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Take a Summer Field trip!

by on July 1st, 2016

As a former teacher, current part-time nanny, and a librarian who has witnessed many busy summers in the Children’s Room, I know that kids can get stuck in summertime rut of computers, video games, and TV. While the library is always a great place to find books to read, attend storytime, and collect SRP prizes, I love to recommend some local educational getaways for the family, and of course some awesome books from the children’s nonfiction section to supplement learning. Just because school’s out on summer vacation, doesn’t mean your brain has to be.

A millipede from the Blank Park Zoo visits the library.

A millipede from the Blank Park Zoo visits the library.

Think of it as summertime field trip, and field trip day is the best day of the whole school year!  This year I am watching a four-year old and an eight-year old, which is pretty much the perfect age range for these enrichment activities. To be honest, I am probably more excited about our little trips than they are. Luckily I can keep my cool under pressure.

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Soak up the rest of summer!

by on July 1st, 2016

summer16July is here, which means our Summer Reading Program –On Your Marks, Get Set, Read! is half over! With the program coming to an end July 31st, there is still plenty of time to sign up to get your reading done to earn great prizes and a chance for one of the grand prizes!

We also have a full line up of great programs coming up in July, here are a few of our bigger children’s events:

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Nonfiction Graphic Works

by on June 30th, 2016
Nonfiction Graphic Works Cover Image

Books of all kinds in graphic format are becoming more and more popular.   The works in this format are not all Japanese Manga and superheroes, though.  The non-fiction shelves are scattered with different forms of serious non-fiction graphic works.  I thought I’d share a few of these I’ve recently discovered Read the rest of this entry »

The Adult Summer Reading Program is halfway over – but there’s still time to join in the fun!

by on June 30th, 2016

July 1st is here!  That means we’re halfway through the 2016 Summer Reading Program. But you still have time to play along.

This year, participation is even easier – you can do it online or with a paper game-card available at any public service desk in the Library.   For people 18 and over, all you have to do is complete 5 activities.  You can read 5 books of your choosing, or use one of the suggestions on the came card or from a recommended list on the Summer Reading Program 2016 website

Some of the Reading List topics you’ll find on the SRP website:gooreads choice

  • Adventures on a Bike
  • Books Becoming Movies in 2016
  • Change your life one book at a time
  • Explore Iowa
  • Fiction Set in Iowa
  • Goodreads Choice Awards 2015: Best Fiction
  • If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out Of The Kitchen – Grilling & Barbecue Cookbooks
  • NPR’s Book Concierge Best Biographies & Memoir 2015
  • Wanderlust – True Stories of Exploration and Adventure

NOTE:  Sorry, I can’t make a direct link into the Summer Reading Program website.  You have to log in to see the book list.  (And you want to, you really do!)
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Not My Father’s Son

by on June 30th, 2016
Not My Father’s Son Cover Image

Faced with seven hours of driving in one day, I headed for our collection of nonfiction books on disc and selected a title that has been on my pending list for a while:  Not My Father’s Son, by Alan Cumming.  The print book and the audio version were both published in late 2014, to positive reviews.  I enjoyed it very much, although parts of his story are difficult to listen to (or read, I’m sure).

Cumming weaves together two main story lines in the book.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Sting of the Wild : the Story of the Man who got Stung for Science

by on June 30th, 2016
The Sting of the Wild : the Story of the Man who got Stung for Science Cover Image

Ouch, ouch, ouch! That hurts, that really really hurts!  Do you want to know why stings and bites hurt and why some insect stings are worse than others?  Then look no further than “The Sting of the Wild”. Schmidt, the “the King of the Sting” and”the Connoisseur of Pain”,  is an entomologist at  Southwestern Biological Institute and is affiliated with the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona and he has written a bitingly good book about insects that inflict pain.  I am attractive to flying insects; mosquitoes, gnats, and black flies – all those annoying little creatures of the air, so I was very interested in why me and not others.  Mosquitoes are attracted to certain blood types more than others, those with Type O being bitten the most frequently.  If you want to know what other factors make a mosquito pick you or ignore you, you’ll have to read the book.

