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Catch up on your 2021 reading goals with these short and sweet reads

Is it just me, or does the reality of the lack of progress on our reading goals always become painfully obvious by the end of June?

I usually start off strong in the beginning of the year, devouring all the new books I acquire over the holidays. However, the time I spend reading directly correlates to how beautiful it is outside. By late March, reading sessions next to the fireplace turn into tossing a frisbee on the beach instead. Once people start expressing their shock that “it’s June already?!” I realize that I’m a few books behind on my reading goals.

That’s why every July, I stick to reading books that are shorter than 250 pages or listening to audiobooks that are less than 5 hours long. By focusing on small books, I can explore more authors, more topics, and get back on track to reach the finish line strong.

I know what you are thinking: do you really spend all of July reading classics? While classics are often short and sweet, you don’t need to limit yourself to classics to read or listen to a book in one sitting. Here are six books that prove that even newer titles can come in small packages:

Brood by Jackie Polzin | 240 pages | 4 hours 50 minutes

Over the course of a single year, our nameless narrator heroically tries to keep her small brood of four chickens alive despite the seemingly endless challenges that caring for another creature entails. From the forty-below nights of a brutal Minnesota winter to a sweltering summer which brings a surprise tornado, she battles predators, bad luck, and the uncertainty of a future that may not look anything like the one she always imagined.

Do You Mind if I Cancel? by Gary Janetti | 176 pages | 3 hours 39 minutes

Gary Janetti, the writer and producer for some of the most popular television comedies of all time and creator of one of the most wickedly funny Instagram accounts there is, now turns his skills to the page in a hilarious and poignant book chronicling the pains and indignities of everyday life.

Gary spends his twenties in New York, dreaming of starring on soap operas while in reality working at a hotel where he lusts after an unattainable colleague and battles a bellman who despises it when people actually use a bell to call him. He chronicles the torture of finding a job before the internet when you had to talk on the phone all the time, and fantasizes, as we all do, about who to tell off when he finally wins an Oscar.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | 208 pages | 4 hours 58 minutes

Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north.

Will Talia make it to Bogotá in time? And if she does, can she bring herself to trade the solid facts of her father and life in Colombia for the distant vision of her mother and siblings in America?

Little Weirds by Jenny Slate | 240 pages | 4 hours 19 minutes

To see the world through Jenny Slate’s eyes is to see it as though for the first time, shimmering with strangeness and possibility. As she will remind you, we live on an ancient ball that rotates around a bigger ball made up of lights and gasses that are science gasses, not farts (don’t be immature).

Heartbreak, confusion, and misogyny stalk this blue-green sphere, yes, but it is also a place of wild delight and unconstrained vitality, a place where we can start living as soon as we are born, and we can be born at any time. In her dazzling, impossible-to-categorize debut, Jenny channels the pain and beauty of life in writing so fresh, so new, and so burstingly alive, we catch her vision like a fever and bring it back out into the bright day with us, and everything has changed.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw | 189 pages | 4 hours 6 minutes

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.

With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.

The Ten Loves of Nishino by Hiromi Kawakami | 240 pages | 5 hours

Each woman has succumbed, even if only for an hour, to that seductive, imprudent, and furtively feline man who drifted so naturally into their lives. Still clinging to the vivid memory of his warm breath and his indecipherable sentences, ten women tell their stories as they attempt to recreate the image of the unfathomable Nishino.

Do you have a trick for catching up on your reading goals? Head over to our Instagram (@digitalbookmobile) and let us know!

2021 (Virtual) Pride Across America

June is Pride month in the LGBTQ+ community. This month, we will celebrate the community’s successes and milestones and reflect and remember those who came before us and paved the way. The world is starting to slowly re-open after pandemic shut-downs, and Pride is no different. Some places are holding small, in-person or hybrid events, some are planning later celebrations for August and September in hopes of larger crowd options, and some are hosting virtual celebrations from the comfort of your own living room.

Since we are still staying safe at home and hosting virtual events, I wanted to highlight some of the many virtual (and free!) Pride activities you can attend across America!

