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The Maine Coon’s Haiku by Michael J. Rosen

by on April 1st, 2015
The Maine Coon’s Haiku                                                                                                                                     by Michael J. Rosen Cover Image

The Main Coon’s Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers is a 2015 new poetry book for children that I checked-out in preparation for the library’s annual Poetry Workshop for Kids coming up Saturday, April 11th, from 2:00–4:00 p.m.  I enjoy facilitating this program for tweens each April in honor of National Poetry Month and am always amazed at the creative poems kids write.  We talk about haiku, originally a poetic form from Japan describing a moment in nature in 17 syllables (5-7-5) written in three lines.  Nowadays we take lots of poetic license in the writing of haiku as illustrated in this new collection of poems by Rosen who gave us The Cuckoo’s Haiku in 2009.  Each of the twenty haiku are about a particular kind of cat.  For example, in the haiku entitled “Burmese,” it goes like this:  “Only the blazing/forsythia blooms rival/the Burmese cat’s gaze.”  Another poem I enjoy is “Maine Coon” written in three simple lines of verse:  “Crouched before the couch,/suddenly, cat has all night/for just one sound–mouse.” Haiku is a great form of poetry to teach because it’s short and understandable for young readers and writers. Children can use their imagination to think of a scene in nature that for one brief moment is worthy of notice and describe it in a haiku.  It is personal, reflective, and quiet poetry that relies on eliciting  feelings, emotions, and wonder.  The illustrations in this book are by Lee White and are done digitally in muted colors.  A bonus in The Maine Coon’s Haiku is the thumbnail description and image from the book of the breed.  Don’t forget to register your 3rd-6th grader for the Poetry Workshop and we’ll talk more about haiku and write some of our own.  In the meantime, check out this book on the New Book Shelves and celebrate National Poetry Month!

If you liked this (or didn’t), read this–BYOBook edition!

by on April 1st, 2015
If you liked this (or didn’t), read this–BYOBook edition! Cover Image

Our most recent BYOBook event, on March 24 at Brix, focused on Jon Ronson’s book The Psychopath Test: a Journey Through the Madness Industry. The book is a reporter’s journey of investigation that touches upon a few specific characters and events, filled out with some science and theory. It is by no means an overwhelmingly serious, complete look at psychopathy; Ronson places himself at the center of inquiry, and readers follow along as he interviews the people he found to be most interesting or illustrative. I found it to be highly entertaining and informative, and was happy to accept it for what it was. Other readers were left a little frustrated at the lack of depth on the topic or parts of it, at Ronson’s somewhat meandering storytelling and discussion, and at the sort of lack of conclusion (or maybe definitive opinion on his part? a real yes or no answer?) in many of the questions presented. Is Tony a psychopath or not? Is the DSM real and useful, or is it a harmful tool created by a bunch of people who feel the need to label everything? What IS the whole point of the Being and Nothingness book deal??

There were several people who mentioned that they’d been hoping for a more thorough, science-based look at psychopaths and the study of them, as well as other mental disorders. Here are a few recent books that might be of interest:

Confessions of a Psychopath: a life spent hiding in plain sight by M.E. Thomas
Dangerous Personalities: an FBI profiler shows how to identify and protect yourself from harmful people by Joe Navarro
Murderous Minds: exploring the criminal psychopathic brain… by Dean Haycock
Shrinks: the untold story of psychiatry by Jeffrey Lieberman

Up next for B.Y.O.Book is Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation, on April 21 from 7-8 p.m. at Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar.

Winter Bees by Joyce Sidman

by on April 1st, 2015
Winter Bees by Joyce Sidman Cover Image

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold written by Joyce Sidman is a lovely new picture book of poems suitable for grade K to grade 4.  Although there are only a dozen poems included, they are very descriptive of animals surviving in the cold long winter.  The author sometimes uses unfamiliar words in her poems but there is a brief glossary of 22 definitions in the back of the book that defines words children might not know.  Some poems rhyme but most do not.  Two of the poems are in a particular poetic form–a pantoun and a triolet–adding to the reader’s knowledge of the poetic structure used.  Sidman has certainly done her research on each animal of the frozen North she writes about.  She lives in Minnesota and has observed these creatures first hand; but the addition of a paragraph of information about each hardy animal living in the winter is something that will appeal to animal lovers, parents, and teachers who choose to share this book in the classroom.  Some of the animals included are the tundra swan, a big brown moose, winter bees, a vole, and wolves.  The aspect of this new volume of poetry that I particularly love are the beautiful illustrations by Rick Allen, another Minnesota native.  He is a printmaker and has employed his considerable skills in printing from linoleum blocks and then adding color by hand.  The prints were then digitally scanned, composed, and layered to create the artwork for the poems.  Winter Bees is a book for those who love the natural world.  And even though the poems depict winter scenes, the book ends with the coming of Spring.  Hallelujah!

