Moscow Pullman Daily News Saturday Library Columns

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.

Winter reading: It’s getting hygge in here


By Bailey Gillreath-Brown and Stacie Echanove

As the second year of this pandemic comes to a close, your local library district continues to work hard to safely serve you. Our programming has gone through multiple phases, from digital programs, to take-home activities and kits, to outdoor in-person programs, to masked and distanced indoor programs for adults, and back again to digital and take-away programs.

As the weather and pandemic conditions have changed, so has the structure and focus of our programming. Throughout each different iteration, we have found that our programs are still valuable and beloved by our community, regardless of how we are able to present them. We are so appreciative of our loyal and loving patrons who have stuck with us and encouraged us throughout, and we welcome the new patrons we’ve been able to reach by varying our program delivery.

Our hygge-themed program runs through the end of January, so there is still plenty of time to participate. There is no registration required for this year’s program. Anytime during December or January, patrons of all ages are encouraged to pick up a Winter Reading Program worksheet at their local branch of the Latah County Library District. The worksheet contains prompts for participants to write a very short review for a book read during December and January.

You can read and review as many books as you would like. Remember to return your worksheet(s) to your local library before the end of January. Each review submitted counts as a prize entry and may be added to a display at your local library. Fellow community members may be able to read your review and find their next great read.

Don’t know what to read or prefer a little more structure in your reading challenge? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We have a list of optional challenges for those who choose to do them. There are no restrictions or eligibility requirements on the types of materials you read or the format in which you choose to read them. We encourage you to read what makes you happy this season and always.

In addition to the Winter Reading Program, we will also offer other fun winter programs that will tie in but will not be limited to those participating in winter reading. Keep your eye out for various all-ages take-home crafts available at Moscow Public Library and throughout the district. At Moscow Public Library, join us for Reindeer Games — a sponsor-a-reindeer program for youth and families, Jolabokaflod — a book present giveaway for all ages, pop-up digital storytimes, a Snow Good book display, and more hygge-focused activities.

Gillreath-Brown and Echanove are librarians at the Latah County Library District.

Great week for reading will last all November


By Brittany Griffin

What is Idaho Family Reading Week? Each November the Idaho Commission for Libraries emphasizes the importance of daily family/caregiver reading time and its support of early childhood literacy. It helps connect families and caregivers of young children with the early literacy resources their local public and school libraries have available to help them prepare their children for school success. It helps every family or caregiver obtain a public library card and visit a public or school library. The Latah County Library District is observing Family Reading “Week” all through November.

Reading to children not only improves their concentration, develops their vocabulary and language skills, and teaches them more about the world around them, it is a great way to settle in and relax their bodies and minds. The benefits don’t stop at children. Parents and caregivers can also gain from daily reading. When we read, our brains are actually exercising. It is proven that reading, a much more complex task than watching TV, can strengthen and even create new connections in our brains. So a bonus for all involved. Finding fun and engaging books for your whole family can be overwhelming. We at the Latah County libraries can be a huge help in this department. Our staff can guide you along the way to get you started in your reading adventures.

We have some great tips and resources available on our website. Head over to the Digital Resources page at to access ABC Mouse for your early learner, or DayByDayID to watch one of their storytimes and pick up learning tips. While you’re on our website, log into your account and put a family fun “Itty Bitty Brain Box” on hold. These boxes come in many themes and have activities and books that correspond to the theme. They are no-brainers for parents, and kids of all ages will enjoy working on one of the many busy activities while their adult reads to them.

If you live in Latah County and don’t have a library card you are missing out. Not only are we a district library system, seven libraries in total, we are also connected to the Valnet library consortium. This means that we can pull items from dozens of different libraries and have those materials sent directly to your home branch, at no charge. No charge for shipping items around, and no charge for your very own library card.

Along with free library cards the Latah County Library system has books, magazines, audiobooks, DVDs, Blu-rays, downloadable materials and much more to borrow. We have something for everyone ages 0-100+. Each branch is unique in what they currently have and stopping in every week is never a bad idea to see what new and fresh items are popping up. And November is a great month to start checking for those super fun fall- themed books all the kids will love to snuggle in and read.

Bovill & Deary Branch Manager

Commentary: Behind a great library partnership


By Chris Sokol

Idaho libraries may not be well-heeled but they are lucky, because they consistently receive strong support from the Idaho Commission for Libraries.

