Re-opening News

Make the Most of Your Library. Here is an update on the status of our libraries as they begin to reopen and provide services. Please call your local library for more details.


  • Open to the public, with social distancing measures in place.
  • Drive-thru service for picking up held items is also available
Arizona City Public Library
  • Open to the public, with social distancing measures in place
  • Main Library offers lobby service for checkouts and holds, but browsing of the collection remains unavailable. Lobby service hours are:
    Mon – Wed – Fri: 9 AM – 5 PM
    Tue -Thurs : 9 AM – 6 PM

  • Vista Grande Library remains closed
  • Open Mon – Fri, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, by appointment only.
  • City guidelines require patrons to wear masks within the building and maintain 6 feet minimum social distance
  • Curbside pickup service is available:
    Mon – Wed – Fri: 9:30 – 11:00 AM and 3:30 – 4:30 PM
    Tue – Thurs : 8:30 – 9:30 AM.
  • Reopened to the public, with social distancing measures in place
  • Offers curbside pick-up for holds but the building remains closed
Kearny Public Library
  • Open to the public, with social distancing measures in place
Mammoth Public Library
  • Offers curbside service for holds but the building remains closed
  • Open to the public, with social distancing measures and limited numbers
  • Offers curbside service for holds but the building remains closed
San Manuel, Superior, and Oracle Public Libraries
  • These libraries remain closed.

Chicka Chicka Zoom Zoom – ZOOM event

Imagine Your Story with your favorite librarians!  Three of your favorite Pinal County Children’s Librarians are coming together through Zoom to bring your little ones an online event full of songs, crafts and stories.

Join the fun by emailing mreimer@FirstThingsFirst.org to receive your Zoom invitation.
Thursday, July 16th at 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

Chicka Chicka Zoom Zoom Final

New Children’s Books – Summer 2020

Have you missed browsing and picking up new kids books from the library? Our outreach librarian, David, has selected the following new children’s books as some of his favorite picture books from the past couple of months.

Rebecca Gyllenhaal and Kim Smith. Doctor Who: the Runaway Tardis. Quirk Books, 2020.


Pop Classics are a series of books that adapts movies and tv shows into a kid friendly format and all are brilliantly illustrated by Kim Smith.  These have included  E.T., The Karate Kid, Back to the Future and Home Alone.  She also did a Buffy the Vampire Slayer story that was completely new, rather than an adaptation.  This new entry, Doctor Who: The Runaway Tardis is also an original story based on the Doctor Who universe.  It offers both an engaging concept and story that will be exciting to young readers whether or not they are familiar with the Doctor Who series. “Unable to make friends at her new school, Lizzie packs a bag and runs away. After accidentally stowing away in the TARDIS, she meets the Doctor, a mysterious woman who claims to be a time-traveling space alien. When the TARDIS malfunctions, Lizzie and the Doctor are sent catapulting through time and space, visiting the pyramids, the dinosaurs, an alien planet, and more. Along the way, Lizzie learns that making new friends isn’t so hard after all . . . but will she ever be able to get back home?”

Matthew Burgess and Josh Cochran. Drawing on Walls: a Story of Keith Haring. Enchanted Lion Books, 2020.


This oversize book brings you inside the world of artist Keith Haring’s creative talent, with a focus on his own childhood as well as his interest in imbuing his work with a childlike sense of wonder.  The pictures by Josh Cochran leap off the page and evoke the spirit of Haring’s work while adding an element of narrative that is easy to follow.

Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara  and Conrad Roset. Bob Dylan. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2020.


Bob Dylan has lived a very unconventional life.  This engaging story, told mostly through beautiful illustrations, documents the history of the famed folk musician and encourages children to be true to themselves.  This is part of a series of biographies in an illustrated format for young readers.

Bob Raczka and Merrilee Liddiard. Like Best Friends. Cameron Kids, an Imprint of Cameron + Company, 2020.


This is a rather short, whimsically illustrated book that captures the sweetness of two children first becoming friends.  The subtle interaction, told through the expressive drawings, will make you smile.


Pride: Celebrate LGBT History Month

LGBT History Month is an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements.  LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community, and represents a civil rights statement about the contributions of the LGBT community.

The libraries in Pinal County Library District have an assortment of books to help you discover and explore LGBT History. Check out our booklist here, as well as the selection of titles listed below:

Queer Heroes
by  Arabelle Sicardi

Summary: Profiles notable LGBTQ figures and highlights their contributions to society and their community, including Martina Navratilova, Frida Kahlo, Alan Turing, David Bowie, and K.D. Lang.

