Video Introductions To Your Entertainment Options: Hoopla, Qello, OnePlay

Hoopla: Your Entertainment Takeout Center

Digital Library Service Puts Music, Movies, Books & More At Your Fingertips

By Bernard T. Davidow

Adult Services Librarian, Wilbraham Public Library

Wouldn't you love to hear that again? That record album you tossed years ago but never replaced?

The digital entertainment service Hoopla has old albums by the ton. Maybe you liked “5150” by Van Halen, “Disraeli Gears” by Cream or “Tumbleweed Connection” by Elton John. Hoopla, a recent addition to the library's growing list of digital resources, has them, and lots more, all in the album lineups you loved, without the vinyl skips, pops and distortion you didn't.

Music – old and new – is just one Hoopla's features. The online entertainment lending service, available through participating libraries, also has feature movies, TV shows, ebooks, audiobooks and comics, all there available for you to borrow, all for free.

There's no waiting. If the item is listed, it is available for immediate use.

Wilbraham Public Library patrons can borrow up to five items a month for a set period: three weeks for ebooks, audiobooks and comics; one week for music; three days for most movies and TV shows.

There are no late fees. When the borrowing period expires, the item simply disappears from your device.

Your active library card is your ticket in.

Signing up is easy:

  1. Go to our website,, and look under “eBooks and Media” on the toolbar. (On mobile, first click on “Show Menu” link near the top of the page.)
  2. Click on “Hoopla.”
  3. Follow the instructions there. You will need your library card number.

There's a brief video showing you all this at

Hoopla has an app for Android, iOS and new Kindle Fire mobile devices, available where you normally find apps for your device. (We have a list of compatible Kindle Fire devices at the library service desk. In general, If you can't find the Hoopla app in the Amazon store, your device is not compatible.) You can download and stream content on mobile. You can access Hoopla with Windows and MacOS too, but you cannot download materials to a desktop computer, you can only stream them.

To date, Hoopla is not directly compatible with smart TVs unless you go through certain digital media/streaming players. Hoopla has a YouTube channel with videos showing how to sync your device with your TV using Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV. The Hoopla video channel is

If you have questions, ask our adult services librarian, or go to the Hoopla site and click the “Help” link at the bottom left.

So go ahead, download that Herman's Hermits album. We won't tell anyone.


Consumer Reports: Trusted Resource When You're Looking To Buy

Get Better Access With Your Library Account

Adult Services Librarian, Wilbraham Public Library

If you have an important purchase coming up, you probably want expert
advice from a place you can trust.

Here’s one option: Spend hours thrashing around the web, scouring sites
of unknown integrity, delving ever deeper into the rabbit hole. You
might get lucky.

Or just go to Consumer Reports.

Wilbraham Public Library still has the monthly print version of the
popular magazine and its annual buying guides, but it also offers free
online access to Consumer Reports through the library website,, making it easier than ever to consult the
magazine’s reports, ratings and reviews.

The magazine gives out a limited amount of information for free online,
but to get the full reviews, ratings, side-by-side comparisons and other
information, you have to get behind the paywall. Our membership lets you
do that.

Patrons can find Consumer Reports under the Research & Learning heading
on the toolbar of the library’s desktop homepage. (On mobile, first
click on “show menu.”) Select “Consumer Reports” from the dropdown menu,
type in your Patron ID -- that is, your library card number -- and
you’re in.

The company’s reviews are the product of rigorous testing. (To learn
more about Consumer Reports’ research, visit its website here: )

Also, the magazine is run by a non-profit group. It takes no ads,
meaning there are no advertisers to offend with frank and scrupulous

“We succeed in our mission every time your family gets a little bit
safer, your finances get more secure, new technologies get more
trustworthy, and the future gets that much brighter,” Consumer Reports
says on its website. “Together we are creating a fairer, safer, and
healthier world.”

International Cuisine At Your Fingertips

You've Got Recipes From 174 Nations With AtoZ World Food

AtoZ World Food PageBy BERNARD T. DAVIDOW, Adult Services Librarian
Starting this year, your Wilbraham Public Library card is also your free pass to a premium international-foods website with thousands of recipes from 174 countries.

The culinary website, called AtoZ World Food, a product of World Trade Press, is the latest in a smorgasbord of free online resources available at


AtoZ has individual pages for each country, Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. From a world map on the homepage, pick the country you want and get a page devoted to that nation’s cuisine.


