Library Services

  •  What to Read Next

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

    BOOKLISTS

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

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

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

    BOOK BLOGS

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

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

    LIBRARIANS

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

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

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

  • 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.  

  • resolution

     

    It’s a new year, and that seems like as good a time as any to suggest the following resolution to you; it’s totally achievable, and has nothing to do with weight loss or home organization (though if those are some of your resolutions, we certainly have some books and programs to help). Here's your perfect New Year's resolution: 

    Get your money’s worth out of the library!

    To help you achieve this most enjoyable of resolutions, here’s a spotlight on some of our services that you may not have discovered yet:

    Discovery Kits

    Caroline recently wrote a blog post about Discovery Kits from the children’s department, and I actually feel like I can’t pitch it better than she did, so I’m going to quote her here: 

    “Many of our patrons have already discovered Discovery Kits (one of the best kept secrets of the Children’s Department) and know just how fun they can be. For our patrons who don’t know what a Discovery Kit is, now is a great time to get acquainted. Discovery Kits are a selection of themed books, toys, and activity ideas appropriate for kids ages 3-5, and each one is filled with enough fun to fill days and days. The Discovery Kits check out as a set and you can keep them for three weeks. That means you have three weeks to play with all the toys, read all the books, and do all the things suggested in the included activity binder. When your three weeks are up, just bring the kit back to the Children’s Reference Desk and you can make a reservation for another one. The best part is that you can now make a reservation for a Discovery Kit online on the library website. “ 

    As a parent, I can just attest that these are awesome (as long as you don’t have a toddler that does things like shove small toys down a slightly broken heater vent; if that’s the case in your house, you may not want to check out a kit with a lot of small pieces). It’s a great way to have some fun, themed play without having to invest in new toys or books myself. 

    Boxes & Games

    Want your kids to be able to play with awesome building toys but not sure you want the potential entropy that might introduce in your home? I talked about our new in-library boxes as an idea for a great library date, but they’re good for more than that. We have several STEM exploration-themed boxes available for you to check out in the library. All the building fun, none of the mess in your own home! 

    We also have several board games available to check out for those times you find yourself with friends in the library with a few hours to kill. If you’re a gamer, it’s a great way to try before you buy. 

    All-ages programs

    If you’ve glanced at our calendar recently, you know that we host dozens of programs every week, most of them for the under 12 crowd. However, we’ve recently added a new tag to the calendar to help you find things that anyone can enjoy. These all-ages programs include musical performances, family tech nights, Attic exhibits, and other activities that can be enjoyable whether you’re a single college student, a family with children of diverse ages, or an empty nester. 

    Book Club Sets

    If you have a regular book club, our book club sets can be a fantastic resource for you. We update our offerings regularly, and we have a variety of genres to appeal to every kind of book club. We have plenty of titles for adults, but we also have a wide variety of middle-grade and young adult book club sets! 

    Sets check out for 6 weeks, which gives a monthly book club a good healthy chance to read the book and set up a meeting to talk about it. Plus, every book club set comes with a handy binder full of discussion topics. 

    Computer Help Lab

    Thanks to a partnership with United Way, we are happy to be able to offer one-on-one computer help for those times when your computer needs are more in-depth than our desk staff can help with.

    Every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-5:00 pm, a staff member from United Way is available to answer your questions. They can help you learn computer basics, set up an email address, learn to navigate social media, or even find online software or job training. If you or someone you know could benefit from this kind of personalized help, visit them in the Special Collections room on Tuesday or Thursday.

  • Baby Genius 

    Are you looking for resources to supplement your child’s learning? In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing a series of posts on child brain development and how the library can help.Today, we will be talking about infants, which are children up to 18 months of age.

    At every stage, the first recommendation (after love) is to read, sing, and talk to your child, which means that the library is a great place to start. For more exposure to reading, singing, and talking, bring your little one to story time! We have story time at a variety of times during the week where our storytellers read, sing, and talk to your children. For children under one year, we offer Book Babies on Mondays and Fridays at 10:00 am, while one- and two-year-olds can attend Toddler Time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10:05 and 11:05. 

    Beyond storytime, the library offers a number of resources to help your children learn and flourish. In particular, we have books and discovery kits that can help develop your baby's eyesight, tactile senses, and ability to identify and name objects.

