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NOVEMBER 24, 2015
Working to combat hunger and homelessness
Rep. Sean Duffy recently organized his third-annual Hunger and Homelessness Summit on Nov. 9 in Rothschild to bring together people from throughout central Wisconsin – government, business, individuals and non-profit folks – to discuss hunger and homelessness. More than 100 people participated, and I attended the summit to participate in discussions and learn about other community efforts that may help some of the patrons we serve at the library. As we gather with our families and friends in our homes to share holiday meals, I thought this would be a good time to share information not only from the summit, but also about available library resources.

The need for overnight shelter and food assistance has steadily increased over the past five to seven years, according to the United Way of Marathon County. In 2014, the Salvation Army, The Women’s Community and the Wausau Community Warming Center provided a combined 20,000 nights of lodging. And in 2013, the Marathon County Hunger Coalition met more than 100,000 requests for food assistance.
The library offers a wide range of resources to help individuals and families who are struggling financially, including those facing homelessness and unemployment. First, all library resources – books, movies, music, programming – are free with a library card (and you don’t even need a library card to attend programs). Anyone looking for a job can find at just about any MCPL location books on resumes, job trends and life skills, or use one of several computers at MCPL Wausau set aside specifically for job searching – no card required and no time limit. We also maintain a list of different job engines here - We also have a variety of career exams, software tutorials, GED test preparation and ways to build reading, writing and math skills through Learning Express Library 3.0 in the online resources section of our website.
Throughout the winters, MCPL Wausau is a designated warming center in the city, giving people a centrally located place to get inside and warm up from the cold. While we are happy to help anyone shake the chill from their bones, all we ask is that all patrons abide by the library’s behavior policy - - which includes prohibitions on sleeping, the consumption of alcohol on the premises or entering the library intoxicated.
Secretary Julian Castro of the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department gave the keynote speech at the Hunger and Homelessness Summit, and said the United States is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. Castro spoke about programs like the HOME Investment Partnerships Program that provides states and municipalities with funding toward building, buying or rehabbing a home, or toward direct rental assistance to low-income individuals. You can find information about the HOME program here - and a list of different federal resources for hunger, homelessness and mental health services here -
We have a number of different local organizations working hard to provide services for low-income and homeless individuals and families, including the United Way and both the Marathon County Hunger Coalition and the Housing and Homelessness Coalition. The United Way also operates the 2-1-1 assistance hotline and publishes the annual Give and Get Help Guide, available at many Marathon County locations and online through the 2-1-1 website. Also, information about the Wausau Community Warming Center on Third Avenue - including a list of their needs - can be found here.
Another resource is the Wisconsin Community Action Program, which assists with literacy skills and employment training, rental assistance, revolving business loans and much more. Marathon County is served by the North Central Community Action Program -
An eye-opening panel discussion for me was on mental health and homelessness among military veterans, and the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse that many veterans face every day. A number of different organizations, from local to federal, exist to help veterans with mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as housing assistance, job training skills and social and emotional support. The Marathon County Veterans Service Office works between the veteran and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Wisconsin Dept. of Veterans Affairs (WDVA).  In 2013, the VA provided services to more than 260,000 veterans who were either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
If you or someone you know if struggling with hunger, homelessness or mental illness, and you’re not sure where to turn, our library staff will be happy to help. Although we cannot make specific recommendations or offer any sort of legal advice, we'll do what we can to provide relevant resources and information to anyone who needs it, any time it’s needed.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: FoodLibrarieselectronic databases


NOVEMBER 11, 2015
Learn More About the Presidential Candidates
With the 2016 presidential election less than a year away nearly 20 candidates are still left vying for the nation's top spot.

In addition to interviews and televised debates, another great resource for learning about the presidential hopefuls and where they stand on certain issues can be through their own written words. A vast majority of candidates in both of the major political parties have published books throughout the years, including memoirs, autobiographies, and manifestos on a host of topics, from healthcare to the economy.

Below is a non-comprehensive list, in alphabetical order, of some of the candidates' more recent books that can be checked out through the Marathon County Public Library, any of its branches, or through its OverDrive digital library. Any candidate not represented on this list either has yet to write a book or doesn't have a book available through MCPL at the time this blog was published.

One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future by Ben Carson, M.D. (2014)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Carson outlines his solutions to hot topics like health care, education, and tax policy, and shares anecdotes from his own life as a neurosurgeon as a means of addressing what he believes are the most pressing issues facing the nation.

Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton (2014)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

The former first lady, New York senator, and secretary of state shares her thoughts on the key moments during her time working as part of the Obama Administration, as well as her ideas for how the country can navigate the domestic and international challenges in the years to come.

A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America by Ted Cruz (2015)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Here, Cruz talks about his life, his political career (including his time as a Texas senator) and proposes revitalizing the government by returning to the core principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey by Carly Fiorina (2015)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:
In this book, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Fiorina writes that politics, like business, is primarily about people and also highlights the lessons she’s learned from her personal and professional difficulties and successes.

God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy by Mike Huckabee (2015)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and Fox News talk show host, explains his conservative faith-based values and expounds on his stances on issues like gun control, religion, same-sex marriage, and more.
Leadership and Crisis by Bobby Jindal, with Peter Schweizer and Curt Anderson (2010)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Jindal, the current governor of Louisiana, talks about the federal government's role in both Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in addition to his thoughts on big government and American ideals.

Stand for Something: The Battle for America's Soul by John Kasich (2006)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Written before he became the current governor of Ohio, Kasich warns in his book about what he believes to be an erosion of moral values in America due to a lack of business ethics, religious intolerance, and ineffective elected officials.

Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds by Rand Paul (2012)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

A U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Paul asserts in his book that everyday Americans are being abused and taken advantage of via thousands of unconstitutional laws and regulations and suggests lower taxes and smaller government as two possible remedies.

