The Saturday edition of the Moscow Pullman Daily News carries a regular column contributed by one of these five area libraries: Latah County Library District; Neill Public Library; University of Idaho; Whitman County Library District; and Washington State University Libraries. We reprint the most recent columns here, with permission.

Stumped on your next read? Libraries can help you mix it up

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By Michelle Sturdy, Latah County Library District
Jul 24, 2021

Recently, I was considering what I should read next. I scanned my running booklist and nothing tickled my book fancy. Odd. I usually get excited over multiple books on the list and have difficulty choosing just one. It wasn’t the books; I just wasn’t in the mood. What to do? When my brain goes squishy and petulant, refusing consideration of all materials on a diverse and lively booklist, it is time to try something completely different.

A deep dive into the stacks was called for; wading around in the unknown and/or rediscovering familiar but neglected works deserving consideration. I settled on graphic novels and comics. I brought a stack home and enjoyed engaging with this format I have ignored in recent years. This reading exercise was fun and a nice break from my routine. Mixing up my routine offered a needed break and, in the end, left me feeling more excited and interested in my trusty booklist than I had felt in months.

I find this approach can be helpful with my children as well. I have one reader who knows exactly what she wants to read and I do not interfere in her reading activities unless she asks my opinion. Life is too short to try to fix things that do not need fixing. My other reader needs to bounce around more in her reading selections to stay engaged. To keep her reading, I bring home a wide variety of different books for her to consider. She ignores many of the selections I present her but ultimately, she tucks into a book that suits her and I am happy that she is reading.

Libraries provide ample opportunity to switch things up and try something different. Exploring genres outside of your normal habits is a great place to start. If you strictly read adult fiction, try nonfiction, young adult fiction, or children’s literature. Too busy to find time to read a novel; try short stories, poetry collections, and/or audiobooks. Patrons can access physical materials at Latah County Library District locations and digital materials from anywhere with an internet connection via the district webpage (latahlibrary.org) and/or with apps such as Libby by OverDrive. Need help being adventurous, ask library staff for resources and recommendations.

The library can help you shake up a lot more than just your reading habits. Are you looking for a new hobby or to improve an existing one? Patrons can check out instructional books and/or access digital informational/learning resources via the district webpage. Patrons can explore all kinds of topics with the following digital resources: learn a new language with Pronunciator, investigate genealogy using HeritageQuest Online, access Consumer Reports online, view maps using AtoZ Maps Online, identify birds with Birds of the World, access step-by-step auto repair with the Chilton Library, prepare for U.S. citizenship using ProCitizen, and more.

Libraries offer all kinds of opportunities to step out of your routine and try something completely different. Stop by your local library or any area library, have a mini adventure and surprise yourself with something new. If your routine is enjoyable and working well for you, the library can help you with selections to maintain your routine streak. Either way, see what you can discover at the library to keep you interested and engaged.

Sturdy is the branch manager at the Troy Library.