    Eyesight

    Not having had the chance to hone his or her senses in the womb, your baby is in need of natural stimulation to help him or her progress, particularly for visual and tactile senses. Contrasting and bright colors help babies to focus on and distinguish between different visual stimuli. While you can (and should) read any and all books with your child, here are a few that might help specifically with their developing eyesight:

    5.7 My AnimalsMY ANIMALS
    By Xavier Deneux
    (2015)

    This board book has pictures of animals in black and white with pops of color to train your child’s eyes. Each animal is labelled (which is another great aspect for visual attention, as discussed below), and each page has holes so that your growing child can learn to turn the pages themselves. 

     

    5.7 Birds of a ColorBIRDS OF A COLOR
    By  élo
    (2018)

    Focusing more on color contrasts than just black and white, this board book has interactive elements to teach colors by placing them behind black and white patterns. 

     

    5.7 Patterns Jr. Discovery KitPATTERNS JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    Our Junior Discovery Kits come with books, toys, and suggested activities for a particular topic.The Patterns Jr. kit is filled with contrast perfect for aiding your little one’s visual development. 

     

    IDENTIFICATION AND NAMING

    A study done by Lisa Scott at the University of Florida showed that labels – like in MY ANIMALS – and names in books have a positive impact on infants' visual attention as they age. You can create the names yourself as you read, or read books like those below with recognizable characters. As you read, point to pictures and say the name of the character or object, even if it isn’t explicitly stated. 

     

    5.7 The Cat in the HatTHE CAT IN THE HAT
    bY Dr. Seuss
    (1957)

    This classic by Dr. Seuss has names for many of its characters that you can repeat again and again. 

     

    5.7 Berenstain Bears THE BERENSTAIN BEARS: WE LOVE THE LIBRARY
    By Mike Berenstain
    (2017)

    The Berenstain Bears books have repeating characters that you can point out in book after book. We like this one because we also love the library. 

     

    TACTILE RECOGNITION

    As their tactile senses develop, around 3-6 months, books with texture can be a great tool to introduce your baby to different sensations. We don’t typically keep these in the library, as they tend to get dirty or damaged very quickly travelling between children’s hands. One place where the library does offer them is in a few of our Junior Discovery Kits. 

     

    5.7 Night Night FarmFARM JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    Not only does this Junior Discovery Kit have textured materials, but farm animals, which can be used to teach names and sounds. 

     

    5.7 Numbers Jr. Discovery KitNUMBERS JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    The Numbers kit is great for reading, singing, and playing; along with textured materials for tactile senses. 

     

    5.7 Safari Jr. Discovery KitSAFARI JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    If your baby liked the Farm kit, they’ll love the Safari kit. It has more animals and textured materials! To wrap up, here is another book that discusses child brain development that might have some useful tips. You can check it out directly or get it in any of our Junior Discovery Kits. 

     

    FOR PARENTS

    5.7 The Whole Brain ChildTHE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
    By Daniel Siegel
    (2011)

    This book offers much more than I can say on the topic of child brain development and how to guide them in their growth. Be sure to follow the blog to learn about more library resources to aid brain development in older children!

     
  • Hearts

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

    GAMES 
    (15-90 min)

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

    WHODUNIT MYSTERY GAME 
    (60 min)

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

    ESCAPE ROOMS
    (45-60 min)

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

    PROGRAMS
    (45-90 min)

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

    DVDS

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

  • board games

    So hopefully you all know that the Provo City Library is amazing and has over 60 board games that you are welcome to use inside the library. Board gaming is amazing and is something of a passion of mine. I love how far board games have come since the eight that I remember in my parent’s house … long story short neither Monopoly or Risk are my favorite. While Clue and Sorry are fun, they are not what I want to play all the time. So if you need inspiration for a family activity please come and see what we have at the library.

    Here are my top 5 if you would like any ideas, but this list was harder to pick from than I thought it would be. If you go to http://www.provolibrary.com/games you can see a complete list of all the awesomeness we have at the library.

    PANDEMIC: This is a Cooperative board game, meaning everyone is trying to beat the board that is metaphorically trying to kill you. So in this game, players are members of the CDC trying to cure the world of disease. This game throws in a twist when the disease outbreaks and spreads to adjacent locations on the board.

    TAKENOKO: Think Zen Settlers of Catan (which we also have). This game is set in Japan where you are trying to complete your card objectives by cultivating a beautiful garden, grow bamboo, and feed your panda, all while the other players are trying to complete their secret objectives.