American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone by Marco Rubio (2015)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

The 43 year-old Florida senator uses a mix of autobiographical stories and the experiences of everyday citizens to talk about social and governmental issues, such as tax reform, as well as his plan for economic restoration.

The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class by Bernie Sanders (2011)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

This book presents a written copy of the Vermont senator's' entire eight and a half-hour speech from December 10, 2010, during which he urged the American middle class to become more organized and informed in an effort to take on the special interests in Washington.

Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works by Rick Santorum (2014)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

In this book Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, writes about his thoughts on the Republican party and its connection to blue collar voters.

Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again by Donald Trump (2011)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Real estate developer and media personality Trump talks here about his opinion of the Obama administration as well as his thoughts on issues like jobs, illegal immigration, international trade and the national debt.
A sampling of additional books by the candidates available through MCPL:
“A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties” by Ben Carson, M.D. (2015)
“Living History” by Hillary Rodham Clinton (2003)
“A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington and a Trillion That We Don't” by Mike Huckabee (2011)
“The Tea Party Goes to Washington” by Rand Paul (2011)
“An American Son: A Memoir” by Marco Rubio (2012)
“Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again” by Donald Trump (2015)

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Dan Richter

Categories: BooksReadingFuture


OCTOBER 31, 2015
Terror! in Six Words story contest winners
We'd like to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated in our 2015 Terror! in Six Words story contest. We were thrilled to receive more than 80 entries from 78 participants! We had a blast reading through all the entries, and we hope you enjoy reading them, too.
The top five entries are listed below, along with all of the entries. A quick note for curious minds wondering how we picked the winners. First, it wasn't easy and you may disagree with our picks (let us know in the comments if you do!) Second, entries were shared with 10 MCPL staff members, and each picked their own top five. Entries that made the top five were picked based on appearances on the judges' lists. For example, our winner from Allie Gall was in five of the 10 lists (a sign of our differences in taste and difficulty choosing!)
Thanks again to the participants and start thinking of your scariest six words for 2016.
The entries:
  • Death searches for you. Relentless. Unforgiving. - Leigh Montalto
  • Deserted Road. Car stalls. Glass breaks. - Leigh Montalto
  • Nick shivers. The spirits are close. - Leigh Montalto
  • Incessant knocking. From inside the house. - Leigh Montalto
  • He got into the car drunk - Pattie Knight
  • Parachute tangled during one-mile jump - Ken Barker
  • The Ouija board spelled “IMU … Goodbye” - Evan Cass
  • Another shooter at a local school - Art Wiese
  • The poison smells delicious, right dearie? - Dylan Calhoun
  • In the dark, glowing eyes appear - Garret Parks
  • Bill arrives, reach into empty pocket - Jonah Dombrowski
  • Falling high, falling fast: no parachute! - Guy Gehrman
  • Alone in darkness. Are those voices? - Peter Clark
  • “It’s breech!” screamed the elephant’s midwife - Dawn Bohm
  • Masked faces walking all around me - Anna Koehl
  • Wake paralyzed itching crushed black widow - Kim Burnham
  • Oh my gosh, it got out! - Christopher Jensen
  • Oh my gosh, you’re having triplets! - Delaney Lawlis
  • Sleeping alone, someone pulls the blanket - Daphne Rose Gavin
  • Taxes due. You have no money. - Laura Rusch
  • She never saw the car coming - Stephanie Kohlie
  • There are two types of tumors - Theresa Schulta
  • Wait until your father gets home! - Theresa Schulta
  • Decayed leaves stain Fall’s walk. HIROSHIMA – Tracey Ludvik
  • Drunken push, dead eyes, ask why - Tracey Ludvik
  • Leaves falling like yellow snow. Winter! - Tracey Ludvik
  • With his last breath, “Behind You!” – Cole Martinez
  • Fleshless bones, rats and maggots, burp! - Susan Ninneman
  • Eyeballs pop, blood drops, lick chops - Susan Ninneman
  • Stop! Come back! I’m still alive! - Julie Mayrose
  • Dropped phone. Oh no, cracked screen. - Sydney Pisarski
  • Dad, mom knows we watched ‘Psycho’ - Tony Liddle
  • “Attention: the Earth Project has failed” - Isabel Dahlke
  • Dirty fingernails, panicked breath, blinding darkness - Mercadees Schara
  • Bloodcurdling scream, corpselike blur, dreadful nightmare - Whitney Guenther
  • Hot breath, weight on chest, snarling - Hannah Morse
  • In the shadows it lies. Waiting. - Laura Hillman
  • Safe under the covers; maybe not - Sam Larsen
  • Chilling graveyard, eerie fog, bloodcurdling screams - Nick Weinkauf
  • Knife hidden; he rings the doorbell - Shawn Bunkelman
  • Knives were removed – so was he. - McKenzie Durr
  • Dead body, bloody fingers, Shia Lebouf - Justin Michalewicz
  • Ominous shadows, sinister looks, eerie shrill … Macey Wirkus
  • It’s gone, the life you love - Jarret Miles-Kroening
  • Decapitation, murder, exorcism, screams, dead, behind. - Hugo Calderon
  • He cackles from the shadows, “Soon.” - Marissa Slack
  • Disappearances, monstrous howls, trapped in darkness - Scott E. Lepak
  • Fastidious sadistic, constrained victim, glinting scalpel - Miranda Myszka
  • Dark woods, creepy noises, howling death - Jorid Folster
  • Burning flesh, deafening screams, butchering psychopath - Nataley Myszka
  • Spine-chilling world, horrendous murder, bloodcurdling bath - Noah Fernbach
  • Eerie graveyard, loud screams, bloody terror - Isabel Slagoski
  • Child trapped down in eerie basement - Tyler Soczka
  • Sinister bloodcurdling corpse in the shadows - Jesse Albert
  • Screaming bloody murder and sadistic terror - Rachel Roskopf
  • The sinister laughing of sadistic murders - Hanna Lang
  • Ominous clouds, loud screams, bloody corpses - Dawson Berry
  • Eight legs, unable to get out - Michael Wood
  • Creaking hallways, bloody walls, deathly victim - Lindsey Schneeberger
  • The bloodsucking sinister victim of death - Brock Mueller
  • Sinister terror, trapped death, bloody corpse - Brianna Hoppenworth
  • “Mommy, where did your face go?” - Allie Gall
  • Quiet whispers, loud footsteps, empty house. - Samantha Schreiber
  • Trips in the darkness, sticky hands. - Mckayla Drenner
  • Children of Tigoku, weeping bloody tears. - Jared Garske
  • Baby monitor, crying child, home alone - Kamryn Butt
  • Wood creaking, blood streaking, midnight reaping. - Wesley Gust
  • Basement screams, coming from your basement - Nicholas Koller
  • Slowly dangling, bloody kids, “Who’s next?” - Brooke Jisko
  • Dark shadow, gleaming axe, missing person. - Rose Paul
  • Possessed demon, unhuman laughter, bloody mess. - Bethany Borchardt
  • Bloody victim trapped in shadowy tomb. - Seth Schilling
  • Bloodcurdling screams from below our feet. - Mason Guralski
  • “The earth will explode in five…” - Rachel Heiden
  • What’s in the corner, sadistic sloth. - Tyler Sommer
  • Dark room, closing in, panic cries. - Hannah Brewster
  • Revived figure, “There is no God.” - Taiyah Tarter
  • The purge, chaos, violence, only death. - Tyler Engel
  • Screaming girls, bloody hands, sharp knife. - Erica Lemmer
  • Creaking floors, sadistic man, no survivors. - Kelsey Strobel
  • Macabre basement, dark silence, metal scraping. - Lyndi Mullen
  • Bloody knife, victim shadows, death trap. - Tyler Matysik
  • Dark room, sinister figure, bloody footsteps. - Brett Schutte
  • Gory foreign weapon, unearthly deathlike shrieks. - Alec Hafferman

