• stained glass


    I love being a teen and adult services librarian, but I’ve got to admit that I am highly jealous that the children’s department gets both a castle and a meeting pit to use whenever they want to gather for library activities.  That’s why I’m extremely excited that the Teen and Adult Reference area is getting a programming space as well.  It’s not shaped like a castle, and it doesn’t come with a puppet theater, but it is a space of our own, which we haven’t had before.

    Starting in May, we will be using room #260 on the second floor of the New Rogers wing as a dedicated teen and adult programming space.  Teens will meet there for activities like Teen Volunteer Board, and for our Minecraft and Coding clubs.  For adults, this is where the bulk of our Learn It @ Your Library events will take place.  To kick off use of our new programming space, I thought I’d give a quick summary of our Learn It @ Your Library events for May.

    Learn It: Job Hunting, Resume Writing and Interviewing in the Social Age

    Tuesday, May 2nd
    Time: 7:00 pm

    Job hunting has changed dramatically with job boards, LinkedIn and social networking.  Learn:

    • What makes a great resume and how to make it stand out in a sea of resumes
    • How to avoid the pitfalls of job hunting in the social age.
    • What to do before, during and after the interview.  

    Learn It: Bicycle Tuning Basics

    Tuesday, May 9th
    Time: 7:00 pm

    Learn basic bicycle maintenance tips to keep you riding smoothly.  

    Learn It: How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk or Jerkette

    Wednesday, May 10, 17, 24, 31
    Time: 6:30 pm

    This class is all about how to date in a healthy way that will promote lasting relationships.  This class will discuss:  

    • How to measure your relationships
    • What to get to know about someone to get an accurate idea of how they would be in a relationship
    • What makes us fall in love with people
    • How to get what we want from people in a healthy way.

     Help us fill our new event space by attending any of these Learn It @ Your Library programs!

  •  Chocolate 3

    Over the years I have successfully cut back on the amount of junk food I eat. That is, I have successfully cut back on everything but chocolate. The darker the better. For me, really good dark chocolate almost has a slight citrus flavor mixed in with all of that bitter, creamy deliciousness.

    After sharing my love of chocolate, you can probably imagine how excited I am that the lovely folks at The Chocolate Conspiracy are coming to the library to talk about the health benefits of chocolate, and they’re giving us an overview of how artisanal chocolate is made. 

    Here are the details:

    Learn It: The Health Benefits of Chocolate
    Thursday, September 28th
    7:00 pm in room 260

    To get us all by until then, here are a few of the books we have at the library dedicated to the creation of my favorite treat:

    9.12 Great Moments in Chocolate HistoryGREAT MOMENTS IN CHOCOLATE HISTORY
    By Howard-Yana Shapiro

    Packed with facts and photos, this book reveals the untold story of chocolate. Did you know that M&Ms were invented for WWII soldiers as the chocolate that wouldn't melt in their hands? Or that Thomas Jefferson predicted that chocolate would outstrip coffee as the most popular drink in America? 

    9.12 The True History of ChocolateTHE TRUE HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE
    By Sophie D. Coe

    Travel around the world as you discover chocolate’s origins in Central America, its journey to Europe as the drink of kings, and its eventual journey to the plates of the masses. 




    By Katie Higgins

    The healthy dessert blogger Katie Higgins shares over 80 never-before-seen recipes that use only real ingredients, without any unnecessary fats, sugars, or empty calories.

    By Kay Frydenborg

    Geared toward a teen audience, this book captures the history, science, and economic and cultural implications of the harvesting of cacao and creation of chocolate.



    By Lucy Mangan

    If we’re talking about chocolate, we’ve also got to talk about CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.  This book explores the lasting legacy of Roald Dahl's popular book, examining the development of the original story and characters, its social history, and the varying film and stage adaptations.


  • audiobook pet peeves


    I’m sad to admit it, but not all audiobooks are created equal.  Just as there are a few authors who are so good that I’ll read anything they write, there are a few good narrators who I’ll listen to, even if the description of the book is not appealing to me.  I asked my co-workers for proof of my theory, and boy did they deliver.  A lot of what they told me can be summarized into a few general audiobook truths:

    1. It takes talent to convey multiple ages and genders.  Ask any of the library staff to give you their impression of a horrible audiobook narrator trying to read in a voice of someone in the opposite gender.  I dare you not to laugh.  The truth is, not all male narrators can pitch their voices correctly to read a female part.  One co-worker complained that bad female narrators make all men sound like surfer dudes.  Adults trying to read in a child’s voice isn’t always successful either.
    2. Use the right accent.  Unfortunately, I’ve run into some bad examples of this lately.  I immediately stopped listening to an audiobook when the president of the United States spoke in a British accent, and his butler sounded like he was from the Caribbean.  I listened to another book where one character kept switching between French and Italian accents.
    3. Be consistent in the voices you use.  Related to my complaint above, if the narrator is going to give a different voice to every character in the novel, those voices should be consistent throughout the book.  I don’t mean just in terms of accent, but also in tone and in speech pattern use as well.
    4. Authors do not always make great narrators.  While there are exceptions to this rule (Hi, Neil Gaiman!  I love you!), authors generally read in a monotone that makes me less than excited to keep listening.
    5. Watch Your Pronunciation.  Just as J.K. Rowling cleverly inserted directions on how to say Hermione Granger’s name in HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (am I the only one who called her Her-me-own until I read that part?), a good narrator checks beforehand on the pronunciation of names and places.  It’s Nev-aa-duh, not Nev-ah-da!
    6. Other comments/pet peeves. The above comments were by far the most popular opinions given by everyone I talked to.  Here are a few others that were mentioned by our staff:
      • Narrators who read in a monotone voice are boring.
      • As vague as it sounds, sometimes the reader is just not the right one for the book.
      • I think a good audiobook narrator should be able to be played at 1.25x without sounding like a chipmunk.
      • I hate heavy breathing (breathiness when it isn’t really supposed to be there or too much if it is supposed to be there).
      • When you can tell when a narrator took a break (as in the audio recording just doesn’t seem seamless…it suddenly goes from just right to too soft/loud or vice versa or when the pacing of the reading is off tends to jar me just a little bit)
      • When the sound effects/singing are awful!
      • Once when listening to an audio book there was a whole track that was repeated. It wasn’t supposed to be…but somehow the track was in there twice so I heard one chapter two times. It took me a minute to figure out why part of it seemed familiar…and then I was pretty frustrated that I had spent time listening to what I had already listened to.
      • I just listened to an audiobook where a few chapters sounded like the reader had a cold.  It drove me bonkers.

    So that’s our list.  Don’t worry, my co-workers gave me some great recommendations as well, and we’ll cover those soon.  In the meantime, did we miss any of your pet peeves?

