Celebrate Pride Month with an Award-Winning Read

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and Algonquin Area Public Library District is delighted to celebrate the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community, by highlighting some the best in LGBTQ literature, including winners of the 2021 Lambda Literary “Lammy”  Awards.

The awards are given by Lambda Literary, which began in 1987 when the owner of the Lambda Rising Bookstore in Washington D.C., published the Lambda Book Report, (now the Lambda Literary Review) covering the LGBTQ book world. The awards were launched in 1989, and award excellence in numerous categories of LGBTQ fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

AAPLD’s Adult Services staff has created a special Pride Month display, located near the reference desk, which showcases selections by LGBTQ authors, including recent Lambda “Lammy” Award winners.

Learn a little more about some of the Lambda Award winners you’ll find at AAPLD:

Written In The Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur – After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love-and the inevitable heartbreak-is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass. (Amazon.com)

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby  – “Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friendzoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. This is the bourgeois life of a Hallmark Channel dream. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with “TV executives slash amateur astrologers” while being a “cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person,” “with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees,” who still hides past due bills under her pillow. The essays in this collection draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of Irby’s new life. Wow, No Thank You is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable” (Amazon.com)

Fiebra Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopera – “In this novel told in Spanglish, fifteen-year-old Francisca is uprooted from her life in Bogotá, Colombia, and moves with her family to Miami, Florida, where she is ushered into an evangelical church and falls in love with the pastor’s daughter” (from the publisher)

Browse the display virtually here or click here to learn more about the Lamdba Awards. Place items on hold online, or give the Adult Services department a call. We’re happy to help!


Are You Illinois’ next Soon To Be Famous Author?

The eighth annual Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author contest is now open and accepting entries!

Sponsored by the Illinois Library Association, RAILS and member libraries throughout the state, the Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest recognizes the best in Adult and  Young Adult fiction by Illinois self-published authors. This year, there’s also a new contest for self-published Adult and YA fiction originally written in Spanish, De la Página a la Fama.

The contests opened April 1, and will accept entries through May 31, 2021. Winners will receive:

  • Statewide recognition by Illinois libraries as the top indie-published books in adult and young adult categories
  • Cash prizes for each winner
  • Opportunities to promote your book(s) at Illinois public libraries
  • Inclusion in a full-page print spread in Library Journal
  • Print book sales to Illinois’ public libraries
  • Inclusion in Popup Picks, a mobile media curation service offered by Reaching Across Illinois Library System, for three months
  • Opportunity to compete with other Indie Author Project (IAP) contest winners for the Indie Author of the Year award
  • Honors at the 2022 spring IAP reception
  • Opportunities to earn royalties through the IAP Select collection

To be eligible for either contest, participating authors must be over 18, and live in Illinois. The book being submitted must be self/independently published by the author, who must hold the copyright. The book must be between 50,000 and 200,000 words, and not have received any previous awards. Books must be entered in either a PDF or ePUB format. Books entered in De la Pagina a la Fama must have been written originally in Spanish.

Click learn more and submit your work to the Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest or the De la Pagina a la Fama contest.

Join the latest Big Library Read!

Feeling stressed? Then you’ll love the latest Big Library Read selection, “The Art of Taking It Easy” by psychologist, comedian and author Dr. Brian King.

The Art of Taking It Easy is a practical and hilarious book that encourages readers to embrace humor as a way to reduce stress and live a happier, fuller life.

In his book, King defines stress, discusses it’s origins and how it impacts our bodies and brains. His practical approach offers ways to deal with everyday stress, and other conditions such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, hypertension and obesity, that occur as a result. But what sets The Art of Taking It Easy apart from other books on this topic is the author’s humor, memorable stories and life-changing tips and instructions gleaned from his personal experience.  Read a sample here.

“I wrote The Art of Taking It Easy to put my insights on stress management on paper, so my
daughter, Alyssa, who is now three, can use them one day. Of course, in the process I wrote a book that can be enjoyed by anyone,” said King, in an interview with Libby/Overdrive, sponsors of the Big Library Read.

