Author Archive for Beth Fisher



All Iowa Reads Program is now for All Ages

by Beth Fisher on November 5th, 2017

 

Begun in 2003 by the Iowa Center For The Book, the All Iowa Reads program was created to build a sense of community through reading.  Once a year adults across the state were encouraged to read and talk about the same book. The All Iowa Reads titles are selected by a committee of ten rotating members representing public libraries, academic libraries, a publisher or bookstore, a state government agency, and the State Library Commission.  They read a variety of books to come up with each years selection.  A list of the runners up can also be found at the All Iowa Reads website.

In October at the annual Iowa Library Association state conference the AIR selection for the next year is announced.   This year there was an even bigger announcement: the all All Iowa Reads Program is no longer just aimed at adults.  There are now three All Iowa Reads selection each year: one for Kids (ages 8-12),  for Young Adults (ages 13-18), and for Adults (18+).

 

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Orionid Meteor Shower reaches it’s peak this weekend!

by Beth Fisher on October 20th, 2017

 

orionidsIf you’re not often outside late at night, you might not be aware that something pretty special has been going on this week.  The 2017 Orionid Meteor Shower began on October 15 and ends October 29th.  Peak nights for viewing the meteor shower are tonight and tomorrow night  – with prime viewing time around around 2:00a.m Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

 

haleysThe Orionids happen every year in late October when the earth passes through the stream of ice particles and rocks trailing Haley’s Comet. Haley’s Comet has a highly elliptical 75.5 year orbit around the Sun. It last passed through the inner part of the solar system in 1986.  Each time it passes the Sun a bit of the ice on the comet melts and rocks and larger chunks of ice break off and join the stream of debris following the comet.

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Get your craft on to support ICPL.

by Beth Fisher on October 19th, 2017

2017-craft-bazaarAttention all crafters!   Donations are now being accepted for the Annual ICPL Friends Foundation Fundraising Arts & Crafts Bazaar.  This year the bazaar will be on Saturday, December 2nd, so you still have time to get let your craftiness fly to support ICPL.   Information about the Bazaar is available online and you can download a donation form or pick one up here at the Library.  Donations can be dropped off at the Help Desk up until November 30th.

If you’re looking for ideas to get your crafting juices flowing, here are a few new craft books in our collection:

 

 

homemade-holiday

Homemade Holiday: Craft your way through more than 40 festive projects  by Sophie Pester and Catharina Bruns.  Jam packed with fun ideas, from ornaments, wreaths, and small gifts to fun holiday apparel, there is sure to be something for everyone no matter your skill level. Read the rest of this entry »

Most Popular Books from the Adult Summer Reading Program

by Beth Fisher on September 2nd, 2017

 

One of the most interesting parts of the Summer Reading Program comes at the end when we take a look back at at what actually happened during the summer.  While over 1000 people registered for the Adult Summer Reading Program, only 289 avid readers completed our 5 Books in 11 Weeks challenge – reading a total of 1770 books!  Taking out the 82 books that were logged without titles and the 233 duplicate entries, there were 1,455 individual titles read. That’s pretty impressive!

Of the 153 books that were read by more than one person, here are the Top Five Books of the 2017 Adult Summer Reading Program.  How many have you read?

 

into-the-waterInto the Water” by Paula Hawkins

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return. Read the rest of this entry »

One Community One Book 2017: “Butterfly Mosque” by G. Willow Wilson

by Beth Fisher on August 24th, 2017
One Community One Book 2017:  “Butterfly Mosque” by G. Willow Wilson Cover Image

G. Willow Wilson – the award winning graphic novelist and author of the Marvel comic Ms Marvel will be one of the speakers at this year’s Iowa City Book Festival.  Her 2010 memoir “Butterfly Mosque” has been chosen as the 2017 One Community One Book title by the UI Center for Human Rights.