  • Stonewall Columbus – Virtual Pride March – Saturday, June 19 – Free, no registration required
    My home state of Ohio has a virtual Pride march you can join! On Saturday, June 19, Stonewall Columbus will hold their 40th Annual Pride March virtually. Stonewall Columbus says, “think Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” with hosts, messages from organizations, and a day chock-full of Pride programming. You can find out more info and download the calendar event here.
  • NYC Pride – The Rally – Friday, June 25 – Free, but registration is encouraged
    This is a digital event rallying the queer community together! Hosted by Hope Giselle and Brandon Wolf, this historic virtual rally will advocate for change, conversation, education, and activism in the LGBTQ+ community. For more info and to RSVP, click here.
  • Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco – Identity & Pride Exhibit – Friday, June 11 – Free, but registration is required
    Come and see the Identity & Pride art exhibit, featuring pieces from the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco. Art is from organization members in grades 7-12, after their five-month fellowship, where LGBTQ+ and ally youth reflected on their identity and used art as a way to explore and express themselves. To register, click here.
  • Good Neighbor Festivals – Pride in Local Music – Wednesday, June 30 – Donations encouraged
    Want more music? Wrap-up Pride month with great, local music presented by The Austin and Nashville LGBT Chambers of Commerce. This livestream celebrates “the rainbow heartbeat of two great cities known for music.” Click here for the concert lineup, and to register, click here.
  • LA! Pride – Thrive with Pride Concert – Thursday night, June 10 – Free, without registration on TikTok
    Streaming live (and exclusively) on TikTok, Charli XCX will be kicking off 2021 LA Pride with a free streaming concert. The show on June 10 will also include other up-and-coming queer artists making their Pride debut. You can find updates and additional info about this event on TikTok, @tiktokforgood
  • Hampton Public Library – PRIDE on the PENINSULA – June 1 through 30 – Free, but registration is required
    The Hampton Public Library in Virginia is celebrating Pride month with daily programming, and they’ve got two virtual events – June 4 – Pride Month Spotlight: LGBT Life Center, and June 10 – Making Gay History: an Audio Tour through LGBT History with Eric Marcus. To sign-up for their programming, click here. If you’d like more info about Hampton Public Library in VA, visit their website.
  • Memphis Pride – Live and In Color 2.0 – Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 6 – Free, but registration is required
    Join Memphis Pride for a packed weekend of activities. Friday night, join the Friends of George’s cast for their premier version of “The Snatch Game”! Saturday is jam-packed with entertainment, dancing, laughs, and educational moments. Wrap up the weekend on Sunday with a Drag Brunch, multi-faith service, Drag Bingo, and breakout sessions. Click here for more info on the schedule and Memphis Pride. To register, click here.

I didn’t want to leave out teens and families. So here are some Family Friendly and Youth Pride activities:

  • NYC Pride – Family Movie Night – Thursday, June 17 – Free, but registration is required
    Suitable for kids of all ages and a digital streaming event. This event features spotlights on organizations whose work focuses on queer family planning, support, and advocacy, as well as telling the story of queer families. Family Movie Night is hosted by Miss Richfield 1981 and will cover the stories of 6 queer families and highlight 4 queer family organizations. The film for this year has yet to be announced, but will be soon! For more info and to register, click here.
  • Network for Social Justice – Pride Bingo – Tuesday, June 22 – Free, but registration is required
    This is a family-friendly event appropriate for all ages, with prizes available for winners! This is a free event- just register to receive your bingo sheet! You can register here.
  • NYC Pride – Youth Pride – Saturday, June 26 – Free, but registration is required
    This is a celebration for LGBTQ+ teens and their allies. This will be a day of musical performances, LGBTQ+ center spotlights, DJs, and a special ballroom segment. Youth Pride will be hosted by Amber Whittington and Jorge Wright. For more info and to register, click here!

