The Value of Libraries- A List

When people think of libraries, their mind probably drifts immediately to books. It’s true; at the core of a library is its bookshelves, and the books it contains within them. However, libraries provide far more to their communities than a vast selection of novels and encyclopedias. Here’s a list of just some of the many things public libraries offer here in the United States.

  • Warmth and/or Air Conditioning (by season), drinking water, bathrooms

My area doesn’t have a large homeless population, but we do have a few homeless friends. The library keeps them off the streets, and in a warm environment where they have access to clean, running water, heat/air conditioning, bathrooms for hygiene, and lots of entertainment to keep them busy until they find employment to help them earn a salary to get back on their feet again!

  • citizenship classes and books

Trying to become a citizen of the United States? The library can help!

  • ESL classes
  • foreign language conversation groups
  • computer classes for seniors
  • magazines
  • movies
  • music- free, legal downloadable music from the library prevents piracy!
  • e-books
  • audiobooks (for the blind and for the sighted)
  • travel guides
  • children’s storytimes- promoted child literacy
  • STEM programs- 3D printing, coding/computer programming…for children, teens and adults
  • makerspaces
  • access to opposing viewpoints
  • knowledgable librarians that can help you decode fact from fiction- fake news? not when you consult a librarian and his/her arsenal of research databases!
  • help for the unemployed- job searching, resumes, etc.
  • a family
  • access to research materials, online and in print
  • newspapers
  • museum passes- encourages cultural literacy, empathy
  • resources for learning a foreign language
  • books on a variety of topics: cancer prevention, recipes for diabetics, baby names, history, confidence, mental health, religion/spirituality, exercise, environmental concerns….
  • community programs/events for all ages: dancing, music, movies, karate, cooking/baking, art….anything a librarian or teacher can dream up!


This list will never be complete. Libraries evolve as technology evolves. I frequently am asked the question, “do you think people don’t need libraries anymore because of the internet?” My answer is always, “No!” People always will need libraries and information professionals. Technology has evolved rapidly- true. The internet gives us access to a whole new world of information that could never fit in a little building- true. But all of this is only a change in HOW we access information. People still need information, and it is a library’s job to protect a patron’s privacy and right to that information. In addition, the internet is full of false information. People need us more than ever to help them decipher it.

When 3D printers came to the market, we bought them, we learned how to use them, and we began teaching the public. E-readers? No problem! We’ve armed ourselves with databases of e-books and audiobooks for our patrons, and set up a program where patrons can come learn how to use their new devices. Technology is a library’s friend, never its enemy.

If a library has offered you any kind of assistance, given you solace or hope when you felt like you were in despair, I would love to hear your stories in the comments below! Tell me what my list missed, and help this list grow with the millions of ways libraries benefit our communities.


Battle of the Sequel: Cinder vs Scarlet

It’s a battle of epic proportions. Two novels. One winner. Which will survive the grueling tests? Which will emerge victorious?  *Dramatic music now plays*

Well, maybe not epic proportions. But Cinder and Scarlet are at least somewhat out of this world, if you know what I mean. OK, enough with the bad puns.



Both images are from Goodreads.

My opinion: I preferred the second book in the series, Scarlet, to be much better than the first book, Cinder.

1. Cinder spent more time setting up than getting to the action, a point you’ve probably heard me say only about five different times. Scarlet had the PERFECT opening. You were dropped right into the real plot and action from page 1. I already knew I would love it.

2. Cinder is cool, but I liked seeing her more as a secondary character in the second book. It gave her more of a status (hey there’s that kick-ass mechanic cyborg girl from Book 1 on the run! Awesome!), somehow, seeing things through the eyes of someone other than Cinder. It was like reading about a familiar friend.

3. Scarlet’s story is frankly more eventful, but less sci-fi-esque than Cinder. This could be a good or bad thing depending on how you see it.

4. Scarlet had cooler characters; Thorne tops my list of favorite book characters ever. He is one of the few characters that actually made me laugh out loud. Oh, and there’s our mysterious Wolf. (Scarlet is based off of Little Red Riding Hood)

5. This point does not effect my opinion, but I would say Cinder’s cover is more intriguing than Scarlet’s. Cinder’s is an x-ray view into Cinder’s android/human foot and Scarlet’s is… A cape and an elbow?

However, don’t disregard Cinder. I rated it very highly, especially when it came to the second half of the novel! Lots of people try and remake fairy tales, but nobody has done it like Marissa Meyer.

Remember, you must read Cinder before you get to Scarlet! No skipping!! On to Cress, Book #3!

