It’s Raining, It’s Pouring! Bringing the Library to Your House

Next week is Spring Break but the weather forecast is filled with rain and gloom. Sometimes getting out into the rain is just to much when you have a houseful of little ones. We’ve got you covered! There are plenty offerings from the library that you can use in the comfort of your home to help keep those kiddo’s and yourself occupied.


You can put our physical books, dvd’s, video games, audiobooks, and our Grow-a-Reader packs on hold using our website. Log in using your library card number and PIN, pick out anything that strikes your fancy and then place it on hold. Our librarian’s will pull them from the shelf and let you know when they are ready to be picked up. You can even use our drive-thru!

Libby aka Sunflower eLibrary

Our digital collection is pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself. You can find books, audiobooks, and even videos! Download them to your device and you are ready to enjoy. These couldn’t be easier to use, and they will simply disappear when they are due! Go to your App store and download the Libby app to get your started today.


Hoopla is another app that you have free access to using your library card. Hoopla can be connected to any device and even your smart television! You can find movies, music, television shows, ebooks, and audiobooks. There are ten checkouts per card per month. This app can also be found in your app store. You have the option of downloading these to your device or streaming. Whatever works best for you!

RB Digital

I’m old enough to remember the thrill of opening the mailbox to find my magazine subscription had arrived. Now I use my library card to access all the magazines I can handle on my device! Dive in and take a look around. There are so many fun options for kids too. Who doesn’t love a good copy of Highlights? There are audiobooks here as well. All ready to keep you occupied on a rainy day.

Online Resources

Wanting to learn a new language? A new craft? Repair your car? Hiding in the Online Resources link above is an absolute TON of information ready to help you learn something new. Explore today!


Tumblebooks are slightly animated picture books read aloud to your child through your device of choice. They are a wonderful option when some screen time is needed. Children can choose from picture books, graphic novels, chapter books, and more.

The Derby Public Library is ready to help keep you and your kiddo’s occupied and happy during a rainy day. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Lit Pairings – Ina Garten

So as most of you probably know by now Ina Garten is my hero. Like for real! I love everything about her and her husband Jeffery. They are really who I want to be when I grow up. Ina and her husband love Paris and even have an apartment there. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris, but haven’t made it YET!

As Spring approaches I can’t help but think of Paris and all the wonderful french inspired food Ina makes. To start my ultimate day in french cooking I would make Herbed-Baked Eggs served with a delicious piece of toasted french bread. For lunch I would have to make Croque Monsieur and serve it with a tossed green salad and a glass of crisp white wine. For dinner it would have to be Lemon Chicken with Croutons served with another bottle of white wine. Make sure you finish this day of feasting with a nice cheese plate, more wine and then a nice cup of decaf espresso.

Most of these recipes can be found in Ina’s cookbook Barefoot in Paris, but I think you’ll find all of her cookbooks are amazing and tend to have a hint of frenchness to them.

If you manage to make this dream day of recipes and aren’t too stuffed after, drop me a line and let me know how amazing it was!

From Reader to Writer: Tips from a Master of Suspense

In my constant and nearly obsessive pursuit to understand the craft of creative writing, I’ve given the Masterclass platform a try. I’ve had mixed feelings on the classes, finding that the advice tends to be more vague and open-ended rather than hard concepts and techniques. I started out with James Patterson’s lessons then meandered between both Judy Blume’s and Neil Gaiman’s lectures before finally connecting with a class from suspense master, Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code.

I’ll admit to you right now that I’m not aiming to be the next Agatha Christie. When it comes to novels, I don’t write suspense, thrillers, or mysteries (I’ll save that kind of writing for our interactive mystery night events at the library). But in terms of both resonating and applicable advice, Dan Brown threw out some real gems.

Here are a few tips that might help you in your creative process without having to shell out the subscription fees.