    PLAYING CARDS: I know what you are thinking - what am I going to do with a deck of cards? Well the answer is there is a whole bunch of fun you can have (other than 52 pickup, which I will be the first to say is not very fun).  If you don’t come knowing how to play Speed, War, or Egyptian Rat Screw, we have a book with various games one can play with this super mobile deck.

    DIXIT: This is an amazing game with awesome artwork. Throw out clues and try to get people to guess what card you picked but if you make it too easy you get no points and if you make your clue too hard you get no points. I absolutely love the artwork in this game and it is really fun to see the players interpretations of the clues that are given by the clue giver.

    TSURO: The game of the path, this game is really easy to learn and accommodates up to 8 players. Everyone tries to stay on the board for as long as possible; if your paths collide and you run into another player, you die. If your piece falls off the board you also die, and you must follow the path you are on. Super simple rules and really fun at the same time.

  • 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!

  • 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. 

  • book club 2

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

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

    Decide ahead of time:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • IB 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!

  • library sign

    Today is National Library Workers Day!  There are 89 wonderful individuals that keep our library running smoothly throughout the year.  Here is a little list of what they are busy doing each day and how essential each one of them is.

    Our Director makes all the hard decisions and keeps us on track to provide Provo with the best services, collections, facility, and programs possible.  He is assisted by an executive assistant and a receptionist who together keep our human resource and financial paperwork accurate.

    The Adult & Teen Services Department is headed up by a manger who supervises thirteen busy librarians who buy books, create adult, teen, and family programs, process magazines, ILLs, prepare book club sets. Most importantly, they spend hours at our two Reference Desks answering questions and helping patrons find what they need, access our computers or wifi, print, and request services.

    The Children’s Department also has a busy manager along with nine librarians who help our young patrons at the Children’s Reference Desk, create amazing displays, and present all those amazing children’s programs including the Fairy Tea Party, Big Guy Little Guy, and the Children’s Book Festival.  This department also includes five entertaining performers who present those lively story times throughout the year.

    Our Support Services Department has three different divisions all led by our Support Services Manager.  The Circulation staff includes a supervisor and thirteen clerks who all help get items checked in and out. They identify books that need repair and manage our lost and found. They also help patrons get library cards, take care of fines or other account issues, and keep items moving so that our thirteen busy pages can get those items back out on the shelves quickly and accurately.  This wonderful group of people often has books back on the shelf with 24 – 48 hours, which is impressive!

    The Technical Services staff is small, just five people, but they take on the herculean task of processing all those shiny new items that are purchased each year.  We have a receiver who gets the whole process started when items are shipped to the library, two busy catalogers who make sure each item appears in the catalog correctly, and two hard working processing clerks who make sure they get the right stickers, stamps and covers to quickly make them available for our patrons.

    Finally, the last division included in our Support Services Department is our Systems staff.  These five patient guys keep our computers up and running, and we have A LOT of computers.  Add to that keeping our network and catalog safely behind monitored firewalls and also keeping our website running like it should and these men accomplish a great deal each and every day.

    Our Events staff is headed by an events coordinator and his assistant.  They work long days facilitating the hundreds of meetings that take place in our beautiful building each year from 9:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night.  They are assisted by our “set-up” guy who sets up all those chairs and tables in each room.  This department also employs four security guards who help keep the building and our patrons safe as they man our Welcome Desk and keep an eye on things.

    Behind the scenes we have a Facilities Maintenance Technician and eight stalwart custodians who come to work in the early hours of the day to make our building shine!  They keep our floors vacuumed and cleaned, our bathrooms clean and stocked, and all those chairs and tables used in our many meeting rooms put away.  These are some of our quiet heroes and they make us look good! 

    And last but not least, our Community Relations Department.  This energetic group of people manage our promotions and marketing, arrange all our wonderful author visits, keep delightful exhibits in the attic, and will soon also manage our new Basement Creative Lab.  They consist of a Coordinator and her assistant, two docents to greet you in The Attic, and an incredibly creative graphic artist that makes all those pretty posters and displays promoting everything we have going on.

    Wow!  That’s a lot of work!  These people definitely deserve a day to be celebrated.  Some of them you see when you visit us and many of them are quietly working behind the scenes.  I want to sincerely thank each of them for making this a wonderful place to work and the absolute best library for our patrons.