Foods are grouped by category: appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, beverages, sometimes a holiday favorite. In a large number of instances, click on the name of the dish and the recipe appears.


You can also find a recipe by searching by specific dish rather than by country. You like borscht? They’ve got borscht. Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine each has its own version of the beet-based soup, and then there’s Shchavel Borscht, also called “green borscht” or sorrel soup, from Belarus.


Maybe you don’t like borscht. For you, the proof might be in the pudding. A search yields fish pudding, plum pudding, malva pudding (Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland varieties), crayfish pudding, yorkshire pudding, mung bean pudding, wheat berry pudding, rice puddings and more.


Save your favorite meals in a section called “My Recipes.”

AtoZ has a handy calculator for measurement conversions right on its site. In addition, there are sections devoted to ingredients, glossaries, historical timelines, “food inventions” and even one for notable food quotations. I liked this one, from humorist and journalist Calvin Trillin, under “humor” quotes: “The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”


Home cooks should find AtoZ World Food a useful resource. The publisher suggests that students writing school reports on specific countries could find it useful too, as could international food clubs.


On the desktop library website, AtoZ is listed among our “Research & Learning” databases. You can also get there from this link. So log on, sign in with your library card, and explore the planet for something wonderfully exotic to eat.


Bon appétit!

Your Portal to Photos, Maps of Old Wilbraham

By Mary Bell, Assistant Library Director

If you love history, you definitely want to check out the Digital Commonwealth at

Decorated automobile as parade floatThe Digital Commonwealth hosts digitized photographs, postcards, letters, documents, maps and sound recordings from over 130 cultural institutions in Massachusetts. They even have links to lesson plans that feature collections of Digital Commonwealth members, from “Civil War Letters” to “Teaching with Historic Maps.”

We have utilized digitization services through the Boston Public Library to make photographic collections and a maps collection available to anyone with access to a computer.

You can go directly to all our collections at We have a few hundred digitized photos from the mid-1800s to the 1920s that include people and places throughout Wilbraham, and some in Hampden and Springfield.

Are you researching your family history? We have photographs of Bennetts, Days, Mowrys, Seavers and more. Our Glendale Collection includes several families that lived in the vicinity of Monson and Glendale Road. Find out what Wilbraham agriculture looked like at the turn of the 20th Century, where people in that area went to church, and how the community came together to send off one of their own when he was drafted in 1917.

One of the oldest photographs in our collections is a fascinating example, at left: Allyn Delos Seaver and his brother-in-law Cassius Benedict, taken c. 1866-1872. While the original is quite small (about 4 inches by 2 inches) the digital copy allows you to zoom in and inspect details such as their mode of dress, the patterned floor they stand on, and even their facial hair.

The maps collection is our newest addition to Digital Commonwealth. Currently comprising 21 maps, the collection has everything from past zoning maps to a colorized map of Hampden & Hampshire counties that includes the four towns unincorporated to make way for Quabbin Reservoir.

We'd love to hear about what you discover in our online collections. Let us know if you need a hand to get started!

Resources for Book Groups

With fall comes our library book groups' selections for the following year. Whether your book group is ready to pick new books or you're thinking it might be fun to get some friends together, here are some resources for book groups you may enjoy:
  • LitLovers - A one-stop shop for all things book club, including how to get started, book reviews, reading guides - even recipes. This is a great resource for book discussion questions, including ones for generic fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, and more that may not come with a discussion guide. Best of all, it's totally free!
  • BookBrowse - Another great source of reading guides and discussion questions. Some content is free, and others is only for members (fee-based).
  • Publisher's websites - If you're looking for discussion questions, make sure to check out the author's or publisher's website. They're often a great resource for behind-the-scenes info about the book, and may have discussion questions, interviews with the author, and more.
  • Reading Group Choices - This annual publication is a go-to resource for great book group titles, giving a short description, readalikes, and discussion questions to help you decide what to read next. The Wilbraham Public Library has 2015-2017 available, but you can request previous years from other libraries.
Also, feel free to check out one of the library's book clubs! We offer three for adults: Booked for Lunch on the first Tuesday of the month at 12 noon, the Classics Book Club on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. and an Evening Book Discussion the third Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. Newcomers are always welcome. Ask us what we're reading this month!

