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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Happier and Healthier With Hoopla and Overdrive Audiobooks


In the age of freneticism, it's even more important for us to take a moment for ourselves to unwind and destress. Being that books are a perfect way to reduce stress, it should be one of the go-to remedies for our anxieties; however, the day-to-day busyness of modern day life dampens our desires to make that healthy choice. Let's be honest, wouldn't we rather binge-watch our favorite Netflix series on the couch while eating our favorite snacks? If we can make something more convenient, we're more likely to do it, and there's a perfect way to get your reading dose everyday. Take a look at our two free resources called Hoopla and Overdrive/Libby, which are free resources for our library patrons to use!
Hoopla and Overdrive/Libby are apps that you can download directly onto your smartphone, smart device, or laptop so you can take it anywhere you go. As long as you have WI-FI, an internet connection, and/or cellphone reception you will be able to access our collection and find your favorite titles to download and listen to on-the-go. You can listen while you are driving in the car, doing your homework or working from home, or even going on a relaxing walk - wherever you go, take a book with you!

Patron tip: Overdrive is best used on an internet web browser via computer or laptop, while Libby is best utilized on a smart device like your phone or iPad. 

Signing up is fairly easy. Follow the steps outlined below to get started!

For Hoopla: visit the website by clicking on the Hoopla graphic above or navigate to our library website: and find Hoopla under the "Library Resources" dropdown. You will want to click on Hoopla several times to get to the website At the top of the page you hit "Get Started" which will then have you create your profile using an email and a password. Once finished, you will hit "Agree", but you may also need to verify your library card number to continue signing up. Once those steps are finished, you will be free to use Hoopla. It can remember your username and password as well making your access even easier in the future.

Media OverdriveLogo for Woodlands Library Cooperative

For Overdrive: find your way to the website by either visiting our Portland District Library website: and finding the Overdrive button on the left hand side of the screen, or by clicking on the Overdrive graphic above which will take you to Both will bring you to our library's Overdrive website which will be called "Woodlands Downloadable Library". You will want to sign in by clicking the button at the top right hand corner of the screen. Once you've used the dropdown to find Portland District Library and entered in your library card number, you will hit "Sign In". After following these steps, you should be free to peruse the collection to your heart's content!

For Libby: Navigate to the app store on your smart device (Google Play Store on Android products or Apple app store on Apple products) and then type in "Libby" in your search bar. You will want to look for the app that looks similar to the above graphic called "Libby". It is free to download this app, so once you have clicked on the download and it has installed you will then need to search for your library. You will have prompts that will guide you through this process, but after selecting your library, you will be asked to enter your library card number to complete sign-in.

Exploring these apps are relatively simple: you may use the search bar to look up a title or you can browse by genre as well. If your title is available you may borrow it for up to 3 weeks, possibly longer if no one else has a hold on it; however, if it is unavailable at that time you can place a hold on it as well and you will be notified when it becomes available for you to access.

Looking for some great audiobook suggestions to get you started? You can explore the many ways to find your next great read through various websites such as Goodreads, Whichbook, What Should I Read Next?, and other book recommendation search engines. You can find many of these by simply typing "book recommendations" in your favorite search engine like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox and choosing one that best suits your needs.

Once you've found something you like, make sure to search for them in Hoopla or Overdrive to see if it's available to listen to. You'll be happier and healthier for it!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Marching with a Civil Rights Icon


With the recent death of congressman and civil rights icon, John Lewis, I feel I would be remiss if I did not encourage readers to check out the March graphic novels. March is a series of three graphic novels written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and beautifully illustrated and lettered by Nate Powell.  

The idea for the March novels was born in 2008 when Lewis told his aide, Andrew Aydin, how a 10 cent comic book influenced him as a young boy. The comic Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story was published in 1957 and introduced the nonviolence resistance methods of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. Aydin, an avid fan of graphic novels and comic books, suggested that Lewis write his own graphic novel to inspire and educate a new generation of young people. 

Ok, I know am a total nerd, but I need to fangirl for a minute. How awesome is it that a man in his seventies was so inspired by a comic book as a child that he decided to write his own in order to better connect with young people? It only gets better! While promoting the March books at Comic Con John Lewis cosplayed as his younger self and led a group of young fans on their own march through the San Diego Convention Center!

Left-John Lewis on "Bloody Sunday" in 1965 Right-John Lewis at Comic Con in 2015

March: Book One begins in Selma, Alabama 1965, with John Lewis and fellow civil rights activists about to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a day later to be infamously known as "Bloody Sunday". The story flashes forward to an adult John Lewis serving as a congressman and preparing to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama. When he arrives in his office Lewis encounters a mother and her two children.  Lewis graciously takes the time to speak to family and tells them of his humble beginnings in rural Alabama.  The third of ten children born to sharecroppers, Lewis originally wanted to be a pastor, but was eventually compelled to attend college and join the civil rights movement

The trilogy goes on to chronicle Lewis's younger years including his involvement in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), his multiple arrests for "disorderly conduct" and disturbing the peace", the march on Washington (where he was the youngest speaker), and his indefatigable advocacy for voting rights.