The Big Library Read is the world’s largest digital book club, with over 20,000 libraries participating. Between April 5 and April 19, library card holders can download copies of The Art of Taking It Easy with no waiting. After reading, check out the discussion questions (click here to download) and share your thoughts on The Big Library Read discussion board. And join the Professional Book Nerds podcasters for a free live conversation and Q&A session with Dr. King, Tuesday, April 13, at noon, central. Click here to register.

If you haven’t used Libby or Overdrive previously, install the free app to get started. You’ll find instructions here. Download your copy, join the fun, and master the fine art of taking it easy!


RB Magazines Moving To Libby

Your favorite RB Digital magazines now have a new home on Libby!

Starting March 31, RB Digital magazines will  no longer be available, so to read your favorite magazines, you’ll need to visit the Libby digital reading platforms. Libby is user friendly and easy to navigate, but if you haven’t used it before, never fear!  We’ll walk you through the process to find your magazines’ new location within the app.


Starting out

If you’re new to Libby, begin by downloading the free app to your mobile device. You’ll find it at all major app stores. If you prefer to read on your desktop or laptop, you can also go to https://libbyapp.com/  The website works just like the app.

When you open Libby for the first time, you’ll be prompted to locate your home library and enter your card number. Remember, if your library card was issued by a library other than AAPLD, you’ll need to enter that library as your home library, even if we’re the library you use most often.



If you have Libby installed on one device and want to sync it with another, simply open the app on the first device and tap the Libby logo in the upper right corner. This opens the menu to locate your library and enter your card number.

Kindle users should click on the Read Books With button to select Kindle.

The Get Some Help button allows you set your language preference to read in a language other than English, manage notifications, and more.



Finding the Magazines

At the bottom of the screen you’ll see three buttons:

Library- allows you to browse the entire Libby collection

Middle- takes you to the book you’re currently reading.

Shelf- this is where you find your check-outs and account information.

To find the magazines, Click the Available button at the top and then Magazines on the following page


What’s new? Takes you to a drop down where you can select the New item you want including, New in Magazines.

What’s popular? Takes you to a drop down where you can select the most popular items, including Popular Magazines.

What’s available? Takes you to a drop down where you can select Available Magazines. For our next examples, we’ll use this option.





Borrowing a magazine

The Magazine page shows magazines grouped by title. To see them by category, click “more” in the description box at the top. This will open a drop-down menu that is organized by category.  Select a category and browse available magazines.  The page will show the current and most recent editions.

The little rectangle/plus sign symbol to the right of each magazine’s name is the Borrow button.



To borrow the current issue, click the Borrow button at the top of each magazine title group.  To see inside before you borrow, click on the cover. A new page will open that will show the table of contents and other information about the issue.  Use the Borrow button to borrow the magazine.

Past issues can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking the downward facing arrow. When you find the magazine you want, click the cover for the table of contents, or use the Borrow button to borrow the magazine.


Magazines you’ve borrowed will appear on your Loans shelf. To read the magazine, click Open in Libby.


Reading Your Magazine


Click or tap the right side of the screen to advance pages. Click or tap the left to go back.

Tap READ THE ARTICLE for a reader friendly view.

To open more options, such increasing font size or changing the background color of the article tap the middle of the screen. The icons at the top allow you to zoom in, change the font size or background, search within the magazine, or mark your place.

To exit the magazine, select the Back button.


Magazine check outs are for 14 days, and there’s no limit to the number of magazines you can borrow. Your magazine loans do not count toward your book check-out limit. Still have questions? Give the library a call and ask for an Adult Services staff member.










Fascinating lives, unforgettable stories

“It is not my deeds that I write down, it is myself, my essence.”
Michel de Montaigne

Pick up a memoir this March, and get to know someone remarkable.

Whether it’s an ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances, or someone who is already a household name but has a story about how an unexpected challenge or tragedy has shaped them, memoirs can inspire, make us laugh, cry or cheer, and see our own lives through a different perspective.

