Library Matters

Library Matters is a podcast by Montgomery County Public Libraries exploring the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning.
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Library Matters is a podcast of Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) in Montgomery County, MD. Each episode we explore the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning. Library Matters is hosted by Julie Dina, Outreach Associate, Lauren Martino, Children's Librarian at our Silver Spring branch, and David Payne, Branch Manager of our Davis branch and Acting Branch Manager of our Potomac branch.  

Jan 8, 2020

MCPL speaks to the MoComCon event chairs and learns what is in store for MoComCon 2020.

Dec 3, 2019

MCPL Director Anita Vassallo, talks shop with Julia and Lauren, discusses how she got to where she is today, her interactions with people throughout her career and tells her vision for the future of MCPL.

Title: #55 – Meet MCPLs newest Director, Anita Vassallo

Summary: MCPL Director Anita Vassallo, talks shop with Julia and Lauren, discusses how she got to where she is today, her interactions with people throughout her career and tells her vision for the future of MCPL.

Recording Date: November 5, 2019

Guest: Anita Vassallo, Director, MCPL

Hosts: Lauren Martino, Julie Dina

What Our Guest is Reading:

South of Board – by Pat Conroy

The Secret Commonwealth – by Phillip Pullman

Human Comedy – by William Saroyan

Murder on the OL’Bunions – By S. Dionne Moore

May 28, 2019

Summary: Librarians Christine Freeman and Amy Alapati talk about MCPL's upcoming Summer Read and Learn program, which starts June 15 and runs through August 31. This program offers children and teens fun incentives to read and learn all summer long. There will be amazing events at MCPL branches throughout the summer as well. Join us for the fun!

Recording Date: May 9, 2019

Guests: Olney Branch Manager Christine Freeman and Children's Librarian Amy Alapati

Hosts: Julie Dina and David Payne

What Our Guests Are Reading:

Christine Freeman: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray and One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman

Amy Alapati: Trace by Pat Cummings, The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell

Books Mentioned During This Episode:

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone

Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann

Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

The First Men Who Went to the Moon by Rhonda Gowler Greene

How Do Space Vehicles Work? by Buffy Silverman

Mousetronaut by Mark Kelly

Spaced Out by Stuart Gibbs

Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce

The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk

Other Items of Interest:

Social Justice Book Club for 4th-6th Grades at Olney Library

 Read the transcript

Apr 18, 2019

Summary: Vinyl Day organizer and Twinbrook Library manager Eric Carzon offers a sneak peak at the April 27, 2019 event, Just for the Record - A Vinyl Day, taking place at Silver Spring Library He also talks about the appeal of vinyl records and recent developments in the vinyl record industry. 

Recording Date: April 11, 2019

Guest: Vinyl Day planning committee member and Twinbrook Library manager Eric Carzon. 

Host: David Payne

What Our Guest Is Reading:

Adventures of an IT Leader by Richard Austin 

City on the Line by Andrew Kleine

The Daily Ukulele by Liz and Jeff Beloff 

Guest's Favorite Vinyl Albums:

Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hit Volume 2

Between the Lines


The Story of Star Wars

Items of Interest Mentioned During This Episode:

Cerphe Colwell - Former WHFS DJ and author of the book Cerphe's Up: A Musical Life with Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat, Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, CSNY, and Many More

Feast Your Ears - A documentary on the history of the DC area radio station WHFS. 

Friends of the Library, Montgomery County bookstores

Furnace Record Pressing Company

Just for the Record - A Vinyl Day - A celebration of the music, culture, art, and sound of vinyl records. Silver Spring Library, Saturday, April 27, 2019, Noon - 4 PM. 

Library of Things Music - A collection of musical instruments at Twinbrook Library that are available for eligible customers to check out. 

Popular Science article on the first new fully automated record pressing machines in over 30 years. 

Read the transcript

Mar 26, 2019

Summary: In celebration of Money Smart Week (March 30 - April 6, 2019) and National Financial Literacy Month (April), personal finance enthusiasts Angelica Rengifo and Mark Santoro talk about MCPL's books, online resources, and upcoming events related to personal finance. 

Recording Date: March 6, 2019


Angelica Rengifo is a Library Associate on the MCPL's Outreach team. Mark Santoro is a librarian on the Digital Strategies team. 

Hosts: Lauren Martino and David Payne

What Our Hosts Are Reading

Angelica Rengifo: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Mark Santoro: A People's Future of the United States, edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams

Mentioned During the Episode:


Debtor Debt Pay Off Calculator  

Mint - A personal finance app for budgeting, investment tracking, and more. 

