Welcome to Meet Me in the Stacks, a podcast for book-ish people. On our show, we take deep dives into subjects that inform, entertain, and enlighten. You don’t have to be an avid reader to find enjoyment in our show, but of course, if you are, you definitely don’t want to miss an episode.

Episode 38 - SOGI 1, 2, 3...

Have you always wondered what SOGI stands for but didn’t want to ask the angry people with the signs by the side of the road?  Nathan thinks maybe you have.  He conducts an investigation with the help of Scout from SOGI 1, 2, 3.

Find some SOGI-inclusive books for children and teens here.

Episode 37 - Canadian Letters & Images Project

Join us in our first sponsored episode! Buster and Barnfather’s Children’s Cigarettes are the perfect pairing for this educational look at Vancouver Island University’s Canadian Letters & Images Project with Dr. Stephen Davies.  See the project here at https://www.canadianletters.ca including some famous Canadian guest readers!

You can help the project financially by donating through the VIU Foundation, which is a tax-deductible donation.

If you have wartime letters, postcards, etc. you can lend them to the project as per the directions here.


Episode 36 - Climate Action and Preparing for the Inferno

Nathan gets a bit down/realistic about climate change with some special guests.  First he talks to Teegan Walshe from Fridays for the Future in Qualicum, which is an ongoing school strike for climate justice.  (Back in Nathan and Darby’s day, people skipped school to smoke pot or buy candy.)

Second, he talks with Lucy Grainger of FireSmart BC.  You can learn more, including the free fire assessment mentioned, at FireSmartBC.ca.

Books on the topic of Climate Optimism selected by our Librarians can be found here.

Books mentioned by Teegan:

Episode 35 -Freedom to Read, this week & every week

Ex-high school investigative journal turned Library Manager Stephanie interviews Library Manager Monica about Freedom to Read Week, which we observe from Feb. 18-24 this year.  Tune in for this interesting library values conversation on this still very relevant topic.

Further reading:


Episode 34 - Library Trivialities in the Arena, vol. 3

Nathan tests his Manager Stephanie’s trivia prowess in today’s episode.  Can you beat Stephanie at trivia?  Peter Parker Gretzky thinks you can in one section for sure.

Winners will of course receive FREE BOOKS FOR LIFE!  If you did not win, you will also receive free books for life, but only real Alex Cross titles.  Redeemable at your local library branch.

Episode 33 - LAC de livres, etc.

We are feeling very educational today.  So today is the day you learn a new acronym! LAC stands for Library and Archives Canada and we are really nerding out with Julie Anne Richardson from LAC.

Ever wondered what the Library and Archives of Canada does?  Or how Canada preserves its written and recorded culture?  Or what animal noises Nathan’s former bandmates can make?  Listen to find out the answers to these questions and more…

Check out Library and Archives Canada, where to do your Legal Deposit form if you made something they want to collect, and you can listen to Jordan Venn’s Phosphorescence song on Bandcamp.

Episode 32 - Goosefeather

How do YOU feel about honking like a goose for people?  If you’re very comfortable, perhaps you are our next guest!

Meet Naomi Steinberg, storyteller and author.  There are no spoilers, just enjoy the voyage…  *HONK!*


Episode 31 - Sea & Cedar Storytime

Enjoy your literary adult storytime with these Sea & Cedar magazine readings!

Works included:

  • Storyteller Spirits & Tuesday’s Tide by Heather Hendry
  • Hedgerow & Moss by Allie Picketts
  • Flame Girl by Jann Everard
  • Snake Spur Road by Karl Sturmanis
  • Planting Onions by Zoe Dickinson
  • Pop-Up Grebe by Christine Lowther
  • Spell for Skookumchuck Narrows by Anne Hopkinson

You can READ this issue of Sea & Cedar online or in print.  You can also SUBMIT your own work here.

