What’s On Acorn TV?

Staying home has given us an opportunity to use our virtual library, and one of our new favorite discoveries, is Acorn TV.

The streaming service carries series television and movies from the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Many of Acorn TV’s most popular shows are based on well-loved cozy mysteries– great news for our patrons who can’t get enough amateur sleuths! But there’s also comedy, family drama, historical drama and dark, spooky fare.

So what are AAPLD staff members’ recommendations?

Since I’m craving lighter stories these days, I suggest 800 Words , a New Zealand-set family drama that reminds me of Parenthood, and Northern Exposure, with beaches.  When a recently widowed newspaper columnist moves his family to the seaside community where he vacationed as a kid, things don’t go quite as planned. With quirky locals, gorgeous scenery and surfing, it’s a great escape that has both humor and heart.

Youth Services Librarian Jen Jezwinski is loving the Agatha Raisin series, about a high-powered London PR executive who chucks it all for a quiet life in the Cotswolds. Life doesn’t stay quiet for long, as she becomes tangled in a murder mystery and discovers a knack for detecting. Based on M.C. Beaton’s cozy mystery series, (check out the audiobooks on Hoopla), the show has witty banter and great characters. Jen recommends the series for fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, or Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

And speaking of Miss Phryne Fisher, fans of the popular books by Kerry Greenwood, will enjoy the television adaptation, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, set in 1920s Australia. Adult Services Librarian Kristen McCallum describes it as fun and lighthearted, as the sassy, unconventional heroine faces off with a smitten detective to solve murders.  A new movie, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, and spinoff series, Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries are also available on Acorn.

Kristen also likes Blood, an Irish series which she calls an excellent mix of suspense, family drama, and mystery. “Prodigal daughter Cat Hogan returns home for her mother’s funeral and begins to suspect her father may have had something to do with her death.  Absolutely bingeworthy!”

In the mood for something darker? Karin Litwin of Adult Services, suggests you give Loch Ness a try. This mini-series, set in a community near the famous Scottish lake, has a police officer handling her first murder case and it’s a serial killer.  “There’s a lot of secrets, some red herrings, and some gross dead bodies but all in all a very entertaining Scottish police procedural.  Don’t watch too late at night though.”

Access AcornTV through the AAPLD website.

  1. Select Virtual Library on our home page.
  2. Click Videos
  3. Scroll down to RB Digital to find the link to AcornTV. You’ll need your AAPLD card number to set up an RB Digital account, if you don’t have one already.

Your subscription is good for 7 days. After it ends, the next time you log in, you’ll need to re-enter your card number and password.

Share your favorite AcornTV discoveries with us on Facebook or Twitter. Happy viewing and stay safe!

Celebrate Free Comic Book Day and Star Wars with Your Library!!!

Sad news everyone.  The Library’s Geek Out event (May 2nd) has been canceled, Free Comic Book Day has been postponed, new comics aren’t being shipped.  And Star Wars day, May the 4th?  Well, I guess Star Wars day is OK, but you can’t celebrate it with everyone you’d probably like to.  Luckily, the Library’s got a way to get you through this.  We have lots of resources that allow you to celebrate the things you geek out about.  

Now is a great time to catch up on some comics and graphic novels you’ve been meaning to read and you can do that digitally through Hoopla on your computer or laptop, your tablet, or even your smartphone.  Hoopla has tons of graphic novels and comics from many different publishers including Marvel, DC, Image, Darkhorse, and Boom.  Follow the links below to check them out!

Hoopla comics

Did you know that Marvel made audiobook versions of graphic novels?  They are more like voice acted versions of the graphic novels with pretty awesome sound effects.  You can check those out here:

There are plenty of resources you can find through the Library to help you can celebrate Star Wars Day on Monday, May 4th.  Below is a list of Star Wars related material that you can find through our online library.


Overdrive / Libby

RBdigital Magazine


Did you know that several Star Wars languages were inspired from or just using different Earth languages?  Below are a couple of examples and how you could also learn those languages.  Maybe after learning a few languages you can create your own Star Wars universe language!!!

Mango Languages

  • Indonesian language inspired Kanjiklubber, a new language that appears in Star Wars, The Force Awakens
  • In The Phantom Menace’s pod-racing scene,  Anakin’s owner Watto and competitor Sebulba inexplicably speak back and forth in Finnish, saying “Kiitos!” (Thank you!) and “Ole hyvä!” (You’re welcome!)

Here is a short list of some websites that you can also use to celebrate Star Wars not only on May 4th, but throughout the year.

