The Librarian Is In

The New York Public Library’s podcast about books, culture, and what to read next.
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Sep 5, 2019

This week it's Frank and Gwen's turn in the hot seat. They recently joined the Books on the Subway Podcast with Hollie and Rosy for a discussion about all things books and libraries, and we're bringing you that episode this week. Make sure to check them out at

Aug 22, 2019

A look at how some libraries reflect the communities they're a part of through their special collections. Plus, Gwen's son weighs in on a children's book with some very un-scary dragons and Frank dives into some mind-bending stories about alternate realities and the nature of consciousness.

This weeks titles:

Rise of the Earth Dragon by Tracey West

Exhalation  by Ted Chiang

Aug 8, 2019

Frank and Gwen do a deep dive into their summer reading pick, Mona Awad's new novel, Bunnya dark satirical take on female friendship, loneliness, desire, and creative writing MFA programs. Alert: spoilers! tons of 'em! 

Tell us what everybody's talking about in your world of books and libraries! Suggest Hot Topix(TM) by email or voice memo to podcasts[at] or call 507-NYPL-LIB.

Jul 25, 2019

Do you dog-ear? Use bookmarks or sticky notes? Write notes in margins? Or do you—heaven forbid—underline? We delve deep into the ethical implications of leaving your mark on library books. Plus: two new summer reads and one musical cue.

Suggest Hot Topix(TM) or tell us what you think about summer reading!

Email podcasts[at] or call 507-NYPL-LIB.

Jul 11, 2019

To prequel or not to prequel? Frank and Gwen debate the new installment of the Hunger Games franchise and two very different books about life in two very different places.

Suggest Hot Topix(TM) or tell us what you think about summer reading! Email podcasts[at] or call 507-NYPL-LIB.

Jul 4, 2019

Frank and Gwen announce their return date plus reveal their Summer Reading Challenge

Jun 27, 2019

What's the opposite of a book slump? We're calling it a flare, and Gwen is on one. She and Frank have a flurry of adult book recommendations, from dystopian novels to innovative science fiction. 

What we are reading now

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Semiosis by Sue Burke

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst

Jun 20, 2019

Another crossover episode with our fine friends from the Overdue podcast! Frank and Gwen join Craig and Andrew in Philadelphia to discuss the 1956 novel Peyton Place. Is it a classic? A soap opera? A groundbreaking statement about sexuality? Is it “ripe, hotly passionate, but fickle” — the first line of the book? You decide.

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious

More Peyton Place...

If you liked this episode, check out our first TLII/Overdue collab: "Lord of the Guys," back in January 2017!

Jun 13, 2019

This week we take you back to our first-ever live show, recorded in Frank's very own Jefferson Market Library! Gwen and Frank talk to Eric Klinenberg, sociologist and author of a new book about libraries and social infrastructure. Plus: the audience offers an invaluable assist during the guessing game.

Guest Star: Eric Klinenberg

Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg

More of his work in our catalog and on his website

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin

Books by Barbara Ehrenreich

O Cafe in Greenwich Village (and pão de queijo)

Jun 6, 2019

It's the first-ever Reading Challenge episode! Gwen and Frank assigned books to each other to read and discuss on the air. Hijinks ensue...

Book Recommendations 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Ava Gardner: 'Love Is Nothing' by Lee Server

Also mentioned: 

Our fourth episode, when Gwen flipped out on Frank for not having read Harry Potter.

Several of Ava's movies, available from NYPL:

The Golden Girls of MGM by Jane Ellen Wayne

Pottermore online

That great tweet about girls with frizzy hair (warning: language!)

May 30, 2019

This week: a rebroadcast of one of our favorite episodes. Gwen and Frank take a deep, emotional dive into Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go.'

May 23, 2019

This episode is brought to you by our soon-to-be-rival podcast, dreamed up by YA librarian Crystal Chen—who's also this week's guest! All rights reserved by her! We talk musicals, poetry, what it really means to create a list of "best" books, and professional development for library staff members.

Book Recommendations

NYPL's Best Poetry Books (and our most recent best books lists)

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice by Bill Browder

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright

Bad Blood  Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen A.F. Venable

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino


Also recommended:

The Woodstock Library in the Bronx

ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response

"VEEP" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

May 16, 2019

Gwen and Frank tackle one book that feels comforting and homey; one that's distinctly unsettling; and one that's somewhere in between. Plus: A stranger on the train helps us deconstruct the genius of J-Patt.