  • WEAVING

    Children need open-ended creative opportunities, so the children’s department has added a new weaving board in the back corner behind the Juvenile Fiction books. The weaving board has wooden dowels attached to a frame, and a basket of colorful fabric strips and ribbon entices children to use the board as a loom. Open-ended play materials like this make it possible for any child to be successful and have a positive experience creating.

    There is no right or wrong way to weave the materials. One child may find just attempting to weave enough of a challenge, where an older child can sort through the different colors and printed material to make a woven pattern that is very intricate. I love walking by the weaving board in the morning to see what possibilities have been imagined and carried out the previous day. No explicit instructions or patterns are included. Having materials available to children is all that is necessary. Their amazing, growing, imaginative minds do the rest. Come in and try it for yourself!

    If you are looking for ideas about how to provide similar opportunities at home, I have included a few books to get you started. 

    01.03.2018 The DotTHE DOT
    By Peter H. Reynolds
    (2003)

    Vashti doesn’t believe she is an artist. Her paper is still blank when her teacher walks by. “Just make a mark and see where it takes you,” the teacher says. Vashti makes one dot on the paper. Her teacher asks her to sign the page, and the story unfolds to describe Vashti’s beginning artist experiences. Too often creativity is squashed out of children as they become concerned with what others think or that their drawings aren’t “right.” Reynolds perfectly shows the potential of each person to become the artist they were meant to be. 

     

    01.03.2018 Artful ParentTHE ARTFUL PARENT: SIMPLE WAYS TO FILL YOUR FAMILY’S LIFE WITH ART & CREATIVITY
    By Jean Van’t Hul
    (2013)

    Parents who don’t know how to start introducing art to their children—pick up this book! Van’t Hul sets the stage by explaining why art is so important in the lives of our families. She continues to provide ideas in the first section “Preparing for the Art” including storage ideas and ways to include art experiences into busy day-to-day life. The second section contains 61 art projects with a detailed list of materials and instructions to carry out the projects, accompanied with vivid photographs. After reading this handbook you will be compelled to encourage creative, process-oriented art experiences with children. 

     

    01.03.2018 Kids WeavingKIDS WEAVING
    By Sarah Swett, Illustrations by Lena Corwin, Photographs by Chris Harlove
    (2005)

    This guide to weaving introduces children to endless possibilities. All of the projects in the book are done with homemade items, starting with basic crafts for beginners and progressing in complexity. First, a pencil, then a cardboard loom, and finally the instructions for building your own PVC pipe loom. 

     
  • tech savvy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • here to help

    I recently took a phone call from a library patron who was interested in learning how to use some advanced functions in Microsoft Office software (Excel, Word, etc), but taking a formal class was cost prohibitive. This patron wanted to know if we had any resources that could help them.

    Oh do we have resources…

    Can I just tell you? Asking a librarian what resources are available for [insert task/project/assignment here] is one of the best ways to make us love you. We want to tell you all about the amazing resources that you can use for FREE!

    For this patron, I recommended four different resources:

    1. The Computer Help Lab which takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 – 5:00 PM in the Special Collections Room. This particular patron wasn’t available during those hours, so next I recommended…

    2. Book a Librarian. With this service the patron can request a time that suits them to meet with a librarian one-on-one to get individual help. The patron liked this idea, but was also interested in self-directed learning. So I also recommended…

    3. Learning Express Library, which has a lot of great resources that range far beyond just basic computer and Microsoft Office skills, including standardized test resources (ACT, ASVAB, GED, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, Praxis, SAT, TOEFL, TOEIC, etc.), resources for becoming a U.S. citizen, basic math, reading, and writing resources, and so much more that this is just the tip of the ice berg.

    4. And finally, one of my favorites, Lynda.com. I don’t really know where to start when trying to describe the wealth of resources available on here. In addition to Microsoft Office courses, Lynda offers fantastic and professionally produced video courses on subjects relating to and including: 3D and animation, audio and music, business, CAD, design, courses for developers, education and e-learning, IT, marketing, photography, video, and the web.

    For the Provo City Library, providing our community with access to information, instruction, and learning is central to our mission. We are here to help, and want to make sure you are aware of the amazing, FREE resources available to everyone.

    The next time you come in, ask a librarian what great resources the library can offer, and watch their face light up.Just try it.

    I dare you.

  • vhs danger 01 1

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

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

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

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

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