Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Teen Reviewer: Keely McLouth

Mysterious and painfully beautiful, this ending to the Divergent trilogy left me in tears, wishing there was more to soak up. A cross of romance, struggle, and war, the dystopian society feels real to the bones.

With a shocking ending, my heart sky-rocketed with thousands of emotions. Through this story with Tris and Four, I have bitten my nails down from the suspense. With hundreds of copies sold, this tale of true love and the reality behind "Perfection and Equality" will be in the hands of dreamers everywhere. This story teaches to find your way and fight for what you love. With Tris' loyalty and Four's love for Tris, will they make it to the end or will the pain of loss drive them apart? As Tris gets desperate for answers, how far will she go before Four can't save her? How far will she drive herself just for her loved ones to be safe? Intense and heart-pounding, Veronica Roth has gone all-out to give her readers an experience they will never forget.

Call us America’s library capital – or at least, one of them.

The Mid-Continent Public Library, whose sprawling system counts five branches in Kansas City and more than two dozen others in the surrounding area, has been named a recipient of the nation’s highest honor for libraries: the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Here here! The announcement was made Thursday, April 24, 2014, by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Kansas City Public Library was a National Medal honoree in 2008, cited for making “a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities.” The Johnson County Public Library received the award in 2005. The area is a confirmed bastion of library excellence.

Only Chicago — with three National Medal libraries in the city, itself, and another in suburban Skokie, Illinois — compares. Los Angeles has a couple. San Antonio has two, including the medical library at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Missouri has produced two other honorees since National Medals were first awarded in 1994: the State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia (in ’94) and the Bootheel Youth Museum in Malden (in 2012).

In response to this year’s selections, Mid-Continent Director and CEO Steven Potter wrote on the system’s website, “This is an unbelievable honor and a testament to all the hard work and great service performed by (the) library and the team of dedicated library professionals, both past and present.”

Agreed. We thought the IMLS got it right in 2005 and 2008. It did again in 2014.

If you fill Dr. Evil’s lair with a slew of Alvin and the Chipmunks wannabes, you end up with Weasels by Elys Dolan.

When the weasels’ quest to take over the world is unexpectedly thwarted, chaos ensues. Is the outcome world domination? Only reading will tell, but who doesn’t like a way to explain “megalomania” to their first grader?

I read books with my daughter nightly. I read one book to her, and she reads one to me. Usually we share a different book each night. Yet, by request, we have re-read Weasels four times. We both lead parts of it. The weasels’ distinct personalities give us a chance to employ a variety of squeaky voices.

My daughter’s review: “It is funny.” Her favorite part is when the Safety and Security weasel attempts to confiscate another weasel’s drill. That weasel runs away shouting, “Without my drill, I am nothing!”

My review: “The witty wording and situations make this an appealing read for kids and their grown-ups alike.” If she chooses this book a fifth time, I will have no complaints.

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas and has worked for over nine years in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri. Currently, Anna is Kansas City Public Library’s Education Librarian.

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There are those books that you love for the story, the books you love because you identify so well with the characters, and the books you love for so many reasons that you never want them to end. It’s been a long time since I took my time reading a book because I didn’t want it to end. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one such book.

A.J. Fikry is the independent bookseller at Island Books on Alice Island, a fictional island off the coast of Massachusetts. Still mourning the loss of his wife, he’s depressed and isolating himself from people on Alice Island. In addition, sales are down at his store. The locals are concerned about him.

Enter Amelia Loman, the new sales representative for Knightley Press, who visits Island Books for the first time. She’s there to pitch the new season of books to A.J. but he’s less than interested. He’s not the most personable man and isn’t shy about pointing out to Amelia that he is very particular about the books he likes for his store: no genres, no fantasy, no children’s books, and no series.

Amelia’s determined to leave A.J. with one book in the catalog that he’ll like. But after a rare book of Poe poems goes missing from A.J.’s house, a mysterious gift is left at the bookstore, setting into motion a series of events that changes A.J.’s life and the bookstore forever.

