All Staff Picks


  • All of the books on this list are currently scheduled to be released as movies in 2017.
    Some of the movie release dates (
    in parentheses) may change or may not make it to theaters around here. Click on the title for more information about the book; Click on the date (or "TBA") for more information about the film!

  • Enjoy these biographies of well-known and not so well known people from the founding of our country.

  • 2016 marks the centennial celebration of America’s National Parks.  Don’t wait another 100 years. Read about and visit your National Parks this year.

  • Celebrate the culture and contributions of black Americans of African, Latin, and Middle Eastern heritage with these recently published books.

  • This list includes titles we've featured in past Books Plus group discussions. 

  • Can you tell a book by its title? Here's a list of zaney, off beat, eclectic, quirky books you may enjoy.

  • June is Adopt a Cat month! Check out one of these non-fiction books about how cats can make a difference in our lives and how we can make a difference in theirs.

  • Celebrate Black History Month by checking out one of these recently published books about African Americans.

  • Celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial year by reading and rereading some outstanding Hoosier author’s works. Between 1900 – 1941, Indiana authors were second only to New York for being on the New York Times Best Seller List. The following list will take you from the early 20th century to our current year, 2016.

  • May is National Older Americans Month. More than ever, seniors are involved in their communities, engaged in new experiences—and simply redefining what growing older means.

  • Ever dream of writing a story, graphic novel, biography or memoir? As literary prize-winner E.L. Doctorow said, "Writing is an exploraton. You start from nothing and learn as you go." It's time to begin exploring those inner and outer worlds that only you can describe. Writing, as many authors agree, is like living twice. Start your second life now.

  • The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.
    —Ralph Waldo Emerson

    ...And the story of the movement to save those forests is available to you through the Library's collection.

  • The local food movement—exemplified by our own Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market—has sprouted across the country in recent years. Take full advantage of the largest farmers’ market in Southern Indiana through the tips in these books.

  • Enjoy the music of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald through these CDs in the Library's collection.

    And for even more, don't forget about free access to our online music services!

  • If you're tired of whipping up the same old dishes in the kitchen try one of these unique cookbooks for inspiration. From Thug Kitchen to Dr. Who to literary cuisine there's something to motivate everyone to start a new culinary adventure.

  • We all have them. Sometimes we praise them, sometimes we rail against a relative or two, but families have made us what we are, who we've become. These novels and nonfiction books explore domestic life in all its joys, sorrows, perplexities, and anger. For what would our lives be like without this network of people so like and unlike us, who share our memories?

    “In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past, a bridge to our future.”  --Alex Haley

  • Planning a May 4th Star Wars party—or getting your geek on for a Game of Thrones screening with friends? Whatever you nerd out about, there's a cookbook to add some flair (and food) to your next gathering.

  • The following titles are sure to culitivate lively book group discussions. They have been recommended for book clubs by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Novelist and the librarians at the Monroe County Public Library. All titles are available at MCPL and some are available as "It’s In the Bag" book club kits.

  • Libraries support all different kinds of literacy, including financial literacy, the crucial ability to make informed decisions about your money. You can find a wide range of practical resources at the Library to help you become more literate in personal finance.

  • Summer is a great time to take your favorite companions on a road trip.  Book lovers take some companions to the beach. The best companions don't need a beach at all. Here's to summer and good friends.

  • Sometimes listening to a book read by the author is even better than reading the book yourself. So choose one of these audiobooks,  sit back and let the authors read to you.

  • Many of our myths and stories center on forests. Early people from the Arctic to the tropics celebrated forests and honored the “tree of life” which they believed linked Earth to heaven and the underworld.

    What would life be like without the majesty and wonder of forests? Without trees, we would have no oxygen to breathe, nor soil in which to grow crops.

    In each of the following books, as in nature, forests play a vital role.

  • Want to start a book club? Looking for new titles for your existing club? The Monroe County Public Library has a unique collection to support local book clubs. "It's in the Bag" allows a patron with a library card in good standing to borrow one bag for a 6-week period.

  • Enjoy the music of jazz legend John Coltrane through these CDs in the Library's collection.

    And for even more, don't forget about free access to our online music services!

  • In honor of Labor Day we’ve compiled this list exploring the American labor movement that celebrates the contributions of workers throughout our history.

  • Limestone stories are built into the foundation of our community.  Read or watch a few to find out how limestone has shaped Bloomington, Indiana, and beyond.

