Category Archives: Information

What Should I Read Next? (Vol. 2)

[Article by: Morgan Simon]

At Friends of the Library, we have one mission: to spread the word to the Wells Branch community about our local library and it’s fantastic programming and resources! One of the best ways we know how to do this is to simply share what wonderful books we’re reading (and encourage you to head to the library to check them out!).

Enter: What Should I Read Next?  This ongoing feature will share reading recommendations from librarians, Friends of the Library board members, and the Wells Branch community. You can find more of this series and other information about the library on our blog:

I recently finished The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! Set in Florence, Italy in the 1550s, this novel follows the duchess Lucrezia de’ Medici from birth through adolescence. Filled with plot twists, historical details, and emotion this is the perfect read for anyone who loves historical fiction, Italian history, or simply a strong, fearless female lead character.

Morgan Simon, Friends of the Library Board Vice President

I recommend Kingdom of the Wicked series by Kerri Maniscalco for romance and fantasy lovers, with a lot of mythology. In 19th century Italy, Emilia is a witch living in Sicily and working at her family’s restaurant. When her twin sister is brutally murdered, Emilia tries to summon a demon to help her get revenge. Instead, she ends up accidentally summoning the Prince of Wrath. These longtime mortal enemies team up to solve the murder. Very satisfying enemies to lovers arc.

Kaitlyn, Youth Services Assistant Manager

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, tells the story of a Russian Count in the 1920’s who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside the world renowned Metropol Hotel in Moscow instead of being shot! He manages to live a life of purpose while all the while being charming and a true gentleman to all. There are also a few surprising twists that keep things interesting. I read the book, and liked it so much, I also listened to it, which I would recommend, because his charm is even more evident. Those of you who have already read A Gentleman in Moscow, might want to give it another read, because it is soon to be a Showtime series starring Ewan McGregor as the Count.

Joan Mead, Friends of the Library Board Member

I recommend A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik. Outside the Scholomance is even more dangerous for the young wizards. El is trapped inside the school with her classmates where only some of the ravenous monsters can get at them, and only some of the other students are trying to drain each other for power. It’s nice and horrible in the skyless void. All El has to do is not die and not destroy the world.

Julia, Library Assistant

For the Wine, Women and Words Book Club*, I recently read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E.Schwab. A young woman in medieval times inadvertently calls an old god of the night instead of the day to save her from an unwanted marriage. As often happens, the wish granted is really a curse – to never be remembered after other people look away, and to live forever, until she is willing to give her soul to the god. It alternates between 2014 and the preceding centuries, and is a very interesting read.

Nancy Loomis, Friends of the Library Board Secretary

*Wine, Women and Words Book Club is a book club offered through the Wells Branch Community Library, find out more details at

Beyond the Books

Libraries have been in the news lately, which is rarely good news. Grumpy, ill-informed politicians are angry about books filling people’s heads with ideas. Perhaps they might be less grumpy and more informed if they actually took the time to read the books. In order to circumvent a judge’s decision against the book ban declared by these grumpy politicians, they have decided to defund libraries, instead. Do these elected officials know libraries are way more important than a couple dozen books on their banned book list? If anyone were to defund our library, let me tell you what else would be impacted.

For the longest time, when I thought about libraries, I thought it was a place filled with books they would let you borrow and return after a couple of weeks…and that’s about all I knew for the longest time. To be honest, I rarely gave libraries much though, because I was probably too busy playing video games. It was not until I got more involved with the library that I started learning more about all the cool things libraries have to offer.

Yes, I could borrow books. I could also borrow audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs, all with no monthly subscription. Plus, there are digital books. I have no idea how many books our library has. I think it is somewhere between lots and a plethora. If our library does not have a book I want out of all those books, there is a chance they could help me borrow the book I want from another library. So, yes, the library has books and other media. Yes, there are reading challenges, book clubs, and story times (available in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language). There is even a writers guild if you have ever wanted to write your own books. Enough about books! What about the other cool things?

Without proper funding, our library would not be able to provide technological services to the community. For one, the library provides a free wireless hotspot to use with your own laptops, tablets, or smart phones. If you can’t afford such fancy tech, there is a computer lab available during library hours. Our family started using the library’s printing and copying services when we got tired of purchasing new ink cartridges. Earlier this week, I even needed their fax machine to send an important document to my wife who is out of town for work. Maybe your internet service and home office are fine. What else does the library have to offer?

Other news stories circulating earlier this year involved major corporations and their massive layoffs. Don’t get me started on how a company intends to perform better with fewer employees, but anyway… The library has services for the unemployed, too. They may not be able to provide a work placement service, but they do provide services to help people get back into the working world. The library holds the occasional resume workshop. Their website provides several links for job search resources and other unemployment assistance. They offer courses to learn computer skills. With the recent tax season, the library can’t file your taxes for you, but they can provide the necessary form(s). Maybe you need a document notarized. The library can help with that, too.

The other day, the librarian told me, “If you have ever wanted to try something, the library could probably help you do it…for free.” I know libraries can’t do everything, but I understand what she meant. There are no stoves or ovens for baking or cooking lessons, but they probably do have recipes you could try. You might not be able to skydive at the library, but you may be able to find a video about skydiving or look up skydiving businesses in their computer lab. They have classes to teach yoga…and game nights…and arts and crafts…and a Maker’s Lab…And, these are the things I can think of off the top of my head. There are still so many other things I am still discovering about our library.

Not all libraries are well funded. I am glad our community agreed to provide a portion of local sales taxes to support the Wells Branch Library. Every time we support the community, the community supports the library, who then gives back all these services and more to the community. Because the library has so much to offer, that is why it is also important for the Friends of the Library to help find ways to better connect the people in our community to the opportunities available to them. We especially need to connect to the underprivileged portions of the community who have no idea the benefits of the library. People like the clueless, younger me who only knew about book borrowing. Now, my head is not just filled with ideas, but with possibilities, thanks to my local library.