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ICPL children’s event celebrates George Washington Carver

by on February 9th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library invites students in kindergarten through third grades to celebrate botanist and inventor George Washington Carver during a special Black History Month event from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, in the Storytime Room.

George Washington Carver was born into slavery in the 1860s. After slavery was abolished, he attended several schools before earning his high school diploma in Minneapolis, Kansas. He studied botany at Iowa State Agriculture College in Ames. He was the college’s first black student and, eventually, its first black faculty member before serving as Director of Agriculture at the upstart Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Carver is famous for his agricultural discoveries and inventions. He introduced the idea of crop rotation in the rural South, in which farmers would rotate cotton, which depleted the soil of nutrients, with peanuts, which replenished them, from year to year. Carver devised more than 300 uses for peanuts, including dyes, paints, plastics and gasoline.

Using books, music, artifacts and toys, the Library will celebrate the life and accomplishments of George Washington Carver in an engaging program designed to make history fun.

For more information, call the Library at 319-356-5200.

Digitally Preserving your Family History

by on February 8th, 2016

This weekend I had the opportunity to talk with the Daughter’s of the American Revolution Pilgrim Chapter about preserving their families’ histories. Preservation is a daunting task especially  since we must think about not only saving the physical copy but the digital one as well.

In preparing for my talk, I researched  tools to help these women creatively think about sharing their families’ stories, photos, and heirlooms digitally. There are many great online tools, websites, and projects out there; but for me what makes the stuff I’ve inherited so valuable are the stories or memories attached to the items.

rootsmapperFamilySearch.org is one of the search engines that helps you trace your family’s roots. I don’t feel its search capabilities are as good as Ancestry’s (which you can access for free at the library!) but it offers many great tools and apps to help you collect family history and put it into a context your family can appreciate. One such tool is the Rootsmapper app which traces your family’s migration across continents or across the country over time.

Everystory is an app that makes it easy to record a voice over with a group of photos of your choosing. What I like about this app is that its easy to use and it is designed to replicate the experience of flipping through a photo album with a loved one as they tell stories about the photographs.

Storycatcher Pro is an app that allows you to create and share video of a family member telling stories. You can choose themes, design titles, capture screen text, capture audio, and import photos to make a very professional oral history. The app is easy to use and requires limited video editing knowledge. The only downside of the app is that it is only available for iOS.

treelines

Treelines uses your family tree as a starting point so that you can add pictures, tags, stories, and page design to help tell your family history. You can give access to family members so that they can also add their photos, documents, stories, and other information to the timeline as well.

If you are just beginning your genealogy search or digitization project, the library has many tools to help you including an archival quality scanner. There are several classes being offered in the month of May. Sign up soon as classes fill up fast!

 

 

 

Under-the-Radar Read

by on February 8th, 2016
Under-the-Radar Read Cover Image

I can’t stop talking about this memoir of African American life and prison life in the 19th Century. The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict by Austin Reed is “the first known prison narrative by an African American writer,” editor Caleb Smith wrote in the Yale Alumni magazine. The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library purchased the manuscript, and Random House published it as a book this winter.

This book is a remarkable find. Perfect for history buffs, rare manuscript nerds, and African American prison researchers, this book was written by an African American man born free in the 1820s but living much of his life in confinement. Reed was a natural storyteller and his memoir reads like a novel. He documents his experiences both in prison and as a free man, the cruelties of the whip and other 19th Century torture tactics as well as adventures and opportunities he encountered while living free.

This book has not received a ton of press at this point. The New York Times highlighted the find in 2013 before the manuscript was edited for publication, and the Smithsonian Magazine picked up the story for its arts and culture section. It doesn’t have a long holds list and we’ll be buying the e-book and e-audio versions soon.

If there is one nonfiction book you read in 2016, make it Austin Reed’s groundbreaking memoir.

 

Tune It Up!

by on February 8th, 2016
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Moles popping up in the garden theme

As part of ICPL’s year-long Music is the Word program, we have commissioned a new game for Mabel the Table in the Children’s room, called “Tune It Up!”.  It was developed by Virtually Competent, a local independent gaming company. This group created one of the original games for the table called Ship Shape. Virtually Competent teamed up with a local musician to build a musically-themed game for the table.

