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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!

January 25 – Maureen

The Song of the Jade Lily by Kristy Maning

Attention: Readers who enjoy World War II historical fiction! The Song of the Jade Lily is a heartbreaking, yet beautiful story about family, family secrets, loss, and the resilience and courage of people during the worst of times. Detailed descriptions bring to life both the horror and chaos of war and the glamour and grittiness of 1930’s-1940’s Shanghai.

Browse some of the collection here!


January 18 – Liz

Say Nothing : A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Raden Keefe

I remember when I was in High School hearing about the I.R.A. in Northern Ireland but had no idea how many murders were committed by both the British and Irish. The Irish Republic had been fighting in Ireland for decades even longer, this book exposes their dark past. The disappearance of widowed mother of 10 children Jean McConville was the kick start for this books shocking tale.

Reserve a copy from ACLS!


January 11 – Paula

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I picked up this book and started reading it because of its beautiful cover, but then found out that Tom Hanks narrates the audiobook version so I immediately switched over! I found that his voice made this already perfect family saga come alive. This is an intelligent novel that’s like a fairy tale, including an evil stepmother and a mansion, The Dutch House, that provides a driving force for the characters. This is a story about abandonment, love, devotion, calamity, and compassion.

Reserve a copy of the book at ACLS!


Maureen Staff Pick: Reaching for the Moon

December 28 – Maureen

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobioraphy of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson – Katherine G. Johnson

Amazing! I loved reading and was inspired by Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, so I was excited to read Katherine Johnson’s story in her own words. I found this book to be informative, inspiring, and fascinating even though it is labeled as juvenile fiction. I am so glad that this story is written in a way that children can easily understand. If you are like me and really inspired by the stories told in Hidden Figures, Reaching for the Moon The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson is a great book to share with the children in your life. The message that Katherine and her siblings learned from their father as children resonates throughout the book. “You are no better than anyone else, but nobody else is better than you.”

Reserve a copy of the book at ACLS!


Regina Staff Pick - Home Front Girls

December 21 – Regina

Home Front Girls – Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan

Rita Vincenzo and Glory Whitehall have become pen pals…their men are off fighting in World War II. As different as night is to day, Rita and Glory, manage to connect, share, learn, and support each other as only women can do, especially when faced with the uncertainties of war..
This wonderful story is told from the correspondence between the two women as the United States enters the war. If you love books set in this particular era, this is a must read. I am looking forward to the two author’s new writings…
Read in January of 2015 and reread in November 2019.. Favorite Quotes:
“Think about it this way–our actions speak truth our words cannot.” “We don’t need to have the answers. We’ll never have them. They’ll come and go and change. And all we can do is figure out the best way to behave when life comes at us. Even if society says it isn’t right. Right is so subjective, after all.”
“We are always waiting, aren’t we? All in a state of hesitation and held breath. Sometimes it’s glorious like a storm at the end of a hot day.”
“Tonight started innocently enough. Most terrible things do, right?”
“Silence is a powerful tool.”

Reserve a copy of the book at ACLS!

Get the audiobook now on hoopla!


Toni Staff Pick

December 14 – Toni

If you are like me, I love savoring the Holiday season!  One of my favorite traditions is taking the weeks leading up to Christmas and settling our family in for a time of reading and reflection in preparation for Christmas.  We begin this activity 4 weekends before Christmas.  A Family Advent, which can be borrowed from Hoopla, focuses on the season of Advent that many churches celebrate this time of year.  It’s been a great resource for our family over the past years and the time spent together is priceless to us, even if we spare only a few moments before the week begins. Christmas Is Coming! : Celebrate the Holiday with Art, Stories, Poems, Songs, and Recipes and The Christmas Almanac are two of my favorite compilations. Both of these books are beautifully illustrated, offer a variety of material, and could be used as well to gather the family for a short story or poem, singing a Christmas song and trying a fun holiday recipe! Happy Holidays!

Browse our holiday themed collections at ACLS!

See the family advent options on hoopla!


Lisa Staff Pick - The Chain

December 7 – Lisa

The Chain  – Adrian McKinty

The chain cannot be broken. Rachel’s daughter, Kylie, is kidnapped from her bus stop. The only way to get her back is to kidnap another family’s child and pay a ransom. The next family must also pay a ransom and kidnap a child so that you can release their child. The chain cannot be broken or the child will die. No police may be involved or the child will die. Who is behind this scheme and what can be done to stop them and finally break the chain? This intense psychological thriller makes you wonder what you are actually capable of doing in order to save your child.

Reserve a copy of the book or audiobook at ACLS!

Find it on Overdrive/Libby!


Cathy R Staff Pick - Strands of Truth

November 30 – Cathy R

Strands of Truth – Colleen Coble

If you are a Colleen Coble fan, you will love her latest book. Strands of Truth grips you on page on with a heart-pounding open and keeps you guessing till the end.

Reserve a copy of the book or audiobook at ACLS!

Get the book or audiobook now on hoopla today!


Cathy N. staff pick - A Mrs. Miracle Christmas

November 23 – Cathy N

A Mrs. Miracle Christmas – Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomer’s, A Mrs. Miracle Christmas, is an inspiring adventure that will get you ready for the holiday season. There are Angels among us!

Reserve a copy of the book or audiobook at ACLS!

Browse other Debbie Macomber title on hoopla!

Find it on Overdrive/Libby!


Maureen Staff Pick -

November 9 – Maureen

Perveen Mistry series – Sujata Massey

Looking to travel in time and place without leaving the comfort of home.  Read the Perveen Mistry series by Sujata Massey!  Massey Plots a compelling mystery, while at the same time transporting readers to 1920’s India with rich details and descriptions.

Browse the series at ACLS!

Find it on Overdrive/Libby!