In addition to Lewis, the March trilogy gives accounts of other courageous champions of the Civil Rights movement. Household names like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. But also less familiar heroes such as Diane Nash, Jim Lawson, Fannie Lou Hamer,  and Bob Moses to name a few. 

Lewis, Aydin, and Powell do not shy away from the appalling and heartrending violence that took place during the Civil Rights movement.The horrific lynching of Emmet Till, the Birmingham church bombing, Bloody Sunday, and many more tragic events are painful to read about. Ultimately, though, the March trilogy is an inspiring testament to resilience, perseverance, and faith in America and all of mankind to do and be better today than we were yesterday.

The third March book received the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2016 and John Lewis's speech is one that I could watch a million times and it would still bring tears to my eyes.


Like Lewis, I have always loved books and reading. It is hard for me to even comprehend that not that long ago people were denied access to libraries. I am so thankful and humbled that men and women like John Lewis fought for the rights and freedoms of so many others. 

If you want to read about the life of Congressman John Lewis following the events in the March trilogy, Run written by Lewis and Aydin and illustrated by Afua Richardson was published in 2018.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

If you haven’t already noticed or heard, the library is back in action after the stay at home order! After the long break, everyone at the library is excited to be back and able to help you with whatever the library can help you with. However, with the continued state of COVID-19, we do have a few changes in place to make sure that everyone can be as safe and healthy as possible.

  • Until further notice, it is mandatory that anyone over the age of 2 that is entering the library must wear a mask properly, no matter the reason they are there, or the amount of time they will be in the building. If you do not have your own mask, we have disposable  masks at the circulation desk that are available for anyone that needs a mask. There will be a warning issued if you fail to wear a mask or wear a mask correctly, and after the initial warning, if you still do not want to wear a mask, you will be asked to leave the library. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY IF YOU WISH TO ENTER THE LIBRARY. HOWEVER, THERE ARE STILL OTHER OPTIONS TO USE THE LIBRARY IF YOU WISH TO NOT WEAR A MASK.
  • If you cannot wear a mask or do not want to wear a mask, there are options for you to still be able to utilize what the library has to offer. We are continuing to offer curbside pickup to anyone who would like to use it. We want everyone to be able to utilize the library however they can, but public safety is our number one priority.
  • There is also a new computer policy in place, that states that each patron will be allowed only 30 minutes per day on our computers. This is due to the fact that we had to close down most of our computers to ensure adequate space for social distancing rules. We want everyone to be able to use the computers if they need or want to, so we are putting a time limit for the day on all patrons to ensure that everyone can use a computer if they need to.

All of these new rules have been talked about at length and approved by the Portland District Library board. These new policies have been put in place to ensure safety in the library, and will be enforced accordingly.

These new policies are also going to be in effect until further notice, as there is no true way of knowing when COVID-19 is going to let up enough as to where everything can go back to normal. We also want everyone to know that we hear your concerns, and if you think that there is something that we need to be doing that we aren’t that can make the library a safer place in this time, we want to hear it. Don’t be afraid to tell a staff member that you think we could be doing something differently to ensure more overall safety, but we want to please ask that you also do so in a calm and respectful manner. This is the first time that we are all working through a global pandemic, and we are doing our best to keep everyone as safe as possible.

We as a library want to thank all of our wonderful patrons for being so cooperative with all of our new policies since we have opened up, and also want to say how excited we are to see everyone coming back into the library! We are excited to all be experiencing the first steps back into normality, and are glad that you are going to be doing so with us. So please stay safe and stay healthy, and know that we will all be able to get through this troubling time together.

Friday, June 5, 2020


I hope that everyone is staying safe and sane during this history making time of Covid-19. I am sure that most of you have already been taking advantage of the library's eResources during this time. However, I want to say a bit about a resource that you may not be as familiar with. That being our free movie streaming resource, Kanopy.

I am a BIG fan of old movies. If it's black and white, I'm there. While Kanopy has a lot of newer movies, it also has plenty of old goodies. Let me share a few that perhaps you have overlooked. All with stars you should know, and, if not, it's definitely time you met them.

Meet John Doe starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck

Penny Serenade
Keep a box of tissues handy for this tearjerker starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.

Dial M for Murder A classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller starring Ray Milland and Grace Kelly.

His Girl Friday A classic Cary Grant comedy with a strong female lead in Rosalind Russell.

The Stranger This thriller stars and is directed by Orson Welles and co-stars Loretta Young and Edward G. Robinson.

Neighbors This hilarious silent film stars Buster Keaton, who does all of his own stunts. I had my kids watch this with me and we all laughed and were amazed by Keaton's abilities.

Some more recent films that I also enjoyed:

Dead Man Walking starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn
This may not be a lighthearted movie, but it is an amazing story.

The Man Who Invented Christmas starring Dan Steven of Downton Abbey Fame.
If you like Charles Dickens, you will enjoy this fictionalized biopic of his inspiration for A Christmas Carol.