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: WritingStaff Picks


OCTOBER 29, 2015
Video: David B. Whitehurst: "Tree Stand Murders"
Author David B. Whitehurst discusses his 2015 book "Tree Stand Murders," an account of a 2004 fatal incident near Rice Lake, WI during gun deer season.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: BooksHuntingWisconsin


OCTOBER 28, 2015
Video: Gary Beyer: "Hope in the Face of Illness"
If you missed our Oct. 8, 2015 inspirational program with author and motivational speaker Gary Beyer, you can watch the video below. We enjoyed hosting Gary and his wife, Julie, as both of them exude positivity in light of difficult life circumstances.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: ProgramsWritingMovies


SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
Big Library Read October 7-21
Marathon County Public Library is excited that we will be taking part in OverDrive’s Big Library Read program featuring two young adult e-books. Library card holders will be able to borrow and read "The Door in the Hedge" by Robin McKinley and/or "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" by Cat Winters starting midday Wednesday, October 7 and concluding at midnight on Monday, October 21 (U.S. EST) by visiting
"The Door in the Hedge" opens a door into an enchanted world in this collection of original and retold fairy tales. Four short stories, two original and two cherished classics, take you into a magical world of whimsy, wonder, princesses and talking frogs. "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" is a young adult historical fiction story of war, ghosts, friendship, mystery, love and perseverance. This coming-of-age tale takes you on a heroic journey through the eyes of Mary Shelley Black as she’s forced to face a world war, a deadly strain of flu and a troubled spirit who is desperate for help.
Big Library Read is an international program that gives libraries and library patrons unlimited and simultaneous access to the selected titles during the program dates, creating a virtual, global e-book club. Interested patrons will be able borrow "The Door in the Hedge" and "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" using a valid library card, and read on all major computers and devices, without worrying about wait lists or holds. Titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period, and best of all, there are no late fees!
The Big Library Read program is made possible through a partnership between OverDrive, the leading supplier of e-books, audiobooks and more to libraries and schools, Open Road, publisher of Robin McKinley’s fairy tale short stories and Abrams Books, publisher of Cat Winters young adult historical fiction. To borrow the e-book version of "The Door in the Hedge" and "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" as part of Big Library Read, patrons can visit For more information, call 715-261-7230.


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Amy Bergstrom- Library Marketing Specialist

Categories: Teen ZoneBooksOverDrive


AUGUST 24, 2015
Planning and Visioning
A letter to our friends and neighbors about our Planning and Visioning
 from the Library Director

Over the coming weeks we will be hosting listening sessions at the main library in downtown Wausau. These sessions will be conducted by Engberg Anderson, an architectural firm based out of Milwaukee that specializes in libraries. We want to learn how we may best serve the public during the next ten years to ensure that your library is relevant and useful to you. They will solicit your ideas about services, facilities, and resources that you want to see at your library. Please take a moment if you can, and attend a session or write down your thoughts so that we may collect them and then implement those ideas. We will have three sessions for listening, the first on August 26 at 6:00pm. The second sessions will be at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and the final public listensing session will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23. There will be various ways to share your vision, and I invite you to help us shape the future of your library. Here are some ways to let us know your thoughts:
  • Visit the library’s main webpage for an overview of the campaign and links to feedback mechanisms and more information:
  • Check out our Facebook and Twitter pages and post ideas with #yourMCPL.
  • The online contact form at  will allow you to send us your thoughts and comments.
  • Comment cards can be found at the public desks.
  • Attend a public listening session with the architects. (Future dates and times to be posted)
We appreciate the support the library has in our community, and we very much want to see this process help to revitalize and invigorate your library experience. Please join us on this important journey. If you would like to talk with me personally about the project, I’m always happy to hear from you. My direct number is 715-261-7211.