Book Recommendations

Your Duck Is My Duck: Stories by Deborah Eisenberg

The Farm by Joanne Ramos


Also mentioned:

Mary Poppins Returns

Emily Blunt and the rest of the cast going down the bathtub slide!

Everything Doris Day

May 9, 2019

Dr. Carla Hayden sits down with Gwen and Frank to discuss what it really means to lead the Library of Congress—which, by the way, isn't only FOR Congress. Plus: lessons she learned from storytime, how she organizes her home library, and the first time she ever saw herself reflected in a book.

May 2, 2019

It's the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and Jason Baumann—NYPL curator and Grand Marquessa of All Things Stonewall—joins Gwen and Frank to discuss the Library's new anthology about the uprising and its role in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. And then he walks us through some yoga breathing, and it's legit.

Book Recommendations

The Stonewall Reader in our catalog and the NYPL shop

Love and Resistance: Out of the Closet Into the Stonewall Era in our catalog and the NYPL shop

City of Night by John Rechy

City Boy: My Life in New York during the 1960s and 70s (and more books) by Edmund White

The History and Practices of Hatha Yoga by James Mallinson

Also mentioned:

Kay Tobin Lahusen's photographs in our Archives & Manuscripts Division

Jason's first appearance on The Librarian Is In (episode 2!)

And check out more of the exhibition and the rest of the Library's Stonewall coverage at

Apr 25, 2019

Aminatou Sow, writer and co-host of the popular podcast "Call Your Girlfriend," talks with Gwen and Frank about poetry, the mental treadmill of the Internet, and her childhood best friend: the librarian. 

Book Recommendations

Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry

Magical Negro by Morgan Parker

If They Come for Us by Fatimah Ashgar 

Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks

Also mentioned: 

Microsoft Encarta '95


"won't you celebrate with me" by Lucille Clifton 

"Final Notations" by Adrienne Rich can be found in her collection, An Atlas of the Difficult World

Apr 18, 2019

What makes a place home? Frank follows a book rec from a listener and discovers a powerful memoir that makes him rethink the American dream. Gwen's book is a new fairytale retelling... sort of... that involves feudalism and magical gingerbread and... well, maybe you should just have a listen.

Book Recommendations

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

Also mentioned:

The recent Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold

The Netflix series "Working Moms"

The network TV show "The Rookie"

Apr 11, 2019

Our Poetry Bonanza has arrived! In this episode --titled to pay homage to Frank's favorite Emily Dickinson stanza-- he and Gwen get to read and hear poetry recommendations from their listeners.

Listener Poetry Recommendations:

"My Mother Says I am Sickening" in The New Kid On the Block: Poems by Jack Prelutsky

“Good Hot Dogs” by Sandra Cisneros in A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poems for Children by Caroline Kennedy

"Why I Am Not a Good Kisser" in Selected Poem by Mary Ruefle

"Kal" in  If They Come for Us by Fatima Asghar

The title poem in What the Living Do: Poems  by Marie Howe

"What Resembles the Grave But Isn't" by Anne Boyer

IRL by Tommy Pico

The title poem in Inventory by Dionne Brand

"I want a dyke for president" by Zoe Leonard 

"Girls of the Wild" in Wild Embers  by Nakita Gill

"Fold" in You & Yours by Naomi Shihab Nye

"Scientific Romance" by Tim Pratt

"Where the Mind is Without Fear" from Gitanjali (Song Offerings) by Rabindranath Tagore

Also mentioned:

NYPL's Poem in Your Pocket Day

Apr 4, 2019

Gwen and Frank meet a handful of characters who aren't bothered by what other people think. Plus: the pros and cons of reading reviews, the extra voice in translations, and the no-person's-land between picture books and middle-grade fiction. 

Book Recommendations:

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata,  translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori

Sarah Berman's Closet by Maira Kalman

The Princess in Black series by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, art by LeUyen Pham

Also mentioned:

The End of Eddy  and History of Violence by Édouard Louis 

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

NYPL's Poem in Your Pocket Day

Shrill — the Hulu series and the book by Lindy West

Mar 28, 2019

How on earth can you read when you have a newborn? Stephanie Anderson—a new mom and a professional book selector for NYPL and the Brooklyn Public Library—comes to talk about the shifting habits of a reader with a new baby. Plus: Frank channels Supernanny! Again.