Be Tough on Process, Gentle on Output

By this Dan Brown talked about how the process and practicality of writing is more important than the actual writing itself. With any kind of creative endeavor, it’s so easy to be tough on oneself about the quality, the content, or the tiny details, but Dan says to focus that tough-coach energy on getting to your desk every day and being firm about the practical goals of when and how often you will work. Gentleness and forgiveness with oneself needs to be applied to what happens when you’re actually there. If you got to your laptop or notebook today to work, you’ve done your job. What actually happened on the page isn’t nearly as important.

Give Crazy Ideas a Chance

In other words, write the wrong thing in order to write the right thing. This is definitely where I’m at with my work. Writing requires a lot of decision-making. Everything from how a character develops to how the story unfolds is entirely up to the writer. I tend to get stuck on what the “right” decision is for the story, but Dan Brown recommends giving crazy ideas a chance, especially in the early stages of a project. Writing the weirdest or wackiest ideas first without worry of someone’s judgement is the best way to get to those answers that feel the most beneficial for your story.

“Write like no one is watching…because no one is watching ”

Dan Brown

Set the Table for Breakfast

Whether you plan to be creative in the morning, afternoon, or evening, Dan recommends “setting the table” for the next session’s work. This means if you’re wrapping your day’s work by finishing a chapter, go ahead and start the paragraph of the next chapter. Give yourself something to pick up from when you sit down the next day so you aren’t just staring at a blank page or need to go back and re-read everything to remember where you left off. Give yourself as much of an upper hand for tomorrow’s work, and even if the work you added ends up in the trash bin, you’ve at least provided a spring board to start for the next day.

The subjectivity of writing can be both a gift and a curse. Unlike dancing or singing which has a defined and regimented technique, writing can be interpreted in so many ways, and the techniques that work for one writer don’t always work for another. However, I’ve found that the best way to figure out what methods or advice work for you is to listen and try them. Go forth, creator, and be both tough and gentle, crazy with new ideas, and prepared for the work that’s waiting for you.

Playtime at the Library

Tucked into the back of the Derby Public Library lives the Arlee Killion Children’s Early Literacy Area. It’s easy to tell which of the children entering the building have played there before because the voices of our librarians follow them as they race by, “Walking Feet!”. They know that once they get past the shelves filled with adult books, the train table, and the picture books lies a section just for them.

A wonderland of experiences and activities fill the Early Literacy Area. Everything in the ELA is specifically designed to help children ages 6 and under develop their literacy muscles. A child may look like they are playing dress-up with the capes, until you lean in a little closer and discover they have created an elaborate back-story for the character they are pretending. Another child is off using a truck to move blocks but really they are strengthening their hands to make them ready to hold a pencil. Little do these children know that what seems like play to them is actually equipping them with exactly what they need to thrive at school!

So whether your child is cooking in the play kitchen, putting on a puppet show, or slowly but surely placing the rings back on the yellow holder, they are soaking up early literacy skills. Come catch your breath while your young charges scatter to the various corners of the ELA, safe in the knowledge that they are learning while they play.

Early Literacy Area Hours:

Monday: 9am-6pm Tuesday: 11am-8pm Wednesday: 11am-8pm Thursday: 9am-8pm Friday: 9am-5:30pm Saturday: 9am-4:30pm Sunday: 1pm-4:30pm An adult or teen 13 or older must stay with their children while playing in the ELA.

Our Imagination Station is a Pizzeria this month! This changes every month.
Play area with toys for children ages 2 and under

I Take My Books How I Take My Coffee…

Admit it, we all have a type. Some of us prefer the dark and seductive. Some prefer the sickeningly sweet. Others still prefer the strong and straightforward choice. There are many options. Most (if not all) are enticing, but still our vice calls to us.

My vice is coffee. I’ll take it any way I can get it, but a lady does have her preferences. Maybe you’ll find your preferences connect from book to beverage as well.