His research area of expertise is insect venom and he is the creator of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.   The Schmidt sting pain index is a 5yellowjacket1-point pain scale, numbered from 0 to 4. An insect that can’t penetrate human skin ranks 0. The most painful stings rank 4 on the index.  I guess five must be death, which is possible with a sting.  Schmidt includes his pain scale as an appendix and it’s fascinating and funny, truly funny.  He gives the name, the range, the description and the pain level of each stinging insect.  There is only one level 4 in North America – the tarantula hawk, but there are many lower pain level insects.  But don’t think it is a tiny tingle if the level is lower, it’s not.  His descriptions read like entries in the “Wine Enthusiast” – Western yellow jacket – Pain Level 2 – Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.  Honey wasp – Pain Level 2 – Spice, blistering. A cotton swab dipped in habanero sauce has been pushed up your nose.

And get this, he based his pain index on experimentation with himself as the subject.    I have been stung by a paper wasp before and it is excrutiatingly painful.  I cannot imagine inflicting all of that agony on myself, but I am glad he was curious and strong enough to do it.  He was interviewed recently on Science Friday and he is in funny in person as he is in writing.

Dave Hicks and Old Time Music

by on June 30th, 2016

A good friend of the Iowa City Public Library passed away earlier this week.  Dave Hicks played music and told storiesdave hicks for many events at the library, often with with Guy Drollinger and Mike Haverkamp.   Dave, Mike and Guy played Civil War era music for a program on transcribing Civil War diaries at the University of Iowa Special Collections and they performed more recently at the 175th anniversary celebration of the founding of Iowa City.  Or come in a borrow a copy of Stones in the Field’s Come Singing, Come Dancing and listen Dave play the fiddle, flute, whistle, guitar, and bodhran.

Get your grill on!

by on June 29th, 2016

grill-878001_960_720Grilling season is well under way and we are having perfect weather here in Iowa City. Not too hot, not too cold, lovely evenings and mornings for walking the dog, taking a jog, or hunting for frogs in the creek.

With this blissful weather upon us, I’ve been on the lookout for digital magazine articles on grilling and outdoor cooking. Here are a few I’d like to share with you today: Read the rest of this entry »

Arts & Crafts Bazaar is only 156 days away!

by on June 29th, 2016
Shoppers at the 2015 Arts & Crafts Bazaar

Shoppers at the 2015 Arts & Crafts Bazaar

On those summer days when the sun beats down, the humidity goes up, and it’s just not pleasant outside consider starting your crafting project for the Library’s annual Arts & Crafts Bazaar fundraiser (December 3, 2016).  We accept donations of a wide variety items that are handmade (no food or living plants).  In the past donations have included hats and scarves, quilts and pillows, holiday decorations and pictures, cards and ceramics, aprons and bags, toys and shelves.  These are just some of the many wonderful items that you can contribute.  The purpose of the bazaar is primarily a fundraiser (raising over $5,000 last year for the Friends Foundation), but also to showcase the great talents of library lovers.  So, checkout out some inspirational books, break out the hammers, sewing machines, knitting needles, paint brushes…your tools of choice, and get crafting!  Watch the library website for the donation form that will be available soon.

Children’s titles added to ICPL’s digital magazine collection

by on June 29th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library recently added children’s titles to its Zinio Digital Magazines collection, bringing the number of magazines patrons can read on digital devices to nearly 200.

With titles that appeal to all ages – from Babybug for babies and toddlers to American Girl and Dig for older elementary through middle school students – parents now have more options to keep their children entertained on the go.

“Our digital magazine collection gives patrons the opportunity to read the magazines they enjoy without having to pay subscription prices,” said Anne Mangano, the Library’s coordinator of collection services.

Zinio is available to Iowa City Public Library cardholders who reside in Iowa City, rural Johnson County, Hills, Lone Tree, and University Heights, as well as North Liberty residents. The service requires an ICPL Library Card and password. North Liberty residents need a valid North Liberty Community Library card and password.

To sign up for Zinio, visit icpl.org/zinio and follow the instructions on the screen. Once a magazine is downloaded onto your smartphone or tablet, it’s yours forever. There’s no limit on the amount of titles you can choose.

For more information, call the Library at 319-356-5200, stop by the Info Desk, or attend one of our drop-in Tech Help sessions, held from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays, and noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays in the second floor Computer Lab.





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