Raised in the US in an atheist family, author G. Willow Wilson surprised everyone, herself included, by converting to Islam in her late 20’s and moving half way around the world to start a new life.  Her memoir “Butterfly Mosque” is the story of her conversion; emigrating to Egypt and immersing herself in the Islamic culture; and the story of how she met, fell in love and married a Muslim man.

The One Community One Book project  is coordinated by the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights.  The goal of the project is to encourage people in our community to read and discuss the selected book in order to develop a greater community awareness of human rights issues locally, nationally and internationally.  For more information on the One Community One Book project, visit their website here.

ICPL staff will be hosting a Book Discussion of “Butterfly Mosque” on Saturday September 23rd at 10:30am in Meeting Room A.  All are welcome.  *Note: the author will not be at this discussion.

G. Willow Wilson will be in Iowa City in October as part of this year’s Iowa City Book Festival. For details of her event at Hancher Auditorium on Sunday, October 8th click here.

Watch the solar eclipse without viewing glasses.

by Beth Fisher on August 16th, 2017

Many people have been asking us how to safely watch the eclipse on Monday if they don’t have viewing glasses.  There are lots of ways you can watch the eclipse. Here are some DIY ideas.  You’ll need to practice a bit with each of these; just make sure the sun is behind or above you. And if all else fails, check out the last thing on this list.  Have fun!

Two paper plates (or pieces of card stock) about the same size. pinhole-projector

Using a pin or a needle make a very small hole in the center of one plate. Hold that plate in your hand. Put the second plate on the ground but not in your shadow. Hold the first plate in the air over the second one so that its shadow just about covers the plate on the ground. Moving it up and down and changing the angle of your hand, try and make the shadow the same size as the second plate, and you will see the image of the sun on the plate on the ground. Now just watch as the moon’s shadow makes the sun disappear.

 

An empty cereal box:cereal-box-viewer

All you need is an empty cereal box, a piece of tin foil, some tape, a sheet of white paper and a pair of scissors. Trace around one small end of the box on the paper.  Cut out the rectangle cutting just inside your tracing line. Tape this piece on the inside bottom of the cereal box. Cut two holes in the top of the box to look like picture to the right. Place the piece of foil over one hole, covering it completely. Tape it down securely, then poke one small pin hole in the center of the foil.   Stand with your back to the sun. Printable instructions here. Read the rest of this entry »

Themed Book Lists for the Adult Summer Reading Program

by Beth Fisher on June 30th, 2017

booklist-covers-wide

Are you a fan of book lists?  Are you looking for some book suggestions for the 2nd half of the Adult Summer Reading Program?  One of the neat features of our Summer Reading Program software is that it lets us create book lists on any topic we want.

This year’s Summer Reading Program theme is “Build a Better World” which lends itself to all sorts of lists. Some were created by ICPL staff, and other lists we borrowed from other sources because they were really good lists.

To find the book lists, log into the software at srp.icpl.org and click on the Recommendations tab at the top.  There you can choose from the Book Lists or the list of  Adult SRP Events.

booklists

Here are the book lists you’ll find:

All Iowa Reads – 2003 -2017   (14 books)

Best Summer Reads 2017 from Publishers Weekly  (13 books)

Books Becoming Movies in 2018  (9 books)

Build a Better World: Volunteer!  (8 books)

Can One Book Change Your Life? (7 books)

Environmentalists Trying To Make A Difference  (10 books)

Explore Iowa (17 books)

Gardening with Native Plants (7 books)

National Park Guidebooks (11 books)

NPR’s Book Concierge 2017 Best Biographies & Memoirs (21 books)

Top 10 LGBTQ Books – The 2017 Over the Rainbow List   (10 books)

We Can Build It Better (12 books)

Women in Science (11 books)

 

 

 

 

Summer Reading is for Adults too!

by Beth Fisher on June 7th, 2017

build-a-better-world

ICPL’s Summer Reading Program “Build A Better World” began on June 1st and runs through August 11th.  And it’s just not for kids – adults can participate too!  To get entered in the grand prize drawing, all Adults have to do is read 5 books between now and August 11th.  Or read 3 books and attend 2 of the special SRP events.  The events are listed in the ICPL calendar, found on the back of the SRP game card, and listed below.

