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Vacationers by Emma Straub

by on November 21st, 2014
Vacationers by Emma Straub Cover Image

Straub’s Vacationers is a vicarious trip out of the cold Iowa winter. Frannie and Jim decide to vacation in Majorca, Spain with their grown-up children and Frannie’s best friend, Charles, and his husband. For each character Majorca represents a turning point of either falling back into the ruts of life or moving forward and finding new potential.

Emma Straub’s writing is clean and crisp. The books is funny, warm and realistic. Straub creates characters who are real and struggle with insecurities and secrets while ultimately triumphing over what life throws at them. I listened to the book and Kristen Sieh’s narration is perfect.

As I look out my window I see it is snowing again. If you need a vicarious escape to Spain check out Emma Straub’s Vacationers.

Sequels, Sequels Are So Fun!

by on November 18th, 2014

This season has been chock full of sequels to some of my favorite wordless picture books from 2013.

“The Journey Continues” in Aaron Becker’s Quest. Fans of the Caldecott Honor winner Journey will be delighted and enthralled from the moment they open this second installment in the Journey Trilogy.

From Quest by Aaron Becker

From Quest by Aaron Becker

Becker picks up exactly where the friends left off and immediately readers are taken on an incredible journey to save a king and his kingdom.  With vivid imagery, vibrant colors and an expert hand at illustration, Becker draws readers into his world and simultaneously ties it to our own.

Hank Finds an Egg, by Rebecca Dudley has been joined this month by the sequel, Hank Has a Dream. Dudley’s work continues to amaze me, she works in diorama and photography–everything seen in any of the Hank books has been made by hand.  Her craftsmanship and abilities as a storyteller are truly incredible.

Hank's Home, Storywoods

Hank’s Home, Storywoods

One of my favorite additions to this work is the map of “Storywoods”, Hank’s world, within the endsheets. Another addition to this work, is words: Dudley juxtaposes Hank and his friend acting out the dream with an image of the dream itself on the opposite page. Honestly, everything about this work is beautiful, inspiring and original.  Rebecca Dudley is a singular artist and definitely an author to watch! hank dream 3

 

Last, but certainly not least is another Caldecott Honor winner, Molly Idle, with her latest book about Flora. After dancing in the cherry blossoms with her pal the Flamingo, Flora gets ready for winter and ice skating with her pal Penguin.  In what is becoming her signature wordless style, Molly Idle combines beautiful color illustrations, fun characters and flaps to tell a wonderful friendship story. Flora and the PenguinThe bodily expressions of Idle’s characters tell the story and lead the reader through the growing friendship between Flora and the Penguin.  Though things may get frosty, the two find a way to not only make their relationship work but have a ton of fun doing it.

Quest, Hank has a Dream, and Flora and the Penguin are great reads for the young and young at heart that leave us wanting more and excited about what’s to come from these amazing Author/Illustrators.

ICPL debuts new self-service checkouts

by on November 18th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library has replaced its self-checkout machines with new equipment in response to the community’s request for improved technology and new self-service features.checkout machines

With updated technology and a larger touchscreen, the new machines make it easier for patrons to borrow Library materials. For instance, the new machines give patrons the option of no receipt, eMail receipt or printed receipt when checking out items and/or paying a fine. An eMail receipt will only be sent if the Library has a valid eMail address on file.

“The self-serve option is designed to ease wait times for patrons, freeing staff members to focus on borrowers with questions and requests for reserves, equipment loans, and other services,” said Kara Logsden, the Library’s Coordinator for Community and Access Services.

The Library also installed new DVD unlocking stations at each self-checkout machine.

Self-checkout machines are available on the Library’s first and second floor, and in the Children’s Room.

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

New Self Checkouts @ Your Library

by on November 18th, 2014

2014 11 New Self CheckoutThis week we rolled out new Self Checkout machines. The six new Self Checkout stations may be found on the First Floor near the entrance and in the Children’s Room and on the Second Floor near the Reference Desk.

This project is a culmination of months of behind the scenes work by Library staff and completes a Strategic Plan goal to “Upgrade checkout equipment to provide more efficient service.”