I hope you give these movies and Kanopy a try. I love to look at the clothes, furnishings, cars, and basically everything in these movies from a time gone by.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Reading Resolutions

So, we are over one month into a new year and a new decade. By now I am sure that many of us have abandoned our noble intentions of maintaining a healthy diet and exercising daily. What about reading goals for 2020, though?  If reading more isn't one of your aims for the upcoming year (and decade) there are a number of reasons why it should be.  Reading will not only make you smarter and increase your vocabulary, but studies have shown that readers are kinder, more empathetic, and even happier. Also, if you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, caregiver, etc. there is no better way to encourage little ones to be avid readers than to model that behavior.

There are oodles of apps and websites to track the books you read but the easiest and most popular of these is Goodreads. You can create an account, rate and review books, mark ones that you want to read, and set a goal number of books to read for the year. This is nice because if your resolution is just to read more, Goodreads just counts number of books. If you want to read only mysteries or romance novels or horror is your jam it doesn't really matter. Seriously, no judgement. You can read teen books, kids books, graphic novels, whatever gets you reading! I'll let you in on a secret (and I know that some people count this as cheating) but I also count audiobooks. Hey, there are only so many hours in the day and why not listen to a book while I am driving or folding laundry?

Now, if you want to go beyond just number of books and really challenge yourself to not only read but read outside your comfort zone there are a number of 2020 reading challenges available online. You can find one that you like or create one that suits you. Yep, I am a huge book nerd and also pretty low tech so I always set my own goals and keep track in just a spiral bound notebook.

Like I said I am a huge book nerd and a librarian so don't feel intimidated by my 2020 reading list/ Or maybe you think that I am a total slacker for being a librarian and if that is the case let me know in the comment section and I will try to up my game.

My 2020 Reading Resolutions
1. Newbery Medal winner-(hey, I order juvenile fiction so I like to know what other librarians think is the best book of the year for that age group). This is the first time ever that a graphic novel has won the Newbery Medal and I have heard amazing things about New Kid by Jerry Craft.
2. Printz Award Winner- This is the American Library Association award for the top teen book and since I have three teens I want to know what has been recommended for that age group. I have only read a couple of reviews for Dig, but this dramatic story of a wealthy older couple and their diverse descendants sounds very intriguing. 

3. A recommendation from my daughter- My oldest is 18 and is in her first year of college so reading something she loved makes me feel closer to her and gives us something to talk about.
4. A recommendation from my oldest son- He is 16 and spends 90% of his time playing video games so I feel like asking him for a recommendation is also encouraging him to read something.
5. A recommendation from my 13 year old son-Well, I cannot leave anyone out and this one makes me happy since my 13 year old has only recently become interested in reading. He has already asked me several times to read the Falling Kingdom series by Morgan Rhodes. Zane read this six book series in just over a week which has to be the fastest he has read anything that was not a comic book. I happen to adore fantasy so I am very excited to read this series that is being advertised as Game of Thrones for teens!

6. A book set in a country other than the United States, Canada, or England (and not written by an American, Canadian, or English author)-Unfortunately, I do not have the opportuntiy to travel very much so I just have to learn about the world and other cultures from books and I think it is important to hear stories from the people that live in those countries and cultures.
7. A nonfiction book-This is tough for me because I would much rather read fiction, but I always try to read at least one nonfiction book. I feel incredibly accomplished since I have already read a nonfiction book this year: 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End  by Scott W. Berg. I started this in December but since I finished in January I think that it counts. If you are not familiar with the largest mass execution in American history I highly recommend this book. It is extremely well-researched and Berg's writing is exceptional. It took me a while to read because I was so emotional while reading this book, but I think that it is incredibly important that we familiarize ourselves with all part of our nation's history, even the ugly parts that we would rather be forgotten.
8. A book off of the New York Times bestseller list- I think I added this because I so rarely read what is popular.
9. A book by a debut author-Like most readers I have a tendency to stick to authors and genres that I know and love so I think that it is important to try something new and unfamiliar.
10. A classic-I was an English Literature major so I have read a lot of classics (some that I would rather forget) but there are so many amazing classic novels that I have not read yet.
11. A book that I loved as a child-I am a chronic re-reader of books, especially ones that made me a lover of books and reading. That is why I think that it is important to revisit some of these treasured favorites. Last year I re-read the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, a classic fantasy series that I first read when I was about ten years old. It was just as good, if not better, reading it as an adult because I understood the language more and I could appreciate the inspiration of Celtic mythology in the series. FYI: I still despise Disney's animated film, The Black Cauldron, which does not really follow that book at all. It more takes bits and pieces of the first two books and puts them together in ways that are just not good. Feel free to hate me for this opinion, but read the books and you will understand my feelings.
12. A book that inspires me-I know that this seems pretty vague, but I want to find a book that inspires me to do and be better. Whether that turns out to be a biography about a historical figure,  a parenting book, or something educational I am not sure yet

These 12 books are the only "specific" ones that I want to read in 2020. As far as number of books total, my goal is to read at least 75 books this year. There are already several sitting on my desk just waiting for me.

Big or small, I hope that this post inspires you to set your own reading resolutions for 2020!