A limited number of PRINT copies are also available for purchase! Email seacedarmag@virl.bc.ca to place an order (for pick up only at any VIRL branch).  Cost is $15 + GST per copy.

Episode 30 - The Great Debate: eBooks vs. pBooks

Do paper (or “pbooks”, if you will) have a place in this world anymore?  Will reading an ebook lead to buying unneeded items on the internet and generally ruin your health?

Nathan and Darby duke it out.  Can they come together on the topic, or will the excitement of the debate rhetoric prove to be too much?  Find out on this impassioned episode.

Episode 29 - Jan Zwicky reads & talks philosophy and climate change

Spurred on by our special guest, Nathan reflects on whether he is “award winning” for a brief, awkward moment.  Then Quadra Island dwelling and Order of Canada winning poet (and lovely human being) Jan Zwicky does a special reading of her essays and poems.  From this, she dives into a discussion with Darby about climate change and accepting the mess we seem to be in.  If you’re feeling stressed out about climate change, chill out with some exquisite poetry and feel admiration for the boundless energy of nature in this moment.

If that still doesn’t work, Jan and Darby suggest growing garlic and making garlic scape pesto, which is very good on pizza.  You can get started with our Vancouver Master Gardeners’ help here.  Failing the garlic cure, you should get chickens.

Episode 28 - Romance Recipe with Ruby Barret for Pride Month

Casey talks full-on romance with Ottawa based bisexual author Ruby Barrett.  She is the author of The Romance Recipe, a queer rom-com featuring Amy and Sophie possibly adding the non-FDA approved ingredient of “love” into their restaurant food.  Publisher’s Weekly calls it “a down-to-earth queer romance”.

This episode was recorded at our live Pride Month event with Ruby Barrett.

Check out some other LGBTQ2+ reads here on our Pride Month page.  Queer books are great to read all year round!


Episode 27 - F This

Not for sensitive ears!  There are a lot of words that start with different letters, but mostly “F”.  Get ready to feel like a kid looking up bad words in the dictionary!  (Tee hee.)

Nathan talks about all of the books with the eff word in the title.  Apparently this kind of title is helpful to us all.  Also profitable!

And then there is some profanity trivia for you!

Episode 26 - Sea & Cedar Storytime

Nathan gets to reuse his accordion rendition of our theme to welcome you to this second special episode of Sea & Cedar magazine readings!  It’s like a literary adult storytime for you, really.

Works included:

  • Orca Cafe by Anna Russell
  • West Coast Mornings: the view by Chris Lihou
  • Tracks by Deborah Graham

You can READ this issue of Sea & Cedar online or in print.  You can also SUBMIT your own work here.

Episode 25 - From School to Sky

Does your family have war stories?  Are they shared or unspoken?  Join blues musician George Halpern for his father’s action-packed war story from his book From School to Sky: Joseph’s Tale of War. 

You can borrow his book here or find out where to purchase it here.  See photos here.

This event was originally at the Nanaimo North Branch in early 2023.

Episode 24 - Win Free Books for Life with Library Trivia Vol. 2!

Nathan quizzes Darby on such topics as:

  • what kind of library is an osmothèque?
  • detective or dancer?
  • Shakespeare word, or not?
  • and many more…

YOU could win FREE BOOKS FOR LIFE!  Please redeem your prize at your nearest branch. 

Episode 23 -Best Books Read in 2022 & What Is Time?

Nathan and Darby talk about books (again) and important topics like “what is a new year anyway?”  We may or may not be late with this segment about our top picks from 2022 (though we are totally early for Nowruz/Persian New Year, so there!).

Our top picks:

Episode 22 -Something to Talk About (*woof*, *meow*)

When Nathan gets a bee in his bonnet, he really goes all the way.  Listen to him talk about phone booths and “computer phones”.  Yes, this is library related, really.  Don’t get Nathan started again.  Please.

Darby brings you 5 books to talk about.  They are book club approved!  Or you can just think about them really hard by yourself.

