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Completely Booked

Every Monday Completely Booked brings you lively discussions with interesting and inspiring local Jacksonville residents, and the latest happenings at the Jacksonville Public Library.

Coming to America - Voices of the First Coast Archive

In 2010, the library started a project called Voices of the First Coast. It was a local initiative modeled after StoryCorps, a nationwide story project, designed to record, preserve and share the stories from our local community. Jacksonville Public Library and the local National Public Radio station WJCT collaborated to capture these oral histories of Northeast Florida, and we wanted to share some of these stories on this week's episode of Completely Booked.

The American Civility Association - Amy Barnett

Today we chat with Amy Barnett, President of the American Civility Association. Following the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, Amy founded the ACA in 2014 to implement programs under the multi-platform, interactive Brain-builder's Operation Safe Schools series that takes trainers, educators and their students on a journey into the world of civility and brain-building. As of 2019, B.O.S.S has reached over 25,000 students, educators and school counselors in Florida.

Graphic Novels in Libraries Month - Shawn Norton

July 2019 marks the very first Graphic Novels in Libraries Month! Shawn Norton, manager of the Bill Brinton Murray Hill Library, chats with us about his personal graphic novel recommendations, as well as the literary merits of comics and graphic novels.


Times-Union Photojournalist - Bruce Lipsky

On this episode, we chat with former Times-Union photojournalist, Bruce Lipsky. He's captured 35 years worth of Jacksonville's history– the good, the bad, and the ugly– and today, he shares some of those experiences with us.

Sustainable Solutions - Juan-Carlos Villatoro

Image of the Completely Booked podcast with host Gabby and guest Juan-Carlos Villatoro at the Jacksonville Public Library

Juan Carlos Villatoro Today, we chat with Juan-Carlos Villatoro. He’s a Navy Veteran and entrepreneur who’s spearheaded a variety of startups and programs focused on environmental sustainability and challenging the way we recycle and process old materials. Juan-Carlos breaks down some pretty complex projects he’s been a part of, and what’s he's currently working on in his quest to change the industry for the better.

It’s a Glorious Thing to Make a Thing - Mark Ari

If you’re pining for some creative inspiration, Mark Ari has you covered. Ari is a writer, painter, singer-songwriter, and among many other things– a creative writing professor at UNF. He chats with us about his writing process, cultivating a creative community in Jacksonville, and how his Jewish American heritage shaped him an artist.

The Riverdale Inn - Mary Mychael and Eric Waln

Mary Mychael and Eric Waln, owners of The Riverdale Inn, join us on our show today to talk about the Riverside mansion's unique history, what it takes to be successful innkeepers, and the importance of preserving our city's past. You'll also meet the new Completely Booked Podcast hosts, Amanda and Gabby!

Mary Mychael and Eric Waln, owners of The Riverdale Inn, join us on our show today to talk about the Riverside mansion's unique history, what it takes to be successful innkeepers, and the importance of preserving our city's past. You'll also meet the new Completely Booked Podcast hosts, Amanda and Gabby!


Professional Musician - Kate Caliendo

Kate Caliendo, horn player with the Jacksonville Symphony, at the Main Library in Downtown jacksonville, FL.Kate Caliendo, one of the talented horn musicians with the Jacksonville Symphony, joins us on our show today to talk about her trajectory into classical music, her all-time favorite symphonic pieces, as well as the future of classical music. 

Every Kid Should Build a Robot - Mark McCombs

Mark McCombs, founder of Renaissance Jax and robot enthusiast, believes that every kid should build a robot. He joined us at the Jacksonville Public Mark McCombs believes that every kid should build a robot. He's the founder of Renaissance Jax, a nonprofit organization providing STEM education and robotics competition to North Florida. He's out to make Jacksonville a better, smarter place!

Human Cheetah - Kelsey Beckmann

Kelsey Beckmann, dietician at Meteor Nutrition and 2020 Olympic marathon trial qualifier, at the jacksonville public library in Downtown Jacksonville.Kelsey Beckmann is here to tell you that good food can make you faster, stronger and healthier. She's a registered dietitian and owner of Meteor Nutrition, where she offers customized meal plans for clients, particularly athletes. Kelsey is also a qualifier for the 2020 Olympic marathon trials (no big deal). In fact, the first race she ever ran was 50 kilometers—that's 31 miles. 

