Librarian Tips

  •  What to Read Next

    There’s no wrong way to pick which book to read, but it can be so hard to choose! Sometimes I look at my (very long) to-read list and get overwhelmed by all the equally wonderful-looking options. Other times I get hit with reader’s block and I just can’t want to decide what to read. I love recommendations from friends and librarians (hint, hint), but sometimes I know what I’m looking for…or at least I’ll know it when I find it. Whenever you find yourself wondering, “what next?”, we’ve got plenty of ways to help you out.

    BOOKLISTS

    You’ve probably seen our brightly colored booklists around the library already. These helpful guides can be found around the reference desks and on special book displays. Besides our annual “Best Of” lists for both fiction and nonfiction, we have lists for all sorts of genres, alternate formats (like audio books and documentaries), grade-levels, and more for all ages. We review our booklists each year to keep them fresh and up to date. If you don’t see one that strikes your fancy, just ask a Librarian and they will show you the booklists that aren’t on display – yes, we’ve got that many. If you’re browsing from home, all of our booklists can be found online (http://www.provolibrary.com/booklists), too! Here are some of our MVPs:

    Librarian Favorites – With a version for adult and young adult readers, this list is great for suggestions across all genres, whether you want fiction or nonfiction. All titles included on this list are actual favorites of the librarian who suggested them. Yep, that means we read it and loved it. If you’re open to options across genres but want a personal endorsement too, this is the booklist for you.

    Clean Reads – This list includes titles without graphic violence, language, or adult content – the key word being “graphic.” Books on this list may have an expletive or two, some violence or sexual references, but not in explicit, gory detail. Also available in young adult and adult versions, this list is great for readers looking for a great book on the lighter side of things.

    BOOK BLOGS

    Obviously, you already know about this blog, but did you know we have two other blogs dedicated to recommending books to you? The Library Staff Reviews blog features both nonfiction and fiction books from the Adult and Young Adult collections that we librarians are reading. You can browse through the posts or use the “Labels” links on the right-side menu to see posts sorted by tags like Staff Picks, Clean Reads, Romance, Graphic Novels, and SCI-FI.

    For recommendations from the Children’s collection, head to the Children’s Book Reviews blog. You’ll see posts of individual titles plus posts listing several books related to our displays. Like the Library Staff Reviews blog, you’ll also find labels on the right-side menu if you want to look for posts on specific topics. We only post reviews of books that we’d actually recommend to you, so any title you find on these blogs is a winner as far as we’re concerned!

    LIBRARIANS

    You’ll hear us librarian say it again and again: we love giving you recommendations! Come on up to a reference desk (we’re really nice, I swear) and tell us you need help choosing a book. Better yet, ask us what tricks we use to help people decide what to read! While we often can suggest a book off the top of our head, we also use our booklists, the library blogs, and other resources like Novelist Plus (it’s so cool!) to pick something out for you. We’re happy to share all our tricks and tips with you!

    If you don’t have time to stop and chat, you can fill out a Personalized Reading Recommendation request online. Once you fill out the questionnaire, a librarian will use your answers and email you a list of 3-5 books tailored to your preferences! 

    That’s enough from me – it’s time for you to find out what’s next! Be sure to tell us if a booklist ,blog post, or recommendation helped you find an amazing book!

  • PCL with sign

     

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

    1. Materials

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

    2. Local Art and Performances

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

    3. Games

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

    4. Hobbies

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

    5. Life Skills

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

    6. Authorlink

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

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

    7. History and Genealogy

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

    8. Databases

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

    9. Librarians  

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

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

    10. Library

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

    What is your favorite thing about libraries? 

  • tensecrets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    10. We love suggestions for books and activities.

  • next paper

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

    1. First, you've got to figure out what to talk about.  That means you've got to do a little research to see what interests you.  Our How to Research page will help you know where to look for the right information.
    2. If you need credible sources for your paper, a simple Google search won't do.  You need to look at websites that show you academically relevant articles.  Luckily you have access to a whole bunch of those websites with your library card!  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.  

  •  Brandon Sanderson

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

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

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

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

    11.30 MistbornMISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE
    By Brandon Sanderson
    (2006)

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

     

    11.30 ElantrisELANTRIS
    By Brandon Sanderson
    (2005)

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

     

    11.30 WarbreakerWARBREAKER
    By Brandon Sanderson
    (2009)

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

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

     

    11.30 Way of KingsWAY OF KINGS
    By Brandon Sanderson
    (2010)

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

     

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

  • SUMMER SLIDE 01

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • podcasts

     

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

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

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

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

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

    bbc world blook clubBBC World Book Club

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

     

    book riot podcastBook Riot Podcast

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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

     

    books on the nightstandBooks on the Nightstand

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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

     

    dear book nerdDear Book Nerd

    Schedule: Bi-weekly 

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

     

    guardian books podcast1Guardian Books

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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

     

    KCRW BookwormKCRW Bookworm

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

     

    literary discoLiterary Disco

    Schedule: Bi-monthly 

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

     

    Slates Audio Book ClubSlate’s Audio Book Club

    Schedule: Monthly 

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

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

     

    what should i read nextWhat Should I Read Next? 

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

  • podcasts

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

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

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

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

    black tapesThe Black Tapes

    Schedule: Bi-monthly 

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

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

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

     

    harry potter and the sacred textsHarry Potter and the Sacred Text

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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

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

     

    home frontHome Front

    Schedule: Daily 

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

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

     

    the messageThe Message

    8 episodes published in 2015
    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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

     

    selected shortsSelected Shorts

    Schedule: Weekly

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

     

    there and back againThere and Back Again

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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

     

    the truthThe Truth

    Schedule: Bi-monthly 

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

     

    welcome to night valeWelcome to Night Vale 

    Schedule: Bi-monthly

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

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

     

    wynebago warriorWynabego Warrior

    Schedule: Monthly 

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

     
  • borrow ebooks

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

    Desktop Computer3.12 Desktop Version

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Mobile Device3.12 Mobile Version

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

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

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

    My Discoveries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    My Conclusions

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

  • bedtime stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • SR 2017 FB 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “I didn’t know the library has…”

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

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

    personalized recommendations 01

  • booklists

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

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

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

  • Hearts

    When I was a young newlywed, it was hard to come up with different and affordable activities for date nights. I wish I had known back then about all the fun (and free) things that the library has to offer!

    GAMES 
    (15-90 min)

    We have many board games available for in-house use. Check out our website for a list of games, how long each game takes, and how many people can play.

    WHODUNIT MYSTERY GAME 
    (60 min)

    Participants travel from room to room in the library trying to solve a mystery, similar to the game Clue, by Parker Brothers. Some of your favorite villains have been causing mayhem in the library. The winner will correctly guess the suspect, location, and the weapon involved in the crime. This game can accommodate anywhere between 3-18 players and would be perfect for double or group dates! Visit our website for more info and to make a reservation (required).

    ESCAPE ROOMS
    (45-60 min)

    Another great option for double and group dates are our escape rooms! Participants are stuck in a room and cannot get out until they solve a variety of puzzles and clues leading to the key that will let them out of the room. There are two different themes to choose from: School of Magic (Medium Difficulty) or Sherlock Holmes (Hard Difficulty). The escape rooms work best for groups of 4-8 people. Go to our website to reserve a room (required). 