  • lefty-circle-800.png

    In a right-handed world, those of us who aren't have to look a little harder to find books that represent our experience. So, in celebration of Left Handers Day (August 13), here are some options for veering to the left in your reading choices.

    Here's some of our great, left-handed library staff!

  • Enjoy the music of jazz legend Louis Armstrong through these CDs in the Library's collection.

    And for even more, don't forget about free access to our online music services!

  • Reading books like these can be one way to remember those who lost their lives during military service. From the American Revolution to more modern conflicts, a wide range of people effected by war are represented here.
  • National Dog Day on August 26 celebrates all dogs, mixed breed and purebreds, and the Library has plenty to offer dog lovers.

  • Aside from what we were taught in elementary school, how many of us have a really in depth understanding of Native American history? This list of carefully chosen titles offers well documented, fascinating accounts of America’s indigenous peoples, going as far back as before Columbus.

  • Pets are a wonderful thing to have, but there’s more to it than slapping down a bowl of food and expecting them to be lovable. Pets have needs too, and learning how to care for your pet in a manner that benefits you both is half the fun.

  • Books filled with lists, facts, figures, and general information that may or may not be considered "trivial."

  • When the air gets chilly and leaves fall from the trees it’s the perfect time to pick up a scary book. If you’re in the mood for a fright, try one of these recently published horror novels. Choose from tales of the paranormal, a new twist on vampires, exorcism combined with reality television and a variety of other horrors to enthrall you and keep you up at night.

  • Romance grande dame, Jo Beverley, was born in 1947 and died in 2016. Jo was born and educated in England, she married and spent most of her adult life in Canada, but upon retirement, she and her husband returned home to Great Britain. Jo published her first book in 1988, “Lord Wraybourne’s Proposal” and her final book, “Merely a Marriage” will be released in May 2017. Her historical romances, forty titles in all, won five RITA awards from the Romance Writers of America.

  • For some of us the best part of Thanksgiving and the holidays is not the food or visiting with the old man but a chance for merrymaking with brothers and sisters. This list might remind you of why you miss your siblings and the way they annoy you, defend you, knock you down a peg or two (right when you need it), hold your secrets, lend you money - and how they are the only ones who speak your language.

  • We admit it—being around so many great books at work each day is a dream made real. Enjoy this year’s list of our most recent favorites.

  • Learn more about creating an environmentally friendly household with these items in the Library's collection.

  • This list includes titles that received rave reviews from participants in our adult summer reading program. Our readers found all kinds of treasures to enjoy this summer from thrillers to manga to westerns to non-fiction.

  • Whether you're looking to simplify your life by living with less stuff, build a sustainable home, eat a sustainable diet or create with sustainable materials there's something for everyone on this list. Sustainability- the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance- can improve your life, while improving the lives of everyone by responsibly using the resources needed to live our lives. Pick an area of your life and get your green on!

  • Spice up your Thanksgiving with one of these intriguing thrillers or mysteries set on or near Thanksgiving. Whether you like a cozy mystery or prefer an edge of your seat thriller there's something for everyone to enjoy during the Thanksgiving holiday. 

  • Science tells us that when it comes to food, if it looks good, it'll taste even better. Our brains, in fact, use all of our senses to decide what's appealing to eat—by the way it looks, feels, smells, and, of course, tastes.

    But our love of good things to eat extends beyond our physiological needs. Artists paint, sculpt and photograph beautiful displays of food for our enjoyment—and many chefs create dishes that are truly works of art. 

  • It’s officially backyard garden and Farmers' Market season! If you’re looking for some fresh new recipes to liven up your cooking repertoire, check out one of these vegan cookbooks. Vegan cooking is entirely plant based, using no eggs, dairy, or other animal products.

    From healthy whole foods dishes to downright comfort food, there’s a little something for everyone on this list. Bon appetit!

  • For my part, writes Robert Louis Stevenson in Travels with a Donkey, "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."  Sounds like wanderlust to me  and these books will put an itch in your feet and make you want to pack up and board a

  • America celebrates National Ice Cream Day each third Sunday of July, first declared in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. He also called for “appropriate ceremonies and activities”—we think the Library is a great place to start.

