The library — a place for art!

When you think of libraries, you likely think of books, movies, and maybe even a children’s area. All could be considered a form of art. But did you know here at the Derby Public Library, our collections of art also include, well, art.

“Strawberry Fizz” was featured in an exhibit of macro photography recently in the Gathering Space Gallery.

The library has two galleries in which different forms of visual art are regularly displayed. The Gathering Space Gallery, which includes the Community Room and main entry of the library, shows several exhibitions a year, including one every spring that features students from Derby schools.

The High Wall Gallery is inside the library, in the business and genealogy area. Smaller exhibitions are displayed in this gallery, often including works from library patrons and Derby community members. Since it is a smaller space, artists with a smaller body of work also get the opportunity to exhibit.

Library records show that the Derby Arts Council was officially organized in 2010. The Arts Council is a volunteer group made up of community members who have an interest in art.

“Touching the Clouds” by Steve Marler is a quintessential Kansas photograph.

The board seeks out local artists, bringing their work into our community, allowing members of the community to expand their experience with art. The goal of the library is to encourage appreciation of and participation in the visual arts.

If you visit the library regularly, you have probably noticed the many types of artwork that have been on display. The Arts Council is pleased to be able to bring various forms of art and different mediums to the public.

One of the artists whose work has been featured is cut paper art by Angie Pickman. This piece is titled Prairie Rows.

Past exhibitions have included sculpture, abstract art on plywood, along with traditional oil paintings and photographs.

However, the Arts Council doesn’t just share the art with the community, it makes every effort to bring the artist to the community as well. Artists are encouraged to host a reception, allowing members of the community to meet the artist and learn about the art, directly from the person who created it.


I Dream of Dragons

So I’ve got a little confession to make…I am so obsessed with dragons right now. To be fair, I think everyone is a little obsessed with dragons what with Game of Thrones and this new Starbucks “secret menu” Dragon Frappuccino that’s riding on the coattails of the Unicorn Frap. Even though I get that it’s a mythological being, I totally want to own (or be) a dragon.

The infamous “secret menu” dragon frappuccino from Starbucks!

It all started innocently enough. I binge watched Game of Thrones to catch up for the upcoming season, and I was on the hunt for a fun and easy IOS game that had a similar fantasy feel. Then I stumbled upon DragonVale, this adorable game that lets you collect and hatch all kinds of dragons, and I was hooked! I mean, I get to literally be a Mother of Dragons!! The game has been around for a few years, and the design, the animation, and the little story lines are so cool!

Now if you’re like me, when you get into something, you REALLY get into it. It’s like finding an awesome song and playing it on repeat for three days until you start hallucinating a little. So, naturally, if I was watching shows with dragons and playing a game with dragons, I had to start reading a book with dragons too, and I found the Wings of Fire series by Tui Sutherland!

If you know a reluctant reader, young or old, or someone who loves adventure, fight scenes, and mysterious prophecies, these books are the perfect fit. The series begins in the wake of this terrible war between three Sand Dragon sisters who are battling for the throne. A prophecy appears promising five dragonets of destiny who will choose the right leader and save the world, but Clay, Tsunami, Sunny, Glory, and Starflight aren’t sure if they can save anyone, even themselves.

If you are a dragon lover like me, throw on your Mother of Dragons t-shirt, cozy up with a Dragon Frappuccino, and be it with a show, a game, or a book, dive into a dragon’s world of flight, fire, and fantasy!

Early May new release titles

Isn’t it fun that new books just keep coming and coming? However, it means that my to-read list is always getting longer, no matter how fast I finish books! How do you decide what book you should read next? Do you keep a stack of books on your nightstand and read them top to bottom? Do you have a “hopeful” stack that you think you’ll pull your next book from? I am so easily distracted by the new, shiny titles, that some of my to-reads have been in the stack for years!

So, let’s add to those piles or throw something shiny and new into the mix with these books that are being released in early May.

A Court of Wings and Ruin
“A Court of Wings and Ruin” is the third title in the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas.

May 2: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas
My heart is beating so fast just thinking about getting my hands on the third installment in Maas’ Court of Thorns and Roses series. I’m dying to see what Feyre has planned in the Spring Court, and where things are going on the other side of the wall in Prythian. War is looming and one slip by Feyre could bring not only Prythian down, but could cost Feyre everything she loves.

May 2: The Boy on the Bridge (The Girl With All the Gifts #2) by M.R. Carey
From Goodreads: “Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.
The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.
To where the monsters lived.”

