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The 2015 Perseid Meteor shower has begun.

by on July 30th, 2015

perseid showerThis annual celestial event occurs each year in late Summer, with peak viewing near the 2nd week of August.  In 2015, the peak will be August 9-13 when up to 60 meteors an hour should be visible in the night sky, especially in the hours between midnight and dawn.

The Perseid Meteor shower is what we see when the Earth passes through the orbital path of the Swift-Tuttle comet.   Swift Tuttle orbits the Sun every 133 years, and each time it gets close to the Sun, small pieces break off and join the cloud of debris in the comet’s orbit.  Each year when the Earth passes through the Swift-Tuttle’s debris field,  the debris bounces off the Earth’s atmosphere creating the Perseid Meteor Shower.

Perseid_Vic_radiantsThe Perseids appear to originate from the top of the constellation Perseus. During August, Perseus will be found in the Northeastern part of the sky, left of the Big Dipper.   The point in space where the shower seems to originate is called a “Radiant”.   The map to the left, from Sky & Telescope, the radiant is shown in yellow text.   All the Perseid meteors will appear fly outwards from that point in the sky.

There are many great Astronomy websites with information about the Perseids.

stardateUniversity of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory’s web site “StarDate” has a lot of information for people new to star gazing and astronomy.  Clicking on the “Stargazing” tab on their homepage will give you a list of the things visible in the night sky this week.  This is also where you’ll find a link to their Meteor Shower page.

earth sky The Earth Sky website managed by Deborah Byrd, the host of the long running public radio series EarthSky: A Clear Voice for Science, is a great science web site for non-scientists.  The information about the Perseids   section of their website is easy to read and has lots of information about the origins of the Perseids as well as how and when to find them and general tips on viewing.

NASATo learn more about Comets, Meteors and meteor showers, the NASA website is a great place to start.   Plantes, asteroids, meteors, and comets – there are all sorts of neat things at NASA.

 

 

2015 meteor showers

There are many other regular meteor showers throughout the year if you can’t make the Perseids.   Some of the most common can be found on this table, from the University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory’s  StarDate website mentioned above.

Of course, the Iowa City Public Library has lots of material about Astronomy and Stargazing and the staff at any of the public service desks in the Library can help you find more information.

 

 

ICPL releases August Sunday Fun Day schedule

by on July 30th, 2015

Celebrate the last month of fun in the sun with Sunday Fun Days at the Iowa City Public Library!

Sunday Fun Day features fun activities for families to enjoy together. Each day has a theme with stories, crafts, or games to celebrate it.

Sunday Fun Day happens every Sunday except the first Sunday of the month. That afternoon is reserved for Sit, Stay, R.E.A.D. with Therapy Dogs of Johnson County.

August’s Sunday Fun Day events include:

August 9: Last Day of the Superhero Summer Reading Program

Make superhero gliders and create your own superhero story. Don’t forget to turn in your Summer Reading Program game card!

August 16: Permanent Marker Tie-Dyeshoes

Do you have any clothing items that you would like to spruce up or modify before school starts next week? Bring t-shirts, jeans, shoes, backpacks and any cloth item that would be fun with a little more color you as we teach you how to tie-dye with permanent markers!

August 23: Paper Bag Puppets

Bring your favorite characters to life with a little imagination and a paper bag.

August 30: Homework Organizers.

With school now underway it’s going to be tough keeping track of all those homework papers and important forms. Join us in turning ordinary clothes pins into attractive and sparkly homework organizers! Parents please note that glue and magnets will be used.

All Sunday Fun Day events begin at 2 p.m. and are held in the Storytime Room.

For more information, visit the Library’s calendar at calendar.icpl.org or call the Library (319) 356-5200.

Bus and Books

by on July 30th, 2015

2017 07 BusA recent viral story on social medial tells the story about a 12-year-old boy in Salt Lake City who asked his mailman for junk mail because he wanted more to read. The mailman posted the story on social media hoping to find some books for the boy to read. This paragraph from the Huff Post article tugged at my Mom/Librarian heart:

“Today while delivering mail to his apartment complex, I saw him reading ads, and then he asked me if I had any extra mail he could read,” Lynch wrote. “He told me his wish is to have books to read. I told him the library had many, but he said they don’t have a car, and couldn’t afford the bus.”

At the Library we have worked very hard over the years to help people access the Downtown Library. Through community surveys conducted before creating each new strategic plan (every 3-5 years) we know our community has concerns about parking downtown. We’ve addressed these concerns in a number of ways. One of the most proactive responses is our Library Bus program in partnership with Iowa City Transit.

The Library offers two great programs for riding Iowa City Transit buses to and from the Library.

Ride and Read: Your Iowa City Public Library Card is your ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit Bus FREE two times each week all year long. Present your Library Card at the Help Desk, Information Desk or Children’s Desk to receive your free pass. There’s a limit of two free passes each week and a Library Card must be presented to receive a pass.