I hope this list gives you a way to celebrate comics and Star Wars this weekend and in the future. The Library is looking forward to celebrating these awesome days with you in the future, but for now, you can Geek Out on your own.

Keep on reading – and – May the Force Be With You

Kenny D.

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Getting to Know Your Digital Library

When you walk into the Main Library on Harnish Drive, or the Eastgate Branch, it’s not hard to find your way around. Not only is there friendly staff available to help, you can see for yourself where things are located.

Adult fiction is on the right. New releases are straight ahead, and video, audio book and music collections are toward the back. Shelf signs guide you to special collections.


But with a website, it can be less obvious. That’s why I love the new Digital Collections page on the AAPLD website.

From the aapld.org homepage, you’ll find it at the top of the drop down menu, under the ONLINE LIBRARY tab.

What’s great about this page is that it organizes the library’s digital collections by the types of material found in each one, similar to how the real-life library is arranged. Whether it’s audio books, digital comics (they have them–who knew?), video or something else, the page provides a starting place that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.

AAPLD.org Ditigal Collections page

Even better, when you open each tab, you’ll not only find links to our various digital services, you’ll find tutorials about how to use the services, where to download apps, and more! There’s even a link to email your questions to our staff.

Audiobooks collection page

Which brings me to another point…see the colorful WE ARE HERE! badge on the right side of the screen? Well, we are here for you, even though the library is closed. Our new chat service will put you in touch with an AAPLD staff member in real time, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and starting May 2, on Saturdays, too. So if you need information, instructions, or just a recommendation for a great book, we’d love to hear from you.

Stay home, stay well and we look forward to seeing you again!


Forever Young (05/11/2020): Dark Energy

Dark Energy (cover)

Dark Energy by Robinson Wells

We are not alone. They are here. And there’s no going back. Perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the I Am Number Four series, Dark Energy is a thrilling stand-alone science fiction adventure from Robison Wells, critically acclaimed author of Variant and Blackout. Five days ago, a massive UFO crashed in the Midwest. Since then, nothing-or no one-has come out. If it were up to Alice, she’d be watching the fallout on the news. But her dad is director of special projects at NASA, so she’s been forced to enroll in a boarding school not far from the crash site. Alice is right in the middle of the action, but even she isn’t sure what to expect when the aliens finally emerge. Only one thing is clear: everything has changed.

Next Meeting:
May 11th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual Library

Register for online meeting here


Music To My Ears

Ear Buds on a laptop keyboardSocial distancing means getting used to working from home. While I was a home based freelance writer for a long time, working from home while two other family members are working too, is a challenge.

Music is my workday friend. Not only is listening fun and relaxing, there’s the added benefit of cutting down on distractions. There are lots of  streaming services out there, and many offer a free listening option, but the free accounts usually come with lots of ads, which add more distractions.

That led me to try Freegal (the name combines FREE and LEGAL), a music streaming and download service offered by AAPLD.

  1. To find Freegal, select the Online Library tab on the aapld.org home page
  2. Choose Online Resources and scroll down the alphabetical list of databases
  3. Click the link for Freegal, and subscribe by entering your library card number

Once you’re in, the Freegal homepage will show how many songs you’re allowed to download per week. In my case, the number is 5. Freegal also offers the option to stream music, either from existing playlists (try AAPLD’s jazzy Murder at Club 2600 list), or from a playlist you create yourself. Browse Freegal’s catalog by choosing genres, or searching for artists.

To search by artist, type a name into the search box to access everything in the Freegal catalog associate with that artist, including entire albums.

When I searched Cage the Elephant, I found a list of the band’s most popular songs. Since the song I was looking for wasn’t listed, I scrolled down to their albums, clicked open their most recent, and found it there. The little gray icons give you the option to download the song, or add it to a new or existing personal playlist. There’s also an option for Wishlist. (I’m not sure what this is, but some songs are restricted from downloading, so maybe it’s connected to that.)

Songs added to a personal PLAYLIST don’t count toward your download limit, I chose that, and continued searching until I had a playlist of about 10 songs. No matter which option you choose, you can access your music by selecting My Music from the menu on the left, then choosing SONGS (for downloads) or PLAYLIST.

There’s a lot to explore on Freegal, and I’m just scratching the surface, but it’s fun to have a new option for music, especially with one that comes with no monthly fees or commercials.

Want more music from your library? Check out Hoopla and Overdrive, too.

Happy listening and stay well!

​Happy National Poetry Month!

