Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Big Library Read: The Quiet Girl


From June 28 - July12 library users can participate in The Big Library Read featuring The Quiet Girl by S.F. Kosa. This e-book club connects readers with the same book at the same time without any waitlists or holds. Download the discussion guide to start a conversation with other readers. You can also visit the Overdrive discussion board to share your thoughts. 

In her debut thriller, S.F. Kosa presents a tightly-woven book sure to inspire questions about trauma, memory, and how well we ever know the people we love. When Alex arrives in Provincetown to patch things up with his new wife, Mina, he finds an empty wine glass in the sink, her wedding ring on the desk, and a string of questions in her wake. 

The police believe that Mina, a successful romance author, simply left, their marriage crumbling before it truly began. But what Alex finds in their empty cottage points him toward a different reality: Mina has always carried a secret. In his hunt for the truth, Alex comes across Layla, a young woman with information to share, who may hold the key to everything his wife has kept hidden. A strange, quiet girl whose missing memories may break them all.

Don't miss a live, virtual event hosted by Professional Book Nerds podcast with author S.F. Kosa on July 7 at 12pm ET. Register here

To borrow the title, go to Under Resources, select eBooks and Digital Media. Click on OverDrive to check out The Quiet Girl from the catalog. 

To read this book on a handheld device, download the Overdrive app or Libby app. 

Use #biglibraryread on Twitter for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet & signed book from the author.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Hot Summer Titles for 2021

Did one of the book covers on our homepage catch your eye? They are all titles that reviewers consider to be essential summer reads, and all are well-reviewed and anticipated. You can watch the video or read the description of each below, then click the linked title to request a copy or get your name on the wait list. And don't forget to watch for more featured titles next month!

Featured Fiction for July

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
Seventeen-year-old Lenni lives on the Terminal Ward at the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital. Though the teenager has been told she’s dying, she still has living to do. Joining the hospital’s arts and crafts class, she meets Margot, an 83-year-old, purple-pajama-wearing, fruitcake-eating rebel, who transforms Lenni in ways she never imagined. As their friendship blooms, a world of stories opens for these unlikely companions who, between them, have been alive for one hundred years. Though their days are dwindling, both are determined to leave their mark on the world. 

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

When Poppy met Alex, there was no spark, and no reason to think they'd ever talk again. Alex is quiet, studious, and destined for a future in academia. Poppy is a wild child who only came to U of Chicago to escape small-town life. But after sharing a ride home for the summer, the two form a friendship. Over the years, Alex and Poppy's lives take them in different directions, but every summer the two find their way back to each other for a week long vacation. Until one trip goes awry, and in the fallout, they lose touch. Now, two years later, Poppy's in a rut. The answer to her problem is obvious: She needs to win back her best friend, Alex. 

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. Mariana is a brilliant therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana's niece, is found murdered in Cambridge. Mariana quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Fosca is guilty of the murder. 

Featured Nonfiction for July

Chasing the Thrill: Obsession, Death, and Glory in America's Most Extraordinary Treasure Hunt by Daniel Barbarisi
A first-person account of the treasure hunt set in motion by Forest Fenn--an eccentric art dealer and, some would say, robber baron--in 2010 that lasted a full decade and became the stuff of legend. When Fenn was told he was going to die, he hid a chest full of jewels and gold and published a poem that contained clues about the treasure's location. But he didn't die, and he wouldn't reveal the location. The hunt went on for another ten years. Barbarisi first learned of Fenn's hunt in 2017 when a friend began decoding the poem. What began as a great story quickly turned into a personal quest.

Americanon: An Unexpected U.S. History in Thirteen Bestselling Books by Jess McHugh

Americanon explores the history of thirteen of the nation’s most popular books. Overlooked for centuries, our simple dictionaries, almanacs, and how-to manuals are unexamined touchstones for American customs. These books sold tens of millions of copies and set out specific archetypes for the ideal American, from the self-made entrepreneur to the humble farmer. Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Webster's Dictionary, Emily Post’s Etiquette: Americanon looks at how these books have updated and reemphasized potent American ideals. 