    PROGRAMS
    (45-90 min)

    The library hosts a wide variety of programs each month. Some popular programs include our Authorlink series, our Monday Night Performances and our Learn It programs. Most programs are free, though some may require tickets. Visit our online calendar to see what programs are coming up and to view details for specific programs.

    DVDS

    In the mood for a night in instead? Luckily, we have plenty of movies to choose from! Patrons are allowed to checkout up to 20 movies at a time and can have them out for three weeks. Come in and browse, or take a look at our website for movies that have been added to our collection most recently.

  • MC web header

     

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

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

    little bre

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

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

  • donations

     

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

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

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

    All donations are sorted:

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

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

     

    Donation Drop

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

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

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

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

  • second floor

    Some of our patrons don’t even realize that the library has a second floor and boy, are they missing out! We have a lot of cool resources available for patrons and visitors alike and some of those resources can only be found on the second floor.

    NONFICTION

    All of our young adult and adult nonfiction books are upstairs. They’re organized by the Dewey Decimal System (000-900s) with Biographies on the end. YA and adult books are shelved together, but you can easily tell which titles are YA by the green dot on the spine. If you ever have trouble finding where something is shelved, please ask the librarian at the reference desk!

    SPECIAL COLLECTIONS ROOMS

    Our Special Collections room is filled with books that are significant to Provo, Utah County, and the state of Utah. Unfortunately, these books can’t be checked out, but patrons are welcome to use them within the library and make photo copies as allowed by current copyright laws.

    MAGAZINES/PERIODICALS

    We have several shelves dedicated to current magazines and newspapers. Current issues cannot be checked out, but past issues can! Feel free to browse our current or past selection anytime.Study carrels/computer stations – The second floor is our dedicated quiet floor. We ask patrons to not engage in conversation, talk on their cell phones, or make other disruptive noises. This combined with our study carrels and computer stations makes the 2nd floor an ideal study area!

    MEDIA CENTER

    In addition to our regular computers, we also have four computers dedicated to our Media Center. We have an audio transfer station, a video transfer station, a high-resolution photo scanner, and a desktop magnification system. These stations are on a first come, first served basis so feel free to call ahead if you’d like to know if one of our stations is open!

    REFERENCE

    While both reference desks have a few reference books, upstairs is where we keep the bulk of our reference materials. We have dictionaries, college handbooks, a variety of subject specific encyclopedias, and much more! These reference materials cannot be checked out, but can be used within the library.

    MAPS

    While researching for this post I discovered that we have a selection of large maps including continent, Utah, topographical, and Provo Cemetery maps. Who knew?

    SHAW PROGRAMMING ROOM (#260)

    If you ever see a flyer for an event that is in the Shaw Programming room or room #260, you’ll want to head to the second floor! We host many programs at the library and a lot of them (like our popular Learn It! series or most teen programs) are held in this room.

    So the next time you’re in the library, maybe wander upstairs to take a look at all of the additional resources that we have. Just don’t forget that it’s the quiet floor!

  • fake news

    Fake News.

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

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

    Currency

    How recent is this information?

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

    Reliability/Relevance

    Where does the information come from?

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

    Are references provided?

    Is the information balanced? Or biased?

    Who published the information?

    Authority

    Who wrote this information?

    What are their credentials?

    Are they generally considered experts on this topic?

    Purpose/Point of View

    Who is the intended audience?

    How is the author connected to the information?

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

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

  • beyond

     

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

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

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

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

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

  • book crush

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

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

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

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

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

  • curved shelves

    “I’m looking for a book.”

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

    Can you suggest a good book for me to read?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How can I find a book I read years ago?

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

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

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

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

    What’s the next book in this series?

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

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

    Do you have eBooks?

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

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

    Can I suggest a book be purchased by the Library?

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

    Do you have any books for sale?

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

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

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

  • reading slump

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

    Try a New Genre

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

    Revisit a Favorite

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

    Try an Audiobook

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

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

    Use a New Source for Getting Book Recommendations

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

    Practice the Rule of 50

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

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

    Stick With It

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

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

  • 01 Jan Book Sale FB

    It’s book sale time! That time when you can buy 15 books for the price of one! 

    We will be open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. That gives you eight hours of treasure hunting, so here are five tips to help you get the most out of this one-day event:

    1. Know the lay of the land

    There are four general areas of the book sale. As you come into the ballroom, through the south entrance...

    • The first couple rows will be children’s materials.

    • The middle few rows will have adult and teen fiction titles.

    • The last couple of rows will have adult and teen nonfiction titles.

    • The south end of the ballroom will hold special items including magazines, movies, music, and more.

    Beyond these very general categories, we do not sort our books. This means you should give yourself plenty of time to search for things you may want.

    2. Arrive early...but maybe drop in a few times throughout the day

    There are some truly amazing finds among the hundreds of boxes of books available at our sales.  Sometimes the best stuff goes fast, so arriving early can be a very good idea. However, as books fly off the tables, we replace them with more boxes so that what is available for purchase changes throughout the day. You can find great stuff all day long!

    3. Know what's available and why

    Many people wonder where all these books come from. Well, they come from a couple of places: 

    • Discards – these are books that were part of our collection but have been discarded.  We discard books if they are falling apart, if they are not popular, or if we have too many copies. We replace these books with newer copies or titles so that our collection stays in good condition.

    • Donations – we receive many generous donations of books throughout the year. Sometimes we add these donations to our collection which helps us buy even more books for our patrons. But sometimes, we already have copies or the books don’t fit with our collection, so we sell them at the book sale and use the proceeds to provide programs for our patrons.

    You can tell the difference between these two categories by looking at the spine to see if it has a spine label or any other stickers or markings showing the library owned the book previously. Donations will usually be free of these labels and they often look newer and have seen less use. So, if you're looking for "like new" kinds of books, skip the ones with spine labels; if you're looking for well-loved but popular books, searching through library discards might be the way to go (you'll often find a Harry Potter or Diary of a Wimpy Kid book hanging out in a box of discards just because it's circulated so many times!). 

    4. Be prepared with help and bags

    With over 23,000 items on display for sale, you may need to bring a little help to sort and search. Gather your posse and attack the job together. If you know what you're looking for, divide and conquer! Also, bring bags and boxes to haul away your booty. We supply some shopping bags and boxes, but eliminate any uncertainty and bring your own reinforced modes of transportation. Books are awesome…but they are also heavy!

    5. Occasional end of the day deals

    Toward the last hour or so of each sale we often start thinking about the big job of hauling all the leftover books back down to the basement for storage until the next sale. That’s a big job, and sometimes we like to make it smaller by lowering the prices of the books. So, consider coming back at the end to see what additional discoveries you can make! There's a possibility they'll be even cheaper then.

  • Downtown Provo

    I don’t know about you, but I love adventures. I love going to new places and trying new things. However, I do not have an endless supply of money or time off. Some would say that this is a problem. I say that limited resources are the opportunity for creativity.

    Thanks to my frugal adventuring, I’ve found a few hidden gems on Provo Center Street:

    THE SOAP FACTORY
    54 W Center Steet

    This business is located above the Lotus Garden, and getting there requires ascending a slightly hidden and fairly narrow staircase beside the Lotus Garden’s entrance. You could miss it if you’re not careful.

    Believe me.

    I missed it.

    This endearing entrance is only a precursor to the fun activity inside.