  1. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
  2. Women Talking by Miriam Toews
  3. Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder
  4. When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
  5. The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline


Episode 21 -Sea & Cedar Storytime

Nathan is inspired to procure an accordion to welcome you to this special episode of Sea & Cedar magazine readings!  It’s like a literary adult storytime for you, really.

Works included:

  • Steelhead! by Jess H. Brewer
  • The Long View & Youth is an Absence by Diane Massam
  • Hockey Fights by Miles Hayes
  • Cedar Psalm III by Allie Picketts
  • Back Road Bonanza, Solstice Ceremony, Raining Glory by Neall Calvert

You can READ this issue of Sea & Cedar online or in print.  You can also SUBMIT your own work here.

Episode 20 - Library Trivia

Nathan tests your library trivia knowledge and then lets you self-evaluate to assign your own points. Listen in to hear what prizes are on offer.

Episode 19 -Kicking ASSpergers with Jeremy Tolmie

Longtime library employee Jeremy Tolmie talks to Librarian Dalia about his life and his book called Kicking ASSpergers: One Meltdown at a Time.  Find his book on his publisher’s website, Jeremy’s website, or in the library catalogue.

Jeremy Tolmie has written three previous books—Living with Asperger’s Syndrome, Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Living on the Autism Spectrum. His goal in sharing his story is to inspire hope in others with autism, and their families.

He resides in semi-independent living in Nanaimo, British Columbia.


Episode 18 -Short Fiction for Your Busy Ears

We hear ya…  Summer can be a busy time and we have some local short fiction to squeeze in while you do something else.  Meet winners from the 2022 Islands Short Fiction Contest!  They are here for you.

Stories included today:

  • The Grimathonian Monster written by and read by Mira Vickers, 1st place in the junior category
  • The Push written by and read by Lillith Stoyko-Lang, 1st place in the youth category
  • Revenge of the Butterflies written by and read by Linnea Wiggers, tied for 3rd place in the youth category
  • Servant of the Ants written by Cody Alexander and read by Nathan, 2nd place in the youth category
  • Bear written by and read by Robert Bowerman, 1st place in the adult category

You can read all of the winning stories here on the Islands Short Fiction 2022 Winners page.  Thanks to all of the talented writers who shared their work for the contest!

Episode 17 -Live vibes for I Am Everything In Between with Sydney Sunderland

Get right into the live vibe of this event from Pride Month at Courtenay library with author Sydney Sunderland.  I Am Everything In Between highlights kids who don’t fit into stereotypical gender ideals. The book is published by Rebel Mountain Press in Nanoose.

Find it in the library catalogue, see more info from Rebel Mountain, and find it in your local bookstore!

Episode 16 - Favourite Picks from Volume One Bookstore in Duncan

Kendra talks with Vivi and Catherine of Duncan’s amazing bookstore, Volume One.  Get ready for some deep-dive recommendations!

Their favourites for adults:

Their favourites for children:

Nathan suggests you check out Broombusters.org to assuage your invasive species guilt for loving the Miss Rumphius book.

Image from Broombusters.org website.


Episode 15 - Fine Crimes

Are fines fine, or are fines not so fine? Does fining lead to… crime? Find out with Nathan and visit the dark world of library fine crimes. (Did you know that VIRL has no overdue fines for children’s and young adult materials? And we’re trying it out for adult materials too in 2022!)

Darby shares some fine thrillers (with crimes in them):

  1. The Kill Club by Wendy Heard
  2. Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
  3. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham-Jones
  4. City of the Lost by Kelly Armstrong
  5.  Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan


Episode 14 - Visiting Notting Hill for a queer romcom + audiobooks to delight your ears

Sooke Librarian Nathalie interviews Victoria-based author Hayden Stone.  He is definitely a book-ish person and talks about favourite real-life bookshops along with the fictional one he created for his character Aubrey.  You can find his queer romance book An Unexpected Kind of Love for sale or in our catalogue.  (Apparently it has a lot of kissing and steamy bits.)