  • audiobook rockstars 01


    A little bit ago we discussed our audiobook pet peeves.  It’s sometimes easy to say what we don’t like about things, but it’s harder to explain what makes something good.  Here’s my stab at what makes a good audiobook narrator:  A good narrator brings the words of a page to life with appropriate voice inflection, tone, and volume.  In doing so, they capture the spirit of the book (or the main character).  A narrator should be able to give distinct voices to characters based on the book descriptions. The listener should immediately be able to tell who's talking based on the voice the narrator uses. 

    Sounds like we’re demanding a lot!  (And we are)  But here are a few good audiobook narrators that my co-workers and I enjoy, in no particular order.


    One co-worker called Jim Dale the rockstar of all audiobook narrators, and if you’ve listened to the HARRY POTTER series, you likely agree.  But Jim Dale has narrated a lot more than HARRY POTTER, and his other books are worth listening to as well.

    Known for reading: 






    Wil Wheaton may be known for his roles in STAR TREK and THE BIG BANG THEORY, but he’s a great audiobook narrator as well.  Aside from Jim Dale, Wil Wheaton’s the one my co-workers recommended the most.  I had a few co-workers tell me that they enjoyed his reading of READY PLAYER ONE and ARMADA so much that they’ve picked up other audiobooks just because he’s the narrator.

    Known for reading: 





    R.C. BRAY

    The narrator for THE MARTIAN has an almost gritty, no-nonsense kind of voice.  But when you pair it with the kind of dead pan humor of the book, it perfectly captures the spirit of the book - it could easily freak you out if he weren't so upbeat all the time.

    Known for reading: 





    Jayne Entwistle is known for her excellent reading of Alan C. Bradley’s THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE mystery series.  It takes skill to narrate books with an eleven-year-old protagonist, but Jayne Entwistle does it with style.  One co-worker describes her this way: “She sounds a lot like Emily Blunt and I kind of love that.”

    Known for reading: 





    This is one example of an author who can also competently narrate.  You might say I’m biased, because Neil Gaiman read the first audiobook I ever listened to, and he’s an advocate for libraries, but no, I’m not biased.  He’s amazing.  Despite what I said in the previous blog post, other authors can narrate as well.  Examples include Gretchen Rubin, Brene Brown, and Chris Hadfield.

    Known for reading: 






    George Guidall recently won a lifetime achievement award for his work as an audiobook narrator.  He’s recorded over 1,000 audiobooks, and received many awards, so you know you’ll probably find something he’s read that you’ll like. 

    Known for reading: loads of books!





    If you love YA, you’ll love Katherine Kellgren.  Best known for her work on the BLOODY JACK novels by L.A. Meyer and for the KANE CHRONICLES series by Rick Riordan. Katherine is great at accents, and she’ll even sing a little!

    Known for reading: 





    Called “the Meryl Streep of audiobooks” for her versatility with accents and subject matter, Barbara Rosenblat is one of the first audiobook narrators I heard spoken of in reverent tones.  The woman can read anything and make it interesting.

    Known for reading: 





    The narrator of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, along with many other books, is best known for giving life and personality to each character of a novel without resorting to a lot of vocal gymnastics.

    Known for reading: 



    If you’re looking for more excellent narrator suggestions, being a stellar audiobook narrator takes skill, so there are awards for them!  There are the Golden Voice Narrators awards and the Earphone awards

  • August Learn It 01

    Whew! If you’ve been in the library in June and July, you know that we were going full-steam ahead with our summer reading program. Just on the Teen and Adult Reference side, we watched movies, swapped books, had fun at trivia nights, locked the teens in the library for a night, and met some of our favorite authors. Now that August is here, we’ve cut back on some of the activities here at the library, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve all gone on vacation.  Here are four adult-focused programs we’ve got going on at the library in August.

    Yoga @ the Library
    Wednesday, August 2nd, 7:00 pm
    West Lawn

    We host yoga at the library the first Wednesday of every month, but we’ll try to maximize the summer by hosting this session out on the lawn.

    Learn It: Mindfulness 101
    Monday, August 21, 7:00 pm
    Shaw Programming Room, #260

    This repeat of a class we held in June focuses on breathing and meditation and learning about its physical and psychological benefits.

    Learn It: Canning and Food Preservation
    Wednesday, August 29th, 7:00 pm
    Shaw Programming Room, #260

    It’s canning season! Learn about food preservation safety and traditional boiling water bath canning. By next winter you will be enjoying the bottled fruits of your labors!

    Teaching Children in a Digital World
    Thursday, August 31st, 7:00 pm
    Shaw Programming Room, #260

    With a new school year starting up, learn tips for talking about computer safety with your children. Learn about different Internet filters and how they are used. Learn more about online privacy and how to protect your information. 

  • BB 2016 FB

    Each of us has read dozens of teen books in the last year in preparation to share the Best Young Adult Books of 2016. Not everything we read was a contender L. In the end, we along with two other colleagues have compiled our 50 favorite teen reads. Here are five books that ALMOST made the cut, but not quite.

    Darcy Swipes LeftDARCY SWIPES LEFT
    by Courtney Carbone

    Jane Austen meets the smart phone in this fun, modern telling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Told via text messages, emoticons, emails, and more; I really enjoyed this version of the classic. The book was fast paced and less detailed than the original, but the story line was still true to the characters that generations have come to love. In the end, I found that there were just a few other books that I wanted to talk about more than this one.



    by Susan Dennard

    This book is loaded with political intrigue, magic, thrilling fight scenes, mythical creatures, and romance.   Two best friends, both gifted with special magical abilities, are faced with a world on the verge of war.  TRUTHWITCH just barely missed our top 50 list.  The political intrigue and complicated plot (that many people will love) didn’t work for me quite as much as I wanted and other standout novels were able to slide this exciting adventure out of my ‘best of the best’ list.




    Tell Me Something RealTELL ME SOMETHING REAL 
    by Calla Devlin

    When the three Babcock sisters learn something that makes them question everything their tight-knit family is founded on, they all have to come to terms with things in their own way. To be honest, I liked this book better than some of the other books I’m going to talk about at Best Books. It kept me guessing all the way through, the writing was beautiful, and I thought it was really well done.  The thing that held me back from showcasing this one is the setting.  Set in 1976, this book is a little too contemporary for me to classify as historical fiction, but the world has changed a lot since then.  Although I think teens will enjoy this book, it feels more like a book written to appeal to adults who read YA, rather than to teens themselves.


    This Adventure EndsTHIS ADVENTURE ENDS 
    by Emma Mills

    Emma Mills got a lot of praise for her 2015 book, FIRST & THEN, which I haven’t read.  I need to fix this problem immediately, however, because I read THIS ADVENTURE ENDS in almost one sitting.  This book, about a group of friends all dealing with the changes that being a senior in high school brings, was so fun!  I loved how real the characters felt, but they didn’t take themselves too seriously.  It even has a Nicholas Sparks-like character that loses his motivation to write, and finds it again by writing what is basically Vampire Academy fanfiction.  At the end of the day, I had to choose, and I felt like some of the award winners I’d read should be showcased more than this one despite my love for it.


