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Sup with the Sup
Sup with the Sup
Episode 33: Provo City Library with Erika

Welcome everyone to this week’s episode of Provo City School District’s What’s Up With the Sup podcast. I am Superintendent Wendy Dau, and I do need to apologize for my raspy sounding voice as I am getting over a cold, but thank you for your patience with me. I am very excited for the podcast this week.

I am joined today by Erika Hill, the Community Relations Manager with the Provo City Library. And she is here to discuss the many opportunities and resources the library provides to our students and families.

But before that, here are our updates.

  • A reminder that there will be no school next week. I hope everyone enjoys their spring break. I know I am going to enjoy mine. We will see you back in school on Monday, April 8th.
  • If you are interested in hearing updates regarding the construction projects happening throughout the district, please visit the district website and click on the new construction newsletter signup link. The newsletter will go out after our April 16th board meeting. And it does updates on Timpview, Wasatch, and Shoreline.
  • The Board of Education currently has one new draft policy available for community input on the district website. From the main page of the district website, click on the Policies, Form, and Document button. On the next page at the top left, there is an orange Review Draft Policies Here button. The new policy available for review is a Draft Student Board Members and Student Advisory Council policy.
  • Coming up on Monday, April 15th will be our district wide art show, the This Is Us Creative Arts Gala. Join us at Provo High at 5 p. m. and enjoy the creative works of students throughout the district, as well as many fun activities in the community. And a food truck. You cannot go wrong when there’s food involved.
  • The next school board meeting will be a study session and business meeting on Tuesday, April 16th. Study sessions are held in boardroom one at the district office, and business meetings will take place in the Professional Development Center.Both meetings are open to the public, and public comment is welcome at the business meeting.
  • And look for the weekly video cast from me every Friday. In this short video, I provide important information and updates about work happening throughout the district.

And now on to our podcast.

Well, welcome everybody. I’m here with Erika Hill, who is from the Provo City Library. So welcome to this week’s podcast.

Erika: Thank you.

Wendy: So tell us a little bit about yourself and what your role is at the Provo City Library.

Erika: So I have been at the library for almost 11 years.

Wendy: Oh, wow.

Erika: And, um, I am the community relations manager. So, that means that I wear, actually, just a ton of different hats. I do the library’s marketing, I write our email newsletters, sometimes I like to say that if there’s something you’re surprised happens at a library, I’m probably in charge of it.

Wendy: Oh, and I can’t wait, I hope we get to talk about some of those things.

Erika: Yeah.

Wendy: Throughout this podcast.

Erika: That would be great.

Wendy: What is the best part about your job?

Erika: Oh, gosh. Oh, gosh. Honestly, it’s the people that I work with, which I feel like is a thing that a lot of people say about their jobs, but I really mean it. The people that work at the library are really community minded, which is fantastic. And it’s just a good group of people.

Wendy: That’s wonderful. So tell us a little bit about what makes Provo City Library unique and what makes it such a great place for students and families.

Erika: One of the great things about our library that is kind of unique is that we’re kind of Hmm. How do I say this? For a city our size, we would usually have probably three or four library branches. Okay. But that’s not what we have. And so we have this one big library. So it’s kind of like this big library and we get to do a ton of stuff that other libraries can only dream of.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: Um, and we really, really try to have something always at the library for every family at every stage of life.

Wendy: Yeah.

Erika: Which is just fantastic. So, we really want kids, especially next week, a spring break here in Provo City School District, so. We would love to have kids and families utilizing the library if they’re not going out of town.

Wendy: So, tell us some of the things that might be going on that they could explore and discover next week.

Erika: Definitely. So, for younger kids, one of the great things is we will still have story time in session.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: And so, you know, some of those kindergartners or first graders who are usually in school during story time can come.

Wendy: Oh, that’ll be fun. They’ll love that.