Tea (earl grey): Beverages :: Literature : Novels

Refined is the theme here. These pages, and leaves, have stood the test of time. Extras are not required. Austen, Shakespeare, Bronte, Melville, Wilde, Lee, Tolstoy, Elliot, Dickens… what more could a reader require? Once each of the classics have been read, though that is a lofty goal, one might move from here into the modern classics or contemporary novels. Who says you cannot read a book more than once, though? Certainly not us.

Prepackaged : Beverages :: Graphics & Comics : Novels

Do you regularly sit in front of a screen into the wee hours of the morning? Is a controller glued to your hand? Is there a checkered board in front of you? Is that a cheeto in your hand? Graphic Novels and Comics might be your preferred choice of literature. Yes, I do mean literature. Have you read “V for Vendetta”, or, like, any comic? They are all so political it’d be hard to miss the theme. It’s just presented in a different format. Just like those drinks in the cooler at the gas station: its still coffee… it just has a few preservatives in it. Drink with caution. They’re addicting.

Hot Chocolate : Beverages :: Chapter books: Novels

There’s something so comforting about a good hot chocolate. I don’t know about you, but it takes me back to childhood Christmases. Just because those days have passed (for me), doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy the beverage, though. Same goes for the books. Just because the main characters are young, doesn’t mean the novels are any lesser. Read with pride my people. Harry Potter and The Giver do not lessen with time.

Frapuccino : Beverages :: Young Adult Books: Novels

Ah, to be young and not worried about the amount of sugar sure to go to your hips, or tummy, or that annoying double chin I got at twenty-five. Truth is, we all know we’re going to drink it anyway. It’s too good to pass up! It’s just a natural an unconcerned pick for many teens. In the same notion, we all know that new YA book. We all want to read it. We all feel awkward as we traipse the YA shelves of the local library. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, though. A little indulgent, perhaps, but worth the calories.

*Iced Coffee : Beverages :: Young Adult: Novels

**A slightly more adult version of those YA novels. It’s still iced, but a bit less sweet. It’s a bit more to the point– sharper. Watered Milked down a bit, sure, but one cannot be expected to go cold turkey!

Black Coffee: Beverages :: Nonfiction : Novels

“Just the facts, ma’am.”

Actually, I find this beverage also fits the Hard Science Fiction Reader as well. Sometimes High Fantasy draws in the black coffee drinkers as well. It’s science driven. It’s an epic journey, magic driven but more serious than flouncy. These extra genres require no sweetness.

Flat White: Beverages :: Genre Fiction : Novels

So, you enjoy your coffee but you won’t turn down a bit of milk or sugar? It’s not watered down, its plot padding!

Affogato: Beverages :: Specific Genre Fiction(s): Novels

Indulgent. A specialty, many have never considered this option. Once you’ve tried it, it’s hard to go back though. Keep a pint of ice cream in the freezer, just in case you come across one of those nights you need a little something extra.

Chai Latte: Beverages :: Realistic: Novels

Can’t pick between coffee and tea, can you? You own a high brow library (all read and enjoyed), but keep eying that new book at the library. You know, the low brow one you’d never tell your friends about. Rest easy, my friends. We can meet in the middle at a realistic choice.

Pumpkin Spiced Latte : Beverages :: Bestsellers : Novels

Basic. If so many enjoy it, why can’t you. Well, I’m here to tell you: you can, Becky. You can do it! Any kind of reading, is good reading… and any kind of coffee, is good coffee. Why force yourself to drink something different? That PSL calls to you! The barista even knows your name! Why go with some random book you’ve barely heard of, when Patterson, Evanovich, and Grisham know exactly what you like? Ignore the haters, Becky. I got you.

White Chocolate Mocha Latte : Beverages :: Contemporary Romance : Novels

It’s so sweet. From the whipped top, to the white chocolate syrup, it’s designed to hit that sweet tooth with everything it’s got. It’s almost too much, but not quite enough to deter you.