What makes a memoir different from a biography or an autobiography? While the forms are similar (and shelved together at AAPLD!) a memoir is an account of a person’s life, usually the author’s, that’s centered around a theme or experience. Whether that’s a harrowing childhood, a serious illness, addiction, tragedy; or a  fight to succeed against enormous odds, a good memoir can give us insight into the writer’s experience and how we can apply those lessons as well.

To celebrate our month-long focus on memoirs, we’ve created a special collection which you can browse by clicking here.  If you stop by the Main Library, you’ll find some of our staff’s favorite memoirs displayed by the Adult Services desk, on our Staff Picks shelves.

Listed below are memoirs that have been turned into films– bonus points if you’re also looking for a March “Twice Told Tales” Reading Challenge:

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls – A journalist tells the story of her nomadic childhood in a highly dysfunctional, but uniquely vibrant family.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – Following a divorce, a writer embarks on an international journey of healing and self-discovery.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed – After battling addiction and grieving the loss of her mother, a young woman sets out alone to hike the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail.

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt – A teacher recounts his poverty-stricken Irish childhood, with humor and compassion

If you’re looking for something new or a little different, try one of these titles:

Sanctuary: a memoir by Emily Rapp Black   After losing her three year old son, a mother questions and redefines the idea of resilience.

Surviving the White Gaze: a memoir by Rebecca Carroll    A black woman’s search for racial identity, after being adopted by white parents, and later meeting her racist white birth mother.

The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames: a memoir by Justine Cowen    A British woman explores her late mother’s secret past, growing up in a notorious English orphanage.

Floating In a Most Peculiar Way by Louis Onuroah Chude-Sokei  A unique coming to America story, told by an African immigrant who finds himself in the midst of racial unrest and the growing Los Angeles hip-hop scene, in the early 1990s.

To Be Honest: a memoir by Michael Leviton   A memoir about an unusual upbringing in a family fanatically devoted to honesty, and what came next.

Celebrate Women!

March is Women’s History Month, a time to recognize the contributions of women– from great leaders, and top achievers in sports, entertainment, and literature, to the  anonymous women working daily to build a better world for their families and communities.

The annual recognition began in California as a local week-long celebration in 1978. In 1980, President Carter issued a presidential proclamation designating the second week of March as National Women’s History Week.  It was expanded to a month long event in 1987.

At AAPLD, we’re recognizing the accomplishments of women in several ways, starting with two special collections that tell women’s stories, one dedicated to books, the other to films.

A few stories you might have missed include:

Frida – Salma Hayek stars as ground-breaking Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, from her humble beginnings, to international fame as a talented painter with unique vision.

He Named Me Malala – A documentary tells the incredible story of Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, who was attacked by the Taliban for pursuing an education.

On The Basis of Sex – Felicity Jones stars as a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg, struggling to balance the demands of her rising career and new motherhood, as she partners with her husband Martin (Armie Hammer) to argue a landmark case of gender discrimination.

A Skating Life: My Story by Dorothy Hamill – An Olympic medalist and international skating star by the age of 19, Hamill faced significant personal challenges in adulthood, but found strength to persevere through her love for her daughter.

Becoming Beyonce by J. Randy Taraborrelli –  The first comprehensive biography ever published about America’s favorite living pop icon,  from New York Times bestselling biographer Taraborrelli.

Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt – If you loved Hidden Figures, you won’t want to miss this story of the women who propelled the space program from missiles to the moon and beyond.

We’re also pleased to offer these special online programs. Two focus on history-making female leaders, the other is an evening with a best-selling woman author, as she shares insights about her process and experience in the publishing industry.

On Thursday, March 18, from 6:30- 8:00 p.m., historian Jim Gibbons will present Notorious: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and her tireless crusade for women’s rights. Ginsburg was many things: Glamour magazine’s 2009 Woman of the Year, one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, a cancer survivor, and an inspiration to many. But she was not a quitter. Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993, Ginsburg served until the time of her death in September 2020. Click here to register for the program, presented on Zoom.