    At The Soap Factory you can make your own soap, lotions and scrubs. This involves choosing a mold, smell, and color.  I made a blue Millennium Falcon soap bar with an orange scent. The staff is great, the pricing is reasonable ($5 entrance fee + $.05/gram for your product), and the ingredients are all-natural. If you’re looking for a fun activity to do, I would recommend visiting The Soap Factory

    FOXGLOVE FLOWERS AND GIFTS
    366 W Center Street

    I went in to get a simple bouquet for a friend. I came out not only with a beautiful bouquet but with a significantly higher expectation of floral arrangements.

    The friendly staff asked me what my vision was for the bouquet (I went with a winter wonderland theme). It was made right in front of me and they worked with my price range. To top it all off, the presentation of their flowers is amazing: think twine, parchment paper, and a ribbon. That extra step of thoughtful staging makes a bouquet more elegant and desirable. I’m tempted to go back and buy some flowers for myself.

    HRUSKA'S KOLACHES
    434 W Center Street

    What is an adventure without good food? A kolach is a sweet or savory Czech pastry. If you want your life to be filled with love and goodness, I suggest you make the time to try one.

    I purchased two kolaches when I went: sweet Nutella and savory sausage. You know that feeling you get when you fill up your car tank and you see the gas gauge a little above full? These pastries taste better than that.

    I should warn you about the determination and will power it takes to purchase a kolach.  Their business hours are 6:30 AM –sellout, and the line can rival the crowd at a midnight showing of Star Wars. But don’t let that deter you. It is worth getting up early and standing in line for these pastries. You’ll be happy you tried them.

    PIONEER BOOK
    450 W Center Street

    What kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t advocate for a bookstore? Pioneer Book has gently used books at reasonable prices. I was fortunate to find a signed copy of My Fair Godmother when I went in. That was one of my favorite books in high school, so I obviously bought it.

    Not only do they have lovely books, but they also have several sales a year. Their desk made out of books is something from a fairy tale and their displays are enough to make a book addict salivate. As an added bonus, they also sell fountain pens.

  • Hold Shelves

    At the Provo Library, we offer a number of different options for holds. Not only can patrons put items on hold when they are checked out, they can also place holds on checked in items. Items are pulled and placed on the self-service hold shelves within a few days of the hold being placed.

    When your hold comes in, you'll receive an email or text notification letting you know it's ready. After four days, your hold automatically expires and we remove the book from the hold shelf, so be sure to get here quickly!

    Finding the book you've placed on hold can be a little bit tricky the first time you do it, so here's what you'll want to know. The hold shelves are located in the northwest corner of the adult reference section, around the corner from the circulation desk. We organize our hold shelves by the beginning letters of the borrower's last name. The holds are not alphabatized beyond the first letter or two, so look through the entire letter section that applies to you.

    Here's the process for finding your hold after you've been notified by email or text that it's ready.

    • First, find the letter marker closest to your name; for instance, if your name is "Rider," find the section labeled "R." If your last name is “Ryder”, find the section labeled “RO.”

    •  Notice that the "RO" section is split between two shelves. If your last name is “Rogers” your hold could be on either of these shelves. If we have lots of holds for a particular letter marker they will continue onto the next shelf.

    hold shelves graphic

    • Once you’ve found the shelf with your last name, look for the title of the item(s) you’ve been notified about. Items are grouped by the date we placed it on the hold shelf, so your holds might not be right next to each other.

    • Check the paper slip in the item for the first four letters of your last name and the last four numbers of your library card. If you have more than one card on your account, the number will correspond to whichever card was used to place the hold.

    Can't find your hold? There are a few common reasons for this:

    The hold has expired

    Double check when you received your hold notification. If it's been more than four days, the item will no longer be held for you. It may not have been checked out or held for someone else yet, though, so check in at the circulation desk to find out.

    You placed the hold under another card number

    Was the hold placed under the card of a household member with a different last name? Make sure you're checking in the right section.

    It's a new or popular DVD

    Based on how long waitlists are and the number of people waiting per copy, new and very popular DVDs are held in the circulation department instead of on the hold shelves. If your DVD isn't on the shelves, ask at the circulation desk, and they can bring it out for you.

     

    Please be courteous to your fellow patrons; if you remove an item by mistake, take it to the Circulation desk to be re-shelved. If you need any other help finding or checking out your holds, please come to the Circulation desk around the corner from the self-service hold shelves. We’d love to help you!

    Lastly, be sure to check out your holds once you've found them! The holds can only checked out to the account they are associated with, so make sure you have the correct card number and pin with you. 

  • 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!

    Freegal.com

    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.

  • book club 2

    I recently shared my top five reasons for starting or joining a book club in 2018, and, as promised, I’m here today to share how to keep that club going strong. 

    As I thought about things that help a book club succeed, I realized I had tips both for getting started and for keeping things going, so today we’ll focus on the former. It’s all too easy for a book club to drift out of existence when schedules, reading preferences, and inconsistency get in the way. Making these few key decisions ahead of time can make all the difference.

    Decide ahead of time:

    1. Who to include in your book club
      This is probably the most important component of a successful book group. In my opinion, it’s best to keep things small if you want a lasting club, as larger groups tend to fall apart more easily because people don’t feel responsible to participate. My club, Team Don't Read Crappy Books, has ended up with nine members, which works well for us. As harsh as it sounds, it’s okay to bump people from the group if by the third meeting they haven’t read any books or participated in any meetings. You can always let them back in at a later time if they want to recommit (do I sound like a book club snob yet?).

      If your group is tight-knit, be sure everyone in the group is on board if you want to invite someone new to join later on. Longterm friends are your best bet, especially if they know multiple people in the club. Our group member who joined later is a cousin and roommate of one group member, an old friend of another, and had already met several of us. She's been a great addition who we were all comfortable with adding.

      More than anything, I encourage you to choose group members who are comfortable with similar levels of language and adult content as you are. It’s not at all necessary to have the same taste in book genres, but you’ll have a frustrating time trying to agree on books if some of your club members want only squeaky clean reads while others are comfortable with some dark or adult content. Think about what you’re comfortable reading (and what you aren’t okay with reading), and find group members who feel similarly. I promise it will make things easier. 

    2. How often you’ll meet
      My book club definitely struggles with this (balancing schedules is hard!), but we aim to meet every other month. It might help your group to have a set day of every month or every other month when you meet. If you’d like to use the Provo Library’s book club sets, you’ll want to meet every six weeks so that it’s easy to rotate sets. Whatever you choose, consistency is key. 

    3. How books will be chosen
      There are a few options for choosing what book you should read. Team Don’t Read Crappy Books rotates hosts, and the host chooses what we’ll read. This has worked well for us and has led to more variety in what we read. Another option is to choose as a group what you’ll read, which can work especially well if you’re checking out book club sets, as the more popular sets need to be reserved months in advance

      Like I mentioned above, it’s a good idea to know ahead of time what your group is comfortable reading. Lay the ground rules of what content you’re okay with in your very first meeting. It’s also a good idea to have a page number limit so that club members have enough time to finish the book before meeting. We’ve found a 500 page limit to be a good guideline, but we’re flexible about it. 

    4. How club members will get copies of the book
      Will one member of your club reserve, pick up, hand out, collect, and return a book club set from the library? Will that club member change each time or always be the same person? Will each member be responsible for buying or checking out their own book? Decide ahead of time how you want this to work. 

