Abbot Public Library is Always Open Online!

Until the building reopens for staff so we can continue Curbside Service and resume accepting returns in our library return bins, you can peruse through ebooks, e-audiobooks, magazines, movies, television, and more from our digital collections

Overdrive and its Libby app, as well as hoopla, have many selections of ebooks and e-audiobooks which can be checked out online. Any items on hoopla can be checked out with no wait – although there is a limit of 5 items per month. Many titles are available on Overdrive, and those that aren’t can be reserved while you check out other available titles. If you didn’t want to bother with waiting, there’s a selection of always available ebooks and e-audiobooks you can browse through on Overdrive. 

With Halloween coming up, you may want to read or listen to some spooky stories to get into the spooky spirit. You’ll find ghost stories in ebook format for all ages, including these children and teen collections, all available on hoopla to read right away. Or you can listen to these hoopla e-audiobooks. There’s also a selection of ghost stories on Overdrive, as well as a collection of Halloween Books for All Ages on Overdrive and Halloween selections and supernatural stories on hoopla, the latter of which includes not only ebooks and e-audiobooks, but also streamable movies and television series, music, and more! Plan a movie marathon on hoopla with their various collections, including their featured Thrilling Series for Fall or October Movies of the Month, You don’t want to miss the Leaving hoopla in October movie collection.

If you want more than the 8,000 + movies offered on hoopla, check out IndieFlix and Acorn TV on RB Digital, along with RB Digital Magazines, which offers back issues of popular magazine titles with no return date!,  and The Great Courses, video lectures from some of the top professors about various health, economics, professional and personal development, and more!

Coming Soon to a Library Near You! New DVDs at APL

Autumn is a season of anticipation. We’re all on the lookout for the leaves to turn, for a season of holidays to begin, and maybe even for something fresh to curl up and watch when the rainy, blustery days keep us indoors. Have a look at the latest DVD offerings in the catalog, our October Watch List–if they haven’t yet dropped, they will very soon, and you’ll want to be the first to get your name on the holds list!

First off, the BBC roundup. David Tennant returns as an investigator in Deadwater Fell, a series that will get under your skin very much as Broadchurch did. Eve Polastri and Villanelle’s mutual obsession gets even more complicated in Season 3 of Killing Eve. The delightfully creepy Dead Still gives us mystery with a macabre twist: the sleuth is a postmortem photographer in Victorian Ireland (really!). And who could resist another instalment of the ever-engaging prequel to Inspector Morse, Endeavour (Series 7), which brings the story into a new decade–the 1970s.

Outlander (Season 5) bridges the ocean between the UK and its colonies as the intrepid hero and heroine strive to make a place for themselves in the New World. And if you missed the Emmy-winning Succession, you’ll find both Season 1 and this year’s Season 2 at APL–catch up so you’re in the know! 

There are some real gems among the newest feature DVDs, as well. Autumn is the time for all things bookish, and if you’re in the mood for something charming and heartening, The Booksellers is just the ticket. You’ll get a peek into New York’s rare book world alongside the likes of Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, and Gay Talese. Hope Gap is autumnal in tone as it takes a heartbreaking yet ultimately affirming look at a middle-aged couple’s crumbling marriage. Driveways, starring the late Brian Dennehy, offers a redemptive portrait of friendship between young and old.

And there’s more! Get this month’s viewing all set by placing holds on your favorites and utilizing our popular Curbside Pickup service. And if you just can’t wait, you’ll find Dead Still, Deadwater Fell, and plenty more on our Acorn TV video streaming service! If you haven’t tried it before, have a look at our FAQ section to get started.

Grab some mulled cider and enjoy!

Blimey! New BBC Content on hoopla

There’s just something about British programming that really cuts the mustard. Mystery, period dramas, police procedurals, genius comedy: our cousins across the pond have captured our imaginations and always seem to leave us longing for more. If you’re already a devotee of Acorn TV, then you know exactly what we’re talking about. If not, you’re in for a treat: check out our FAQs page to find out how to get started. But if you’re looking for further brilliant telly, then hoopla has even more content on offer!

You can get your Brit fix from a number of already-curated collections. For a sprinkling of series from various genres, your first stop should be hoopla’s New from BBC category. Included here are the sorts of lifestyle documentaries that are not commonly available without charge in the US, like Top Gear and George Clarke’s Old House, New Home. With these, viewers can get a sense of what the British themselves are actually watching, not just what is commonly exported for Americans’ entertainment.