Ralph Illick
Library Director
Marathon County Public Library

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Categories: LibrariesyourMCPL


AUGUST 17, 2015
Your Next Favorite Books: Personalized Reading Suggestions
Our staff at the Marathon County Public Library has launched a new service aimed at helping our patrons find their next favorite books.
The library recently set up a new page within our website called Personalized Reading Suggestions, through which we’ll rack our brains and a vast pool of online reading resources, to recommend three books based on just a few clues provided by you, the patron.
Our staff is surrounded by books all day and each of us has our own favorite genres that run the gamut, so chances are someone here shares your reading tastes. Plus, we love these kinds of challenges that usually starts a little something like this…
“I just finished The Hunger Games and Matched trilogies. Do have anything else like that?”
“I like Lee Child’s stuff, who are some other authors like him?”
Or even…
“I need something good to read, what can you recommend?”
Here’s how the Personalized Reading Suggestions works:
  • Go to the Personalized Reading Suggestions page at
  • Tell us your name and email address, whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction and the format you prefer to read it in (such as books, audiobooks, or e-books)
  • Give us the titles or authors of the last few books you read that you really liked, and why you liked them
  • If you want, write a few specifics that will help us find the right books to match your taste. For example, maybe you prefer suspense and mystery novels but don’t care for excessive sex or violence. Or perhaps you’d rather read stories straight from the source in autobiographies, rather than someone else’s take in a biography. The more details we have, the better chance we have of finding good matches.
  • Click submit and we promise to come back with three suggestions within four days, because (as we all know) sometimes you just don’t want to wait long before diving into a new book!
We can’t guarantee you’ll love each and every suggestion we send you, but whether you love or hate our recommendations, we always appreciate feedback; it helps us refine our efforts, and you might indirectly help another patron with similar tastes find their next great book!
So fill out that form any time of day or night, and let us help you keep reading!

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: BooksReading RecommendationsStaff Picks


JULY 27, 2015
Food Drive continues through end of August
Residents throughout central Wisconsin still have until the end of August to help individuals and families in need of food, through the MCPL food drive. The library is working with the Marathon County Hunger Coalition on the food drive, which ends Aug. 22, to benefit food pantries across our area.

Anyone from across the central Wisconsin area or beyond is welcome and encouraged to drop off non-perishable items during regular business hours at any MCPL location:
Athens, Edgar, Hatley, Marathon, Mosinee, Rothschild, Spencer, Stratford and Wausau.

If you would like to donate, please consider some of these suggested items: canned fruit and vegetables, cereal, peanut butter, packaged or canned meals, pasta, soup, canned tuna and other canned meats, juice (100 percent fruit, please) and spaghetti sauce.

Food items not accepted include dented or bulged cans, open packages, home-canned foods and infant formula beyond its expiration date.

Call 715-261-7200 or stop by any library branch for more information, and thank you for your help!


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: FoodLibrariesSummer Library Program


JUNE 29, 2015
Video: Raising chickens with UW-Extension

We were very happy to collaborate recently with Marathon County UW-Extension on a program at MCPL Wausau about chickens!

Heather Schlesser, dairy and livestock agent with Extension, provided our audience with a primer on all that's involved with raising a clutch of chickens - the variety of breeds, diet, shelter, diseases to keep an eye out for and more!

If you missed the June 9 program, you can watch the whole program below. Or, if you'd like to catch the program in person, Heather will present similar programs Sept. 3 at the MCPL Athens branch and Sept. 23 in Marathon City.

A very special thanks to Heather for sharing her knowledge of chickens with those who came to the program. And one fun fact that may entice you into watching the video: Chickens are the closest living relative on Earth to the late, great T. Rex dinosaur!

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: ProgramsMoviesFood


JUNE 28, 2015
Summer food drive at MCPL
Throughout the summer of 2015 the Marathon County Public Library is working with the Marathon County Hunger Coalition and hosting a food drive to benefit food pantries across our area.

The food drive began in early June and continues through the end of August. Anyone from across the central Wisconsin area or beyond is welcome and encouraged to drop off non-perishable items during regular business hours at any MCPL location: Athens, Edgar, Hatley, Marathon, Mosinee, Rothschild, Spencer, Stratford and Wausau.
It may seem obvious, but unlike some other aspects of the library usage, no library card is needed to help others in need!
What may not be obvious to some is the extent of hunger, food insecurity and the need for food assistance in Marathon County.

According to the most recent LIFE Report from the United Way of Marathon County, nearly 24,000 people received assistance through Marathon County’s FoodShare program in 2012 – an increase of more than 10,000 people since 2008. Also, 5,800 people received food assistance through the Women, Infants and Children (W.I.C.) program in 2012, which is 1,500 more individuals served than in 2008.
If you would like to donate, please consider some of these suggested items: canned fruit and vegetables, cereal, peanut butter, packaged or canned meals, pasta, soup, canned tuna and other canned meats, juice (100 percent fruit, please) and spaghetti sauce.

Food items not accepted include dented or bulged cans, open packages, home-canned foods and infant formula beyond its expiration date.

Call 715-261-7200 or stop by any library branch for more information, and thank you for your help!

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: Summer Library ProgramFoodHealth Resources


JUNE 11, 2015
Juan Felipe Herrera named U.S. Poet Laureate

The United States has a new champion for poetry.

On June 10, the Library of Congress announced it appointed Juan Felipe Herrera as the nation’s Poet Laureate, a position that dates back to 1937 and is aimed at raising awareness of the reading and writing of poetry. Perhaps most significant in the announcement is the fact that Herrera, 66, is the first Latino poet to be named to the post.

You can read or listen to an NPR story here, but the short version is he’s the son of migrant farm workers and spent much of his earlier life on the west coast. He studied at both UCLA and Stanford, as well as the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He has since written more than two dozen books.

If you’re curious to read some of Herrera’s work, libraries within the Wisconsin Valley Library Service have some copies you can request here. Also, if you’re willing to wait a little longer to receive his books, you can find hundreds of copies through our Interlibrary Loan system. (In both catalogs, search by the poet’s name.) The Marathon County Public Library also has a couple of sites – LitFinder and Literary Reference Center - within our online resources where you can find information about Herrera and past poets laureate, or other authors. (You'll need your library card number and PIN to log into LitFinder and LRC.)