Sensory Storytime Kits available at ICPL

by on April 1st, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library recently received a grant from the Pilot Club of Iowa City to fund the creation of four Sensory Storytime Kits.SensoryKitCheckout

Designed to make storytimes accessible and enjoyable for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory disorders, or other special needs, the kits include books, props, music CDs, puppets, flannel boards, fidget toys, and information on presenting Sensory Storytimes.

Patrons can choose from Good Morning, Good Night; Teeth!; What’s the Weather?; and Pick a Pet,. Kids will enjoy getting a monkey all dressed for his day; brushing giant teeth; matching clothes to the weather; or voting on which pet to choose.

While the kits were created with a specific audience in mind, they are available for all patrons to check out. The Sensory Storytime Kits are shelved in the Storytime Kit collection in the Children’s Room.

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

ICPL to screen Desk Set on April 16

by on April 1st, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will celebrate National Library Week with a screening of Desk Set at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 16.DeskSet

This 1957 film, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, tells the story of two strong personalities who clash over changes at a TV network’s research department. Hepburn is Bunny Watson, head researcher in the “Federal Broadcasting Network” library, while Tracy is efficiency expert Richard Sumner. Sumner was hired to secretly computerize the office, something Watson doesn’t support, leading to a battle of wits with the dialogue to match.

Directed by Walter Lang, Desk Set is based on the Broadway play by Robert Fryer and Lawrence Carr. It is the eighth movie to pair the two screen legends.

The movie will be shown in the big screen in Meeting Room A. Popcorn will be provided.

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

ICPL celebrates Money Smart Week April 18-25

by on April 1st, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library, in a partnership with MidWestOne Bank, the Jacobsen Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship, and Wells Fargo, will celebrate Money Smart Week April 18 through April 25. Created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002, Money Smart Week is a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances.

The weeklong celebration begins with a special Sunday Fun Day event. Families are invited to take a page from Ben Franklin’s book and make kites from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 19, in the Storytime Room. This craft will rely on found and easily attainable objects for frugal kite and windsock assembly. A banker from Wells Fargo will also be present to share information about being Money Smart.money

Students in 7th through 12th grades are invited to attend a Quick Pitch Assembly from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 20, in Meeting Room A. Students will have three minutes to pitch an idea for a product or service, then receive five minutes of feedback from a panel of judges. Cash prizes for the best pitches will be rewarded: $100 for first place, $50 for second, and $25 for third. Participants must register at http://www.icpl.org/quick-pitch.

Did you know that ICPL patrons have access to money management resources? Learn about MorningStar and Value Line, two leading investment research resources, during our Be Money Smart class on April 21 from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Computer Lab. Library staff will demonstrate how to use these databases, giving users they information they need to be smart investors. Space is limited for this class. Register online at calendar.icpl.org or call (319) 356-5200.

Finally, all patrons are invited to participate in DASH for the STASH, a statewide competition to win a $1,000 IRA. To participate, read four Money Smart Week posters on display at the Library, use your Smartphone or Table to scan the QR code to access that topical question, and submit your answers.

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

Overdrive Tips: Checking Items Out From the Catalog

by on March 31st, 2015

You can check items out and place holds on eBooks and audio books directly from out catalog.

Many of you enjoy the convenience of our “paging” service for traditional items like books, videos and other resources.  You can request the item from the catalog and then stop by the library when it’s more convenient to pick it up.  We have that functionality for eBooks and eAudioBooks too.  While searching through our catalog, you may happen upon an eBook that you would like to read.  Or perhaps the book you are looking for is only available in an electronic format.  You can either reserve or check the item out without having to go through the steps to open up the Overdrive app on your mobile device, log in to your account and find it again.  It will just show up on your online bookshelf the next time you use Overdrive.

