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Why is my Christmas Cactus blooming in March?

by on March 29th, 2017

Sometimes we get questions at the Information Desk that sound more complicated than they really are. This weeks stumper was “Why is my Christmas Cactus blooming in March?”  This actually has a very simple answer:  Because it’s not a Christmas Cactus – it’s an Easter

Most people see this plant and think Christmas Cactus. Late in the year you can find them anywhere – from grocery stores to big box stores – in shades of pink, red or even white.

“Christmas Cactus” has become a generic term for three different cacti in the same family.  What most people think of as “Christmas Cactus” will turn out to be either a Thanksgiving Cactus, a Christmas Cactus, or an Easter Cactus.   How to can you tell the difference?  Is it blooming now?  What month is it?  Is it early November, late December, or late winter/early spring?  That can give you a big hint.  But the real way to tell them apart is to look closely at the leaves. Read the rest of this entry »

Spotting the ICPL Bookmobile

by on March 29th, 2017

The Library is always a hub of excitement as Summer approaches and our countdown to the Summer Reading Program begins. This year, we have even more to look forward to as we prepare to roll out (er…drive out) our brand new Bookmobile.

Though regular Bookmobile operating hours won’t start until June 1, you will likely see our big blue Bookmobile around town in the weeks leading up to the start of the Summer Schedule.nationalbookmobileday

The first opportunity to meet our Bookmobile will be at the community National Bookmobile Day celebration on April 12 from 5:30-7:30 pm at Mercer Park. Along with live music and family fun, you’ll get a unique peek at our Bookmobile during this event; Books and DVDs won’t be on the truck until later in the month.

Be sure to bring an extra bag to the Farmer’s Market this spring. Your first chance to check out Bookmobile materials will be when the Bookmobile is parked at the Iowa City Saturday Farmer’s Market in May and June.

The ICPL Bookmobile’s Summer schedule will run from June 1 – August 18. View our schedule on our webpage or pick up a printed copy at the Library. We will be around town Mondays through Fridays in the Summertime with some special weekend events you won’t want to miss. To stay up-to-date on Bookmobile news and events, be sure to sign up for our Newsletter, the Windshield.

If you spot us as we are out and about, getting a feel for the route, we’d love to hear about it on Social Media. Find us on Facebook, Twitter @ICPL, and on Instagram @iowacitypubliclibrary.2017-03-bookmobile-drawing

What to Read Instead of Fifty Shades… Part Two – A Video Staff Picks Episode

by on March 27th, 2017

Terri’s back with more author recommendations in erotic fiction and urban fiction.

Here’s our 2017 Book Madness Elite Eight!

by on March 27th, 2017

Many NCAA March Madness brackets blew up this weekend — and the same could be said for our Book Madness brackets, too. We were surprised to see which titles didn’t advance to our Elite Eight (sorry, Drama). We have no idea what our Final Four will look like. Be sure to stop in before the Library closes on Sunday to vote for your favorite remaining books!


Banned Books

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry vs. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Forgotten Classics

  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren vs. George and Martha by James Marshall

Series and Sequels

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney vs. Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Best Book Artists

  • Mo Willems vs. Brian Selznick


Dystopian Fiction

  • 1984 by George Orwell vs. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Graphic Novels and Comics

  • Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto vs. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Historical Fiction

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak vs. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe


  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle vs. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

email Notice Problems

by on March 24th, 2017

It has come to our attention that some of our email notices are being rejected or blocked by two major Internet providers.  CenturyLink has been rejecting our email courtesy notices with a message that they are spam.  MediaCom as also been blocking our hold notices with no messages at all.  While they are not bouncing back, many of our patrons have told us that they are not getting through.  Unfortunately the tech support from these two companies has been extremely unhelpful.  Some of our patrons have contacted CenturyLink but were not able to get anywhere either.  I know it’s frustrating, but we are frustrated too!  We know that many of you not only appreciate our holds and courtesy notices, but actually rely on them.  So what can you do?  Well you have a few options.  If you have another email address to use, you could switch to that.  (You can do this by accessing your library account online or simply give us a call at 319 356-5200 during regular library hours and we’ll do it for you).  You could also try our new mobile app to keep track of your holds and due dates.

Love eBooks and digital audiobooks? Meet Libby!

by on March 24th, 2017

Attention OverDrive users! Are you tired of navigating the difference between your shelf and the loans page in the OverDrive app? Do you dislike not being able to stream from the app? Or logging in each time you check out a book? Or the million different steps to it takes to check out and read an eBook?

Then you should try OverDrive’s new app Libby. For the past few months I’ve solely used Libby to listen Read the rest of this entry »

Spotlight on Short Stories

by on March 23rd, 2017

civilwarlandI love short stories! They’re a fun way to try out a writer’s work without a 300 page commitment. If you don’t like one of the stories, you can pick another at random or put the whole collection aside.

2017 has been a great year for new short story collections, but my all time favorite is from twenty years ago, Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders. “Set in a dystopian near-future…these stories constitute a searching and bitterly humorous commentary on the current state of the American Dream (Goodreads).” Upon re-reading, this book is still very relevant and very funny. Civilwarland, the brilliant setting for one of the stories, is a Civil War reenactment theme park staffed by hilarious and doleful characters. A side note: check out Saunder’s first novel that just came out, Lincoln in the Bardo (2017).

Read the rest of this entry »

ICPL to Host Community Seed Share

by on March 23rd, 2017

Interested in starting a vegetable or flower garden this spring, but don’t want to invest in large quantities of seeds? Do you have extra seeds that you’d like to share with other gardeners? Come to the Iowa City Public Library from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 2, for a Community Seed Share!seedshare

Sponsored by the Library and the Iowa State Extension Master Gardeners of Johnson County, this event is a great opportunity to share seeds you’ve saved or get some free seeds to try growing something new.

This event is part of the JCMG Growing Together efforts to reduce food insecurity in Johnson County. With donations from Burpee, Baker Seeds and Seed Savers, nearly 30 varieties of vegetable, herb and flower seeds will be available.

The event is free and open to all – you do not have to bring seeds to participate. Seeds will be available on a first come, first served basis, so attendees are encouraged to arrive early.

If you need disability-related accommodations in order to participate in this event, please contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

ICPL announces April Classes for Adults

by on March 22nd, 2017

Want to learn as much as you can about digital movie editing? The month of April is devoted to learning about and trying various digital-video editing tools at the Iowa City Public Library.

On Monday, April 3, at 2 p.m. the class, Tools for Video Editing, will help you learn the basics of how editing works so that you can asked informed questions when selecting a video editor. Get an overview of the types of tools that come standard with most editing software and see how they help to create great video.

Read the rest of this entry »

ICPL Art Advisory Committee seeks new members

by on March 21st, 2017

The Iowa City Public Library’s Art Advisory Committee is looking for new members.

The Committee is made up of six members and terms run for three years (this term would end in April 2020). Candidates must reside in Iowa City or rural Johnson County, and are appointed to the Committee by the Library Board. Library employees are not eligible for appointment. Ideal candidates are individuals involved and interested in the arts community in some way — artists, framers, instructors, students, gallery employees, collectors and serious enthusiasts.

One of the primary responsibilities of the Art Advisory Committee is the judging of artworks submitted to the annual Art Purchase Prize contest, with the winning works being purchased by the Library and added to the Art To Go collection. The framed posters and original works are available for check out. Other tasks include reviewing and deciding upon any gifted works for Art To Go, as well as any proposals for art to be added to the Library’s permanent collection.

Interested persons must fill out an application (available at and return it, in person or via email, to Candice Smith (

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