Herrera will serve as Poet Laureate for the next two years, and joins past Poets Laureate such as Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams and Robert Penn Warren. In describing Herrera and his work, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said: “I see in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original—work that takes the sublimity and largesse of “Leaves of Grass” and expands upon it. His poems engage in a serious sense of play - in language and in image - that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices and traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity."

Here is one of Herrera’s poems, excerpted from his 2008 book “Half a World in Light: New and Selected Poems.”

Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings

for Charles Fishman

Before you go further,
let me tell you what a poem brings,
first, you must know the secret, there is no poem
to speak of, it is a way to attain a life without boundaries,
yes, it is that easy, a poem, imagine me telling you this,
instead of going day by day against the razors, well,
the judgments, all the tick-tock bronze, a leather jacket
sizing you up, the fashion mall, for example, from
the outside you think you are being entertained,
when you enter, things change, you get caught by surprise,
your mouth goes sour, you get thirsty, your legs grow cold
standing still in the middle of a storm, a poem, of course,
is always open for business too, except, as you can see,
it isn't exactly business that pulls your spirit into
the alarming waters, there you can bathe, you can play,
you can even join in on the gossip—the mist, that is,
the mist becomes central to your existence.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: AwardsPoetryWriting


MAY 29, 2015
OverDrive's Big Summer Read
Marathon County Public Library, Wisconsin’s Digital Library and OverDrive all hope you’ll join us and other patrons in the Big Summer Read, an online shared reading program for all ages, through most of June.

Each year, OverDrive selects a title with an author and publisher willing to allow an unlimited number ebooks and e-audiobooks available to download anytime from June 9 to June 23. This year adult patrons can read or listen to Kate White’s fast-paced suspense novel “Eyes on You” – Robin Trainer learns that being a media star comes with its costs; including potentially her own life. Can you guess her perpetrator before the big reveal?

For the first time, OverDrive also is inviting children and teens to share in the reading experience with the OverDrive Summer Read. From June 9 to July 9, kids will be able to download unlimited copies of “Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky” from Sandra Dallas, who shines a light on a dark period of American history in this story of a young Japanese American girl caught up in prejudices and World War II.

Teens can sign into OverDrive anytime between June 9-July 9 and download a copy of “The Fat Boy Chronicles.” Inspired by a true story and told in first-person journal entries, Diane Lang’s novel brings to life the pain and isolation felt by many overweight teenagers as they try to find their way in a world obsessed with outward beauty.

This is a great chance to try a new book recommended by the fine folks at OverDrive, without the wait that occasionally accompanies newer releases! Our library staff can show you where to go within the Digital Library to download your copy of one (or more!) of these three books.

The Big Summer Read is also a great excuse to try OverDrive if you haven’t already. Any device will do – smartphone, tablet, e-reader, laptop – and you can find instructions to set up your device here under the “First-time users” tab: Of course, if you’re a hands-on learner, you are always welcome to bring your device to the library and we’ll help you get started with OverDrive.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently released its report on public libraries as of 2012, and Wisconsin has the distinction of the highest number of library e-books available per capita in the country: As of 2012, our state had more than 3,500 ebooks per 1,000 people. Of course we still love our print books, but our selection of ebooks and e-audiobooks is growing almost daily, as is the selection of streaming videos available through OverDrive. And as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can browse and download titles from anywhere and keep your bookshelf full no matter where you may roam this summer. Once downloaded, you can read them anywhere, no wireless needed.

The Big Summer Read is not only a kickoff to vacation reading, it’s also a chance to share a literary experience with thousands of other patrons across the state, some of whom might just be a few towels down the beach from you, reading the same novel.

Chad Dally is a library specialist with the Marathon County Public Library


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Categories: AudiobooksOverDriveSummer Reading Program


MAY 7, 2015
Learn More About Penokee Hills Wetlands

On Thursday, May 14, residents in our community have the opportunity to learn about and discuss an area of the state many have heard about in the last few years, and an area that is near and dear to me personally: the Penokee Hills region of northern Wisconsin.

Tracy Hames, executive director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, will be at MCPL Wausau to talk specifically about wetlands scattered through the roughly 25-mile Penokee-Gogebic range that stretches through Ashland and Iron counties. Hames will show photos, maps and other graphics and discuss the important ecological role these wetlands play in an area brimming with forests, lakes and streams. The talk begins at 6:30 p.m.

If the area sounds familiar, it’s because mining company Gogebic Taconite (G-Tac) several years ago announced its intent to mine taconite (low-grade iron) from a swath of land 4.5 miles long, 1,000 feet wide and nearly 1,000 feet deep, which would’ve made it the world’s largest open-pit taconite mine. A report funded by G-Tac estimated some 700 permanent and 1,000 temporary jobs would be created from mining operations – significant numbers in a region mired in some of the highest unemployment rates in the state.

From the start, the plan was saddled with controversy and opposition – including intense opposition from the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, which claimed the mine would cause irreparable damage to the Bad River Watershed and was an assault on Tribal sovereignty over air and water quality control in its own reservation. The headwaters of the Bad River begin in the Penokee Hills and meander north through the Tribe’s reservation before reaching Lake Superior, the largest freshwater body of water in the world.

All of the controversy came to a halt in late March, when G-Tac announced it would withdraw its pre-application notice and cease all plans to mine the area. It was not opposition that spurred the company to drop (for now) its mining plans. The company’s own environmental analysis “revealed wetland issues that make major continued investment unfeasible at this time,” G-Tac President Bill Williams said. It is those same wetlands that Hames will discuss on May 14.