A witty story of love and books, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a humorous look at how personal the book business truly is. One of A.J.’s friends puts it best, “There ain’t nobody in the world like book people. It’s a business of gentlemen and gentlewomen.” I couldn’t agree more.

You'll fall in love with A.J. and the residents of Alice Island. After you finish the book, you may wait a few minutes to let the book sink in before you email or text your friend to say, “I’ve just read a book you must read.”

About the Author

Erica Voell

Erica Voell is the Youth Collection Development Librarian at the Kansas City Public Library. She enjoys gardening, sewing, knitting, seeking out gluten-free vegetarian cuisine around the city - and yes, being a good librarian, she is owned by a cat.

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With a world of unique individuals and experiences, it’s great to know that we can always explore and depend upon a variety of creative stories to reflect real world situations and garner different perspectives. Here are three great books about uniqueness, differences, and expressing your individuality.

Henny
By Elizabeth Rose Stanton

Now, I know what you’re thinking, "that chicken has arms!"
Henny is a tale about a chicken born with human arms. Henny notices right away that she isn’t exactly like other chickens. Sometimes Henny loves her arms, sometimes not so much. Henny tries to seem normal and stay positive, but it’s hard ignoring the laughs of the other animals. Through chance, Henny’s arms turn out to be incredibly helpful! Henny soon realizes that her arms are great and can do many awesome things. Get past the idea of human arms on a chicken, and you’ve got a wonderful story for anyone who has ever felt a little out of place. A useful tool for a child learning to figure out the things they are good at, with the self they have been given.

Some Bugs
By Angela Diterlizzi, Illustrated By Brendan Wenzel

Some Bugs is a literal look at just that. Some hopping, hiding, swimming, gliding bugs. Some Bugs is a delightful look at some unique, special, and interesting bugs. Some bugs build and some bugs sing, some bugs do all kinds of different things. All these fun, colorful bugs display their many talents from page to page of eye popping visual adventure. A great story for connecting differences to an equivalent and understandable cast of critters. The combination of flow, and design of text, with wonderful corresponding art is sure to be a new favorite for many.

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great
By Bob Shea

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great… is actually more about Goat. Things have been a lot different since Unicorn showed up. Unicorn has the best prance moves, his magic skills are untouchable, and to top it all off, he makes it rain cupcakes. Hmpf. Goat can’t follow that! Or can he? Turns out that Goat can do things that Unicorn cannot do. Goat can make goat cheese, climb mountains, and head butt a soccer ball! It seems that Goat and Unicorn both have special talents. Little did Goat know, Unicorn thinks Goat is pretty great! A useful tool for anyone trying to figure out their own strengths, and possibly strengths they’ve had all along. In the end it’s important to be yourself; someone else might think that you’re pretty great too.

About the Author

Shaun Teamer

Shaun Teamer is a creator and storyteller. He enjoys drawing, reading, animating and shooting videos. Shaun is currently a youth associate at the Kansas City Central Library.

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One by one on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, some 60 people of varying size, shape, and age will step atop a scale at the Kansas City Public Library’s L.H. Bluford Branch to measure the returns from 12 weeks of sweat and self-discipline.

To the top three finishers in the branch’s annual weight-loss challenge will go prizes ranging from a $100 Visa gift card to a Library gift pack. But the rewards go far beyond that.

With healthier diets and participation in Bluford’s weekly fitness classes, “I’ve literally watched people shrink. It really has impacted their lives,” branch Manager April Roy says. “They’re so grateful. They’re, like, ‘We love being able to come here. It’s free. It’s safe.’”

It’s just one facet of a far-reaching health and wellness initiative sponsored by the Library branch at 3050 Prospect.


  • The first in a series of six-week, chronic disease self-management workshops, co-sponsored by Truman Medical Centers, wrapped up at Bluford earlier this month. They’re being held in various neighborhood locations through early 2015, moving to the Library’s North-East Branch, in August and September 2014 and returning to Bluford next January and February.

  • The Mobile Market, a traveling produce market making fresh vegetables and fruits available to low-income neighborhoods that otherwise have limited access to supermarkets or other sources of fresh food, stops at Bluford each Tuesday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. It will continue at least through the summer.