Yes And - Robert Reid

Hurley and Jenna with Robert Reid. Former Second City improviser, owner of Mirth Creative Co, and leader of improv troupe Spotlight Giant.This week on our show, former Second City improviser Robert Reid catches us up on his current improvising with his troupe Spotlight Giant and discusses the importance of "yes and" in every part of life.

Downtown Jax - Jake Gordon

Completely booked podcast host, jenna posing with Downtown Vision, Inc. CEO Jake Gordon in the Jacksonville Public Library podcast studio. They are holding pieces of paper with blue writings of Jake's kids favorite booksJake Gordon is the CEO of Downtown Vision, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)6 organization whose mission is to create and support a vibrant Downtown and to promote Downtown as an exciting place to live, work, visit and invest. 

Jake tells us all about what Downtown Vision is currently working on, and what the goals are for the future. He gives us some updates on big projects like the future of the Jacksonville Landing and the Laura Street Trio renovation. We also get some stellar book recommendations from his kids!

State Attorney - Melissa Nelson

Jenna and State Attorney Melissa during their podcast discussion at Jacksonville Public LibraryMelissa Nelson is the State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, serving Clay, Duval and Nassau Counties ... she explains what that means, don't worry! We talk with her about her path from law school to running for a public office. She tells us about the difficulties of this position and how she maintains work-life effectiveness. 

Follow State Attorney Melissa Nelson's journey on Twitter and Facebook.

Stumbling Into Sobriety - Tracy "Dot Com" Collins

Tracy Collins, also known as Tracy Dot Com, who's a recovering alcoholic and author of the book Stumbling Into Sobriety, which is available for check out at the Jacksonville Public Library.Tracy Collins, aka Tracy Dot Com, is on the show today to discuss her new book, Stumbling Into SobrietyWe discuss what it's like to live a sober life as a media personality, as well as her biggest challenges writing her book. 

Curious Music - Keith Marks

Keith Marks, founder of Avant, at the Jacksonville Public Library in Downtown jacksonvilleKeith Marks wants us all to get curious. He's the founder of Avant, a nonprofit organization bringing musical acts to the Jacksonville area—many of which the people of Jacksonville have never heard of. He's also the donor of the Jacksonville Public Library's Radical Jewish Music collection, which he tells us all about during our engaging conversation.

Short Box Podcast - Badr Milligan

Badr Milligan of the shortbox podcast with Jenna of the Completely Booked podcast in front of the comic book collection at the Jacksonville Public LibraryBadr Milligan is one of the founders and co-hosts of The Shortbox Podcast, Jacksonville's premier comic book and pop culture podcast! Hurley and Jenna were featured on their show in February 2019 to talk Goosebumps and Jax Book Fest. Badr discusses his show and love of comic books. Jenna and Producer Bryan give you an overview of our upcoming Comic Con events! 

Jumbo Shrimp - Owner Ken Babby

Completely booked podcast host, jenna sitting with jacksonville jumbo shrimp owner ken babby in the Jacksonville Public Library studioWe're talking Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp today! Ken Babby is the owner of the Shrimp and the Rubber Ducks, Akron Rubber Ducks. He tells us about his 14 years working for the Washington Post, and what led him to his Minor League Baseball Team ownership.

Down the Hatch - Jessica Hatch

Jessica Hatch, literary editor for Hatch Editorial Services and Hatch Books in Jacksonville, at the Jacksonville Public Library for a podcast interview.Ever wondered what it takes to take a book from manuscript to publication? Literary editor Jessica Hatch of Hatch Editorial Services is here to walk us through the process. How does a book get picked up for trade publishing? What makes a bestseller a bestseller? Find out on this episode!

Goosebumps - R.L. Stine

Completely Booked podcast host Jenna, sitting next to Goosebumps author RL Stine for his interview on the JPL podcastR.L. Stine is on the podcast! Bob (he let us call him Bob) stopped by the Completely Booked studio while he was in Jacksonville for Jax Book Fest on Feb. 23, 2019.