An Unexpected Kind of Lovehttps://api.entangledpublishing.com/storage/authors/author_16255894331052.jpg

Casey tells us about some great full cast audiobooks, which are awesome because there are multiple narrators and it’s a bit like a radio play.  (Nathan should probably not lie down if he’s listening to an audiobook, unless there is a lot of yelling in it.)  Download the Libby App on your phone or tablet here so you can get listening.

  1. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    • available in eAudiobook and CD audiobook
  2. Greenwood by Michael Christie
    • available in eAudiobook
  3. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
    • available in eAudiobook
  4. Sadie by Courtenay Summers
    • available in eAudiobook
  5. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
    • available in eAudiobook and CD audiobook

Episode 13 - Take a break from busy with poetry by Kamal Parmar

Settle in, maybe in a meditation seat, maybe reclined on your couch, and give yourself a little break to listen to some poetry.

Kamal Parmar is Nanaimo’s Poet Laureate and the author of numerous books of poetry.  Parmar is also a writer creative non-fiction and has published multiple books in North America, India and the United Kingdom, with topics including childhood memories of India, her impressions of Canada and her experience caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease.

Episode 12 - The Gift of Adversity with W'ren & company*

On Sunday November 28th from 2-3:30pm we will be conducting a virtual (Zoom) screening of the documentary film Dance with Disease: The Gift of Adversity, which will be followed by a Q&A by the filmmaker. Here are some details about the film and creator:

Following W’Ren’s life-changing 2016 diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, he turned to filmmaking as part of his healing journey. Dance with Disease: the Gift of Adversity explores various people’s stories of hardship, and their grace and gratitude in the face of adversity.

Here’s a link to the documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbBH2luO7F

*contains some swearing in the context of the guests’ journeys

Episode 11 - The Haunting of Vancouver Island & Also Of Your Bedside Table

BOO(k) to you!!!

Casey shares some Spoooooooky Booooooooks:

    1. Good House by Tananarive Due
    2. Through the Woods  by Emily Carroll
    3. Fangs by Sarah Andersen
    4. Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Sarah Khaw
    5. Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall by Suzette May

Tell us what YOUR favourite spooky tales are!

Then Darby had a more lighthearted conversation with Shanon Sinn of Victoria, BC about his uniquely spooky and well-researched book The Haunting of Vancouver Island: supernatural encounters with the other side.  Be scared and informed!  These ghost stories can be “teachers of history”.

Put a hold on it here or find it at your local bookstore -odds are Shanon has visited them to stock the book.

The MMITS crew are also fans of the Nanaimo Museum like Shanon is!

Check out his twitter and #FolkloreThurs (Folklore Thursdays) from our convo, too.

Episode 10 - COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

What does folklore have to do with COVID anyway?  And have you ever wanted to know what the difference between gossip and rumour is?  Why does it even matter?  And how big an X-Files fan is Nathan anyway?

Find out by listening (and using a bit of imagination on what the slides looked like) if you’re concerned about the reptilian cabal that runs the podcast!  On September 28, Memorial University professor John Bodner virtually visited the Comox Valley to talk conspiracy theories all the way from his new home in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  (John was formerly a Cumberland resident!)  You can see his co-authored book here from our library.  Totally fascinating!

Further reading/reference that you might check out:

Episode 9 - Theremins and Libraries of Things

The episode in which you learn the name to that instrument you hear in all the TV shows but had no idea what it was.  Also, Nathan and Darby talk about Libraries of Things that lend unexpected items.

We talk about:

  • Seed libraries
    • at Nanaimo North, Creativity Commons (Nanaimo),Courtenay, and Gabriola branches
  • Human libraries
  • Tool libraries
  • Musical instrument libraries
  • Puzzle lending
    • shhh….  Nanaimo North has a semi-secret puzzle lending library  (and we’re not sure why we’re whispering!)