Pride is a wonderful time for the LGBTQ+ community and our allies to celebrate life, remember those who came before us, and pay respects to those who paved the way. Can’t attend a virtual event or want to add some LGBTQ+ titles to your TBR list? Check out the LGBTQI ?‍?Subject in Libby! Here’s 3 titles I’d recommend:

  • The Book of Pride – Mason Funk
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue – George M. Johnson
  • The City We Became – N.K. Jemisin

Happy Reading, and Happy Pride!

Ready to get away? Here are 6 magazines to inspire you

After 14 months confined to our homes, we are starting to see a very tiny glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know about you, but there are many things I am looking forward to once we return to normal; hugs from family, dinners with friends, seeing the smiles of strangers at the grocery store, petting the neighborhood dogs when they are out for their evening walks, and of course, traveling.

My feelings of wanderlust are accompanied by a twinge of uncertainty when I think about venturing outside of the carefully crafted Covid bubble I’ve made, and I am willing to bet many others are feeling the same way. Travel is, admittedly, going to look a lot different this year, and you might still be trying to decide what type of adventure will work best for your family.

Your library’s digital collection is a great place to turn, particularly their magazine selection. With Libby, you can access many excellent travel magazines chock-full of great ideas for your next adventure. From remote camping recommendations to unforgettable road trip itineraries, they have it all.

Why are magazines a good resource for planning your next trip? Not only are magazines available to borrow 24/7 (no waitlists, yay!) from your library with the Libby app, you can also access back issues of magazines. That means you can dig up so many great articles about traveling safely during the pandemic that were published throughout 2020 and 2021.

To help you get started, here are six magazines available in your library’s digital collection that are sure to inspire your next getaway.

Afar is a different kind of travel magazine that guides and inspires those who travel the world seeking to connect with its people, experience their cultures, and understand their perspectives. Get AFAR digital magazine subscription today for intriguing travel stories told with beautiful photos and a fresh design.

Published nine times a year, Backpacker is a magazine of wilderness travel, offering practical, “you can do it, here’s how” advice to help you enjoy every trip. Filled with the best places, gear, and information for all kinds of hiking and camping trips, each issue delivers foldout maps and stunning color photography.

Conde Nast Traveler
Condé Nast Traveler magazine is filled with the travel secrets of celebrated writers and sophisticated travelers. Each monthly issue features breathtaking destinations, including the finest art, architecture, fashion, culture, cuisine, lodgings, and shopping. With Condé Nast Traveler as your guide, you’ll discover the best islands, cities, spas, castles, and cruises.

National Park Journal
National Park Journal is the authority on national park travel and is devoted to bringing the national park experience to the palm of your hand. Providing comprehensive seasonal trip planning information for four of the United States’ major national parks – Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone and Yosemite – each issue focuses on one park and includes feature stories, photo essays, road-trip itineraries, lodging and dining information, wildlife beta and more.

Outside not only motivates readers to uncover and define their own personal day-to-day adventures but also provides them with the tools, products and information to fulfill them.

Travel, Taste and Tour
Travel, Taste & Tour is the all-inclusive, all-encompassing lifestyle publication for avid travelers, hungry foodies, and vacation enthusiasts. Their goal is to provoke the anticipation of a vacation, feed the foodie in all of us, and provide inspiration for everyone’s inner explorer.

Four (mostly) instrumental albums your reading playlist is missing

With Spring sprung, it has been beautiful enough in Cleveland to take my reading away from the fireplace and out to the patio. I love reading outdoors, but city soundscapes aren’t exactly the perfect soundtrack to enjoy a book. So, I set out to curate a reading playlist that will allow me to enjoy the sunshine on my skin without the construction across the street killin’ my vibe. If you, too, live that city struggle, here are four albums to enjoy while reading on your patio.

Dive – Tycho

Back in 2011, Scott Hanson, otherwise known as Tycho dropped the album Dive. The first time I heard it, I knew it was something special. Ten years later, its familiar synths and instrumental samples often enhance my outdoor reading sessions. It’s no coincidence that the album is titled Dive. It was, after all, inspired by the ocean. Its smooth and harmonious electronic beats pair perfectly with beach reads like Shipped by Angie Hockman or The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton.