Summer Library Bus: An Iowa City Public Library card is a child’s ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit bus free each summer. The Library will provide free bus rides to children through 12th grade, and any adult caregivers who are with them, on any Iowa City Transit bus route, from the day after Iowa City Schools dismiss until the weekday before school starts (This summer = Friday August 21), on weekdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Eligible bus riders should show their Iowa City Public Library card to the bus driver to gain free access to the bus.

In June 2015 our patrons rode an Iowa City Transit bus 1,007 times as a part of this program. In FY15 we provided 5,406 rides on a bus and last summer (June – August) 2,943 rides were provided. It’s not in our Midwest nature to boast, but I have to say this is an awesome program and a testament to our community’s dedication to our youth and Library. Thank you!

 

 

On Air – The ICPL Podcast: Episode 12

by on July 29th, 2015

Get the podcast here or from iTunes or Stitcher

“Summer Livin/Easy Reading and Over Hyped Releases”

In which the gang goes off the rails. This month we have a special guest, Anne from Collection Services. It’s summertime and the livin is easy, and so are the things we are reading, watching, and listening. Also Anne brings a segment on “Go Set a Watchman” and other over hyped releases. Spoiler alert: Brian loves Star Wars. 01:10 What we’re reading/watching/listening to -Anne: Penderwicks Series -Jason: The Wire -Melody: As If: The Oral History of Clueless -Brian: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera -Meredith: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 11:34 Easy Reading/Watching/Listening -Brian: Weezer, Dune Books -Melody: The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne, Road Warrior, The Dresden Files Series Audiobooks -Anne: Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett, Jaws -Jason: Kurt Vonnegut novels, Hot Chip’s album Why Make Sense, Back to the Future trilogy -Meredith: The Great Outdoors 30:52 Go Set a Watchman and other over hyped releases -Brian: Star Wars prequels -Jason: Elliot Smith’s posthumous album From a Basement on the Hill -Melody: Grand Budapest Hotel -Anne: Louisa May Alcott’s A Long Fatal Love Chase -Meredith: Maeve Binchy’s Chestnut Street

ICPL is on Goodreads

by on July 29th, 2015

Did you ever wonder what ICPL employees read in their spare time? Or perhaps you saw a patron with an armful of books and wanted to know what they were reading, but couldn’t think of a this-isn’t-strange-at-all  way to ask.recommendations

Our ICPL recommendation boxes have you covered!

We have four boxes located throughout the Library (first floor book return, Children’s Room self-checkout area, new nonfiction shelf on the second floor, and the Koza Family Teen Center) for you to share your book, movie and music recommendations. We go through the boxes regularly (sometimes people leave us drawings or notes that say how much the love the Library; we love those!) and post the recommendations on our patrons-suggestions bookshelf on Goodreads.

We also have bookshelves with ICPL employee recommendations and reviews on the popular reading site, so friend us, follow us, and let’s get reading!

Food and the Midwestern landscape

by on July 28th, 2015

Years ago, as I got too busy with work and children to maintain a large vegetable garden and be able to pick that perfect tomato exactly when it was perfect, I put my gardening efforts into flowers (they do have that perfect moment too, but you don’t have to pick them and, hopefully, others will enjoy them if you can’t!) and started buying vegetables at Farmers’ Market. Over time I came not only to appreciate the fresh local produce, but the people who grow it. Many with a ready smile, some more taciturn, all with a connection to the Iowa soil.kitchen

I recently checked out a book at the Library that made me think of these local farmers. New Prairie Kitchen by Summer (Honest!) Miller, photographs by Dana Damewood. The subtitle of the book is, “Stories and seasonal recipes from chefs, farmers, and artisans of the Great Plains.”

The recipes are great, but the book is far more than a collection of recipes. The author has visited the people and places where the food is grown and where it is prepared, and she tells their stories. She is from Nebraska and there are more Nebraska stories than elsewhere, but Iowa is represented. The photographs — of the people, the food, and the landscape, are simply marvelous.

This is a book to savor in many ways. I can see some of my regular Farmers’ Market vendors in the next edition.

Summer Relief at the Library

by on July 28th, 2015

I was recently at a cookout and met a guy who grew up in Iowa City.  He has since moved on and lived in many places around the country but he was home visiting his parents.  He never had central A/C as a kid and had fond memories of spending the long hot days of summer at ICPL.  He talked about watching movies at the A/V stations in the children’s room including the first time he saw TRON.   He also remembered the exact location in the stacks where he could find all TinTin books .  Even though he no longer lives in Iowa City, he still carries his ICPL library card that he received in 1982 and whipped it out to show me.  libcard2Are the dog days of summer getting you down?  Come on down, there is always plenty to do here at the library.