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”

Review: Defiance by C.J Redwine

HiBefore I explain what this book is about, I will say that one thing that confuses me is that this book had great reviews, but then a group of people started giving it low ratings, saying they were confused why everyone was enjoying this book. Sometimes we should take ratings with a grain of salt; maybe the book is actually great, or maybe it isn’t. I admit Defiance will only appeal to people with certain tastes. If it isn’t your taste, then maybe it isn’t the book’s fault, and that is OK.


In the city of Baalboden, everyone lives in fear of a man titled the Commander. All women/girls are assigned a protector until claiming age, 17, when they can then be handed off to a man who wishes to claim them. A girl should never wander off at night without her protector. Nobody would. And then there’s Rachel. Rachel is told that beyond the gates lies the dead body of her beloved father, who took so long to return he was assumed dead. She is assigned a new protector, which is an awkward situation in itself, but she is determined to do whatever it takes to prove her father is still alive. Even if it means crossing the sadistic Commander and venturing for herself outside the walls of her city and into the unknown.

Rachel: our heroine. Only main female character.
Logan: Rachel’s new protector
Jared: Rachel’s allegedly dead father
The Commander: head of Baalboden. Known for extremely harsh punishments (death, torture…)

I liked Rachel. She’s tough, gorgeous, selfless and confident, all qualities I like to see in a female protagonist. I also liked Logan a lot, although perhaps a lot of the things he said were almost tropes in YA. (Commonplace, seen before..) But he is still very charming.

The plot was great. I felt entertained and surprised the whole time.  I loved the idea if the Cursed One and I am so intrigued by the idea of each city. The only thing I’ll say is that some of the timing was very unrealistic. Rachel vs. Logan’s amount of time to travel, for example, had me a little lost. (Rachel took weeks and Logan seemed to catch up pretty fast?)

Verdict: As with any book, this won’t be for everyone. It’s not the most original book I’ve ever seen, but also not unoriginal. This was a well executed YA book with some fascinating and original ideas mixed with your typical in-book YA romance. But since you’re asking me whether I liked it or not, then yes, I loved it!

Will I read the next few books?
I’ll definitely hunt for the sequel and go from there!

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”

It’s Monday, What are You Reading?


Good question! I’m finished with Defiance, so I am currently reading….

Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan


Impostor by Susanne Winnacker


With the huge headache that is balancing school, work and volunteering,  it is hard to find time to read. But reading keeps me sane, to be honest. I’ve been using it as a reward for finishing homework and projects. I’m so excited to keep reading and reviewing for you guys!

See ya later.. Until then, what are YOU reading today?

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”

How do I Find Books I Want to Read? (Part 1)

As you may have noticed, I tend to check out several books at once. But how did I pick them?

1) Goodreads
I’ve used Goodreads for years and I love it. I can track what I read, set goals for myself, and get recommendations for books I haven’t read based on books that I have. Your friends can also recommend you books. Listopia allows you to vote up books within lists but also to browse lists. For example, a list titled Best Books of 2014 is going to contain books that real people have nominated and voted on to be the best books of the year. Not only can I help one of my favorite books out, I can look through the list for books I haven’t read and read about them. Best of all, both the app and the site are free!

2) Booktube
This is a recent discovery of mine. I’ve been subscribed to dozens of beauty gurus and listened to their recommendations. However, it never occurred to me that there was a similar sort of thing for books! Here are real people that seem almost like your virtual friends recommending you books (or telling you ones they don’t recommend) and making you really want to read them. TBR videos, for example, are where these booktubers show you what they want to read and tell you what the book is supposedly about. When watching these videos there’s usually a lot of books you never would’ve thought to read but now want to give a chance. And the best part about booktubers over beauty gurus is that to try these books, there is no cost. You don’t have to run to a store and buy something you may not like. Libraries exist! (Who doesn’t love free books?)

Read my post on favorite book tubers if you are interested in watching a few of them 🙂

3) Browsing the library
When people in town think of me, they probably associate me with the library. So it is no surprise that I’m advocating libraries to you yet again, but I strongly feel that libraries are not used enough. Think about it; while all these people are paying for books you read once, you could just go to a library for the exact same books and pay nothing for them! Libraries also have free programs, and some offer online services (, Rocket languages, free music, etc,) and even admissions to local attractions. Peruse your library and see what they offer! Better yet, if your library doesn’t have, say the movie you want, they can put it on hold for you and it’ll arrive free of cost in a matter of days depending on the item.

I’ve found so many great books just by walking around and seeing what jumps out at me. Some libraries have special sections with staff recommendations, but if yours doesn’t, just ask a librarian! People ask me all the time about books I’d recommend. (I work at my library). If they work at a library, it’s part of their job to give you information about books!

How do you find books to read? Do you use Goodreads? Let me know in the comments!