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.


    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 (, 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.


    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!


    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!

  • Curved Shelves

    The Dewey Decimal System is a great organizational tool for many libraries. 

    You want a cook book? Check out the 600s!

    Do you want to look into some self-help? Let’s mosey on over to the 100s shelf.

    What’s that you say? You’re going on a trip to Prague and want a travel guide? Just visit the 900s and we’ll find what you need. 

    Yes, the Dewey Decimal System is wonderful.  However some sections don’t get as much love because it’s unclear what they have to offer. Take the 000’s section for example: It’s known as the “generalities.” What does that even mean? 

    If you want to know what the 000’s have to offer, then allow me to introduce you to some interesting books. 

    01.13 Field Guide to the SasquatchFIELD GUIDE TO THE SASQUATCH
    By David Gordon

    This read covers all of the Sasquatch basics: identifying footprints, family trees, the Bigfoot profile, how to confirm a sighting and more. This field guide is complete with maps and several brief accounts of Sasquatch sightings.  


    01.13 The Library BookTHE LIBRARY BOOK
    By Susan Orlean

    Interested in a mystery mixed with a love note to libraries? Then this is the book for you. Orlean explores the Los Angeles Public Library fire that occurred in 1986. She unpacks the sequence of events, evidence, and repercussions that the fire caused for the community. Sprinkled in this account are some of Orlean’s personal experiences of books, reading, and libraries that give the story a personal flare.  


    01.13 No More RejectionsNO MORE REJECTIONS
    By Alice Orr

    Aspiring Authors are sure to glean valuable knowledge from this book. Orr teaches how to develop a story idea, hook readers with first lines, craft fabulous characters, and how to pitch an idea to publishers. If you’re tired of having your manuscripts rejected, then take a look at NO MORE REJECTIONS. 


    01.13 Asking for a FriendASKING FOR A FRIEND
    By Jessica Weisberg

    We all need advice once in a while. How can I get this soda stain out of the carpet? How can I get John to notice me? How can I stop my cat from eating rubber mats? Weisberg cleverly crafts centuries of advice columns to create a read that is equal parts history, journalism, and entertainment. 


    01.13 Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 2018
    By John Evans

    Learn how to fix lighting, erase pimples, combine images, and more with this how-to guide. If you have dreams of becoming a Photoshop wizard or you just want more followers on social media, then give this book a chance. You can teach yourself the skills necessary to further your professional and personal goals. 


    Additional computer software and coding guides can also be found in the 000’s. If you’re a visual learner, then you may want to use our Lynda database. You can access video trainings on Photoshop, InDesign, Microsoft Excel, coding languages, and many other computer based skills. It’s free with a library card!

  • PCL with sign


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

    1. Materials

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

    2. Local Art and Performances

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

    3. Games

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

    4. Hobbies

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

    5. Life Skills

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

    6. Authorlink

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

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

    7. History and Genealogy

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

    8. Databases

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

    9. Librarians  

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

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

    10. Library

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

    What is your favorite thing about libraries? 

  • tensecrets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    10. We love suggestions for books and activities.

  • DVD Player 

    Did you know the Provo City Library has many popular movies that you can check out for FREE? Our entertainment DVD collection is full of old classics, family favorites, and current blockbusters. You can check out up to 20 DVDs at a time and you get to keep them for 3 weeks. Don’t forget that our Children’s library also has a DVD section with lots of great movies for kids. 

    Sometimes it can be a little tricky to find the movie you’re looking for or to know when you can place holds on the newest titles. 

    Here are 5 tips to find your perfect movie! 


    Want to know what new blockbuster is available this week? Check out our New Audio/Visual page for a current list. It will give this week’s release and what to look for next week. 


    Placing a hold on new DVDs is a little different than the rest of the materials in our collection. DVDs are normally released on Tuesdays. You can place a new DVD on hold beginning on the release date. The title may appear in the catalog several weeks before it is released, but it won’t allow you to place a hold. If this is the case, the record will list the release date as a General Note.

    DVDs 1


    We keep a running list of all the DVDs added to our Adult DVD collection each month. There is a binder by the DVD collection with tabs for each month. The most confusing thing about this list is that we can’t create the new monthly list until the month is over, so it is always one month behind the current month. Feature Films are listed at the top and replacements or older movies are listed at the bottom. We usually try to update this list within the first few days of the new month. This list can also be found on our website under the New Audio/Visual page


    Ever get confused on how we organize our DVDs? The entertainment DVDs are grouped in alphabetical sections by the first main word of the title. This means words like “The” and “A” don’t count as part of the title. The call number will let you know where to look.