    5. How your club will communicate
      Team Don’t Read Crappy Books has a private Facebook group that is a perfect means of communicating for us. We use it to announce what we’ll be reading next, share pictures and happy news (book related or not), and decide when to meet. The polls feature is especially useful when we’re trying to figure out a meeting time that works for everyone. Facebook works for us, but group texts and emails are also good options.
  • 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 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!

  • ill 01

     

    We have hundreds of thousands of items available at the library, but sometimes we still don’t have quite what you’re looking for. If that’s the case, don’t lose hope! There are other options!

    If an item was published in the last six months, it’s easy to submit a purchase suggestion to tell us you think we should buy the item. If the item is older than six months and/or we can’t buy it, the next option is requesting it through interlibrary loan, or ILL. We are a part of a large group of over 600 libraries across the country that all lend materials to each other. If another library in our group has the item that you’re looking for and it’s available, they can ship it to us, you pick it up here, return it here, and then we ship it back to them. That being said, there are some limits to what we can request and what other libraries are willing to send. We can’t get everything (we can’t get that +$100 text book you don’t want to buy for class), but we can get a lot.

    Because we borrow from all across the U.S., sometimes it takes a while for things to get here. I’ve seen some requests come the same week the item was requested (we love BYU!), and some have taken just over a month (looking at you, New York). Because of that, it’s important that you request ILL items well in advance if you’re working on a deadline.

    Other important things to know about ILL:

    Your library card must be active and in good standing to make a request.

    Patrons can only have three active ILL requests at a time. The request becomes active once you submit it, and becomes inactive once you’ve either returned the item, or we notify you that we cannot fill the request.

    The lending period is set by the lending library, not Provo. Sometimes you may only have a few days with an item, sometimes a few months. Requesting an item through ILL is free…BUT fines for late ILLs are $0.50 per day, and any fines or fees received from the lending library will also be applied to your account.

    So, the next time you’re looking for a book that we don’t own, consider requesting it through interlibrary loan!  

  • fantasy

    Parents of voracious readers have, no doubt, at some point found their children lost in the pages of a thick fantasy book.  It can be thrilling to see our kids (perhaps even those who have been labeled "reluctant readers") so consumed with a story that nothing else seems to matter.  Afternoons are oddly quiet, flashlights appear under the sheets at night, words like Quidditch, Ents, and Tumnus begin infiltrating their vocabulary, and there's the ever constant plea, "Hold on -- I'm almost done with the chapter!"  Huzzah!  They're reading!  And yet...there's an annoying little voice in the back of our minds wondering if all of that time spent in a world that isn't "real" is healthy.

    J.R.R. Tolkien once insisted in his essay "On Fairy Stories" that Fantasy is a "human right."  Why might he feel so strongly?

    The advantages of reading Fantasy come from the way it cultivates imagination and encourages readers to think outside the box.  It allows us to escape to a Secondary World and then to explore human values within that world.  In their book CHILDREN’S LITERATURE, BRIEFLY, BYU's own Michael Tunnell and James Jacobs write that “good fantasy actually tells the truth about life.  It clarifies the human condition and captures the essence of our deepest emotions, dreams, hopes, and fears.  If fantasy does not do these things, it fails” (121).  They also quote famed psychologist Bruno Bettelheim’s support of Fantasy in his statement that “fairy stories are not only safe for children, but also necessary…children may vicariously vent the frustrations of being a child controlled by an adult world, for they subconsciously identify with the heroes of the stories, who are often the youngest, smallest, least powerful characters” (109).  I would venture to guess that all of us (adults included), at times feel powerless and manipulated by situations that are out of our control.  Reading Fantasy just might help us to find our own strength within us.  And possibly the greatest advantage of the genre is its ability to captivate and provide adventure and pure enjoyment.  These sentiments are echoed by renowned Fantasy author Lloyd Alexander who stated that “realism walks where fantasy dances” (105).

    So let those kids keep reading!  Talk to them about why they love these stories so much, and ask which characters they relate to or admire.  Then maybe take a long overdue dance through Fantasy along with them.  Need a recommendation?  Check out our Children's Department Fantasy booklist!

    REFERENCE

    Tunnell, Michael O. and James S. Jacobs.  Children’s Literature, Briefly.  Columbus:  Pearson Education, 2008.  Print.

  • suspend holds

    If you’re a frequent library user, you might be familiar with this dilemma: there are tons of books you want to read, but other people want to read them too. So, like the industrious library user you are, you put them all on hold. 

    And then, because the universe doesn’t care about things like how long it takes to read a book, ALL YOUR HOLDS COME IN AT ONCE. And maybe you have more time to read than I do, but between my family, my work, and my need for some semblance of sleep, I haven’t yet been able to get through nine books in three weeks. But it’s painful to return something, knowing that you’ll go to the back of the line and you’ll wait another six weeks (or months!) to get that book again. 

    So what’s an intrepid reader to do? The answer is easy. Suspend your holds! 

    When you suspend a hold, you keep your place in line but allow others to bump in front of you until you’re ready for your hold. This works slightly differently in our catalog and with Libby (digital books), so I’ll walk you through both processes. 

    PHYSICAL MATERIALS 

    For materials managed exclusively through our catalog – print books, audiobooks on CD, etc. – the suspend holds feature keeps your place in line until a specific date. If you reach the top of the holds queue while your hold is suspended, other people will jump in front of you until the hold reactivates. 

    To suspend a hold through the library’s catalog, log in to your library account and click the “my holds” tab. Here you can see all of your digital holds. 

    Suspend Holds Pic 1

     

    Simply select the title you’d like to suspend, and choose a date when you’d like the hold to reactivate. This can be a little bit of a guessing game, but if you know that you’ve got a vacation or something concrete planned you can select a time when you know you’ll be available to give that book all the attention it deserves. If your reading schedule opens up unexpectedly, you can always cancel your hold suspension and you will immediately start working your way up the hold list again. 

    Suspend Holds Pic 2

     

    DIGITAL MATERIALS THROUGH LIBBY 

    If you do some of your reading through Libby by Overdrive (and if you don’t…why not? It’s amazing!), the Libby app has its own hold suspension system. It works similarly; you keep working your way up the hold queue while your hold is suspended, and if you reach the top slot Libby will allow one person at a time ahead of you until your hold is reactivated. To suspend a hold in Libby, go to your shelf and then your holds tab. Click on the red/blue “manage hold” square on the title you’d like to suspend. 

    suspend holds pic 3

     

    From here you can cancel or suspend your hold. I suggest you suspend.

    suspend holds pic 4

     

    This is now the step that doesn’t feel intuitive to me. You will be taken to a screen that gives you some information about your hold; click on the button in the lower right corner that says “active”, and then choose how long you’d like to suspend your hold. 

    suspend holds pic 5

     

    You will then be given a confirmation screen. If you immediately regret your decision, you can click “update hold suspension” and go back and rethink your life choices. 

    suspend holds pic 6

     

    Suspending holds is still a bit of a guessing game; unless you’re really diligent about knowing your place in every hold queue, there’s still a chance that your best-laid hold suspensions will all activate at the same time and you’ll still need to figure out how you can listen to a 48-hour audiobook in three days and still sleep and interact with other humans (I’m going to go ahead and tell you that you can’t. It’s just impossible. Forego human contact or resign yourself to jumping back into that hold queue.). 

    Still, it’s a tool in your belt. Place holds with abandon, and use the suspend feature wrangle them into a manageable state. Your personal reading queue will thank you. 

