Posted in Magazines

Forgotten Magazines

In my last post I blogged about the great magazines available through RBDigital. Today I want to tell you about a resource for magazines that is often forgotten about- Badgerlink!

Everyone who lives in Wisconsin has access to Badgerlink. It is a great place to find journal articles, but they also have some popular magazines. The people from Badgerlink have created a list of those popular titles. The interface isn’t as nice as RBDigital BUT you you can access magazine from further back in time. And they have…

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Posted in Adult, eBooks & eAudio, Mystery


While there is never a bad time to dig into a mystery, summertime is when I want to break out some Agatha Christie while basking in the sun to enjoy the off-screen demise of a country squire or unsuspecting rich auntie. This summer, escapism is more important than ever, so listed below is a brief breakdown of how to access some excellent murder mystery media at Mead. While I have highlighted some personal favorites, these searches can be adjusted to any particular genre of your liking. 

What’s the best thing about Hoopla besides access to thousands of books, movies, and music CDs? NO WAIT TIME! Another thing I like about Hoopla is the intuitive search features. Click on “Browse” to the left of the search bar and select “Television”. The next screen will list all the subject categories so naturally, I chose “Mystery” which is listed as a “Top Category”. The top result was Death in Paradise Season One (2011) which is a great top result because the show is fabulous. Who wouldn’t love a fish-out-of-water cozy in a lush, tropical setting? Make yourself a pina colada to drink while you watch for verisimilitude. What if I’ve already seen this show and want to see more like it? Click on the thumbnail and from the next screen click on “BBC Studios”. This will take you to a new list of results; all media produced by BBC Studios. There’s also a way to search by publisher, which can be found under “Advanced Search” at the top of the page. Try searching “Acorn” in that field to get an astonishing list of BBC mystery series. There’s tons of Agatha Christie-inspired media like Marple and Poirot as well as more modern, gritty series like Wire in the Blood and Vera. Everyone should take some time to explore the wide range of television content Hoopla has on offer. You might be surprised because it is A LOT. 

Not looking for a TV show or movie? Select “Audiobooks” from the “Browse” menu. From the next page it’s fun to see what everyone else has been reading, so under “SORT BY” select “Popularity” and feast your eyes. Lucy Foley’s excellent The Hunting Party (2018) appears near the top of this list, with good reason. Fans of locked-room, or snowed-in mysteries will get a kick out of the unreliable narrators and the sense that you are overhearing something not meant for your ears.

I also like to use the “User Ratings” setting of the “SORT BY” drop-down menu. Not everyone rates their checkouts on Hoopla so the results don’t line up with “Popularity”. Apparently, users really like The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Anthony Boucher. Will someone please read one of these to tell me if they’re any good? 

Folks, I do not enjoy camping because in my mind, that is how one gets murdered by some unkillable psychopath who thirsts for the blood of co-ed campers. Confusingly, I cannot stop listening to true crime audiobooks that describe the psychology and pathology of the worst sorts of criminals. Hop on over to RBDigital to download some of the finest true crime you’ll ever encounter. First, there’s Robert Hare’s Without Conscience (1993). Hare is the man credited with creating the Psychopath Checklist and therefore a giant in his field. He’s also interviewed in Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test (2011) which is available on Hoopla. Now that some context has been laid, read Whoever Fights Monsters (1992) by Robert K. Ressler. This fella, right here, is credited with coining the term “serial killer” in the late 1970s. He also acted as a consultant to Thomas Harris while he wrote The Silence of the Lambs. More recently, he was fictionalized as Agent Bill Tench on the popular Netflix series Mindhunter. Quite the career! 

Too much murderer talk? Check out Death’s Acre (2004) by William M. Bass. This man is responsible for the creation of the so-called Body Farm located at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Bass’ contributions to the field of forensic science are pretty staggering. His research facility allowed scientists to study the decomposition of human bodies in open air, buried in barrels, submerged in water, and on and on. This research has been extrapolated to aid in murder investigations around the world. Death’s Acre focuses on the science behind crime scenes as opposed to the psychology of the criminal which I thought made the content less graphic. Plus, Bass seems like a big old sweety and I enjoyed his tone.

Once again, if murder mysteries or true crime are not your favorite things, rest easy in the knowledge that all three of our digital book platforms have thousands upon thousands of titles to choose from. If that is a daunting task, I will let you in on a little secret: librarians LOVE the chance to provide old-school library services such as reader’s advisory in this ever-modernizing library landscape. Please do not hesitate to reach out for book picks, or for help using our array of super awesome digital services. 

Posted in Nonfiction, Science

Epidemiology: Containing What Ails Us

Epidemiology has been pushed to the forefront of conversations since the coronavirus pandemic began. Epidemiologists identify emerging diseases, how they spread, and how best to prevent people from getting ill. For my blog post this week, I’ve found some books that cover how epidemiologists work and about past pandemics. As with my other list posts, I’ve included a summary of the book from its publisher.