    DVD 2

    Hint: If the collection is listed as J DVD it is in the Children’s Department. We don’t organize the DVDs within the alphabetical section so you may need to look through all the movies in the G section to find Guardians of the Galaxy, for example. 

    Some movies are given subcategories so that all the connected movies will end up in the same alphabetical section. If you are having a hard time finding a movie, check to make sure it is not shelved by one of these categories (the subcategory will come before the title in the call number). The current subcategories that we have are:

    • BOND


    • INSPECTO (Inspector Morse)




    5. ASK FOR HELP 

    When in doubt, ask a librarian! That’s why we are here. We love to help answer your questions and help you find whatever you are looking for.

  • 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.

    By Brandon Sanderson

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


    11.30 ElantrisELANTRIS
    By Brandon Sanderson

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


    11.30 WarbreakerWARBREAKER
    By Brandon Sanderson

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

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


    11.30 Way of KingsWAY OF KINGS
    By Brandon Sanderson

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

  • podcasts


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

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

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

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

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

    bbc world blook clubBBC World Book Club

    Schedule: Weekly 

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


    book riot podcastBook Riot Podcast

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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


    books on the nightstandBooks on the Nightstand

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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


    dear book nerdDear Book Nerd

    Schedule: Bi-weekly 

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


    guardian books podcast1Guardian Books

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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


    KCRW BookwormKCRW Bookworm

    Schedule: Weekly 

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


    literary discoLiterary Disco

    Schedule: Bi-monthly 

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


    Slates Audio Book ClubSlate’s Audio Book Club

    Schedule: Monthly 

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

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


    what should i read nextWhat Should I Read Next? 

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

  • podcasts

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

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

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

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

    black tapesThe Black Tapes

    Schedule: Bi-monthly 

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

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

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


    harry potter and the sacred textsHarry Potter and the Sacred Text

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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

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


    home frontHome Front

    Schedule: Daily 

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

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


    the messageThe Message

    8 episodes published in 2015
    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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


    selected shortsSelected Shorts

    Schedule: Weekly

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


    there and back againThere and Back Again

    Schedule: Weekly 

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

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


    the truthThe Truth

    Schedule: Bi-monthly 

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


    welcome to night valeWelcome to Night Vale 

    Schedule: Bi-monthly

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

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


    wynebago warriorWynabego Warrior

    Schedule: Monthly 

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

  • borrow ebooks

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

    Desktop Computer3.12 Desktop Version

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Mobile Device3.12 Mobile Version

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

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

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

    My Discoveries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    My Conclusions

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

  • bedtime stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Browsing Library Book Shelf 

    We get it. Sometimes you just want to know what books are new. If you come into the library you can find new book sections throughout our library. In children’s, we have shelves designated for new picture books, new fiction, and new informational books. In the adult department, we have two displays for new adult fiction and new nonfiction as well as designated shelves for new YA titles. Any of these places are great to browse if you just want something new to read. 

    But if you can’t come into the library in-person, where can you find new titles? 

    One easy way is to do a catalog search and limit your search results to a specific “new” section. So, let’s say that I want to see all the new children’s fiction titles. 

    Start by pulling up the library catalog. 

    What s New 1


    Next, jump down to the “Collection” filter (it will be all the way at the bottom on the left side) 

    What s New 2


    Select “View All” to see all your options 

    What s New 3


    Then scroll until you find the collection you want, we want J New Fiction but you can also look up J New Picture Book, J New Informational, NEW BOOKS – FICTION, NEW BOOKS – NONFICTION, New Books – Young Adult, NEW LARGE PRINT, or New YA Nonfiction to find new books in those areas. 

    What s New 4


    Click “Include” in the top right corner and you’ll pull up a list of all the books that are currently in our J New Fiction section – even if they’re checked out! 

    What s New 5


    You can read book summaries and place books on hold without leaving the comfort of your own home.

  • 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

  • Text

    Still Uses Her Phone as a Phone

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

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

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

  • 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!

    (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.

    (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).

    (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). 

    (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.


    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.

  • Covid Date

    Covid-19 has made it so couples can’t go out dancing, to the movies, parties, or go on romantic getaways together. But let’s not have a pandemic get in the way of love! The library is here to help in the romance department by offering many fun and free resources. Whether it is a first date or a 50-year anniversary, we have you covered!


    Pop some popcorn and cuddle up with a movie. We have a wide range of movies that can be checked out whether you are in the mood for action, a classic, or a good Rom-Com. We also have a streaming video service called Kanopy that you are able to access with your library card. They specialize in classic and Indie films.



    Being quarantined has given people a lot of time to try new things and learn new hobbies. Whatever you are looking for, we have you covered. We have books that give you instruction on how to draw, paint, garden, or even cosplay. Along with our books we have what we call “Let’s Learn Guides” that have been written by our librarians. They have links to different sources and include activities that can be done in groups. We also have CreativeBug that has wonderful tutorials on journaling, painting, drawing, and more.