Echolocations: River – Andrew Bird

I was only five years old when Andrew Bird started creating a name for himself in the indie-rock scene, and the Grammy award winner now has released 16 studio albums throughout his career which has forced him to start getting really creative. Echolocations: River was recorded while Bird stood ankle-deep in the Los Angeles River below the Glendale Hyperion Bridge.

What initially drew me to Echolocations: River was its unique concept, but I added it to my reading playlist for its beautiful and dynamic instrumental storytelling. The sound of the violin bouncing off of the bridge’s concrete walls evokes a feeling of vast emptiness, while the inspiration from the Los Angeles River conjures a real sense of tranquility, making it the perfect soundtrack for books like Touching the Void by Joe Simpson and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

Eon Isle (Series) – Geotic

In 2014, Will Wisenfeld released a duo of albums as part of his side project Geotic. The series, called Eon Isle, are albums each made entirely from the sound of a single instrument; Morning Shore – the guitar and Sunset Mountain – vocals, and here too, the album’s titles are a good indication of the picture each will paint throughout your listening experience.

Although Geotic’s Morning Shore is also inspired by water like Tycho’s Dive, it is much more laid-back in its presentation, so I usually pair it with something a little less light-hearted than a beach read, but still gravitate toward sea-inspired reads like Moby Dick by Hermen Melville or Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

While Sunset Mountain‘s inclusion of vocals deviates slightly from my mostly instrumental playlist, the vocals throughout the album lend well to the reading experience. Think less acapella, and instead picture an angelic choir warming up for a performance. While the album inspires a sense of adventure, the vocal harmonies can, at times, come off a little haunting, so I like to listen to Sunset Mountain while I read what I like to call ”no parents, no rules YA”, books where a group of kids is left alone without any adults for some reason or another (a personal favorite of mine), like Lord of the Flies by William Golding and When We Were Lost by Kevin Wignall.

Don’t let lawn mowers, noisy sprinklers, or traffic pull you out of your literary adventures by giving one of these albums a try. If you do, head on over to Instagram (@digitalbookmobile) to tell us what you think or let us know what albums you think every reader should add to their reading playlist!

Libby 9.0 makes tagging titles even better

Libby’s 9.0 release came with so many exciting new changes, including a UI revamp to the footer, and giving users the ability to switch between libraries easily during a search. The most notable change that came with this release was to Libby’s tagging feature.

Any patron that has met me out on the Digital Bookmobile or has attended a Libby Webinar knows that I tend to harp on tags. Tags are, by far, one of my favorite features; and if you haven’t used tags in the past, now is a really great time to start. Here is everything you need to know:

What are tags and why should you use them?

Tags allow you to organize and catalog books in Libby. You can tag titles from all of your libraries to create lists. From your tagged lists, you can borrow or place holds, making it quick and easy to find your next great read, or you can export your tags for printing, messaging, and more.

What’s new with tags?

With the Libby 9.0 release, tags will automatically sync across devices, allowing you to add titles to your tagged lists regardless of which device you are using. Additionally, OverDrive app and website users can sync their OverDrive wish list into a single tag in Libby.

We have also introduced smart tags. Smart tags are especially exciting for borrowers that have magazines in their digital collection, as the Notify Me smart tag will alert you when new issues of your favorite magazines are available. All users will have borrowed and sampled smart tags, which will automatically tag titles you borrow with a receipt and tag titles you sample with a slice of cake.

I don’t know about you, but I could really get used to Libby doing half of the work for me!

How do you get the most out of tags?

How tags are used will entirely depend on the reader. For some, Libby’s new smart tags combined with wish list might be all you need. For others, there is truly no end to the rabbit hole you could fall into with tags. I often tell everyone that attends our Libby webinars – the only limit to the tags you create is your imagination.

