Teens! Read new books before they are even published!

Do you impatiently wait for new book releases? Do you rush to the library or bookstore
as soon as a book is published? What if I told you that you could join a book review team and get books before they’re published?! It’s true. You read that correctly! Join us on the third Monday of every month at Read It First, from 6:30-8 p.m. at Boone County Public Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington, to review Young Adult books before they ever hit the shelves!

Having recently been given a name change, this amazing book club is looking for new members! The library receives ARCs (advanced reader’s copies) of certain titles and we give those books away in this program. Teens are required to upload a book review of the ARCs they read to our group’s Goodreads page. Middle and high school students come and hang out once a month, eat pizza, and discuss and review the ARCS we’ve read that month.

Here is a testimony from a real-life teen who is a loyal member of the group:

Read It First to me is a place I can go to feel like I fit in. I’m not weird or strange there for loving books and wanting to rant about them with other people. It’s a place you can go to hang out with like-minded people and have no judgment. I enjoy the Read It First people. Every person there is different, but we get to bond over our shared love of literature. A range of ages doesn’t stop us either. The Read It First books I also enjoy. Free books are nothing to ever joke about. I take that offer very seriously. The books I choose aren’t always what I would pick up in a bookstore, but it introduces me to some new things. These don’t always become my favorite books, but when they are my favorites, I am just overwhelmingly grateful to have something I wouldn’t have ever known about otherwise. The books we get are an eclectic bunch, but we all find something we can enjoy and then we share the joy with our fellow reviewers. Plus, there’s no stress to finish the book by a certain time. We get the books and we can read at our own pace. There’s no hassle to have to keep up with the rest of the group if you’re a slow reader or slow down for the rest of the group if you’re a fast reader, it’s perfect. Read It First even helps me widen my vocabulary and tastes in books. I’ve learned so much at Read It First. I have become a better writer when it comes to reviews, I’ve become more confident in my love of books, and I’ve learned to widen my horizons when it comes to my book choices. I’ve found that the least likely books I choose end up being some of my favorites. Read It First has also taught me how better to deal with people. Like I said, we’re all different people, so we don’t always agree, but we have to accept our differences. Read It First is as much a part of my life as anything else and to lose it would be devastating. It’d be like losing a home. I love Read It First and appreciate every aspect of it. The library wouldn’t be the same without it. I’ve learned so much and experienced so much and Read It First has become a part of me.”

So if you’re in middle or high school and love to read, stop by Read It First on the third Monday of every month from 6:30-8 p.m. at Boone County Public Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington, and take home your next favorite book before everyone else gets to read it!

Our next meeting will be on Presidents’ Day –Monday, February 20, at 6:30 p.m.


Ally Doerman has worked for the library for 10 years, currently in Teen Services. She spends most of her time thinking about Harry Potter and waiting for Colleen Hoover to write a new book.


“The library has allowed me to satisfy my curiosity, and having it for my career is just icing on the cake.”

An interview with Library Director Carrie Herrmann

Carrie Herrmann has worked for Boone County Public Library for seventeen years, the last two as the Library Director. She shares what inspired her to pursue a career in the library field, “I have always been a reader. My first job after graduating from high school, was in a library. I worked there during my four years of college with no intention of becoming a librarian. My undergraduate degree was in English. When I started graduate school, I intended to become a Material Culture Specialist. I planned to work in a living history museum or maybe a fiber arts museum. My job during graduate school at Indiana University was in a library again.  I worked in the library and went to grad school for about a year and I then thought, what am I doing? All my jobs have been in libraries. I love working with people of all ages – helping them find books and information. I love the look they get on their faces when I have found them what they want. So, I transferred from I.U. to University of Kentucky and got my Master’s in Library Information Science.”

Carrie’s family went to the library regularly when she was growing up. She says her family members were big library users, “We used Kenton County Public Library’s Erlanger Branch. I hated grocery shopping, so every Saturday my parents would drop me at the library on their way to shop. They’d pick me up afterward, review my stack of books and then bring me back again the next week. If I had homework, I knew where to go – the library. We were big library users.”

The library is more than a career for Carrie, it’s her passion and it has made a difference in her life by giving her a chance to learn about a lot of different things things. “I’m very curious – I like to learn. I’ve attended a lot of library programs over the years and I’ve learned a lot of things that I’m still using today. I was introduced to authors, through the library, that I never would have known about. I use the things I’ve learned about early literacy and grade level readiness at both work and home. The library has allowed me to satisfy my curiosity, and having it for my career is just icing on the cake.”

Carrie says that helping people is the most rewarding part of her job, “I remember helping someone with their resume and then they came in later and told me they got the job. It’s rewarding to be able to make a difference for someone. In June, I will have worked a total of thirty years in libraries. In those thirty years, I have helped many people write resumes, practice for interviews, do research, find materials, and I’ve even taught grandparents to text.”

Her favorite part of the library is the Children’s Department, “I love the children’s area. I will take an afternoon walk around the library and I always end up in the Children’s Department. I like to watch the kids find their books, play games and use the iPads in the early literacy stations. The children’s area is alive! It’s vibrant and busy!”

When asked what she would like the library to do if there were no limits, she said, “Longer Sunday hours! I’d also like to be able to bring big name authors to the library, the top ten, but they are very expensive. I’d like to have a commercial kitchen in the library so we could offer cooking classes for all ages. I’d like all of our branches to be green buildings, whether LEED certified, or Living Building Challenge. Not only would green buildings save taxpayer money in the long run, but they would be educational. Green public buildings are very expensive to build, though.”

Carrie says she loves to read romance novels and when she’s not reading romance, fantasy fiction. Her all-time favorite book, however, isn’t romance or fantasy, it’s A prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. She says, “I am a character driven reader and this book has such memorable characters. They came alive for me. It’s a wonderfully told story. Years ago, my dad handed me the book and told me he thought I’d really like it. He was right. He took my sister and me to Playhouse in the Park to see the play and it was like re-reading the book.”

And we all want to know, does Boone County Public Library’s Director read digital or paper? Carrie answers this question, “I never would have thought I’d say this, but I read almost exclusively digital. I only pick up an actual book when it’s not available in a digital format.”

To end the interview, Carrie was asked, What should people who don’t work in libraries know about librarians?”

She replied, “We’re not all made from the same cloth. I like to read but not all librarians do. We are very different just like the people we serve in the community. And we don’t sit around reading books all day while we are at work!”


PR Coordinator Becky Kempf has been telling people about the Library for thirteen years. When she isn’t busy evangelizing about books, reading, and the Library’s concert series, she’s out photographing dogs, birds, rusty old cars and her grandchildren.