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A Book Babies Special!

by on January 23rd, 2015

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Baby-Girls-Instruments

On Friday, February 6th at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm.

Come sample West Music’s own early childhood music and movement program with your baby, Sing & Play & Grow!

This is a fun, engaging program offered here at Book Babies. You and your baby will explore activities with guest Becky Foerstner. This early childhood music and movement program includes singing, chanting, cuddling, rocking, dancing and instrument exploration.

This program is free.

 

Folklore, old wives’ tales, sayings and adages – do the facts support them?

by on January 20th, 2015

Are there truths behind the folklore, proverbs and phrases that many of us hear growing up?  You know what I mean, like the woolly or fuzzy bear caterpillar, and if its black stripes predict it will be a colder winter than most.  As for the woolly bear, it is not the best prognosticator of the severity of the winter.  The woolly bear’s coloring, at least according to a post on the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office’s website, depends upon a number of variables. “The woolly bear caterpillar’s coloring is based on how long caterpillar has been feeding, its age, and species.  The better the growing season is the bigger it will grow.  This results in narrower red-orange bands in its middle.  Thus, the width of the banding is an indicator of the current or past season’s growth rather than an indicator of the severity of the upcoming winter.  Also, the coloring indicates the age of the woolly bear caterpillar.”

NYT 1.26.1913Many of the adages have to do with predicting the weather or some type of weather-based observation.  An expression I heard for the first time over the holidays was a green Christmas makes a fat churchyard.  I poked around on the Internet to find out just what it meant and to see if I could trace it back in time.  The most common reading of the phrase is that cold weather brings about fewer deaths.  The reasoning behind this was that cold weather killed off the germs or stalled disease that was more rampant in warm weather.  Or perhaps it was in warmer weather more folk circulated and came into contact with each other, thus spreading disease.  Either way, the cold, they thought, kept germs at bay and people at home.  Well, it turns out that cold weather or warm weather didn’t really have that much to do with the death rate at the holidays.  In fact as far back as 1913 The New York Times ran a piece disputing these nugget of weather lore based on a report from medical officers in London where a warm winter had not made for more deaths but fewer. The farthest back I could trace the adage was as an Irish seanfhocal, Nollag, ghlas, reilig mheith.

The library has a number of books of phrases and sayings and even a title devoted just to weather folklore,  Weather wisdom : being an illustrated practical volume wherein is contained unique compilation and analysis of the facts and folklore of natural weather prediction  by Albert Lee.  Are there old wives’ tales or adages that you use, weather-based or not?  And if there are, do any of them hold true? Please feel free to share them.

 

Jackson Pollock’s “Mural”

by on January 15th, 2015
Jackson Pollock’s “Mural” Cover Image

Mural, the 1943 painting by Jackson Pollock, has been much in the news over the last couple of years as it made its journey from the UI Museum of Art to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the remarkable conservation work done there, and then back to Iowa where currently it is exhibited at the Sioux City Art Museum.  “Jackson Pollock’s Mural:  The Transitional Moment” by Yvonne Szafran and others is a fascinating look at the painting’s history and the conservation work that was completed in 2014.

The painting was commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim and was first exhibited in her home.  She donated Mural to the University of Iowa in 1948, although it did not arrive in Iowa until 1951.  The painting is now acclaimed as a masterpiece of American mid-century modernism.

After a brief history of the painting and the artist, the book goes into detail about the conservation process.  The painting had dulled over the years, mostly due to a coating of varnish in the 1970s, the technique in use at the time to protect paintings.  The meticulous effort to remove the varnish is described in words and and photographs; artists who paint will get more out of the detail than I did, but I was happy to skim the technical bits and focus on the illustrations.  Cross sections of the paint on the canvas illuminate Pollock’s technique as well as show the varnish that is not original.

The painting is very large–roughly 8 feet by 20 feet–and the photographs of the conservation staff working on the painting give one a sense of the huge effort the project required. There are before-and-after fold-out pages showing the complete painting.

ICPL was fortunate to host author Yvonne Szafran, Senior Conservator of Paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, on October 21, 2014 for a lecture on the painting and its conservation.  You can stream a recording of that talk from our website.

Mural will be at the Sioux City Art Center until April 1, 2015.  It then is destined for exhibitions in Europe, before it returns home to a new UI Museum of Art building.  “Jackson Pollock’s Mural” has made me much more appreciative of this locally owned treasure.  I can’t wait to see the real thing again.

Totally Tweens at ICPL: Fired Up Ceramics

by on January 15th, 2015

Students in grades third through sixth are invited to enjoy their day off from school Monday, Jan. 19, painting ceramic mugs at the Iowa City Public Library.pleasing-fired-4-u-school-projects

Totally Tweens: Fired-Up Ceramics will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Meeting Room A. Participants will paint a ceramic mug with Fired Up Iowa City. Paint and mugs will be provided; old clothing is encouraged.

Finished mugs can be picked up the week of Jan. 26.

This event is free and open to students in third through sixth grades, but registration is required. To register online, visit calendar.icpl.org and follow the instructions, or call the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Who is in jail?

by on January 14th, 2015

This is not something I ask myself often.  But when I do, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department has a ready answer.  The County’s website is here: http://www.johnson-county.com/.  On that page, there is a Jail Inmate Roster link on the left side of the page.  If you’d like to see Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek’s smiling face before looking at the roster (or if you just want more information on the Sheriff’s Department), then select Sheriff from the Department dropdown menu.  There’s a Jail Inmate Roster link there too.