Epidemiology: A Very Short Introduction by Rodolfo Saracci

“Epidemiology plays an all-important role in many areas of medicine, from discovering the relationship between tobacco smoking and lung cancer, to documenting the impact of diet, the environment, and exercise on general health, to tracking the origin and spread of new epidemics such as Swine Flu. It is truly a vital field, central to the health of society, but it is often poorly understood, largely due to misrepresentations in the media. In this Very Short Introduction, an internationally recognized authority on epidemiology, Dr. Rodolfo Saracci, provides a wealth of information on this key field, dispelling some of the myths surrounding the study of epidemiology, and explaining what epidemiology is and how vital it is to the discovery, control, and prevention of disease in world populations. Dr. Saracci provides a general explanation of the principles behind clinical trials, and explains the nature of basic statistics concerning disease. He also looks at the ethical and political issues related to obtaining and using information concerning patients, and trials involving placebos.”

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Posted in Adult, Award Winners, Fantasy, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult

WINNERS: the Best Graphic Novel or Comic Hugo Award

The 2020 Hugo Awards were officially announced last week. 17 Hugo Awards are distributed (plus some extras) but one of my favorite categories is the Award for Best Graphic Story or Comic. Here are the 6 shortlisted titles for this year’s award.

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Posted in Magazines

Favorite Magazines

Growing up, we always had a stack of magazines sitting in a basket. I don’t know if my mom ever read half of the magazines that would come in to our house. I think she was a fan of Publisher’s Clearing House.

I do not have a single subscription to a magazine. I use RBDigital through the library. You can stream magazine issues on your computer or you can download issues on your phone or tablet using the RBDigital app. You keep the title as long as you want and the layout of the magazine is the same as in print. Here are some of my favorite titles!

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Posted in Uncategorized


This week I spent some time working on Mead’s DVD collection. It’s hard to determine which titles are actually on the shelf and which may have grown legs and escaped the building via clandestine means, which got me thinking about library theft. We all love public libraries and the access to books, movies, music, and other resources they provide. All that and more for free, Free! FREE! Utilizing libraries can save anyone thousands of dollars a year when compared to the retail cost of books, etc, and these things are available to all. That’s why it totally blows my mind when I come to discover missing or stolen items in the collection. Lost and damaged items are part of the public library landscape and honest mistakes happen all the time. Maybe there’s a pattern to it all, one I cannot discern from the relative proximity to Mead’s catalog offerings. I decided to take a look at the things people commonly steal from libraries, bookstores, and archives across the country to try and extrapolate some reasons WHY. 

Photo credit: Vintage/Anchor Books via Twitter


The above photo was posted on a tweet about the most frequently stolen books in a particular bookstore. There’s a bunch of Bukowski, Murakami, Bret Easton Ellis. I see On the Road by Jack Kerouac in there and honestly, I would be upset if I paid money for that brick, too. Not to say that I endorse shoplifting, but that brings me to WHY if one has access to a copy via the library for free, does one insist on shoplifting? One could argue that some of the above authors produce salacious material and it would be an embarrassment to be seen purchasing such a thing, but I don’t think this is the reason. My undergraduate experience with college lads and their inability to shut up about Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk points away from embarrassment as a factor. Perhaps the shoplifter is a thrill-seeker and simply loves the rush. Again, not an endorsement of shoplifting, but I sure hope the thrill-seeking type is ripping off big box and chain stores as opposed to independently-owned bookshops.

That brings me to my next hypothesis: people shoplift books to circumvent supporting a bad actor. For instance, JK Rowling has been in the news of late for terrible reasons (read all about it HERE and then instead of clicking on the link to JKR’s “defense” see instead THIS amazing response by Daniel Radcliffe). So, if someone wanted to read her pseudonymous mystery series without adding to her already sizable wealth, one might shoplift. Again, why not just get a copy from the library? 

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Archives/Special Collections

Have you ever heard the term “book mutilation”? Me either, until I took a course in art librarianship during grad school. The woman who led my class directed the Kohler Art Library at UW-Madison and had spent her entire professional life in rare book collections. This is the class that managed to teach me the most about libraries, as well as teach me that people get downright bold and sneaky (yes, both at the same time) if they think they can make some easy money. Our professor regaled and horrified us with tales of people cutting intaglio prints or other illustrated plates out of rare, early books and sneaking them out of the building to later sell. This is known as “book mutilation” and it makes the ghost of Johannes Gutenburg cry. The whole point of special collections is to preserve rarities for the posterity of all mankind, so it’s a real bummer when jerks who mutilate archival property make it harder for the rest of us to access the same material.