    If you are not that crafty and you want to do something more active together then just watch a movie then be sure to check out our board games. Our games are fun and varied and can be checked out like our books and DVDS. Check out our website for a list of games.

    Sweet or Salty

    Whether you are watching a movie, playing a game, or doing arts and crafts it’s always a good time to eating something yummy. Make a delicious candlelight dinner for two or make each other’s favorite dessert. We have countless cookbooks to fit your needs, whatever they are.



    It’s been a rough year where traveling has been grounded. But do you dream about seeing the Great Wall of China? Maybe a romantic gondola ride in Italy? Or maybe you want to go on an African Safari. Although you may not be able to travel there physically you can at least travel virtually. Not only are our books on travel and countries available but we also have a wonderful resource called Global Road Warrior that you can access with your library card. On this site you can pick a place anywhere in the world and dive into the history, religion, culture, Holidays, and food. The site gives recipes to the most popular food from the country. You can also learn about the language spoken and learn some phrases. If you want to study the language even more so you can be ready when you actually go there then we have another resource, Pronunciator, that can give you daily lessons.


    It doesn’t matter what you do, whether it’s a movie, game, or craft, it is always important to make time for those you care about and spend time with them by learning new things, having fun, and creating memories.

  • 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.

  • Faucet

    Over the past couple months our kitchen faucet started to drip. It started out slow, maybe one drip every 30 seconds once we noticed it. When it got to one drip every five seconds I started to go crazy.

    Now, I can be “handy” when I want/need to be, but I also like to give learning opportunities to others. And I was lazy. So, the honey-do list became simply, “fix the drip.”

    He tried. He got the drip to temporarily slow to once every 20 seconds, but it wasn’t long before it was down to once every two seconds. I was going mad, and he didn’t know what else to do. His “fixes” weren’t doing anything… and were occasionally making it worse.

    Then while at work my mind drifted for a moment and I remembered—the Library has a resource called Home Improvement Reference Center! Surely that will tell me how to fix a dripping faucet! This Reference Center makes it easy to find the information you’re looking for. My path was simply: Plumbing > Kitchens > Sinks & Faucets > Common Problems & Repairs.

    The PDF article I found was perfect, and I immediately emailed it directly to my husband through the Reference Center. I didn’t have to download it or anything!

    With this document, we learned about different types of faucets and how to identify them (so many helpful pictures!), and what can lead to the dreaded drip.

    With this information and the deteriorating parts in a baggie, we headed to Home Depot with enough knowledge and information to get the materials for a simple repair.

    We did it! My kitchen sink no longer drips and my sanity has been restored!

    Whether you’re as inexperienced with home repair as us, or you’re a pro and looking to remodel your bathroom, the Home Improvement Reference Center has articles and guides to help you with your next project. It’s definitely something I will revisit again in the future.

  • 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.


    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!


    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.


    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!


    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!


    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.


    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?


    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:


    How recent is this information?

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


    Where does the information come from?

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

    Are references provided?

    Is the information balanced? Or biased?

    Who published the information?


    Who wrote this information?

    What are their credentials?

    Are they generally considered experts on this topic?

    Purpose/Point of View

    Who is the intended audience?

    How is the author connected to the information?

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

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

  • beyond


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

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

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

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

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

  • book crush

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

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

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

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

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

  • curved shelves

    “I’m looking for a book.”

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

    Can you suggest a good book for me to read?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How can I find a book I read years ago?

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

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

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

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

    What’s the next book in this series?

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

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

    Do you have eBooks?

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

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

    Can I suggest a book be purchased by the Library?

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

    Do you have any books for sale?

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

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

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

  • reading slump

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

    Try a New Genre

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

    Revisit a Favorite

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

    Try an Audiobook

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

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

    Use a New Source for Getting Book Recommendations

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

    Practice the Rule of 50

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

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

    Stick With It

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

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

  • 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.

  • Romance Spice Peppers

    In the reading world, I don’t know if there are many things worse than being disappointed by a book you are or have just finished reading. Sometimes, it can’t really be helped. If the rest of the book, or even series, is great but the ending falls short, there is no way of knowing before the end. What frustrates me more is finding unexpected content and twists (or lack thereof) in the middle of a book when I’m just starting to really enjoy it.

    Genre fiction comes with a promise that certain elements will be present in certain genres. Romance is no different. As the saying goes, some like it hot, some like it cold. Part of enjoying a great romance book is being able to read the level of spice you enjoy. Sometimes a cover is enough to tell you what kind of spice you’ll find inside, but sometimes it isn’t.

