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Staff Picks

Each Saturday a staff member is featured on the website and social media with a book selection from the Allegany County Library System collection that really stood out to them. See what catches your attention and next time you visit the library, chat up the librarian about the book you saw on the Staff Picks!

Ali Staff Pick

April 13 – Ali

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by  Taylor Jenkins Reid

It doesn’t seem to matter what genre you usually love to read, you’ll still love The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (honestly, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t enjoyed it). This is an addicting story following the rise of a Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo, and the reasons she married seven different men. It depicts so perfectly the struggles and triumphs; loves and losses; pains and pleasures. There were aspects I would have never guessed were coming, and a twist at the end that left me speechless. This is a story of glamor, love, betrayal, and what it means to fight for the things you want in life.

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Find it on Overdrive and Libby!

April 6 –  Jennifer L.

Wish, Dream, and Hope by Matthew Cordell

Wish, published in 2015, is a simply illustrated, yet evocative children’s book about an elephant couple who longs to become parents.  This book is part of a series of three anthromorphic books celebrating the joys, sorrows and enduring bonds of family through various stages of life.  Dream, a 2017 offering, follows a gorilla family as they ponder who their child will become and what experiences he/she will have in the future.  Hope (2019) centers on two lion grandparents who convey their love and hopes to their grandchild as they ponder the enduring bonds of familial love through the generations.  Although the prose and lush drawings are simple, the emotions invoked are universal and powerful. Great books to celebrate family life!

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Read Hope on hoopla today!

Shane Staff Pick

March 30 – Shane

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Murderbot doesn’t want to be bothered while on assignment to protect humans. Murderbot just wants to watch his Stories. But he’ll find.. there’s more to being an artificial being.. than he thought…. All Systems Red by Martha Wells is great sci fi featuring a very relatable half robot, half human construct who just needs to learn how to love again.

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Linda Staff Pick

March 23 – Linda

A couple weeks ago, I was planning on watching my niece perform in her high school’s production of Chicago. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get there because of snow, so I did the next best thing. I checked out the movie on Hoopla! Hoopla is great because all items are available NOW and they are FREE! In honor of March Movie Madness here at Allegany County Library, I urge you to try a movie or TV show using the program Hoopla.


Visit hoopla today!

Laura Staff Pick

March 16 – Laura

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

A must read for everyone is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Find a cozy spot and make sure to have some chocolate on hand, this book is just the ticket!


Reserve a copy!

Find it on Overdrive and Libby!

March 9 – Kristin


Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

I read Harry’s Trees, by Jon Cohen, after I saw a patron return it and noticed it was on hold for someone else. Must be good, eh? Loved the title, the story looked interesting, the prose looked inviting, and the cover is cool, too. I’m so glad I checked it out!

It’s a story about Harry Crane, a thirty-something, mid-level forestry service bureaucrat, whose wife dies tragically, leaving him unable to cope. He runs off to the Pennsylvania forest, where he meets a young widow, Amanda Jeffers, and her 9-year-old daughter, Oriana, who are grieving their own loss. Their lives intertwine in a coming-of-age / adventure/ love story/ fairy tale that includes a “Wolf” in the forest character and a proverbial pot of gold. The story also features a falling-apart library and an eccentric librarian named Olive, who’s about 300 years old and smokes a meerschaum pipe (she blows smoke rings and everything).

For the most part, the characters are believable and engaging, though the fairy tale elements feel a little forced, especially toward the end of the book. But it’s a super-creative, life-affirming story that leaves a reader satisfied in the way that only a fairy tale can. No spoilers here, but think, “happily ever after.”


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Listen on hoopla today!

March 2 – Nora

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

The Library Book by Susan Orlean is a fascinating read for non-fiction and fiction readers alike.  The book is based on the fire on April 29, 1986 that burned down the Los Angeles Public Library, and destroyed more than 400,000 books. It was the worst fire in America’s history.  The author attempts to solve the mystery of the origin of the fire through extensive investigation and research. She uses not only police reports and witness statements but also historical and architectural background information.  There is one main suspect that was never convicted of the crime.  Ms. Orlean seeks answers in the suspect’s background to determine if he is the arsonist and why he would set the fire. The book is filled with quirky, interesting people and facts that are intriguing.  Highly recommended for mystery sleuths, library lovers, and history buffs.

Reserve a copy!

Find it on Overdrive and Libby!

February 23 – Ashley

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

When the Lights Go Out is the newest release by one of my favorite authors, Mary Kubica. I would recommend anything by her! Several mysteries rolled into one, this book will keep you turning the page and guessing at what will happen!

Reserve a copy!

Find it on Overdrive and Libby!

Listen on hoopla today!

Connie's Staff Pick: The Secret Chord

February 16 – Connie

The Secret Chord  by Geraldine Brooks

I love Geraldine Brooks writing. She makes me feel smart and she teaches me all kinds of things.

This book is about King David (the one who slew Goliath).  She delves into his life from early days as shepherd to his later years as king.  She tells this tale through the writings of his longtime confidant, Natan. All I knew about David was from the Bible stories. I found this book very insightful and impeccable researched.  Good read for history buffs.

Reserve a copy!

Find it on Overdrive or Libby!

Maureen's Staff Pick: Homer's Odyssey

February 9 – Maureen

Homer’s Odyssey: a fearless feline tale or how I learned about love and life with a blind wonder cat by Gwen Cooper

Gwen Cooper’s memoir Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat is more than just a heartwarming story about a blind cat whose life was full of joy, adventure, and courage.  It is also the story of what Homer taught Gwen, her family, and friends just by living his life to the fullest.  This emotional book has moments of love, joy, humor, and sadness, but overall is an uplifting read about refusing to accept limits when faced with obstacles.  I recommend this book to anyone who loves animals, and if you enjoy Homer’s Odyssey also try Gwen Cooper’s other memoirs and novels about life with cats.


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