A Queer History of the United States for Young People
by Michael Bronski

Summary: Through engrossing narratives, letters, drawings, poems, and more, the book encourages young readers, of all identities, to feel pride at the accomplishments of the LGBTQ people who came before them and to use history as a guide to the future.

Stonewall : A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution
by Rob Sanders

Summary: Describes the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969, which sparked the gay liberation movement in the United States, and details the history of LGBTQ rights since the riots.


Queer : A Graphic History
by Meg John Barker and  Julia Scheele

Summary: “Activist-academic Meg John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel. A kaleidoscope of characters from the diverse worlds of pop-culture, film, activism and academia guide us on a journey through the ideas, people and events that have shaped queer “theory”. From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged.”


Pride : The LGBTQ+ Rights Movement : A Photographic Journey

Summary: This lavishly illustrated book commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and is an inspiring photographic journey through the LGBTQ+ Pride movement over the last century.

Stuck Rubber Baby
by Howard Cruse

Summary: “This classic graphic novel is the tale of a young man caught in the maelstrom of the civil rights movement and the entrenched homophobia of small-town America”

Books to help youth understand racism and protest.

BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. The movement does this by combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering on Black joy.

The following booklist includes both fiction and non-fiction items that will help children and young adults understand the movement and relate it to current events.


We Rise, We Resist, We Raise our Voices
by Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018.

Summary: What do we tell our children when the world seems bleak, and prejudice and racism run rampant? With 96 lavishly designed pages of original art and prose, fifty diverse creators lend voice to young activists.

Stamped : Racism, Antiracism, and You
by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi

Summary: Race has always been used to gain and keep power, creating dynamics that separate and silence. This exploration reveals the history of racism in America and inspires hope for an antiracist future.

Rise up! : The Art of Protest
by Jo Rippon

Summary: “RISE UP! encourages young people to engage in peaceful protest and stand up for freedom. Photographs of protest posters from the last one hundred years celebrate the ongoing fight for gender equality, civil rights, LGBT rights, refugee and immigrant rights, peace, and the environment. Includes a chapter on youth protest. Developed in collaboration with Amnesty International.

We Are Not Yet Equal : Understanding our Racial Divide
by Carol Anderson

Summary: When America makes progress toward racial equality, the systemic response is a backlash that rolls back those wins. This edition adapted from the author’s White Rage especially for teens illuminates these dark moments of history.

Black Lives Matter

by Duchess Harris

Summary: What started as a hashtag in 2013 quickly grew into the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter examines the police shootings that fueled the movement, the events that led up to racial tensions in the United States, and the goals the movement has set for the future. Easy-to-read text, vivid images, and helpful back matter give readers a clear look at this subject.


Not My Idea : A Book About Whiteness
by Anastasia Higginbotham 

Summary: A white child sees a TV news report of a white police officer shooting and killing a black man. “In our family, we don’t see color,” his mother says, but he sees the colors plain enough. An afternoon in the library’s history stacks uncover the truth of white supremacy in America. Racism was not his idea and he refuses to defend it.

New Graphic Novels

David, our outreach librarian, has been reading a lot of new graphic novels during this unusual time.  Below are some of his recent favorites which will be available to request from our catalog once the libraries begin to reopen.


Brown, Lisa. The Phantom Twin.  First Second, 2020.

This fictional story, set in a turn-of-the-century sideshow focuses on Isabel who used to be a conjoined twin. Jane, her sister, dies after an ambitious surgeon separates them. Strangely enough, Isabel still sees and communicates with Jane even after her death. She tries to build a new life and create a new act in the sideshow. Although now, she is not sure who to trust. She finds solace in a kind tattoo artist but questions his intentions. Despite the heavy subject matter, the story is handled with a light tone and the drawings are whimsical. This book will appeal to young adults with a curiosity about fitting it in despite their differences.


Cody, Mathew and Yoshitani, Yoshi. Zatanna and the House of Secrets. DC Comics, 2020.

DCs new graphic novel series for kids reimagines many characters from the DC Universe as teenagers. In this fantastical entry, Zatanna is a middle-schooler with a single father. After dealing with some social pressures at school, she comes home to realize that things are far stranger than they appear. Her house is nearly as old as time and her father is a powerful magician. She realizes she is able to communicate with her dead mother and that only she holds the key to the house’s secrets. Add to this an origami shine and a talking rabbit and what you have here is an exciting adventure story. I love the colorful artwork by Yoshitani. It’s a unique style in that is completely non-line based and looks quite different than most other comics. I also like that you could read and enjoy this book without the need to know about the history of any of these characters. Even though it is a DC book, it has nothing to do with superheroes.


Fontana, Shea and Dichiara, Marcelo.  Batman Overdrive. DC Comics, 2020.

This is another fun DC Kids graphic novel where we see Bruce Wayne as a young teen prior to becoming Batman. In this reimagining, Bruce is a bit of a gear-head who gets the bug to fix up his deceased father’s 66 Crusader. It will eventually become the Batmobile. Along the way, he meets a young thief. This turns out to be Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman. However, this story has little to do with super-heroics. The main part of the story deals with Bruce’s relationship with his pseudo-adopted parent, Alfred, the butler. He also befriends a whiz kid, Mateo Diaz, who not only helps him build a car, but becomes his assistant in his first stint in fighting crime as a masked vigilante. This is an enjoyable tale for those that like their comics fast and furious.


Jusay, Jeremy. The Strange Ones. Gallery 13, 2020.

This is a nostalgic story set in Manhattan during the mid 1990s that focuses on the relationship of two teenage outsiders who find a bond through alternative music. Angeline and Franck go to concerts together, watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show and are generally oddballs. Their relationship is not romantic, but they have a genuine connection. When Franck suddenly dies, Angeline reconnects with Franck’s past through his old friends. It is a very personal and heartfelt tale that will appeal to fans of realistic young adult fiction. The black and white art is reminiscent of some of the best zines of the 1990s, like Tomine’s Optic Nerve, but it also has a neatness and precision which sets in it in a class by itself.


Knisley, Lucy.  Stepping Stones. Random House Graphic, 2020.

This is a middle grade quasi-autobiographical graphic novella that I’m sure would appeal to fan of Raina Telgemeier. I’d say that Knisley has an even more organic and natural cartooning style than Raina. It’s drawn in pencil and the coloring is really well done – gradients and slight texturing really add to the summer mood. The story itself is brief and breezy. Jen, who has moved to Peapod Farm, with her mother, misses city life. She must adjust to living on the farm with her mother’s new boyfriend and his two daughters. She struggles with working at the farmer’s market and finding a way that her particular talents can be of use. Reader’s will notice and relate to Jen’s insecurities. She is a real character that one can identify with, obviously based on the author’s own experiences.


Temporary Closures

As a result of the current Coronavirus pandemic, libraries in Pinal County are slowly reopening with limited services. Late fees will not be charged during the closure. Due dates have been extended to July 1 for all physical items. Requests may be unavailable or delayed during this time.

*As of June 8th, here is an update on which libraries are open:

Apache Junction: Open with limited services. Drive-through available
Arizona City: Open 
Casa Grande: Open with limited services.
Mon/Wed/Fri 9am-5pm; Tues/Thurs 9am-6pm, Closed Weekends.

Coolidge: Curbside & by appointment
Eloy: Curbside service & by appointment
Florence: Curbside service
Kearny: Open
Mammoth: Curbside service
Maricopa: Open with 20 patron limit. Curbside service
Oracle: Closed
San Manuel: Closed
Superior: Closed
Vista Grande: Closed

  • The Apache Junction Public Library’s drive through window is open if you have placed a request on an item that is at that location.0

Your library card gives you free access online tutoring help from 1pm to 10pm through tutor.com.  You can log in here.


Several locations such as Coolidge, Maricopa and Casa Grande are offering virtual storytimes.  Check out their facebook pages (here and here and here!) for more details.  The Apache Junction Fun Van is also running a virtual program

Below are some preschool storytime videos by David, our outreach librarian.

There are still plenty of ways to access materials while our libraries are temporarily closed.  You can download eBooks, audiobooks, comics and movies by downloading the hoopla and cloudLibrary apps.  (see links on right).

If you live in Pinal County but do not have a library card, you can apply for a Virtual Library Card.

  • Access our digital collections & other resources. We have ebooks, eaudiobooks, movies, music & more.
  • Ancestry Library is now available from home.
  • During the coronavirus closure, we have special access to the Tumblebooks Teen BookCloud. This teen-focused collection of popular fiction, graphic novels, nonfiction, and videos offers hundreds of titles to supplement high school reading. There’s even a drama and poetry section. And each title has an AR reading level assigned, so it’s easy to make sure your kids are reading at an appropriate level.
  • We have extended patrons monthly borrowing limits on the hoopla app to 8 items.Access these resources fro free with your library card

If you have children at home, here is a list of some great In-Home Family Resources provided by the Pinal Early Childhood Coalition.  Common Sense Media has a list of Resources for Families during the Pandemic.

First Things First also has some advice regarding parenting in the time of Coronavirus.

Barefoot Books has some great, and relevant, activity books worth downloading.

Coronavirus: A Book for Children by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson & Nia Roberts, illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

ASU’s Center for Child Well-Being has put together some great activity books to download including this one for Earth Day.

Stressed out? Why not take this time to enjoy some poetry.  April is National Poetry Month. Go to Poets.org to find ways to celebrate at home or online.

March is Women’s History Month


Every year March is designated Women’s History Month by Presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history. The 2020 Women’s History Month theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote.” The theme honors “the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.”

View our booklist and check out some of these titles.

Graphic Novel Recommendations

The following are graphic novel recommendations from our outreach librarian David.  Some of these titles are available to check out from Hoopla, our digital platform for eBooks.  These are books are for a variety of ages (some for children, some for adults) and are good examples of the variety in non-superhero comics being published in the past few years.

Jon Buller and Susan Schade. Anne of Green Bagels. Papercutz, 2016.
Buller and Schade are a husband and wife team with more than four decades of experience creating children’s books.  I loved their previous series, The Travels of Thelonious, which was a three book fantasy series.  Like those books, Anne of Green Bagels alternates chapters told in a comics format with chapters told in an illustrated prose.  The story centers on Anne and her family as they move to a new suburban environment where Anne attends school.  Her father is an eccentric inventor.  Her new best friend is an accordion player who she starts a band with.  The story also involves an animated cartoon series and Anne’s surreal dreams.  If you enjoy the absurdist stories of Daniel Pinkwater, I think you’d enjoy this too.

Charles Forsman. I Am Not Okay with This. Fantagraphics Books, 2020.

Forsman’s book about a teenage outsider who also possesses telekinetic powers has recently been adapted into a live action Netflix series.  The book is succinct, a quick read, that delves into the teenage years with dark humor.  Told in a journal format in a sort of classic comic strip style, Forsman subverts our expectations  by creating a powerful and sometimes violent story about trauma and control.

Dylan Horrocks. Sam Zabel & the Magic Pen. 2014.
sam_zabel and the magic pen
This funny and erotic comic for adults chronicles the author’s alter ego through comics history and the creative process. A mysterious old comic book set on Mars suddenly throws Sam headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds.

Johnston, Lynn.  For Better or For Worse: The Complete Library: Volumes 1 – 4.  IDW, 2016 – 2019.
For Better of For Worse was a very special daily comic strip in that the characters actually age in real time.  You can read the first 14 years of the strip via these four volumes on the hoopla app.  As the story progresses, Lynn’s strengths as a visual storyteller improve.  The family dynamic becomes more dramatic and she begins to deal with more serious themes.  Fans of Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile,  will most likely enjoy these books as they were a huge influence on that artist growing up.

Rich Tommaso. Dry County. Image Comics, 2018.

This noir story set in sunny Florida features a Generation X slacker character who finds himself in the throws of a violent mystery.  What begins as a fairly hum-drum narrative, slowly builds into an exciting story of a young man bent on tracking down the woman who he’s recently fallen in love with.

Deb Olin Unferth and Elizabeth Haidle. I, Parrot. Black Balloon Publishing, an Imprint of Catapult, 2017.

Daphne is struggling as a single mother after she lose custody of her son.  In search of doing whatever she can to get him back she gets involved with taking care of  a flock of passenger pigeons. Soon she is in over her head but is able, through introspection, to find a new way to solve her problems. Much of the story is symbolic and the illustrations are beautiful and unique.

Vaughan, Brian K., Chiang, Cliff, et al. Paper Girls Deluxe Edition Volumes 1 and 2. Image Comics, 2019.


What starts out looking like a coming-of-age tale set into the 1980’s quickly turns into a time-traveling masterpiece of science fiction.  The art, with its controlled color sensibility, will quickly draw you into this story and its engaging characters.  Vaughan was also the writer of The Runaways books from Marvel that in recent years were adapted into the TV show.  This series, which can be read in its entirety via our hoopla app will certainly appeal to a similar audience.

Andi Watson. Glister. Dark Horse Books, 2017.
Glister is a young girl living in England. She gets drawn into strange and magical adventures on a regular basis and this book is made up of three of those episodes.
This fast moving story is for all ages and it involves haunted teapots, houses that rearrange their own rooms when you’re not looking, and trolls in wishing wells!
This title is from a few years back and it is available on Hoopla.  Watson also has two new books coming out in 2020.

More comics for mature readers:
Below is a list of David’s favorite graphic novels aimed at an adult audience that are currently available to read online through our hoopla app:



Short novels for kids about cartooning and the creative process

Did you like the Newbery Award winning book New Kid by Jerry Craft?

The following list includes easy to read chapter books that focus on a certain personality type similar to the one found in that book.  All of these books are about boys who are creative and find an outlet through art.  Many of these characters are cartoonists who transform a difficulty in connecting to the world around them through manifesting a world of their own through stories and pictures.  These books have to do with the creative process.  They demonstrate how art is not always easy but the process and commitment can make the efforts rewarding.

Bulla, Clyde Robert., and Thomas B. Allen. The Chalk Box Kid. Scholastic, Inc., 2004.
This book, originally published in the 1980s, has gone through multiple printings and is still readily available today.  Bulla is a master of concise writing.  This is one of his best. Nine-year-old Gregory experiences several upsets in his life.  The new kids in school don’t readily accept him.  He responds by creating fantastic chalk drawings on the walls of a burned-out factory behind his house. As his art flourishes, Gregory discovers his unique voice and place in the world.  Bulla conveys the yearning and passion of a young artist and the healing power of friendship.  The book is around fifty pages (a short story) and contains black and white illustrations throughout.
Byars, Betsy. The Cartoonist. Puffin, 1978. (available on Hoopla)
The Cartoonist is the oldest book on this list.  Thankfully, it is easily found through our Hoopla app.  Byars wrote many sensitive novels for children including classics that were adapted for television like The Pinballs or The 18th Emergency.   The Cartoonist is at times a sad story, but still worth reading. Alfie is content drawing comics in the attic.  It’s his retreat from his problematic family.  His private space is interrupted when his older brother moves home.  This book shows some of the more realistic sides of how a child uses art to function within a somewhat dysfunctional family.  The drawings throughout by Richard Cuffari help illustrate the mood.
man in the ceiling
Feiffer, Jules. The Man in the Ceiling. Michael di Capua Books, 1995.

Feiffer, whose career spans almost the entire history of comic books has written plays, screenplays, novels, comic strips, children’s books and graphic novels.  In The Man in the Ceiling he intersperses short chapters with comics drawn by the main character.  Jimmy is not good in school or at sports. What he is great at is creating stories in the form of cartoons.  He yearns to be recognized for this but often feels like a stranger in his own family. In this sense, this book is similar to Byar’s The Cartoonist.  However, this book has a lot more humor and the action scenes of the comic make it a breezier read.


Gownley, Jimmy. The Dumbest Idea Ever! Graphix, 2014.

This autobiographical novel for kids may appeal to fans of Raina Telgemeier.  The cartooning is similar, although Gownley is older and had created two comic book series prior to this one.  In The Dumbest Idea Ever, Jimmy portrays his life on the cusp of adolescence.  This includes his first girlfriend, his growing disillusionment with homework, and his desire to escape the confines of his town.  He searches to find his own special talent through comics.  When he makes his own, things begin to change for him.

Pinkwater, Daniel Manus. Four Different Stories. Dover Publications, Inc., 2018.
Four Different Stories reprints four hard to find novels from early in Daniel Pinkwater’s career.  The standout here is the book Wingman which also features comic book inspired illustrations by Pinkwater.   Donald Chen is the only Chinese boy in his class and often faces prejudice.  He is lonely, dislikes school and often escapes from his classes by reading comic books.  One day, while hiding out on the George Washington Bridge, he encounters a real Chinese superhero named Wingman who takes him on a journey to a faraway place.
Say, Allen. Drawing from Memory. Scholastic Press, 2011.
The award winning picture book creator Allen Say first explored his autobiography in the novel The Inn Keeper’s Apprentice published in 1979.  Drawing From Memory is the first of two illustrated books that retells this story in a more factual manner accompanied by drawings, photographs and scrapbook items. Say grew up in Japan and this first volume documents his journey as a youth to apprentice for a master.
Selznick, Brian. The Boy of a Thousand Faces. Laura Geringer Book, 2001.
This one is slightly different then the others mentioned on this list.   It’s a bit more nostalgia-based in its design and it does not deal directly with drawing or cartooning.  But it does feature an artistic protagonist who is obsessed with monsters!
Selznick is the award-winning creator who created a unique book format of his own with the publication of The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Boy of a a Thousand Faces is a shorter, early work. Alonzo King has always loved monsters due to the fact that he was born on Halloween.  He is obsessed with horror movies and uses his artistic talents to transform into some of the famous Universal monsters like The Werewolf and The Phantom of the Opera.  This story has a mystery that involves a horror television host.  Photographs and Selznick’s drawings are integral to this short story and even the most reluctant reader will be intrigued.