    So what do you do when the cover doesn't really show whether the book's content is a good fit for you?

    Novelist (a library database) and Goodreads are great places to get reviews and recommendations for books to read as well as great resources for doing a quick content check. In Novelist you can search for different spice levels. Here’s how: in the advanced search, you can type in chaste, mildly sensuous, steamy, or explicit and then select AP Appeal Factors in the drop menu. The picture below outlines it a little more.

    Novelist spiciness Linsey Image 1

    Although I love Novelist, there have been a couple times where new romance books I’ve been interested in have not had a spicy list term. In that case, there is another great option. One of our other librarians found a site years ago, This site is purely for romance books and, similarly to Novelist, has a rating system for the sensuality level in each book. Often, authors will have an overall sensuality rating as well based on the average spice level of their books. All About Romance’s rating system is shown below.

    AAR snip Lindsey Image 2

    This one is a little simpler to use. Simply type in the title of the book (or name of the author) and the results will come up with a synopsis of the book as well as its spice level and rating. May you now more easily find the level of spice you’re looking for!

  • 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:

    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

    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.

    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.

    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. 

  • Library

    Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the challenge of locating a book when you first walk into a library? I know that I have. Each library seems to organize its books differently and I always struggle with figuring out which system is being used. To try and help make life easier I want to share some of the tips I’ve picked up about two of the ways that libraries organize their books.    

    Library of Congress

    The library of congress method was developed specifically for the Library of Congress to organize their books. Everything in the library is divided into 21 subject categories that are identified by letters of the alphabet.

    Ex. Science is identified by the letter Q. 

    Within those categories there are limitless options for subclasses that are identified by a second letter attached to the first.

    Ex. Astronomy is identified by the letters QB. Following the letters, a series of numbers indicates the specific topic of the book.

    Ex. The planet Mars is identified by the number 641. 

    After the subject has been identified, the author’s last name is indicated on the call number by a period, the first letter of the author’s last name and a series of numbers. This is then followed by the year of publication. 

    Thus a completed call number looks something like: QB 641 .C54 2012.               

    Broken down: QB (subject) 641 (specific topic) .C54 (author last name) 2012 (year) 

    Because there are no limits to how many subcategories can be put into one of these call numbers this organizational system works well for very large libraries, such as government or university libraries.               

    Dewey Decimal

    The Dewey Decimal system was developed by Melvil Dewey as a way of arranging all knowledge. In this system, books are organized by fields of study. There are 10 fields which each contain 10 specific sections. In contrast to the Library of Congress method, everything in the Dewey Decimal system is organized by numbers. A broad number indicates one of the 10 fields of study and smaller numbers represent more specific sections.               

    Ex. Books about science are identified by the number 500. Within that, books about space fall under the number 520 and books specifically about Mars are listed as 523.43. 

    Following these numbers, the author is indicated on the call number by the first three letters of their last name. This is then followed by the year of publication. 

    Thus a completed Dewey Decimal call number looks something like: 523.43 LOM 2014.

    Broken down: 523 (general subject) .43 (specific subject) LOM (author last name) 2014 (year)

    Unfortunately, there is a limit to the combination of numbers that can be used in the Dewey Decimal system and so this method tends to work better for smaller libraries, such as school or public libraries. 

    The odds are that one of these methods makes more sense to you than the other and that’s okay. Most people are partial to one organizational method and that is why both are used commonly in different libraries. Hopefully this helps you to understand a little bit about why each method is used and how to better navigate it the next time you visit a library.

  • Music

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

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

    Music on CD and Sheet Music you can check out

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

    Monday Night Performances

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

    The Basement Creative Lab audiovisual production space

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


    Browsing Spanish books in the library catalog can be a bit tricky. One wrong click and you end up in the dangerous culinary confection section and your search is thwarted. Luckily, we’ve provided this quick guide to help you navigate your search to the Children’s Spanish materials of your dreams. 

    First, go to our home page here (

    Once there, you can access our catalog by clicking on the Search Catalog in the upper right hand corner. 


    Click on the Search button and you will arrive at our general catalog section for every book in the library.Here you can either search for a specific book title in the box on the right. Or you can change the far left drop down menu from Everything to Español. 

    Blog 2


    Click Enter and you will only see the materials we have in Spanish. This trick is nice if you are okay with browsing the adult and children’s materials simultaneously. However, if you want to narrow your search to only children’s materials, please read on.

    First, make sure nothing is typed in the text field on the right. Next, notice the column titled Limit Search Results on the far left. This section has subheadings such as author, format, Language, etc. 


    Scroll all the way down to the last option labeled Collection.


    Once you find the collection section go ahead and click on the View All button. 


    A box should pop up with options for all the collections in our library. 