Erika: Yeah. That’ll be fun. They’ll just be bigger than they were. We have about 17 sessions of story time throughout the week. We have English and Spanish. Most of our Spanish story times happen either on Monday nights or on Friday mornings.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: So that’s really great. On Wednesday we have a performance of a play called In the Garden of the Selfish Giant. And that’ll be by the UVU, Noorda, oh boy, I’m not gonna remember their whole, but it’s their theater for young people.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: That’s, I think, at 1. 30 on Wednesday, or one o’clock. Look at our website. I know, we’ll have the exact times.

Wendy: There you go.

Erika: And then we will have just our regular array of children’s programming. So we have Lego Crew and.

Wendy: Tell me what Lego Crew is. I have no idea what that is. That sounds very exciting.

Erika: It’s, the name is a bit of a spoiler.

Wendy: Okay. I would imagine so.

Erika: It’s a program for five to eight year olds to come and they have different themes they can build on, but really it’s just a time when more Legos than you have at home, probably actually we have more Legos at home than they have at a library. But most normal people don’t have bins and bins and bins of Legos, but you can just come and build for an hour. Which is great. The kids are so excited about that.

Wendy: When do I go to do that? Like if I had a five to eight year old, when would I go to access that?

Erika: Um, so the first thing you’re going to want to do is sign up.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: Registration opens on Monday morning at nine o’clock.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: And then the program is on Wednesdays at 4 15.

Wendy: Okay. And so you have a limited number of spots, I take it. Okay. Tell us some of the other things. That sounds way fun, by the way, but.

Erika: So there’s Lego crew. There’ll be Tween Thursday and Library Kids Jr. are on, they happen on Thursday. I guess the name is a bit of a spoiler. Um, but that’s for, the one for tweens is for 9 to 12 year olds. Library Kids is for 5 to 8 year olds. They do crafts and other activities. Sometimes based on books. For our older teens, we have Minecraft Club every Friday night. Actually, not just during Spring Break. All the time.

Wendy: Oh, wow. Every Friday night. So just come and play Minecraft at the library. We have our own server. And my tween has started playing. There’s a children’s one, but it’s not happening next week. And he’s like, yeah, you have to put all your inventory into a chest or it’ll disappear. And I’m like, But when you come back, it’s all there.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: So, so it’s, so it’s like in a safe place where they’re playing Minecraft and it’s being monitored and that kind of thing. So parents don’t have to worry about like, who are they, who are, who are they playing against and what does that look like?

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: Yeah. Yeah. So it creates a really safe space.

Wendy: That’s awesome.

Erika: Yeah.

Wendy: What are some of the other things that might be happening throughout the month of April maybe? Or do you have special events that might not be happening like on a weekly basis but might be something that is just coming up?

Erika: I could talk for a long time about all of the programs that we have at the library. I think the best thing to say is just whatever you think is happening at the library, there’s probably four times as many programs. And if people go to our website, and click on programs and then calendar, they can see the full array of everything that’s happening. We have weekly ukulele lessons, weekly drawing lessons. We have…

Wendy: Oh my goodness, drawing and ukulele? Holy cow. What if I don’t have a ukulele?

Erika: Oh, we have ukuleles.

Wendy: Of course you do. This is like a magical world. Oh my goodness, I had no idea. This is a very different library than the library I grew up with. It is, and it’s so fantastic. That’s incredible.

Erika: So, and I think that soon we will have ukuleles for checkout. Right now, they’re just available in, like, when you’re there in the class. But I think that we’re in the process of getting some of those ready. We’re just figuring out, okay, if someone breaks a string, how much, can one of our staff members restring it? Can someone learn? You know, like, whenever you’re thinking about, you know, Checking out something other than books. That’s always the thing you have to think about is like, who can fix this? Who can make this right again if something happens? So I think we’re just working through some of those details. Um, on Wednesdays, we have an open piano lab. So people can just come into the library. We have, I think, four pianos with headphones set up so people can practice the piano. And we have just, there are things that you can do at the library all the time. So we have, like, if you go to the reference desks and ask the librarian, we call them boxes, which is a very, uh, fancy name for a Tupperware bin that’s full of themed things. So if you want to play with Magnatiles, like you’ve got a box of Magnatiles, or a box of straws and connectors, or little bits, those, like, coding little robot things. We have just tons of stuff like that to play with at the library. We do check out board games and video games.

