Congratulations and Thank you, Virginia!

photo of Virginia DonohueEven though we’re shut down, everyone at AAPLD sends a big shout-out to Virginia Donohue, who retired from her position as Adult Programming and Community Outreach Librarian on April 1.

Virginia joined the Algonquin Area Public Library District twenty three years ago, as the Young Adult Librarian. Previously, she had served as a trustee on the AAPLD Board, and also worked as an aide in the media center at H.D. Jacobs High School. Her love for teens and books was a great asset in her new role.

When the new Main Library opened on Harnish Road in 2001, Virginia moved too. Before long, she was working with genealogy, and in 2011, she took on responsibility for adult programming and community outreach. Her enthusiasm, creativity and energy expanded AAPLDs programming to include lectures on a variety of history topics, how-to workshops on everything from writing a novel to organizing your closet, plus special events such a trip to Chicago’s Hamilton exhibit, a teen talent showcase, and trivia nights.

Her involvement extended beyond the library doors. A familiar face at events such as the Algonquin and Lake In The Hills annual parades, Virginia was a member of the library cart drill team. At this year’s Club 2600 Murder Mystery night, she  did a star turn as flapper and murder suspect, Haddie Drinx. From participating in the Library Loop 5K, to dressing as a pirate, 1980s workout queen, or answering questions at a Friends of the Library information booth, Virginia loved being involved in the community.

Check out a few of Virginia’s career highlights here

Virginia says what she’ll miss most about working at AAPLD are the people. “My colleagues, my teens, my program presenters, all the patrons, the Library Friends, my contacts from the villages, to police, to schools, to businesses and being able to help, volunteer and contribute to this community!”

She plans to continue contributing to the community through her involvement in the Rotary Club of Algonquin, the D300 Foundation for Educational Excellence, and the Environment Defenders of McHenry County. She’s also applied for an appointment to the Algonquin Historic Commission.

She looks forward to having fun with her husband Chuck, who retired from AAPLD’s Eastgate Branch in March. The couple enjoys biking, boating, sledding and road trips to visit their children, grandchildren and mothers.

All the best to Virginia and Chuck, and thanks!

Tackling the TBR (To Be Read) Pile

One of the more enjoyable decisions I’ve had to make during the shutdown is what to read next.

Right before we closed, I brought home two novels for each member of my family. These, along with books we already had, ought to be enough to keep us well-read through the end of April. Since I read mostly at bedtime, finishing a book can take a while.

In early March, I started Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On. While I’ve loved her other books, and I was familiar with Simon Snow and Baz from her book Fangirl, it took me a while to get into it.

Maybe it was distractions from Coronavirus.

Maybe I wasn’t in the mood to read about magical teenagers.

Nevertheless, I persisted and finally finished it Tuesday night.

Time for a new book! Now the dilemma…what to choose?

My TBR pile (left) shows books I checked out, and books I own but hadn’t gotten around to reading. The little journal leaning against the pile is my Readers Journal, which lists books I want to read and books I’ve finished.

Usually, I choose my next read based on what’s due, but this time I took a different approach.  Keeping our mood up is really important right now, as is finding an escape from all the scary stuff out in the real world.  Since I’d just finished a novel with magical elements, I wanted something a bit more grounded in real life. Historical novels are my catnip for getting lost in a different time and place, and romance is my feel good genre. That narrowed my choices to three: Tiffany Girl by Deanne Gist, Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer, and The Duchess War by Courtney Milan.

I settled in to read the first page of each book.

The winner? Tiffany Girl by Deanne Gist. I loved how the author used detail to pull me into the world of 1897 New York City, and I was immediately taken with the main character, Flossie; an art student determined to make her way in a world not friendly to young women with big dreams.

What’s in your #TBR pile, and how did you select your next read? Share on the AAPLD Facebook page and happy reading!

Elizabeth's TBR (To Be Read) Stack:



National Book Lover’s Day


August 9th is National Book Lover’s Day!

Observed each year on August 9, (and sometimes on the first Saturday in November) bibliophiles and bookworms get to celebrate on National Book Lovers Day! Although it is unclear when the holiday originated, it is a day for all those who love to read. National Book Lovers Day encourages you to find your favorite reading place, a good book (whether it be fiction or non-fiction) and treat yourself to some quality reading time.

Historically, the very first books used parchment or vellum (calf skin) for the book pages, and the covers were made of wood and often covered with leather. These were then also sometimes fitted with clasps or straps. Public libraries first appeared in the Middle Ages. Because books at this time were written and often illustrated by hand, they were very valuable: they were often chained to a bookshelf or a desk to prevent theft!

