Jason talks about a British mystery series you may have missed, and Melody shows that the library can teach you how to have the body of a werewolf.
Author Archive for Bond Drager
On this episode of Staff Picks, Terri tells us about some great documentaries in the ICPL collection, some CDs, and coffee table books.
Candice takes us behind the scenes at ICPL to make a special chocolate caramel sauce from the Mast Brothers Chocolate Cookbook.
Are you planning a wedding? We’ve got you covered. In this video, Melody talks about books and magazines in our collection that will give you some great ideas.
Items mentioned include
Planning a Wedding to Remember
by Beverly Clark
Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts
Michaels Book of Wedding Crafts
Creating Vintage Cards
by Jill Haglund
Paper to Petal
by Rebecca Fuss & Patrick Farrell
by Diane Wagner
Bouquets: A Year of Flowers for the Bride
by Marsha Heckman
Digital Magazines available online at
Wedding books are available at
call number 395
Crafts books are available at
call number 745
There is no shortage of well made films dealing with issues surrounding the AIDS epidemic. We Were Here from 2011 talks about San Francisco in the 80s and 90s. The Frontline film The Age of Aids took a comprehensive look at the history of the disease from beginning to end. Certainly many fictional films have addressed the topic as well.
When How to Survive a Plague came out last year, I almost didn’t watch it. I thought I had seen all I needed to see and wouldn’t find anything new or surprising in this story. I watched it anyway, and I’m so glad I did. Though it definitely was sad (kleenexes required!) it has notes of hope that other films about AIDS usually don’t share.
It opens at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US, and it follows the group ACT UP, who organized and protested while struggling to get the US government and pharmaceutical companies to develop and research new medications for the disease. It features a large amount of archival footage as well. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 and also was nominated for and won many other awards.
This story was compelling, affecting, and ultimately a beautiful portrait of a horrible situation.
If you’re still not convinced, here’s the trailer for the film.
In this episode of Video Staff Picks, Terri talks about these collection items:
By now many of us have seen the cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine. It features a “selfie” photograph of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, an alleged perpetrator of the recent Boston Marathon bombings. Commenters on social media have described the magazine as giving Tsarnaev a rock star treatment. The photo could just as easily be of Julian Casablancas or even Jim Morrison. Just as I would guess Rolling Stone hoped, it’s provoking strong reactions in people which include calling the cover “shameful,” “disgusting,” and “tasteless.” Several retailers have opted not to sell or display the issue, notably CVS, Walgreens, and more locally, Hy-Vee.
This post isn’t meant to be a “Staff Picks” in the regular sense. I probably won’t personally read the article in Rolling Stone about Tsarnaev and how his life turned tragic. I’d rather give time and credence to the victims of the bombing and many other tragedies which go unnoticed by the media, or volunteering in my community in some way. I would, however, defend unconditionally the rights of every patron to have access to this material.
According to the Library Bill of Rights, (which Iowa City Public Library has adopted as policy) libraries have a responsibility to provide information and enlightenment, and based on this core belief, we attempt to challenge censorship. The businesses that are not selling this issue of Rolling Stone are private entities and as such are well within their rights to stock whatever they’d like on their shelves. I believe that as a library we have a greater responsibility to our patrons that compels us to make materials available even if a person or group may find them objectionable. Iowa City Public Library does not censor materials based on these objections and as such, this magazine is available as part of our collection.
This isn’t the first time we’ve had controversial material on our shelves. A recent cover of Newsweek that depicted protestors under a headline “Muslim Rage” raised some eyebrows. A trend in young adult books (especially those marketed to young girls) with material that many would deem inappropriate has brought up questions. The novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” always seems to come up in these conversations.
Libraries have historically been known for defending intellectual freedom and privacy issues. The American Library Association holds an annual event called “Banned Books Week” in which libraries nationwide celebrate the freedom to read materials that have been banned or challenged. Many are surprised to hear popular titles like “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Hunger Games,” and “Brave New World” on the list of top banned or challenged materials.
These issues are certainly not limited to books. Recent revelations about the NSA and FBI have sparked debates about personal privacy, surveillance, and the transparency of information in the United States. Many library employees believe their role as champions of intellectual freedom is becoming more critically important as time passes and newer technologies are adopted. American Library Association policies “affirm that confidentiality is crucial to freedom of inquiry.” They also “affirm an ethical imperative to provide unrestricted access to information and to guard against impediments to open inquiries.” Protecting patron confidentiality is a critical part of library culture. Libraries are committed to supporting free speech and open access to information.
Here at Iowa City Public Library, we host the annual Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival where we conduct panel discussions and show films related to these issues. Truthfully, attendance has been low in recent years. It is my sincere hope that with privacy, censorship, and access to information on peoples’ minds, we might begin a dialogue locally and increase participation. This year’s schedule will be released soon, but previous years’ events have included: a discussion of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its impact on intellectual freedom, lectures on censorship, and a screening of the documentary “Barbershop Punk” which talks about internet service providers and access to information. I hope that if you have questions or concerns about these issues you will attend and participate this September.