2020 National Poetry Month Poster (1)

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, marking poetry’s important place in our lives. 

Now, as we face an unprecedented circumstance, National Poetry Month has taken on new meaning and importance. Poetry and inspiring language can help bring solace and needed strength. 

The Academy of American Poets is committed to bringing poetry to the widest possible audience. The organization offers activities, initiatives, and resources, which have been adapted so that anyone can join in online and at home and—hopefully—find comfort, resilience, and connection.
Poem in Your Pocket Day 2020 is on April 30th and is part of National Poetry Month. Poetry is best when shared, and Poem in Your Pocket Day is the perfect time to surprise someone with the gift of poetry. You can join the celebration by printing one of the following poems from the downloadable Poem in Your Pocket Day PDF for 2020.
More Ways to Participate​: ​It’s easy to participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day from a safe distance. Here are some ideas of how you might get involved:
  • Select a poem and share it on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem. 
  • Simultaneously participate in the Shelter in Poems initiative, and select a poem that brings you solace during this time of distance and solitude. Share what it means to you and use the hashtags #pocketpoem and #ShelterInPoems.
  • Print a poem from the Poem in Your Pocket Day PDF and draw an image from the poem in the white space, or use the instructions on pages 59-60 of the PDF to make an origami swan. 
  • Record a video of yourself reading a poem, then share it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or another social media platform you use. 
  • Email a poem to your friends, family, neighbors, or local government leaders.
  • Schedule a video chat and read a poem to your loved ones.
  • Add a poem to your email footer.
  • Read a poem out loud from your porch, window, backyard or outdoor space. 
How the Algonquin Public Library is participating: Check out our Facebook page to see videos of our staff members reading aloud a new poem every day this month!
Hoopla: Poetry (e-books and e-audiobooks)
Crafts you can do at home:
Blackout poetry:
Found poetry:
Make your own magnetic poetry kit:
Online poem generators:
ReadWriteThink: April is National Poetry Month! Resources and Activities


Catnip for News Junkies

folded newspaper next to a computer

Confession. I’m hooked on the news. These days, I suspect a lot of us are.

It’s also more important than ever that we can trust our news sources. As someone who started college as a journalism major, and worked as a freelance reporter for a number of years, daily newspapers are my preferred medium. I like to read the news, think about it,  and often fact-check it.

I already have digital subscriptions to several papers, and was excited to learn that AAPLD is now offering access to a paper not in my digital portfolio, The New York Times. I set up an account, and within minutes I was reading coverage from one of the nation’s COVID-19 epicenters, discovering a new recipe for grain bowls, and watching a video of a song I’ve added to my Spotify list.

Setting up an account is easy.

  1. On the AAPLD homepage, choose Online Library, then Online Resources from the drop-down menu.
  2. Scroll down to the Online Resources by Name alphabetical list. Find and click New York Times Online.
  3. Open the link and you’ll see something that looks like this. Click REDEEM.NYT Online REDEEM screen
  4. Enter your email address and create a password.

While the subscription length is 72 hours, if you return after that, simply repeat the first three steps, then enter your existing username and password.

Want more news? Though our quiet reading room is closed at the moment, there are plenty of options available. Scroll through our Online Resources list and you’ll also find access to the Northwest Herald, and Pressreader, which offers access to more than 6000 publications in more than 60 languages.

Prefer magazines? Scroll down to the link for RBdigital, where you’ll find publications ranging from the New Yorker and Smithsonian to The National Enquirer. Even better, RBdigital links to Acorn TV, a popular streaming service carrying acclaimed British and Australian TV, including the Miss Fischer’s Murder Mystery series. You can also download an RBdigital app so you can read and watch on the go…once we’re on the go again.

Have your AAPLD library card number handy to set up accounts quickly and easily. Stay informed, stay entertained and stay safe.

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:



Great Books (08/21/2019): A Canticle for Leibowitz

A Canticle for Leibowitz (cover)

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Mill

In the depths of the Utah desert, long after the Flame Deluge has scoured the earth clean, a monk of the Order of Saint Leibowitz has made a miraculous discovery: holy relics from the life of the great saint himself, including the blessed blueprint, the sacred shopping list, and the hallowed shrine of the Fallout Shelter.

In a terrifying age of darkness and decay, these artifacts could be the keys to mankind’s salvation. But as the mystery at the core of this groundbreaking novel unfolds, it is the search itself—for meaning, for truth, for love—that offers hope for humanity’s rebirth from the ashes.

Next Meeting:
August 21st @ 7:00 PM at Harnish Library