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Celebrate 15 Years of The Walking Dead

On October 8, 2003, The Walking Dead issue #1 hit comic shops everywhere. Kicking off with small-town sheriff Rick Grimes awakening from a coma in the midst of a burgeoning undead apocalypse, it helped start a snowball effect to begin the zombie craze that is still building to this day. Now, fifteen years later, The Walking Dead is still going strong as a comic series, with issue #184 releasing recently and creator Robert Kirkman saying the end is still “far away off.” It has also spawned a highly popular television show, which just kicked off its ninth season, and a spinoff series, Fear the Walking Dead, whose fourth season ended on September 30.

To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the first issue’s release, this Saturday, October 13, has been designated as Walking Dead Day. Comic shops everywhere will be taking part with special events and giveaways, but there’s no reason why your library can’t join the fun! With hoopla, longtime Walking Dead fans can revisit favorite issues from the series, while newcomers can start from the beginning and read all the way though! Our collection of Walking Dead comics currently comprises thirty compilations, and will continue to grow as the series continues. It spans from Days Gone Bye, which collects that original first issue, all the way through New World Order, the most recent edition that goes through issue #180, published in June. It also includes the special edition Here’s Negan, exploring the charismatic villain’s backstory, as well as the Survivors’ Guide, an exploration of the series’ characters.

The Walking Dead began its life in the comic format, but it has expanded into other areas of publishing as well. In 2011, Robert Kirkman teamed up with writer Jay Bonansinga for the novel Rise of the Governor, which brought the backstory of that intriguing antagonist to life. It was followed by The Road to Woodbury and The Fall of the Governor Parts 1 and 2 to round out the story arc. From there, Bonansinga continued on with four more novels: Descent, Invasion, Search and Destroy, and Return to Woodbury. Fans of the comic series and the show won’t want to miss these stories that delve into the niches of beloved characters and settings, and the audiobooks linked above are all available on hoopla.

And there’s plenty more Walking Dead content available on hoopla as well—starting with Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the soundtrack to the show, whose musical selection really adds to the haunted atmosphere. In the eBook format, patrons who love trivia will enjoy quiz books that cover the various seasons of the show, as well as an exploration of the comic series, a collection of quick facts about the comics and the show,  and even a rumination on the philosophy expounded in the show. Needless to say, whether a patrons is a longtime fan of The Walking Dead or checking it out for the first time, hoopla is the perfect companion for Walking Dead Day!

Transition into Fall with hoopla

Although there are still technically three weeks left in the season, the Labor Day holiday in the U.S. means the unofficial end of summer is upon us. The pools may be closed and school may be back in session, but there’s still plenty to look forward to as the days grow shorter and the leaves start to change color.

Your patrons can count on hoopla for a wide range of back-to-school needs. Educational STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) titles in audiobook, eBook, television, and even music give kids numerous great ways to find help or simply explore a variety of subjects. Students can also borrow quite a bit of classic literature they may find on their required reading lists, on both eBook and audiobook. And those classics aren’t just for students, of course—they’re great reads for anyone! Along those same lines, adults interested in continuing education or looking to dive into a specific topic can find a collection of STEAM titles geared toward them on hoopla as well.

There’s plenty of other stuff going on that can be enjoyed, enhanced, or celebrated with the great content on hoopla as well. There's still time to check out our hoopla Book Club spotlight selection, Tangerine by Christine Mangan, before our fall title is selected. PBS is conducting the Great American Read in an effort to determine the best-loved novels across the country, and a number of included books are available on hoopla for those who would like to participate (and don’t forget about our selection of great PBS television titles). September is also designated as both Classical Music Month and National Yoga Month, with plenty of related content for patrons to explore. And finally, the annual Banned Books Week event will be observed September 23-29, and you can expect a curated collection of banned and challenged works available on hoopla later in the month.