  • Bloomington's B-Line Trail and bicycle-only traffic lanes make a trip to the Library fun and easy on two wheels. Our shelves—real and virtual—are full of practical and inspiring information on cycling. Try these titles:

  • Here's a selection of Wild Things by and about Maurice Sendak available through the Library. For a more complete list, please see the Sendak-related items in the Library catalog.

  • Women's Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920, granting women the right to vote. Ninety-seven years later we celebrate this right—and call attention to the continued efforts to strengthen women's rights and increase equality in America and around the world, by suffragists and feminists like these.
  • You don’t need much to practice yoga–just a mat, maybe a strap and a couple of yoga blocks, and some yoga books and DVDs from the Library to guide you.

    Here’s a sampling in celebration of International Yoga Day June 21. Namaste!


  • Some of our favorite stories about sports for school-age children.

  • Some of our favorite fantasy stories for school-age children.

  • Stories and informational books to help children understand adoption.

  • Some of our favorite stories about animals for school-age children.

  • Anxiety and depression can take many forms and have many causes. As children learn to navigate the world and deal with these problems, reading about another person’s experience can be incredibly empowering, and reassure children that they are not alone. 

  • Audiobooks make family trips more exciting and more memorable. Take one of these titles with you on vacation this summer.

  • It's no fun being sick, but these books are good company, helping to keep children entertained - and informed - while they're recovering, or any time!

  • Books about visiting the library, learning to read, and loving books.

  • Stories and informational books to help children understand divorce.

  • Recommended books for babies (0-23 months)

  • Recommended reading for preschoolers (4-5 years)

  • Recommended reading for toddlers (2-3 years)

  • Most of the following books address a child's feelings about a new baby joining the family.

  • Picture books about building, designing and creating with science and math skills.

  • It's what holds families and friends together during tough times—caring for a family member, friend, or pet helps us grow.

  • An introduction to one of the defining issues of our time, with a focus on the involvement of young people in the Civil Rights Movement.

  • Some things are so basic and simple, we can easily know whether they’re right or wrong.

  • I help you a little, you help me a little—we’ll all get a lot more done.

  • Doing the right thing even when you fear the outcome.

  • The first step towards understanding and creativity.

  • Books for young fans of dinosaurs, including picture books, drawing and other activity books. To find informational books about dinosuars, look on the nonfiction shelves at call number 567.9.

  • Stories about dragons and some nonfiction, too, for school-age children.

  • This list of eBooks for Kids features award-winning titles, as well as titles that appear on our Too-Good-to-Miss Booklists compiled by Children’s Services Staff. Read more about how our eBooks work

  • With effort comes sense of purpose and pride of accomplishment.

  • Picture books that answer questions about death and help ease the grief of young children.

  • Things change and we can’t always anticipate how. That’s when a little flexibility comes in handy—adapting to and making the best of the situation.

  • Friends share your interests, values, goals, and are just plain fun to be around.

  • Chapter book stories for children about pioneers of the American frontier.

  • Great stories and informational books all about gardens and gardening for little gardeners.

  • Titles on this list are found in the Juvenile Graphic Novel Collection.

  • Fun fiction and nonfiction books for kids about bugs, body parts and other gross stuff.

  • Some of our favorite adventure stories for school-age children.

  • Some of our favorite historical fiction for school-age children.

  • You can count on a person with a reputation for telling the truth. With others, you are just guessing.

  • ...Who doesn't, right? For similar hilarious reads, look no further! These Captain Underpants read-a-likes that will tickle the funny bones of his biggest fans.

  • Try these other early reader books about friendship. Although a little longer than the popular Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems, Frog and Toad stories by Arnold Lobel also feature short sentences and vocabulary for children beginning to read independently.

  • You may enjoy some of these other humorous stories about kids in school, many of which are told in a diary format.

  • You may enjoy some of these other fantasy and magical tales for kids.

  • If you like Junie B. Jones, you may enjoy these other humorous stories that are part of a series.

  • Many writers have lived in the Hoosier state and if there is any one thing that they have in common, it's drawing inspiration from their friends and neighbors.

  • Taking control over a situation, instead of the situation controlling you.

  • Don't say one thing and do another.

  • Some of our favorite mystery stories for school-age children.

  • The feeling that life cannot get better than it is at this moment.

  • Some of our favorite funny stories for school-age children.

  • Books to inspire creativity with LEGOs.

  • These LGBT-positive picture books are appropriate for young children, but their message of being true to oneself is meaningful for readers of all ages!