  • A vision fair, featuring free screening by the Lions Club, will be held at Bluford on Monday, April 28, 2014, and already has reached its ceiling of 50 signups — with a waiting list. Vouchers for eyeglasses, redeemable at local retail outlets, will be available for individuals needing them.

  • Bluford is one of four Library branches hosting a series of health fairs in the coming year, offering general health checks by Cleveland Chiropractic College and blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar screenings by Truman Medical Centers. The first of three at Bluford is May 10. Other participating branches are Southeast, I.H. Ruiz, and North-East.


Roy, who arrived at Bluford in 2012, is making the wellness initiative a branch signature, complementing the permanent Health and Wellness Center it houses in partnership with Truman Medical Centers.

The soon-to-be-completed weight-loss challenge saw 61 entrants shed almost a collective 200 pounds in the first eight weeks. Last year’s winner lost 32 pounds over the full 12 weeks.

The challenge is held in conjunction with Tuesday evening cardio-kickboxing classes at Bluford. The branch also offers strength and endurance training on Thursdays.

The chronic disease self-management sessions follow a Stanford University program designed to help sufferers feel less overwhelmed by their conditions. The first round at Bluford, which concluded April 10, had 18 participants.

“The other day, in the chronic disease self-management class, we were going around the room and all of these people who are suffering – I mean really suffering – from all of these chronic conditions were talking about things in their life that they were grateful for,” Roy says. “I was literally weeping.

“These people are suffering. They have chronic pain. One lady’s on oxygen. All these things, they could be totally down in the dumps about. And here they are, talking about what they’re grateful for.

“It’s so fulfilling for me to see. And to know that my community is responding.”

Columbia University released the roll of 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists this week, and one name — Leo Damrosch — caught our eye.

He’s speaking at the Library next month.

The Harvard University professor and author will discuss the book that impressed the Pulitzer board, Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World, on Wednesday, May 14, at the Central Library. The deeply researched biography adds depth to the story of the author of Gulliver’s Travels, who also was a major 18th-century political and religious figure and a national hero who fiercely protested English exploitation of his native Ireland.

Damrosch's book was one three earning Pulitzer recognition in the category of biography or autobiography. Megan Marshall’s Margaret Fuller: A New American Life was the Pulitzer winner. Jonathan Swift and Jonathan Sperber’s Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life were named as finalists.

Sperber, you may recall, spoke at the Library in July 2013, shortly after the release of his Marx biography. (You can watch the video of Sperber's discussion online.)

They and the rest of the latest Pulitzer honorees are a trove of recommended reading. To wit (with comments from the Pulitzer board):

FICTION

  • Winner: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. “A beautifully written coming-of-age novel with exquisitely drawn characters that follows a grieving boy’s entanglement with a small famous painting that has eluded destruction, a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart.”
  • Runner-up: The Son by Philipp Meyer. “A sweeping multi-generational novel that illuminates the violence and enterprise of the American West by tracing a Texas family’s passage from lethal frontier perils to immense oil-boom wealth.”
  • Runner-up: The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis. “A a novel spanning 50 years and three continents that explores the murky world of American foreign policy before 9/11, using provocative themes to raise difficult moral questions.”


HISTORY


GENERAL NONFICTION


POETRY

  • Winner: 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri. “A compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless.”
  • Runner-up: The Sleep of Reason by Morri Creech. “A book of masterly poems that capture the inner experience of a man in mid-life who is troubled by mortality and the passage of time, traditional themes that are made to feel new.”
  • Runner-up: The Big Smoke by Adrian Matejka. “An imaginative work by a commanding poet who engages the history and mythology of larger-than-life boxer Jack Johnson.”


Steve Wieberg, Department of Public Affairs

We've all wondered what it would be like to be a superhero! To fly, have super strength, or weather extreme obstacles is an idea usually left for the dream space. We all can't be Spider-Man, but below are some great books that emphasize the superhero that can be found in all of us!