Test Gods: Virgin Atlantic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut by Nicholas Schmidle

Based on exclusive inside reporting, New Yorker writer Schmidle tells the remarkable story of the test pilots, engineers, and visionaries behind Virgin Galactic's campaign to build a space tourism company. Schmidle follows a handful of characters-Mark Stucky, Virgin's lead test pilot; Richard Branson, the eccentric billionaire funding the venture; Mike Moses, the unflappable president; Mike Alsbury, the test pilot who lost his life; and others-through personal and professional dramas, in pursuit of their collective goal: to make space tourism a reality. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Travel Tips: Travel Stress


Even though vacations are meant for relaxation, they can become stressful. Lack of familiar support systems, disrupted daily routines, language barriers, culture shock, and unexpected situations can intensify stress levels rather than alleviate them. The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) has provided guidelines for how to deal with stress while you travel so you can safely enjoy your trip. 

Managing expectations

  • Regularly assess your original plans and change them if needed to minimize your stress levels.
  • If your expectations are not met, find acceptable, non-confrontational solutions to improve the situation.
  • Take the time to enjoy the news experiences in your destination. Be present and enjoy your time there.
  • Know your mental and physical limits. Only participate in activities you enjoy.

Culture Shock

  • Take the time to learn about your destination’s culture and customs.
  • Learn the language. If you don’t have time, learn basic words and phrases to help you get around.
  • Learn about the current political situation and social environment of the country you will be visiting.

Before you leave

  • Consult your healthcare practitioner for advice on how to stay healthy and cope with the effects of travel stress and jet lag.
  • Book the most direct route possible to your destination; avoid layovers and long hours in transit.
  • If you are travelling alone, set up regular check-in times with a friend or family member.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan (STEP). Enrolling in STEP will help the U.S. embassy contact you and provide assistance during an emergency overseas. You’ll also receive the latest safety and security information for your destination country, so you can make informed decisions about your travel.

During your trip

  • Give yourself plenty of time to arrive and go through security checks
  • Familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Bring a calming item (a book, iPod, journal provides comfort during stressful situations.
  • Integrate physical activity like walking and stretching to relieve stress. Get the appropriate amount of sleep, eat a healthy diet, and stay hydrated.

  • Book an extra day or two off after you return to mentally and physically recover from your trip. This will help you adjust from jet lag and help you get back into your daily routine.
  • Follow up with your healthcare practitioner if you needed emergency care abroad or to address any concerns you may have related to post-travel readjustment.

Download the full travel checklist from IAMAT here

Additional Resources

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading 2021: Weekly Book Reviews


Welcome to the summer edition of adult patron book reviews! Our summer reading theme this year is Tails and Tales, so get ready for animal-themed stories and programs! Sign up on Beanstack to track your reading, log activities and share reviews. Log 3 books to earn a water bottle, 6 books to earn a tote, and 9 books to earn a t-shirt. Once you've logged 9 books, you will be entered into our grand prize drawing for a Kindle Oasis. 

By logging books and completing activities, you will also be automatically entered into random drawings to win a $25 gift card to a local restaurant. Our next program is Mass Audubon Presents Local Birds and Birding on Saturday, June 26 from 11-12. Attend the program to learn about Worcester's feathered friends, then log the activity in Beanstack. Your name will then be automatically entered into the drawing. It's that easy!

Why Fish Don't Exist by Lulu Miller

I have listened to Lulu Miller on NPR's Radio Lab and Invisibilia podcasts for years and have always enjoyed her engaging style of story telling. This book is fascinating. I generally do not like non-fiction, but this book is written in a playful and readable way as Lulu tells the story, then the story within the story, then the dark side of the story... leading to the reason why fish don't exist. A great read! 🐠 ~ Michele F. 

A heartbreaking but compelling read that illustrates the strength of the human-animal bond and its ability to help us deal with tragedy, abuse, and loss. ~ Tara J. 
"The Star Side of Bird Hill" is a tenderly written novel about two sisters, Dionne & Phaedra, their mother, Avril, and their grandmother, Hyacinth. Largely set in Barbados, the novel has bits of backstories in Brooklyn, USA. Avril sends her two girls to go live with her mother, Hyacinth, in Barbados while she sorts herself in the US. Her girls develop friendships and relationships in Barbados and later learn about their father who has been very much absent in their lives. I highly recommend this book for its strong women characters.~ Tochukwu O.