Wendy: Board games and video games. Wow! I had no, I had, my mind is blown right now. Seriously, I had no idea. I’m gonna have to go check this out.

Erika: This is, if your idea of a library is just a place where there’s a bunch of books you’re missing about three quarters of what the library has to offer.

Wendy: Yeah, it’s fantastic. You’ve kind of highlighted some of the advantages of having a single library for the city of Provo. What are the disadvantages of that, that, that we run into and how can we help families break down those barriers?

Erika: So I definitely think one of the disadvantages is there are lots of places where a lot of times the theory behind an elementary school is that an elementary school should be walkable from your house. A lot of cities have libraries with that same mentality and that same sort of city planning. And I know that that’s really hard for some families in our city. I know that if you’re, if you’re over in the west side, it’s not really walkable.

Wendy: No, not so much.

Erika: But the great thing is a couple of years ago we introduced an outreach van. And so we have a van that goes around. Right now we visit a lot of preschools. I mean, we go to maybe like 17 different preschools, including Sunrise Preschool, you know, Franklin Preschool, like, and some daycares and stuff. We just, we have a form on our website that you can request the van. And if we, you can request the van, the van.

Wendy: Oh, that’s amazing.

Erika: And so our outreach librarians, I mean, they’ve been doing story times at preschools and daycares. They go once a month. Now that the weather’s getting a little bit better, we’re starting to do some neighborhood park visits. And so that’s something we’re trying to get the word out about even more. It’s a little bit hard, but I know we go to Rotary Park right now. Um, and our goal is any park we go to is to get there in those hours right after school gets out.

Wendy: Oh, that’s smart.

Erika: So I think we’re looking at, is it Quail Orchard Park as another possible stop for the van. So that’s, that’s sort of how we’re trying to overcome a little bit of that geographic boundary is to go and meet people where they are.

Wendy: That’s a great idea. I think that’s fantastic.

Erika: Yeah.

Wendy: So, and then you still have all of these advantages of having a great big library in the city. So you’re kind of trying to get the best of both worlds here.

Erika: Yeah. Yeah. It’s fun.

Wendy: Is there anything else that you wish families knew about the library? Let’s say, what do I have to do to participate in these things? Do I need a library card? How do I go about that? What does that process look like?

Erika: Yeah, so that’s going to be a little bit different for every activity. Um, some of our programs are in super high demand and we just have limited seats or materials or anything like that. And so we do registration for most of our programs on our website.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: And you can do that through the website or we also have an app. There’s an app too. Search for Provo City Library.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: And you can look at our events calendar and register for things we do. We don’t just do programs for kids, we do programs for adults too. I know there’s a paint night coming up for adults, um, But we’ve done things from learn to bake sourdough bread to,

Wendy: Oh my goodness. I think I now know what our next cabinet activity is going to be for district leadership. We’re going to the library. That’s going to be amazing. I cannot wait. That’s awesome. Okay, so some of them require registration. And then if I want to check out a book, I obviously have to have a library card.

Erika: You do have to have a library card to check out a book. And to get a library card is pretty simple. You just need photo ID and a proof of address. We want to give you a library card. And so if you say like, okay, ooh, I don’t have any of my bills with me, but I do have this Amazon delivery receipt. Like, it can be something that you show us from your phone, it can be anything. And as soon as you get a library card, like right away, you can start checking stuff out. Oh, excellent. So there’s no like waiting period or something like that.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: And that library card, it doesn’t just get you access to all the books in our collection. It also gets you access to our library of things, which we’ve talked about a little bit. The idea that we check out, we check out telescopes and CD play.