Here are a few ideas for tags you can create:

Break up your To Be Read tag into more specific tags This can be as simple as separating your To Be Read from your To Be Listened. You could also subcategorize by season (Winter – cozy mysteries and holiday fiction, Summer – beach reads and travel memoirs), by trope (Friends to Lovers, Secret Royal/Billionaire, Forced Proximity), or by subject (Historical Fiction, Thriller, Non-Fiction). Many readers choose titles based on their mood, so having multiple wish lists can make choosing your next read a breeze.

Keep track of gift listsIf you have a lot of readers in your life, you likely gift books often. Why not make it easier on yourself and use tags in Libby to keep a running list for each giftee? I cannot explain to you how many times I’ve patted myself on the back around the holidays because gift giving was as easy as choosing a few titles from a list of books I had tagged for each of my loved ones throughout the year.

Curate booklist content Long gone are the days you see a book, think of a brilliant blog or video idea for it, snap a picture of it with your phone, and then forget why you took a picture of it in the first place. Instead, you can tag that title to create a list and add a description, making it impossible to forget.

Avoid writers or narrators you don’t enjoy Is there an author whose books always sound amazing, but their writing style is too fluffy for you? Does a certain narrator think their fake southern accent sounds better than it actually does? Tag them so you don’t accidentally borrow one of their books ever again!

If I come across a narrator I don’t enjoy, I’ll sample a few other titles to make sure it’s not a fluke. If I feel the same way in the samples, I will go through that narrator’s entire catalog and tag each title with a thumbs down. By doing this, any time that narrator comes up in a search, I can just skip right over it (or borrow the ebook version).

Note who recommended certain titles to you It brings me an awful lot of joy when someone reads a book that I recommend to them, so I always make a point to let my friends and family know when I read one of their recommendations. Unfortunately, my brain uses its limited storage to remember what I ate on my 5th grade fieldtrip to my teacher’s farm, and not to recall who recommend I read Dear Child by Romy Hausmann just two weeks ago. If you have similar issues, creating individual recommendation lists might be a great option for you.

Do you have additional questions about tags?

You can DM us on Instagram (@digitalbookmobile), visit our Help Site, or Contact Support.

50 signs that you are a book nerd

  1. You never leave the house without your library card.
  2. You have read a book in one sitting, likely finishing it in the wee hours of the morning.
  3. You have ignored a loved one for a book.
  4. You have a designated reading chair, nook, corner, or nest.
  5. You organize your books a very specific way and notice when one is out of place.
  6. You have cancelled plans with a friend so you could stay home and read.
  7. When stay-at-home orders went into effect, you didn’t complain because that meant you would get to spend more. time reading.
  8. You have considered a fictional character a friend.
  9. You are on a first-name basis with your local librarians.
  10. You had a stance on Jacob vs. Edward, even if you pretend you didn’t.
  11. You take offense to the idea that graphic novels or audiobooks “aren’t reading”.
  12. You have actively sought out household chores just so you could spend more time listening to an audiobook.
  13. You have named a pet after a literary reference.
  14. You have at least one book on your shelf that looks like it has been through a war.
  15. You will turn literally anything into a bookmark.
  16. You have stressed over your reading goals more than your career goals.
  17. When you work out, you listen to audiobooks instead of music.
  18. You have annotated a book for fun.
  19. You have an Instagram account dedicated to your love of books.
  20. You keep in better contact with fellow bookstagrammers than your IRL friends.
  21. You have at least one piece of art that is a subtle reference to a book.
  22. You have at least one piece of art that is a not-so-subtle reference to a book.
  23. You have received bookplate(s) or a library stamp as a gift.
  24. You have diligently kept track of every book you have ever read.
  25. You have “wasted” an entire afternoon adding books to your TBR list.
  26. You would consider losing your TBR list a complete and total tragedy.
  27. You know what Harry Potter house the sorting hat would assign you at Hogwarts.
  28. You have walked into a bookstore to window shop, only to walk out with an arm full of books you probably couldn’t afford.
  29. Nearly a quarter of the books on your shelf are unread, but you keep buying more.
  30. When asked who your favorite celebrities are, you start listing authors.
  31. At least once in your life you have said, “The book was better” after watching a screen adaptation.
  32. You have considered paying a fee to access an out-of-state library’s digital collection of ebooks and audiobooks.
  33. You have planned your TBR list around the seasons.
  34. When planning vacations, you consider what books you will want to read.
  35. You have planned vacations based off a book that you have read.
  36. You own more than one edition of your favorite book.
  37. You have considered getting a literary tattoo at least once.
  38. You actually have a literary tattoo.
  39. You could navigate your local library with your eyes closed.
  40. You know what the genre new adult fiction is.
  41. You perk up when there is a literature-based category on Jeopardy.
  42. You cast the screen adaptation of a book in your head while you read it just in case it gets picked up by a production company.
  43. You are an avid listener of the Professional Book Nerds podcast.
  44. You will explore a new genre if a book is narrated by your favorite voice actor.
  45. You dream of chartering your very own Little Free Library.
  46. You have lingered in your parked car just to finish listening to an audiobook.
  47. You have a curated playlist of music to listen to while you read.
  48. Your family and friends know not to believe you when you say you are only going to read “one more chapter”.
  49. A book has helped you overcome a challenge in your life.
  50. You have met Libby.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with these great reads