We hope you and your patrons have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. And remember—although your library may be closed on Monday, patrons can borrow materials and stay connected through hoopla on all their mobile devices. There they’ll find all the content they need for their end-of-summer celebrations, as well as everything that comes next.

Alexa, Meet hoopla!

We have some exciting news to share. hoopla now supports Amazon Alexa devices!

Alexa joins hoopla’s existing lineup of popular apps for iOS and Android devices as well as popular streaming devices including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. With Alexa, patrons can play borrowed audiobooks and music albums directly on the Amazon Echo, Dot, Spot, and Show devices.

To get hoopla onto their Alexa devices, patrons must add the hoopla “skill” (this is the Alexa equivalent of installing an app from the app store). The skill can be added to Alexa by searching for hoopla Digital on the Amazon website, or by clicking here.

When interacting with hoopla, Alexa requires patrons to phrase the command like this:

“Alexa, ask hoopla…”

For example, “Alexa, ask hoopla how many borrows I have remaining.”

Requests must start with “Alexa, ask hoopla…” If not, Alexa will not know to get the information from hoopla, and will instead return results from Amazon. A complete list of commands can be found on our FAQ page.

Can’t wait to share the news with your patrons? Click here for digital assets, including graphics for social media, email foots, and a 30-second video that shows Alexa and hoopla in action!

Our Next hoopla Book Club Spotlight Selection

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday week! Even with both Canada Day and Independence Day behind us now, though, there’s still plenty of summer adventure on the horizon, and hoopla is the perfect companion!

What could be better in the summer than spending some time with a good book in the beautiful weather outside, or coming in where it’s cool to discuss it? We have everything you need for a great summer book club with the announcement of our second spotlight title: Tangerine by Christine Mangan. Available in both audiobook and eBook, this suspenseful novel tells the story of a tormented friendship set against the backdrop of Tangier in the 1950s. Our own Tara Carberry says of the novel, “…the feelings of possibility and menace [Mangan] evokes create a powerful mood that I can only describe as stylishly cinematic.” If that sounds like something that would be up your patrons’ alley, visit theclub.hoopladigital.com today for plenty of book club resources, including an author Q&A and a discussion guide. There you’ll also find a number of other suitable selections across a variety of genres if you and your patrons would prefer something a little different, or for anyone who just can’t put Tangerine down and is ready to move on to something else.

Comic-Con International in San Diego is always a big summer event for a number of pop culture properties, and it’s coming up in just a couple of weeks. In addition to big panels on such popular titles as The Walking Dead and Doctor Who, the convention will also feature the announcement of this year’s Eisner Award winners, honoring the best of the past year in comics and graphic novels. In the meantime, your comics-loving patrons can find quite a selection of nominees for the awards. There are also comic and eBook tie-ins to summer blockbusters like Deadpool 2, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ant-Man and the Wasp, The Incredibles 2, and more.

Send hoopla along with your patrons on all their summer adventures this year and keep them connected to your library 24/7. Whether it’s the perfect summer party playlist, an audiobook for a long car ride, or a couple of movies for a rainy day at the beach, there’s always something for everyone on hoopla.

Come See Us at ALA in New Orleans

The ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition is on the horizon, taking place in New Orleans June 21-26. We’ve made our travel plans, and we’re looking forward to connecting with our many library partners. So come see us! We’ll be at Booth #2852. You can get all the latest information on Midwest Tape, hoopla digital, and Dreamscape Media, including updates to our service, best practices for using hoopla to engage your patrons, and more!

We’ll have a few special guests making appearances at our booth as well. Stop by and have a book signed!