Extraordinary Warren: A Super Chicken
By Sarah Dillard

Extraordinary Warren: A Super Chicken is about a young, ordinary, run of the mill chicken. But Warren wants to be more than ordinary, he wants to be extraordinary! Warren doesn’t want to just peep and eat chicken feed all day long; he wants to mix it up a little bit. Warren wants to be a superhero, Chicken Supreme, with his trusty sidekick Egg by his side. All the other chickens laugh at Warren’s attempt to fly and be more than your average chicken. Warren may not have super powers, but when a conniving rat shows up to trick Warren and the other chicks into being the main course at his barbeque, Warren and Egg have to show that they are more than just a chicken and egg. Extraordinary Warren: A Super Chicken, is a fun story about finding the extraordinary in us all, even if at times we may feel a little ordinary.

The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man
By Michael Chabon, Illustrated by Jake Parker

Have you ever heard of Awesome Man? Well, if you haven’t, he’s pretty awesome. Awesome Man can fly, has super strength and can shoot positronic rays from his eyeballs! Flying through the city with his dog sidekick Moskowitz, Awesome Man battles giant robots, evil Doctors, and his arch nemesis The Flaming Eyeball. Probably the most awesome thing about Awesome Man is that he has an astonishing secret identity, but you’ll have to read to find it out! The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man is a great story for the classic superhero lover, and for the young heroes still learning their own superpowers.

The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy
By David Soman and Jackie Davis

Sam is Bumblebee Boy. Bumblebee Boy uses his imagination to combat rotten pirates. Sam’s younger brother Owen wants to play too, but Bumblebee Boy flies alone. Bumblebee Boy goes toe to toe with a giant flying dragon! Owen wants to help save the day too, but Bumblebee Boy flies alone. Until, Bumblebee Boy has to face a hoard of aliens on the moon...he may need a little help after all! From the creators of the Ladybug Girl series, The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy is a genuine story about playing nice together and not just about being superheroes, but about being positive role models.

Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom
By John Rocco

Everybody gets their superpowers from somewhere. Super Hair-O gets his from his hair. With his hair he and his team of super friends can do anything! They can ride the fastest bike, jump the biggest jump and splash the biggest splash. But one day, things all change when Super Hair-O is forced to deal with his biggest nemesis yet, The Barber of Doom. Super Hair-O loses all of his hair and feels powerless! That villain! Super Hair-O doesn’t feel very good without his super hair, but through instinct Super Hair-O jumps in to rescue a friend in need. It turns out that powers can come from many different things, sometimes just from inside of us.

About the Author

Shaun Teamer

Shaun Teamer is a creator and storyteller. He enjoys drawing, reading, and flying through the clouds of Kansas City. His secret identity is currently working as a youth associate for the Central Library. But you didn't hear that from me....

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I know what you must be thinking – how does this Greek tragedy (the most famous Greek tragedy of all) fit into my ongoing blog series about classic mysteries? Well, I admit, it’s something of a stretch, but April is National Poetry Month, and I strongly advise readers to find some great poetry out there to soak in – it’s time well spent, and will leave you with a greater appreciation for the wonder of language. Oedipus’ play could be classified, in some sense, as a mystery story – Sophocles sets it up as an investigation, one where we know more than the investigator himself. So far as the poetry goes, well, Sophocles is one of the greatest of the ancient Greek poets.

We tend to think of mystery stories and novels as “whodunits,” and as a “whodunit,” Oedipus Rex is a failure. We know who done it (SPOILER ALERT) – Oedipus killed his father and slept with his mother, having four kids by her. In case you now feel that the whole point of reading Oedipus Rex has been taken away, I’m sorry, but the ancient Athenians who watched the play at the City Dionysia in the spring of 425 BCE (we don’t know the exact date of production but 425 is close) knew the basic story of almost every tragedy performed. So, Oedipus Rex is not a whodunit. But there is a whole group of mysteries called “howcatchems.” Many of these are police procedurals, but some classic mystery novels (some of the Sherlock Holmes stories [“Scandal in Bohemia” and “Charles Augustus Milverton” for example] do not have Holmes trying to solve a crime, but rather trying to catch the criminal). And police procedurals, which focus a lot on the machinery of justice, often take this form (every Columbo episode, for example, is a “howcatchem”).