I often get weird looks when I tell people that some of my favorite books are non-fiction. I know that some people find non-fiction boring, but I love diving deep into the sea with marine biologists and exploring the stock market with economists. I wasn’t always a fan of non-fiction. In fact, there was a time that you couldn’t get me to read anything other than YA romance (seventeen-year-old me kept a list of all of Sarah Dessen’s love interests rated by most datable. Talk about embarrassing!).

One of the ways I dipped my toes into the genre was by starting with a book that had a collection of shorter stories. When the information is bite-sized, it’s much easier to swallow (pun intended) because you can pick it up and put it back down whenever you’d like without feeling overwhelmed or bored. So, for Women’s History Month, I put together a list of titles that feature real people, and their stories, in easy to digest chunks (and no more puns, I promise) that will be sure to inspire readers of all ages.

Noisemakers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World by Kazoo Magazine
Considering I bought a physical copy of this book for my niece after borrowing it through my local library, I had to include it on my list of Women’s History Month recommendations. Noisemakers details the stories of 25 incredible women throughout history, including Janko Tabei (the first woman to climb Mount Everest) and Josephine Baker (entertainer by day, Nazi-fighting spy by night).

What makes this book so special is that it encourages young readers to become noisemakers themselves. At the beginning of each story, the reader is asked to count all the things they have in common with each Noisemaker, proving that everyone has what it takes to raise their voice and change the world. Each story is also accompanied by a series of comics created by female artists. The comics make this a great book for any young reader, whether they read it themselves or read it with the help of someone else.

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped our History…and our Future! by Kate Schatz
Rad American Women A-Z has a nice mix of stories about well-known icons like punk-rocker Patti Smith (famous for her song “Because the Night”) and lesser-known ladies like activist Dolores Huerta (who cofounded the United Farm Workers Association).

I was pleasantly surprised to find an artist by the name of Maya Lin included as one of the visionaries featured. Maya Lin grew up in the very same small town in Southeastern Ohio that I did, and her parents both taught at the university where I eventually went on to study. In the early 1980s, Maya Lin designed the Washington D.C. Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. By the time I went to university in the 2010s, she had an art installation on my campus that I walked by on my way to class daily. It really put into perspective how attainable being a rad woman truly is.

Rad American Women A-Z is recommended for readers in grades 3 and up.

Girl Squads: 20 Female Friendships That Changed History by Sam Maggs
Okay, I have to be honest here, this book had my eyes watering like you wouldn’t believe. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t seen my own squad in over a year, or maybe it’s because the Pisces in me is brought to tears by nearly everything (there isn’t a Subaru commercial in existence that hasn’t made me cry), but something about Girl Squads pulled my heartstrings just right.

