Shelf Check is a podcast that combines fun discussions and storytelling to spotlight interesting authors, literary topics, and community questions. Each episode, less than an hour, of Shelf Check, will focus on different themes including holidays and pop culture with recommendations for both fiction and non-fiction.
The hosts for the podcast are members of Arlington Public Library's Lifelong Learning team. They handle all the adult programming for the library. Sometimes they may have special guest hosts from other divisions join them.
Behind the Scenes
Listen to Season One Episodes
Episode One: Sports in These Uncertain Times
Air Date: September 12, 2020
Description: We talk about all things sports and what sports mean to fans and to identity. We also have great fiction and non-fiction book recommendations.
Episode Two: A Good Mystery and a Good Meal
Air Date: September 19, 2020
Description: Librarians Miranda and Sharon talk about their favorite sub-genre of mysteries Cozy Cooking Mysteries. They highlight some of the cookbooks that will also whet your appetite and discuss some of the fun and funny questions they have gotten asked as library staff.
Episode Three: The Finale Female Frontier
Air Date: September 26, 2020
Description: Are you just tired of Earth? This episode takes you to the Final Frontier with women who have explored space and the universe both in fun and interesting science fiction and in women who have been apart of the Space Program.
Episode Four: Required Reading
Air Date: October 3, 2020
Description: Librarians Mark and Miranda go back in time to revisit the required reading ghosts of their high school pasts. Miranda teaches us how to (maybe) love Charles Dickens and Shakespeare. And Mark performs "an inception" by recommending books about books (about books, about books...). They also discuss what books should be added and removed from High School's Reading List.
Episode Five: When You Want a Good Scare
Air Date: October 10, 2020
Description: Do you like a little fright in your night? Well, this week's episode of Shelf Check features books that will give you a good scare. Librarian Sharon and Program Specialist Lesley talk about ghostly books and interview Weldon Trantham of the Association for the Study of Unexplained Phenomenon
Episode Six: Shakespeare Goes to High School
Air Date: October 17, 2020
Description: Is the book always better than the movie? This episode of 'Shelf Check' talks about 'Clueless', '10 Things I Hate About You', and other movie adaptations, book rewrites, and classic lit that might be better than the original. Book and Theater Nerds Miranda and Tamera also recommend sequels and retellings of classic novels and plays and discuss what makes high school quite so Shakespeare
Episode Seven: Time Travel
Air Date: October 24, 2020
Description: Have you ever wanted to go "Back to the Future" or "Turn Back Time"? Is hindsight really 20/20? Ever question the butterfly effect? Well, settle in for this episode where Library Service Manager, Melissa, and Librarian Mark discuss time travel in fiction, non-fiction, and what are some of the problematic questions that time travel invokes.
Episode Eight: Too Real for Fiction: True Crime Stories
Air Date: October 31, 2020
Description: Librarian Sharon Granado and Program Specialist Lesley Hinojosa dive into the world of true crime. In this episode, they discuss classic true crimes that have impacted the world, The Black Dahlia Murder, Truman Capote’s Classic true crime book, and the crime that inspired Vladimir Nabokov's classic novel, Lolita. They recommend the best True crime books which include Truman Capote’s critically acclaimed In Cold Blood which details the murders of a Kansas family, and a recounting and investigation of The Black Dahlia’s murder. Is a murder born or made?
Episode Nine: What is Indie Author Day?
Air Date: November 7, 2020
Description: Each year, libraries and organizations around the world welcome local indie authors, writers, and their communities in for a day of education, networking, mingling, writing, open mics, panels, and so much more! Join Arlington Public Library as we celebrate Indie Author Day
Episode Ten: Books We Loved (or Hated) as Children
Air Date: November 14, 2020
Description: We open this episode with a cold open with Melissa and Loretta giving a touching tribute and remembrance to famed writer and Arlington Public Library supporter, Rachel Caine who passed away on October 31, 2020. Then the episode continues with Tamera and Lesley will be discussing books they loved or hated as children. Tune in for an emotional episode that will definitely tug at your heartstrings.