Dulce de leche : Beverages :: Erotic Romance : Novels

Ingredients: kahlua, dulce de leche, coffee, chocolate, heavy cream, sugar

Adult readers only! You must be 21 or older to buy this beverage. With heaps of chocolate, Kahlua (or any liquor of your choice, really), and a heavy dose of heavy cream… this drink is positively sinful. You may feel a bit guilty about this kind of indulgence, even. Ain’t no shame in the game though, honey. As long as you’re legal buying age, everyone deserves a bit of adult relaxation.

I hope if these aren’t your go to genres now, that maybe you’ll consider reading them in the future. Perhaps the reverse as well, try a new beverage! It might be the best one yet.

Happy Reading my friends — Chelsea

Random Reading Thoughts: How do you feel about the classics?

I recently ran across a blog post that ranked the classics based on Goodreads user ratings. The post is titled “The Most Loved and Hated Classic Novels According to Goodreads Users.” Most loved and hated? I was completely intrigued!

Like many people, I was assigned to read many books that carry the label “classic” while I was in high school. Among them were The Scarlet Letter, A Tale of Two Cities, Tom Sawyer, and Pride and Prejudice. I learned quickly that I don’t like anything by Charles Dickens and I love Mark Twain. I never read The Scarlet Letter, and still haven’t to this day. And I’m pretty sure my English teacher was completely aware of that.

So, it was with these and many other reading — and non-reading — experiences with classic novels, that I read the blog post. I was not particularly surprised that To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee made the top of the most-loved list (it’s one of my favorites). But I was surprised to see The Godfather by Mario Puzo on the list at all. But once I looked at the parameters the post author used to define “classic novel” it made sense. Other top-rated titles that I read (or was supposed to read and didn’t) in high school include Pride and Prejudice and The Brothers Karamazov.

Bottom of the list? The aforementioned The Scarlet Letter. In the interest of full disclosure, it still rates an average 3.4 stars from readers, and several of my friends have given it 5-star ratings. So I feel like the term “Most Hated” is a little bit of a misnomer when you look at it that way. Other titles that join Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic at the bottom of the list include Moby Dick by Herman Melville and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Two more titles I’ve never read, and don’t plan to.

Even with the apparent issues in making a list such as this, it’s compelling to consider what elements a book needs to include to qualify as a piece of “classic literature.” For instance, I surely don’t consider The Great Gatsby the Great American Novel. I thought it was a horrible book. But I do love Jane Austen and John Steinbeck (yes, I love The Grapes of Wrath, but I didn’t have to read it in high school).

So tell us in the comments, do you have classics that you love or love to hate? Were there classics you had to read in school that you ended up loving? Have you approached classics later in your life and had different reactions to them? Share your favorite classic novel, or the worst one you’ve ever read. We want to know!

Read-Alongs aka Parental Game Changers

As a parent I sometimes struggle with balancing screen time with book time. Kids seem to naturally gravitate to the screens in their lives. So I love it when I find something that can bridge this gap! The Read-Along Collection on the Libby App solves this on-going dilemma. 

The Derby Public Library has over 400 Read-Along picture and early reader books ready for you to borrow. Each book is read aloud to your child, pages automatically turning, and the words are highlighted as they are said. Even for pre-readers, these help develop those literacy skills that will help them thrive in school.

Plus they are fun! To further entice your kiddo, some of their favorite television and movie characters can be found: Dora the Explorer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Blaze, Paw Patrol, and more! 

To find these books:

  1.  Open the Libby App, scroll down a bit
  2.  Click on Explore
  3.  Click on Guide: Kids, scroll down some more
  4.  Click Read-Alongs

 From there employ the filters to find just the perfect title, even non-fiction is available. So for those times you can’t make it into the library to pick up new books, long road trips, or when you just need 5 whole minutes of peace, Read-Alongs are here to save the day!

Lit Pairings – City of Thieves

City of Thieves by David Benioff

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

Usually WWII books just aren’t my jam. I feel like unless you’re a history buff, once you’ve read a few books on the topic you’re good. But I found City of Thieves to be the exception. I’ve never read anything that explained how desperate things got in Leningrad during that time. It was a moving story that will forever be ingrained in my mind.