So, why is this area important to me personally? I spent four years (2006-2010) as a reporter with The Daily Press in Ashland, and covered a wide range of environmental stories for the paper, including some centered in the Penokees: research on the endangered pine marten that makes its home in the area, tourists drawn to the natural resources and water quality in the region’s many lakes and rivers. I’ve hiked portions of the North Country Trail just north of the proposed mine and waded through rivers and creeks in feeble attempts at fly-fishing. I stood in the Bad River and held a 4-foot sturgeon making its way upstream from Lake Superior to spawn (for a reporting assignment, not for sport). To me and many others, it is a place of incomparable beauty that Wisconsinites and everyone else should see and appreciate for themselves.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I personally was happy to hear G-Tac had abandoned its mining plans. Yes, the region would’ve benefitted from economic activity and job creation, but at what cost? I never believed claims the mine could be developed in an environmentally safe way. Not something of the magnitude proposed by G-Tac, and not in this area. Worse yet, this mining project would be active for 50 years or so and would have permanently altered a region that took tens of thousands of years or longer to develop.

Hames and the Wisconsin Wetlands Association never took an official stance against the mine. In fact, we planned this program before mining plans were abandoned and as we organized it, I made sure this would not be full of anti-mining sentiment, but a science-based discussion about the wetlands, of the potential impacts to wetlands if mining operations came to fruition and an ecological/biological understanding of the aesthetic beauty visible to the naked eye.

I’m glad he’s willing to share more information about a region we’ve all heard so much about, and I hope this talk will motivate others to see the Penokee region with their own eyes.

Chad Dally is a library specialist at MCPL Wausau. His views do not necessarily represent those of the Marathon County Public Library.
For More Information


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Categories: WisconsinNature


APRIL 29, 2015
Story Time Break
Many of our locations will be participating in a story time break before our Summer Library Program begins to accommodate school visits and prepare for our summer programs.

Athens, Hatley and Rothschild will continue to have regularly scheduled story times. Marathon City will continue to have regulary scheduled story times but will not meet on May 28th.

Wausau will have no story times in the month of May, except for the Family Resource Center’s Play & Learn story time on Fridays. Story times will resume in June, along with Sweet Dreams Story Time Monday nights at 6:30. Some story times may be cancelled due to scheduled Summer Library Program events. See our brochure for these events.

Edgar, Mosinee, Spencer, and Stratford will break at various times in May and resume in September. Regularly scheduled Family Resource Center Play & Learns will still occur. Please visit our story times page for more specific details and times.

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Categories: ChildrenStorytimesSummer Library Program


APRIL 8, 2015
National Poetry Month: LEGO Poetry
There are plenty of things to celebrate in April, but one of my favorite is poetry. Here at MCPL in Wausau, we’ve got two activities to encourage you to experience poetry every day. 

Come and build a poem with LEGO poetry in the TeenZone. Each LEGO has a word on it and you are invited to create a poem by using the words on the LEGOS.  It’s like magnetic poetry, but in three dimensions.  When you are done, take a picture with your phone, name the picture with the title of the poem (and your name if you want) and send it to us at We’ll post the poems to our Facebook page, so remember to like MCPL on Facebook to see your poem. Don’t have time to build a poem here?  Take one of our word pages and have fun creating whenever. You can email your poems to us and we’ll post those on our Facebook page, too.

On April 30, it’s poem in your pocket day.  On that day, you have a poem in your pocket that you share with everyone you meet.  Hopefully, they will have a poem to share back! We have three poem possibilities, already photocopied for you to pick up and put in your pocket available in the TeenZone.

Also, our Athens branch will be have materials for teens to create found poems with materials provided by the library all month long.  So stop by and create a poem or share poem. Remember, April is National Poetry Month! 

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Categories: PoetryNational Poetry MonthTeen Zone


APRIL 6, 2015
Never Counted Out
Teens, have you ever felt like your voice wasn’t heard?  Or were there times when you spoke out about your truth?  Now you have the opportunity to share these by submitting an essay, poem, graphic novel or photograph about these times to Never Counted Out, a website created to connect teens with artists and writers. 

Never Counted Out is the brain child of novelist, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, the author of Fat Angie.  e.E created the website after connecting with a depressed teen writer, after his teacher shared is creative writing sample with her.  When e.E. talked with young writer, she felt like she had made a special connection with him and wanted to create opportunities for other writers, photographers and artists to connect with teens, especially at-risk teens.  e.E. traveled around the country and worked with other writers and artists and with the teens in their communities, building a mentorship program for young writers and artists to express their concerns, hopes, successes and fears in a positive way.

Inspired by the suicide note from a bullied transgendered teen, teens are invited to submit a work of art that completes the sentence, “If someone only knew…” This art work can be anything from an essay to a poem to a photograph to a graphic novel, as long as it communicates your truth.  The art will be displayed on the blog on the website for Never Counted Out.  In addition, a selection of the essays and art work will be published in an anthology. Go to the website for admission guidelines and due dates.   

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Categories: ArtTeen ZoneWriting


APRIL 2, 2015
Raise Great Kids Parent Survey
If you are a parent, guardian, grandparent, or child caregiver, we would like your input! is a local website put out by a collaborative effort of community partners under the Early Years Coalition. Marathon County Public Library is a member of this coalition, and we need your help completing a survey.

As part of our efforts to make a better site for our users, we need your help. We would like to get both your thoughts and feedback on Raise Great Kids as well as gather more information about how you use the internet to search for information you find valuable about children. Thank you for taking the time to fill out this survey. Your feedback will be invaluable in helping us shape the site moving forward.

If you haven’t checked out, please visit the website.

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Categories: ChildrenEarly LiteracyWebsites


MARCH 13, 2015
OverDrive's Big Library Read (March 17-31, 2015)
Check out OverDrive’s Big Library Read, which offers community-wide access to a title during March 17-31, 2015. During this special event, all card holders can simply download “Shakespeare Saved My Life" by Laura Bates from OverDrive. Since OverDrive is offering simultaneous use for this title, the title is available right away, with no waiting on hold for the next copy. The title expires at the end of the lending period for each user, not the end of the program.