    Holding Up the Universe   Blog SizeHOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE 
    by Jennifer Niven

    Jennifer Niven’s books are always well written with great characters and emotional complexity. She doesn’t shy away from harsh topics and this book is no exception. Libby Strout is overweight, but that seems to be the only thing people know or want to know about her. Jack Masselin is a confident boy despite the fact that he is unable to recognize faces. Jack and Libby are not in the same social class at school, yet the more they get to know each other the more they recognize their similarities rather than their differences. Since we recommended Niven’s ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES last year, we decided to give another author some recognition this year.


     To see what we did make the cut, join us for The Best Books of 2016 on February 22nd!



  • BB 2017 FB

    2017 was a great year for YA books, as will be evident on February 20th, when we present our fifty favorite Young Adult books of 2017 in the Brimhall room, #302 at 7:00 pm.  As book lovers, we’ve been agonizing over which books published in 2017 really are the best.  To whet your appetites for February 20th, and as an excuse to sneak in a few more book recommendations, here are a few (almost equally amazing) books that didn’t make the cut.

    2.13 Batman I Am GothamBATMAN: I AM GOTHAM
    By Tom King

    This graphic novel, and the subsequent series, serves as an excellent examination of the Batman character and his motivations and flaws. The novel introduces new characters who help Batman save Gotham and may allow him to give up crime fighting for good! The artwork is fantastic, the new characters are deep and sympathetic, and the action is exciting, which makes it a great addition to the Batman mythos.  We’re reviewing a few other superhero graphic novels at Best Books, so unfortunately Batman won’t get his well-deserved shout-out.


    2.13 The Names They Give UsTHE NAMES THEY GAVE US
    By Emery Lord

    When her perfectly planned summer of quality time with her parents, her serious boyfriend, and her Bible camp unravels and long-hidden family secrets emerge, Lucy must figure out what she is made of and what grace really means.  I really liked the way this book touched on issues like questioning faith and having a great support system when tough times come.  In the end, I liked a few other books a little bit more, so this one didn’t make the cut.


    12.13 Song of the CurrentSONG OF THE CURRENT
    By Sarah Tolcser

    Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. Her father is a wherryman, as was her grandmother. All Caro needs is for the river god to whisper her name, and her fate is sealed. When her father is arrested, Caro volunteers to transport mysterious cargo in exchange for his release. Secretly, Caro hopes that by piloting her own wherry, the river god will finally speak her name. This book has a great story, interesting characters who learn and grow, and a dash of magic.  The only thing keeping me from recommending this book is that I felt like I needed to highlight books from other genres a little bit more.


    2.13 The WoodTHE WOOD
    By Chelsea Bobulski

    Winter has grown up with her father, who is the guardian of a magical wood where thresholds to other places and times open, and occasionally people wander through. Then Winter’s father disappears, and a boy from the 1700s refuses to return to his time. He claims to have information that could help Winter find her father, but how can anyone from hundreds of years earlier know about her father? I got this recommendation from a co-worker who reads a lot of YA, but who wasn’t part of the Best Books team.  Since no one on the team read the book, it won’t be spotlighted at the event, but I thought everyone should know about it just the same. 

  • Documentary Rowing

    One of my favorite things we did at the library this last year happened last September when we held a screening of the wildly popular documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor.  More than 250 people filled our ballroom for the event, and together we laughed and cried over the memories shared of one of America’s most beloved people on television.

    Since 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, a lot of information has come out about the man behind the puppets.  I’ve enjoyed learning more about one of my favorite people from my childhood, and doing so in multiple formats.  Following are some of my favorite examples of learning about true events in multiple formats:

    Subject: Mr. Rogers

    4.5 Wont You Be My NeighborWON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

    Of course I have to start off this list with the documentary that got me thinking about the topic.  This documentary interviews the friends, family, and coworkers of Mr. Rogers, and gives a great picture of the real Mr. Rogers.


    4.5 The Good NeighborTHE GOOD NEIGHBOR
    By Maxwell King

    This book is a great addition to the documentary and adds even more to the life story of Fred Rogers.  As a bonus, the audiobook is narrated by another favorite PBS television host, LeVar Burton.


    Subject: The Vietnam War

    4.5 The Vietnam WarTHE VIETNAM WAR

    This excellent ten-part documentary by documentary legend Ken Burns really takes viewers back to the time period, using all sorts of archival evidence to help make sense of a very confusing, divisive time in history.


    By Elizabeth Partridge

    There is an official companion book meant to coincide with Ken Burns’ documentary, but I really enjoyed this young adult nonfiction telling of the Vietnam War.  Each chapter tells to story of one person’s experience in the war, whether that’s the president of the United States, a machine gunner, or a protester.  These combined viewpoints made the complexities of the war really stand out to me.


    Subjects: Falconry, and Overcoming Grief

    4.5 H is for HawkH IS FOR HAWK
    By Helen Macdonald

    This award-winning best-seller tells the story of how the author, an experienced falconer, decided to try her hand at training a goshawk.  Her experiences with training help her deal with the grief she feels after the sudden death of her father.


    4.5 H is for Hawk DVDH IS FOR HAWK: A NEW CHAPTER

    Following the success of the book, PBS Nature worked with Macdonald to create a documentary about her work with goshawks.  This added view into Macdonald’s world adds another layer of insight into both Macdonald’s life, and her work with these fascinating predators.


    Subject: Underdog Sports Stories

    4.5 The Boys in the BoatTHE BOYS IN THE BOAT
    by Daniel James Brown

    This fascinating book tells the story of the University of Washington 1936 eight-oar crew team, who beat out other successful and well-known crew teams in their quest for an Olympic gold medal.


    4.5 The Boys of 36THE BOYS OF ‘36

    This documentary about the University of Washington 1936 eight-oar crew team expands on the story told in the book by showing more photographs, and by including newsreel clips and interviews with sports historians and surviving family members to round out the story.


    Subject: Activism/Malala Yousafzai

    4.5 I Am MalalaI AM MALALA
    By Malala Yousafzai

    This best-selling book about a girl who fought for her right to an education, and was shot by the Taliban is an inspiration that shows one person really can make a difference.


    4.5 He Named Me MalalaHE NAMED ME MALALA

    This documentary expands on the best-selling book, giving the viewer an inside look into Malala Yousafzai and her family, and on the effect Malala’s activism has had on her life.

  • belong

    Recently, I listened to the audiobook THIS IS WHERE YOU BELONG: THE ART AND SCIENCE OF LOVING THE PLACE YOU LIVE by Melody Warnick. The book starts with a test on how attached you are to your town. The rest of her book is more about how to be happy wherever you live. She talks about the benefits of shopping locally, walking the streets to see things you wouldn’t see in a car, getting to know your neighbors, getting involved in the community, learning the history of the place, etc. Warnick’s point is that the more involved you are in a community, the more you learn to love it, and the more you feel tied to it, the more you belong.