I find myself loving books with lovely (and loving) characters and relationships over slick plots. This book has an interesting and engaging storyline, but what really got me were the characters and the honesty and kindness of their relationships. There are a few parts towards the end that were a little heavy handed, but the humor (very dry, very British) and the characters meant that it didn't matter or take away from the enjoyment of the book as a whole. ~ Sarah L.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Freegal: Celebrating African American Music Month


Learn more about African American musicians with Freegal, a music streaming service that is free to use with your WPL card. Featuring artists such as Al Green, Nina Simone, and Duke Ellington, this list illustrates the ground-breaking contributions of African American artists to all genres of music. To listen to the African American Music Month Essentials playlist, click here.

How to Access Freegal

To access Freegal you need a Worcester Public Library card (or a card from a library that subscribes to Freegal). If you don't have a WPL card, it's easy to sign up for one! You can fill out an application at or visit one of our branches. Once you have your card, visit and log in with your card number and pin. 

If you have more questions about Freegal, visit their FAQs page

Additional Playlists

Paisley Park Radio: Prince Essentials

Featuring the greatest hits from The Purple One. 

Artists using their voices for activism.

An extensive playlist of the "Strange Fruit" singer. 

Hip Hop Treasures 

Hip Hip classics and today's favorites. 

25 songs from a Rock N' Roll pioneer.

The best of the Queen of Soul.  

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading 2021


Read, learn, and connect with WPL

June 7th - August 14th

Join us as we read to feed shelter animals at the Worcester Animal Rescue League!
For every week you log reading we’ll donate $1 to the animals!

Earn Prizes by Reading or Listening to a Book

  • Level 1: Read 3 books to earn a water bottle
  • Level 2: Read 6 books to earn a tote bag 
  • Level 3: Read 9 books to earn a t-shirt  
  • Grand Prize: Kindle Oasis*  
  • Complete all three levels for two chances to win the Grand Prize Drawing!

Want to Win Gift Cards* to Local Restaurants?

By logging books and completing activities, you will be automatically entered
into random drawings to win a $25 gift card to a local restaurant.

How to Be Entered into a Random Drawing:

  • -Logging Badge - Log at least 3 books

  • -Kickoff Badge - Attend any of our Summer Reading Kickoffs to get the Secret Code

  • -Learn Something New: Level I Badge - Attend at least 3 classes and programs and enter feedback

  • -Review Badge - Share at least 3 book reviews (we may share reviews on our blog and Facebook page)

  • -Refer a Friend Badge - Sign a friend or family member up for Summer Reading on Beanstack

  • -The Hanover Theatre Badge - Attend a Julius Caesar performance and tell us your favorite scene

  • -Survey Badge - Complete our Summer Reading Survey to get the Secret Code

***Prizes available while they last***
*Staff and their family members are ineligible to win the Grand Prize and Gift Cards. Patron must be a Worcester Resident.

For mobile users, download the Beanstack Tracker app to get started

For more information, visit or call 508-799-1655 ext.3.

Summer Reading Programming for Adults

Tails & Tales Book Discussion

2:30 - 3:30pm via Zoom

June 16: A Dog's Way Home by Bruce Cameron
July 21The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey
August 18:
 The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

Register here

Animal Origami

Thursdays, June 17, July 15, August 19 @ 3:00 - 3:30pm via Zoom 

Get crafty and learn to fold cool creature creations using origami! Origami, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, is a great way to be creative and show off those craft skills. Join us to make animal-themed designs. 13+. Younger ages welcome if accompanied by a grownup.

Register here

Murder by the Book Mystery Book Club

2:30 - 3:30pm via Zoom 

June 23Mimi Lee Gets a Clue by Jennifer J. Chow
July 28Break In by Dick Francis
August 25
Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story by Leonie Swann

Register here

Mass Audubon Presents Local Birds and Birding

Saturday, June 26 @ 11:00am - 12:00pm via Zoom 

Worcester and the surrounding areas are home to an incredible variety of birds. Learn about some of the birds you can expect to see in and around the City, along with where and how to look for them. We’ll also share recommendations for helpful birding books and apps.

