Check It Out is the Normal Public Library’s podcast, hosted by Jared Johnson, and features book, audio, and movie recommendations, timely info about the library’s programs and services, and fun discussions with talented people. Listen to individual episodes below, or subscribe in iTunes to download the latest episode automatically!
Released: February 7, 2017
In this episode, Tori Lieggi recommends a memoir that comes to terms with family and mental illness with sharp wit and a lot of heart (8:02); Silvia Schuh gives us the lowdown on February (and some March) arts and crafts (6:43); and Kristi Cates recommends a handful of books for teens and adults that serve as funny diversions during the doldrums of February (14:55). Plus, we invite young writers to the Teen Writer’s Workshop.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
As always, we’d love to hear from you!
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twit us: @NPLTweets
Released: January 21, 2017
In this first episode of 2017, Julia Cozad-Callaghan recommends a unique reading challenge to start off the new year (9:55); Randi Sutter talks up the Children’s Department’s new S.T.E.A.M. Club (6:14); and Mari McKeeth recommends a couple of 2016 books that stood out from the rest (14:55).
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Swygert by Jeffrey Harold Utterback
Find the details of the challenge here at BookRiot.com.
Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett
The Trespasser by Tana French
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Released: December 30, 2016
In this final episode of 2016, Laura Rocco recommends an unusual fantasy perfect for reading at night (12:18); Silvia Schuh explains why January is Scarf Month at NPL (4:53); and Kristi Cates recommends an assorted trio of adventure books and explains the library’s local schools “book talk” programs (17:00).
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Surrounded By Sharks by Michael Northrop
Walk On Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Tell us what you think!
Released: December 6, 2016
In this episode, we hear a selection of poems from the RHINO 40th Anniversary Poetry Reading at the library, organized by Kathleen Kirk; Silvia Schuh talks December arts and crafts; and Alec Gramm recommends some books that open up the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons.
Our RHINO poets were:
Of Dice and Men by David M. Ewalt
We know you have opinions about the podcast, and we’d love to hear them!
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tweet us: @NPLTweets
Released: November 28, 2016
In this bonus segment of Check It Out, Marketing Assistant Nakia Worrell talks about the library’s past and present Giving Tuesday campaigns.
We’re thankful to have so many enthusiastic community patrons to serve! Please contact us if you have questions or feedback of any kind. Our email is email@example.com, and you can reach us on Twitter at NPLTweets.
Released: November 14, 2016
In this episode, Laura Rocco recommends a chilly gothic novel for long cold nights (8:30); Kathleen Kirk previews the RHINO Magazine 40th Anniversary poetry reading (10:53); and Mari McKeeth recommends a range of holiday-themed genre fiction (15:17).
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by David Rosenfelt
Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths
Santa Cruise by Mary Higgins and Carol Higgins Clark
Tell us what you think!
Released: October 25, 2016
In this Halloween Pumpkin-spice-infused episode, Silvia Schuh previews upcoming arts and crafts programs (7:24); Julia Cozad-Callaghan and Kristi Cates introduce NPLay, a new recurring library event for cosplay enthusiasts (4:28); and Kristi recommends a few delightfully creepy novels for young (and old) adults (14:50).
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
Tell the Story to Its End by Simon P. Clark
Released: September 29, 2016
In this episode, Laura Rocco recommends a serial graphic novel with a childlike premise but an adult sensibility (9:30); Kristi Cates talks with Teen Advisory Council member Isabel about a couple of young adult novels (5:17); and Mari McKeeth and Jared recommend a classic dystopian novel in honor of Banned Books Week (15:56).
Mari and Jared recommend:
It’s Novel (To Me)
Released: September 16, 2016
In each episode of this new spinoff podcast, Normal Public Library staff discuss a novel they’ve never read before, but should have. In this inaugural episode, Alec Gramm, Jared Johnson, Holli Kober, Ben Mills, Laura Rocco, and Pam Schuett discuss Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s 1864 novel, Crime and Punishment.
Released: September 6, 2016
In this episode, Pam Schuett and I geek out over the films of Hiyao Miyazaki (14:04); Kristi Cates recommends some books for middle school kids who are starting to outgrow middle school books (15:32); and we preview the library’s latest podcast, It’s Novel (To Me).
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Released: August 1, 2016
In this episode, Kristi Cates talks about the library’s Anime Clubs for Teens and for Adults (7:12); Silvia Schuh is back to talk about August arts and crafts programs (3:41); and Mari McKeeth highlights a few of the many magazines the library carries, and explains how patrons can use Zinio to download magazines to read on a digital device (12:47). Plus, I invite listeners to join us for a rousing discussion of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, which will be featured in the first episode of our spinoff podcast, It’s Novel (To Me).
Released: July 15, 2016
After a bit of a hiatus, Check It Out is back! In this episode, Mari McKeeth explains how the library chooses items to add to its adult print collection (10:59); Laura Rocco recommends a funny book about a Depressing topic (8:59); and Kristi C. talks up two YA sports novels with universal themes (12:05). Plus, we invite you to read along with us in preparation for our upcoming spinoff podcast.
Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell
Losers Take All by David Klass
Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill
The library’s new podcast stars will discuss:
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Released: May 12, 2016
In this episode, Kristen Bauder and host Jared Johnson talk about what a “library assistant” does, Silvia Schuh gives the rundown of May arts and crafts and previews the plans for summer, and Mari McKeeth recommends two very different books that both have a Muslim protagonist.