Books & Authors

Beating the Paycheck to Paycheck Blues by John Ventura - This book's a bit old, from 1996, which is probably why MCPL doesn't own it anymore. 

Every Landlord's Guide to Managing Property by Michael Boyer

Dave Ramsey

100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask by Ilyce R. Glink

Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson

The Spender's Guide to Debt-Free Living by Anna Newell Jones

MCPL Online Resources

Gale Courses 

Kiplinger's Personal Finance 

Morningstar Investment Research Center 

Safari Books Online

Standard and Poor's NetAdvantage

Value Line


Decluttering episode of Library Matters 

Money for the Rest of Us - Personal finance podcast David Stein  

This American Life - A weekly public radio program and podcast


Haskell Free Library & Opera House - The library on the US/Canadian border, located in Vermont and Quebec. 


Read the transcript

Feb 19, 2019

Summary: February is Library Lovers Month, a time to celebrate all libraries do. Hosts Julie Dina and David Payne talk about some of the ways MCPL helps bring County residents together and helps them learn and grow. They also talk about their experiences with libraries in their countries of birth, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Recording Date: February 6, 2019

Hosts: Julie Dina and David Payne

What Our Hosts Are Reading

Julie Dina: Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

David Payne: The Fox by Frederick Forsyth

MCPL Resources Mentioned During this Episode:

1000 Books Before Kindergarten: Combine reading and educational activities to reach 1000 books to a child before kindergarten.

Book Discussion Groups: Discuss works of literary fiction, mysteries, African American literature, and more at one of MCPL's many book discussion groups. 

Business and Career: MCPL offers many online resources and programs to help you start a business, find a job, or advance your career

Education and Test Prep: Learn a new skill through or prepare for a test like the SAT or GRE with these free online learning resources. 

Go!Kits: A Go!Kit is a backpack loaded with a tablet, books, toys, and recommended all centered around a particular theme, such as geology, machines, or the weather. There are Little Explorer Go!Kits for kids ages 3 to 6 and Young Voyager Go!Kits for kids ages 7-12.

Knitting and Crochet Groups: Learn to knit or crochet, or share your skills with others at an MCPL branch near you.  

Internet to Go: Aspen Hill, Gaithersburg, Maggie Nightingale, and Marilyn Praisner have laptops with wireless hotspots that can circulate outside the branch.

Loanable Laptops: Laptops are available to be be borrowed for in-branch use at all branches except Noyes. 

Movies: Enjoy free movies through our streaming services such as AcornTV and Kanopy. 

Music: Enjoy free music downloads and streaming through Freegal, American Song, and more. 

Outreach: Invite a member of our Outreach team to share the news about MCPL services and resources at your upcoming community or school event. 

Other Items of Interest Mentioned During this Episode:

National Library of Nigeria

Read the transcript

Jan 30, 2019

Summary: Collection Management Library Associate Dianne Betsey and Silver Spring Librarian Christian Wilson talk about the history, development, and current state of African American literature. 

Recording Date: January 9, 2019

Guests: Dianne Betsey, a Library Associate in our Collection Management Department and leader of the Rockville Memorial Library African American book discussion group. Christian Wilson, Children's Librarian at Silver Spring Library.

Hosts: Lauren Martino

What Our Guests Are Reading

Dianne Betsey: Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Christian Wilson: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Books and Other Media Mentioned During the Episode:

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

Cane River by Lalita Tademy

By Gaslight by Steven Price

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

Darktown by Thomas Mullen

Douglass' Women by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

My Mother as I Recall Her by Rosetta Douglass Sprague

Native Son by Richard Wright

Passing by Nella Larsen

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain

Push by Sapphire, the movie Precious is based on this book

Quicksand by Nella Larsen

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Ron's Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan, and its sequel Getting to Happy

Authors Mentioned During this Episode:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Edwidge Danticat

Ezra Jack Keats

Iceberg Slim

Nikki Giovanni

Sister Souljah

Omar Tyree

Alice Walker 

Other Items of Interest:

Rockville Memorial Library African American Book Discussion Group

Other African American books discussion groups at MCPL

Read the transcript

Jan 17, 2019

Summary: Decluttering enthusiasts and MCPL staff members Fred Akuffo and Angelica Rengifo talk about the decluttering movement and how libraries can help declutter your life in the new year. 