Crime Solving Sleuths offers tasters for a number of series, from the gritty, like Silent Witness (in which the sleuth confronts her own demons whilst demanding justice for victims), to the classic and charming, like The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, to the historically and literarily informed The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher.

Further collections bring you even more to savor, all with a delectable British twist. Well-wrought romances bloom in Love Against the Odds; female protagonists win the day in the likes of bucolic, nineteenth-century Cranford and–on the opposite end of the spectrum–Absolutely Fabulous (have a look at hoopla’s Strong Female Characters). Before They Were Stars curates excellent films featuring the likes of Colin Firth, Olivia Coleman, and Idris Elba before they became well-known here in the States, and Britain at War takes us back to Blighty and offers some unique perspectives on a perennially fascinating period–not least of which is the biopic Wodehouse in Exile, a dramatization of the beloved Jeeves and Wooster series author’s exile from his beloved England.

So say “cheerio” to any fears that you’ve already seen every last British program this side of the Atlantic, and get stuck into some seriously satisfying viewing. If you haven’t tried hoopla, visit our FAQs section to get started. If you’d like to explore the Abbot Library’s BBC DVD collection, you can do so here and get your selections (right now with no charge!) via our convenient curbside pickup service.

Vet on Call! Visit Herriot Country via Overdrive/Libby, Acorn TV, and DVD

Remember the days when a trip to a petting zoo or small farm was an absolute delight? Perhaps it still is! There’s much to be said for the therapeutic value of low-stress contact with farm animals, whether you’re feeding a pony a carrot, trying your hand at milking a goat, or simply sinking your fingers into a lamb’s soft wool.

While the life of a country vet is far from placid, as Alf Wight (writing as James Herriot) could attest, there are many such moments of grace–and even more humor–to be found in his semi-autobiographical series of books set in the scenic Yorkshire Dales. Beloved the world over for nearly 50 years, four of the five titles (as published in the U.S.) were inspired by a beloved British hymn: All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Creatures Great and Small (also available on hoopla), All Things Wise and Wonderful, and The Lord God Made Them All (the final title is Every Living Thing). As promised (see this previous post), all of these are now available for your listening pleasure on Overdrive/Libby! Relax into the world of Darrowby and its surrounding farms as mellow-voiced Christopher Timothy brings Jim Herriot and the various eccentric village characters to vivid life. It’s hard to imagine tales less in keeping with the current state of affairs, and therein lies their charm. That’s not to say that they’re sentimental or that sad events do not intrude, but the tales do radiate a comforting sense that “there’ll always be an England.”

If you’ve streamed The Yorkshire Vet on Acorn TV (as previously suggested) and have become engrossed in the day-to-day drama and humor of the Herriot/Wight practice as it operates today, then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a brand-new series 6 available! It just premiered on July 20th and offers 8 all-new episodes, some featuring Alf Wight’s affable protégé, Peter Wright.

And if you’re up for some 1970s-80s TV nostalgia, it’s hard to do better than the renowned BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small (starring no less than Robert Hardy of Harry Potter fame, alongside Christopher Timothy and Peter Davison), which spins its particular brand of charm over seven seasons two Christmas specials. Now that the library is offering Curbside Pickup, you can place holds on the DVDs in the library catalog here, and get them with no rental fees! New to curbside pickup? Have a look at this post for all the details.

Savour a slice of Herriot heaven and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Best of British: Watch UK Telly on hoopla!

Perhaps you’ve heard Noël Coward’s comic line “mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.” The dog days of summer might just as well tempt you indoors, though, and if so, there’s plenty of British television fare to keep you sane while you stay in shade. Did you know that, while you have access to excellent programming via Acorn TV, the Abbot Public Library also offers access to British TV and movies through hoopla? Brilliant!

Tune your telly (oops–laptop/Smart TV/mobile device) to hoopla’s curated British Drama list for 45 feature-length films you just may not have seen yet, or perhaps might like to see again. Here, you’ll find modern, book-based classics like Wolf Hall and Rebecca rubbing shoulders with historic crime drama Gunpowder (starring Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington as Guy Fawkes) and spy thriller Page Eight (with Rachel Weisz and Bill Nighy). You’ll get to sample some TV series openers, too. Another category that might tempt you is hoopla’s Masterpiece Theatre collection, 99% of which hails from the British Isles!

