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ICPL hours unchanged during Hillary Clinton’s appearance Tuesday

by on July 6th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will open at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 7, and maintain normal operating hours during Hillary Clinton’s visit.

The East Entrance to the Library will be closed, but the Library can be accessed through the West Entrance off the City Plaza. Parking around the Library may be limited.

The presidential candidate will attend a Hillary for Iowa campaign organizing meeting in the Library’s first floor meeting rooms Tuesday morning. The Library expects a large number of people to attend the event, but staff will do their best continue everyday service.

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



ICPL partners with Senior Center to Offer Computer Classes

by on July 6th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library and the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center have joined together to offer computer classes to seniors in the Iowa City community this summer.

The classes will be offered at the Center, located at 28 S. Linn St., and taught by an ICPL Librarian. Four classes are scheduled in July and August.

In July, participants can learn how to protect their privacy and safety when online or using social media. “Social Media Safety: Protecting Your Privacy Online” will be offered at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 17. The class will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of privacy settings on several social networks and participants will learn how to adjust those settings.

This topic continues with “Internet Safety: Protecting Your Privacy Online” at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 31. Participants will learn strategies and skills to protect themselves and their privacy.

Classes on digital photo storage and online music sites will be covered in August. Each course will go over the major sites for digital photos and online music to help participants understand and ultimately choose a site they’d like to use in the future.

The online music course — “Introduction to Online Music” — will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 14. The digital photo course — “Digital Photos: Organizing, Sharing, and Basic Editing” — will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 21.

Each class will be held at the Senior Center. Classes are free, but space is limited. To register, call the Senior Center at (319) 356-5220. For questions about the classes, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

I want to see fireworks, can you help? Why, yes I can!

by on July 3rd, 2015

fireworks21Independence Day is two short days away and one of the best parts of the holiday is fireworks.  Fireworks at home or the neighbor’s house or in a park or campground are not legal, with the exception of sparklers and snakes.  A bill in the Iowa House this past session would have expanded the sale and use of fireworks in the state to include cone fountains, bottle rockets and Roman candles, among others. It passed the House, but did not advance in the Senate.   So you will have to wait until next year if you want to legally explode a cherry bomb or bottle rocket.

For a safe, fun and communal way to view fireworks, your can watch fireworks in Iowa City or a nearby town. On Friday, July 3 you can view them in Kalona: dusk at Shiloh Amphitheater or in  Oxford: dusk at Creekside Park, but the majority of the fireworks take place on July 4.  Here are the locations and times: Coralville: dark at S.T. Morrison Park, Hills: 9:05 p.m. at the Ballpark, Iowa City: 9:30-9:45 p.m. Hubbard Park (next to the University of Iowa Memorial Union), North Liberty: No display planned, but will have a hot air balloon glow at 8:30 p.m. July 11 as part of North Liberty Blues & BBQ and Solon: dusk over Lake McBride.

Have a great Fourth of July and if you do decide to shot off a bottle rocket or two, be safe out there.

A Retro Hello

by on July 2nd, 2015

CaptureI am very happy and excited to be a part of the Iowa City Public Library’s Children’s Department as the new Coordinator! I am moving here from Burlington, Iowa, where I worked at the Burlington Public Library for 13 years. I am bringing with me, my two young kids, and my love of reading.

My love of reading began when I was very young. You could always find me with my nose in a book devouring anything by my favorite author of the month. Today, as I was looking over the j-fiction collection in the children’s room of the library, I found several books that I loved growing up, which has inspired my 80’s & 90’s retro booklist.

Retro Book List – Some titles, some authors:

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. These books introduced me to my love of a good mystery book and reading books in a series. I am happy that so many kids still enjoy this series, including my own kids, and as of today they have solved over 140 mysteries. The four Alden children, in my opinion, lived the dream in the ultimate club house, an abandoned boxcar. They had everything figured out and got to solve mysteries at the same time.

Doll House Murders by Betty Ren Wright.dollhouse-murders-betty-r-wright-hardcover-cover-art  I probably read and reread this book a thousand times. It also started me on a path of reading books about Dollhouses (Midnight in the Dollhouse and When the Dolls Woke by Marjorie Filley Stover). Amy discovers an eerily-haunted dollhouse in the attic-an exact replica of the family home. Whenever she sees it, the dolls, representing her relatives, have moved.

goneGone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. A summer filled with mystery and a ghost town! This was right up my alley as a young girl. Portia and Julian find a abandoned resort just across the lake and are determined to find out the secrets

The Not-Just-Anybody Family by Betsy Byars. I have to thank my 4th grade teacher for sharing this book with me. The way she read it to our class had us falling out of our desks laughing. The Blossom family has their share of problems which all seem to fall to Maggie and Vern to figure out.