Andrea Beaty is an acclaimed children’s author with a number of books to her name. Her recent books Ada Twist, Scientist; Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Iggy Peck, Architect are all perfect for STEAM programming, and are available in both audiobook and read-along video format from Dreamscape Media. She’ll be at our booth on Friday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Shea Fontana has written for the animated children’s TV show Doc McStuffins and the movie Twinkle Toes Lights Up New York, among many others. One other project she’s been involved with is DC Super Hero Girls, and her upcoming outing is the graphic novel Search for Atlantis, featuring the Teen Titans! You’ll find her at our booth on Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Emma Wunsch made her debut in 2016 with the hit young adult novel The Movie Version. Now she’s getting ready to release The Princess and the Absolutely Not a Princess, the first in her Miranda and Maude chapter book series about two unlikely friends! Stop by to meet her at our booth on Saturday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Jonathan Auxier won two prestigious Canadian children’s literary awards for his first novel, The Night Gardner. He has published two books and won more awards since then, and his new book, Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster, will be out this fall. He will be at our booth on Saturday from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Dates and times for these author appearances are subject to change, so be sure to stop by our booth ahead of time to make sure they still hold and find out about all the other fun and informative things we have going on. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Ten Questions with Lisa Ko

We hope you and your patrons are loving hoopla’s Book Club! If you haven’t gotten in on the fun just yet, there’s still time to dive into our premiere selection, The Leavers by Lisa Ko. To whet your appetite, here’s a Q&A the author was kind enough to participate in with us.

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hoopla digital: The Leavers, your debut novel, has been published for about a year and has received prestigious awards and widespread acclaim. After working on the novel for seven years, what has the last year been like for you?

Lisa Ko: It’s been an incredible experience to have people reading The Leavers. When you work on a novel for so long, you’re doing the writing alone, obsessing over it in your head, and when you publish it, you release it out into the world to share with others. I’ve been fortunate to connect with readers online and in person, both in the U.S. and abroad.

hoopla digital: We know that the story of The Leavers was inspired by a news article you read of a woman from China who becomes ensnared in the immigration system and her son who had been adopted to a Canadian family. What was it about this particular headline that was so powerful for you?

Lisa Ko: As the child of immigrants myself, the article, and others like it, said so much to me about identity and assimilation in the U.S.; who gets to be American and shy; and the links between the prison industrial complex and the criminalization of immigrants.

hoopla digital: Can you tell us about the process of writing this book? What was your research like?

Lisa Ko: I did a large amount of reading and interviewing in my research, including traveling to China to visit Polly’s hometown. The novel began as Polly’s story—and I knew going in that I would have the characters of a mother and a son and they would be separated—but I started writing Deming’s story when I found myself wondering what it would have been like for him to be raised in his adoptive, all-white community. The book started to come together when I realized it was less about the external circumstances that impact my characters and more about their internal journeys: their search for family, home, and belonging.

hoopla digital: Can you tell us about your decision to write Polly’s story in first person, while Deming’s is written in third; does Polly create a “time capsule” for Deming?

Lisa Ko: It took me several drafts to figure out the best way to tell the story. I wrote it with two first-person narrators, two-third person narrators, past tense, present tense. But when I started writing Polly in the first person, addressing her son as “you,” something clicked. It gave her story a more intimate, testimonial quality, where Deming finds out about what happened to her at the same time that the reader does.

hoopla digital: What was the hardest scene for you to write in The Leavers?

Lisa Ko: The scene where Deming and Polly reunite, for its emotional as well as structural weight in the book.

hoopla digital: For some of your readers, I’d say your book was particularly powerful in that it connects them to a specific community that they may encounter on a surface level all the time, perhaps while at a nail salon with a nail technician like Polly, who might otherwise be underrepresented. Can you talk about the issues of responsibility and representation that you had to deal with in creating these characters and telling their stories?

Lisa Ko: Absolutely. I was conscious of the responsibility you have when you’re a writer writing about an experience that isn’t yours, and I wanted to do the work to treat these experiences with respect. For me, that meant reading and listening to the stories of immigrants and transracial Asian adoptees and researching things like nail salon working conditions and for-profit immigration prisons, and then using this research in creating characters that feel fully human.

hoopla digital: If you had to name one central impetus that drives you to write fiction, what would it be?