There are two ways you can participate:  online through our SRP website or with a paperbased game card.   You can pick up a game card at any service desk in the library and you can register for the online version here too or by going to  srp.icpl.org and clicking the Register Now button.

By participating online you’ll also be able to see a variety of book lists made especially for this years Adult SRP and information about the upcoming special Adult Summer Reading Program events:

The Front Porch Music Festival

Wednesday June 7, 7pm, Meeting Room A

The Longfellow neighborhood’s Front Porch Music Festival is a celebration of music-making, inspired by the Water Hill Music Fest in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now in its third year, the festival includes musicians of all ages and experiences, performing in a wide range of musical styles and traditions, including jazz, classical, folk and rock. Trevor Harvey, Ph.D., Lecturer in Ethnomusicology from the UI School of Music, and one of the co-founders of the Front Porch Music Festival will share the Front Porch story, discussing the value of music in building and sustaining communities. He will be joined by other festival organizers and neighborhood musicians to get us in the mood for the 2017 Festival happening this weekend!

 

All Iowa Reads Book Discussion: Bottomland by Michelle Hoover

Saturday, June 10  10:30am, Meeting Room B

The 2017 All Iowa Reads selection is Bottomland by Michelle Hoover. Glenn Ehrstine, UI Associate Professor of German and International Studies will be here to lead a discussion of Bottomland and Susan Craig, ICPL Director and member of the All Iowa Reads book selection committee, will tell us how the AIR books are chosen each year. Based on the real life story of the author’s grandmother, Bottomland begins in Iowa in the wake of World War I. It follows the Hess family as they attempt to rid themselves of the Anti-German sentiment that left a stain on their name. When the youngest two daughters vanish in the middle of the night, the family must piece together what happened while struggling to maintain their live on the unforgiving Iowa Plains. ‘ In the weeks after Esther and Myrle’s disappearance, their siblings desperately search for the sisters, combing the stark farmlands, their neighbors’ houses, and the unfamiliar world of far-off Chicago. Have the girls run away to another farm? Have they gone to the city to seek a new life? Or were they abducted?

 

Paddling the Iowa River Water – Adventure Awaits

Wednesday, June 14  7:00pm Meeting Room A

The Iowa River Water Trail provides 72 miles of unobstructed paddling from Iowa City to the Mississippi River. Numerous sand bars, campgrounds and communities provide paddlers with opportunities for over night stops and off trail exploration. Learn about this trail and other paddling opportunities in Johnson County and the surrounding area from Brad Freidhof, Conservation Program Manager, Johnson County Conservation Board and member of the Iowa River Friends.

 

Bur Oak Land Trust – Saving our natural areas

Jun 21, 7:00pm Meeting Room A

There is a rich diversity of plant and animal species native to eastern Iowa, but they continue to be threatened by development. Bur Oak Land Trust allows for the effective protection of natural habitats and is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation whose mission is to protect and conserve the natural areas of Johnson and surrounding counties for future generations. Tammy Wright, Executive Director of Bur Oak land Trust will be here to tell us about the organization and give us an overview of their properties, including Big Grove which we will be touring on Saturday, June 24th.