Stronger Than Stigma - Gabrielle Magid

Stronger Than Stigma founder Gabrielle Magid in Jacksonville, FL at the Main LibraryGabrielle Magid is Stronger Than Stigma. The nonprofit organization founder started focusing on millennial mental health advocacy back in 2013 when she was a student at the University of Florida. During our conversation, Gabrielle shares the challenges of running a nonprofit from a young age, the mission behind her Nobody's Happy comedy tour, as well as the reasons why we should stop throwing around words like "crazy" and "depressing."

Duval Folx - GeeXella

DJ, rapper, and LGBTQ+ social justice activist GeeXella at the Main Library in downtown jacksonville, FL.DJ, rapper and queer-identifying social justice warrior GeeXella is on our show today. We discuss Duval Folx, an inclusive dance party they established in 2018, as well as the tragic car accident that shaped their life.

Civil Rights in Jacksonville - Rodney L. Hurst, Sr.

Rodney L. Hurst, Sr., author of It was never about a hot dog and a coke and Unless we tell it, it never gets told. The author was a witness at the historic Axe Handle Saturday massacre in Jacksonville, FL in Hemming Park.We're lucky to have historian Rodney L. Hurst, Sr. on our show today. The author of It was never about a hot dog and a Coke! and Unless WE tell it... it never gets told! shares his account of the historic 1960 Ax Handle Saturday massacre in Jacksonville, FL.

WWE Diva - Alicia Fox

Jenna and Hurley with Alicia FoxVictoria Crawford, or Alicia Fox as she's known in the ring, is on the show today! The Jacksonville native is the longest contracted WWE Diva, or female WWE wrestler, in WWE history. She tells us about her career in the ring, as well as what she has coming up in her life beyond WWE. 

NEW BOOKS 2019! - Jill Haile + Alison McCarty


We love books around here, especially new books. Our resident Librarian Ninjas are telling us what's hot in 2019, and how the library decides which books to buy.

Grow Your Groceries - Nathan Ballentine

Jenna and Hurley with Nathan Ballentine

Nathan Ballentine, aka the Man in Overalls, is here to save the day... and your dead plants. Nathan is a huge advocate for growing your own groceries, and he offers lots of free resources to help you do it. He also lends his expertise to get your own personal garden started. 

Hurley and Jenna also start a new segment called "Renew or Return," where Producer Bryan asks if they would renew (keep it) or return (didn't like it) different stuff. Check the new theme music, too!

Let's Get STEAMy - William Jackson

Jenna and hurley smiling with william jackson in the ansbacher map room at jacksonville public libraryWilliam has been an educator for 31 years and has a passion for technology and teaching students about STEAM. William is also a proud Educator Cardholder and listener of the Completely Booked podcast. He tells us about his love of educating and why STEAM is so important for children.

Diversity in Children's Books - Dontavious Pittman and Natalie McGriff

Jenna and Hurley with Natalie McGriffWE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS! And our guests on the show today, Dontavious Pittman and Natalie McGriff, both agree. These incredible authors have taken it on themselves to write encouraging and diverse children's book. Natalie wrote her first book when she was just seven years old!

Jax Psycho Geo - Tim Gilmore

Jenna and Hurley smiling with Tim GilmoreAuthor, historian, and local celebrity Tim Gilmore shares some of his favorite memories of writing and researching the sketchy history of our peculiar city. Tim is the author of 17 books, the founder of the JaxbyJax literary festival, and the creator of









Happy Holidays! - Santa Claus

Hurley, Jenna and Bryan sitting next to a fake fire book displayHappy Holidays everyone! Hurley and Jenna are joined by their most famous guest yet ... SANTA! The jolly ole chap gives some crucial advice to kids still trying to make the nice list, and let's in on some of his favorite reads. 

Best Books of 2018!

Jenna and Hurley hiding their faces behind booksSome incredible books were released in 2018; Becoming by Michelle Obama, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and so many more! Hurley and Jenna, and several library staff members tell us about their favorites from the year!

Notorious Tearjerkers - StoryCorps with Jacqueline Van Meter

Jenna and Hurley with Jacqueline Van Meter in front of the StoryCorps busSince 2003, StoryCorps has collected thousands of stories from people all across the United States. The NPR oral history project archives each story in the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center.

We spoke with site manager Jacqueline Van Meter, who's parked the StoryCorps Airstream mobile studio in Memorial Park to collect stories from the people of Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Public Library