    I think working at the Provo City Library gives me a leg up on becoming involved in my community, but a non-work-related example of this happened this past Christmas, when I dragged my family outside to do something we’d never done before: attend the lighting of Provo’s downtown. We wandered around and looked at the various booths, made friends with the reindeer and the sled dogs, and listened to the mayor give a brief speech before turning the lights on with a flourish. “I suddenly have a sense of civic pride,” my sister joked. But it was true. Spending half an hour downtown did give me a better connection to it.

    For me, this is all tied in to this year’s summer reading theme: Build a Better World. What better place to start building a better world than the place you live? The librarians in charge of planning summer reading have embedded a few ways to become involved in our community into the summer reading program. You can get points for appreciating nature, for attending local events, for volunteering, and even for donating to a food drive. I think anyone who participates in our summer reading program will forge a better connection to our community, and as a result, we’ll all love this beautiful place a little more than we already do.

  • Board Games

    For the past few years, we’ve been leaving a cart full of board games out near the Teen section for groups to play here in the Library on Friday nights. We haven't been able to do that during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we miss seeing groups gather together and learn to play new games. Fortunately, you can now check out board games and take them home! Here are a few things you’ll need to know:

    There’s a binder at the 1st floor Reference desk that lists all of our available games, or you can find a list online here. You can also find the games listed in our catalog. Unfortunately, right now the games aren't displayed somewhere in the library for you to browse the collection yourself (although we hope to change that soon!).  For now, you’ll need to ask one of the librarians at the 1st floor Reference desk to get you the game you want to check out.

    Games check out for three weeks, just like our books and A/V collections.

    Board Games should not be returned in the book drops.  They’ll need to be returned directly to the Circulation Desk, like Chromebooks.

    Here are a few of the games we have at the Provo Library that I especially enjoy playing:

    2.10 PandemicPANDEMIC

    This probably seems like an odd choice given the times we're living through, but who knows? Maybe you'll find it cathartic! Pandemic is a cooperative board game; players try to work together to save the world from the spread of disease and world panic. To be honest, my team has died every time I’ve played this game, but I love that it’s a collaborative game instead of one that pits everyone against each other.


    game Pass the PigsPASS THE PIGS

    Pass the Pigs is a dice game using miniature pigs as the dice.  The object of the game is to be the first player to reach 100 points.  This game has a really simple concept, but I still love to play it.  Getting the pigs to land snout-first, or leaning on just one leg is oddly satisfying.


    2.10 Ticket to RideTICKET TO RIDE

    In Ticket to Ride, each player builds train lines to various destinations.  You earn points for the number of train lines you build, and for having the longest route.  My brother-in-law is amazing at strategy games, so he usually wins this one, but someday, I will build the longest route. I just know it!


    game sneaky snacky squirrelTHE SNEAKY SNACKY SQUIRREL GAME

    For those hoping for games for young children, we have those too!  The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel game is meant for children ages three and older.  It’s designed to help children practice things like fine motor skills, matching skills, strategic thinking, and taking turns.  Plus, it’s just so cute!  The idea is that each player is a squirrel who needs to gather five acorns of a specific color.


    We hope this will allow families a chance to have a good time together and build relationships.  Come check out a board game from the Library!

  • coloring


    Fifteen years ago, on September 8, 2001, The Provo City Library at Academy Square had its official Grand Opening and dedication.  How time flies!  While the library has been around much longer than that (Provo has had some sort of library since 1854, and the original Carnegie Library opened in December 1908), we wanted to celebrate 15 years of being in this beautiful building.   

    To honor this milestone, we’ve decided to have a coloring contest!

    Starting September 1st, children can pick up coloring pages in the Children’s Department.  They need to color the page and turn it in to the Children’s Department by Thursday, September 15th to enter the contest.  Winners will be announced by September 30th. After the contest is over, completed coloring pages can be picked up beginning Monday, October 3rd. 

    Teens and adults can participate in the action as well.  The teen and adult contest is a little different: Come pick up a more detailed coloring page at the First Floor Reference Desk.  Bring the page back when you’re done with it to include it in a growing mural we’ll be displaying for the month behind the first floor Reference desk. You will then be entered in a drawing which will take place at the end of the month.

    You can color at the library as well.  Coloring supplies will be out at the table by the Teen Corner all month long.  You can also come to the library on September 20th from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm for the first in what we’re hoping will be a monthly event happening the third Tuesday of every month: Adult Color Therapy.

    We can’t wait to see how creative Provo can be! 



    One of my favorite things to do when I’m visiting a new place is to take a ghost tour.  It’s a fun way of learning a little about local history. Also, especially at this time of year, I like things that are slightly creepy.  Imagine my glee, then, when I found out Provo has its very own ghost tour, and it’s a cycling tour!  This is a combination of two of my favorite things!  If you’re interested, now is the perfect time to take a Pedal Provo Ghost Tour. The tour I went on was just what I wanted it to be. It was fun to ride in a pack of bicyclists through Provo, stopping at historic spots to learn a new creepy bit of history.  

    The funny thing is, it took going on a cycling ghost tour for me to look into the resources we have on Provo’s eerie past here at the library.  For example, a pretty interesting history of the Provo cemeteries can be found here on the Provo City Library website.  Did you know there are unmarked graves on Grandview Hill?  Another popular burial spot was below the “Y” on the mountain. One of the original Provo Cemeteries was actually located where BYU’s Maeser Building stands now.  A more current tidbit is that there’s a time capsule in the Provo City Cemetery, set to be opened in 2018. It’s all there on our website.  

    There are a few stories I learned on the ghost tour that are based more on legends than they are on fact, so they are harder to verify. The story of Old Bishop, a native who settlers accidentally killed and then tried to hide the body in the Provo River, is one I hadn’t heard before.  

    A lot of other information about Provo’s past can be found on the Historical Provo and Historical Photographs pages on our website, and of course we have books in both Special Collections and in Non-Fiction.  

    If bicycling, ghosts, or history aren’t your thing, check out our list of other great events that are going on in the community right now.  There’s a lot going on, and something will likely catch your attention.  Then come back to the library and tell me all about it!   

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Headphones 

    A few years ago, I took a survey of my fellow librarians, asking them who their favorite audiobook narrators are.  We got some great suggestions! Since then, I’ve increased the amount of audiobooks I consume exponentially.  I read while I do household chores with the use of apps like Libby by OverDrive and RBdigital, and I usually have a book on CD in my non-bluetooth-enabled car.  I’ve heard a lot of amazing audiobooks, and a few duds.  I thought I’d create a list of some of my personal favorite audiobook narrators who I’ve discovered since that last blog post.


    I first learned of Elizabeth Acevedo when she narrated PRIDE, which is an updated version of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Brooklyn.  Acevedo’s reading of that book was impressive, but if you really want to see what she can do, listen to her narrating her own work, the award-winning THE POET X, which tells the story of teenage Xiomara Batista’s struggles growing up in the Bronx, with the story told through poetry.  Acevedo’s skill as a slam poet is on full display here.