Highlights of the new equipment include a bigger, more responsive screen and new DVD Unlockers that give a GREEN LIGHT indication when the DVD has been unlocked. They also feature new credit card payment terminals that are easy to use and assure PCI Compliance for transactions.

A new feature is a “smart” barcode reader that reads barcodes on smart phone screens. We’ve received many requests for this feature and know our patrons will appreciate this enhancement. The scanner works with pictures of Library Cards on the smart phones or through barcodes generated by third-party apps such as CardStar.

Another option in response to patron requests is the ability to choose no receipt, a printed receipt, or an eMail receipt. We can only send an eMail receipt if we have a valid eMail address in the patron’s record. If you wish to add an eMail address to your account, please give us a call or stop by the Help Desk.

As with many technology upgrades we are still working through a couple issues. The Self Checkout software is not communicating with our system to give information about holds in the queue. Patrons will be notified when a hold is ready for pickup but at this time we are unable to show holds at the Self Checkout stations. If you need help with holds, please go to a public service desk.

Nearly 70% of our checkouts run through the Library’s Self Checkout stations so it is a critical tool for us to serve our community. We are delighted with the new product and the improvements the technology brings. While we offer the option of Self Checkout, please remember staff are just a couple steps away if you need help or prefer for staff to check out materials for you.

My True Love Gave to Me

by on November 17th, 2014
My True Love Gave to Me Cover Image

My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of twelve holiday stories by popular young adult authors.  I was initially drawn to it because Rainbow Rowell supplied a story.  Rainbow’s story–”Midnights”–is great!  It’s about two friends who over the course of four New Year’s Eves decide if they want to be more than friends.  I hope we see the characters again!

Another plus for this collection is the chance to sample authors that you’ve been curious about.  I’ve never read anything by Matt de la Peña or Stephanie Perkins, who also edited the collection, and I loved both of their stories.  It made me want to read all of their books.  Holly Black has a great story–called “Krampuslauf”–about a group of friends who want to throw the perfect New Year’s Eve party and get revenge on a cheating ex.  An unexpected guest makes the party even more memorable.

A lot of the stories fall into the “meet-cute during the holidays” category, but they’re well done (except for a couple stinkers).  It’s a great book to read as a break from reading another book.  If you like holiday stories, you won’t go wrong with My True Love Gave to Me.

Your Favorite Book On Display

by on November 17th, 2014

WeirdWonderfulStaff members at ICPL enjoy recommending our favorite books year-round.  Now, it’s your turn!

Participate in the interactive “Take a Favorite – Leave a Favorite” display on the 1st floor during the month of November.  When you decide to check out one of the books on the display, you may fill that empty spot with your own favorite.  Write a note about why it is such a great book, and enjoy the thrill of knowing that you passed on your favorite to someone new!

YoursAndMine1

Consumer Reports on line through ICPL.

by on November 17th, 2014

consumerreportsBegun in 1936, Consumer Reports magazine is the go-to source for unbiased consumer reviews of consumer products – from air conditioners to vacuums and everything in between. Consumer Reports publishes reviews and comparisons of products based on its own  in-house laboratory testing and survey research center.  Published monthly by the not for profit organization Consumer’s Union,  Consumer Reports contains no advertising, and they anonymously purchase every product that they test at retail price, and they accept no free samples for testing.   Consumer Reports forbids the use of its reviews by manufacturers – positive reviews may not be used to help sell merchandise, and CR has gone to court to enforce that rule.

The print version of Consumer Reports is available at ICPL both as a circulating magazine and as a Reference item to be used here in the Library.

If you have an ICPL Library card and live in Iowa City, Hills, Lone Tree, University Heights or rural Johnson County you can access Consumer Reports articles online through ICPL’s online database “EbscoHost Magazine Index” by following these steps:

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To get to the online databases, from the library’s homepage (icpl.org) find the link to Reference and Research on the left hand side, and click to see the dropdown menu.   From there choose Online Resources.

 

 

Capture3From the Online Resources page, choose Magazines & Newspapers.

 

 

 

Capture4On the Magazines & Newspapers page, you need to scroll down to find EbscoHost Magazine Index – and click on the link that says visit now.