    *Hint: When looking for Children’s Spanish materials, most of them are in the same section labeled J Spanish _______. However, there are two exceptions. 1) 1:JRSP is for the Children’s Spanish Playaway books and 2) 1:JSPANC is for the Children’s Spanish comics and graphic novels. 

    Scroll down until you find the name of the collection you want to browse and then click on the square to the left (you can choose more than one collection to browse at once). In this case, I chose J Spanish Early Reader and J Spanish Intermediate 


    A little check mark should appear next to the ones you would like to look at.Next, click the Include button. 


    Now everything in the collection(s) you selected should appear in your search like the one below. 


    Happy browsing!

  • 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.
  • Libby

    With the library closed and more of us using electronic resources for reading, here’s some tips for limiting searches on Libby. These filters are especially helpful if you are browsing a subject or one of the many lists that Utah’s Online Library has available. The photos are from an Android device, but these options should be the same on an iOS device as well. 

    Today I want to show you three of Libby’s search filter options.  Preferences, Refine, and more.

    Libby Screenshot 1


    Anything changed under Preferences will save and apply to all future searches as well, until changed again.  This is great if you only want Audiobooks, for example.

    Libby Screenshot 2a


    Something to keep in mind with Preferences however is that changes made here will apply to all future searches. So, if you change Availability to Available Now and get reading a series, if any of the books in that series has a waitlist then you won’t find that book in any of your searches until you change Availability back to Everything. I may or may not be speaking with the voice of experience there.

    Filters added under Refine will only apply to the current search. This is great for narrowing down your search results, especially when those results include thousands of books, all without changing what shows in future searches.

    Libby Screenshot 3


    The Search Within Results is an especially great feature because you can do a search within a search! If you have already put a few filters on your search but still not finding what you want, you can add another search term here without losing your previous filters. 

    Above Preferences and Refine, each search will have a list of genres that appear in the search result. It will list a handful, ending with “and more.” Selecting “and more” shows all of the genres that appear in the search results. This is great if you want a book that falls under two or more genres, such as Mystery and Historical Fiction.

    Libby Screenshot 4


    It also tells you how many books fall under both categories, listed from most to least. In this example of looking at Mystery as the main genre, you can see there are 1,458 books that are also tagged Historical Fiction. Further down the list than what is shown here, you’d see Western with 38 books that fall under both Mystery and Western. 

    Browsing Libby is different than browsing a physical collection of books, but by using the above search filters makes browsing for a good read easier and quicker than trying to browse through all of Libby. Play around with it and see what you can find!

  • Pile of Books

    I always start out each year with the same, good intentions. I dream about reading the books I hear people raving about, that I meant to read, but didn’t get around to. Though, I find my list of books to read growing exponentially larger than my list of books I have read. If you’re anything like me, you may be looking for an answer to this discouraging cycle. There is the hope of a new year’s resolution to set yourself straight, but it takes a little planning and thought. Here are a few suggestions of how you can read as much as you can. 

    Pick the books you’d like to read.

    For some of you (*ahem* me), it may be hard to make a definitive list of books to read in a single year. In 2019, there were over 4 million books published in the U.S. It is physically impossible for one person to read all the books. Devastating, I know. That’s why it is so important to make a list of what books you want to get to this year. This list can be whatever you want it to be. If you’re a person who needs structure, give yourself a definitive collection of must-reads. If you need more flexibility, work around the genres you enjoy. 

    The most important thing when making your list is to understand your “why’s” for reading. Are you reading for pure entertainment? Are you reading to learn about a specific subject? Are you looking for an escape from a plague-ridden world? (Sorry, was that too close to home?) Paying attention to your motivation will guide you to create a comprehensive, attainable list of books you are genuinely interested in. 

    Make a plan.

    This is a common principle for any type of goal you set: give yourself a timeframe. The best way to kill a goal is to not hold yourself to it. So start by writing down an obtainable goal that best suits you and your lifestyle. You could have an allotted amount of books to read for the year, month, or week. Or you could make a goal of how many minutes you will read every day or week. 

    Another method to make sure you are reading everything you hope to read is to make a goal for each genre your wish to read. I like this flexibility because when it’s time for me to move to a new book, I can look at my list and decide if I’m more in the mood for a biography or young adult fantasy. 

    Be flexible.

    Don’t be afraid to skim some books. You don’t have to put your heart and soul into everything you read. Remind yourself that it is alright if you find a book that’s not worth the investment of your time. Francis Bacon said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” Make the hard decision of which books you would like to feast on. 