The BFG by Roald Dahl. This is officially my favorite book by Mr. Dahl, probably because after listening to it in the 6th grade we got to watch the movie, but still a hilarious book nonetheless. Sophie has a great adventure with her BFG (Big Friendly Giant) to save England. I loved all the made up words and silliness that is found throughout the book.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I think I may have loved the movies more than the books but because of the details of the setting, PEI (Prince Edward Island) is on my bucket-list to visit. I loved the friendships that Anne made and the lasting impressions she had on everyone she met.

Mary Downing Hahn. She published her first book the year that I was born and she has been creeping young readers out ever since. I loved her ghost stories, Wait Til Helen Comes, and her suspenseful stories, Dead Man in Indian Park.

Katherine Patterson. She was the first author to make me cry while reading a book. I have read and still own every single book by her. It would be a dream come true to meet her! Top three books by her that everyone should read: Bridge to Terabithia, The Great Gilly Hopkins and Lyddie.

And I will end my list with books by Christopher Pike because this is the last author I remember reading before the call of a social life and mandatory high school reading (Beowulf, Ivanhoe, The Odyssey) took up all my time. Like most books on this list Christopher Pike’s books were sure to include twists, turns, thrills and chills.

Trust me, I could add about 100 more to this list and I have read plenty of books since the 1990’s. I would love to suggest something with a newer copyright; just look for me in the stacks of the Children’s Room!

Is July imaginary road trip month?

by on July 2nd, 2015

We’ve got a new display up in the Teen Center, seven books about road trips of all kinds. July seems like the perfect time of year to dream about road trips, even if you don’t drive. I didn’t drive until after high school, and I spent the years before my first vehicle planning the road trips I would take if I could.

The library is always a great place to work out these hypothetical travels. Come up to the second floor, head left to the main nonfiction collection, and you’ll find a wealth of potential adventures.

All the way down by the windows are a great place to start: aisle 29 has books about US states in case you need some historical inspiration, and aisles 26 and 27 have plenty of books about US Travel.  Call number 917.305 is all road trip books – they’re big and full of pictures and routes and ideas. For my imaginary road trip I’d pick Road Trip USA to start. From there, books are organized East Coast to West Coast. We, of course, are somewhere in the middle. I’ll probably grab the Compass Guide to Maine, because that seems like a perfect and far-flung summer escape.infi I’ve been to Maine already, but my imaginary road trip will take me there again. If you were dreaming of New York City or Florida beaches, those books are here too. ICPL of course has a bunch of books about Iowa travels, found in 917.7704. Nearby is Chicago – a totally feasible roadtrip and one I make regularly! But back to the far-fetched: the Infinite City atlas is an intriguing book of San Francisco. That was a city that was always at the top of my road trip list in high school, so I’d add this to my pile. Move along the aisle and I’m definitely imagining the World Famous Alaska Highway. That would be a long drive, but since it’s all in my head, why not?

Okay, since it’s all in my head, I should probably wander a little farther. A Map of the World: according to illustrators and storytellers is full of pictures to pore over. Or how about the Atlas of Exploration? Historical maps are so cool, and it’s fun to imagine wandering roads long gone. If you’re looking for even more flights of fancy, try the catalog search for a few relevant subjects: Atlases or Cartography yield lots of possibilities.

What I’d do next, now that I have my stack of books, is find a little table space, maybe over near the Teen Center. I’d spread out and start opening books. Now, I’m definitely a person who opens a bunch of tabs when I’m using the internet, but there is really no substitute for a pile of books all open to the most interesting pages. Maybe that’s why I always liked planning these imaginary road trips, even after I got a car. Plus, a wander through the library shelves is its own kind of fun.


cadPostscript: the road trip-related books on display in the Teen Center right now (for inspiration, perhaps?)

Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, Cadillac Chronicles by Brett Hartman, The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour, The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski, and In a Handful of Dust by Mandi McGinnis

ICPL announces July Classes for Adults

by on July 2nd, 2015

Want to learn more about your iPad? The Iowa City Public Library is offering several classes that help beginning and intermediate users get a better handle on their device.

“Explore Your iPad,” a class for new or beginning iPad users, will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 8. Participants will discover how to expertly navigate their device, capture and access photos and video, bookmark a webpage, set important security options, and much more.

For the intermediate iPad user, the “iPad Tips and Tricks” class will be offered on at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 13. Patrons can learn how to customize their device, keep it safe, and get the most out of the device’s memory.

Both classes will be held in Meeting Room A on the first floor of the Library. Classes are free, but space is limited to 15 people per program, so patrons should register early.

Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at (319) 356-5200.

ICPL to screen Unsung Heroes July 8

by on July 2nd, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will screen Unsung Heroes: The Story of America’s Female Patriots at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, in Meeting Room A.unsung heroes

This 2014 documentary gives a first-hand look at the women who answered the call to serve and defend their country, sharing their experiences through rare photographs, archival materials, personal memorabilia and on-camera interviews. Called an inspiring story of perseverance and triumph, the film commemorates their courage and strength.

This event is part of the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program. It is free to the public and popcorn will be provided.