Although this is an added convenience, it can also lead to confusion.  There isn’t at this time a way to automatically download the item right from the catalog.  For users who have not set themselves up on our Overdrive service, this can be confusing: “I checked it out, so where is it?”  This is just due to current limitations in the technology for eBook platforms.  We hope that in the future you will be able to push the item right to your device.

A Big Book Worth the Effort

by on March 31st, 2015
Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Since this is my very first blog ever, I’d like to recommend my most favorite book of all time:  The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.  This epic novel is not in our Book Madness bracket, most likely because I forgot to submit it.  Because it was originally serialized, each chapter is full of action and the book reads more like modern-day authors David Baldacci and Brad Thor.

Before he became The Count, Edmond Dantes was a naive merchant sailor with a life full of happiness.  That changes when he is sent to the foreboding Chateau d’If for reasons unknown to him.  After his “release”, he methodically wreaks vengeance on those he deems responsible, but also helps others he believes are worthy.

If you don’t have the time for 117 chapters or are just a bit daunted, we have a 4-part TV mini-series (starring Gerard Depardieu; 1998) and the 2002 theatrical version (starring Jim Caviezel).  There are also many revamped versions including:

Since I am a fervent fan, I’ve also read The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss.  This is a biography of Alexandre Dumas’s father who served as an inspiration for the novel.

Edmond Dantes is a complex character and the plot is quite intricate – with every re-reading I discover something new.  The Count of Monte Cristo is a classic because its themes still resonate today.

Setting records

by on March 31st, 2015

It’s March madness and since my Hawkeye Women’s Basketball team is out of the tournament that takes the pressure off and I can enjoy the final four with no personal involvement.  Athletic events are a big draw in Iowa City.  As reported by the Corridor Business Journal recently, average annual attendance at Kinnick Stadium for Iowa Hawkeye Football is 472,000 and Carver-Hawkeye Arena averages 330,000.  Those two venues together have an attendance of 802,000.

The Iowa City Public Library is the most visited public library building in the State of Iowa, and this year we are on track to match attendance at Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye arena!  Busiest time of the year?  Summer.  Busiest day of the week?  Sunday  & Saturday average just over 300 people an hour; for weekdays Mondays and Fridays are the busiest.

With some people choosing to download collections from home and so much information readily available online why are people still coming to the library?  Years ago when the community was debating the need for an expanded library building some people asked the question, “Why will we need a larger library, no one will come?”  People are still coming, and in growing numbers.

Physical books are a preference for many area readers.  A survey has shown that Iowa City residents read as many ebooks as their counterparts nationally, but they read twice as many print books!  Programming also brings many people to the Library — whether it’s children at storytimes,  a teen or adult program, or attending one of the thousands of meetings held each year in our meeting rooms, people come to the library to meet face to face with others, to learn and to engage.  In the first six months this year we have had 564 library programs in the building attended by 17,678 people. People without internet access come to use our public access computers (over 50,000 in six months), make a copy, scan or print, or get technology assistance.

Our “March Madness” season is in June when school is out and all our summer programming at full swing — we will have more than 20,000 a week in the building during our peak season.  We’re already preparing!

Veggie Recipes for Big Batch Cooking

by on March 31st, 2015
Veggie Recipes for Big Batch Cooking Cover Image

If it takes 90 days to create a new habit, then by-golly I may have just succeeded at one of my New Year’s Resolutions. This resolution was inspired by that 5 o’clock HANGRY feeling.

You get off work, drained from the day, and you have no energy or patience to deal with making cooking decisions. Eating–a core function of sustaining your existence–takes the backseat to meal prep, or arguing about meal prep, or whining about why you can’t ever eat the salad greens before they turn to slime.

The solution? Big batch cooking on the weekend, or whatever days off you might have. I’m happy to say this has worked for me for 13 weeks in a row. I use recipes from library cookbooks to shake up the flavors, only repeating my favorites. And I’ve started collecting these recipes by scanning the pages with Evernote’s Scannable app (Apple) and saving them to the Evernote Food app (Andoid, Apple).

Here are a few of the books and recipes that have allowed me to conquer the 5 o’clock HANGRY.  Read the rest of this entry »





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