Synopsis: “Shakespeare professor and prison volunteer Laura Bates thought she had seen it all. That is, until she decided to teach Shakespeare in a place the bard had never been before — supermax solitary confinement. In this unwelcoming place, surrounded by inmates known as the worst of the worst, is Larry Newton. A convicted murderer with several escape attempts under his belt and a brilliantly agile mind on his shoulders, Larry was trying to break out of prison at the same time Laura was fighting to get her program started behind bars.
Thus begins the most unlikely of friendships, one bonded by Shakespeare and lasting years—a friendship that, in the end, would save more than one life.”

For more information on OverDrive’s Big Library Read, visit their website.

Need help downloading OverDrive to your new device? Check out detailed instructions here.


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Categories: OverDriveReading Recommendationstechnology


FEBRUARY 16, 2015
"Love in Six Words" story contest winners
We're happy to share with the public all of the entries submitted for our recent "Love in Six Words" contest. We received an amazing 141 entries from 91 writers! (Each participant could submit up to three entries.) Below are our top 5, as judged by a half-dozen library staff, and below that are all 141 entries.
Thank you so much to all who submitted and start thinking for next year when we host this contest again!

1. "I Love You - For All Time" - Dave Anderson (Mr. Anderson included this explanation with his submission: “My wife has recently passed away and this is the phrase I mention when I'm thinking of her. When I saw your contest poster, that's the first words to come to mind - and then I counted…six words.”)
2. “Sixty-three years sharing spoons” – Jeff Kocha
3. “My heart beats…because of you!” – Lynette Clark
(Miss Clark included this explanation with her submission: “My retired registered nurse sister navigated the medical system, and made sure I received emergency heart surgery, which saved my life.”)
4. “Love is playing together, and snuggling” – Dayton Genrich (age 4)
5. “1952 classmates, 2013 wedding – love forever” – Harold Matis

All Entries (in the order they were received):