“Into the Water” is a new thriller by Paula Hawkins, author of “The Girl on the Train.

May 2: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
A single mother is found dead in the river, in the same place a teenage girls was found just a little earlier that summer. Are the two deaths related? A lonely 15-year-old girl is left behind in the care of an aunt she doesn’t know, a woman who vowed never to return to the place she left. And the river is disturbed and secrets are beginning to emerge.

May 9: Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
Nora and Theresa Flynn leave their small village in Ireland and travel to America, to a new home in Boston. Decisions are made by both sisters that will have long-term repercussions, as 50 years later, when Nora is the matriarch of a large family and Theresa is in a convent in rural Vermont, a sudden death forces them to face choices they made long ago.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much
Amanda Quick’s latest novel, “The Girl Who Knew Too Much,” is set in 1930s California.

May 9: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
It’s California in the 1930s, and reporter Irene Glasson finds a beautiful actress staring up at her from the bottom of the pool in an exclusive little town where Hollywood’s elite go for privacy. The dead woman was the keeper of a secret about one of Hollywood’s leading men, a scoop that Irene was hoping to land. Now the rookie reporter is investigating murder.

May 11: New Boy (Othello) by Tracy Chevalier
This is the fifth installment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series (which also includes titles from Margaret Atwood and Anne Tyler). From Goodreads: “The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970’s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.”

The Magic of Movie Making

The library’s Moviecraft program started with a simple idea. Besides a degree in English, I have a degree in film production and screenwriting and a degree in social work. I knew how to film, and I knew how to work with young people. One of our staff members recommended that I could lead some kind of filming workshop with the teens if I wanted to. From that tiny suggestion, the fire was ignited and lightning struck. Moviecraft was born.

I’ve been hosting the Moviecraft program since the summer of 2014 with this season’s Diamond Starlight Productions project marking the sixth time we’ve dived into the impossible, and Moviecraft, on the surface, seems impossible. We bring 30 teens (6th-12th grade) or tweens (3rd – 8th grade) together, and in seven weeks, twelve weeks, 14 hours, or 24 hours, we produce from the very beginning, a short film.

We start with what our team name should be. We’ve had so many incredible (and incredibly crazy) production teams; Sock Studios, Imagination Pictures, Golden Pancake Productions, Fingerprint Films, and our most recent, Diamond Starlight Productions. The name is their first act of compromise, of collaboration, and Moviecraft, at it’s core, is all about collaboration. From writing the script to working in their specific jobs that mirror a Hollywood crew, our community’s young people learn how to talk to each other, how to work through big challenges, and how to tell a good story.

Diamond Starlight Productions was one of our most challenging sessions. With a demanding script, a grueling schedule, and a lot of energetic kids, we had so much to overcome, but oh how they did. They shared their work, dared to step out of their comfort zone, and when the sound on the audio cut out or set pieces fell a part, they tried and tried again. It’s remarkable to see our teens and tweens in action and even more remarkable to see the proud faces of their friends and family at the Red Carpet Premiere. We’ve seen that it’s not the awesome explosions or cool visual effects that make our movies magical. It’s our team, our young people, who are the real magic makers.

We’ve got so much in store for Moviecraft this summer and another huge challenge ahead of us; animation! If you or someone you know is going into 6th grade or higher next year, we’d love to have them join us on this magical ride that is movie making. Registration opens up on May 30th at 9AM!

SelectReads: A Reader’s Advisory

Sometimes it is hard to figure out what to read next.  As librarians we are asked all the time which books we would recommend or if we have a reader’s advisory tool.  We have recently added a new reference resource called SelectReads. You can find it by visiting our website,, and selecting Databases and clicking on SelectReads.

SelectReads is an affiliated website that offers book  recommendations, email newsletters and links to our catalog.  There are tabs on the top of the page that are helpful tools to easily navigate and find items.

By signing up for monthly newsletters you will receive a variety of titles from different genres or formats.  These are randomly generated using items from our collection.  

If you want to see what your local librarians like to read or books that they recommend check out their Book Lists.  We are always adding our new favorite titles.  What is Dawn reading?  Does Cecile have any new recommendations?  Take a look!

Did you enjoy the latest Bram Stoker Award winner?  If so you can find a list of the other winners that our library owns.  Many of the prestigious book awards are listed along with the titles that are in our collection.  Even book awards such as Library Reads which is a monthly award that is voted on and selected by librarians around the country.

Under the “My SelectReads” tab, you can choose your favorite genres (the search function is a little quirky, so try general searches to get more specific options, weird, but it works) and get a weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox featuring titles you might be interested in.