     
  • sing a song

     

    Today is a great day to sing a song with a child! Why? Let me tell you!  

    May 11, 1888 was the birthday of the famous composer/songwriter Irving Berlin. When I think of classic American music, Irving Berlin is one of the names that come to mind (as I write this I am starting to hum the tune “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”!). However, most little kiddos don’t really know who this amazing composer was. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t teach some great classic songs (such as “Puttin’ on the Ritz” or “God Bless America” by Berlin) to the youngsters in your life. Or, if Berlin’s songs aren’t your cup of tea, sing anything that you enjoy!  

    Did you know that music is a great way to help children prepare to read? When children learn songs there are a few things that happen. First, songs often have a different note for each syllable that is sung. Children who sing tend to learn (without even knowing that they are learning) that various sounds (or syllables) make up words. And later they learn that a group of words create a sentence—so those little ones that sing or are sung to tend to figure out how syllables work before they sit down and start to learn how to read.  

    Also, many songs have words that are unfamiliar to children. Think of the song “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” How many 1 or 2-year-olds do you know that recognize the word “fleece”? Yet there it is in a song that they sing and hear so often that by the time they are a couple of years older they can sing that song all on their own and most likely will learn what that word means. Singing introduces new language and vocabulary to children.  

    A third reason to sing to little ones is that often there are rhymes in songs. Think of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” In the first verse there are the rhymes of “star/are” and “high/sky.” As children sing or hear these rhyming bits over and over again they learn that some sounds and endings are similar. This helps so that when they start reading they will have a head-start on understanding that various sounds can be used for multiple words and how different combinations of letters can make similar sounds (such as the “high/sky” example).  

    All in all, there is a lot of early literacy that happens when you sing to or with a child who hasn’t learned how to read yet. So in honor of Irving Berlin’s birthday, sing a song with a little one! It may not be one of Berlin’s own songs that get your toes tappin’—but sing together today and you will help that little one get ahead of the game in learning how to read tomorrow.

  • making the most

     

    Your little one has been eyeing the castle door for months, and now that they’ve had that magical third birthday, it’s time to join us at Preschool Time! Recognize that this is a big step for your child; they are not only dealing with separation anxiety, but they are also in a more structured story time where they will begin to learn school readiness skills. Here are a few tips to help them transition smoothly and make the most of the Preschool Time experience:

    Prepare your preschooler beforehand.

    Take an opportunity to visit the Story Room with your child a time or two before beginning Preschool Time, so that it becomes a familiar place. Talk about what they can expect during story time (you can get a copy of the basic outline at the Children’s desk).  If possible, during a Preschool Time show your child the TV monitor outside the Story Room.  This will allow them the opportunity to see what goes on and can also reassure them that even though they can’t see you, you can still see them. Please remember to stay in the Children’s Department for the duration of story time in case your child needs you.

    Arrive early.

    Make it a point to arrive approximately 10 minutes early each week.  This will give you time to pick up your child’s nametag at the Children’s desk, make a bathroom stop, get a drink, and hear the storyteller announcements. Please be aware that once the Story Room door has closed, children will no longer be admitted to Preschool Time. I promise we’re not picking on you! We simply want to provide a safe and distraction-free story time for all of the children in the room. Latecomers are always welcome to attend Toddler Time in the Story Circle. 

    Listen to your child.  

    Some preschoolers are ready to join Preschool Time right after they turn three—others may need a little more time to adjust. Even if your child is a Preschool Time regular, they may occasionally just have a hard day.  We all know how that goes, right?  Give encouragement and be supportive of your little one trying new things. That may be all it takes.  However, forcing a sobbing child into the Story Room does not a happy story time experience make.  In addition, if your preschooler is complaining of a tummy ache, is running a fever, or has a significant runny nose or cough, let them stay home and get well! We’ll still be here next week, and we are happy to provide handouts from a missed week when you come back.

    Keep the conversation going.

    Right before your child leaves the Story Room through the secret tunnel, our storytellers will give a brief review of what they did in Preschool Time. Just like in Toddler Time, preschoolers will also receive handouts:  a die cut “letter of the week” (lower case to help them begin to recognize the two forms of each letter) and a coloring sheet that includes letter writing practice, an early literacy tip, book suggestions . They will also receive a hand stamp. As with your toddlers, ask your preschooler about story time and revisit the things they learned later in the day or week to solidify their learning. Share their experience by allowing them tell you about the books they read, the songs they sang, and about the silly puppet show!

    Our goal is for story time to be a FUN, safe, literacy-rich environment for your children. We love watching them grow in so many different ways. Thank you for sharing them with us!

    (If you missed part one in this series with tips about Toddler Time, find it here)

    Curious about our story time schedule? Find dates and times here!

  • making the most

     

    It’s Back-to-School time, which means it’s also back to our school-year programs in the Children’s Department!  We’ve had a busy start to August, putting the final touches on another successful Summer Reading Program and prepping for your little ones’ return to Story Time at the end of the month.  Our fall semester programs will begin on August 29th.  Story Time is a favorite part of each day here in the Children’s Department, and we hope that you and your children look forward to joining us for a weekly visit.  To kick off the fall season just right, we’re offering some helpful hints over two posts to help you and your kiddos get the most out of your story time experience.  Let’s start with Toddler Time!

    Be engaged with the program.

    Toddler Time is only 20 minutes long.  Set aside these few minutes each week to focus on your child.  Take time to snuggle, laugh, sing, and listen with your little one.  Do your best to avoid distractions:  leave your phone in the diaper bag, and come early or stay late to enjoy some much-needed conversation with other caregivers.  The more engaged you are as a parent, the more your child will benefit from story time!

    Encourage—but don’t force—participation.

    Help your child take advantage of new opportunities for socialization, but remember that each child develops at their own pace.  Some toddlers are perfectly content in the midst of the action, but others may not be ready to leave your lap for the story blanket or to have a conversation with our beloved bright yellow puppet, Kevin.  Follow your child’s cues and recognize that their level of comfort may vary from week to week.

    Take the story time experience home with you.

    We will always have handouts for the toddlers at story time (and usually hand stamps too!).  Children receive a die cut “letter of the week,” as well as a coloring sheet that includes early literacy tips and book suggestions.  And don’t forget to check out some books!  Plan to take these things home and use them later in the day or week to revisit the program.  Talk about your child’s story time experience to reinforce the learning and the fun.  Try singing story time songs at home too (I promise they’ll be stuck in your head all day).  Repetition is a toddler’s best friend.   Early literacy expert Saroj Ghoting emphasizes that parents are their child’s “first and best teacher.”  We feel privileged to support you in that role.  

    One other note: 

    There’s going to come a day when your 2 year old has a meltdown…right in the middle of the library.  Shocking, I know.  Please, please let it go and come back next time.  Believe me when I say that it happens all. the. time.  Here’s a big secret you may not know about those of us in the Children’s Department:  we’re here because we love kids!  Tantrums and all.  We get it.  We’ve been there.  We know what you go through to get your kids here each week, and we appreciate the (sometimes Herculean) effort it takes.  So pack up those sippy cups, hunt down the missing shoe you know was snugly strapped to that chubby little foot, and let the threenager wear the cape or princess dress that they’re refusing to take off.  It’s all good because…IT’S STORY TIME!