Wendy: Okay, wait just a second. You check out telescopes. Tell me more about telescopes.

Erika: We do. So the telescopes, if I were a more, uh, telescope savvy person, I could probably tell you, the make and model, um, but I know that they’re, uh, pretty beginner friendly telescopes, and we have some that you can just kind of put yourself on hold for, because they are, they are in high demand.

Wendy: I would imagine so.

Erika: And so you can put yourself on hold and kind of hope that when your turn in line comes up that it’s not weather like we’re having right now where you can’t see anything. But we also have a couple of them on a new reservation system where you can sort of look ahead of the calendar and book for specific dates.

Wendy: Oh, okay.

Erika: So if you know I’m going out of town this time to this time and I’m going somewhere where there are so many stars, I would like to take the telescope with me. Um, you can do that. The librarians go through and orient you a little bit to the telescope.

Wendy: Okay, that’s good. So I get, so I get a little bit of instruction.

Erika: Yeah. Yeah. And it does come with like a user guide.

Wendy: Oh, that’s good. Thank goodness.

Erika: And with also a QR code that’s like, if you want to watch this video rather than reading this book about how to use this telescope. They’ve been very popular. I think we’ve had them for a couple of years. And every once in a while, someone from the, I think it’s the Utah Astronomy Club is the one who donated them to us.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: Um, they come out and service them to make sure they’re, they’re still working, good working order.

Wendy: That’s incredible. So, so telescopes, tell me what else? Ukuleles are in the works.

Erika: In the works.

Wendy: Okay. What else?

Erika: So we have sort of a category of like home entertainment things. So there are a lot of people that actually don’t have DVD players anymore because streaming is so popular.

Wendy: I don’t own one.

Erika: If you need to, but if, somehow it’s like, oh, I have this on DVD, but I can’t, you can check out a DVD player. You can check out a projector or a sound system.

Wendy: Um, that’s exciting.

Erika: Like surround sound.

Wendy: Oh, that’s amazing.

Erika: We have some GoPro cameras and we just added like a point and shoot basic DSLR. I think it’s a Canon Rebel. So if people are wanting to like, oh, I think that I want to get into photography, but that’s such a big barrier to entry, you know, to go from your phone to something, you know, that’s a several hundred dollars investment. If you want to try it out first, check it out from the library.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: What else do we have? I mean, we have a lot of, we call them discovery kits. This, so this is aimed mostly for younger people. younger users, but it’s like a themed kit of toys and books. So like the reptile one, I’ll have like five books about reptiles and reptile toys and everything. That might be a great thing to do during spring break, as long as you are confident that the library toys won’t get mixed in with your own toys, which is the problem at my house. That is always the challenge. But they’re pretty fun.

Wendy: I was talking to one of our board members and she was talking about when she moved back into the Provo area, one of the reasons she chose Provo was because of the library. I had never heard of anyone choosing a place to live because of the library. Until you go into Provo City’s library and you’re like, Oh yeah, this is why people, this is exactly why people would choose to live here. So it’s pretty extraordinary. And now as you’re telling us about all of these great things, that completely makes sense. So website is one way in which families can find things out. There’s an app. Do you have social media postings? What does that look like?

Erika: We do. We’re most active on Facebook and Instagram.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: Um, we do have a podcast.

Wendy: Oh, yes. A fellow podcaster. What’s your podcast called?

Erika: Oh, it’s It’s the Provo City Library Podcast.

Wendy: I love it. Very creative. Very creative.

Erika: Very creative. I name, I’ve named several things at the library and it turns out I’m a very literal namer. So I named the attic, which is our fourth floor gallery space.

Wendy: Okay. And it is just called the attic. I named the basement, which is our recording studio and it is located, can you guess? In the basement.

Wendy: In the basement. I love it.

Erika: Of the library. The Outreach Van.

Wendy: Oh, yeah, there we go. See, I actually just think that’s quite helpful because your communication is very clear.

