Curl up with a good eBook

We asked Island librarians for their tips on staying connected while at home.

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Just because you can’t physically go to the library in these days of social isolation, that doesn’t mean that the library can’t come to you. We polled local librarians on what they would recommend to keep people stimulated while at home, and the answers included far more than books off the shelf.

OverDrive offers thousands of eBooks, Audiobooks, and magazines. The RB digital platform recommended by several librarians offers a broad array of entertainment and educational offerings. Acorn TV brings you the best of British TV. Great Courses are now available free of charge through libraries and can teach you everything from Italian cooking to quantum physics. Stingray Qello presents live concerts and music documentaries.

So rather than look at this as a time of isolation, look at it as a time to broaden your horizons — here are some picks from your local librarians.

Ebba Hierta, director, Chilmark library
Cooking and eating at home has become the highlight of my socially distanced life these days. And getting creative with a disparate list of pantry ingredients is a challenge. I’m getting great ideas from OverDrive e-cookbooks. Search “cooking and food” in the CLAMS Overdrive collection and you’ll find 326 titles. I’m reading “Everyday Done” by Dorie Greenspan and “Beetlebung Farm Cookbook” by Chilmark’s Chris Fischer. I can’t wait to try Dore’s Roasted Butternut Squash with the Morning Glory Farm butternuts I’ve had in the root cellar since the end of December. But tonight it’s going to be Chris’s Clam Pasta, with cherry stones raked from Sengekontaket and fresh noodles rolled out in my kitchen.

Sarah DeBettencourt, assistant director/Youth Services, Chilmark library
Something that has been keeping a smile on my face these past few weeks has been the social media feed from Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. While they are closed to the public, the staff has been letting the animals take daily adventures. Check out their amazing penguin videos that have gone viral and they are sure to make your day! Wellington the penguin has become a fast favorite of mine.

Irene Tewksbury, head of circulation, Chilmark library
Chilmark’s new RB digital streaming service gives you free Acorn TV. Stay safely entertained during these weeks of social isolation while you binge watch the best from Great Britain. “Raised by Wolves” is an award-winning British comedy that seems perfect for these times. Acorn describes it as “six socially-isolated, homeschool siblings and their formidable single mother.” It’s NOT for kids, however, as the irreverent humor is raunchy and crude, but once I got over the shock to my delicate sensibilities I was laughing out loud.

Tracy Thorpe, programming coordinator, Chilmark library
In this time when the world seems to have stilled, it’s important to not stagnate, while still experiencing enjoyment, a sense of connectedness. The classes offered through Great Courses are the perfect solution. In the past, the price of Great Courses seemed a bit prohibitive, and time didn’t allow — but now the courses are offered for free through the library and RB digital. And certainly, time, for many of us, is more plentiful these days.

Barbara Bassett, circulation assistant, Chilmark library
Hi everyone, we miss you all so much! While we are waiting this out, here’s another fun library option to explore: Stingray Quell concert videos, free on our RB digital streaming app.

Ellen Bunch, circulation assistant, Chilmark library
OverDrive eBooks have so many topics to explore and since being home with family can be a chance to enjoy and discuss books, I heartily recommend it.

Carolina Cooney, programming coordinator, Oak Bluffs library
I am a big fan of audiobooks, and Hoopla has many of my favorites, as well as many I have on my list. I highly recommend vintage and modern classics like “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coehlo, “Educated “ by Tara Westover, “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris, and “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston — all well-worthy of a listen.

Alexandra Pratt, director, West Tisbury library
Personally, I read every genre and every format, but my “comfort food” is science fiction and fantasy. I just started the latest book by sci-fi genius N.K.Jemisin, “The City Born Great.” Jemisin won three consecutive Hugoos for best novel (a big sci-fi-fantasy award) the first author to ever do so and was the first Black author to win the Hugo for best novel. Her “Broken Earth” trilogy is a challenging, powerful read. These are available as eBooks, through the Libby app from Overdrive.

Rosa Parker, acting director, Aquinnah library
I have read “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid and I’m looking forward to reading “The Glass Hotel” by Emily St. John Mandel. I also recently read “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley and “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah, both of which were really good.

Amy Ryan, director, Vineyard Haven library
We’re recommending our OverDrive eBook collection to people. Just like with print books from the library, there can sometimes be a waiting list of new and popular titles on Overdrive, but there are always thousands of great titles available. To easily browse books that are ready to checkout, go to the “Collections” menu at clamsnet.overdrive.com/ and select “Available now eBooks” or “Available now Audios” to browse items that are ready to check out.

Tom Ignacio, circulation supervisor, Edgartown library
Tom recommends “World War Z” by Max Brooks, “The Martian” by Andy Weir and “The Death of Expertise” by Tom Nichols.

Alison Leslie, collection development, Edgartown library
Alison recommends “Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future” by James Shapiro.

Rizwan Malik, reference librarian, Edgartown library
“They Called Us Enemy” by George Takei. I haven’t finished this yet, but the internment of the Japanese in the U.S. during WWII is a part of American history that shockingly few people know about.

Keith McFadden, library assistant, Edgartown library
“The Fever Tree” by Jennifer McVeigh. I put this out every summer as one of my staff picks or as a beach read.

Chris Look, library assistant, Edgartown library
Chris recommends “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.

Elise Bonnell, children’s librarian, Edgartown library
Elyce’s recommendations for kids include “The Bad Seed and the Cool Bean” by Jory John.

Virginia Munro, programming coordinator, Edgartown library
Virginia recommends Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, “Talking to Strangers.”

Lisa Sherman, director, Edgartown library
As the mother of a 6-year-old son who loves to read together every night before bed, for the first time in many, many years I’m re-visiting the entire ”Beezus and Ramona” series by Beverly Cleary, which has been lots of fun.