  • “I Love Her, She Loves Me” – Ken & Priscilla Barker
  • “ Heartbeats synchronize echoes in timeless halls” – Ashley Spencer
  • “Endless books, Spring’s warmth and free coffee” – Ashley Spencer
  • “Hard. Soft. Rough. Silk. Serene. Ascend.” – Ashley Spencer
  • “Meet. Greet. Treat. Repeat. Entreat. ‘SWEET’” – Susan J. Keene
  • “Love one another, compassion, respect, trust” – Deanna Rotar
  • “36 years later we’re getting married” – Barb Becher
  • “Chapstick: closest lips will touch NOT!” – Deb Lewitzke
  • “Hesitation Infatuation Attraction Reaction Commitment Fulfillment” – Deb Lewitzke
  • “Sharing caring loving Romantic fantastic enthusiastic” – Deb Lewitzke
  • “First Hottie neighbor, now husband FOREVER!” – No name given
  • “Neighbor. Friends. Dating. Marriage. Children. PERFECT!” No name given
  • “Loved at first sight, together forever.” Jan C. Stroik
  • “We met, We love, We're family” Jan C. Stroik
  • “Drawn to him like a magnet” Joan Adamscheck
  • “Eyes to eyes, soul to soul” Joan Adamscheck
  • “Radiates warmth, burning eyes, total heat” Joan Adamscheck
  • “Sixty-three years sharing spoons” Jeff Kocha
  • “To GIVE love is life’s TRUE meaning” Pam (no last name given)
  • “Loves true meaning: GIVING and RECEIVING” Pam (No last name given)
  • “Passion that will melt your heart!” Bob Eberhardy
  • “Crush.  Love.  Marriage.  Kids.  Grandkids.  Bliss.” - Christopher Swearingen
  • “She sees past all my flaws” - Christopher Swearingen
  • “My heart beats … because of you!” - Lynette Clark
  • "Divorced. Introduced. Learned Forgiveness. Happily Ever-after” - Amy Ostrem
  • “Thirty years later, true love reigns” – Shereen Siewert
  • “He is my ‘Happily Ever After’” – Barb Becher
  • “Strangers, Friends, Lovers, Passion, Companion, Comfort” – Kathy Bird
  • “Warm, soft kisses pressed on lips” – Karl Marquardt
  • “She’s my umbrella when it’s raining” – Laurie Bauer
  • “Not always roses, but always flowers” – Laurie Bauer
  • “She made my dreams a reality” – Laurie Bauer
  • “Two hearts together, lifetimes too short” – No name given
  • “Love paints your life with rainbows” – No name given
  • “We’ll never have to be alone” – Theresa Schulta
  • “The best is yet to come” – Noreen Schreiber
  • “Loving, truthful, respects, patient, best friend” – Helen Wisz
  • “Each day you light my world” – Harold Matis
  • “1952 classmates, 2013 wedding, love forever” – Harold Matis
  • “Innocent teens, Christmas Eve = Forever Love” – Linda Landowski
  • “My bride, my love, my heart” – Rick Reyer
  • “Hearts sing. Bought ring. Lasting thing.” – Amanda Herdt
  • “Me. You. Said “I do.” Yahoo!” – Amanda Herdt
  • “With you, always true, life through” – Amanda Herdt
  • “They got married. Happily ever after” – Catherine Herdt (age 10)
  • “Here there then now us always” – Pat Harrison
  • “Listen talk listen talk listen embrace” – Pat Harrison
  • “Live together. Criticize. Apologize. Forgive…Again” – Pat Harrison
  • “Love cannot be described in words” – Kieran Grogan
  • “One truly amazing beautiful blonde woman” – Gary Landowski
  • "My world, My heart, My soul” – Karl Bauman
  • "Everything I want, Everything I need.” – Karl Bauman
  • “Family fun faith water air shelter” – Jan Atkinson
  • “Love, always having each other’s backs” – Sue Martell
  • “Family, husband and three healthy boys” – Rachel Parks
  • “Hearing your baby’s first healthy cry” – Sarah Londerville
  • “SIX (love in) WORDS!!!” – Rena Dums
  • “Love is playing together, and snuggling” – Dayton Genrich (age 4)
  • “Love is all that is life” – Megan Johnson
  • “Hard work that never gives up” – Heidi Fairley
  • “The thing worth living for” – Heidi Fairley
  • “A choice we must make everyday” – Heidi Fairley
  • “Love: Transfigurative light, unconditional calming peace” – Bethany Krombholz
  • “My awesome wife; my wonderful children” – Jason Doepke
  • “Love is patient, love is kind” – Jason Doepke
  • “Love does not delight in evil” – Jason Doepke
  • “Soldier boy, school girl, 43 years” – Debra Lind
  • “A kind, patient understanding of another” – Diane Guy
  • “Two souls…coming together…staying forever!” Monica Bogen
  • “Giving the last cookie to someone” – Kayla Brown
  • “It is hugs, kisses, and security” – Cindy Hurkes
  • “Unpredictable journey in happiness and sadness” – No name given
  • “Most wonderful feeling in the world!!!” – Cara Palmer
  • “Complex, necessary, contagious, encompassing, eternal, solid” – Michelle Raddatz
  • “Family, friends and warmth they give” – Tanya R. Moore
  • “Love means waking up happy” – Lorraine Petersen
  • “The strongest thing in the universe” – Rebecca Preu
  • “Embracing my mom in my arms” – David Luck
  • “Caring about or for someone” – No name given
  • “What you’ve been through with somebody” – James Thurber
  • “Putting someone else before you, always” – Holly Busse
  • “Love is caring for my grandsons” – Carlyn LeBeau
  • “…And then I saw your eyes” – Steve Weinkauf
  • “Two souls, lost no more” – Amy Hampton
  • “For God so loved the world” – Judy Mansavage
  • “Three babies, two souls, one life” – Katie Verstegen
  • “He is my dream, but real” – Heather Koeppel
  • “He is my dream, only real” – Heather Koeppel
  • “You’re the buns to my hamburger” – Darcy Miller
  • “Don’t ever stop loving your valentine” – Darcy Miller
  • “Love makes my heart sing loud” – Darcy Miller
  • “I love growing older with you” – Lynette Wolosek
  • “Caring and making each other happy” – Kathleen Wilson
  • “First best friends, now soul mates” – Angie Johnson
  • “Forever safe in your loving arms” – Angie Johnson
  • “Eighteen years of pure, true love” – Angie Johnson
  • “Lost love found, and begun anew” – Laurie Stoltz Kloth
  • “You are today, yesterday and tomorrow” – Steven Kruse
  • “Farmer plus city girl equals love” – Rachel Cornelius
  • “From locking eyes to sharing lives” Kelli Surendonk
  • “You’re my provider, protector, lover forever!” – Kelli Surendonk
  • “Two souls intertwined, yours and mine” – Kelli Surendonk
  • “My husband, he is my everything” – Anne (no last name given)
  • “Books, so you are never alone” – Anne (no last name given)
  • “Love is patience, understanding and humor” – Anne (no last name given)
  • “Open hand, surprise smile, sharing all” – Paul Hasman
  • “Forgiven tears, open window, eyes kiss” – Paul Hasman
  • “For all the times we never…” – Ryan Scherer
  • “Fifty-seven years and still holding hands!” – Lynn Lensmire
  • “Love is laughing and crying together” – Lynn Lensmire
  • “Putting the one you love, first” – Lynn Lensmire
  • “I’d marry you again, you know” – Michelle de Leon
  • “Neither borders nor language divided us” – Michelle de Leon
  • “Made for each other, love God” – Michelle de Leon
  • “Childhood love reconnected after thirty years” – Darlene Cusick
  • “Shy boy looking at pretty girl” – Darlene Cusick
  • “Love’s calibration: perilous for mere humans” – Mary Hogue
  • “Your splendid effulgence blinds me forever!” – Dorothy Bain
  • “Love defies death and astounds me” – Dorothy Bain
  • “I want something, anything, with you” – Dorothy Bain
  • “I am faithfully, lovingly his forever” – Betty L. Dotseth
  • “I love you – for all time” – Dave Anderson
  • “My love, my hero, my wife” – Dave Anderson
  • “Love at first sight, my wife” – Dave Anderson
  • “Valentine baby, selfless decision, family created” – Molly Novitzke
  • “My honey makes my heart throb” – Jeanette Tesch
  • “My husband’s true love is unspeakable” – Jeanette Tesch
  • “I can’t live without your” – Jeanette Tesch
  • “My heart is empty without you” – Terrance Tesch
  • “Married 45 years, the romantic adventure” – Terrance Tesch
  • “Wife who’s always there for me” – Terrance Tesch
  • “A feverish excitement to embrace forever!” Renee Stokka
  • “Losing her heart to him forever!” – Renee Stokka
  • “Far in distance, close in heart” – Renee Stokka
  • “You have always been my sunshine” – Marie Swita
  • “Love starts with a beautiful smile!” – Stan Szymanski
  • “Twenty years difference – still in love!” – Lynette Pupp

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FEBRUARY 3, 2015
Download e-Books? Please Take a Short Survey
Do you download e-books or digital audiobooks? If so, please consider taking a short survey from the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) about the digital collections.

The WPLC was formed in 2001, and its main service is the Wisconsin Digital Library. This digital catalog is utilized by Marathon County Public Library and other Wisconsin public libraries to offer e-books and digital audio books to patrons.

This short survey will help WPLC develop its digital collections so it is as relevant as possible to library patrons.

Access the survey here.

Curious about borrowing e-books or any other digital materials from the library? Visit our Wisconsin Digital Library page for information on borrowing materials, frequently asked questions, and more.


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Categories: OverDrivee-bookstechnology


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