Erika: Yeah, that’s important. Yes, so when we were trying to come up with the name of the Provo Library Podcast, I suggested how about the Provo City Library Podcast?

Wendy: Love it.

Erika: So, so yeah, I mean, Facebook and Instagram, we’re most active on, um, but the podcast does get posted on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

Wendy: Okay. And what are some of the topics that you cover on your podcast?

Erika: On the podcast, let’s see, what have we done? Some of it is sort of get to know you with library staff, so like, oh good, let’s meet a librarian. But then we also cover, I mean, a lot of the things that keep blowing your mind.

Wendy: I love it.

Erika: We did an episode about our library of things where we talked about all the different things that we check out. We’ve done an episode about how to host a good book club.

Wendy: Oh, that sounds fun.

Erika: Because we do have book club sets that check out. So like if your book club is reading a book and not everybody wants to be on hold forever or buy it, then you can get a set. You have to plan your book club. You’re going to have to plan that out, but okay, but that’s great. Let’s see, how many have we done? We’ve done probably 11 or 12 episodes. So it just gives you more information and helps you really get to know the library in a little greater detail.

Wendy: So that’s awesome. What is your favorite part of the Provo City Library?

Erika: Mmm, my most favorite part. In my personal life, I feel like we have a really, really robust digital collection.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: Um, and so, maybe this is a bad thing to admit, I don’t know the last time I read a physical book.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: I just, I listened to almost everything and I used to pay for Audible and I don’t have to pay for Audible anymore because the, you just use the library.

Wendy: Mm hmm. Okay. So that’s fantastic.

Erika: And I don’t think that my kids fully understand. The sheer amount of things that they have access to, like, it doesn’t even occur to them that they might ever have to wait for anything because they just get it from the app, you know?

Wendy: Yeah. It’s just right there.

Erika: Um, and so, you know, they’ll be like, I want to read this book. And I look up, is it in the Libby? There you go. Right there. There you go. Read it.

Wendy: It was kind of interesting because I was having a discussion with someone and I said, is an audio book really reading a book?

Erika: Yes.

Wendy: And yes. And that’s it. And she was like, you’re kind of one of those snobs that thinks that that’s not reading a book. And she said, there’s no difference between that and like, just, I mean, you’re just reading to yourself in your head. What difference does it make you’re reading it to yourself versus somebody else is reading it to you? It doesn’t matter. So, I mean, I was convinced.

Erika: I definitely think that there is value still, especially for emerging readers, right? Like, like you got, you got to work on that text decoding.

Wendy: Yes. Absolutely.

Erika: But also. If your kindergartner, like, hates trying to read but loves being read to, that’s still so great. Like, it’s the, at that stage of reading, even just being exposed to as many words as possible in whatever format. They’ll take it like that is so good. It is so good for your kids

Wendy:. Yep, building their vocabulary, building their exposure to different ideas and things that that they just can’t experience necessarily on a daily basis.

Erika: So yeah, and I think about that statistic that I’ve heard. It’s some insane amount of adults, like, haven’t even read one book in a year.

Wendy: Oh, wow.

Erika: In, you know, and, and I just think, well, give yourself permission to listen to it. And then you’ll just be surprised at how dishes here and your commute there and everything, like, Everything gets much better. You can get through 50 books a year. You’re great.

Wendy: That’s really true. That’s an excellent point. There are several floors in the library. You love the digital collection. Is there a floor that has a specific, like, feeling or environment about it that you love more than the others?

Erika: Well, I am definitely, like, a biased person to ask that about because the fourth floor, the attic space, is kind of my baby.

Wendy: You’ve kind of designed this.