 

Tour/Hike at the Big Grove Preserve in Solon, IA

June 24, 10:00am at the Big Grove Preserve

As part of the Adult Summer Reading Program, two members of The Bur Oak Land Trust will be leading walking tour of the Big Grove Preserve, a forty-acre woodland adjacent to the Coralville Reservoir off Sugar Bottom Road. The Preserve is part of the original “Big Grove” noted by the first settlers to describe Johnson County’s landscape. The Big Grove was acquired by the Bur Oak Land Trust in 2004 .. In addition to its ownership of the Big Grove, Bur Oak Land Trust holds a conservation easement on eight and a half acres of each ten-acre lot in the Natural Woodlands development. While these easements are not open to public access, they have the effect of increasing the area of protected land and will contribute to the preservation of the area’s ecosystem. Directions: Preserve address is 3999 Starry Night Lane, Solon. Take Prairie du Chien north to Newport Road. Turn right on to Newport Road and continue north to Sugar Bottom Road. Go left onto Sugar Bottom Road, and continue to 245th St NE. Turn left on to 245th and continue onto Starry Night Road/Starry Night Court to a turn-around located at the entrance to the Preserve. (approximately 10 miles/22 minutes from downtown Iowa City) GPS: 41.747830, -91.539481

 

Replacing Ash Trees and Growing Healthy Shade Trees

Jun 28, 7:00pm Meeting Room A

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) damage was discovered in Iowa City in 2016. Tree loss from EAB will increase greatly in the area over the next 5 to 8 years as the damage becomes more extensive. What species of trees are good replacements for Ash trees? How will increasing the diversity among our tree species help avoid this problem in the future? Mark Vitosh, Iowa DNR District Forester will lead us through this discussion and give us suggestions for promoting good health and growth of newly planted trees.

 

Gaia’s Peace Garden – Healing Happens Here

July 5, 7:00pm Meeting Room A

Blair Frank, owner and keeper of Gaia’s Peace Garden will be here to tell us the story of his community garden. The one acre garden, originally created by Blair and his wife Mary Kirkpatrick, was designed form the start to be not only a community gathering place but an example of permaculture practices and chemical free gardening. The garden contains a labyrinth, prairie, butterfly garden, culinary and medicinal herbs, an orchard, and picnic areas to enjoy. It is open daily from morning through evening and is located at 2066 Bristol Drive in Iowa City.

 

Build Your Own Little World – Terrarium Workshop for Teens & Adults

July 8, 10:30am Meeting Room A

Ever wanted to build your own world? Are you fascinated by terrariums or succulents? Join ICPL staffers Beth and Mari for a terrarium workshop for adults. We’ll supply the containers, the succulents, and the rest of the supplies. All you need is your imagination and the willingness to get a little dirty. Attendance at this event is limited to 25. Registration is required, so we know how many plants and containers to purchase.

 

Habitat For Humanity – Building a Better World

July 12, 7:00pm Meeting Room A

Founded in Americus, Georgia, in 1976, Habitat for Humanity today operates around the globe and has helped build, renovate and repair more than 1 million decent, affordable houses sheltering more than 3 million people worldwide. Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity was founded by a small group of committed volunteers in 1992, and serves low-income families in Johnson, Cedar, Iowa and Washington Counties. Iowa Valley Habitat built its first home in 1994, and today they have helped more than 100 families move into homes of their own. Mark Patton, Executive Director, Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity will share the Iowa Valley Habitat story and information about their current project in Hills, Iowa and their smaller one-day projects that are a great way to get involved.

 

National Advanced Driving Simulator: Driver distraction

July 19, 7:00pm Meeting Room A

As vehicle technology has become more complex and mobile devices more prevalent, the potential for driver distraction has increased. Dr. John Gaspar, Research Associate with the National Advanced Driving Simulator at the University of Iowa will explore the history and present state of driver distraction research and present a framework for considering distraction in vehicles. The National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) is a self-sustained transportation safety research center at the University of Iowa. Begun in 1996 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NADS utilizes its suite of world-class driving simulators and instrumented vehicles to conduct research studies on the connections between humans and vehicles. From its inception, the mission of NADS has been to help save lives and reduce the costs of vehicle crashes by better understanding the impact of technology, pharmaceuticals and other factors on driving performance.