Episode Eleven: No Batteries Required - Books as Gifts
Air Date: November 21, 2020
Description: Librarians Miranda and Lisa share tips on how to successfully give books as gifts and how to avoid accidentally giving homework to your friends and family. Lisa and Miranda also geek out over the Icelandic holiday tradition of Jólabókaflóð (the Yule Book Flood) and discuss whether you should write inscriptions in books (not library books). Check out APL’s new service What Should I Read Next? to request reading suggestions from real, live library staff!
Episode Twelve: On the Move - Journeys & Travels
Air Date: November 28, 2020
Description: Librarians Mark and Sharon invite you along as they set out for far-off lands (and day trips in North Texas) discussing favorite novels, memoirs, and guidebooks focused on quests, journeys, and travel! So pack your bags and let’s get moving!
Season One Show Notes
Season Two Episodes
Episode One: Fresh Start
Air Date: January 2, 2021
Description: This season kicks off with an episode about Fresh Starts. Library Staff Lesley, Sarai, and Sharon recommend books and tips to help start the new year off right.
Episode Two: For the Love of Jane Austen
Air Date: January 9,2021
Description: Librarian Sharon Granado and Program Specialist Lesley Hinojosa dive into the world of Jane Austen. In this episode, they discuss Jane Austen’s classic novels, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility.
Episode Three: Unlocking the Past with Historical Fiction
Air Date: January 16,2021
Description: Miranda and Mark look at novels set in unusual time periods and discuss how easy it is to read historical fiction by accident. They also delve into the surprising fun of deliberately anachronistic literature.
Episode Four: Let's Talk About Me
Air Date: January 23, 2021
Description: Miranda and Tamera explore the world of Memoirs and Biographies and join the Danny Kaye fan club. They also try their hand at fortune telling and choose contemporary movies and TV shows they think will stand the test of time.
Episode Five: National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
Air Date: January 30, 2021
Description: We bring awareness to National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month by discussing the crime as a whole along with ways that we can prevent, spot and stop the crime. We interview special guests Lieutenant Curtis Petties and Victim Services Coordinator Carnesha Collins who offer their knowledge and educate us on the issue.
Episode Six: Let’s Hygge it Out
Air Date: February 6, 2021
Description: Sharon and Miranda get cozy and talk about all things Hygge (especially how to pronounce it). Hygge is the Danish art of comfort and coziness, so the librarians share some of their go-to comforts along with a few books that will teach you how to Hygge at home!
Episode Seven: Love By the Book
Air Date: February 13, 2021
Description: Happy Valentines! In this week’s episode Librarian Miranda Want and program specialist Lesley Hinojosa recommend the best romance novels including Jane Eyre and The Rosie Project. In addition, they discuss love languages, and romance in film and TV.
Episode Eight: After the Storm – Survival and Beyond (Bonus Episode)
Air Date: February 21, 2021
Description: In the wake of the brutal Texas Winter Storm of 2021, Librarian Mark suggests some titles that explore survival against the elements, DIY plumbing repair, and preparing for the next crisis.
Episode Nine: Explore the Makerspace
Air Date: February 27, 2021
Description: In this episode Program Specialists Tamera Miller and Lesley Hinojosa tell us all about the Makerspace at the Arlington Public Library. If you are a crafty maker listen in! Tamera and Lesley discuss exciting programs coming up in the spring including Kit week that will take place during spring break as well as two exciting Laser Cutting demonstrations!
Episode Ten: It’s Texas Literature, Y’all!
Air Date: March 6, 2021
Description: Join us for a wide-ranging discussion on “What makes a book Texan!” Texan authorship? Setting? Certain tropes or themes, such as rugged individualism? With our guest hosts from the Arlington Historical Society, OK Carter and Denise Youngblood, we’ll tackle those questions and more. Like why do movie cowboys often have clean and crisply-pressed shirts?! Covering Larry McMurtry, James Michener, Elmer Kelton, Edna Ferber, Katherine Anne Porter and other favorites!
Episode Eleven: Celebrating Women's History
Air Date: March 13, 2021
Description: Councilperson Ruby Faye Woolridge, District 6 at-large, speaks with us about women's history month, some of her favorite books, how her family inspired her to public service, and what it is like being a leader that is a woman of color.