    11.15 Tattooist of AuschwitzRICHARD ARMITAGE

    Yes, I’m one of those people who first fell in love with Richard Armitage by watching British period dramas.  However, Armitage is making a name for himself not just on screen (in, for example, The Hobbit movies and Ocean’s 8), but in the audiobook world as well.  His reading of the TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ was so good, I frequently found myself idling in my car in front of my house, unable to turn the stereo off. 


    11.15 Our Souls at NightMARK BRAMHALL

    Mark Bramhall blew me away with his portrayal of Kent Haruf’s main character, Louis Waters, in the audio narration of OUR SOULS AT NIGHT.  For me, Bramhall was Louis Waters.  I will now gladly read anything he narrates, which is great news for me, since Bramhall has some great books in his repertoire.


    11.15 Anna and the Swallow ManALAN CORDUNER

    I first ran into Alan Corduner when I listened to ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN, a beautifully written, magical book about a mysterious man who saves a young Jewish girl during World War II, and they spend the next few years on the run.  I have since enjoyed other books narrated by Corduner, and was especially glad to see that Corduner is one of the narrators in the cast recording of Julie Berry’s LOVELY WAR. Corduner’s narration of Lovely War is especially exciting for me since Berry is one of my favorite YA authors.


    11.15 My Plain JaneFIONA HARDINGHAM

    Fiona Hardingham seems to have narrated mostly YA fantasy novels recently, but I love her for narrating a humorous take on Jane Eyre: MY PLAIN JANE.  In the historical fiction vein, her reading of THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR was also enchanting.


    And that's not all! Be on the lookout for another upcoming post with a few more of my favorite audiobook narrators.

  • Headphones

    11.22 The Word is MurderRORY KINNEAR

    The only book I know of that Rory Kinnear has narrated (so far) is THE WORD IS MURDER by Anthony Horowitz.  The Word is Murder is the first book in a planned series, however, so I have great hope that Kinnear will keep narrating.  Kinnear’s narration of this book was so good that I frequently stopped whatever else I was doing and just sat there, marveling at his skill.  Kinnear not only gave different, nuanced voices to every character in The Word is Murder, you could also hear personality traits and feel whatever it was the character was feeling.


    11.22 Love and RuinJANUARY LAVOY

    January LaVoy has narrated a lot of books from popular authors like James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, and John Grisham.  I personally loved her reading of Paula McLain’s LOVE AND RUIN.  This tale of Ernest Hemingway’s third wife, Martha Gelhorn, who was a talented author and journalist in her own right, was fascinating to me, and I couldn’t stop listening.


    11.22 The DrySTEVE SHANAHAN

    Let me start by gushing about Jane Harper, a mystery author who is so good at writing about the Australian Outback as a character that even if you read her work on a cold December day, your mouth will suddenly be parched, and you’ll start checking your skin for sun damage.  Add Steve Shanahan’s excellent narration of Harper’s books to the equation, and you’ll be absolutely transported into the story.  Start with Harper’s first book, THE DRY, or with her most recent stand-alone, THE LOST MAN.


    11.22 Children of Blood and BoneBAHNI TURPIN

    Bahni Turpin has been getting a lot of praise for her amazing reading of the breakaway YA title of 2018, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE. However, Turpin is also a great narrator to keep your eye on if you’re interested in YA books with a social justice theme.  Turpin also narrated the breakout hits THE HATE U GIVE and the young readers edition of HIDDEN FIGURES.


    11.22 EducatedJULIA WHELAN

    Julia Whelan has narrated not one, but two of my favorite books that have come out recently.  Her excellent reading of Tara Westover’s memoir, EDUCATED, about a young woman growing up in a survivalist family in Idaho, is gripping storytelling made even more amazing by the fact that it really happened.  Whelan also narrates FAR FROM THE TREE an award-winning YA novel about three siblings separated by adoption who find each other as teenagers, which I found very touching. Listen to Far from the Tree with tissues handy.

  • 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!

  •  4.15 Apocalyptic

    Given the sudden popularity of pandemic-themed movies on Netflix, the abundance of pandemic-themed news in real life, and the general post-apocalyptic feeling a lot of us are experiencing by practicing social distancing, I thought I’d compile my own list of books I’ve read and enjoyed that are close to this topic. While some may find this list of fiction hits a little too close to home right now, I thought all of these books carried an overall message of hope and endurance.

    4.15 Station ElevenSTATION ELEVEN
    By Emily St. John Mandel

    You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you snuggle up in a blanket, a hot drink in one hand, your loved ones close, and everything is right with the world? That is the feeling I get when I think about this book. Yes, it is about a flu pandemic that wipes out a significant percentage of people on Earth, but this book is beautiful. This excellently-written novel starts off with a pandemic that spreads practically overnight and effects most of the world’s population in about a two-week time period. The story follows five people who are connected by a simple twist of fate, jumping back and forth between their pre and post pandemic lives. But this book is less about the storyline and more about how it makes you feel—melancholic and hopeful at the same time. You’ll come away from this one with a deeper appreciate for the normal, everyday life we often take for granted. The result is a view of a post-apocalyptic world that is hopeful, at times scary, and very riveting.


    4.15 The Dog StarsTHE DOG STARS
    By Peter Heller

    Hig lives a fairly solitary life holed up in an abandoned airport after a pandemic killed most of the population.  When he’s out on a flight one day, searching for provisions, Hig gets a radio signal; something he hasn’t heard in a very long time.  His decision to follow the radio signal in search of life leads him to danger and hope, and he discovers inner strengths that he never knew he possessed.  If you like this book, I highly recommend Heller’s latest novel, THE RIVER, which tells the story of two men caught in the path of an oncoming wildfire. 


    4.15 The FiremanTHE FIREMAN
    By Joe Hill

    Of all the books on this list, this is the one that focuses most on the actions of people who are trying to survive a pandemic instead of on the people the pandemic leaves behind.  When Harper Grayson, a pregnant nurse, discovers she’s caught a horrible new disease that generally leads its victims to death by spontaneous combustion, she’s determined to live long enough to deliver her baby.  She turns to a mysterious man known as The Fireman for help and protection.   This book is technically a horror novel, but it has a great sense of humor and light-heartedness to it as well.


    4.15 A Beginning at the EndA BEGINNING AT THE END
    By Mike Chen

    Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are tentatively trying to rebuild their lives.  Krista, Moira, Rob, and Sunny are all brought together by circumstance, but as they get to know each other, they all discover they’ve been running from their pasts.  When a new pandemic looms, the group learns that it’s easier to survive when you have others you can turn to.