Protect Yourself From Lyme Disease

'Tis the season for ticks and tick-borne diseases. Check out these books to educate and protect yourself against Lyme:

Lyme Disease by Alan G. Barbour, MDAn expert on tick-borne diseases, Alan G. Barbour explains the course of illness that results from infection, diagnosis and treatment options, and steps that can be taken to avoid a tick bite in the first place. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease may also transmit other disease-causing pathogens, and these other infections are considered as well.

Out of the Woods by Katina I. Makris This memoir 
recounts the author's battle with Lyme disease, including the initial misdiagnoses, the disease's toll on her family and career, and how she found spiritual, emotional, and physical enlightenment, along with an overview of the disease.

Cure Unknown by Pamela WeintraubA provocative and awareness-raising investigation into the science, history, and politics of Lyme disease as observed by a journalist whose entire family contracted the illness traces its significant rise and the atypical presentations that have made its diagnosis and treatment difficult.

Finally, the Nahant Public Library, in collaboration with Margot Malachowski, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the National Library of Medicine, and University of Massachusetts Medical School, have compiled a fantastic binder Stop Lyme: 

information for tick-borne disease prevention, identification and patient care that includes handouts, fact sheets and more. They have been distributed to multiple libraries in the state; ours is circulating.

All of these books are located on the Mezzanine with the call number HEALTH DISEASES LYME. Please ask a librarian if you need any assistance.

Beyond Walden - Celebrating Thoreau's Bicentennial

July 12, 201Walden book cover7 is the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau's birth and the Wilbraham Public Library is joining with the Palmer Public Library and Monson Free Library to participate in a Statewide Read celebrating his life and works. We have multiple copies of Walden and Walking available for our group reads. A book discussion on Walden will be held Monday, June 12 at 7:00 p.m. and on Walking on Saturday, July 22 at 1:00 p.m.

Though Walden is Thoreau's best known work, there are many reads by, about or inspired by Thoreau that you may enjoy checking out as well. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
  • A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers is Thoreau's first book. In it, Thoreau uses an actual 1839 trip with his brother in Massachusetts and New Hampshire as a springboard for ruminations on the self, nature, and more. He worked on his first draft while living at Walden Pond.
  • Faith in a Seed collects Thoreau's later writings on nature and natural history, including an essay drawing from Darwin's theory of natural selection.
  • Thoreau's Journal, collected in two volumes, gives you a behind-the-scenes look as he develops his thoughts and essays in his daily writing process.
  • Westward I Go Free by Corinne Smith chronicles Thoreau's trip to Minnesota in 1861 with Horace Mann.
  • Thoreau and his transcendalist friends are the subject of American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever. The author explores the Alcott family, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and other prominent writers and thinkers in Concord, their beliefs and their influences on each other.
  • Our "For Nature Lovers" grab bag collects Best American Science Writing 2014, The Man Who Planted Trees by Jim Robbins, Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat, A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold and Winter World by Bernd Heinrich. 
Still can't get enough Thoreau? Check out online book lists like this one of readalikes for Walden, and let us know what your favorites are!

April is National Poetry Month

Check out our display and these suggestions for some great reads!

CeRobert Frostlebrate National Poetry Month by reading a book of poetry! Some of our librarian favorites include Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and Billy Collins. We have a display of poetry collections going on for the month of April, so check it out for a variety of current and classic poets. We also have a Poetry section near the beginning of the Fiction collection on the first floor of the library, including everything from classic poetry such as Beowulf to more modern works.

If poetry sounds like a return to school to you, check out Book Riot's list of 10 Poets for People Who Don't Think They Like Poetry. They recommend current, accessible poetry to get you started.

Don't want to invest in reading a whole book? Check out where you can sign up for a poem a day to be emailed to you, and Poetry Foundation which is the online component of POETRY magazine.

Finally, make sure to check out our monthly Poetry Discussion group. They meet on Mondays at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the work of a particular poet chosen for the month, then leave time to read poetry that participants have written, if desired. We hope to see you there!

March is Women's History Month

Check out the display at the library for a selection of titles to learn more about influencial women in history.

Documents the pioneering round-the-world journey of the woman adventurer, tracing how she disguised herself as a boy to accompany her lover, botanist Philibert Commerson, on his 18th-century voyage before her true gender was exposed. Click here to check availability.