No one does a TV series quite like the Brits, and they’re available in abundance on hoopla if you just know where to look. For strictly BBC content, try this search, and–blimey–152 results! There’s Absolutely Fabulous, a pop culture touchstone with guest appearances from the likes of Elton John and Naomi Campbell (this one’s not currently available on Acorn TV). You’ll also find cozy favorites like Father Brown (also available only on hoopla), ready to whisk you away from current stresses to a country parish brimming with murder and mayhem.

So settle in with a cuppa, flick on the AC, and get your British on with hoopla!

Oh, and by the way, if you’d like access to our ample collection of British DVDs, they are once more available to you! Please see the post “What You Need to Know for Curbside Pickup” for all the details. And — good news – during Curbside Service, there is no fee to borrow DVDs!

If you’re new to hoopla, visit our FAQs page for an easy how-to. If you don’t currently have a library card, you can get started here.

Having Trouble Logging In To Acorn TV?

UPDATE: As of Thursday, July 16, all the Acorn TV issues have been fixed! You should be able to log in once to the RBDIgital portal at abbotma.rbdigital.com and be automatically logged in to Acorn TV.

If you continue to experience issues with this, please contact the library at mar@noblenet.org.


We have noticed there have been issues with logging in to Acorn TV, one of Abbot Public Library’s online services with which you can stream British movies and television (for free!).

Acorn TV is one of the services offered through RBDigital, the others being IndieFlix, Great Courses, and RB Digital Magazines.

The issue arises if you are trying to access RBDigital and Acorn through a browser. If you have changed your RBDigital password in the past, you will need to do the same directly through Acorn TV, as it may have retained your old password. To do this, simply click “Forgot Password” and you will be sent an email link with instructions for how to change your password. Don’t forget to change your password so that it matches what you use for RBDigital!

FULL INSTRUCTIONS FOR LOGGING ON TO ACORN TV

  1. Go to https://abbotma.rbdigital.com
  2. Click on Acorn TV under the Entertainment section.
  1. Click on any of the movies or shows.
  2. Click “Check Out.” You will be prompted to sign into RBDigital. 
  1. A pop-up screen will appear saying you will have unlimited access to Acorn TV for 7 days. Click “OK.” You have now checked out a 7-day pass for access to Acorn TV.
  1. You will be routed to the Acorn TV site. Click “Access Acorn TV.”
  1. From here you will need to log in again. If you have ever changed your password, this is where you will click “Forgot password” and change it so it matches the RBDigital login.

    If you don’t think you ever changed your password, try logging in. If it does not work, click “Forget Password” and follow the steps to change your password to the one you just use for your RB Digital Account.
  1. You should now have access to British television! 

If you continue experiencing issues, or if you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us at mar@noblenet.org or call at 781-631-1481 during service hours, on Mondays through Saturdays from 2:00 pm – 5:45 pm.

Enchanting Eccentrics Part 2: Watch on hoopla and Acorn TV

Summer blockbusters are all well and good, but if you’re not really in the mood for a creature feature or epic save-the-world adventure, take heart: the Abbot Library may just have some congenial viewing for you! Charming-oddball flicks may not always have quite the box-office stamina of superhero films, but they’re sure to reward the discriminating viewer who’s not afraid to take some cinematic chances on unlikely heroes.

So, if you’ve got a good sense of humor, quite a bit of heart, and are up for the challenge, have a look at our newly-curated collection on hoopla–2020 APL Enchanting Eccentrics (Film). Here you’ll find French, British, and Swedish films with protagonists ranging from a piquantly mischievous ingénue to a suicidal curmudgeon to an entire village-worth of stubborn Welshmen and women. 

Amélie captured hearts and tickled funnybones on both sides of the Atlantic when it was first released in 2001, and it has certainly lost nothing of its appeal. Sweetly off-kilter since childhood, the title character toggles between an emotionally distant father, a reclusive but wise old painter, and the amour she worships from afar–a misfit like herself with a peculiar photographic obsession.

A Man Called Ove brings Fredrik Backman’s beloved book to life, rendering the world-weary Ove with striking–often heartbreaking, but never sentimental–precision, all the while pitting the  dark humor of his perspective against the irrepressible liveliness of a neighboring young family. 

