News Home RSS Feed

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Bruce Willis Retires from Acting

Written by Jon Williams

Recently, representatives and family members of Bruce Willis announced that he was stepping away from his acting career. The popular action hero has been diagnosed with aphasia, a condition that affects a person’s ability to communicate.

Willis has long been known as a movie star, but he got his start in television. In 1984 and 1985 he appeared in first-season episodes of Miami Vice and the revival of The Twilight Zone. His big break came later in 1985 when he landed the role of private investigator David Addison on Moonlighting. For four seasons he starred alongside Cybill Shepherd on this hit show, winning both a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for Best Actor along the way. (He later won another Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor for his three episodes of the sixth season of Friends.)

During this time, he took his first steps toward the big-screen fame that would define him. His first starring role came opposite Kim Basinger in 1987’s Blind Date. Then, in 1988, his career launched into the stratosphere with the definitive action blockbuster Die Hard. Detective John McClane would become Willis’s most iconic character, a role he would reprise for four sequels, and cement his reputation as an action star. He would put those chops to work in movies like The Last Boy Scout, Red, The Expendables 2, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and so many more.

But while he was best known for action flicks, it was never his only trick. His comedy chops were apparent from early voice roles in Look Who’s Talking and Look Who’s Talking Too, and continued in movies like Death Becomes Her, The Whole Nine Yards, and Cop Out. He took on sci-fi with 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, Armageddon, and Looper. And that’s in addition to blockbusters and favorites like Pulp Fiction, The Sixth Sense, Sin City, and Moonrise Kingdom, to name just a few.

So while he may be leaving the spotlight, all of these memorable TV and film roles ensure that Bruce Willis will be celebrated for a long time to come. Make sure you have his work on your shelves for patrons to discover or revisit. SmartBrowse his name on our website to find everything we have available.

Friday, March 25, 2022

King, Chizmar Wrap Up Gwendy Trilogy

Written by Jon Williams

A new novel from Stephen King is on its way. Fairy Tale, due out September 6, promises a tale of dark fantasy, and will be King’s first solo novel since last year’s Billy Summers. But those constant readers (or listeners) looking for something else set in the land of King’s fertile imagination need look only for a recent collaborative release flying somewhat under the radar.

Released in February, Gwendy’s Final Task, written with Richard Chizmar, concludes the tale that began with Gwendy’s Button Box, released in 2017. Set in King’s famous fictional town of Castle Rock, it details the series of events that ensue when young Gwendy Peterson is approached by a mysterious stranger and entrusted with a powerful magical device.

While King collaborated with Richard Chizmar for the first and third installment in the saga, the second, 2019’s Gwendy’s Magic Feather, was written solely by Chizmar. Well known in horror circles as the publisher of Cemetery Dance magazine, he has also edited and contributed to a number of horror anthologies. In 2021, he released the well-received fictional “true crime” novel Chasing the Boogeyman.

King, of course, is no stranger to collaborations. His first was 1984’s The Talisman, written with fellow horror author Peter Straub. They teamed up again for a sequel, Black House, in 2001. He has also written with each of his sons. He and Joe Hill got together for the novellas Throttle, an homage to Richard Matheson, and In the Tall Grass, both published in Hill’s collection Full Throttle. And in 2017, King collaborated with his son Owen for the bestselling novel Sleeping Beauties.

And because longtime King fans will want to know: yes, the Gwendy books do have the connections to his other works that he loves to include. Stories set in Castle Rock include The Dead Zone, Cujo, The Body, The Dark Half, The Sun Dog, Needful Things, and Elevation, as well as numerous short stories found in Skeleton Crew, Nightmares & Dreamscapes, and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. The Gwendy stories also tie into his magnum opus, the eight-volume Dark Tower series (which begins with The Gunslinger).

Even with these connections, it’s not necessary to read these stories in any particular order, so readers and listeners can feel free to jump in at any point. The stories on your shelves are sure to provide hours of entertainment for fans old and new—use the links above, or browse around on our website to find other novels and collections, available in physical formats and digitally on hoopla Flex.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

In Memoriam: Charlie Watts

Written by Jon Williams

The music world is mourning the death of legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 80.

Although not a founding member of the band, Watts joined the Stones very early on—the band played their first show in July of 1962, and Watts took over as permanent drummer in February of 1963. He quickly became the foundation upon which the band’s success was built. Guitarist Keith Richards himself said, “Everybody thinks Mick [Jagger] and Keith are the Rolling Stones. If Charlie wasn’t doing what he’s doing on drums, that wouldn’t be true at all. You’d find out that Charlie Watts is the Stones.”

The band’s discography kicked off with their self-titled debut in 1964 (titled England’s Newest Hit Makers in the U.S.). Since then, they’ve released 23 British albums and 25 in North America, most recently the covers album Blue & Lonesome in 2016. Other notable releases include their incredible run from 1968 through 1972—Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main St.—to name just a few. They also released a number of live albums, with 1970’s Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out being perhaps the best example of the band at the top of their game. In addition to serving as the band’s drummer, Watts often helped to design their tour stages, album sleeve art, and more.

Before he joined the Rolling Stones, Charlie Watts was primarily a jazz drummer, and his own musical tastes inclined more in that direction. He would often play with big bands and his own quintet, which he formed in 1991. Recordings of these efforts can be hard to find, but one example is Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band, recorded in 2010.

Whether they’re revisiting old favorites or discovering it for the first time, make sure your patrons can experience the timeless music of the Rolling Stones and Charlie Watts. SmartBrowse ‘the Rolling Stones’ on our website for all their studio and live albums, greatest hits compilations, concert video, and more. And if your library offers hoopla, patrons can find the Stones’ music there as well, so they can explore the band’s music at home or on the go.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Expanded Visibility on

Starting this week, all users of the website will see more options for expanding their library’s media collection. In addition to our full line of physical media products (DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K video and music and audiobooks on CD), you will now also be able to see the digital audiobooks and eBooks available on hoopla Flex. Offering our version of one-copy one-user functionality, hoopla Flex allows you to offer your patrons the newest and most popular audiobook and eBook titles alongside the hundreds of thousands of digital titles that are always available via hoopla Instant!

Click here to learn more! If you have questions, contact our Customer Service department at 1.866.698.2231 or

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Great Courses on Sale – Last Chance!

Just a reminder that the CVS Midwest Tape sale on educational videos from the Great Courses is in its final days! Take advantage of this opportunity to add these popular, in-depth lessons to your library’s DVD collection at a discounted rate. Sale prices are good only through May 31. SmartBrowse ‘The Great Courses – Sale’ on our website to see the full selection of included titles, and order now!

Friday, May 7, 2021

The Great Courses on Sale!

Great news for libraries and patrons! Through the month of May, CVS Midwest Tape is offering a number of popular DVDs from the Great Courses at a discounted price. With titles including A Visual Guide to the Universe, The Great Tours: England, Scotland, and Wales, How to Play Piano, and many, many more, this is a perfect opportunity to strengthen your library’s collection of educational videos. These in-depth lessons and lectures are presented by award-winning professors and experts in a wide variety of fields, and they will appeal to patrons who are lifelong learners. Visit our website and SmartBrowse ‘The Great Courses – Sale’ to see all titles that are discounted—sale prices are good through May 31, 2021!