  • Headphones freegal music listening

    We library staff have been working hard to make sure you know all the great services you can access with your library card. If you visited us in the last few weeks, I bet you heard us talking about Freegal Music, a downloadable streaming music service. Freegal Music gives you access to millions of songs (and even music videos!), with five hours of AD-FREE streaming per day and three FREE downloads per week. Use online or by mobile app, with no extra software or subscription needed. And for those of you already enjoying this awesome service, Freegal just got a makeover on April 4th, making it even easier to use!

    To get started:

    1. Access Freegal Music online via the link above, the Digital Services page of the Provo City Library website, or by installing the Freegal Music mobile app onto your device. It’s free!

    2. Sign in with your library card number and PIN

    3. Browse and search for music!

    4. Enjoy 5 hours of ad-free streaming daily and 3 downloads weekly 

    Like many of you, music played (ha! accidental pun but I’m keeping it) a large role in my family’s culture. Both my parents adore music and many of us kids play instruments and sing. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in the high school’s auditorium, watching my siblings perform in concerts and musicals and of shivering on icy metal bleachers for marching band half-time shows. Calling shotgun was a more extreme sport than even our most grueling nerf battles, since the coveted seat also came with radio station/cassette tape/cd selection powers. You’d think that this would make long car trips torturous, with six kids vying for musical control, but funnily enough it wasn’t a problem. Despite the wide range of tastes in our family of eight, we all agree: our road trip tunes were awesome. Even now, if we hear one of our family favorites, we’ll burst into song. Memories like that make life special, don’t they?

    With spring cleaning, summer road trips and barbecues on the horizon, there’s plenty of occasion to bring more music into your life. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming either - between Freegal Music for tunes on the go and our collection of cd’s at the library, you’ll never lack for the perfect soundtrack.

  •  shelves with stack on table

    Best Fiction of 2018”, “Chilling Books”, and “YA Award Winners” are just a few of our booklist titles. I, myself, have found some great reads from these lists, but I would be willing to bet that almost every other library in the country has similar booklists. While we still have your typical booklists like Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Historical Romance, we also have some that are a little…different. Even if you’ve seen booklists before, you might not have seen booklists that are quite like these. Here’s a list of 10 of our more unique booklists:

    SELF-HELP FOR ENTREPENEURS OR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

    Looking to start your own business? Here are some books to help keep you motivated! These books are not exactly “how-to” manuals, but talk more about how to have the right mindset, be successful, and work effectively.

    JANE AUSTEN ADAPTATIONS

    Have you burned through all of Jane Austen’s books (even Lady Susan)? Most of these books take inspiration from Pride and Prejudice, but there are some retellings of Austen’s other works as well as some titles that feature Jane Austen as a character.

    FRACTURED FAIRY TALES

    Fairy tales aren’t just for bedtime with these books. We have lists for both Adults and Young Adults featuring characters that might seem a little familiar…

    ASSASSINS, SPIES, AND THIEVES

    Secret agents and heists abound in these books. Whether you like rooting for the “bad guy” or enjoy following rogue government agents, these books are sure to have plenty of action and intrigue.

    ACCLAIMED AUDIOBOOK NARRATIONS

    These audio books might be even more enjoyable to listen to than the book is to read. Perfect for those who have long commutes or simply don’t have time to sit down with a book.

    READING WITH THE STARS (BOOKS WRITTEN BY CELEBRITIES)

    While you can’t trust tabloid headlines these books are written by celebrities themselves.

    KICK-BUTT GIRLS IN YA FICTION

    Katniss Everdeen was just the beginning. This is a list full of female main characters that could definitely hold their own in the Hunger Games.

    SO YOU LIKE BRANDON SANDERSON

    Brandon Sanderson is one of our most popular authors, but what do you do when you’ve read everything he’s written? Luckily, we have this list of read alike books and authors.

    STAR WARS NOVELS

    Did you know that the Star Wars series was turned into books? We have the original series based off the movies, but then other books that are considered canon or are licensed by Lucasfilm. Overall, there are dozens of Star Wars books, so if you’re a fan of the franchise, you’re welcome.

    SO FRESH, SO CLEAN (CLEAN READS)

    Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a nice, clean read. We have lists for both Adults and Young Adults, so help yourself!

    YA ROAD TRIP AUDIOBOOKS

    Road trips can feel agonizingly long sometimes, but with these audio books hopefully the time can pass a little faster.

    Many of our booklists for Kids, Teens, and Adults can be found online. We also keep physical booklists at the first and second floor reference desks. The first floor reference desk even has a binder where we keep all of our past booklists for your browsing pleasure! No matter what you’re in the mood to read, we probably have a booklist for you. So the next time you’re in the library, don’t forget to stop by a reference desk and see what booklists you might be interested in!

  • overdrive

     Can we say it enough? Overdrive is awesome! So here’s another shameless plug.

    Even though I use Overdrive almost daily, I’ll be the first to admit that the process of signing into the app and actually downloading titles isn’t the most user-friendly. But don’t give up! Overdrive provides a platform for ebooks and audiobooks, complimenting and expanding the library’s physical collection.  

    Here’s a beginner’s guide to using this great library resource:

    Overdrive Logo1- Download the Overdrive app onto your favorite device.

    Overdrive can be accessed on a desktop computer, but the easiest way is to download the app onto a phone or tablet.

     

     

     

    Overdrive 22- Sign into the app using the “SIGN IN” option.

    Your account was created when you signed up for a library card since the state of Utah has paid for the use of Overdrive for all Utah library card holders. The Provo library uses some of its budget to make additional items available to Provo City Library patrons. 

    You will be asked to sign in with your library card number and PIN.

     

     

     

     

    Overdrive 3.33 - Sign into Utah's Online Library.

    Once you’ve selected your library and signed into the app, you will be asked to use the same information to sign into Utah’s Online Library. This is the database Overdrive draws from.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Overdrive 44 – Find your bookshelf.

    After all that signing in, you can tap on the 3-line menu icon in the upper left corner and go to your bookshelf. It will be empty and waiting.  

    If you choose “Add a title,” you will be taken back to Utah’s Online Library to search for materials.  

    When items have been downloaded, they will conveniently appear on this Bookshelf page. 

     

     

     

     

    Overdrive 55 – Search for something amazing.

    The easiest way to find something on Utah’s Online Library is to type the title directly into the search box.  

    If you are just browsing, you can search collections by tapping the menu icon in the upper right corner.  

    If your search brings up too many possibilities, you can filter results. My favorite way to narrow down results is to filter by type, ebook or audiobook, and then by availability.  

    Tap interesting titles to see a summary, or to read/hear a sample. 

     

     

    Overdrive 66- Check something out.

    Just like a physical book checked out from the library, materials available through Overdrive usually have a limited number of copies.  

    If a title is available, you can choose “borrow,” and the screen will send you to the Loans page where the item can be downloaded to the app for reading or listening.  

    If a title is unavailable, you can choose “place a hold,” and will be directed to the Holds page. When a book becomes available that you have put on hold, it will be automatically checked out to you.  

    One of the great things about overdrive is you never have to worry about late fees. When the lending period has expired, the ebook or audiobook is automatically returned.  

    *NOTE: you can have 10 items checked-out and 5 on hold at any one time

    Now you can use this amazing resource! Please come visit the library with further questions or to get great recommendations. Remember that the library’s online catalog will list if an item you're searching for is available on Overdrive. 