For something a bit more frothy, yet with an abundance of World War I-era period charm, you might turn to one of film history’s longest-titled movies: The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. Starring a youthful Hugh Grant and sparkling Tara Fitzgerald, this mock-epic romp showcases idiosyncratic British (excuse me, Welsh) local pride at its best. 

If you listened to the previously-recommended book The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (yet another candidate for longest title!), you might want to judge for yourself how well it translated to the big screen.

Other offerings will quietly break your heart (Still Life, starring Joanne Froggatt of Downton Abbey), have you rooting for a gang of Baby Boomers-turned-bank-robbers (Golden Years, also available on Acorn TV), and revive your belief in happy endings–even for the most cantankerous and neurotic of characters (This Beautiful Fantastic–see also a previous review of the film).

If you’re ready to commit to a bit of bingeing, check out 2020 APL Enchanting Eccentrics (TV), on hoopla, featuring two BBC series that just about wrote the playbook for unconventional character-based comedy.

Over the course of three captivating seasons, The Detectorists follows the travails and triumphs of two endearing geeks (played by Toby Jones of The Hunger Games and Mackenzie Crook of Pirates of the Carribean) who are forever hoping that their next metal-detecting session will uncover a hoard of Saxon gold. Doc Martin (starring Martin Clunes)–all nine seasons of which are also available on Acorn TV–introduces an apparently opposite protagonist, a high-flying London surgeon whose suddenly-developed hemophobia sends him to a Cornish backwater. But his social awkwardness, essential loneliness, and refusal to suffer fools gladly somehow render him irresistible. 

Acorn TV offers a wealth of similar fare, a standout of which is Kingdom, starring Stephen Fry as a surprisingly sympathetic solicitor. Unlike Doc Martin, the main character is the sanest of the bunch in his Norfolk town, and he finds himself disentangling clients’ problems while coping with his own dysfunctional family. You’ll be tickled and captivated by his adventures.

Here’s hoping you find plenty of eccentric enchantment to while away the summer hours!

Escape to the Country! Find Bucolic Bliss on hoopla, Overdrive, and Acorn TV

Here in our pretty seaside town, we’re surrounded by an abundance of Atlantic natural beauty. But if you’re feeling a bit of wanderlust as summer begins and would like to seek out pastures new–at least in imagination–let the Abbot Library be your guide! You’ll find the suggestions below on hoopla, Overdrive/Libby, and Acorn TV.

If rural New England takes your fancy, you might just like Sy Montgomery’s The Good, Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood, read by Audiofile Earphones Award-winning Xe Sands and set on a New Hampshire farmstead. This gentle, true tale of a runt piglet who became a beloved village icon and even did a stint on NPR is sure to charm you. Sy Montgomery is a noted naturalist who is famous for The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness and, more recently, the soulful, philosophical How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals–neither of which is strictly rural, but both of which will nonetheless envelop the reader in the wonders of the natural world.

If you think the grass might be even greener in England (that famously “green and pleasant land”), then try world-renowned titles by Yorkshire country veterinarian Alf Wight, written under the nom-de-plume “James Herriot.” Many are familiar with the bestselling All Creatures Great and Small, adapted for TV in the late 1970s and 1980s, and starring Robert Hardy (of Harry Potter fame) and Christopher Timothy. If not, or if you’d like to revisit the famed practice in Darrowby, try this Overdrive audio version with the genial-voiced Timothy as narrator. Herriot’s evocation of the lush Yorkshire Dales in funny and poignant true-to-life tales is sure to soothe the soul. Did you know that there are further Herriot books to enjoy? You’ll find many of them here, in both audio and ebook formats. Also, keep an eye out for more audio versions (also voiced by Timothy) coming to our Overdrive collection this July.

Farm life and bucolic landscapes also feature on several high-quality Acorn TV documentaries and series. If you can’t get enough of James Herriot, you’ll love The Yorkshire Vet, which follows the real-life adventures of two vets now working in Alf Wight’s old practice, one of whom trained under Wight. Or tune in to some pleasurably educational reality TV with “The Family Farm,” filmed in the Welsh countryside. You’ll watch three urban families as they challenge themselves to live an agrarian life for three weeks. For an illuminating ramble across the whole of Wales, accompanied by a charming sheepdog and his knowledgeable human, try “Off the Beaten Track,” also on Acorn TV.

Here’s hoping you find your rural bliss!