Book Recommendations: 

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy  by Angela Garbes

Cesearian Section: An American History of Risk, Technology and Consequence by Jaqueline H. Wolf

The board books:  Bunny Roo, I Love You by Melissa Marr and Global Babies 

Also mentioned:

The New York Times article on cute aggression—why you want to squish and eat that baby! 

In the Witch Elm by Tana French 

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Happyland by J. Robert Lennon

The films Back to the Future and The Terminator

Angela Garbes' article, "The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am"

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, illustrated by Lauren Childs

Bull by David Elliott

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Mar 21, 2019

Greek mythology and contemporary fiction join forces this week! Gwen and Frank read two books that make readers ask, what would you do—or, what should you do?

Book Recommendations: 

Golden Child by Claire Adam

Circe by Madeline Miller

The audiobook of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North  by Blair Braverman

Also mentioned:

A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

The Odyssey , translated by Emily Wilson

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Here Come the 123s!  by They Might Be Giants, and also please watch the amazing video of the "Never Go to Work" song (guaranteed to change your life for the better)

Mar 14, 2019

Okay, what's the deal with librarians and musical theater? This week's guest, newly minted children's librarian Kevin Kelley, traces his origin story back to the stage. He also discusses kids' books about the queer experience and offers up a brand-new first for the guessing game.

Book Recommendations: 

New Kid by Jerry Craft

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

Non-Book Recommendations:

"The Prom," a musical now playing on Broadway (LOTS of dancing!)

Have a laugh with the podcast "Throwing Shade

And look back at episodes of "Gilmore Girls... still so enjoyable.

Also mentioned:

Go the Way Your Blood Beats: On Truth, Bisexuality and Desire  by Michael Amherst

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Hurricaine Child by Kheryn Callender

Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle

Feminasty: The Complicated Woman's Guide to Surviving the Patriarchy Without Drinkng Herself to Death by Erin Gibson


Mar 12, 2019

Over 200 years ago, a teenage girl started a literary legacy that continues to haunt us today. Why do we still keep telling this story and how does it reflect our darkest fears? The New York Public Library's curators join monster theory scholars and best-selling authors to trace the history of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley’s classic. This special podcast episode unpacks the genius of Shelley’s novel, its origins and evolution—from the British Romantics to Black Lives Matter—to uncover how it’s helped us better understand ourselves, our humanity, and our future.

Mar 7, 2019

Audre Lorde and Pat Parker were close friends who fought fiercely for social justice. In this episode, Frank and Gwen discuss a powerful book of letters between the two Black feminist poets. 

Book Recommendation

Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989, ed. by Julie Ensure

More by Audre Lorde and Pat Parker:

The Complete Works of Pat Parker, ed. by Julie Enszer

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde  includes the poem "Power" mentioned in the epsiode.

I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde  includes the essay "There is No Heriarchy of Oppression"

Also check out "Sinister Wisdom," the journal that published Sister Love, for links to articles about the book.
Pat Parker recording of "For Straight Folks Who Don't Mind Gays But Wish They Weren't So Blatant" from the album "Where Would I Be Without You: The Poetry of Pat Parker and Judy Grahn." © Anastasia Dunham-Parker-Brady and the Estate of Pat Parker, 2019, used with permission.
Feb 28, 2019

Get rowdy with Roxanne Coady, indie bookstore owner and host of the Just the Right Book podcast. Roxanne finds common ground with Frank and Gwen, talking about places where people seek connection and community with books at their heart. 


Roxanne's Book Recommendation

My Sister, the Serial Killer  by Oyinkan Braithwaite 

Also mentioned:

A Drinking Life by Pete Hamill

Lucky by Alice Sebold

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Guilded Age by Tim Wu

The Common Good by Robert Reich

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Embers by Sándor Márai

You can visit Roxanne's bookstore, RJ Julia, in Madison, Conneticuit and check out one of their events. And definitely have a listen to her podcast Just the Right Book for more book recommendations and interviews with a wide-range of authors and guests. (Including Frank and Gwen!)

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