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

Alice’s Influence over 150 Years

by on July 2nd, 2015

It’s the 150th anniversary of the publication of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and we’re marking the occasion with a display of books and movies influenced by the book. You’ll find titles like “Alice in Zombieland” and “Alice in Quantumland” as well as graphic novels featuring characters from Wonderland, movies with allusions to Alice, music CDs, and non-fiction books about the real Alice Liddell.

aliceNot all of the nonsense in the story is baseless, as I learned after I bought a 1966 copy of “The Annotated Alice” in a used bookstore in Hay-on-Wye (a small town in Wales famous for its dozens of bookshops, claiming the highest ratio of books per person on earth).

For years, I’ve enjoyed pretending that the “For copyright reasons, this edition is not for sale in the U.S.A.” note on the back cover meant that I was the only American with access to the excellent footnotes explaining all the math jokes, cultural allusions, and more. Well, of course not. Preparing for this display, I learned that a new edition was widely published in the year 2000 as “The Annotated Alice: the definitive edition,” and I invite you to out-footnote me with one of ICPL’s two copies. More speculations about the “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?” riddle have accrued in between editions — for example, “Because a writing-desk is a rest for pens and a raven is a pest for wrens” — even though I know from the same footnote that Carroll intended it as a riddle with “no answer at all.”

Revisit an old favorite in a new form or have a crack at reading the book for the first time during this special anniversary year.

An Iowa Tale

by on July 1st, 2015

I have long been a fan of Jane Smiley’s work. While I haven’t read everything she has written, as I am sometimes not too interested in the  subject matter, she does tell a good story.

I am particularly fond of her titles with a horse theme including a recent series targeted to older children, and her Iowa based titles.

Her newest books are parts one and two of a trilogy.  I think of them as multi-generational family sagas.  The first book,  Some Luck,  begins in 1920 on a small family farm in Denby Iowa.  The story follows a couple, Walter and Roseanna Langdon, their children and extended family through World War II and into the early 1950′s.

some luck               early warning


The second of the series, Early Warning,  picks up in the early 1950′s and goes on through 1986 with a third generation of the Langdon family coming into adulthood.

Smiley draws characters who are multifaceted and just like real people,  sometimes you really like them and sometimes you don’t.  These stories can be read as a “light” history of the economy and evolution of  life on a family farm as well as the social and political climate of the times.

I feel like this family could have lived down the road from me growing up.  I can’t wait to see how they all end up in the next volume!

IC Farmer’s Market Storytime Recap

by on July 1st, 2015

This past Saturday, I took an early morning trip to the Iowa City Farmer’s Market to do a special storytime. I had been worried about rain, but the day started off nice and sunny. I sat under the trees in Chauncey Swan Park and spread out some colorful tablecloths for the kids to sit on. After  a nice little crowd took their seats, we sang a welcome song together.

“We Clap and Sing Hello” to the tune of “Farmer in the Dell”

We clap and sing hello,
With our friends at storytime,
We clap and sing hello!
(Repeat with stomp, wave, etc.)

As an appropriate start to storytime, our first book was Farmer’s Market Day by Shanda Trent, which follows a little girl throughout a farmer’s market as she tries to decide what to buy.

I followed this by asking what the kids had gotten today at the farmer’s market. I told them about my delicious breakfast at Griddle Me This (blueberry lemon pancakes!). Conveniently one girl was still eating a muffin she had gotten, which led right into singing “Do You Know the Muffin Man?”

Oh, do you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane?

Oh, yes I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Yes, I know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane.

Next I asked everyone if they knew where the fruits and vegetables they could get at the farmer’s market came from. Everyone knew they came from the garden. Then we read my big book version of Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres to see how these plants grow.

Afterwards, I asked everyone to pretend they were corn and grow up towards the sky. When I asked what is a tasty treat that comes from corn, everyone shouted out “POPCORN! So then we had to pretend we were popcorn by doing an action rhyme.

I’m a piece of popcorn (point to self)
Put me in the pot (make small tossing motion)
Shake me up, shake me up (jump around)
And watch me (freeze)
POP! (big jump with hands spread out and up)

Next we continued thinking about gardening, but this time with flowers instead of food, by reading Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn.

I was going to go to a rhyme next, but a family needed to leave and really wanted to hear the last book, so I moved right into My Garden by Kevin Henkes. I love this book because it is so imaginative and inspires belief in limitless possibilities.

I had fun sharing ideas with the kids about what would be in their gardens. Lastly we finished up with a fun little action rhyme focused on fine motor skills.

10 fat peas in a pea pod pressed (fingers in a fist pressed together)
1 grew, 2 grew, so did all the rest (very slowly uncurl 1, then 2 then, all fingers)
They grew and they grew, and they did not stop (keep slowly uncurling fingers)
Until one day that pod went POP! (suddenly open hands with fingers out)

Overall it was a fun and successful experiment, so perhaps we will try to do another Farmer’s Market storytime before it’s over.