    Fit in reading where you can

    My last and certainly not least tip is to fit in reading where you can. If you have a busy schedule, be reading different books in different formats. That way you can read when you have a spare minute, whether that’s while you’re commuting or waiting in line. Have a physical book you can read while at home, an eBook you can read while out running errands, and an audiobook for when you’re on the move. With all these tips implemented in your life this year, you can seep reading into the cracks of time during your day and read as much as you possible can.

  •  SR 2020 FB

    It’s that time of year, and our Summer Reading Program is in full swing! Once again, this year we’re using the super fun software from Beanstack to track reading and activity badges. And whether you’ve been doing reading challenges with us on Beanstack for a few years, or whether this is your first rodeo with online tracking, we have some tips and tricks we’re excited to share with you for the free and easy Beanstack mobile app! 


    First, to download the app, simply search Beanstack Tracker in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. 

    01 Beanstack App Store

    Type in Provo City Library, and then sign in just like you would on the Beanstack website. 

    02 Beanstack App Welcome



    03 Beanstack App Choose Library



    04 Beanstack App Sign In

    If you haven’t already, you can also set up your account right on your phone.  From that point you can click on the Account gear icon on the right of your bottom screen menu, and then on Readers. 

    05 Beanstack App Bottom Menu

    If your account was created previously on the website, all of your readers should show up here (don’t forget to add some cute profile pics!).

    06 Beanstack App Account Readers

    If you’re just setting up your account, start adding readers from this screen by tapping Add a Reader.  Once your readers are all entered, it’s time to head back to the home screen to register for a reading challenge! 


    Choose the reader you want to register for a challenge.  You can change readers by tapping the profile pic (or circle with reader’s initials) at the top right on your home screen.

    07 Beanstack App Change Readers

    You can then search for that reader’s available reading challenges by tapping the Discover compass icon at the bottom of your screen.  If your reader has not registered for any challenges, you’ll have the option to see any available challenges. 

    08 Beanstack App See Challenges

    If your reader was previously registered on the website, you’ll see a list of their current and past registrations, any available new challenges, as well as their logging status. 

    09 Beanstack App Challenges

    Tap on Register to get started in a new challenge! 


    Logging is where the Beanstack mobile app shines!  On the website you have two options when logging – you can log for a single reader, or you can log for all readers on your account.  However, on the mobile app, you can log for a single reader, all readers on your account, or any combination of readers, AND you can also log reading in multiple, concurrently-running programs like Summer Reading and 1000 Books Before Kindergarten!  But first things first…  To log reading in the mobile app, tap the giant plus icon on your bottom menu and tap Reading.  You’ll then be prompted to choose which readers you’re logging for.  If you’ve done a family read aloud, choose them all! 

    10 Beanstack App Choose Readers   

    Next comes the logging method, another place where the app excels.

    11 Beanstack App Logging Method 

    You can type in a title or ISBN, select a recently logged title if it’s a repeat read or a continuing read, or simply log minutes without a book title attached.  However, the easiest, quickest, and most fun option is the Scan ISBN feature.  Just tap it, flip that book over, and hover the red line over the book’s barcode – that book is in! 

    12 Beanstack App Scan ISBN

    You can choose whether or not to Track Progress by tapping the toggle, which would end up looking like this:

    13 Beanstack App Progress

    Then you have a few choices:   

    Start a Reading Session starts a timer right within the app. 

    14 Beanstack App Timer

    When you stop the timer, the minutes will automatically be logged for the readers you chose previously.  Slick!  Be sure to say yes if you finished the book to log it as completed!   

    Log Past Reading gives you the opportunity to log reading for any previous days or if you choose not to use the app timer.  Simply enter the date if you’d like, the number of minutes read (required), the number of pages (optional), and whether or not the book is finished.  Bam – logged! 

    Quick Log as Complete will quickly log a book read.  However, all but one of our reading challenges tracks minutes, so the only program this would be currently useful for is 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. 

    15 Beanstack App Quick Log Error


    Logging Activities is easy peasy – tap the giant plus icon on your bottom menu and click Activity.  Choose your readers, and tap on the appropriate category!  Or to see available activities, tap the Discover compass icon on the bottom menu and click on the Activities tab at the top. 

    16 Beanstack App Activities


    Logging 1000 books sounds pretty daunting.  However, chances are you’re reading many of the same books over and over.  My top tips for you:

    1. Use the scan ISBN feature when logging a book.  It’s super quick and easy to scan the stack of picture books when you’re done reading together.

    2. When re-reading a book you’ve already logged – IF YOU’RE NOT WORRIED ABOUT TRACKING MINUTES FOR A SEASONAL READING CHALLENGE– tap Log in your bottom menu. Scroll until you find the book, then swipe left on the title and click the green Quick Log As Complete.  It will complete it a second, third…or seventeenth…time.