  • interrupt

    True confessions of Carla: I’m a compulsive multitasker. I know, I’ve read the research. Multitasking isn’t as productive as it can sometimes seem to be.  Our brains can’t actually focus on more than one thing at a time.  But I am determined to prove those researchers wrong!  I just can’t seem to help feeling lazy if I’m not doing at least three things at once.  Just this morning I was listening to an audiobook, brushing my teeth, massaging my foot which was sore from an earlier run, and staring at my closet trying to find something I didn’t hate to wear today.  I read while I blow dry my hair, I did my taxes while cooking dinner last night, and I’ve perfected the art of sleeping while watching basketball, football, or most movies. (That last one may not count as multitasking…)

    My habit to stay busy and productive at all times, follows me to work.  There is just so much to do and it’s a challenge to fit everything in. This means that while I’m sitting at the Reference Desk, waiting for someone to ask me a question or require assistance, I’m always busy writing emails, ordering books, updating the website, writing blog posts, or several of a million other things that help keep our library running smoothly.  And I’m not alone.  All the librarians are busy doing lots of different tasks while manning our busy service desks.

    However, our number one job is to help our patrons access our collections, services and programs.  While we may appear to be busy, we truly are anxious and excited to assist you.  So, we ask that you, please, interrupt us!  We’ve gone so far as to even post this sign at the desk, but I often worry that patrons don’t believe what it says.

    I assure you, we are ready to be interrupted…unless of course we are helping someone else, then we’ll be with you as soon as possible.  Please, stop and say hi!  Ask for our help, we may look like we are doing important things, and we may be, but you are our top priority!  Let us help you!

  • 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!

  • strategic browsing

    One of our children librarians, Hunter, posted a video in April called SPINES . The video itself is simple—A dizzying montage featuring thousands of shelved books, spines facing outward.

    So. Many. Books.

    This video has inspired me to both voice a concern and offer a solution to a problem that many of us are suffering from: One moment you’re walking into the library feeling fine, excited to delve into your next literary escape; the next thing you know, you’re curled up on your couch watching your 7th instantplay netflix episode in a row and wondering how you ended up like this.

    There are some fortunate few that have mastered the art of the book find. They can walk into the library at any time and on any day and walk out with the perfect book. But what if you, like me, aren’t one of the lucky ones? Well, this often means one of two scenarios: either I wander into the stacks with only a vague notion that I’d like something “good.” OR, I know exactly what I want, and I want it fast. Refusing to be distracted, like a 5th grader who needs the 2nd DORK DIARIES book. It’s DORK DIARIES or die.

    In both situations, the results can be disastrous. Either the sight of too many spines defeats my dwindling energy reserves, or I find that my book is checkedout and a hold list of 45 just doesn’t seem worth it. I go home defeated.

    Unfortunately, this type of behavior can become chronic if left unchecked, so I prescribe some war room type strategic browsing.

    Scenario: You wander into the library thinking it’s time to read Harry Potter for the 6th time. You have this theory that reading all seven books seven times will inspire the headmaster to finally send you your letter. You check with the librarian… No copies available and a 4 week wait. You drift towards the intimidating shelves thinking it’s time to just head home.

    Pause! Take a minute to realize that you’re past the Hogwarts entrance age anyway and should probably read something else. Now go through these steps:

    One: Have A Destination
    Head for your original target. Don’t worry that it’s not on the shelf because now you have a purpose.

    Two: Keep Your Eyes Peeled
    WWII bombers knew when they’d reached their target by spotting the lights of the cities, hence the blackouts. Luckily books aren’t that clever. While you walk, start scanning. No need to panic, just watch the shelves waiting for something to catch your eye.

    Did you see it?

    Three: Examine The Target
    Pick up the book and leaf through it. Interesting? If not, set it aside and pick up something nearby. If nothing else looks interesting, move on. Just be brave enough to touch the eyecatching volumes.

    Four: Do A Fly By 
    You’ve reached your destination but already know it’s not on the shelf. Start closely scanning everything near your original target. Let this be the only truly thorough part of your mission: just two minutes of real work. Pick up anything that looks remotely interesting taking comfort in the fact that the rejects can be thrown on the reshelving cart without a second thought.

    Five: Head Home
    Circle back to the front. Take the long way and skim the titles as you go. By the time you’ve made it to checkout, you’ll have a small pile of success in your arms and not a shred of anxiety, unless it’s the fear that you may not speak to another human for 4 days while you enjoy the spoils of your victory. But that’s OK. Revel in your conquest. You earned it.

  • 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!

  • relearning

    We librarians have a fair share of stereotypes leveled at us, some more-accurate, some totally-nonsensical. But the most prevalent assumption about our job is obvious – people think we read a lot.

    And it’s true!  

    Mostly.  

    I’ve been working as a librarian for a year now, and what I’m writing is something I wouldn’t have dared mentioned in my job interview. Before I started work as a librarian, I wasn’t reading much at all. Of course, I loved reading as a kid, and I’d recently graduated from college, where I’d trudged through piles of textbooks. But the idea of reading for leisure had escaped me at some point.  

    I knew when I started my job here that I had to shape up my act. People were going to depend on me for recommendations, and I wasn’t about to blow it. The rules I set up for myself were pretty simple:  

    1. I’d read 20 minutes every night before bed.
    2. I’d finish at least one book a week.  

    It wasn’t long before I started breaking my own rules, but what I found in those early days was that I liked reading again! I was reading book reviews in my spare time, researching exciting new authors, and I was eager to share my knowledge with folks at the Library. Even if I didn’t finish a book every week, and even if I missed a night of reading, I was still looking forward to sitting down with a book.  

    If you’re like I was, and have a hard time working up the motivation to read more, here are a couple of tips:  

    • Don’t’ discriminate. Read anything. Your diet doesn’t have to be entirely made up of hefty classics. Read a manga! Try some nonfiction! Learn about something you never knew you were interested in.  
    • Talk about what you’re reading. My book enjoyment shot through the roof once I was telling my friends about what I’d read. Oftentimes, the only thing stopping someone from reading is the lack of a recommendation!
    • Go to the Library. I’d be lying in saying my job didn’t positively affect my book intake. Being surrounded by books is a major inspiration, so a weekly trip to the Library will surely help you as much as it’s helped me.  

    There’s no shame in falling into a reading rut. I’m a librarian, and I’ve had some embarrassing droughts. But the only thing between you and your next great literary love is getting a book in your hands.

  •  Readers Advisory Header

    When someone becomes a librarian at the Provo City Library, they are trained to do something we call "reader's advisory." This means that we read an awful lot, and what we don't read ourselves we find out about from others (and the internet). So if you ever feel in a bind about what to read next, just ask a librarian. Chances are, we know the perfect book.

    Sad dog

    sad bear

    shocked cat

    challenge accepted

     

  • reading hacks

     

    Like a lot of librarians, I love books – really and truly I love books. I have blown off plans with friends THREE times in the past week so that I can finish a book I’m in the middle of. But guys, believe me when I say this: I am the laziest reader around.

    I recently vetoed a book club suggestion because it was 480 pages long – I got tired just thinking about all the work it was going to be to read that WHOLE book. Sometimes I’ll lie on my bed for hours doing literally nothing because I’m not jazzed about the book I’m supposed to be reading. Like, seriously, I will sit on my bed and stare at a book instead of reading it because that is how lazy I am. 