    4.15 World War ZWORLD WAR Z
    By Max Brooks

    Not only is this my favorite book about a killer pandemic, this is probably my favorite book period. And I don’t even like zombie fiction! Years after a zombie virus terrorized the globe, a lone reporter travels the world to interview presidents, generals, CEOs, and housewives alike about their experiences during World War Z. This book is less about zombie gore, and more about how the world would react to a deadly pandemic. Brooks definitely did his homework for this one, and the book feels so real that you may often forget that it’s about zombies, and not about our current social affairs. But never fear! This book takes place after all the bad stuff, so it’s actually a beacon of hope for dark times. (P.S. Since this is a collection of oral interviews, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook!) 


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

    This YA book is not about a pandemic, but a world in which the moon has been hit by an meteor, knocking it closer in its orbit to Earth. Gravitation forces cause tidal waves of destruction, unprecedented volcanic activity, and earthquakes that ravage the world-over. Teenage Miranda and her family retreat into their home to survive in the cold and ash-covered world they now live in. Readers familiar with social distancing and quarantine will identify with the mental and emotional strain the characters endure as they hunker down in their home, worrying about food, supplies, and the effects of social isolation. The emotional reactions of the characters feel very real, and the story can often take bleak and distressing turns. Nevertheless, this is another hopeful read about how, even in a dark and apocalyptic world, we can still find love and hope to cling to.  

  • Mount Timp

    As a fan of both folklore and Utah history, I’ve always loved the Legend of Timpanogos.  Last summer, I was excited to revisit the story as I prepared the text of the Story Trail we placed at Kiwanis Park. In my research, I discovered that there are actually multiple versions of the Legend of Timpanogos. 

    The legend that’s probably the best known was written by Eugene L. Roberts around 1912.  This is the story of star-crossed lovers Utahna and Red Eagle, whose hearts fuse together when they die, forming the Heart of Timpanogos, the famous heart-shaped stalactite in the middle of Timpanogos Cave.

    Another popular version recorded by Calvin Walker focuses on star-crossed lovers Timpanac and Ucanogos, who are turned into both a lake and a mountain, so they can lie side-by-side forever.  The lake and mountain together are called Timpanogos in a blending of their names.

    I also ran into the story of Norita by M.M. Warner, which is somewhat similar to the stories of Timpanogos.  Norita is the daughter of a Uintah chief.  When the neighboring Paiute tribe attacks, they chase Norita to the top of Bridal Veil Falls, where she jumps to her death.  Alas, Norita doesn’t have a steady love like Timpanac or Red Eagle to mark her death with their own act of undying love.

    We have three different books at the library that tell these stories:

    By Effie W. Adams

    This slim volume contains eight different versions of the Legend of Timpanogos.  Some are serious, some are humorous, and some are even written as poems.

    By Richard C. Peacock

    This book only shares one version of the Legend of Timpanogos, but it’s filled with beautiful illustrations of mountain scenery throughout.


    By Various Authors

    This booklet is a compilation of poetry, natural history, essays, and yes, legends about Mount Timpanogos. The story of Norita is published here as well.


    By M.M. Warner

    The story of Norita is actually a three-page poem that was published in the Relief Society Magazine in 1920.  The Provo Library has a little booklet made of just the pages of the magazine that had that poem on it.

  • NaNo 2017 FB event

    NaNoWriMo. Na. No. Wri. Mo.  NaNoWriMo. Reading this word over and over again makes me think of the Muppets classic song, “Manamana.” How are you supposed to say this word? And what does it mean? I have to admit that I saw this word everywhere for years before I figured it out.

    NaNoWriMo is the shorthand version of National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo takes place every November, and during that time people are challenged to write a novel in one month. Here at the Provo City Library, we host NaNoWriMo Write In sessions the first three Saturdays of November from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

    We’ve been hosting Come Write In sessions at the library for a few years now, but this year things will be a little different. A few months ago we repurposed our old computer lab into a programming space. This is great news, because it means we’ll have more room for you to bring your laptops (or we have some you can use as well) and you can setup your writing space in the way that’s most convenient for you. Come be inspired by the general air of creativity and imagination that gathers when a group of authors come together to write and discuss their work! Fuel up with snacks and participate in writing sprints! 

    Not sure you are quite ready to begin the writing process? Would you like some general guidance on how to craft a good story? Gear up for NaNoWriMo by attending our Fiction Writing Basics classes, held every Wednesday evening from October 4th to November 8th, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. We’ll be covering topics such as:

    • How to create characters people care about.
    • Writing plots that are engaging and keep your readers' attention, with structures that make sense.
    • Strategies for busting through writer's block.
    • Learning how to edit your piece once it's done.

    All of the above events take place in our Shaw Programming Room, #260.

    One of my favorite parts of working in a library is the opportunity it gives me to meet amazing authors, so I can’t wait for the fun to begin!

  • NaNo FB 2016


    NaNoWriMo.  No, I didn’t just swear, and I didn’t just completely butcher the Batman theme song.  NaNoWriMo is an abbreviation for National Novel Writers Month, which happens every November.

    Of course, here at the Provo City Library we love novels, and I hope you know that we love the people who write them.  Because of that, we’ve paired up with the Utah Valley Writers group to host a few NaNoWriMo events this month.  Come with your creative juices flowing, and use the Provo City Library as a space to work on the novel you’ve always wanted to write.

    On November 12th and 19th, we’ll be in the second floor computer lab for a series of activities, prompts, word sprints, and enthusiastic cheers to help you on your way.  All events will be held from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

    But what if you've already written a novel and are trying to figure out what to do next?  Come to Indie Author Day on Wednesday, November 16th, at 7:00 pm.  Indie Author Day is another national program designed to help people figure out how to get their books published.  We’ll start by watching a webinar hosted by leaders in the publishing industry.  Then we’ll open the night up for questions with local author Elana Johnson.

    Elana Johnson considers herself to be a “hybrid author,” with books published traditionally by Simon & Schuster and Start Media. She has self-published under her own name and a pen name, Liz Isaacson. She is also a Kindle Press/Amazon author. So however you’re thinking of getting your work out there, Elana will have some great advice how to get the job done.

    Hopefully I see you at one of these great events.  Happy NaNoWriMo, Everyone!

  •  Favorite Reads of 2017

    One thing I love about this time of year is all of the Best Of lists that come out.  What were the top news stories?  What movies and TV shows were most popular?  Did I watch any of them?  (Probably not, unless it was Star Wars or the Great British Baking Show.)

    This got me wondering if there was a way I could make a Best Of list of my own.  Luckily, I work with some pretty awesome people who have great taste in books, so I asked them: What was your favorite book you read this year (not necessarily published this year), and why did you like it so much?  Here’s the list of books that were recommended:

    1.25 Above the Dreamless DeadABOVE THE DREAMLESS DEAD
    Edited by Chris Duffy

    "I loved this collection of WWI poetry illustrated by some stellar graphic novelists. The artwork was all at once harmonious accompaniment and fresh perspective."


    1.25 The Black WitchTHE BLACK WITCH
    by Laurie Forest

    "I think it handled a lot of social issues really well and I loved the main character’s personal growth. That doesn't happen a lot in teen literature."