 

Engineers Without Borders USA At The University Of Iowa

July 26,  7:00pm Meeting Room A

In the world’s toughest places, Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA) is partnering with communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. EWB-USA Student Chapter at the University of Iowa partners with communities and organizations in Nicaragua to promote sustainable water development. Craig Just, Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering at UI is the Faculty Advisor for EWB-USA at Iowa. He’ll be here to give us an overview of developing relationships in Nicaragua and the process of developing and implementing water projects there.

 

National Advanced Driving Simulator: The History And Future Of Automated Driving

Aug 2, 7:00pm Meeting Room A

Dr. Daniel McGehee, Director of the National Advanced Driving Simulator and Associate Professor in Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Iowa will discuss the history of automation in vehicles. While the Google car steals many headlines, automated systems have been in production for decades. How these technologies have matured over the years paints an interesting story – one today’s drivers can learn from. The National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) is a self-sustained transportation safety research center at the University of Iowa. Begun in 1996 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NADS utilizes its suite of world-class driving simulators and instrumented vehicles to conduct research studies on the connections between humans and vehicles. From its inception, the mission of NADS has been to help save lives and reduce the costs of vehicle crashes by better understanding the impact of technology, pharmaceuticals and other factors on driving performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Hoover’s Bottomland is the 2017 All Iowa Reads selection

by Beth Fisher on April 6th, 2017
Michelle Hoover’s <em>Bottomland</em> is the 2017 All Iowa Reads selection Cover Image

There’s no short way to describe Bottomland – there are just too many sides to this story. Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, this fictionalized story begins in Iowa in the years after World War I. It is a story of rural farm life in the 1900’s, an immigrants story, a story about racism, a story about a WWI soldier who comes home with invisible yet life-changing wounds, and the story of a daughter who becomes the caretaker of her father and siblings. At its heart Bottomland is a family saga you won’t want to stop reading.

Rural life was not easy at the turn of the last century, especially for German immigrants like the Hess family. Julius and Margrit Hess were raising their six American-born children on a small farm in Iowa. As anti-German sentiment grew in the years before WWI, suspicions grew and neighbors began turning on neighbors. Margrit’s unexpected death, a brutal farm accident and WWI effect them all. But the Hess family stayed close, still living together on the 140 acre farm their parents staked on arriving in America. Until the night the two youngest daughters, 14  and 16 years old, vanish in the middle of the night without a trace.  Did they run away?  Were they abducted?  You’ll have to read it to find out.

The story is told through the voices of 5 main characters, but in a very nonlinear way that requires careful reading – or for me re-reading, as each of the narrators have their own view of the events as they occur, and may or may not actually be reliable.

A June 10th discussion of Bottomland will be part of the 2017 Adult Summer Reading program.  The discussion will be led by Glenn Ehrstine, UI Associate Professor of German and International Studies. Susan Craig, ICPL Director and member of the All Iowa Reads book selection committee, will give us a glimpse of how the All Iowa Reads books are selected each year.

For more information on All Iowa Reads go to the Iowa Center For The Book website.

Why is my Christmas Cactus blooming in March?

by Beth Fisher on March 29th, 2017

Sometimes we get questions at the Information Desk that sound more complicated than they really are. This weeks stumper was “Why is my Christmas Cactus blooming in March?”  This actually has a very simple answer:  Because it’s not a Christmas Cactus – it’s an Easter Cactus.christmas-cactus-2

Most people see this plant and think Christmas Cactus. Late in the year you can find them anywhere – from grocery stores to big box stores – in shades of pink, red or even white.

“Christmas Cactus” has become a generic term for three different cacti in the same family.  What most people think of as “Christmas Cactus” will turn out to be either a Thanksgiving Cactus, a Christmas Cactus, or an Easter Cactus.   How to can you tell the difference?  Is it blooming now?  What month is it?  Is it early November, late December, or late winter/early spring?  That can give you a big hint.  But the real way to tell them apart is to look closely at the leaves. Read the rest of this entry »