  • In May, Children's Mental Health Awareness Week promotes positive youth development, resiliency, and recovery, along with the transformation of mental health service delivery for youth, adolescents, and their families.

  • A booklist for all ages about the many different people that make up a community.

  • Boo! Do you like to be scared, but just a little bit? These semi-scary stories are for younger children, mostly in picture book format.

  • Planning takes time and effort, but is more efficient and enduring.

  • Letting the moment develop fully before acting.

  • Seeing your goal to the end, never giving up even when the way gets difficult.

  • Who did it? Where is it? Can you figure it out? These picture book mysteries can help young children make predictions about what might happen next and talk about how the mystery was solved.

  • April is National Poetry Month—what better time to dive into rhythmic writing?

    Younger and older kids enjoy the diverse range of authors, topics, and styles of poetry reflected in these books, read alone or together.

  • These books are examples of chains and circular stories.

  • These books are examples of cumulative stories.

  • These books are examples of stories that make use of familiar sequences, such as days of the weeks, months of the year, and sequences of numbers.

  • These books are examples of pattern stories.

  • These books are examples of question and answer stories.

  • These books are examples of stories that build upon the repetition of a phrase.

  • These books are examples of stories that incorporate rhyme.

  • These books are examples of illustrated versions of children's songs.

  • Feeling good about yourself and what you've accomplished.

  • Books for young admirers of princesses. Folklore titles include collections of princess stories, and stories with especially attractive illustrations.

  • The more knowledge you bring to a problem, the more likely you are to solve it.

  • Some of our favorite stories about kids in real-life situations, recommended for school-age children.

  • Being able to cope with difficulties creatively and spontaneously.

  • Showing consideration. Respect for others goes hand in hand with respect for yourself—you can't have one without the other.

  • Getting the job done when others depend on you.

  • Some of our favorite scary stories for school-age children.

  • Some of our favorite science fiction stories for school-age children.

  • Staying cool, calm, and collected when you want to scream, rage, and holler!

  • Laughter is the best medicine.

  • Stories and informational books to help ease any fears a child may have about starting school and to help everyone look forward to this special day.

  • Staff recommendations for children at a first grade reading level.

  • Staff recommendations for children at a second grade reading level.

  • Staff recommendations for children at a third grade reading level.

  • Staff recommendations for children at a fourth grade reading level.

  • Staff recommendations for children at a fifth grade reading level.

  • Staff recommendations for children at a sixth grade reading level.

  • Staff recommendations for children at a kindergarten reading level.

  • When people know they can depend on you to do what you say you'll do, to be where you say you'll be, and that you'll always try to do the right thing.


  • Dystopia: An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

    Have you already read all three Hunger Games books and seen all the movies? We've got the cure for your dystopian blues.

  • When feelings of intense fear and distress are overwhelming and prevent us from doing everyday things, an anxiety disorder may be the cause. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. An estimated 40 million adults in the U.S., or 18%, have an anxiety disorder.

  • The start of school is right around the corner. Try one of these books to get yourself in the school mood. Set in boarding schools, magical schools, and regular high schools - these stories are guaranteed to make you feel slightly more studious.

  • What is life like for a soldier coming home, after he or she has been exposed to the indescribable horrors of war? And what is it like for the family and friends of the soldier, so happy to have their loved one back, but often sensing the soldier is not exactly as he or she was before leaving? Here are some novels that explore the lasting impact of war and the struggle to "get back to normal."

    Compiled by Emily S.

  • Dragons aren't just fire breathing, treasure hoarding lizards. In these stories they are half human, shape shifters, and comic relief. Try one of these books and discover a new side of a legendary creature.

  • 8-Hour Comic Book Day is fast approaching on July 7. If you want to up your drawing skills before the big day (or even after), check out some of these titles. There's everything here from classic comic drawing techniques to kawaii manga guides (if you can stand the cuteness). For a start-to-finish series of online lessons, check out the class Design a Comic Book, free to access using your library card.

  • Tales of the fey and re-tellings of classic fairy tales for readers who need a happily ever after or who always wondered what would have happened if Cinderella was a cyborg.

  • Graphic Novels feature some of the best storytelling you'll find anywhere! We bet you can't read just one!

  • Looking for some great books to read this summer? Check out one of these, you won't regret it. Make sure to sign up for the Teen Summer Reading Program while you're at it.