In modern times, we now have digital or e-books. E-books (electronic book) are book-length publications in digital format, usually available through the Internet or a library database like OverDrive. E-books and e-audiobooks are read either by computer or via a portable book display device known as an e-book reader, such as a Nook or Kindle, or via a compatible smartphone device.

Studies have shown that reading can be not just entertaining, but can also have many health benefits. Reading helps reduce stress, keep the brain sharp, and can even help you sleep better. Scientists have also found that those who read are much more likely to be empathetic and understanding of others.

So whatever format of book you choose to enjoy, whatever genre, today you can just sit back, relax and READ! Use #NationalBookLoversDay to post on social media and spread the word.

May 4th is Star Wars Day: May the 4th be with you!

May the 4th Be With You
May the 4th Be With You

Why is May the 4th called Star Wars Day?

Star Wars Day is always celebrated on May the Fourth, because of a famous quote from the hugely popular science fiction series blockbuster is “May the Force (Fourth) be with you.” Say “May the 4th Be With You” out loud and you’ll hear the pun that Star Wars fans worldwide have turned into a rallying cry to proclaim their love of the saga. It’s the worldwide day to say “May the Force be with you” to all, and celebrate the beloved Star Wars story that binds our galaxy together.

While the idea of May the 4th did not start with Lucasfilm, the film company that created Star Wars has fully embraced the spirit of fandom that makes the day so special. as well as the official Star Wars social media channels (hashtag #StarWarsDay) help spread the word and showcase fan activity. More and more official partners have offered sales, giveaways and exclusives, and have hosted parties and other activities to mark the day.

May the 4th kicks off a season of celebration, particularly since the month of May has always been important to Star Wars fans. The six live-action movies of the Star Wars saga debuted in May (starting with the original Star Wars on May 25, 1977). The month of May also includes George Lucas’ birthday (May 14, 1944), and has been the traditional start date of the popular Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World Resort.

With the exciting launch of a new trilogy of movies beginning with Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie that was just released to DVD, this day is to celebrate the saga and its amazing fans, and is certain to become even bigger each year.

How will you celebrate Star Wars Day?

Check out these Star Wars related crafts:

Just in time for Star Wars Day, follow these easy steps to create your own Chewbacca bookmark

And some Star Wars related recipes:

To help celebrate May the 4th, here are some recipes for Star Wars-themed mocktails. Each drink combines fun Star Wars elements into something delicious to drink

And get your first look at Rouge One: A Star Wars Story in theaters this December by checking out the Official Teaser Trailer!

April is National Poetry Month!

national poetry monthNational Poetry Month, which takes place each April, is a celebration of poetry introduced in 1996 and organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. The Academy of American Poets' website serves as a hub for information about local poetry events during the month.

National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives.

While we celebrate poets and poetry year-round, the Academy of American Poets was inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), and founded National Poetry Month in April 1996 with an aim to:

  • highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets,
  • encourage the reading of poems,
  • assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms,
  • increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media,
  • encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and
  • encourage support for poets and poetry.

Participate in Poem In Your Pocket Day:

Every April, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, people celebrate by selecting a poem, carrying it with them, and sharing it with others throughout the day at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, and on Twitter using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Poem in Your Pocket Day was originally initiated in 2002 by the Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, as part of the city’s National Poetry Month celebration. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets made the initiative national, encouraging individuals across the country to join in and channel their inner bard.

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2016 will be held on April 21.

Download Poems for Your Pocket:
Join the celebration by printing one of the following poems from the downloadable Poem in Your Pocket Day PDF.

Poetry is best when shared, and Poem in Your Pocket Day is the perfect time to surprise someone with the gift of poetry.

Looking for inspiration to channel your inner bard with books about poems, poets, or writing poetry? Look no further than your local library! We have all the resources you might need, whether you want to enjoy a few poems, or write one of your own.

Are You a Music Binger?

Binge: a period of excessive or uncontrolled indulgence

Thanks to on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, binge watching television series (X-Files is my current binge) has become a cultural phenomenon.  Immersing yourself within the world of your favorite characters for hours and days at a time is the ultimate form of escapism.  Of course, this is nothing really new to book lovers.  The hazards of book binging have been
well documented here in previous posts.  But what about music?  Do you binge listen?

I do.  This past week, I have been binge listening to the music of The Ocean Blue.  (Here’s a taste of their music on Soundcloud)   If you're a fan of New Order, the Smiths, or R.E.M. you should definitely check them out.  After seeing the band perform live at Lincoln Hall to mark the release of their first three albums on vinyl, I have been about as earthbound as a lovesick teenager.  Discovering a new band a lot like falling in love, and I am currently in the Honeymoon phase.  Providing the soundtrack to this new romance are two music services every music binger should know.  Hoopla Digital and Freegal Music.