Or if you are just interested in seeing what is new to our catalog check out the New Titles tab. You can see a random list of new books or you can view them all! We are constantly adding new items to our library so make sure you check back often to see what is here. Or, if you prefer, you can sign up right on that page to receive new book alerts once a month.

But if you are like me you have favorite authors who you always read and are dying to read the next book as soon as it is released.  One of my favorite tools is getting notifications about new releases for certain authors.  By tracking an author you can see their latest books and get suggestions of other authors that are similar. 


There is so much that this site can do that it is hard to cover everything.  We are in the stages of updating and tweaking the ebook section of the site to get it to link to the Sunflower eLibrary.  Please take a look and sign up for a few newsletters.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Book Review: A Crown of Wishes

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

First Line: Vikram had spent enough time with bitterness that he knew how to twist and numb the feeling.

Summary: Gauri is a princess of Bharata. Vikram is the prince of Ujijain. Gauri is a prisoner of Ujijain and therefore a prisoner of Vikram. She has been banished from her kingdom and her throne by her evil brother. When Vikram enters her cell and proposes to free her in if she will travel with him to the Otherworld to enter the Tournament of Wishes she agrees in hopes of escaping and returning to her homeland. As they travel they encounter magical creatures and trials that will test them as they compete for a wish from the gods.

Highlights: The writing and imagery is beautiful. The detail is so colorful and enchanting. I love the cover.

Lowlights: With all the detail and characters it was easy to get lost. At times the story seemed to be shifting and didn’t seem to have a main climax. I expected more from the tournament. It was still fun but not nearly as good as the first book.

FYI: This is the second book in a series but I feel that it can be read as a standalone as well. People are mentioned and seen from the first but they do not alter it without knowing the previous book.


Book Review: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

I don’t know about you but I am beyond excited for the new season of Game of Thrones (and the last 2 books)!  I have re-watched the show multiple times and read all the books plus some of the novellas but one I hadn’t picked up till recently was A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.  I was looking for a good audio book to listen to and I saw this as a way to fill the void. 😉 

As I was listening I started to recognize the voice as one of the characters from season 1, Viserys Targaryen.  The actor Harry Lloyd who portrayed him is the narrator and did a great job of bringing the story to life.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin

First Line: The spring rains had softened the ground, so Dunk had no trouble digging the grave.

Summary: The story takes place 100 years before the events of Game of Thrones.  We meet Dunk, a new hedge knight and recent squire to Ser Arlan of Pennytree.  His master has died and left him with his horse, armor and sword.  Dunk decides that as a new knight and one in need of money needs to enter a local tournament in order to earn some coin and prestige.  He was always told that he was good with a sword and at 7 feet tall he was an impressive figure.  When he stumbles upon a stable boy named Egg, this unlikely pair travel across Westeros getting into trouble and creating tales of their own.

Highlights: It’s George R. R. Martin so therefore it is very detailed with lots of characters.  There are 3 short stories but they all connect bringing it full circle in the end.  There are little surprises and lots of history of the Seven Kingdoms during the time of the Targaryens.  The illustrations throughout the book are fun to look at and give more life to the story.  This is a fun little side story that is perfect for the readers that are waiting for season 7.

Lowlights: The names. There are so many characters with names that are so similar that it is hard to keep track of who is who (especially when listening to the audio).  But the imagination that goes into these names is spectacular.

FYI: Violence but that is par for the course with life in the Seven Kingdoms.

Book Review: Unblemished

Unblemished by Sara Ella

First Line: It can’t be true.

Summary: Eliyana is a girl who likes to hide because of a birth mark that spreads across her face. But when her mother dies her world turns upside down. Her guardian tries to protect her but things keep happening that lead her to a new world she never knew existed. As she learns more about this alternate world she finds that she has to find strength in herself to save it and its people.

Highlights: I don’t know what it is but I love YA covers! This one is beautiful and draws the reader to it. I loved that the main character wasn’t the go-to beautiful girl with amazing skills. Eliyana is normal with insecurities just like everyone else. The other main characters are developed to the point where you are cheering or booing them. You get invested in the story.

Lowlights: The problem I had was the plot got a little too complex at times. I was lost for a while until it all started to come to climax of the story. There are a lot of characters as well, with many different abilities to keep track of.

FYI: Violence but not more than most YA novels.

Ingrid Bergman

Have you ever read a book about a historical figure and then had to jump on Wikipedia to learn more about the person? I have. All the time. My most recent historical obsession is Ingrid Bergman.   

