Rebecca Howard

Imrint Contributor

When you read a book, you enter a different world.  But the act of reading does more than broaden our world-view; it creates empathy, and nurtures civility.  

Occassionally in our monthly newsletter, you'll hear a new voice: Rebecca Howard.  During her 15 years with Tulsa City-County Library, Rebecca launched the readers advisory service Your Next Great Read, and served as TCCL’s county-wide Literacy Coordinator.  Now, Rebecca is a regional manager, overseeing six branches of TCCL.   

In Imprint, Rebecca will share her thoughts about the reader’s life, the community of the library, and, if we ask REALLY nicely, the occasional recommendation.  


The heat index may be 105, and I may always smell like a combination of SPF 50 sunscreen, Deep Woods Off, and perspiration, but there’s still something magical about summer. For readers, a lot of that magic has to do with books. I remember when the entire day would stretch out before me, and I could spend it absorbed in tales by Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume. 

Read what you want.

Never apologize for your reading taste.

Every book its reader; every reader her book.

These are cornerstone principles of readers’ advisory and ones that the library’s summer reading program promotes with a passion.

Cookbooks as Ritual

Apr 22, 2021

As more and more friends and family join the ranks of the fully-vaccinated, I’m filled with so much gratitude. And also . . . a little anxiety. I’m not quite sure how to return to normal, nor am I sure what normal is anymore. And, maybe, the normal of before isn’t what we should be rushing toward anyway. 

Great Migrations

Mar 3, 2021

During our recent arctic blast, robins appeared everywhere.

It seemed odd to spot a harbinger of spring in below-zero temperatures, so I looked into why I might be seeing flocks in the winter. Maybe it was the stir craziness that I was experiencing, but I went down a bit of a robin rabbit hole. Turns out not all robins have the same migration patterns, and some don’t migrate at all. 


Even the most cynical among us has a hard time avoiding the contagious and perpetual hope that a new calendar year brings.

Understanding in our rational minds that nothing magical happens between December 31 and January 1st does little to quell our persistent optimism. For this, I am grateful. Yes, we are a foolish, reckless species with a stubborn unwillingness to learn from our past. But, boy do we know how to drink champagne, light fireworks, and cast aside our collective sense of impending doom. 

Learning to Listen

Dec 17, 2020

When the world grows quiet, we learn to listen.

This is the theme of the beautiful children’s book Ten Ways to Hear the Snow written by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Kenard Pak. It’s a book that on my gift-giving list for many of the children in my life, but I’ve read and enjoyed it a few times myself. The morning I wrote this, we woke to the kind of snow illustrated in this book and not too often seen here in Tulsa. Like many others, I stepped outside to listen to the quiet. 

Comfort and Joy

Nov 19, 2020

It seems that the winter holiday season began the first week in November this year. Have you noticed this, too?

Let’s talk about fear.

Not the existential dread that you’ve been carrying in the pit of your stomach for the last eight months, but the good kind of fear that is cleverly created by authors and purposefully sought by certain readers. It might seem slightly strange that in the midst of so many looming disasters, I would find comfort in spooky stories, but I have. I’ve recently rediscovered my love of Gothic fiction. 

What exactly is Gothic fiction, you ask? 

Rebecca Howard

Fall offers us many comforts--farm stand apples, homemade soups, and long walks in the woods with leaves crunching underfoot. Fall fiction generally offers no such reprieve, which is just the way that I like it. 

Some readers live for juicy summer reads that inevitably wind up with the scent of sunscreen and sand embedded between the pages. For fall book lovers, a coffee or tea ring is the mark of a great read. (Important PSA: these stains are merely metaphorical if you’re reading a library copy, of course!) 

Red at the Bone

Aug 27, 2020

Jacqueline Woodson dedicates her 2019 novel Red at the Bone to “the ancestors, a long line of you bending and twisting.” I’ve been thinking a lot more about my ancestors lately, leaning into the strength of those who came before me who endured wars, economic disasters, or other, even deadlier, global pandemics. I’ve also been watching my parents move into advanced age with all its associate heartache and indignities.


If the past few months have taught me anything, it’s that I really should have read more read more Science Fiction. Seriously, a few more dystopian novels would have prepared me a bit more for what is passing for normal today. Am I dreaming this or is there seriously a “bubble town” in Disney World where professional basketball players are living right now?  School re-openings sound more like preparing for space travel. Most of us are banned from traveling to the EU, and even the Canadians are giving us a pleasant “no thanks.” Things feel really surreal, uncertain, and scary. 


As a librarian, it’s been heartening to see so many people sharing reading lists in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. For those who identify strongly as readers, the act of reading is more than entertainment; it can be a path to understanding and sense-making.