Lisa Ko: I want to write the books and stories that I want to read.

hoopla digital: What authors would you say influenced you in writing The Leavers? What are you reading now?

Lisa Ko: The novels of Toni Morrison, Junot Diaz, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie were influences in writing The Leavers. And I’ve been reading Sesshu Foster’s new poetry collection City of the Future.

hoopla digital: What will we be reading next from you? Anything on the horizon you can share?

Lisa Ko: I’ve been busy with book tour events, but hope to start working on some new writing soon.

hoopla digital: If you could pose one discussion question to hoopla Book Club Hub members, what would that be?

Lisa Ko: What character(s) did you identify with the most in the novel, and why?

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Find this Q&A and more Book Club resources on Lisa Ko’s The Leavers at theclub.hoopladigital.com!

Introducing the hoopla Book Club

Books clubs can be a wonderful element of a library’s programming. What’s more quintessential to a library’s image than a group of people getting together to discuss their latest read? At the same time, as more and more people want to participate, the logistics can be somewhat daunting. Buying enough copies for everyone to borrow and read at the same time can be a budgetary strain, and while those copies will circulate while the club is in session, demand will cool down when a new selection comes along.

With that in mind, we are pleased to announce the hoopla Book Club! Each quarter, our eBook and audiobook experts will be selecting a great new title to share with literature-loving library patrons. Our simultaneous use model makes hoopla the perfect tool to drive engagement, as book clubs of any size can share the latest title without patrons needing to wait for copies to come available. Each selection will be supplemented with a wealth of related materials such as a discussion guide, an author Q&A, and a list of associated titles that patrons who liked the book will want to explore. These resources can be found at our handy Book Club Hub, available at theclub.hoopladigital.com.

We’re getting started with a bang: the first Spotlight Selection for the hoopla Book Club is The Leavers by Lisa Ko. Available on hoopla in both audiobook and eBook formats, this wonderful novel won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award, among other accolades. The story of a young Chinese boy struggling to adapt to the white culture he’s adopted into when his mother seemingly abandons him, the book is “achingly beautiful” (Christian Science Monitor) and “required reading” (award-winning author Ann Patchett). This all adds up to what our own Tara Carberry calls “the perfect Spotlight Selection.” For more on why we chose this book, check out “Why We Love The Leavers,” a resource available on our Book Club Hub. And as part of our Book Club collection, patrons will also find eight other titles from a variety of genres, for those looking for more selections or whose reading tastes lie in a different direction.

If your library hasn’t yet received our summer reading materials, they should be arriving soon. As part of this mailing, you’ll find a poster you can display in your library to let patrons know about the hoopla Book Club and our first Spotlight Selection, The Leavers, along with bookmarks you can distribute. We hope your patrons love this new Book Club, and we encourage them (and you!) to interact with us as they read, both on Facebook and on Twitter with the hashtags #discoverreadshare and #hooplabookclub.

Come See Us at PLA!

Next week we’ll be at the PLA 2018 Conference in Philadelphia, and we’d love to see you there! You can find us at Booth #837 from March 20-24. Here’s what you can expect when you come by our booth.

Golden Ticket Giveaway

Free candy AND a chance to win…who can resist? Stop by our booth anytime to pick up a chocolate bar and a chance to win a great prize! This offer is only good while supplies last, so come early to make sure you don’t miss out.

Author Signings

Three popular authors will be making appearances at our booth. Visit our booth during the times listed below to get a book signed, and spread the word about their incredible work to your patrons!

Wednesday, March 21

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

LAURIE MORRISON

Co-author of the middle-grade novel Every Shiny Thing

 

Thursday, March 22

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

CLAIRE LEGRAND

Author of the YA fantasy novel Furyborn

 

Thursday, March 22

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

BEATRIZ WILLIAMS

Author of the historical novel The Summer Wives

 

Champagne Toast

We’re looking forward to celebrating hoopla’s five-year anniversary with our library partners. We’ll be hosting a champagne toast at our booth on Thursday, March 22, at 3:00 p.m. Join us!