Released: April 21, 2016
In this episode, Rachel Weishar talks about Poetry Is Normal, a new semi-regular poetry reading event held in the library’s cafe (6:34); Amy Kubica explains the Staff Picks and Patron Picks programs (5:06); and Kristi Cates recommends three recent prize-winning young adult novels (12:05). Plus, we inaugurate a new segment in which we talk to a kid about the library. (This week, it’s Montana’s turn. Thanks, Montana!)
The Princess and the Pig, by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene
- Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby (Printz Award)
- Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli (Morris Award)
- Challenger Deep, by Neal Shusterman (National Book Award for YA Lit)
Released: April 4, 2016
In this episode, Kristi Cates explains how the Teen Advisory Council contributes to the library’s mission (4:33), Silvia Schuh talks up April’s arts and crafts programs and fills us in on National Library Week activities (6:19), and Mari McKeeth makes some recommendations to fill the Downton-Abbey-shaped gap in patrons’ lives (13:46). Plus, there’s a new classic first line challenge!
Take a look at the Teen Advisory Council schedule and sign up for April arts and crafts using our Activity Calendar.
Check out Mari McKeeth’s Downton-Abbey-style recommendations:
- Below Stairs, by Margaret Powell
- Gosford Park, directed by Robert Altman
- The Remains of the Day (novel), by Kazuo Ishiguro
- The Remains of the Day (film), directed by James Ivory
Released: March 9, 2016
In this episode, Rebecca Gopinath invites us to attend a screening of the hit Bollywood film Bajrangi Bhaijaan (5:38); Jennifer Williams gives the rundown of kids’ spring break activities that we’re calling Spy Training (6:01); and Kristi Cates recommends two great but often overlooked young adult novels (8:30).
Check out our activity calendar to register for Spring Break programs.
Check out Kristi’s recommendations:
The Year of Secret Assignments* (print) by Jaclyn Moriarty
The President’s Daughter by Ellen Emerson White
Released: March 3, 2016
Jennifer Williams talks about Mo Willems’ new chapter book, The Story of Diva and Flea (5:45); Silvia Schuh gives us the lowdown on March arts and crafts programs (3:50); and Mari McKeeth recommends Val McDermid’s latest mystery, Splinter the Silence (12:33). Plus, Mari talks about two services for finding great books: Novelist and eSequels.
Please tell us what you think by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweeting us @NPLTweets!
Released: February 11, 2016
In this episode, Perry Kaufman explains the difference between “hard” and “soft” science fiction and makes a couple recommendations (13:21), and Kristi Cates talks about books that readers of The Martian might also like (13:39). Plus, there’s a new prize challenge.
Released: January 27, 2016
In this episode, Meghan Rogers explains the Adult Winter Reading Program, and Mari McKeeth talks about all the great books that were turned into movie scripts and nominated for this year’s Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar:
- Brooklyn, by Colm Tóibín (screenplay by Nick Hornby)
- The Martian, by Andy Weir (screenplay by Drew Goddard)
- The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith (adapted as Carol, screenplay by Phyllis Nagy)
- The Big Short, by Michael Lewis (screenplay by Adam McKay and Charles Randolph)
- Room, by Emma Donoghue (screenplay by Emma Donoghue herself)
Released: January 13, 2016
In our first episode of 2016, Silvia Schuh recommends the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, starting with the first novel in the series, A Discovery of Witches. Holli Kober recommends Suicide Squad, a series of comics that patrons can access through Hoopla. Plus, we talk February arts and crafts (register here), and we bring our first literary interpretation challenge to a close.
The translation of Dante’s Inferno by Mark Musa referenced in this episode is excellent, by the way.
Comments, questions, suggestions, and random thoughts are welcome at email@example.com!
Released: December 30, 2015
In the final episode of 2015, Amy Kubica recommends the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop, Laura Rocco recommends The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Noble (which is based on a popular Youtube series), and I have some thoughts about libraries as we bring 2015 to a close. Plus, we check in on last episode’s literary challenge.
To respond to the literary challenge or to give us feedback, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Released: December 16, 2015
In this week’s episode, we explore the wonders of the library’s 3D printer, eLearning programs you can access through our website, and January’s arts and crafts programs (register now!). Also, we talk about some books that Star Wars fans might have a good feeling about. Plus, a new and better way to win the episode’s weekly prize.
Books we recommend in this episode:
Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher
The Pluto Files by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold
A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber
Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell
This episode features the “Sunrise” opening to Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, performed by the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Barbara Schubert, available at the Internet Archive. For over one hundred different performances of Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, why not check out Naxos Music Library? It’s free, and all that’s required is a Normal Public Library card (which is also free). Plus, Naxos Music Library offers streaming access to more than 109,960 CDs with more than 1,609,000 tracks of many musical genres including classical, jazz, world and pop/rock.
Released: Nov 30, 2015
In this episode, we talk about The Black House by Peter May, the first in a trilogy of mysteries set on a remote Scottish island. Also, we talk about the library’s arts and crafts programs coming up in December, how to download audio and video content using the internet and your trusty Normal Public Library card, and our Giving Tuesday fundraiser, which aims to raise enough money to fund a mobile maker space for our teen patrons. Plus, another chance for our loyal podcast listeners to snag a prize!
Released: Nov 18, 2015
In this inaugural episode, we talk about the young adult novel The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, the library’s collection of James Bond films, November’s arts and crafts programs, and how to download ebooks using your Normal Public Library card. Plus, our brilliant listeners get their first chance to win a prize.