What would YOU want to see as a library of things? Cake pans? Keytars? Kombucha SCOBYs? Email us and let us know.

You can visit the Creativity Commons branch to try their Theremin too!

Casey jumps through the sliding glass door to talk Canadian Muslim novels and authors, and hopes these books are mirrors for some of you, dear listeners!

Any others we should know about?  Like maybe some male Canadian Muslim authors?  =)

Episode 8 - Meryl Wilsner on queer romances

“If only we could just read and not go to our jobs and stuff.” -Quote of the episode

Author Meryl Wilsner reads from and discusses their novel Something to Talk About back in June for Pride month.  The book follows Jo and Emma in a what starts as a Hollywood rumour and looks like it might become a relationship.  Meryl answers questions from the zoom audience as well.

Queers romance authors/books mentioned by Meryl:

Casey tells our listeners about her blog called Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, and five very recent Canadian queer and trans books:

  1. Polar Vortex by Chani Mootoo
  2. My Art is Killing Me by Amber Dawn
  3. Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) by Hazel Jane Plante
  4. A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt
  5. The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya

Tell us what your favourite queer Canadian books are!  Or request a topic by emailing us at meetmeinthestacks@virl.bc.ca

Episode 7 - Beach Reads and Tips for Reading More

We’re all about the R&R and slowing it down to get some reading in this episode.  These segments were recorded during our July heatwave, so don’t mind our dewey/Dewey appearance.

Beach reads are different everyone, but Casey tells you about some compelling, light, and totally entertaining books that she thinks are just beachy, whether you’re an ocean, lake, river, or AC kind of reader:

  1. Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie
  2. Summer Fun by Jeanne Thornton
  3. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
  4. Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
  5. Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Special guest Kelsey from K’il Kun (aka Sandspit) in Haida Gwaii shares her ideas for reading more.  These are her tips:

  1. Replace Screen Time with Book Time
    • Read a book during your morning coffee instead of scrolling.
    • Read during your commute if you’re a bus or train commuter.  Or listen while you drive or walk!
  2. Keep a book on your bedside table so you can read a few minutes before you fall asleep.
    • A non-fiction book might help you still go to sleep on time if you tend to read all night.
  3. Consider alternatives to traditional print materials.
    • eBooks -automatically return after the loan period from your library
    • audiobooks -this is definitely reading too and you can do other things at the same time, like the dishes, or gardening
    • graphic novels -easier for some to get into, quick reads
  4. Start small. Break it down into manageable pieces.
    • Maybe you start by reading for part of your cup of coffee to start.
    • Or read on a screen first, then check Facebook.
  5. Try a SMART goal.  Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based
    • Example: I will read one fiction book by the end of the month.

Episode 6 - Farm Fieldtrip to the Comox Valley

Jessica takes us for a field trip into her Ask A Local Farmer program series!  Local Comox Valley farmer Arzeena from Amara Farm discusses growing your own food and supporting local food cultivation during and post pandemic.  You might learn something that will help you with your carrot crop or just inspire you to plant something!

Arzeena recommended you check out a book about square foot gardening.  Jessica made a list of the Comox Valley resources mentioned in their conversation.

About the farmer

Arzeena earned her Bachelor’s degree in Crop Science from the University of Guelph and a Master’s in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of London, England. She worked as a CUSO volunteer in Thailand and as a researcher in Jamaica, India, and Bangladesh. She was the staff Agrologist for West Coast Seeds from 1997-1999 and served as the Coordinator of the Richmond Food Security Society from 2008-2012, and in 2010 helped launch the Richmond Farm School. She and her husband moved their family to the Comox Valley in 2012 and run Amara Farm, a 25-acre certified organic farm in Courtenay, BC. In 2018, Arzeena was elected to the Board of the Comox Valley Regional District where she serves as both Vice Chair and Director, Area B.