Best-selling suspense author Mary Kubica will present a program on Thursday, March 25 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Kubica is the bestselling author of The Good Girl and five other thrillers. Her latest novel, The Other Mrs., scored her a film deal with Netflix. Mary will discuss her writing process, how she balances her personal and professional life, and the unprecedented success of The Other Mrs. Mary’s next title, Local Woman Missing, will be released in May. Click here to register for this program, presented via Zoom.

On Wednesday, March 31, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., popular historical presenter Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., returns with a new presentation, Becoming Queen Elizabeth II, which explores the life of England’s longest reigning monarch: her childhood, the abdication of her uncle, her marriage to a navy officer named Philip, her World War II service, and her struggle to balance her roles as queen and mother. Get to know the woman behind the images, her sense of humor, and savvy intelligence with which she meets her demanding obligations. Click here to register for the program, presented on Zoom.

If you prefer to register or place your holds by phone, give the Adult Services Department a call at 847-458-6060. We’re happy to help!

Learn A Language, With a Little Help From Your Library

Speak a new language so that the world will be a new world.”
Rumi, Persian Poet


There are plenty of reasons to learn a new language. Plans for a trip abroad, communicating with a new friend or family member, making yourself more valuable at work, even boosting brain health! Studies have shown that bilingual people process information more efficiently, and learning a second language as an adult can help stave off cognitive decline.

Though Covid might have delayed your travel plans, right now is an excellent time to learn a language. Whether you’re brushing up on your skills, or starting from scratch,  your library is a great place to start!

Our world language resources include books, audiobooks and an online language learning platform called Mango.

Our world language print collection includes study guides for popular European, Asian, South American and Middle Eastern languages, American Sign Language, plus books to help you learn Latin, Hebrew, Old English and even decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

We offer dictionaries, pocket-sized, visual and comprehensive, and also phrasebooks to help you learn the language as it’s spoken in casual or business settings.

Language learning is a natural fit for audiobooks, and our collection of audio courses include Berlitz, Living Language, Fodors and Drive Time. Turn commuting, housework, or treadmill time into a daily language class, that’s both fun and productive.

Explore more of our Language collection by clicking here

If you prefer working with an online resource or an app, Mango is for you! Mango offers lessons in over 70 languages, and English As A Second Language lessons for speakers of 20 different languages. Each language has multiple lessons divided into categories, some have bonus listening and reading lessons, and there is also a collection of world-language films with breakdowns of each line of dialogue. You’ll find these under Mango’s EXPLORE tab.

To get started, download the free Mango app from your favorite app store, or log-in through our website and create an account using your AAPLD library card number. Not an AAPLD cardholder? Check with your home library to see if they subscribe to Mango. But our print and audio materials are available to reciprocal borrowers, so please stop in and browse, place a hold online, or give us a call. ¡Nos encanta ayudar!


Black History Month- By the Book

February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions and history of Black Americans, past and present.

The celebration dates back to 1926, when it was created by African American historian, educator and publisher Carter G. Woodson as a one week observance. It expanded to a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and abolitionist Frederick Douglas (Feb. 14).

We’ve created a display highlighting the work of Black authors, non-fiction titles by prominent Black voices, and films centered on Black stories. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find in our collection:

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke –  A Black Texas Ranger investigates a murder in a small town in East Texas, and uncovers a shocking secret. Steeped in the culture, music and atmosphere of the East Texas bayou country, the novel creates a vivid portrait of contemporary Black life in rural America.

No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts – A successful man returns to his North Carolina hometown to build his hillside dream home and win back the love of his high school sweetheart. But his success, contrasted with the town’s decline, forces everyone to consider what they really want from life, and how they might go about finding it.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory – When a Los Angeles writer goes to a Dodgers game with an actor she’s casually dating, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. After she refuses, she’s trailed by a camera crew, until a handsome fan comes to her rescue. When what begins as another casual affair unexpectedly blossoms into love, can she find the courage to follow her heart?