Alexa, Meet hoopla!

We’re excited to announce a cool new bit of hoopla functionality—integration with Amazon’s personal assistant, Alexa! We’ll have a number of devices at our booth, so be sure to come get a full demonstration of all the ways Alexa will allow patrons to interact with hoopla just with their voice.

Come by our booth for any or all of these events, or to learn more about all the ways Midwest Tape and hoopla can benefit your library. We hope to see you there!

March into Spring with hoopla

If you could almost hear the familiar opening strains of Vivaldi’s “Spring” when you flipped the calendar over to March, you’re certainly not alone. The vernal equinox is just days away, with the promise of warmer weather on the horizon. Of course, even aside from the changing of the seasons, March offers a number of celebrations and observances, and hoopla is here with plenty of materials related to each of them.

Most notably, March is recognized as Women’s History Month. In the wake of the ongoing cultural transformation represented by the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement, which have brought increased attention to the issues of gender discrimination and sexual violence, hoopla is celebrating Women’s History Month with a series of collections across all our media formats. Included titles highlight women creators, such as in our music collection, as well as both fiction and non-fiction explorations of women’s history, as in our movie and TV, audiobook, and eBook collections. And don’t overlook the comics collection, which features some incredible female heroes—not to mention authors and illustrators.

Although less well known, March is also National Reading Awareness Month, a designation sure to be near and dear to every library’s core mission. The purpose is to promote literacy by encouraging parents, guardians, and other caregivers to read aloud to babies and children for at least fifteen minutes per day. Studies have shown that doing so can vastly improve a child’s literacy skills and prepare their minds for learning when they enter school. hoopla, with its 24/7 access to thousands of age-appropriate eBooks for children, can be a valuable tool for parents as they strive to accomplish this goal. Our wide selection of juvenile fiction and non-fiction eBooks will provide any number of perfect reading choices, and the read-along feature available on a number of eBooks can help children as they transition into reading for themselves as well.

To go along with these month-long observances, a handful of individual days stand out this month. First up is the Ides of March, made famous as the assassination day of Julius Caesar. That’s the perfect day for the famous play by William Shakespeare, available in both audiobook and eBook, as well as the novel by Thornton Wilder. A much less ominous occasion follows, with St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday. Patrons can find a collection of Celtic music perfect for their festivities, as well as plenty of other materials related to the holiday and to Ireland itself. Later in the month, March 25 is Tolkien Reading Day, when patrons can use hoopla to read The Hobbit or listen to the epic Lord of the Rings series, among other Tolkien offerings.

Finally, make sure patrons know they can check out and watch Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. hoopla’s Movie of the Month is another in a long line of delightfully dark and twisted films directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter. And, as always, they can keep their eyes on the hoopla digital app and website for incredible new content and collections added daily, all available 24/7 with no holds and no waiting.

Start a Literary Affair on hoopla

When it’s cold and dreary outside, it’s the perfect time to stay inside where it’s warm and get cozy with a good book (or audiobook), and hoopla is here to help. For the weeks running through Valentine’s Day, we’ve teamed up with Harlequin and Avon to bring library patrons the very best of romance! Each week’s collections feature the latest releases from bestselling romance authors, available in eBook and audiobook. So spread the word to your patrons—with simultaneous borrowing, they won’t have to wait to find their next happily ever after.

This week’s theme is Historical Romance, with tales of love and passion set in various eras from the past. The audiobook and eBook collections are live now on hoopla’s website and mobile apps. See below for themes for upcoming weeks:

January 23: Contemporary Romance

January 30: Romantic Suspense

February 6: Paranormal Romance

February 13: Best of Romance

hoopla is your patrons’ destination for all things romance. Happy reading!