And consider how Sophocles composes this particular tragedy – the event that starts the play and precipitates the action is that Apollo has sent a plague against the city of Thebes, and will lift the plague only when the murderer of Laius (the previous king) is caught and driven off the land (the murderer is a source of pollution). Oedipus, in Sophocles’ treatment of him, is almost a superhero (at least he and the people of Thebes view him as such) — his power being Riddle Solving — and in one of his first big speeches, he proclaims in no uncertain terms that, just as he solved the riddle of the Sphinx, he will find the murderer of Laius and punish him appropriately. Of course, the audience knows the truth -- Oedipus is the murderer he seeks, but as we watch it, we still get caught up in watching the murder investigation unfold. There are leads to be followed, and people to be questioned, the very stuff of every murder mystery. Oedipus fails to live up to his Riddle Solver reputation (his wife/mother, Jocasta, figures out the solution before he does), but he is as dogged an investigator as any inspector of Scotland Yard, and he pursues the investigation to its end. At the point where he is about to uncover the final bit of evidence, the herdsman he is interviewing notes: “O God, I am on the brink of frightful speech.” And Oedipus replies, “And I of frightful hearing. But I must hear.” (translation by David Grene). Oedipus is a man driven – he must solve this mystery, not only for the city whose champion he remains, but also for himself. He simply must know the truth, a quality we find in all of the mystery sleuths, but especially those of the “classic” mystery school, where the puzzle, or the riddle, is everything.

The recasting of the Oedipus story as an investigation does not add to the mystery — we already know the truth — but in Sophocles’ handling of the story, we get a carefully controlled and modulated revelation of the truth, as we watch an investigation “in real time.” And, if we allow ourselves to get caught up in that investigation, I think we can derive a special pleasure in this most famous of Greek tragedies. Try reading it as a mystery, and see if you don’t agree.

There are several great translations of this play. I would recommend any of the following: translations by W. B. Yeats, David Grene, Anthony Burgess, Dudley Fitts and Robert FitzGerald, H.D.F. Kitto, or Robert Fagles.

There is also a very bizarre film version of the Yeats translation, directed by Tyrone Guthrie, with William Shatner as one of the chorus. Guthrie had hoped to recreate the experience of the Greek audience with the large masks, but as this production was filmed on a very small sound stage, the large masks and big gestures look rather silly. Still, it is a joy to hear Yeats’ translation performed.

About the Author

Bernard Norcott-Mahany, a library technical assistant at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch, is our resident connoisseur of classic literature. He is also the leader of the Black Classics and In the Heat of the Night book groups.

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April is National Poetry Month, but here's a way to enjoy poetry year-round. Collections of poetry, entire stories told through poems, books about the impact of poetry on teen lives - there is something for everyone. Try one or several of the books below. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to write your own poem.

Click here to check out poems by other Kansas City teens.

Books of Poetry

Call number area: 811

Falling Hard: 100 love poems by teenagers edited by Betsy Franco

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson/ illustrated by Hadley Hooper


The Rose that Grew from Concrete
by Tupac Shakur

Novels in Verse

Freakboy by Kristen Elizabeth Clark

Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean

October Mourning: A song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman

Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Authors of Multiple Novels in Verse

Contemporary

Ellen Hopkins

Sonya Sones

Holly Thompson

Historical

Margarita Engle

Stephanie Hemphill

Novels about Poetry

You Don’t Even Know Me: Stories and poems about boys by Sharon G. Flake

Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott

The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finney Frock

Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia is the education librarian for the Kansas City Public Library. She has worked at libraries in Nevada and Missouri for nine years. She earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences from the University of North Texas.

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We have a winner!

Our 2014 Booketology Champion is: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle! In the final, 65% of you chose A Wrinkle in Time over Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

You can see the bracket of all the competing Booketology titles below:

Thank you to everyone who voted for their favorite books! Let us know what you thought of Booketology this year, and give us your ideas for next year. What books would you like to see battle it out?

About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

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Did you know that in addition to all of the FREE resources to help you learn provided by the Kansas City Public Library, there are also some amazing free resources online? Check out all of these websites!

Coursera.org – Here you can take the same courses that they are taking at the top universities in the country for FREE!