    17 Beanstack App Quick Log

    18 Beanstack App Reading Log


    All of our seasonal reading challenges (Summer Reading, Winter Reading, Spring Reading, etc.) track MINUTES for completion.  However, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten tracks BOOKS.  If you have a child registered for BOTH of these programs, the mobile app is your magic wand.  It is the only way to log one time and have it applied to BOTH PROGRAMS.  The Beanstack website does not have the functionality for this.  Just make sure that when you’re logging reading for a child enrolled in 1000 Books that you log minutes, as well as the title of the picture book, and mark the book as complete.  If logged this way in the mobile app, the reading will automatically be applied to both programs! 

    All in all, the Beanstack mobile app is an incredibly convenient and powerful tool for logging your family’s reading, particularly if you’re reading aloud to multiple kids, doing a family read aloud, or logging for concurrent programs.  So be sure to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with it.  If you have questions or need help, we’re here for you – give us a call or come to one of our reference desks.  And as always, Happy Reading!

  • 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. 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!


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

  • Resume

    People deal with stress and anxiety in very different ways. And sometimes our way of dealing morphs throughout a crisis or stressful change. I think most of us are figuring out how we individually deal, and sometimes do not deal, with uncertain times. I feel like I spent three weeks freaking out and am finally getting to the point where I can start thinking about what I can do to prepare for whatever the heck is coming next. I’ve started to find comfort in action, which is a little frustrating because I can’t really do a lot while isolating myself and my family in our home.

    You may be feeling some of the same things. My heart especially goes out to those finding themselves unexpectedly unemployed. So, I thought I would send out to you support and well wishes, which do not really help you pay rent, as well as this blog post with some ideas on how you can prepare for the job hunt you’ll be starting this summer when things hopefully start returning to some type of normal.

    Planning For Your Future

    One amazing place to start preparing is This website for Utah residents is full of resources applicable to several stages in life. It is great for students to prepare for college and entering the job market. It is great for adults possibly looking for a new career path or needing to brush up on some basic skills like writing, math, and computer skills. There are also resources for family to help support the job hunter in your home.

    Skill Development

    Now is a great time to enhance your resume with some new or updated skills! Below are some resources to learn all types of things from coding to organization, new languages, familiarity with computers and technology, communication and leadership skills, and the list goes on. Many courses also let you earn a certificate of completion which could be helpful.

    Lynda is a resource we are always trying to encourage people to use. It is such a valuable tool and covers so many topics. The instructors are amazing and the quality all around is hard to beat. I took a look at some good courses for anyone just starting a job search and I found these wonderful options.

    • Job Search Strategies: Learn the latest techniques to find jobs efficiently and effectively. This course teaches you how to develop your profile and brand, seek advertised and unadvertised positions, network successfully to broaden your circle, and work with recruiting professionals. Valerie includes strategies for both the online and offline worlds.
    • Engage the Likability Effect in the Job Search: Research indicates that likability can be equally if not more important than competence when hiring managers are making decisions. Likability also helps you succeed once you land the job: Likable employees get more assistance and earn more promotions. In this course, you can learn simple techniques for making yourself a more appealing candidate by shifting behaviors that influence how others perceive you, ultimately becoming more likable to your network and the decision-makers in the hiring process. 
    • Writing a Resume: Finding a great job starts with writing a great resume, one that speaks to your personal and professional strengths. Learn how to write a resume that stands out and makes employers take notice.


    Pronunciator is where to go to improve or gain new language skills. They have almost 200 languages available with the ability to personalize your course so you can start at different proficiency levels and also customize the type of vocabulary you want based on occupation or interests. 

    Learning Express Library

    Learning Express Library can also be accessed through UtahFutures but I wanted to highlight some of their menus that may help you track down the features of most use.  One is the Career Preparation Center which has resources for improving your job search, interviewing, and networking skills.  Then you may also want to check out the Popular Software Skills Center which includes three courses, Master Microsoft Office, Learn Computer Graphics and Illustration, and Understanding Your Operating System.

    Job Search Resources

    While I understand that actually talking to someone at Workforce Services right now is very difficult, given how many calls they are receiving, they have a lot of information also available on their website and it is definitely worth a look.

    Also, this Thursday, April 16th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Workforce Services is hosting their first statewide VIRTUAL job fair!  To register, create an account or log in to your “my Job Search” account at  Find your calendar in your messages and alerts and then register for Utah’s Statewide Virtual Job Fair found on April 16th. 

    My final resource may not automatically look like it would be useful to job hunters, but it can actually be really helpful.  ReferenceUSA is an extensive online directory that can help you research a business or company you are wanting to work for or it can actually help you search for the names of companies in a specific market or field. This can help you in your search efforts so you know more about a company before interviewing with them or know where to apply for the types of job you are wanting. 