Girl Squads takes women’s history up a notch by showcasing how a female duo, and in some cases, entire groups of women, can impact the world. Two of my favorite stories featured Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens (tennis prodigies that showed the world that even rivals have the ability to support each other) and The Edinburgh Seven (the first female medical students in Great Britain, whom later went on to open the London School of Medicine for Women).

This pick is a great read for anyone, but I think it’s a particularly good choice for older teens and young adults that feel like they can do just about anything as long as their BFF is by their side.

Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History by Blair Imani
Of all the titles I am recommending for Women’s History Month, Modern HERstory features the most women that are still making an impact today. Their names, and all that they have accomplished, have not been told time and time again throughout history. Rather, most of their stories have continued to unfold in the present. Some of my favorite women featured were Linda Sarsour (Palestinian American Muslim activist and co-chair of the Women’s March) and Aditi Juneja (YouTuber and social justice advocate).

Readers should note that Modern HERstory does contain some mature content and touches on sensitive subjects like violence against the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. However, its beautiful illustrations and true stories of perseverance will inspire any budding civil rights activist.

Bygone Bad*ss Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World by Mackenzi Lee
I first borrowed Bygone Bad*ass Broads because the cover was absolutely beautiful. Little did I know how much Mackenzi Lee’s casual writing style and sense of humor would draw me in.

What I loved most about Bygone Bad*ass Broads was that many, if not all, of the stories were entirely new to me. I particularly enjoyed the stories of Dorothy Arzner (a stenographer that started her career typing scripts, and later went on to become the first woman to join the Directors Guild of America) and Agnodice (a third century CE midwife that disguised herself as a man to practice medicine). Who else is imagining Amanda Bynes playing the lead in a quirky Agnodice biopic?

If there is any book that will convince you that reading non-fiction can be fun too, it’s this one! I found myself laughing out loud many times throughout.

Libby app myths and misconceptions debunked

Between chatting with patrons on the Digital Bookmobile, assisting our technical support team while off the road, and being active in many online book communities, I spend a lot of time clarifying some common misconceptions about the Libby app. Although Libby is designed to have an easy-to-use interface, some of the intricacies of digital lending can be confusing.

Here are three of the most common myths and misconceptions about the Libby app debunked:

Books in Libby are digital, so you can read and listen to the same checkout.
Trust me, I’ll be the first person in line if this feature were to ever become available. I would love to read the same book before bed that I listen to while I do chores without having to backtrack to figure out what is going on! Unfortunately, because the cost of audiobook production is so high compared to ebooks, their price points are very different. So libraries purchase the two formats individually and circulate those titles separately.

What I recommend when a user wishes to both read and listen to a title is to borrow the title in both formats at once. Keep in mind that because they are two separate books, you will need to manually keep track of where you left off in each format when you make the switch from one to the other. It takes a bit of patience (Deliver Later will become a feature you rely on heavily), but I have known a few people that find it totally worth it. If you are really into workarounds, you could borrow the title in both formats and use two separate devices (or open the app and in a web browser on the same device) to read and listen at the same time.

You can tell the difference between an ebook and an audiobook by their jacket cover. Audiobooks will have a pair of headphones on at the bottom of the jacket cover, while ebooks will not. You can also tap a title’s jacket cover to view its format on the title details page.

Libby is the library.
I’ve run into this situation both in person and virtually many times, where a Libby user thinks that when they are attending a webinar or contacting support via the Libby app, that they are talking to the staff that work at their library. The confusion is understandable because the books that you read in Libby are owned by your library, and the collection that you borrow from is specific to the library that you belong to.

However, Libby is an app used by many libraries across the globe. Libby is to libraries like DoorDash is to restaurants: a service (the app) that the library uses to get their products (books) into the hands of their customers (library patrons). It is most useful to know this distinction when you have questions so that you know who to contact to get the answers you’re looking for as quickly as possible.

In general, if you are inquiring about something that is specific to your library (i.e. What is my library card number or PIN?), contacting the library directly by phone or through their website will be your best bet. Despite many libraries being closed physically, many are still responding to their communications.