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Notes as ships in the Space Theme

In this game, multiple players can contribute to a looping composition. The game features 3 different themes that cater to different tastes: Garden, Space and Cookies. For example, in the garden theme, players plant various seeds that turn into musical flowers in the garden. Each type of flower represents a different instrument. It is a cooperative game.

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Touching the bee speeds up the tempo

Anyone can step up and help with the composition and here are no winners or losers. Tune It Up! also features a mini-game within each theme.   For example the garden has an infestation of moles that can be whacked and the space theme has asteroids that have to be destroyed. Also each theme has a character that can speed the tempo up or slow it down.  The Children’s staff can save compositions created by kids and used as demos.

Come try it out on Mabel the Table in the Children’s Room.

Music on Wednesday: Music from the Heart

by on February 5th, 2016

2016 02 Preucil LogoFebruary is Love Your Library month and there’s a lot to love at Iowa City Public Library! From the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten kickoff to Black History Month programs & displays, and continuing Music is the Word programs, there’s a lot of love for reading, connecting, and life long learning.

And now there’s more to love because we heard from Preucil School of Music today and they are preparing a wonderful “Music from the Heart” program for our Music on Wednesday series next week. Stop by Meeting Room A at Noon on Wednesday February 10th to hear an hour of Music from the Heart. Preucil faculty and students will be playing their favorite violin, viola, cello and piano pieces. Faculty performers will be Laura Shaw, cello and William Preucil, Sr., viola.

While you are here, stop by the 1st Floor Gallery and make a Valentine for the Library or browse the Blind Date with a Book or Blind Date with an Album display. Who knows, you may find a new love!

Or send us a note and let us know why you Love Your Library.

PS – Why do I love My Library? Because it’s an awesome place to work, t2014 02 Love your Libraryhere’s always something new going on, I see many friendly people each day, and I get to check out and enjoy great books.

Daydreaming of gardening? Check out one of these magazines.

by on February 5th, 2016

Country GardensThe next Project Green Second Sunday Forum is on Valentine’s Day—Sunday, February 14, 2016. Jonathan Poulton will present on Daylillies—Past, Present, and Future. If you can’t wait until then to get your garden on, but also don’t want to go out into the cold, visit the ICPL Zinio collection, where you can look through 18 different home and garden digital magazines.

Magazines are perfect for the weekend where you get to kick back a little more. Our gardening magazines include Country Garden, Better Homes & Gardens, Grit, and Successful Farming.

The January issue of Rodale’s Organic Life features the article “Grow from Scratch,” which includes a guide to growing plants from seeds and lovely illustrations.

ICPL has more than 150 digital magazines. They are available 24/7 through your computer or mobile device. After you log in with your Iowa City library card and password, you can check one out and flip through page by page just like a regular magazine. Reading magazines lets you kick back and relax, and enjoy big beautiful photographs and creative infographics.

Have questions about how to use our Zinio digital magazine collection? Ask a Librarian!

 

 

Tax Forms at the Iowa City Public Library

by on February 5th, 2016

Many individuals come to the Iowa City Public Library around tax time to pick up the forms they need to complete their Federal Income Tax return. However, due to cuts within the Federal government, the Library will no longer be able to offer the wide variety of forms it has in the past free of charge.

The Library will continue to offer the 1040, the 1040 A and the 1040 EZ forms free of charge, as well as some Business Federal Tax Forms, including W2 and W3 forms. These can be found on the Library’s second floor. Staff at the Information Desk will help individuals find and print other forms and instructions on the IRS’ website. Individuals will need to pay a 10 cent per page printing fee.

For more information, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

Fifty Glorious Years

by on February 4th, 2016

The Christmas frenzy is over and now it’s time to sit back and relax for one of my favorite personal holidays:  Super Bowl Sunday.  This year marks the 50th game and, of course, we have the books to commemorate this momentous occasion.

First Fifty Years cover.phpThe Super Bowl: the First Fifty Years of America’s Greatest Game (2015) by David Fischer talks about most of the games and also includes insets such as “The Best Who Never Won”.  Some highlights are lots of pictures and interesting statistics in the back.  It can be a bit confusing since there is no index and it’s not written chronologically.