    We are going to get through this! Things are going to keep getting better. Hopefully getting a head start on your job search will help you feel some approximation of control over your future. And when we reopen, whenever that may be, please come visit us for access to computers, printers, books, and just to say hi. Because we miss seeing your faces!

  • 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. 


    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



    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.

  • fun reading aloud

    Have you ever wondered how you could make reading aloud at home as fun as it is at the Library?  Even if you don’t have puppets or other props, reading can still be fun at home. Looking for a bonus? Since our new Winter Reading Challenge tracks minutes read rather than books, all the time you spend reading to your kids can count as reading time for you as well!

    Here are a few ideas for making your read-aloud time as fun at home as it is during story time.

    1. Read the book first so that you know what the story is about and you won’t have any surprises you aren’t prepared for as you are reading.
    2. Have a designated area in your home where you can go to read aloud. It can be a special carpet, the couch or a reading tent that you build together. A special place for reading makes the time together more magical.
    3. Look at the book cover together and try to guess what the book is going to be about before you even start reading.
    4. If you are reading a picture book make sure that they can see the pictures. Turning the book so you can read the text and then showing them the pictures is not fun for little ones. They like to really study the pictures. If you have read the book previously you already kind of know the text which can help. You can also add to the text to make the story funny. Most small children won’t be following the text so they won’t know if you change it just a bit. Don’t be afraid to insert things like your children’s own names. It will help them love the book even more if they think it was written just for them.
    5. Read with enthusiasm and with different voice inflections. If you have listened to audiobooks the reader gives each character a different voice to distinguish them. This adds so much to the story for little ones. Don’t be afraid of being silly with your children: it helps them develop their imaginations as they listen to the story. Give it all you've got – add hand motions, facial expressions, and sound effects; this only adds to the experience and makes it fun for your children. Even older children enjoy hearing stories read in a fun way. It will transport the audience into the story in a more vivid way.
    6. Notice how your audience is reacting to the story. If the story has long text that is boring, make up your own text that goes along with the pictures or shorten the text by telling it in your own words. If they are bored they start to associate reading with boredom. Make reading enjoyable.
    7. Children love to ask questions, but stopping too frequently during the story interrupts the flow so try to wait until the end to answer any questions. It's always fun to discuss the book after it is over to see how everyone felt about it.
    8. Just have fun!  

    Here are some of my favorite picture books to read aloud.


    12.13 Legend of Rock Paper ScissorsTHE LEGEND OF ROCK PAPER SCISSORS
    By Drew Daywalt

    Everyone has played the game Rock Paper Scissors, but learning how this legendary game started is not for the faint of heart. This is a hilarious book that tells the point of view of each of the warriors – Rock, Paper, Scissors – who have never been defeated in battle. It’s a great book to read aloud because each warrior has its own personality and you can use voice inflections to really make the story come alive. Be prepared to read this book out loud again and again. It’s a real favorite.


    12.13 Bark GeorgeBARK, GEORGE
    By Jules Feiffer

    This is an older book, but it’s become one of my favorite read-aloud books because you can have everyone who is listening participate in the reading. George has lost his bark and can’t seem to figure out how to get it back. He meows like a cat and moos like a cow, but he just can’t seem to bark like a dog. Younger listeners will love helping you make all the animal sounds as you read this book together.


    By Jon Scieszka

    Everyone knows the story of the three little pigs, but have you ever heard it told from the point of view of the poor wolf? He wasn’t actually a bad guy. He just needed to borrow a cup of sugar to make a cake for his dear old granny, but no one would loan him some sugar. This classic tale can be read with so many different voices and you can have help from your listeners to make all of the sound effects in the story. They can help you knock on the door, blow and sneeze like the wolf, and make the crashing sounds as the house falls down.


    12.13 Book with no PicturesTHE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES
    By B.J. Novak

    This book, as the title states, has no pictures. You would think that a book like that would be very boring for someone to read, but it’s the language in the book that makes everyone laugh. As a child, you don’t get to hear adults say silly ridiculous words like “blurp,” but this book is all about saying the ridiculous. This is also a favorite book for many children and one that will be asked for again and again.


    12.13 Sam and Dave Dig a HoleSAM & DAVE DIG A HOLE
    By Mac Barnett

    Best friends Sam and Dave decide one afternoon that they are going to dig a hole all the way to China. They are planning to have lunch in China and then come home for dinner. Children are captivated by this story because who doesn’t enjoy digging a nice big hole? The character that gets the most attention in this story, however, is the dog. Pay close attention to what he is doing as you read this fun story. There are a lot of details in the illustrations that make this a fun book to look at together. 

  • 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!