Jail Roster

 

After a disclaimer page (presumed innocent until proven guilty), then you have the roster.  There’s quite a bit of information there: name, date booked, age, location of the inmate, the charge, bond amount, and a photo.  Right now, Johnson County has 116 inmates.  58 are housed here in Johnson County, 57 are in Muscatine County, and one is in Linn County.

 

 

Tax Forms at the Iowa City Public Library

by on January 14th, 2015

Many individuals come to the Iowa City Public Library around tax time to pick up the tax 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. Library 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.

ICPL to host Family FUN(d) Night

by on January 14th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will host a family-oriented fundraising event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8.FamilyFun(d) night Poster

Family FUN(d) Night: Love Your Library invites families to visit ICPL for a night of fun activities, including treasure hunt, visits from beloved storybook characters, a photo booth, and crafts. Pizza, a healthy snack, dessert, and a beverage will be served.

The cost is $20 for each adult and $5 per child. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation to support future Library programs for children and teens.

To register online, visit www.icpl.org/support/fund-night or contact the Library at (319) 356-5200. All registrations must be received by Thursday, Feb. 5.

Deep Down Dark : The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar

by on January 12th, 2015

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Just in time for those with the common New Year’s resolution to “Read More Books,” NPR’s Morning Edition has started their own book club. The premise of the club is simple:

A well-known writer will pick a book he or she loved. We’ll all read it. Then, you’ll send us your questions about the book. And about a month later, we’ll reconvene to talk about the book with the author and the writer who picked it.

This month’s choice, selected by author Ann Patchett, is “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free” by Hector Tobar. Morning Edition is taking questions for Hector Tobar on their Facebook page, and Twitter and Instagram under the hashtag #morningreads. On January 20th the show will select questions and have a conversation with the author.

I heard the description of the book on NPR and while it’s not a book I think I normally would have picked up, I’m glad I did. My main concern during the first chapter or two was whether I would be able to keep straight the many different characters. With 33 miners, all men with sometimes similar names, I started to wonder how I would remember who was who. I needn’t have worried: the author does a terrific job using callbacks and reminders to help the reader along. The story was gripping and well told.

Patchett described the author’s writing thusly: “He’s taking on all of the big issues of life,” she says. “What is life worth? What is the value of one human life? What is faith? Who do we become in our darkest hour?”

Though I remembered how the story ended because of the massive news coverage at the time, I had not realized the details of what was truly a miraculous and surprising rescue. It was fascinating reading about how the miners dealt with such a grim situation only to be faced with a media storm as soon as contact was made – though they remained trapped for many more weeks.

This was a terrific read; it’s a page turner that I would recommend to a broad audience.

Find the book in our catalog record here:

http://alec.icpl.org/record=b1442811

Listen to NPR’s interview with Hector Tobar here:

http://www.npr.org/2015/01/20/377462181/book-club-hector-tobar-answers-your-questions-about-deep-down-dark

 

 

Teens interested in theater, read on!

by on January 12th, 2015
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The Juneteenth Committee and The Dreamwell Theatre are co-sponsoring a Theatrical Experience in Movement for Teens. We are looking for high school and junior high youth of all ethnicities and backgrounds to come and join a community theatre class taught by real actors and directors in our community. Youth are asked to come dressed in comfortable clothing. This is for youth who are interested in theatre and getting more involved in activities. We will also be extending an invitation to 5 youth who perform well at this class for a lead in a community play this summer.
Please join us on January 24, 2015 at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center on the second floor in the social hall from 12 to 2pm. Please bring a parent as we will need a permission slip for you to attend the class. If you need the permission slip in advance , please contact LaTasha DeLoach at lmassey@co.johnson.ia.us or call 319.356.6090.

Stuck in a crafty rut? How about exploring something new?

by on January 9th, 2015
Stuck in a crafty rut?  How about exploring something new? Cover Image

Most crafters know the feeling.  You have a favorite craft or hobby, but when you do too much of it for too long you start feeling burned out.  You’re stuck in a crafters rut.  There is a simple way out though.  Spend a day or a week or two experimenting with something new to get your creative juices flowing again.

ICPL has a great collection of craft books.  Just wandering through the New Books on the second floor in the 600′s and 700′s you’ll find all sorts of new things to try:

Big Little Felt Fun: 60+ projects that jump, swim, roll, sprout, and roar by Jeanette Lim.  Are you looking for a craft that doesn’t require a sewing machine?   A bit of fun hand sewing?  Jeanette Lim has put over 70 of her “feltie” patterns in this sequel to Big Little Felt Universe. Divided into 10 fun and unique sets – from cupcakes and dinosaurs, to pets and bowling pins, there is bound to be something here that entertains you.  Everything is hand sewn so really all you need is some felt, scissors, a needle and thread to get started.

sheepishCrochet with One Sheepish Girl by Meredith Crawford.  The 25 cute and colorful crochet projects in this book are divided into three sections:  Living, Giving and Wearing.  The book starts with a 26 page introduction covering the materials and tools needed, well photographed introductions to each of the three basic crochet stitches, as well as other things needed to complete the projects in the book.  Unfortunately, while introduction is full of photographs, each of the projects themselves has only one photograph of the finished product.  The step by step written instruction seem clear, and might be enough for an experienced crochetist, however.

designer cross stitchDesigner Cross Stitch Projects from the editors of CrossStitcher   Sometimes I wonder who chooses the cover art for books.   The feathery image on the cover of this book does not even hint at the collection of fun zany patterns inside.   From mustaches, and scrabble tiles, to Volkswagen buses and instamatic cameras, this is a collection of really great ideas.  Each project contains a materials and treds list, as well as a pattern that contains not only symbols but colors, making them very easy to follow.

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