  • Gangsters, kidnappers, and stone-cold killers. We've always been fascinated by crime and those who commit the foul deeds (and those who catch them). These true crime titles explore criminals and cases famous and obscure, and just action-packed enough for teen readers.

  • Books featuring teens who identify as LGBTQIA. These stories present a variety of lives lived in a variety of different ways. Pick one up to experience someone else's struggles or to find comfort in your own.

  • Any time is a great time to read a scary story! Pick up one of these and be prepared to be freaked out.

  • April is National Poetry month. Celebrate by checking out some of these titles with teen appeal - from nature to science fiction, love to death, and free verse to haiku, you're bound to find something to inspire.

    List compiled by Dory L. and Chris H.

  • There are tons of movies that have come out or are coming out based on YA novels. Get a jump on the lines and read the book before you see the movie. It's always better anyway.

  • These recent Young Adult books center on music, from jazz to rock to hip hop and beyond.

  • These books feature many different relationships from the good to the bad. They are realistic portrayals of things that are happening to teens in Bloomington and all over the country. Pick one up to learn, to grow, or to find comfort that you are not alone.

  • People have been scaring themselves silly with creepy stories for a long, long time. Some horror classics simply refuse to die, and are reanimated again and again in modern retellings. As Halloween approaches, check out a new take on an old tale.

    List compiled by Emily S.

  • Want to lose yourself in a romantic story about love between a human and a vampire/werewolf/angel/zombie (seriously, zombie) or are you just looking for a realistic tale of meet cutes and true love? Try one of these with a side of hot chocolate for the perfect romantic night in.

  • Ready, set, go! Start reading the nominees for the Eliot Rosewater Book Award and vote for your favorite. You just might choose the winner!

  • Maybe you'd like to create a sensational graphic novel. Or craft scripts for TV and film. Or write the next "Great American Novel." Or turn your own life story into a riveting memoir. No matter what your preferred format and focus, writing is undoubtedly hard work. Here are some books filled with both expert tips of the trade and fun and thoughtful writing prompts to help jumpstart your writer's mind. Now get writing!

    Compiled by Emily S.

  • The wait between Star Wars movies is just too long for true fanatics! A good read can help you "Force" yourself to hang in there. Enjoy these stories featuring familiar Star Wars characters—and other tales of galaxies far, far away.

  • Books that honor the contributions of the world's indigenous peoples—the descendants of a given region's original inhabitants—and the cultural heritage with which they continue to identify. As a way to engage with authentic representations of the indigenous cultures of the United States, these great titles feature Native American characters and authors.


  • Need a story that jumps off the page and won't let you go? Try one of these fast paced adventures for a read it in one sitting, stay up all night experience!

  • Are you interested in reading some fiction centered around sports?  The following books all have teenage main characters playing sports and learning about life.

  • From the Young Adult Library Services Association -

    The Teens' Top Ten is a "teen choice" list, where you, the teen, nominate and choose your favorite books of the previous year! Exciting, right?! You can participate as long as you are between the ages twelve to eighteen. Reading is a great pastime so we'd love it if you participated!

    Voting will be online. The winners will be announced the week following Teen Read Week (October 9-15, 2016). So if you want to participate in this exciting event, get reading!

  • Summer is here, which means it’s time for the Summer Reading Game: Build a Better World at Your Library. Pick up your game board in the Ground Floor at the Main Library, the Ellettsville Branch, or the Bookmobile.

  • Check out one of these too good to miss titles for readers in 6-8th grade!

  • April is National Poetry Month, so here's a highlight of compulsively readable poetic gems that read like novels. Fan of poetry or not, you'll want to try a novel written in verse—a story of love, friendship, fitting in, or a tough issue, with a long-form poetic structure.

  • Whether your interests are in solving a mystery or getting into the mind of a criminal, these titles have something for you, from missing persons to murder to a touch of the supernatual.

  • A subgenre of science fiction and fantasy, steampunk novels feature worlds where history took an alternate turn in the late nineteenth century—leading to fantastic machines that use Victorian-era technology like clockwork, steam power, and gears. There are often high-tech and magical elements too, as well as unconventional characters fighting for a cause that goes against the mainstream.

  • Fiction and Non-Fiction titles about teens experiencing homelessness.

Movies & Music

  • Enjoy the music of jazz legend Duke Ellington through these CDs in the Library's collection.

    And for even more, don't forget about free access to our online music services!