I have been reading the newest book by Kate Alcott, The Hollywood Daughter, which is about a young girl who lives in L.A. and idolizes Ingrid.  She meets the famous actress and follows her career through its ups and downs.

The movie, Anastasia, with Ingrid Bergman and Yul Brynner was my first introduction to this iconic actress.  She was beautiful and talented.  As I am reading the main character talks about the movies that Ingrid has starred in and I immediately started adding them to my library hold list.

This week I have delved into The Bells of St. Mary’s and Notorious.  Both were great but I was particularly taken with the chemistry between Bing Crosby and Ingrid in the Bells of St. Mary’s.  I searched for trivia on the movie Notorious and found that Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock became lifelong friends with Ingrid after filming ended.

I still have For Whom the Bell Tolls and Murder on the Orient Express to watch and I am greatly looking forward to them. This enchanting Swedish actress that took America by storm in the 1940s has put me under her spell.

Check back soon for my review of The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott.


Late April new releases

The sun is shining a little bit more lately and the temperatures are warming up as well. We are getting those April showers that are supposed to bring us flowers in May. And April is giving us a great shower of new books to read as well. Here are some of the most anticipated titles that will be released in the second half of April.

“The Stars are Fire” by Anita Shreve will be released April 18, 2017.

April 18: The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve
The latest novel by acclaimed author Anita Shreve is based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine’s history. It’s October 1947 and fires break out along the Maine coast. Before long, the fires are burning from village to village. Grace and Rosie are left to care for their small children when their husbands join the volunteer to fight the fires. As fire sweeps through their village, burning their homes to the ground, the women retreat to the sea, their only refuge, watching as their homes are burned to the ground and frantically protecting their children. As morning dawns, they are penniless, homeless and left to await news of their husbands’ fate.

April 18: The Fix (Amos Decker #3) by David Baldacci
Amos Decker watches as a man kills a woman, then turns the gun on himself, right outside FBI headquarters. Despite Decker’s powers of observation, he is baffled by the murder. He and his team can find no connection between the man and woman whatsoever. Then Decker is ordered off the case by an agent from the Defense Intelligence Agency.

“Blade Bound” is the final installment in the Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill.

April 25: Blade Bound (Chicagoland
Vampires #13) 
by Chloe Neill

This is the final installment in the Chicagoland Vampires series (cue my tears here). Cadogan House is infiltrated and Merritt is attacked by a vampire apparently under the power of dark magic. Chicago is again under supernatural attack as a wicked sorcery spreads through the city. It’s up to Merritt, with her Liege, love and master of Cadogan House — Ethan, at her side to save her city and all those she loves.


April 25: Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
From Pulitzer Prize winner Strout comes a piece of fiction that is reminiscent of Olive Kitteridge in its complexity and richness. During the writing of My Name is Lucy Barton, Strout realized that the characters that Lucy and her mother talked about had their own stories. You’ll learn more about the “Pretty Nicely Girls,” Tommy, and Lucy Barton’s sister Vicky.

Lisa Unger’s latest novel, “The Red Hunter,” puts two wronged women on a collision course.

April 25: The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger
Two wronged women on wildly different paths are on a collision course that ends at one old house. Zoey Drake’s parents were murdered in a home invasion when she was a child. Claudia Bishop is trying to put her shattered life back together after a brutal assault. Claudia hopes to find a fresh start in restoring an old house. Zoey has embraced the rage within her and excels in martial arts. Zoey seeks justice and Claudia seeks peace, in the one place they have in common.



April 25: Burntown by Jennifer McMahon
Eva’s father is an inventor, and has possession of blueprints for a fantastic invention by Thomas Edison, one that will allow people to speak with those who have passed. Her father builds the machine and one night it whirrs to life on its own with a warning of danger. Eva wakes, and her father and brother are dead, and she and her mother need to hide from an evil man who is searching from them. Eva changes her name to her Necco—her favorite candy, but as she searches for the truth, she meets two more women who are on journeys of their own.

“The Girl Who was Taken” is the latest from Charlie Donlea.

April 25: The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea
Megan and Nicole are high school seniors in Emerson Bay, North Carolina. One summer night, they disappear from a beach party, and the police can’t find a single clue. Everyone has nearly lost hope when Megan suddenly reappears, having escaped from a bunker in the woods. Fast forward a year and Megan is a national celebrity after writing a bestselling book about her ordeal, but Nicole is still missing. Megan knows more than she shared in her book, but where will that knowledge get her?

Click on the title of any book to find it in our catalog.