Anxious Anglophile Therapy: Acorn TV + hoopla

We know you’re out there. Those who flicked on the Queen’s calm, collected, compassionate (and historically rare) televised addresses to her nation on the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who followed the unexpected drama of the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 illness and recovery. Maybe there’s an ancient rootedness, an age-old solidity about the United Kingdom that–despite the recent upheaval of Brexit–appeals to us in our comparatively young and volatile New World. Or perhaps the Brits just have a knack for making us laugh, a good enough therapy in itself. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying Americans’ fascination with and rapacious consumption of British programming!

For Anglophiles, there’s just nothing like Acorn TV. Shows that were once available only on DVD or through subscription streaming are now just a couple of clicks away for Marblehead library card holders. Even better, they’re always available and free. No holds, no waits, no fees. Check out a 7-day pass, and you can blissfully binge-watch until it’s time to check out another pass: no monthly limits or checkout caps. Whether your “comfort genre” is comedy, historical drama, mystery, or documentary, you’ll find plenty to your taste. If you’re the sort who finds solace in schedules (especially in this time of disruption), Acorn TV offers you one, so that you can keep track of offerings that are “Recently Added,” “Coming Soon,” and “Leaving Soon”–you’ll never miss a trick! You can of course browse by category, one of which is currently “Soothing Documentary.” The British really are unapologetic about the value of comfort in these anxious times! 

For those who are already passionate fans of Acorn TV and feel as though they’ve exhausted its possibilities for the moment (though that would take some seriously committed bingeing!), the Abbot Public Library’s newest digital service, hoopla, offers yet more tempting BBC fare. Have  a look at this search of hoopla’s TV category and this one of BBC movies, with 150 and 63 results, respectively. Odds are you’ll find a previously unseen treasure, as there are plenty of titles you may well not have encountered on Acorn – series and films that were popular in the UK but not as widely known in the US.

So, brew yourself a cuppa, butter some toast, and settle in for some seriously brilliant British telly. No therapist’s bills here–just let those plummy accents soothe your stressed-out psyche!

If you’re new to Acorn TV and/or hoopla, have a look at our FAQs page to get started right away! If you need to sign up for a Marblehead library card, you can start here. And do feel free to contact Reference staff at mar@noblenet.org with any further questions.

Keep the Home Fires Burning: Audio and Video for Lockdown

So, here we are. Still (mostly) at home. Hoping that our domestic self-quarantining will help win the war against our invisible enemy. We might like to imagine ourselves as citizens of a contemporary home front–the ones making it possible for front-liners to do their jobs, chiefly by cheering them on, wearing our masks, and staying out of the way.

Even so, it may all feel somewhat less than heroic. To bolster morale, you might turn to APL’s new hoopla collection of home-themed listens: 2020 APL At Home: Domestic Listens for Lockdown. Here, you’ll find a variety of approaches to the idea of “home”: biographies imagining life as a metaphorical journey from–or return to–home (see Josh Grogan’s The Longest Trip Home and Jane & Me: My Austen Heritage by Caroline Jane Knight), or perhaps a history of early American women’s domestic lives in the newly-released Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England. Also set close to our home here in the Northeast is an autobiography of boyhood that documents farm life during the last great world conflict–Home Front: A Memoir from World War II by C. D. Peterson.

You can also explore “home” as a cultural concept in Domesticity, where “Ann Tudor examines the joy and the sorrow, the guilt and the satisfaction of domestic life, all of it related in her usual wry voice.” 

Or, if you’re in a philosophical frame of mind, try New York Times-bestselling author Erica Bauermeister’s House Lessons: Renovating a Life, a collection of biographical essays that “takes listeners on a journey to discover the ways our spaces subliminally affect us.” 

If you’d like to enjoy a bit of Bill Bryson’s brilliant-but-curmudgeonly humor as he ranges through an eccentric history of domestic architecture and culture, have a listen to At Home: A Short History of Private Life on Overdrive or through the Libby app. For this book, Bryson challenged himself to “write a history of the world without leaving home.”

For a spot of escape from your own humdrum domestic sphere, tune in to several of Acorn TV’s documentary offerings showcasing the home life of days gone by–and modern attempts to relive or conserve those realities: 1900 Island, Victorian House of Arts & Crafts, or Keeping the Castle.

And keep those home fires burning!

*Quoted material from authors and/or publishers.