Thanks to the library’s subscriptions to these services, I’ve been able to saturate my soul with the sounds of The Ocean Blue.  Their first three albums are available to stream through Hoopla:

Available on Hoopla

Algonquin Library cardholders are entitled to 5 checkouts per month from this digital wonderland of content including music, movies, audiobooks and ebooks. Music albums check out for one week and may be listened to on computers, or streamed from smartphones and tablets using the Hoopla app.  Content may also be downloaded during the checkout period for offline listening.

Later releases including their latest full-length album, Ultramarine are available to stream or download through Freegal:

Available on Freegal




Freegal allows Algonquin cardholders to stream up to two hours of music per day through a web browser, or the Freegal app. Users also have the option of downloading up to 5 songs per week to keep permanently.

Have questions or need help getting started?  Stop by the library and we'll have you up and running in no time.  

So, are you ready to fall in love with a new artist?  Check out The Ocean Blue (or the thousands of other artists) available on Hoopla Digital and Freegal Music.  Your next musical binge begins here.

Read the Oscars

Not able to watch the Oscars Sunday night?  No problem.  Just read them!  While it is not unusual for Oscar nominees to come from book adaptations, this year is unprecedented.  Six of the eight Best Picture Nominees got their start on the printed (or downloaded) page: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Martian, The Revenant and Room.  You shouldn’t have trouble picking out one that sparks your interest as their subjects span many genres:  non-fiction, historical fiction, psychological fiction, romance, sci-fi, and western.  See our display for more Oscar book selections over the years.

2016 Grammy Awards

Don't forget to tune in to CBS at 7pm on February 15th to watch the 58th Annual Grammy Awards! Must-see performances include James Bay, Tori Kelly, Andra Day, Sam Hunt, and my favorites, Carrie Underwood and Ellie Goulding! 

For a full list of this years Grammy Nominees, go to

Nominated for Album of the Year
                Nominated for Album of the Year                Borrow it on Hoopla
Nominated for Best New Artist
Nominated for Best New Artist
Nominated for Record of the Year
              Nominated for Record of the Year              Borrow it on Hoopla
Nominated for Song of the Year - Girl Crush
Nominated for Song of the Year - Girl Crush       Borrow it on Hoopla
Nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album
Nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album
Nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance - Sugar

Are You a Reading Addict?

Perhaps you know the feeling. After immersing yourself in a book to the exclusion of all else for several days and nights, you awaken from your reading stupor to realize that you need:

a.) sleep.
b.) food.
c.) a housekeeper.

It doesn’t happen to everyone. Some people are perfectly capable of enjoying books without turning into the walking dead. Books are like bread and butter for them. Easily consumed and digested. Enjoyed and forgotten. No muss and no fuss.

Other people don’t consume books so much as they are consumed by books. In fact, books have the potential of eating these people alive. Days at a time may be lost on a really good book bender. Unsurprisingly, I belong to the latter group. Still recovering from a recent book binge, I’ve finally come to terms with the truth.  I am a reading addict. Call it an occupational hazard; I am a booktender with a reading problem.

Let’s review the signs, shall we?


  • Does the reader pick up books such as George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones without concern for their high page count?
  • Does it take more pages than it used to for the reader to feel satisfied.


  • Does the reader experience withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, restlessness and irritability when she does not have a good book to read?
  • Does the reader fear being stuck in a doctor’s office or on vacation without reading material?
  • Does the reader worry about where his next good book is coming from?

Physical and psychological harm:

  • Does the reader continue to read despite experiencing the physical effects of a poor night’s sleep or the emotional trauma of a bad ending.

Lack of control:

  • Is the reader able to stop a book once started?
  • Does he read for longer periods of time than planned?
  • Can the reader walk by a bookstore or library without going inside?

Failure to cut down:

  • Does the reader feel guilty about spending time reading.
  • Has the reader tried and failed in previous attempts to cut down on time spent reading.
  • Were audiobooks used as surrogates?

Time and money:

  • Does the reader spend a significant amount of time looking for good books to read, or thinking about books she has read?
  • Is the reader on a first name basis with his dealer librarian?
  • Has the reader suffered financial hardships such as overdue fines from excessive checkouts?

Lying and Secrecy:

  • Has the reader ever lied to friends or family in order to stay home and finish a book?
  • Does the reader hide books in her purse or stash them under his bed?

Avoiding Responsibilities:

  • Does the reader eschew laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, cooking, exercise, and personal hygiene in favor of reading books?

So, do you fit the profile of a reading addict?  If so, I’d like to invite you to join one of the many support groups here at the Library.  They’re called book clubs.  Sometimes it just helps to be around other people who know what you’re going through.

It also helps to share your struggles with others.  So, tell us, what’s the craziest thing you did as a result of your reading addiction?  What did you read on your last book binge? Please share your stories below in the comments section!