Sometimes, it’s not even some rando off the street doing the thieving. Behold: the bookseller and ex-librarian who, between the two of them, were able to steal upwards of $8,000,000 worth of rare books from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. It’s a fascinating case, even more so due to how recently the crimes were discovered. Read about it in Smithsonian Magazine HERE. He’s an utter disgrace of a librarian, but the gentleman owns up to his greed. From a capitalist standpoint, book theft makes sense, especially if you have no soul or conscience. But that doesn’t wash with material stolen from public libraries, which tends to be mass-produced. 

Public Libraries

Here’s what I determined when I looked into book theft at public libraries: 1. Popular material vanishes 2. Controversial material vanishes.

Popular: What better title to hold a record for being stolen than the Guinness Book of World Records? This annual collection of world-record-breaking facts is a family favorite at home and for sticky-fingered library patrons, both, apparently. To be fair, books with similar popularity tend to go missing more often than books that attract less attention. Now, would it shock you to know that the most stolen book in the world is the bible? Imagine. I’m no theology major but I’m pretty sure it says “thou shall not steal” somewhere in there. 

Controversial: There is a noted phenomenon in public libraries everywhere in which misguided library patrons will steal books to “protect” the rest of us. This is antithetical to public libraries. We are committed to providing high-quality material on a wide array of topics which the public can decide to engage with, or not, by preference. The idea of someone removing materials according to their personal moral compass is reprehensible to me. Mead, and most public libraries, struggle to keep material about witchcraft and the occult on the shelf for this reason. And did you hear about the numpty Iowa who burned a bunch of LGBTQ+ children’s books in 2019? I don’t care what someone’s personal politics are, book burning is never a great look.

Thank you for joining me for my highly unscientific exploration of book theft. The truth of the matter is, we all live our lives in unique ways that will never be totally understood by everyone around us. Book theft is just another, albeit darker and troubling, facet of human expression. Remember: if you ever get the urge to steal a book, even if it’s Abby Hoffman’s Steal This Book, do your best to resist and come see us downtown for some honest reading. 

Posted in Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction, Romance, Thrillers

6 Books Made to be Read in a Hammock

The summer run of books are frequently called “beach reads,” but hammocks are really where it’s at. You don’t have to leave your backyard to enjoy a hammock; it’s typically shaded; and you never get sand in weird places. From real life secrets to a snarky send up of #girlboss wellness culture to a rom-com in a book, here are 6 titles perfect for reading while stretched out in a hammock with a cold drink in reach on a lazy summer day.

The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward

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Posted in Adult, Film

Most Popular Movies

In my last post, I talked about the movies that I like the most. But what are the most popular movies right now? I took a look at what movies have the longest waitlists right now to see. Surprisingly, it’s not all the absolute newest stuff!

And remember, since Mead copies go to Mead patrons first, even a long waitlist might not take quite as long as you think. Plus, you can always check the Lucky Day shelf in the library and see if a first-come, first-served copy is available!

Descriptions taken from our catalog.

#1: 1917

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield and Blake are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers, Blake’s own brother among them.

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Posted in Fantasy, Film, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, Science Fiction

With Great Power…

With Comic-Con@Home starting today, I thought I would share some of my favorite movies based on comics. As with my other list posts, I’ve included the description from the catalog of each film under their listing.

Iron Man

“A wealthy industrialist is held captive in enemy territory and escapes by building a high-tech suit made of armor. When he returns home, he decides to use his money, talents, and suit to save the world.”

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Posted in Fiction, Kids 5-12, Teen & Young Adult, Uncategorized

Was the Book Better?

You are likely familiar with the phrase “the movie was good, but the book was better”. But is that always true? Many movies are based on books, and oftentimes readers prefer the book over the movie. Sometimes as readers we may even feel like a movie ruined the story we had read and loved. Nothing beats reading a well-written story, and reading can feel like an intimate experience for the reader. We allow the words on the pages to guide us into envisioning the settings and characters to the extent that our imaginations take us. Movies on the other hand, can really bring these stories to life in a way that we, as readers, may not have even been able to imagine. I love watching movies based on books I’ve read and comparing their portrayal to how I’d imagined the story. There are many movies based on children’s literature. Your family may enjoy reading a book together and then watching the movie version of the story with a movie night! Have fun sharing your opinions with each other on which one you liked better, or maybe you’ll decide they were both well done. Take a look below for some great books that also have movies based on their stories.

So B. It by Sarah Weeks

Twelve-year-old Heidi has a lot of questions about where she came from, but it hasn’t been easy finding the answers. She lives in an adjoined apartment with her mother who has an intellectual disability, and Bernadette – her unofficial guardian who has agoraphobia. She doesn’t know who her father is, or how she and her mother came to live in their apartment. Her mother doesn’t have the ability to give her the answers to her questions. Bernadette doesn’t know where Heidi and her mother came from, but cares for Heidi as if she were her own daughter. A box of old photos of her mother is eventually discovered that provides clues to a location she’d lived. A determined Heidi sets out on an emotional adventure to that location to find out who she is. This is a touching story, and the movie can be requested here.

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