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid – An influential businesswoman tries to help her babysitter, who was falsely accused of kidnapping a child. But when a viral video reveals unwelcome aspects of the businesswoman’s past, both she and the babysitter are forced to confront what they think about themselves and each other.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – An enslaved young woman escapes from a plantation in Georgia, via the Underground Railroad, which Whitehead reimagines as a literal railroad of tracks and tunnels running beneath the ground of the Civil War-era South.

 When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole – A psychological thriller set in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood. A young woman investigating the neighborhood’s vanishing history, with the help of a new arrival, begin to uncover the deadly secret of what really happened to the departed residents.

Find these books, and lots more, in our Black History Month featured collection. Click here for more titles.






Join our Black History Month TED Talk Series

To commemorate Black History Month 2021, AAPLD is proud to offer a series of four thought-provoking TED talks, presented by leading Black authors and historians.

The Black History On Your Own Time series runs through the month of February, and there’s no registration required. To watch a talk, simply click the links below, or go to our online program calendar and select a Friday date in February to find that week’s edition. (You don’t have to watch the talks on Fridays, though).

When you’ve finished watching, answer a couple of questions about the talk to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of  Barack Obama’s new book, “A Promised Land.”

Pulitzer prize-winning author Wilkerson talks about the Great Migration and its influence on society today. The topic of Wilkerson’s best-seller,  “The Warmth of Other Suns,” the Great Migration brought southern Black cuisine, culture, religion, and music to northern cities, and gave rise to a generation that transformed those cities through hard work, and the search for a better life.
Ikard, a professor of African American and Dispora Studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, uses the story of Montgomery, Alabama civil rights icon Rosa Parks, to illustrate how Black history is misrepresented and “whitewashed,” and why this harms us all.
The Difference Between Being “Not Racist” and Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (Friday, Feb. 19) Kendi is a contributor to The Atlantic and CBS News, a Boston College humanities professor, and the author of several best-selling books, including How To Be An Antiracist, published in 2019. In his talk, Kendi defines antiracism, explains how it differs from being “not racist,” and challenges listeners to take the next steps toward building a truly racially just society.


Educator Christina Greer profiles Bayard Rustin, the man who organized the historic 1963 March on Washington. TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators.



Hail to the Chief with these Presidential Reads

This week, Joseph R. Biden will be inaugurated as our nation’s 46th president, which makes it a great time to read a book written by or about a president, his family or his legacy. AAPLD has a large collection of books devoted to American history, current events, and also biographies. If you’re taking part in Reading Resolutions, January is the month to read a biography, autobiography or memoir. Why not give a one of these a try?

Books by Presidents and Vice Presidents:

Promise Me, Dad by Joseph R. Biden

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris

Crippled America: How To Make America Great Again by Donald Trump

Dreams From My Father: A story of race and inheritance by Barak Obama

Decision Points by George W. Bush

My Life by Bill Clinton

An Inconvenient Sequel by Al Gore

An American Life by Ronald Reagan

Faith: A Journey For All by Jimmy Carter


Books About Presidents

Dead Presidents by Grady Carlson

Andrew Johnson by Annette Gordon Reed

All The President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

The President’s House: A First Daughter Shares the Secrets of the World’s Most Famous House by Margaret Truman

The Presidents vs. The Press by Harold Holzer

The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs

Abraham Lincoln by George S. McGovern

First Family: Abigail and John by Joseph Ellis

The Accidental President: Harry S Truman and Four Months that Changed the World by A.J. Baime

Zachary Taylor by John S.D. Eisenhower

John Tyler: The Accidental President by Edward Crapol

William Henry Harrison by Gail Collins

Thomas Jefferson, Revolutionary by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham

Everything Beautiful in its Time by Jenna Hager Bush

Washington by Ron Chernow

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley