Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference – 2021

Joyce Baker, Library Manager, Coolidge Public Library

The fall is always an exciting time because I look forward to the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference. I am incredibly grateful to the Arizona State Library for funding this valuable continuing education. The conference met in Reno, NV this year. While I was apprehensive about going to an in-person conference, I was extremely impressed with precautions taken by both the hotel and the ARSL leadership.

I learned something valuable at every workshop, but the pre-conference workshop stood out to me. It was titled, The Post-Pandemic Library: What Will be Different? This workshop was led by Lauren Stara, an architect and librarian. She is a Library Building Specialist for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. She focused on how libraries can create a space that provides patrons with vital access to resources yet remains a safe space for all who use the library. She highlighted some activities that libraries implemented during COVID but can probably discontinue such as:

  • Quarantining materials.
  • Frantically scrubbing down spaces after every patron uses it.
  • Limiting access to paper materials such as newspapers and magazines.

She also identified some activities that libraries instituted during the pandemic that they should probably continue to do such as:

  • Limiting the number of people who can participate during in-person programs.
  • Maintaining some distance between computer stations.
  • Offering some programs virtually for those who are not comfortable returning to the library.
  • Keeping some type of safe barrier between patrons and staff.

Lastly she emphasized some things libraries need to start if they aren’t already doing it. These changes will actually INCREASE safety for staff and patrons. Recommendations:

  • Adding HEPA filtration to heating and cooling systems.
  • If libraries are not able to add HEPA filtration to the cooling system, then at least circulate air by adding fans with HEPA filters behind the staff desks.

I want to turn this information into a staff project. Ask staff 1) what one thing did the library introduce that you would like to keep; 2) what one thing are you so READY to stop doing; 3) what one thing are you indifferent to keeping?

The other highlight of the conference was two Keynote speakers. I heard Qian Julie Wang, author of Beautiful Country, tell her story of moving from China to the United States when she was seven-years-old. It was very touching. I immediately put her book on hold and can’t wait to read it. I understand why it has been on the best-sellers list for so long! The other heartrending Keynote presentation was the Latinx Photography Project. They recruited amateur photographers in numerous Latin countries to share their art. The end result was an incredibly stirring video and book that told the stories of the photographers. I hope to be able to bring this program to our community in Coolidge. I think it would resonate well with our residents.

I always return from this conference with a list of ideas to implement in our library. It is without a doubt worth the time to attend!

San Tan Valley Public Library is now open to the public

Pinal County is pleased to announce that the new Public Library in San Tan Valley will open its doors to the public at 10 am on Tuesday, August 10th, 2021.

Located at: 31505 N Schnepf Rd, San Tan Valley, AZ 85140

Phone: (520) 866-8035

The library will feature over 20,000 items for loan – from books for kids, teens, and adults as well as movies, digital media, and even board games. All the books are brand new, and highlights include a robust collection of young adult books, classic literature, as well as popular materials, and a selection reaffirming the great diversity of Arizona.

The San Tan Valley Library will offer programming for all ages, and staff are eager to bring more services and programs to the community. The San Tan Valley Library is the latest library to abstain from charging fines for late materials, so residents can breathe easily.

Library cards are free for Pinal County residents, who will just need to present photo identification showing current address (or a utility bill or school mail with current ID).

Pinal County District 2 Supervisor Mike Goodman expressed his delight with the library on the verge of opening its doors to the residents of San Tan Valley, 
“Expanding our public library services into San Tan Valley has been in the works for some time. We are excited for this new chapter and consider it a solid stepping stone in the right direction by providing more services and amenities to the area. We look forward to seeing the community come together and utilize the space as a place of gathering and growth!”

Pinal County Library District Director Alex Conrad added,
I am grateful to all of our team, both here within the Library and across our County departments, for helping to make this vision a reality. We can’t wait to finally be able to bring library services to San Tan Valley.”

Erik Surber will be managing the San Tan Valley library and says staff look forward to serving the residents of San Tan Valley, 
“I’m drawn to San Tan Valley because it is energized, youthful, and growing so quickly. We strive to be worthy of such a wonderful and vibrant community.”

Library Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 10 am – 6 pm
Friday and Saturday 9 am – 5 pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday

Summer Reading Program 2021

Join us for Tails and Tales. It’s our 2021 Summer Reading Program!  It’s happening online and at select libraries throughout Pinal County.

2021-CSLP-Web-Banners_Children_1The benefits of summer reading programming for children:

  • Children are motivated to read.
  • Children develop positive attitudes about reading, books, and the library.
  • Children maintain their reading skills during summer vacation.
  • Children have access to experiences that further their sense of discovery.
  • Children have access to experiences through which they can learn to work cooperatively.

Buckle Up!

Because we are going on a Reading Road Trip! Pinal County Library District presents Checkers Library TV for our 2021 Summer Reading Program.

Checkers the Inventor and his spunky sidekick, Snoozer the robot are traveling in their flying van to zoos, aquariums, wildlife rescues and meeting famous animals from across the world! Each 30 minute episode throughout June is packed with adventure, animal book reviews and recommendations, a craft completed during the show, and animated escapades! Checkers and Snoozer will meet animals, learn about them and most importantly, read about them!

Check out our list of books for Tails and Tales.

To watch the Reading road Trip Videos and download the craft and activities pages, visit us at:

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First Things First honors Danielle Duran as its Champion for Young Children

First Things First recognizes Danielle Duran at the Coolidge Public Library, as the 2021 First Things First Pinal Region Champion for Young Children.

The award is given to local champions who actively volunteer their time to raise public awareness of the importance of early childhood development and health. Champions spend a significant amount of time volunteering with Arizona’s early childhood agency, First Things First (FTF), and building public awareness about the importance of early childhood issues.

Duran, known in the community as Miss Dani, is a Librarian at the Coolidge Public Library and has volunteered with FTF to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood education in the community.  She will be recognized at the May FTF Pinal Regional Council meeting. 

A lifelong Coolidge resident, Duran’s dedication to her community is obvious.

“I’m severely invested in this town,” she said. ““Growing up in this town, you really see and know what’s going on in the community and what kids have to deal with.  I want to help it be the best that it can be in any way I can.”

Duran’s dedication is evident in the creativity, enthusiasm and love she brings to her role at the Coolidge Public Library, where she runs a variety of programs, including Story Time, Tween Titans and is now in charge of teen programming as well. Additionally, Duran serves as the face of the Coolidge library at outreach events where she leads community members in engaging activites that help them connect to their library and learn how it can serve them.

As a Champion for early childhood, Duran doesn’t see her role as serving families alone, she also actively works to grow community investment in supporting young children through helping to train others in ways to support early childhood efforts including  a virtual story time where local leaders read to young children online.

Duran believes bringing that engagement in early childhood builds a legacy. She states that teaching young children how important they are to their community is an investment that will pay back when those children grow up.

 “When you build [these supports] and you build it young, it has a lasting impression,” she said.

While supporting Coolidge Head Start and Minibears Preschool, Duran saw the positive impact that early childhood programs offered and understood that not all children have the access to benefit from them. She modeled her story time program to fill in some of those gaps for children.

Duran has sought to increase literacy tools for preschool-aged children, in addition to her collaboration with others, said Joyce Baker, Coolidge Public Library manager.

“She found partners like the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and First Things First to enhance services to families of preschoolers,” she said.

Duran’s story time, which is in partnership with FTF, helps to inform families of young children about resources available to them. Each week parents and caregivers learn about supportive local resources and feel empowered as their child’s first teacher, in addition to cultivating of love of reading and learning through stories and song.

Since the pandemic, Duran increased programming to meet the needs of families, balancing both safety and the importance of community engagement through online programming. Duran has collaborated with FTF to host Chicka Chicka Zoom Zoom, a multi-library online event where families pick-up free resource bags with activities and information to use during the library’s online story time. Additionally, she has been an important voice in planning the last two Week of the Young Child” programs, an annual event that celebrates the importance of connecting and educating young children.

Duran jokes that when she first started working for the library in 2010, her friends thought it was an ill-fit, saying, “you’re so loud and full of energy.”

Indeed, Duran’s excitement and energy fills a room, but she sees this as a perfect fit for the library.

“The library isn’t what people stereotypically think it is,” Duran said. “It’s a community hub where people grow and engage with one another.”

About First Things First — As Arizona’s early childhood agency, First Things First funds early learning, family support and children’s preventive health services to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, visit

2021 Youth Media Awards

Congratulations to the 2021 Youth Media Awards have been announced. We have copies of all these titles in our catalog, available to request.

List of Caldecott Winners
List of Newbery Medal Winners
List of Coretta Scott King Award Winners
List of Printz Award Winners

When You Trap a Tiger,” written by Tae Keller, is the 2021 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House.

We Are Water Protectors,” illustrated by Michaela Goade is the 2021 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Carole Lindstrom and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings.

Before the Ever After,” written by Jacqueline Woodson, is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.  

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” illustrated by Frank Morrison, is the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book winner. The book is written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story),” by Daniel Nayeri, is the 2021 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine Querido.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is on Monday, January 18th

Don’t forget to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day on Monday, January 18th with some of these wonderfully insightful picture books. See the full list in our catalog.

Martin Luther King, Jr’s dreams, speeches, and ideas are as relevant today as ever.  Learn about his important role in the Civil Rights Movement and how he fought peacefully for equal rights for all.  Share one of these books with someone you love.

You can also check out ebooks on Martin Luther King Jr. via the hoopla app.

New releases and more!

As 2020 is coming to a close, we encourage you to check out some of the exciting titles we have added to our catalog this past year. We’ve compiled a few lists of books that have come out in 2020. Click the links below to view the lists via our online catalog where you can place requests to pick-up items at your local library.

Popular Adult Fiction from 2020

Popular Young Adult fiction 2020

Popular Movies on DVD 2020

Meanwhile, Mr. Library from Pinal County reads some of his favorite children’s books classics from his collection. Happy New Year everyone!

Happy Holidays, 2020

The holiday season is upon as. Many of the libraries throughout Pinal County are open or offering curbside pickup. You can also access a multitude of electronic resources from home with your card.

Here are a couple of holiday themed pre-K storytimes by Mr. Library from PCLD. Enjoy!

Check out some of our holiday themed booklists for Thanksgiving, Christmas and more.

David’s Picks for Holiday Picture Books:

The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica S Perl and Shahar Kober

“A heartwarming picture book with a fresh twist on a Hanukkah celebration: celebrating a ninth night with new neighbors and friends!”

Elf: The Classic Illustrated Storybook based on the film wrwitten by David Berenbaum, illustrated by Kim Smith

“Rediscover the laughter and cheer of Buddy the Elf in this adorable picture book for readers of all ages!”

Make the Most of Your Library: Hoopla Bonus Borrows

So far this year, Pinal County library users have checked out more than sixteen thousand titles from our Hoopla digital collection, including more than 9,000 ebooks and comics, 1,300 audiobooks and music titles, and nearly 6,000 videos! But some of our users have been hampered by Hoopla’s 7-item-per-month checkout limit. But our Hoopla Bonus Borrows can help you get around that problem!
For the month of November, we are offering this special collection of titles that don’t count against your checkout limit. That means you can check out as many of these titles as you want! If you haven’t tried Hoopla yet, this is a perfect time to do so. You can access the Bonus Borrows collection from our website homepage.

RBDigital Audiobooks is now part of cloudLibrary

On October 21, we merged our RBDigital Audiobook collection into cloudLibrary. The audiobooks you used to get from RBDigital can now be found among the thousands of titles in our cloudLibrary collection!
cloudLibrary works on PCs and Macs, as well as on smartphones, Android devices, iPad, and Kindle Fire. Be sure to download the cloudLibrary app for your device, so you can use this digital service.

Recent YA books on TV/ streaming

Many young adult novels have been adapted into movies and tv shows in 2019-2020. Below are some of our favorites. These are stories that deal with angst, mental illness, immigration, romance, identity and heads exploding! All of these books are available to request from the Pinal County Library District or our eBook platforms hoopla and cloudLibrary. (Not all of the filmed adaptations are available through the library but we will try to purchase the DVDs as they become available.)

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton

When you can’t trust your mind, trust your heart. Adam is a teen living with paranoid schizophrenia. He is having crazy hallucinations during school and it seems as though only a miracle drug can help. If it fails, can he keep his dangerous internal world from the girl of his dreams?

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

In this outrageously dark comedy, teenagers are blowing up without warning or explanation. The FBI is moving in, but sarcastic Mara is determined to find out the truth for herself. Is there any meaning behind the end of the world? An explosive love story!

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha and Daniel are an unlikely match in a seemingly impossible situation. Her family is set to move back to Jamaica. He is a Korean- American poet, who believes in love. She is into science and doesn’t believe in fate. Will they fall in love? Short chapters will engage the reader and take them on a trip through this romantic story set in New York City.

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl. She walks with a cane, wears oversized men’s clothing and doesn’t take much care with her appearance. Has she always been this way? There is something that Henry feels about her that goes beyond the surface. This is a very raw and real love story that deals with depression and abuse in both an honest and witty manner.

I am Not Okay With This by Charles Forsman

Charles Forsman wrote and illustrated this short graphic novel upon which this Netflix series was based.  It is about a 15 year-old girl named Sydney who is going through the trials and tribulations of a teenager. And on top of all that she has superpowers…however her powers tend to lead to destruction, rather than heroism. A very deadpan and dark story, with moments of humor, for older teens.

Simon Vs. The Home Sapiens by Becky Albertalli / Love Simon

Sixteen year-old Simon is keeping a secret from his family and best friends: he is gay.  The chapters are interspersed with emails between Simon and Blue, another anonymous gay student. This was the basis for the movie Love, Simon which has continued into a tv series on hulu called Love, Victor. The writing in both the book and show is quirky and lighthearted, despite dealing with sexual identity and the acceptance (or lack thereof) of homosexuality in a high school setting.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Violet Markey vows to live with a purpose and find a way out of her small town. Theodore Finch, on the other hand, has a mild obsession with suicide. This novel shows both of these characters points of view as they fall in love and deal in their own way with mental illness and grieving. If you liked The Fault In Our Stars, this is another heartfelt tearjerker worthy of your attention.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

“What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken. “

For more movies and tv shows that have been adapted from YA novels & more, check out our catalog list:

Movies and TV shows for older teens

Books that have been made into movies (on cloudLibrary as eBooks)

Looking for some more recent Young Adult/ Coming of Age that are even edgier. David, our outreach librarian, recommends the following.

Big Time Adolescence, 2019. Pete Davidson shines as Zeke, an unmotivated-yet-charismatic college dropout. Mo, a seemingly bright and mostly innocent 16-year-old attempts to navigate high school under his guidance. Things start to get crazy as he teaches Mo nontraditional life lessons in drug dealing, partying, and dating. A twist on the traditional coming-of-age story.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, 2015. This is an emotional and well made film with an excellent cast of characters. Greg is avoiding social interactions while secretly making strange independent short films with his only friend Earl. When his mother forces him to befriend a classmate with leukemia, his anonymity and friendships begin to unravel.

Some Freaks, 2016. The “freaks” in the title refer to a boy with one eye and an overweight girl in high school. Two outsiders who form a bond and hook-up. When she loses weight after going to college, their relationship is tested in devastating ways. The film creates a sense of uneasiness and tension throughout.

Wayne, 2019-2020. Wayne is a darkly comic show about two runaway teens from Brockton, Massachusetts. They are headed to Florida to try and retrieve a 79′ Trans-Am that was stolen from his father before he died. This show is as violent as it is hilarious. Wayne is like a teenage Conan the Barbarian with a heart of gold. Available on Amazon Prime- it ran for one glorious season.

Halloween Fun!

While it’s true that Halloween will not be quite the same this year due to the pandemic, it’s still a holiday we have fun celebrating through the library. Below are some recent spooky books we are looking forward to reading!

Garbage Pail Kids: Welcome to Smellville. By R.L. Stine. Harry N. Abrams Books, 2020.

” Welcome to the town of Smellville, where ten kids all live in a big tumbledown house and have as much fun as they possibly can. People may think that they’re gross and weird and strange, but they’re not bad kids—they just don’t know any better. In this hilarious new illustrated series from bestselling author R.L. Stine, the Garbage Pail Kids—from Adam Bomb to Brainy Janey—get into mischief at their middle school, all while battling bullies and their archenemies, Penny and Parker Perfect. These all-new illustrated stories are sure to amuse, entertain, and blow away readers of all ages.”

The Witches (Graphic Novel) . By  Pénélope Bagieu, adapted from the novel by Roald Dahl. Scholastic, 2020.

“Witches are real, and they are very, very dangerous. They wear ordinary clothes and have ordinary jobs, living in ordinary towns all across the world — and there’s nothing they despise more than children. When an eight-year-old boy and his grandmother come face-to-face with the Grand High Witch herself, they may be the only ones who can stop the witches’ latest plot to stamp out every last child in the country!

This full-color graphic novel edition of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, adapted and illustrated by Eisner Award winner Pénélope Bagieu, is the first-ever Dahl story to appear in this format. Graphic novel readers and Roald Dahl fans alike will relish this dynamic new take on a uniquely funny tale.”

Camp Murderface. By Josh Berk and Saundra Mitchell. HarperCollins, 2020.

Summer camp turns sinister in Camp Murderface, a spooky middle grade read perfect for fans of scare masters like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike.

“The year: 1983. The place: Ohio. The camp: Scary as heck. Camp Sweetwater is finally reopening, three decades after it mysteriously shut down. Campers Corryn Quinn and Tez Jones have each had more than enough of their regular lives—they’re so ready to take their summer at Sweetwater by storm. But before they can so much as toast one marshmallow, strange happenings start…happening. Can they survive the summer? Or will Camp Sweetwater shut down for good this time—with them inside?”

The Puppet’s Payback and Other Chilling Tales. By Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion Books, 2020.

“The author of wildly popular ghost stories, Mary Downing Hahn has created a group of tales for fans of her “scary but not too scary” books. Even the stories without actual ghosts are spooky. Each tale turns something ordinary—a pigeon, a white dress, a stranger on the bus, a puppet—into a sinister link to the supernatural. For the human characters, secrets from the past or careless behavior in the present can lead to serious trouble. All the stories have a young person as the central character, so all will resonate with young readers who enjoy the eerie, the creepy, and the otherworldly. In a concluding note, the author talks about how she came to write ghost stories.”

Venus in the Blind Spot. By Junji Ito. Viz Comics, 2020. *For mature readers.

“A “best of” collection of creepy tales from Eisner award winner and legendary horror master Junji Ito. This striking collection presents the most remarkable short works of Junji Ito’s career, featuring an adaptation of Rampo Edogawa’s classic horror story “Human Chair” and fan favorite “The Enigma of Amigara Fault.” With a deluxe presentation—including special color pages, and showcasing illustrations from his acclaimed long-form manga No Longer Human—each chilling tale invites readers to revel in a world of terror.”

Our outreach librarian, David, has also provided a virtual storytime of some of his favorite Halloween themed picture books for preschoolers from the past. Enjoy!

For more Halloween stories, check out this list of recent books in our catalog.

*Did you know that over 1,000 picture books in the hoopla app collection have a “read-along” feature?  Children can follow along while the book is being read to them by a narrator!  Log in to the hoopla app with your library card and do a search for “read-along”.