Ultimate Super Bowlcover.phpFor that, I recommend The Ultimate Super Bowl Book by Bob McGinn.  Since it was written in 2009, it only goes up to Super Bowl XLIII but in a lot more detail.  Statistics, player and coach rosters, even the weather conditions are all listed.  I especially enjoyed reliving one of my favorites:  the Packers and the Patriots in XXXI.

Game of Their Lives cover.phpSuper Bowl: the Game of Their Lives (1997) by Danny Peary is also consecutive.  Each game is recounted by one of the actual players.  For example, the final chapter in the book is Super Bowl XXXI from the MVP Desmond Howard’s perspective.  Since I’ve missed my chance to be a professional athlete 😉 it’s fantastic to play vicariously through these superstars’ eyes.

Just a Game cover.phpIf you want to learn about how it all began, there’s When It was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl (2015) by Harvey Frommer.  After a brief overview of the beginning of professional football, it moves quickly into how this annual tradition came to pass.  Instead of footnotes, quotes from people who were there are interspersed within the usual text.

Pro Football cover.phpLastly, The Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Book:  Where Greatness Lives (2012) by Joe Horrigan and John Thorn spotlights many outstanding players including those who may not have made it to the Big Game.  This is a coffee table book with a myriad of pictures and quotes.  The reproductions of printed materials is especially fascinating.  Each chapter is a decade so it’s easy to see the changes over the years.

The football season may be over but these books celebrate fandom all year long!

Using CatalogPro – Advanced Searching

by on February 4th, 2016

For a few years now we’ve been slowly integrating a catalog discovery layer that we’ve called CatalogPro, this is a keyword search that allows for a narrowing down of results after the search is initiated. It’s gotten more powerful over the years and now works much better for those titles that might have traditionally difficult keyword search terms (try searching Twilight or Room for proof!). There will still be times when you don’t have specific title or author information or you’ll want a more efficient way to search individual terms, thankfully CatalogPro has an Advanced Search option.  You can get to this search via the link below the search box (see the highlighted area in the image below).

advancedsearch

Advanced Searching allows for boolean search which allows you to fine tune your search including “and”, “or”, and “not” operators.  An Advanced Search for “Plants” OR “Flowers” AND “Iowa” in books will give you 30 items which is much more helpful than a normal keyword search of “Plants flowers Iowa” which shows yields 6 since it’s searching for the presence of all three keywords in the record instead of the combination done in Advanced (“Plants & Iowa” and “Flowers & Iowa”).

It’s easiest to narrow these results prior to the search using the dropdown menus on the Advanced Search page, common searches would include a format type (ex. book vs. ebook), location (ex. adult nonfiction vs. children’s nonfiction), and possibly year range (ex. looking for only most up-to-date publications).  I’ll share some more CatalogPro tips in future weeks including spell-check, eBook/eAudiobook checkout, and super-secret remote shelf browsing!

Join the (Book) Club

by on February 4th, 2016
Join the (Book) Club Cover Image

One of my favorite books is Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons by Lorna Landvik. I picked it up because the title made me laugh, but the story of five women who come together for three decades of book club meetings (and everything in between) is why it’s high on my recommendation list.

I love books about book clubs. In a way, they are two books in one. First there’s the story, then there’s reading about the books the characters read. More often than not, those titles end up on my future reading list.

I’ll admit, sometimes writing down the title and author is as close as I’ll ever get to reading the book, but there have been times I’ve seen it through. For instance, I read Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster after the characters in Heather Vogel Fredrickson’s Mother-Daughter Book Club series read it in Dear Pen Pal.

Luckily, I spent a semester studying Jane Austen in college, so when The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler was published, I didn’t have to worry about falling down the rabbit hole of new book titles.

Like actors who aren’t doctors in real life but play one on TV, I do not belong to a book club; I only readbook-club-kit about them. However, if starting a book club is something that interests you, ICPL has you covered. Our Book Club Kits contain 10 copies of books and discussion questions, all packaged in one canvas bag. Located on the first floor near the Help Desk, each kit can be checked out for six weeks.





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