Ted.com - Watch these inspirational videos highlighting great ideas that you should know about.

Snopes.com - Ever seen something on the internet but wasn't sure if it was true or not? Snopes debunks all the common internet myths.

Duolingo.com - If you want to learn a new language now you can do it through social media with your friends! Gain XP and level up your skills!

Gutenberg.org - The oldest online depository of free public domain ebooks.

Wikihow.com - Learn how to do EVERYTHING!

These websites should teach you just about everything you've ever wanted to learn! But if that's not enough, we have a few more that you might not have heard of!

And then there were two! The Final 4 round of Booketology is complete, and our winning books now move on to the Championship. Check out the voting results from this last round.

So how did your favorite books do? Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time defeated Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl with 70% of all votes.

And the classic Louisa May Alcott novel Little Women crushed Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.

The full breakdown of votes is below.

  

Here is the full Booketology Championship bracket, you can vote for the final winner through Sunday, April 6.


The full Booketology Schedule:

Round 1: March 22-24
Sweet 16: March 25-27
Elite 8: March 28-31
Final 4: April 1-3
Championship: April 4-6



Our book champion will be announced on April 7!
Vote now and have fun, everyone!


About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

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Our Spring Tournament of Books has returned for the third year! Check out the results of the Elite 8, and vote in the Final 4 of Booketology, where it's book vs. book and you decide the winner!

Some contests were close: The classic Little Women defeated new kid The Fault in Our Stars, though John Green fans can take comfort in the fact that the book lost by a margin of less than 20 votes! And the Mystery Gone Girl narrowly edged out the iconic Graphic Novel Watchmen.

Other brackets were dominated by long-time favorites: Ender's Game quickly defeated Terry McMillan's Who Asked You? While The Ocean at the End of the Lane lost to A Wrinkle in Time, which took three out of four votes.


The full breakdown from the Elite 8 is below. All of the competing books are available for checkout from the Library.


  
  

Here is the Booketology Final 4 bracket, you can vote in this round from Tuesday, April 1, through Thursday, April 3.


The full Booketology Schedule voting schedule:

Round 1: March 22-24
Sweet 16: March 25-27
Elite 8: March 28-31
Final 4: April 1-3
Championship: April 4-6



The championship book will be announced on April 7!
Vote now and have fun, everyone!


About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

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Stream the music you want. When you want it. No ads. No charge.

Who wouldn’t like the concept?

It didn’t take patrons of the Kansas City Public Library long to discover — and take advantage of — the upgraded offerings of Freegal Music. Its catalog of some 7 million songs was made available via online streaming in February 2014. By the end of that month, nearly 13,000 tracks had been accessed by Library card-holders.

The streaming is unlimited, available 24-7, and more flexible than other services that allow users to specify genres of music but not particular songs. With Freegal, patrons can create personal playlists. Or they can listen to an entire album of their choosing.

“To use an appropriate term, it’s a hit,” says Joel Jones, the Library’s deputy director of branch and library services. “Freegal’s downloads have always been popular – they’re yours to keep – but there are limits.

“There’s no ceiling on streaming. You can listen to as much as you want for as long as you want. I use it on my (smart) phone at the YMCA. Before I climb on the treadmill, I just go to the ’80s classic rock selections or whatever else I’m in the mood for and pick a playlist. It’s so easy.”

The Library has offered Freegal’s downloaded music since late 2012, recently raising its limit on downloads from three to five songs a week.

Freegal’s streaming service was added just as KCPL began featuring another service, Hoopla, that makes music, television shows, movies, and audiobooks available via online streaming. Between them, they give Library card-holders a wide-ranging menu of no-cost digital entertainment.

Hoopla’s ever-expanding digital collection counts some 100,000 music CDs; 10,000 audiobooks; 3,000 movies; and 500 TV series. Because the Library is charged each time an item is checked out on one of its cards, it limits users to 15 items per card per month (with each TV episode counting as an item).

Via Hoopla, Kansas City Public Library patrons downloaded more than 900 music albums, videos, and audiobooks in February.

Steve Wieberg, Department of Public Affairs


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