 

 

 

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EbscoHost itself is a very large product that provides access to a wide variety of databases.   Consumer Reports is contained in the default search MasterFILE Premier, so simply click on the continue button at this step.

 

 

 

Capture6On the homepage of EbscoHost there is a search box, and you could search for your article here, but you will likely get a wide variety of results from a wide variety of magazines.   To go directly to Consumer Reports, it is faster to do an Advanced Search.

 

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From the advance search page, fill in the subject you’re looking for at the top of the form then scroll down until you find the blank for Publication and put Consumer Reports in that blank. Then hit the green Search button.

 

 

 

Capture8The search results page will show you a list of articles to choose from.   You can either click on the individual article to read more about it, or click directly on one of the full text options – either PDF or HTML to view as a web page.

 

Karen Says Thanks!

by on November 14th, 2014

This time of year, a time when so much of our culture is fast paced and commercially focused, I’m reminded about how thankful I am of all the outreach I get to do each week. Visiting schools and daycares grounds my soul. At each visit, the kids teach me so much about living in the moment.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so naturally my visits in November are about being thankful. I ask the kids what they are thankful for. Some kids don’t understand this concept, so I start with a few examples: “I’m thankful for the time I get to spend visiting them at school” or “I’m thankful for the sun shining.” The kids catch on quickly. They are thankful for their birthday, snow, toys, trains, and more toys! By now they’re totally enthusiastic, so this is when I get the kids to settle down with one of my favorite books to read this time of year.  bear says thanks

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson is a sweet story about sharing, friendship, and giving thanks. Bear is bored and wants to throw a party for his forest friends. Each of his friends arrives with delectable gifts, and a repeated line encourages audience participation (“…and Bear says, ‘Thanks!’”). Sadly, Bear finds his own cupboards are bare! But his friends remind him not to fret–there’s no need for more food, because Bear’s got his own gift of stories to share, “…and they all say, ‘Thanks!’”

Health Insurance Enrollment Help and Information

by on November 14th, 2014

Are you unsure about how the Affordable Care will affect you? The library is hosting a series of information and enrollment sessions at the library that coincide with the Marketplace’s open enrollment period. This Saturday from 10 -11 a.m.   in the Library’s computer lab, Navigator, Karen Wielert, will present information pertinent to those that already have healthcare coverage. From 11 a.m. – 1p.m., anyone is welcome to come and ask questions about the Affordable Care Act and get help with enrollment.

Additional informational and enrollment sessions are offered on November 29th and December 6th from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the computer lab. All sessions are free.  The library is also providing materials and books about the Affordable Care Act, heath care, and health insurance through its display on the second floor.

For more information about these sessions, click here or call the library at 319-356-5200.

If you are unable to attend these sessions but would still like to receive assistance with enrollment or get more information about the Affordable Care Act visit  healthcare.gov.

Johnson County’s Access Points

Navigator for Johnson County, Karen Wielert: 319-535-2679 or karen.wielert@ppheartland.org

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Enrollment Center: 319-356-2208 or socialservices-marketplace@uiowa.edu

For low income or individuals qualifying for Medicaid

Johnson County Public Health: 319-356-6042

Department of Human Services: 319-356-6050

ICPL Bags @ Your Library

by on November 12th, 2014

Bags editedAt the Library we try to be as green as possible.  One way we do this is by promoting the use of reusable bags to carry home Library materials.  The Library sells two different bags at the Help Desk.  Both types of bags hold a lot of materials and can be easily folded down to a small size when not being used.

The blue bags feature two handles and light-weight material.  They sell for $1 each and sport a great message:  “Read More Books: It’s good for you!”  We’ve also had people purchase these to serve as gift bags – another green idea.

The canvas bags feature one over-the-shoulder strap.  They sell for $9 and carry a message that can be interpreted in many ways:

Read Books

Eat Food

Read Food

Eat Books

The graphic encourages the imagination and deeper thought into the message.  Regardless of how you interpret the message, it’s a fun bag to carry home lots of great Library materials.  I also know from personal experience that these bags can be tossed into the washing machine for easy cleaning.

If you are looking for other ways to reduce your use of plastic bags, check out the Iowa City Landfill/100 Grannies display on the first floor, through December 10, that shares many ideas for alternatives to plastic bags.





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