So how should I write a food related blog centered on a book about war and starvation? Probably a little like my post about The Hunger by Alma Katsu that focused on The Donner Party. Like the Donner Party, the people of Leningrad were rumored to have resorted to cannibalism, but instead of showing you another rib recipe I think we’ll go another route. In City of Thieves you were considered lucky if you could even get your hands on a onion! So, how about you hope your neighbor has a tomato stashed away, you offer up your precious onion, like it’s your first born, and together you could make Tomato Onion Stew. If things started looking up you may find some wild creature roaming the bombed streets. Do your best to catch it, and make Old Fashioned Wild Game Stew. You probably won’t have any veggies to put in it but maybe, just maybe you saved a little of your daily onion and you could drop that in? Sounds like a plan to me!

All kidding aside City of Thieves by David Benioff is a wonderful read. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Five

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

First line: There are two versions of the events of 1887. One is very well known, but the other is not.

Summary: Everyone has heard the story of Jack the Ripper. He haunted the streets of Whitechapel preying on women. His victims known as the canonical five are Polly, Annie, Elisabeth, Catherine and Mary Jane. His story has been researched and turned over hundreds of times but very little is actually known about the women whose lives he took. Here are their stories.

My Thoughts: I have recommended this book to anyone and everyone! I was completely engrossed in it. It is thoroughly researched and well written. It reads like fiction and is easy to get caught up in these women’s lives. I found myself hoping for better outcomes as I read even though I knew how each of their stories was a going to end.

Rubenhold brings these women and the times that they lived to the forefront. Everyone thinks that they know the victims. They were prostitutes right? Wrong. Some were but not all five. Each has a story to tell. I could not believe the detail put into their narratives. Using housing records, census, interviews and newspaper reports we get fuller picture of their lives.

Sometimes we romanticize the Victorian time period but it was anything but ideal. People were barely able to care for their families. Housing was not always safe or healthy. Disease, alcoholism and poverty were prevalent. How people survived is astounding.

If you love history, true crime or biographies than this is perfect for you. It is full of information that will keep you reading until the very end.

FYI: There is very little mentioned about Jack the Ripper. This book focuses on the women only and the time that they lived.

Lit Pairings – My Life in France

My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme

The bestselling story of Julia’s years in France—and the basis for Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams—in her own words.
Although she would later singlehandedly create a new approach to American cuisine with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, Julia Child was not always a master chef. Indeed, when she first arrived in France in 1948 with her husband, Paul, who was to work for the USIS, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever with her newfound passion for cooking and teaching. Julia’s unforgettable story—struggles with the head of the Cordon Bleu, rejections from publishers to whom she sent her now-famous cookbook, a wonderful, nearly fifty-year long marriage that took the Childs across the globe—unfolds with the spirit so key to Julia’s success as a chef and a writer, brilliantly capturing one of America’s most endearing personalities.

One night a few weeks ago I decided to snuggle up and re-watch “Julie and Julia”, and I realized although I had thoroughly read Julia Child’s cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” I had never read “My Life in Paris”. Luckily I work at a library and we had a copy available. I’ve never been much of a nonfiction reader and thought I’d probably just skim through it but after the first chapter I was hooked! What an amazing life Julia and her husband Paul had! Not only did they have the opportunity to travel and live in several amazing spots, but they were both incredibly intellectual and artistic people.

As you can imagine this book is FILLED with amazing food. Not just Julia’s recipes but also a vivid account of all the amazing meals she and Paul ate during their travels. As in the movie one of Julia’s first meals she has in Paris is Sole Meuniere.I’ve had this dish in a restaurant, and I’ve made it at home and it’s so delicious. I don’t think you can talk about Julia’s recipes without including her Boeuf Bourguignon. I think this dish would be perfect to make during these cold winter months. To end your meal I think you should do what Julia says they do in France and finish with a Cheese Plate.

As Julia would say – Bon Appetit!