    1.25 Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FineELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE
    by Gail Honeyman

    "It moved me in a way that few books have ever been able to." 


    1.25 I Will Always Write BackI WILL ALWAYS WRITE BACK
    by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda

    "This book made me tear up on several occasions and there were multiple times that I sat in my driveway continuing to listen (to the audiobook) because I had to find out what happened next."


    1.25 A Study in Scarlet WomenA STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN
    By Sherry Thomas

    "I loved the Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas (A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN and the second book CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA).  Besides being excellent, page-turning, keep-you-guessing mysteries, the gender-swap concept was so well executed it was like original historical fiction rather than an adaptation on classic characters and stories."


    1.25 SourdoughSOURDOUGH
    by Robin Sloan

    "It was light and charming but it did also make me think about issues that are important to everyone - why do we slave at jobs we don't like?  How does a person re-imagine themselves and create a life they can love every day? Though the plot was a little fantastical the book reminds you to open your mind to new habits and interests."


    1.25 Strange the DreamerSTRANGE THE DREAMER
    by Laini Taylor

    "Laini Taylor’s world building felt deep and rich with tradition, and I loved how this book is a brand new take on the classic hero’s journey.  Also, Lazlo Strange is a librarian with a great imagination, so of course I liked him!"


    1.25 Turtles All the Way DownTURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN 
    by John Green

    "I loved its realistic and honest portrayal of living with anxiety and OCD, the realistic characterizations and relationships, and the rather unusual story underneath all of it."


    Those were some books we liked this past year.  What did you read that you really loved?

    Looking for other book recommendations?  You can always check out our book review blogs here and here.  And if you want the list of books we especially loved, click on the Staff Picks label on the right.  You can also fill out a Personalized Reading Recommendation form to get personalized recommendations from one of our librarians.

  • life events learn it

    2011: The Year My Car Slowly Died. At least, that’s what it’s titled in my head. A lot of other things happened around then (I had just moved to Colorado), but the unifying theme of the last half of the year was my car trouble. In September I was driving home from work and my car started shuddering and refused to accelerate. In October, I found myself stranded on the side of the freeway in downtown Denver during rush hour. In November, the steering fluid line burst. In December, a complete stranger and I slowly pushed my car out of the way of oncoming traffic on Christmas Eve.

    I had always heard that it was important to have a rainy day fund, but until The Year My Car Slowly Died, even though money had been tight, I managed to pull through. Suddenly, I was looking at money in an entirely new light.  I had a car that was slowly dying, but I didn’t think I could afford a new one because all of the repairs left me penniless. How could I take on a new car payment, and somehow also build up a savings account?

    This story is mild compared to things that happen to people every day. I’ve possibly just given you flashbacks to a time when money was too tight. If you’re in a panic now, don’t worry. On March 14th, 21st, and 28th we will be having a series of Learn It at Your Library classes called Preparing for Life Events: Women and Money. The aim is to give women the knowledge and skills needed to conquer challenges like the one mentioned above. The classes will cover topics like:

    • Financial Empowerment
    • Preparing For Life Events
      • Death
      • Loss of Job
      • Children Divorce
      • Inheritance/Legacy
    • Increasing Social and Financial Equity
    • Avoiding Financial Pitfalls.

    The classes will be taught by Kristy Hanson, an family lawyer with MHM Law Offices; and Roy Alame, a wealth advisor with Merrill Lynch.

    If you want to learn more about ways to empower the women in your life, come to the class. Give this year a much better title than the one I gave to 2011. Maybe this year can be The Year I Conquered My Finances.

  • muslim pride and prejudice 

    As a PRIDE AND PREJUDICE fan, I am fated to read almost every PRIDE AND PREJUDICE retelling that I find.  I was surprised and thrilled, therefore, to discover that three contemporary retellings of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE came out recently, featuring characters from Pakistan or India.  An interesting twist on a classic!  I had to put all three books to the test.  Which one would be the best?  Let’s look at the list of contenders:

    2.12 UnmarriageableUNMARRIAGEABLE
    By Soniah Kamal

    A scandal and a vicious rumor has destroyed the Binat fortune, and with it, the five Binat daughters’ hopes of arranging desirable marriages.  When the Binat family receives an invitation to the most sought-after wedding of the year, Mrs. Binat sees her chance to launch her girls back into Pakistani society.  As the days of the lavish wedding party unfold, Jena Binat catches the eye of the charming Bungles Bingla, and Alys Binat butts heads with Bungles’ friend, Valentine Darsee.

    If you’re looking for an almost literal, yet modern-day Pakistani retelling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, UNMARRIAGEABLE is the book for you.  This is the book that has the most obvious scene-to-scene comparisons, and most of the characters have Pakistani versions of the names of the original characters.


    2.12 Pride Prejudice and Other FlavorsPRIDE, PREJUDICE AND OTHER FLAVORS 
    By Sonali Dev 

    Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most highly acclaimed neurosurgeon.  But that’s not enough for the Rajes, who have put most of the family’s efforts into supporting Trisha’s brother’s political aspirations.  When she meets chef DJ Caine at a fundraiser, Trisha immediately gets on DJ’s wrong side.  It’s bad enough that the two are forced together to plan the next fundraiser.  But when DJ finds out that Trisha is the only neurosurgeon with the skills to save his sister’s life, the two must figure out a way to get along.

    This version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE has less to do with the characters’ Indian heritage than it does with the contemporary setting, but the thing I liked best about this was the role reversal. With Trisha basically playing the Mr. Darcy character, the story took some interesting turns that I didn’t see coming.


    2.12 Ayesha at LastAYESHA AT LAST
    By Uzma Jalaluddin

    Ayesha dreams of becoming a poet. But she also feels a debt to her wealthy uncle for sponsoring her family when they moved to Canada from Pakistan. When Ayesha’s uncle asks her to help plan a fundraiser for their local mosque, Ayesha feels she can’t refuse. There Ayesha meets Khalid. Khalid is smart and handsome, but also conservative and judgmental. As Ayesha and Khalid spend more time together, their first opinions of each other give way to something neither of them expected.

    Of the three, AYESHA AT LAST was my favorite PRIDE AND PREJUDICE retelling.  I appreciated that this book hit the main points of the source material without feeling wedded to it.  I got all of the comfort of reading a favorite, while also exploring new themes and learning a little about a culture I’m not very familiar with.