About the Farm: 

Arzeena and Neil started Amara Farm in 2012 with a dream to grow healthy food for their community. First came the veggies, and then an acre of blueberries in 2014. The farm received its certified organic status in 2015 and has since earned awards such as, the Land of Plenty Award (2018), and the Comox Valley Record’s Best Market Vendor (2019). They have recently started a new project involving the addition of a new orchard full of apple, pear, and hazelnut trees.


Amara Farm Logo


Episode 5 - Books About Books and Askew Creek Co-operative Book Shop

Brace yourself…this one is pretty book-ish.

Metabooks?  Bibliomemoirs?  Reading about reading?  In Talk Bookish to Me Casey tells us about some books about some other books.

Learn all about the Askew Creek Book Shop with Cowichan librarian, Kendra, as she talks to co-op members Diane Cacciato (Gallagher) and Suzanne Anderson!  Diane Gallagher can be found on her website, including info on her new book The Bastard of Saint Geneva. Suzanne Anderson is a writer, publisher, book coach and copy editor and can be found on her website called “The Self Publishing Expert”.

The co-operative book shop was started up in June of 2020 (when everyone thought COVID might be over) and has just closed as of May 30, 2021.  You can find the co-operative on Facebook under their new name of An Island of Books.

Episode 4 -Author Eden Robinson in Laughter & Conversation

Are you a fan of cosy/serious/hilarious/Indigenous culture lit?  Us too!  Author Eden Robinson laughs (a lot) with Darby about her books, Wild Men of the Woods (aka Sasquatches), matriarchal tendencies, and lots more.  This is the audio from our special zoom event on April 23, 2021.

Eden Robinson came to us from her home in Kitimaat Village and is of Haisla and Heiltsuk ancestry.  Darby was at work in Nanaimo and is of Dutch, Icelandic, and mixed British/Irish/Scottish ancestry.  Both like sea stars.

Episode 3 -Local Press Rebel Mountain and 2 Pride 2 Prejudice

Lori Shwydky talks to Darby about Rebel Mountain Press and the diverse titles they’ve been producing as they’ve grown since 2015.  You can find Rebel Mountain titles in our catalogue, including the teen writing anthologies that feature the talented teens of Vancouver Island and our surrounding coastal communities.

Rebel Mountain Press books we touched on:

Casey dishes on Pride and Prejudice re-tellings in our segment, Talk Bookish to Me.  Nathan purports to be writing one called 2 Pride 2 Prejudice (maybe THIS is the COVID novel we’ve been waiting for?):

    1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    2. Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
    3. Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur (and two bonus recommendations for romances with queer women: Something to Talk About and The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows)
    4. Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
    5. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
    6. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Episode 2 -Storytelling in DND and Talk Bookish to Me: Sci-Fi and Fantasy by Black Authors

Darby talks to Arija about her interest in Dungeons and Dragons (DND).  We answer pressing questions such as… :

  • Is it only playable in a dark basement?
  • Can you make friends playing it?
  • What is it anyway?
  • Is it really about storytelling?
  • Is it pandemic friendly?

Casey recommends some Sci-Fi and Fantasy books you might not know you needed to read by Black authors:

  1. Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson
  2. The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
  3. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  4. Rosewater by Tade Thompson
  5. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Episode 1 -Bob Joseph and 21 Things You Didn't Know About the Indian Act

Bob Joseph is an author and Indigenous relations trainer that wrote the books 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act and Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality. He is a member of the Gwawaenuk Nation.  He spoke with librarian Jessica Humphries following an awesome online event with us with 530 people in attendance on January 28, 2021.

Find his books here from the library!

Find out more about Bob by visiting www.indigenousrelationsacademy.com for online courses and www.ictinc.ca/blog for more information. You can also follow Bob Joseph on Twitter at @wewap.