobby you may want to learn or read about under the sun.

    Lynda.com has a plethora of movies made by professionals (not just random Youtube channel vloggers) to teach anything from how to use the Adobe Suit software to how to use a brand new camera you may have purchased. Seriously. If there is something you want to learn how to do—you should check out this database.

    The Adult Learning Center: Learning Express Library and the College Center:Learning Express Library both provide access to all sorts of practice tests. And another database lets you take practice DMV Permit tests.

    Freegal is a music database where you can download (and keep forever) three free songs and stream a few hours of music per week (and who doesn’t love free music?).

    OverDrive is amazing for ebooks and audiobooks, but it also has some movies you can stream or download for free.

    These are only a few of the databases that we have available on our library’s website! So, when you think of the Provo City Library, don’t just think of books—remember that we are so much more than books. We are entertainment, a community space, and a vast reference to community resources. Come visit to learn what else the library can be for you!

  • IB Comm FB

    It used to be that libraries were all about books—and not much beyond the books. Those days are long gone! Not only does the Provo City Library have books, we also have magazines, DVDs, books on CD, e-books, e-audiobooks, databases, meeting rooms, computers, programs, and much more! To me, the most important aspect of these services is that the library is a place where the community can come together. Think about that: The library is in a unique position for the people of Provo to come together and have a joint experience. 

    A great example of the powers of libraries happens each week during one of the seven Toddler Story Times. Toddlers and their grownups come to talk, sing, read, write, and play together. This experience helps children learn how to engage in conversations and explore ideas with others. And it gives a chance for parents to meet and talk to other parents who have children that are working through the same developmental stages. 

    For something more adult-oriented, every month there are a few library programs called Learn It @ Your Library. These programs give adults a chance to learn more about a topic that interests them. We have had programs about chocolate, buying your first home, how to do various hairstyles, cooking healthy meals, and how to write fiction (just to name a few). Here people can get together, learn, and then engage with others about subjects they are passionate about or want to learn more about. 

    The Provo City Library also has Family Programs. From family story times to family movie nights, these are events when the whole family can come to the library and have an enjoyable experience together. Perhaps a family will come to watch a movie and get excited together about a character saving the galaxy. Or maybe a family will enjoy one of our WorldLink or AuthorLink events where they learn more about a specific culture or meet a favorite author. Once a family comes to an experience at the library there are conversation and discussion topics for days, weeks, and possibly years to come. Our community needs a place where people can come together and have a safe place to talk about similar, interesting, or important topics. From hosting election voting in November to creating large programs for hundreds of children to transport themselves into fairyland or a space academy, the library is here for our community. Because I believe that libraries strengthen communities.

  • IB Leaders FB

    When I was first learning to love reading, I stumbled upon the book TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. As I was reading about Scout and her experiences, I realized that the world needs people who are not afraid to stand up and state their opinions. I decided I wanted to be like Atticus Finch or Scout in that I wanted to look for truth and talk about it. But how could I find truths and figure out what to actually stand up for and say? For that I turned to reading.

    By reading books I learned about other people, cultures, ideas, and thoughts. I was able to see different perspectives and decipher reasons as to why people or characters did what they did. By devouring books—both fiction and nonfiction—I learned about thought process, consequences, and influence. I didn’t become an expert at stating my opinions right away. One of the best ways I developed this skill was by practicing talking about the books I was reading. I did this in book clubs, with friends or family members, or in class discussions at school. The more that I talked about character’s actions or motivations the better I was at discerning my own actions and motivations, which in turn helped me become better at stating my own opinions on various topics. As I read I began to see what type of person I wanted to become—how to react in certain situations or how to step back and see a broader perspective when I feel a certain way. The more I read and talked about books the better I became at not only discovering myself but showing who I wanted to be to the world. Reading helped me not only discover who I wanted to be but it also helped me share my truth with the world.

    The Provo City Library has something to facilitate this journey of discovery and insight—to help people learn how to stand up and state their opinions: We have a collection of book club sets. In this collection, you can check out 15 copies of a book and a discussion guide to help you get going. When people read and talk about books, they discover that they too are leaders—Because Readers are Leaders.

  • IB Adventures FB

    If you read a book you can have an adventure without leaving the safety of your home. Books are magical in that they can take you to distant lands, times, or even to make believe worlds. Through reading you can meet characters and people—both real and imagined—and discover more about them and yourself. Whether you want to learn more about a subject or if you would like to escape reality, books are there for you. You as a reader can choose your own adventures from the vast selection at the library.

    It gets trickier for little ones who don’t know how to find things because they can’t type searches into a catalog computer or might be too shy to ask a librarian for assistance. For these kiddos we have a couple of ways to help them find the right adventure—or the right books. First of all there is a Hot Topic section within our juvenile picture books. Here we have multiple subjects that preschoolers (or their grownups) tend to ask for the most: princess books, dinosaur books, superhero books, things that go (transportation) books, etc. All of the picture books on that particular topic are shelved in the same place with a picture sign on top of the shelves. That way kids can learn where these sections are and they can browse to find books that look interesting to them on topics that they love. They can choose the books for their next reading adventure.

    Next, we have something called Discovery Kits. This is a set of books, activity and craft suggestions, songs, finger plays, and manipulatives all based on one particular subject. While it is true that a grownup must go online and request a Discovery Kit and know when to pick it up, these are great for the kids who want to explore topics in more ways than just reading. For example, if a child is interested in bugs then a parent can check out the “Bugs” Discovery Kit. In it there are books, toy bugs, a magnifying glass in case a child wants to look a little closer at bugs in her backyard, and a binder full of other songs, games, activities, and craft ideas. By golly, if a child wants to have an adventure learning about bugs this Discovery Kit will help them do just that! And there are quite a few other Discovery Kit topics to choose from.

    The Provo City Library wants all readers—no matter what their age—to be able to choose what reading adventure they have. Come on down to the library, and we will help you find which book will take you on your next adventure.

  • IB Everyone FB 1

    There is a saying that people who don’t like to read just haven’t found the right book yet. I believe this—that there is a book for everyone.

    In the course of my life, I have had many roommates that have said they don’t like to read. When one roommate in particular said she didn’t like reading, I asked why not. It turns out that she didn’t like any of the books she was forced to read in school and therefore thought that she must hate all books. I knew that chances were she just hadn’t met the right book yet. So, after learning more about her taste in hobbies, movies, and other activities, I started bringing home stacks of books from the library. After some time, she started to look at those books, read them, and ask for more.

    She discovered that with the right book she actually enjoyed reading! Now she is one of the more keen readers that I know.

    This happens quite a bit. Often, those who don’t think they like reading will discover that they just haven’t found the right type or format of book yet. Some people are avid readers when they have audio books. Some people devour comics or graphic novels. Some kiddos need books with the right combination of topic interest and reading levels.

    Luckily for all of us, those books are out there, and there are librarians who can help anyone find the right book for them to read next. At the Provo City Library we have something called Personalized Reading Recommendations. This is a free service where you can fill out an online form indicating what types of books you like (or don’t like). Then one of our librarians will make a personalized list of book recommendations for you to check out.

    Reading can be one of the most enriching hobbies that you can take with you anywhere and do at any time. (And at this time of year it’s quite a cozy hobby to enjoy even in the midst of a cold, stormy night.) If you have a hard time finding a book that you enjoy reading, come talk to a librarian or fill out a Personalized Reading Recommendation form. Because there is a book for everyone, and we would love to help you find it!