  • On the morning of January 4, 1892, Karl G. Maeser and the students of the Brigham Young Academy met for one last time in the ZCMI warehouse.  Their school building had burned down eight years before, and they’d been meeting in the warehouse while they slowly gathered the funding to build a schoolhouse that would meet the needs of a rapidly growing community.  After a benediction, the students marched in a procession a few blocks down the street to their new home.  When they reached the outside of the building, Dr. Maeser looked up at it and said, “The old man taught school in a log cabin, but they have built a palace for his boys.” (1)

    One of my favorite parts of working as a librarian at the Provo City Library is giving tours of the historic wing, better known as the Brigham Young Academy building.  I grew up in Provo, but despite Maeser’s pronouncement that this building was a palace, my memories of the old Brigham Young Academy are of a sad, neglected block of buildings that was a bit of an eyesore right in the center of town.  

    library under construction 2 20130625 1888594852

    Fifteen years ago, the debris was cleared out and the building was restored thanks to the efforts of local citizens who care for our history.  Re-named the Provo City Library at Academy Square, it’s been a thriving part of our community ever since.  We keep a record of the reconstruction process on our website, but some of my favorite pictures can be seen below. 

    construction collage

    With the recent rebuilding of the Provo Tabernacle and its conversion into the Provo City Center Temple, I’m not the only one who has noted the similarities between two buildings with such deep roots into our city’s past. Both of these buildings were originally built around the same time with funds raised by the community, meant to be used and appreciated by everyone in the community. Both buildings have had many different uses over the years.  And when both buildings finally gave way to time and weather and age, both were raised up and given new life and purpose.

    And so, while celebrating the rebirth of the Provo Tabernacle and the revitalization it will give to downtown Provo, I’m taking a minute to celebrate the rebirth of the Brigham Young Academy as well.  It is a palace once more.  Thank you to everyone in the community for supporting the library.  We look forward to many more years of service.


    1. Butterworth, E. (1975). Brigham Young University: 1000 Views of 100 Years. Brigham Young University Press, p. 31

  • Journaling

    I’m not awesome at keeping a journal.  I kept a private blog when I was younger, but now I don’t worry about journaling so much.  There’s always something else I could be doing.  It was therefore very out of the ordinary for me the other day when I suddenly thought to myself, “I should write in my journal.”  It turned out I had a lot that I needed to say.

    As I’ve thought about this, and as I’ve read some really interesting articles about this topic (like this one), I’ve realized how important it is for all of us to record what we’re going through right now.  It will help us process our emotions and make sense of the world around us.  And since this time is literally different from all other times that have come before, you never know how what you write down will help future generations.

    If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “I have nothing to say,” or even, “Are you kidding me?  My life is crazy right now!  How am I supposed to add another thing to my To Do list?” Here are some suggestions of ways to ease into the process.

    Focus on the Moment

    One thing that keeps me from journaling is the thought that I have to summarize everything that’s happened since the last time I attempted to journal.  Don’t do that.  Instead, focus on just writing down what you’re thinking of in the moment.  Still don’t know what to say?  Try answering one of these questions, or check out a longer list here (

    1. What did you do today (or this week)? How was that different from what you would do on a “normal” day/week?
    2. What changes have you personally experienced (physically, mentally and/or emotionally) since this crisis began?
    3. What has been the most difficult thing for you personally about this crisis? Do you think there’s anything positive that may come from what’s happening?

    Try a Different Journaling Method

    Journals come in all shapes and forms.  If the task of writing out a traditional journal entry seems daunting, try a different format.  Some examples:

    1. Write down a quick thought somewhere that’s convenient for you. This could be in a notebook, on a computer, or even in the Notes app on your phone.
    2. Explore Bullet Journaling.
    3. Keep lists—this could be a list of what you’re grateful for, what songs you’re currently listening to, the top three things that happened today: anything.
    4. Make an audio or video recording, or post something on social media.
    5. Take pictures.
    6. Work on an art or craft project that expresses what you’re going through.
    7. The Provo Library has a Let’s Learn Guide that covers different ways to keep a journal.

    One thing that helped inspire writing this blog post was finding out about the University of Utah’s COVID-19 Digital Project.  You can submit your photographs and experiences to this project.

    While we don’t want to take away from the above project, the Provo Library would like to do something similar.  We want to record Provo’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you are interested in submitting journal entries, photographs, or artwork that represent this time, please let us know! While it’s probably best that you keep your journals private, a summarized snapshot of your time in quarantine could be good for future generations to see.  When you look back on this year, what will you remember?

  • Food Drive FB

    I’ve always heard conflicting things about food drives: That the type of food people donate isn’t really the kind that people need, that giving people food just exacerbates the problem instead of helping it, etc. Yet at the same time, I really like the idea of helping people in my own community by donating to a food drive. To help separate the truth from the fiction, I thought I’d share a few things I learned about our local food bank, Community Action Services, as I did a little research while I was planning Provo City Library’s own food drive, which is going on now in conjunction with our Summer Reading Program.

    14 percent of Utah County lives in poverty. That means more than 72,000 of our neighbors and friends are severely struggling to make ends meet. To give you an idea of what that looks like, according to the Federal Poverty Guidelines, a family of four is living off less than $24,000 per year. 

    In 2016, Community Action Services boasted the following numbers:

    • 6,499 families served
    • 32,000+ volunteer hours
    • 4 million+ lbs of food distributed
    • Food provided for dozens of partner agencies through Utah, Wasatch and Summit counties. 

    Community Action Services also has a wide range of programs aimed at helping people work their way out of poverty.  Examples of programs they have can be found here.

    The Grocery Rescue program supplements the canned goods people donate with fresh foods, so my concern about people not getting the right types of food has a solution. 

    The food bank accepts expired foods! That is, as long as the can isn’t more than 4 years past the expiration date. For example, in 2017 they will accept donations with expiration dates through 2013. Most cans are still good long after their suggested expiration date. Watch out for signs that the can has really expired. If the can is oozing, bulging, or missing its label, just throw it away. 

    I like that whatever I donate goes to people in my community. And I like that Community Action Services is working to help people out of poverty as well. 

    As mentioned earlier, in the spirit of our summer reading theme of Build a Better World, the Provo City Library is hosting a food drive in partnership with Community Action Services and Food Bank of Provo.  The food drive is going from June 3rd to July 29th. If you would like to help with our summer reading food drive, suggested donations should be non-perishable items like the following: 


    • Wet Goods- Condiments, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Syrups, etc. (Anything that isn't boxed or canned)
    • Canned Meat- Tuna, Chicken, Beef, etc.
    • Canned Fruit- Mandarin Oranges, Peaches, Pears, etc.
    • Soups and Stew
    • Baking goods like Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda, etc.
    • Items for Kids’ Nutrition Packs (Granola Bars, Natural Juice Boxes, Apple Sauce, Raisins, Peanut Butter Crackers, Easy Mac, etc.)  

    Hygiene Items:

    • Disposable Diapers (Ages 3-5)
    • Cleaning Supplies
    • Toilet Paper
    • Toothpaste
    • Feminine Hygiene Products (Tampons, Pads, Panty Liners)
    • Bar Soap
    • Shampoo/Conditioner
    • Laundry Soap  

    Of course, because we’re doing this as part of summer reading, each week you donate items to the food drive, you can collect a summer reading code. This leads to badges and contributes to the number of tickets you can enter in the drawing at the end of summer reading for a bunch of prizes, including a $100 MasterCard gift card! So come help us Build a Better World by participating in our summer reading food drive!