On the other hand, if you have a question regarding the app (i.e. How do I cancel a hold in Libby?) or you are in need of troubleshooting assistance, then our technical support team at OverDrive are the Libby experts you need. They can be contacted directly through the Libby App.

You can donate ebooks to Libby.
One thing I love about libraries is that they attract some of the most giving people, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when library patrons would write to our technical support team trying to donate their ebooks or audiobooks to their library’s digital collection. Here’s the thing: only titles purchased through OverDrive can be added to a library’s OverDrive collection; this is in large part due to publisher restrictions on digital content.

That doesn’t mean you are totally out of luck, though. Libraries often accept monetary donations, which are used to supplement their government funding. Depending on the library, you might even be able to specify if you would like your donation to be used toward their digital collection. In some cases, you can even donate the cost of a specific ebook or audiobook that you want the library to add to their collection.

Do you have a question about Libby that isn’t covered on Libby’s Help Site? Message us on Instagram (@DigitalBookmobile) or contact our support team through the app!

Gift Guide: Bookish Valentine

My family holds the world’s most unpopular opinion – Valentine’s Day is the best holiday of the year. My mother, self-proclaimed lover of all things cute, would go to the ends of the earth to make our Valentine’s Days as awesome as she possibly could for my siblings and me. What started as my mother’s excuse to spoil us with heart-shaped baked goods, dress us in fuzzy pink pajamas, and challenge us to craft the most intricate Valentine’s Day card boxes our classmates had ever seen, eventually grew into a genuine desire to spoil our friends and family with love.

If you are one of the many people that see Valentine’s Day as nothing more than a greeting card holiday but have to play along anyway for your loved one’s sake, don’t worry. I’ve put together a collection of great gift ideas that will be sure to spark joy for your book-loving valentine.

Bibliophiles can never have too many bookmarks, and what makes a bookmark such a great gift for Valentine’s Day is that every time your valentine opens their current read, they will be reminded of you. These Pressed Floral Bookmarks (Kayliereads Etsy Shop, $8) are absolutely beautiful, and the flowers last forever, unlike the dozen roses you could pick up at your local grocery store.

If you want to really impress, you could also spice up their bookshelf with a set of book jacket covers like these A Court of Thorns and Roses Jackets Only Set (Juniper Books, $45). Book Jacket sets can be pricey for what really just amounts to a few sheets of paper, but a lot of book lovers couldn’t put a price on a beautifully displayed book collection.

For the valentine that loves the convenience of ebooks and audiobooks, consider gifting them something to protect their device. This Walt Whitman Quote Phone Case (Society6, $33) is both practical and heartfelt, but just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean your gift has to be romantic or sappy. An ereader sleeve like this Magical Characters Device Sleeve (aHumForHope Etsy Shop, $24+) is a practical gift that also shows you pay attention to the things they enjoy most.

Keep your Libby loving valentine cozy with this Libby Hoodie (The OverDrive Shop, $30), which is just one of many items you can purchase from our shop that support the ALA Literacy Clearinghouse. Other fun apparel you can gift include this Book Lover Shirt (QualityAppearance Etsy Shop, $14+) or these Library Card Pride Socks (Out of Print, $12).

Finally, if you want to stay more traditional with your Valentine’s Day gifts, literary-inspired accessories can be an excellent choice. For your valentine that considers her bag her best friend, browse Etsy for a unique book inspired bag like this Pride and Prejudice Book Purse (WellReadCompany Etsy Shop, $50+). If jewelry is more there thing, Canadian maker Cara Ginter creates one-of-a-kind Custom Bracelet (Book’d Creations, $18) out of books. You can choose from a list of pre-selected titles or you can make an off-list request for a personal touch. If you are looking for a gender-neutral accessory, check out this Leather Apple Watch Band (miragewatchband Etsy Shop, $33+) which you can personalize with a favorite literary quote or reference.

Whether you go all out on the perfect gift or simply just write your valentine a card, the only thing that really matters is that your loved ones know how much you care about them. So, don’t stress too hard and simply give from the heart.

*Pricing reflects the listing on 02/05/2021 and does not include shipping or tax.