The Residence; Inside the Private World of the White House

by on July 27th, 2015
The Residence; Inside the Private World of the White House Cover Image

Kate Anderson Brower spent four years covering the Obama White House for Bloomberg News and is a former CBS News staff member and Fox News producer.  In her well-researched book of stories, conversations, and secrets about the presidents and their families from Kennedy through Obama, I found details shared by the people who keep the White House running smoothly a fascinating look behind the scenes of the famous people who have lived there.  Though I rarely read the gossip magazines unless I’m waiting in a doctor’s office, I did feel like the gossip shared in Brower’s book was an interesting and intimate look at White House occupants in my lifetime.  I’m old enough to remember exactly where I was when I learned the news that John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas.  The author shares details of Kennedy’s philandering and Jackie’s chain smoking, of their closeness in the loss of a son, Patrick, and the directions for JFK’s funeral that Jackie gave so stoically.  Brower describes the work the White House staff do to ready the residence for the next family to move in with less than a day to do so.  LBJ comes across as the bawdy, loud bully married to Lady Bird who acquiesced to his every mood.  His angry criticisms of his bathroom shower and the fun his daughters and other president’s children had in the White House entertaining their friends are all fair game for the author’s reporting.  Covering the resignation of Richard Nixon and his stiff and formal presence in the residence, we learn about a few of his more private thoughts and conversations with staff.  I chuckled when the Fords made it clear that they didn’t want separate bedrooms. Clearly Ronald Reagan is portrayed as a friendly gold ol’ boy but Nancy is shown to be a rigid perfectionist and a very difficult person to work for who dominated her husband. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the affable George Bush and wife, Barbara, who was completely down to earth and popular with the staff. The author shared stories about the Clintons including Bill’s fall from grace and Hillary’s reaction in the aftermath of the Monica Lewinsky affair.  Shouting matches and things being thrown unsettled the residence staff.  All the workers commented about what a sweet girl Chelsea was how carefully the Clintons protected her from the press. George W. Bush is discussed in light of 9/11 and learning about how Laura Bush spent the hours after the attack was surprising.  Finally, Barack Obama and Michelle are giving their space in the book in mostly flattering stories.  Michelle’s insistence about their daughters not being spoiled and having a relatively ‘normal’ life while living in the White House is shared.  So are the lavish state dinners for foreign dignitaries described and feuds between the chefs are mentioned. Found on the New Non-Fiction Book shelf, The Residence; Inside the Private World of the White House was a quirky and interesting summer read.

A Lucky Life Interrupted

by on July 27th, 2015
A Lucky Life Interrupted Cover Image

A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope by Tom Brokaw was a quick read that I enjoyed.  I remember watching Brokaw as the anchor of the NBC Nightly News for years and also appreciating his thoughtful coverage of Presidential elections.  To me, he was always intelligent, articulate, and reassuring in reporting the news.  Then I got to hear him in person at the University of Iowa a few years ago after his book, The Greatest Generation, was published.  Once again, his presence was so warm and familiar, his sense of humor very apparent, and his Midwestern values obvious.  In his latest book, quite different from his others, Brokaw talks about the 2013–2014 year he spent battling multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer.  After the diagnosis, Brokaw the journalist decided to keep a diary of his time dealing with the ups and downs of cancer treatment.  His journal recounts his frustrations with the medical team in not communicating with each other well enough in coordinating his treatment.  He talks about the importance of patients taking an active role in their own treatment, and the critical role of caretakers, nurses, and rehabilitation specialists. But he also takes a broader look at health care and aging in America and how fortunate he was to have the financial resources to pursue the best doctors at Mayo Clinic and elsewhere.  The question I ask myself frequently, “what do other people do who don’t have health insurance?” is one posed by the author as well.  His memories of important world events and interviews he’s done with famous world leaders are scattered throughout his memoir.  For someone with a very charmed life to talk about his illness and ultimately offer hope to others facing devastating news about their own mortality, his book says a lot about the man himself who counts each day reading, writing, fishing, and time spent with his beloved family and friends, a precious gift.

The 25 Greatest American Films

by on July 24th, 2015

1125019024_356243621e_oI love movie lists.  They’re a lot of fun and usually spark some good-natured debates.  The BBC recently asked a group of international film critics–which included critics from magazines, newspapers, television and online–to create lists of the 10 movies they felt were the greatest in American cinema.  They then used those to create a list of 100 films using a point system giving 10 points for a #1 pick down to 1 point for a #10 pick.  Here are the top 25 with links to our catalog:

25. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
24. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
23. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
22. Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)
21. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
20. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)
19. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
18. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
17. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
16. McCabe & Mrs Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)
15. The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)
14. Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975)
13. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
12. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)
11. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
10. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
9. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
7. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
6. Sunrise (FW Murnau, 1927)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
2. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

A few of the movies are out-of-print or just not available on DVD.  Here’s the page where they break-down the top 25, and this page has the whole top 100 list.  The list has already generated talk online for notable omissions like no films by the Coen Brothers or Wes Anderson.  What do you think?  How many of these films have you watched?  Any of your favorites not make the cut?





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