Recording Date: January 9, 2019 


Fred Akuffo: Library Assistant Supervisor at Aspen Hill Library

Angelica Rengifo: Community Outreach Associate for MCPL

Hosts: Julie Dina and Lauren Martino

What Our Guests Are Reading

Fred Akuffo: Creature from Jekyll Island by G Edward Griffin and Federal Mafia by Irwin Schiff

Angelica Rengifo: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Books and Other Resources Mentioned During the Episode:

Don't Forget the Bacon by Pat Hutchins

8 Minute Organizer: Easy Solutions to Simplify Your Life in Your Spare Time by Regina Leeds

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

Getting Things Done by David Allen 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book is the inspiration for the graphic novel The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up and the Netflix show Tidying Up, with Marie Kondo

The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker

The Minimalists: A website advocating simpler lifestyle with less stuff. 

Pick Up Limes: A Youtube channel and website by a Canadian foodie advocating a simple life and a plant-based diet. 

Read the transcript

Jan 8, 2019

Summary: Librarians Dana Alsup and Beth Chandler talk about MCPL's upcoming comic con, MoComCon. MoComcon will take place January 19 at Silver Spring Library. The con will offer events for all ages, including workshops, escape rooms, crafts, cosplay and more, all for free! 

Recording Date: December 19, 2018


Dana Alsup, librarian at Marilyn Praisner Library and chair of the MoComCon committee. 

Beth Chandler, librarian at MCPL's Collection Management office and member of the MoComCon committee.

Host: David Payne

What Our Guests Are Reading:

Dana Alsup: Crazy Love: An Autobiographical Account of Marriage and Madness by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Beth Chandler: Upgrade Soul: A Graphic Novel by Ezra Claytan Daniels.

Books, Authors, and Other Resources Mentioned During the Episode

Doctor Who

Don Sakers: Science fiction writer and reviewer who will be offering a writing workshop at MoComCon 2019. 

501st Legion: A prominent Star Wars costuming group. The local Old Line Garrison chapter of the 501st will make an appearance at the con. 

Haikyu!! by Haruichi Furudate

Hetalia by Hidekaz Himaruya

Game of Rooms: An escape room firm that will run one of the two escape rooms at the con. 

MoComCon 2018 Pictures

MoComCon 2017 Pictures

My Neighbor Totoro by Hayao Miyazaki

Naruto by Masahi Kishimoto

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki

Occulus Rift Virtual Reality Headset

One-Punch Man by One

Visionary Comics: A local comic studio and publisher. Visionary Comics will offer a session on publishing in the comic industry during MoComCon 2019.  

Washington Metropolitan Gamer Symphony Orchestra: Enjoy the music of video games played by this local orchestra at the con! 

 Read the transcript

Jan 2, 2019

Summary: MCPL staff member Elizabeth Lang and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) representative Nicole Lucas talk about the resources MCPL and NAMI offer to maintain your mental and physical wellness. The NAMI helpline is 1 800 273-8255.

Recording Date: December 5, 2018


Elizabeth Lang: Assistant Facilities and Accessibility Program Manager at MCPL 

Nicole Lucas, Director of Programs for the Montgomery County chapter of NAMI,

Hosts: Lauren Martino and David Payne

What Our Guests Are Reading

Elizabeth Lang: Upgrade Soul: A Graphic Novel by Ezra Clayton Daniels

Nicole Lucas: If Your Adolescent Has Depression or Bipolar Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents by Dwight L Evans and Linda Wasmer Andrews

Books, Authors and Other Resources Mentioned During this Episode:

Bone Builders: An enjoyable, evidenced-based bone building and fall prevention program. 

Robynne Chutkan: Author of Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Digestive Baggage and The Microbiome Solution: A Radical New Way to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out.

Deep End of the Pool Workouts by Melisenda Edwards and Katalin Wight

Gale Health & Wellness Resource Center: Online articles on health, medicine, and wellness from magazines, journals, and reference books. 

Health Care: Online health care resources available through MCPL's website. 

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong

Kanopy: A streaming movie service available for free to MCPL card holders.  

NAMI Family-to-Family: A free, 12-week course for family caregivers of adults with severe mental illness. 

NAMI Montgomery County: A non-profit organization dedicated to providing "support, education, advocacy, and public awareness to promote recovery and so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives." 

NAMI Peer-to-Peer: An experiential learning program for people with any serious mental illness who are interested in establishing and maintaining their wellness and recovery. 

NAMI Recommended Reading List: This is the book list NAMI representative Nicole Lucas mentioned. It lists about two dozen books for individuals and their families related to various mental illnesses. 

PreventionPrevention magazine is available online through RBdigital Magazines. 

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson

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