Its mission is to “assist libraries to build the capacity to better serve their communities.” A perfect example is the new Idaho Digital E-Book Alliance. When public libraries were scrambling to devise ways to serve patrons during the 2020 pandemic shutdowns, the commission recognized not only the value of library materials that can be downloaded without stepping inside a building, but also the vital importance of partnerships. The Idaho Digital E-Book Alliance project was born

Libraries across the world offer their users downloadable e-books and e-audiobooks for free through OverDrive. This service is not cheap and many libraries cannot afford it. Some libraries serve a large enough base that their budget allows them to build a strong OverDrive collection on their own. Other libraries are able to offer OverDrive titles by banding together in a consortium such as Valnet, of which the Latah County Library District is a member. And then there are libraries with budgets barely hefty enough to buy physical library materials to stock their shelves.

The Idaho Digital E-Book Alliance, or IDEA, is a statewide partnership between the Idaho Commission for Libraries, public libraries and school libraries. The goal is to expand access to downloadable books and audiobooks across the state by reducing cost barriers. In other words, share independent collections. IDEA began with funding to Idaho Commission for Libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act and the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. A true integrated statewide collection was cost-prohibitive, especially with OverDrive already in place in so many libraries. The solution was to contract with OverDrive to allow crossover access among participating libraries’ existing collections, supplemented by content added by the commission. Not only is the IDEA arrangement advantageous to patrons of libraries that already have OverDrive collections, but the eventual goal of IDEA is to make content available to the 280,000 Idahoans who live outside of a public library service area.

School libraries are also able to participate in IDEA through OverDrive’s Sora connection. School administrators can set age parameters to filter access so students can borrow from the “IDEA by ICfL” core collection.

OverDrive may be accessed through the basic OverDrive website or app, or through the Libby app that can be downloaded for free ( Many users find Libby more user-friendly. There are two ways to explore and borrow OverDrive content outside your “home” library system. If you use the OverDrive website or app, click on the “Partner Libraries” drop-down menu at the top of the screen at or For example, choose Meridian Library District. When you decide on a title to borrow you’ll be prompted to select your library (choose Valnet) and type your card number and last name (first letter capitalized). Boom, you’re in and ready to borrow and download that title as a visitor. Participating libraries may set some limits, such as not allowing visitors to place holds. A small price to pay for such remarkable extended access.

If you use the Libby app, you’ll need to click on the round Libby icon centered at the bottom of the screen. In the bar that pops up on the right of the screen, click Add Library. At this time the Libby app does not display a list of the ten participating IDEA libraries, so you’ll need to type in one of the nine alliance members I’ve listed above. Idaho Commission for Libraries is working with OverDrive to integrate search access across all IDEA libraries, possibly by the end of this year.

Sokol is the Director at the Latah County Library District

Commentary: Library buildings have history worth knowing


By Erin Davis

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines library as “a place in which literary, musical, artistic, or reference materials (such as books, manuscripts, recordings or films) are kept for use but not for sale.” You will recognize your local library as a building where: your community can gather for events; your children can gain valuable reading skills through children’s programming; you have access to Wi-Fi and computer services; and where you can access thousands of items to take home and enjoy for free.

It is important to remember that the buildings that hold this treasury of knowledge also hold a place in the history of our communities. There are seven locations in the Latah County Library District system, all providing public libraries to their communities. Each building has a unique and interesting history.

The Juliaetta Community Library is housed in what used to be the top story of a building built in 1898. The ground floor was removed and the second floor was placed on a foundation at the current site. This building housed the Rebekahs for more than 50 years and was donated to the city for use as a library in 1977. Remnants of the original use are still evident in the design of the interior space.

The Troy Community Library was opened in the summer of 1977 and was originally located in an office building on Main Street. A lot was donated by Key Bank of Idaho and a new library building was constructed with generous donations from Chet and Violet Whittaker and fundraising efforts by the Friends of the Troy Library. The new library, with its red brick exterior and arched windows facing onto Main Street, was dedicated September 1994.

The Deary library opened in 1981 in a tiny cinderblock building on the east side of town. Members of the Deary community volunteered their time to build the current home of the library on a parcel of land donated for that purpose at a cost of about $10,000. The Deary library has been in its new quarters since 1988.

The Potlatch library began in 1908 as a public reading room in the basement of the Union Church, primarily serving as a place where the company town’s many bachelors could spend their leisure time. In 1930, the Potlach Lumber Company provided a building, and the library moved into the frame structure that had served as the community’s first hospital. In 1971, a new building was built at 635 Pine Street from donations by local patrons and businesses. In August of 1998, enough funds had been secured to win a matching federal grant and construction of a new facility was completed in January 2000.

The Genesee Community Library was opened in 1969. The library moved to the American Legion building in Genesee in 1976 after the original building was determined to be inadequate. The library is still housed in this location, adjacent to the senior center and Genesee City Hall.

These buildings are local landmarks in their respective communities and are open to everyone. Take a drive sometime and visit these buildings to explore the varied differences that bring these neighborhoods together.

Davis is the branch manager of the Juliaetta branch

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


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 ( 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.