Register here

Poetic Beasts: A Virtual Panel of Poets Discussing Animals

Friday, July 9 @ 4:00 - 5:00pm via Zoom 

The Worcester Public Library is pleased to present a virtual panel of poets who’ve written about animals. Featuring poets Maura MacNeil, Susan Roney-O’Brien, and B.G. Thurston, each panelist will share some of their work, discuss what drew them to writing about animals, and tell stories about their pets and other beastie encounters.

Register here

Barnyard Tales from Sunny Meadows Sanctuary

Saturday, July 10 @ 11:00am - 12:00pm via Zoom 

Join us to meet some of Sunny Meadow Sanctuary's residents and hear the tales of their rescues and their day-to-day lives. Recorded video footage of the featured animals in their current environment will be shown, along with commentary from dedicated Sanctuary volunteer and WPL librarian Katherine.

*Ages 13 and over is suggested due to the upsetting nature of some of the animals’ rescue stories.

Register here

Romance Readers Book Club

Join us on Tuesday, July 13 @ 2 :30 - 3:30pm via Zoom to discuss You Lucky Dog by Julia London. 

Register here

Books to Big Screen Discussion Club

Join us on Wednesday, July 14 @ 2:30 - 3:30pm via Zoom to discuss the novel Jaws by Peter Benchley & the iconic film directed by Steven Spielberg. 

Register here

Cows on the Common, Dogs in Elm Park

Saturday, July 17 @ 4:00 - 5:00pm via Zoom

In light of our summer reading theme Tails and Tales, please join us as we explore the many roles animals have played in the history of our community.

Register here

Summer Treats for You and Your Pup

Saturday, July 24 @ 2:30 - 3:30pm via Zoom

Join Librarian Jess as she demonstrates how to make some tasty treats that humans and their canine best friends can enjoy together! Recipes for breakfast snacks and anytime snacks will include items that you would find readily available in your home.

Register here

Fantastical Beasts: A Virtual Tour with the Worcester Art Museum

Saturday, July 31 @ 2:30 - 3:30pm via Zoom 

If you have travelled through the medieval galleries at the Worcester Art Museum, you have likely been surrounded by fantastical beasts! On columns and in other works of art throughout the museum, WAM docent Marc will illuminate these creatures hiding in plain sight as well as those he has discovered in his travels. For ages 16+.

Register here 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Travel Tips: LGBTQ+ Travelers


As an LGBTQ+ traveler, it is important to consider a destination's attitude toward the LGBTQ+ community. Not every traveler has the same experience, so it is important to recognize that there is not a "one size fits all" set of guidelines. However, you can make sure you are well prepared so you can enjoy your trip. 

Research: Use The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association's (IGLTA) destination guide for travel guides by country and precautions you should take based on your intended destination. 

Identification: If you are transgender, there are several issues you may want to consider during the immigration and security process. For example, having an accurate gender marker on your ID will help alleviate some potential issues. IGLTA recommends that if it is not possible to travel with an updated ID, make sure you have a signed doctor's note with you while traveling.

Know Your Rights: In many countries, if you are selected for a screening, you are entitled to a private screening. Always bring a travel companion into the room with you when you are being screened. You may always ask to speak with a supervisor at any time in the screening process.

Connect: Connect with locals online before you travel for some tips to find the best community hangouts. Unfortunately, apps and social media have been used to target and entrap LGBTQ+ people in areas where it is illegal. If you choose to use these services in countries where you’re worried about your safety, you may want to consider making your accounts private or downloading a VPN service onto your phone. 

Find LGBTQ+ friendly Businesses: Even if you are visiting an LGBTQ+ friendly destination, the level of acceptance you receive can vary from business to business. Visit the IGLTA's list of LGBTQ+ friendly tour operators and service providers.  

Itinerary: Leave your itinerary and contact information with someone you trust. In the event of an emergency, it is helpful if someone back home has contact information of hotels, flight numbers and a general idea of planned events on your trip.

Traveling Abroad: If you need help, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan (STEP)

Enrolling in STEP will help the U.S. embassy contact you and provide assistance during an emergency overseas. You’ll also receive the latest safety and security information for your destination country, so you can make informed decisions about your travel.