Episode Twelve: Celebrating Women's History, Part 2
Air Date: March 20, 2021
Description: Councilperson Dr. Victoria Farrar-Myers, District 7, speaks with us about women's history month, some of her favorite books, what inspired her to public service, and leadership.
Episode Thirteen: Strong Women
Air Date: March 27, 2021
Description: The dynamic staff at Woodland West featuring Public Service Coordinator, Renee Bradshaw and Customer Service Assistants Linda Belanger and Gaby Fritz discuss their favorite strong women in fiction, film and real life! They explore character development, favorite authors and amazing stories featuring women as heroes.
Episode Fourteen: Fairy Tales
Air Date: April 10, 2021
Description: Miranda and Tamera explore the wealth of fairy tales and how they continue to influence modern storytelling, including retellings of their favorite stories. They discuss some of the meanings behind the classic stories and how they impacted the culture of the youth reading them.
Episode Fifteen: Mental Health Awareness
Air Date: April 24, 2021
Description: Sharon and Lesley have a discussion on Mental Health. Join us for a conversation where we discuss self-care, helpful books, and ways to combat the stigma. In preparation for May, which is a month dedicated to bringing awareness and combating the negative stigmas surrounding mental health issues we hope that this episode will help spark helpful conversations.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: TX to 741741
Episode Sixteen: Healthy Living
Air Date: May 8, 2021
Description: Join Librarian Sharon and Program Specialist Tamera as they honestly discuss healthy living and their own personal journeys attempting to achieve it.
8 Strategies for a Healthy Spring. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/pdf/infographics/healthy-spring-H.pdf
Episode Seventeen: Asian Pacific American Representation
Air Date: May 22, 2021
Description:In this episode Loretta and Marla discuss Asian representation in honor of Asian Pacific American heritage month. They explore some of their favorite books featuring Asian characters and talk about the current issues facing Asian Americans living in the U.S.
Episode Eighteen: Summer Vacation
Air Date: June 5, 2021
Description: School is out and summer is here! Tamera and Miranda share stories from their childhood summer vacations and recommend a few books to enjoy and/or escape the hot weather.
Episode Nineteen: Murder She, Read - British Cozy Mysteries
Air Date: June 19, 2021
Description: Miranda and Nicole indulge in one of their perennial favorites, Cozy Mysteries. From British classics like Miss Marple to the contemporary Queens of Mystery, they’ll teach you how to get addicted to Cozies.
Episode Twenty: Americana, the Beautiful
Air Date: July 3, 2021
Description: Librarians Mark, Miranda, and Program Specialist Tamera jump feet first into nostalgia to explore pop culture and Americana
Episode Twenty-One : Books That Made Us Readers
Air Date: July 17, 2021
Description: Linda, Gabby, and Kaylynn from our Woodland West branch are talking the books that made them love reading. They also share information about cool stuff available from the library, like the Libby eBooks service and the yearly, All Ages Summer Reading Challenge.
Episode Twenty-Two : Book Club Love
Air Date: July 31, 2021
Description: Mark, Miranda, and Tamera share their love and insights into book clubs. All three lead book clubs at the Arlington Public Library and they explore what books surprised them the most as well as offering tips and tricks for a fun and successful book club.
Season Two Show Notes
Season Three Episodes
Episode One: Character Study: Sherlock Holmes
Air Date: September 4, 2021
Description: Miranda and Tamera talk super sleuth Sherlock Holmes and try to unravel why the character remains a perennial favorite.
Episode Two: Native in a Strangeland
Air Date: September 18, 2021
Description: Miranda and Tamera explore how surprisingly unique the customs and vocabulary of your corner of the world can be, even across states or countries that have a shared language.
Episode Three: Scaredy Kids
Air Date: October 2, 2021
Description: It is Halloween season and Mark, Tamera, and Miranda are here with a new episode. On today's show they discuss what scared them as kids.
Episode Four: Into the Cosplay 'Verse
Air Date: October 16, 2021
Description: Miranda and Tamera interview local Coplayers at Arlington Comic Fest to talk about all things Cosplay. Interviewees share stories of how they got started in Cosplay, what it means to them, and the eternal issue of costume storage.