    Unfortunately, I am a glutton for punishment, so I set my Goodreads reading goal for the year at 250 books. (A goal which, as Goodreads is happy to remind me, I am currently about 44 books behind schedule on.) Even more unfortunately, I am also a children’s librarian who can’t just admit to younger library patrons that sometimes I am too lazy to read books. Can you imagine the horror if a ten-year-old heard a librarian admit this? 

    Instead, I’ve developed a few hacks for reading more and reading better. 

    1. Get it out of your head that you are a smarter, morally superior, prettier, stronger, or a downright better person by reading those critically acclaimed books that are soooo good but that you have no interest in. Sure, there is merit to challenging yourself through reading, but there is no merit in doing something you hate to impress people. Seriously, no one cares. Stop reading books you don’t want to read. 
    2. Middle grade fiction is where it’s at. When I told my book club that a 480 page book sounded really long, they laughed at me—so I laughed it off by pointing out that I read a lot of books intended for eleven-year-olds. I’ve been feeling bad that I was so apologetic about it because I am not. Middle Grade fiction—books aimed at children ages 8-12—is usually shorter, more concise, and much more straightforward than a lot of adult literary fiction. But don’t be deceived into thinking that you are losing quality: Some of those books are good! Like life-changing, stare-at-the-page-for-a-full-twenty-minutes-in-total-awe-good. If you’re still reluctant, ask yourself why you became a reader. I guarantee it was not by forcing yourself to finish a 19th Century Russian novel you hated; it probably started when you were in elementary school. Why not return to your roots? 
    3. This is the hardest thing for me to suggest, but if you are halfway through a book and you really can’t power through – step away. Maybe not forever. Don’t be afraid to shelve that book as “did-not-finish.” If you regret not knowing the ending, you can always come back.
    4. Go fangirl over a favorite book. Do you love Harry Potter? Don’t be afraid to read ALL the books and watch ALL the movies and DO ALL THE THINGS that fans do. Go hard. Maybe it will just last for a few days, but what a glorious few days they will be. 
    5. Sometimes my biggest problem is the amount of text on a page. My most recent reading funk was broken by trying to read more graphic novels. Switching up my genres helped me get back into reading and find a new way to identify with the youths. The same thing has happened when I’ve decided to read more infographic-heavy nonfiction, magazines, short stories, or whatever it is. 

    These are my tips for lazy readers. Have more? Let us know!

  • reading without walls

     Are you ready for a challenge? We all tend to get in an occasional reading rut where we choose the same kind of story over and over again – whether it’s the same type of characters, the same genre, or the same topic. I often hear parents in the Children’s Department wishing that their kids would branch out and try something new.  Well here’s a great opportunity!

    Throughout the month of May, the Children’s Department will be participating in a national initiative called The Reading Without Walls Challenge. As part of Gene Luen Yang’s platform as the 2016-17 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Yang is inviting kids to “expand their reading horizons” and is encouraging them to “explore books of diverse voices, genres, and formats.” 

    It’s simple, really: Yang is asking kids to step outside of their reading comfort zone in one of three ways for just ONE BOOK.  Anyone can try something new for one book! And who knows, your kids may just discover something that they really, really love. The challenge is to choose ONE of the following:

    1. Read a book about a character that doesn’t look or live like you.
    2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.
    3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. Easy, right? 

    And parents, you can be a great example and branch out of your reading rut too.

    Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Professor Emerita at The Ohio State University and 2017 winner of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, wrote an incredible and frequently-cited article describing the power of books to act as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors in our lives. If you have a chance, it’s a read that I highly recommend if you haven’t given much thought to the lack of diversity in children’s publishing. Referring to this article, Roger Sutton of Horn Book Magazine beautifully conveys the value of Yang’s Reading Without Walls Challenge, saying “Perhaps even more daringly, the challenge asks us all, for at least one book, to put down (to use terms introduced by Rudine Sims Bishop) the reading mirror and open the reading window. Everybody needs some air.”

    So join us—I’m seriously so excited about this! Check out our Reading Without Walls-themed display case in the Children’s Department throughout the month of May and participate in the national challenge. Kids who participate can come tell a librarian at the Children’s Desk and then receive a certificate and treasure box prize for their awesome efforts. Let’s open some windows!

  • Music Books

    Music is important in our house. I play a little piano, my husband plays the guitar and ukulele, my children are taking piano lessons, and we all love to sing. We own a lot of music books and sheet music, but as much as I would love to have my own full music library, it isn’t possible.

    Thankfully, the library has tons of music! There are many compilations, anthologies and a huge span of books from classical to currently popular artists and musicals.

    I love checking out music from the library. It adds variety to what we own. I have a chance to try out music I am considering to purchase. I am not an accomplished pianist - I'm mediocre at best - and I often need to see if the book will be enjoyable for me to own, based on how well I am able to sight-read the music (though if I would just buckle down and practice more often I would be able to play the more advanced stuff). 

    Here are a few of my favorites from the library I have tried.

    2.12 NewsiesNEWSIES
    Composed by Alan Menken
    (1992)

    I was probably a little obsessed with the movie Newsies when it came out. My friends and I basically watched it every chance we could and memorized all the songs. The library has the original motion picture music as well as the new Broadway adaptation music book. I may have also recently shown the movie to my children and given my daughter the soundtrack on CD. It makes my heart happy to have the obsession continue to the next generation and have the music playing in my home. 

     

    2.12 The Man from Snowy RiverTHE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER
    Composed by Bruce Rowland
    (1982)

    When I was in high school I learned to play “Jessica’s Theme” and “The Man from Snowy River: Main Title Theme”. I just had the sheet music for those two songs. I love that the library has the entire book of music from the movie. 

     

    2.12 Disneys Princess CollectionDISNEY’S PRINCESS COLLECTION
    By Walt Disney Company
    (2002)

    This “Big Note Piano” version is available in the children’s department. If you have a princess lover, this is the collection for you. This is a simplified version even beginning piano students can successfully play. 

     

    2.12 The Greatest ShowmanTHE GREATEST SHOWMAN
    Composed by Benji Pasek
    (2017)

    Greatest Showman songs exploded last year. I loved that it was a well done movie, with amazing music AND I could share the entire experience with my children. We listened and sang along with the music together. It has been fun to extend our experience and fill our home with the music on the piano and guitar.  

     

    2.12 La La LandLA LA LAND
    Composed by Justin Hurwitz
    (2016)

    I have always loved musicals and I am glad they are popular again. Although I haven’t yet shared this movie experience with my children, I love tinkering around and singing along to the jazzy songs on the piano. 

     
  • DM 03242016 1290

    Have you ever sat your child down in front of a children’s video so that you could have some time to go and get dinner on the table?  Probably; most American parents have, but recent guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest this might not always be a good idea.  The guidelines recommend that children under the age of two should have no regular screen time, while children 2-5 should be limited to one hour or less per day.  The guideline references studies that show that small children learn much more effectively from live interactions, and that habits of longer screen time exposure can contribute to childhood obesity, sleep problems, and developmental delays.

    There is no need to throw away your TV and or tablet yet, however.  The guidelines do recognize that there can be educational benefits when children and parents watch or play on screen media together. If the parent and child are interacting in a positive way, the child is learning.

    Of course, reading with your young child is one of the best ways to develop good early literacy skills in small children. Talking, singing, writing and playing together are also important. If you are a parent/guardian of a 2-3 year old and would like to learn more about fun and creative early literacy activities, you might consider attending one of the Library’s Parent/Child Early Literacy Workshops.