Erika: I mean, Yeah, I, I’m the one that’s in charge of booking the exhibits that, that go in there. And so any, or either booking or designing, um, because we’ve had a lot of like big creative experiences or big play experiences that people can have. And so it’s really my job to go through and be like, okay, so we’re, we’ve got this space of time and what’s happening in our summer reading program or, you know, I want to do. So I actually threw this one on my employees, and I don’t know that they loved it as much as I loved it, because I was on maternity leave. So I was like, I’m going to do this thing called Open Studio, and every week we’re going to have a different artistic theme, and we’re going to have paint up there, and we’re going to let people try printmaking, or try 3D sculptures, or try, you know. It was a lot of cleanup. There’s a lot of work tied to that.

Wendy: Yes, yes.

Erika: All I did was buy a lot of supplies. Well, you have the idea. But I definitely love that fourth floor space. It feels a little more modern. Um, just because it was finished more recently than a lot of things. And it’s pretty quiet unless we have something really rowdy going on in the ballroom.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: It’s just a nice space. place to be. Just a great, great space.

Wendy: Tell us what families can look forward to in the summer at the library.

Erika: Ah, so in the summer we have our summer reading program, um, which is always a good time. We have summer reading programs for adults and kids. It’s not just a thing that your kids can do. You can all work together and it’s not just about reading, though it is about reading. We have reading goals and then we also have challenges that you can complete. So you know, it’ll, it’ll have something like, go to a park and do this thing. There’s just a bunch of different things that people can try. This year’s theme is all adventure based.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: I think that our summer reading kickoff, can I say this? I think I can. There will be a sword fighting demonstration. So that’ll be pretty cool.

Wendy: That sounds exciting.

Erika: We have story times in the parks, which is great every day, and we actually have a great partnership with the Boys and Girls Club where they bring free lunches.

Wendy: Okay.

Erika: So you can go to story time in the park, it’s usually at 10 o’clock in the morning, and then get a free lunch for your kids.

Wendy: That’s incredible. Wow, just a ton of things for families.

Erika: Yeah. Yes, so many things for families. I know that we have a storyteller booked for Juneteenth right now that’ll come in and do kind of a storytelling program for that. So that’ll be a good all ages thing to help learn some of the history of Juneteenth and stuff. That sounds exciting. At the end of the summer, we usually do a pool party.

Wendy: Oh, wow.

Erika: If you finish the summer reading program, we rent the pool at the Rec Center. You can go swim for free.

Wendy: That’s incredible. Who would not want to do this? This is amazing.

Erika: It’s super fun.

Wendy: That’s a lot, that’s a lot of coordination and just a lot of opportunities for our Provo City families. This is pretty incredible what you provide.

Erika: Yeah, it’s pretty great.

Wendy: Any last things that you would want anyone to know?

Erika: I mean, I hope that it’s a message that has come through, but there’s just more at the library than you think. There’s more to do. There’s more to see, more to check out. Then, then you probably realize if you want to bring your family or your youth group to the library and do a VR experience, like we’ve got those, we’ve got those.

Wendy: Oh my goodness.

Erika: There’s, there’s.

Wendy: See, you just keep talking and then I learned about something else that you guys do.

Erika: Yeah.

Wendy: This is amazing.

Erika: Yeah. So probably the best way to hear about anything is honestly to get yourself a library card and sign up for our email newsletters.

Wendy: Okay. Thank you.

Erika: We send out information pretty regularly, um, and try to make them worth your time reading them. And yeah, there’s just more at the library than you think.

Wendy: Well, that’s awesome. I’m excited for all that our families and kids have available to them. And thank you for all of your good work that you’re doing to make all of these great experiences available to the families of Provo City. You are so welcome. Thank you for being on our podcast. It was a pleasure to talk with you today.

Erika: Great to talk with you too.

Wendy: Thank you for joining me for this week’s episode of What’s Up with the Sup. As always, all episodes will be posted on the district website, YouTube, and anywhere you get your podcasts. If you have any topics or questions you would like us to discuss on the podcast, please email us at

There will not be a new episode next week due to spring break. Please join me again on Friday, April 12th for a brand new episode of What’s Up with the Sup. Until then, have a great spring break, everyone.

Shauna Sprunger
  • Coordinator of Communications
  • Shauna Sprunger