Episode Five: Monster Mash-Up
Air Date: October 30, 2021
Description: Mark, Miranda, and Tamera go to the movies and delve into the history and meaning of classic movie monsters.
Episode Six: The Thrill of Victory
Air Date: November 13, 2021
Description: Ready! Set! Hut! Mark, Miranda and Tamera are here to talk all things sports.
Episode Seven: We Are Family
Air Date: November 20, 2021
Description: The holidays are here and that means it is time for families to come together. Mark, Miranda and Tamera discuss some of their favorite fictional families in books, TV and film.
Episode Eight: Cosplay Bonus Episode
Air Date: November 27, 2021
Description: All the interviews with local Coplayers at Arlington Comic Fest.
Episode Nine: The Brand New Thing
Air Date: January 22, 2022
Description: Tamera, Mark, and Miranda talk first novels and debut authors to start the New Year off right (by reading).
Episode Ten: Afrofuturism with Dr. Kenton Rambsy
Air Date: February 19, 2022
Description: Mark and Miranda are joined by UTA Professor Kenton Rambsy to discuss Afrofuturism in literature, film and music.
Episode Eleven: No Place Like Oz
Air Date: March 05, 2022
Description: Mark, Miranda, and Tamera follow the Yellow Brick Road and explore the many adaptations of The Wizard of Oz and its sequels.
Episode Twelve: Curious Women
Air Date: March 19, 2022
Description: Tamera, Mark, and Miranda follow the clues and investigate female detectives, from Nancy Drew to Jessica Fletcher.
Episode Thirteeen: Tricksters, Gadflies, Con Artists, and 'Spoons'
Air Date: April 02, 2022
Description: Listen in for a fun discussion about some of our favorite pranksters, jokesters and "spoons".
Episode Fourteen: Empathy in Literature
Air Date: April 16, 2022
Description: Tamera, Mark, and Miranda discuss discovering empathy thru literature and highlight APL’s Kindness Project.
Episode Fifteen: Teen Dream
Air Date: April 30, 2022
Description: Miranda, Mark, and Tamera delve into Young Adult fiction, discuss some preconceptions about this type of literature and share some their favorite YA reads, old and new.
Episode Sixteen: The Library Marches On
Air Date: May 14, 2022
Description: Mark, Tamera, and Miranda delve into their earliest childhood memories of libraries and explore how much the library has changed over their lifetimes, and how the days of card catalogs are more recent than you might think.
Episode Seventeen: Wither the Westerns
Air Date: May 28, 2022
Description: Miranda, Tamera, and Mark point their wagons west to discuss the Western genre in literature, film, and TV. Tamera shares about growing up loving the genre and Mark and Miranda try to convince everyone that the best Western is a sneaky Western.
Episode Eighteen:The Golden Episode
Air Date: June 25, 2022
Description: Happy 50th Episode! Miranda, Mark, and Tamera are celebrating 50 episodes of Shelf Check! It’s a party with games and silly discussions of books and pop culture.
Episode Nineteen: Food for Thought
Air Date: July 9, 2022
Description: Tamera, Miranda, and Mark chew thru some select bites of food history and recommend a few books to help satisfy any foodie’s appetite.
Episode Twenty: Hobbies
Air Date: July 23, 2022
Description: Miranda, Mark and Tamera take a break to explore some of the ways we choose to spend our free time and share some their personal hobbies with each other.
Episode Twenty-One: Back to School
Air Date: September 3, 2022
Description: Happy New (School) Year! Miranda, Mark, and Tamera discuss some of their favorite books about school and resurrect a few titles from their own childhoods.
Episode Twenty-Two: Book Swap
Air Date: September 24, 2022
Description: Mark and Miranda swap book recs and discuss the surprisingly in-depth world building of both science fiction and cozy murder mysteries.
Episode Twenty-Two: Wait for it......Suspense
Air Date: October 15, 2022
Miranda, Tamera, and Mark talk Suspense in literature and films. They discuss what make Suspense scary (and delightful) and how the Thriller, Horror, and Mystery genres are actually best friends (forever).