by Candice Smith on September 12th, 2015
This weekend culminates a year-long celebration of First Presbyterian Church’s 175th anniversary, with events planned at the Church and at their previous location at Old Brick. Here at the Library, we are very excited to unveil a new collection of items in our Digital History Project–materials from the Church’s extensive archive of items from throughout its history!
This collection of items is the product of many hours of work in the Church’s library with archivist Dwight Miller, as well as behind the scenes at the Library, finalizing images and adding data. In these documents you’ll find the story of the early Church and its founding as well as its changes throughout the years, details about the construction of the first church building along with that of Old Brick and the current structure, and a lot of information about various people who have been part of the Church. You’ll also find part of the story of Iowa City; the Church was formed while Iowa was still a territory, Iowa City had only been settled for about ten years, and prominent people, business owners, politicians, and every day people from that time are all represented in some of the items here.
We hope you enjoy browsing through these pieces of history. If you have any information or historical material you’d like to add to the collection, feel free to use the comments box on the Digital History website, or contact Candice Smith at email@example.com or Melody Dworak at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Candice Smith on June 3rd, 2015
June 3rd is National Running Day!
Why on Earth, you might ask? Why celebrate an activity that, among other things:
- is insanely hard for many (I’ve run for years, and it’s still really hard most of the time. People tell you it gets easier. People lie.);
- can make you feel uncoordinated and inferior to others (I’m really slow…my pace doesn’t qualify me as a ‘real’ runner in certain circles;
- doesn’t always seem to bring positive benefits or change (running makes he hungry, I eat more, I don’t lose weight. And, after all that running I always end up…back home, where I started);
- makes you look pretty awful during and after (I not only have a shorts tan line, but also a lovely one from my headband. Nice.);
- hurts. During, it can hard to breathe, my right knee sometimes aches, I roll my left ankle, and I get chafed. After, my muscles are sore and sometimes swollen, my hips are unyielding, and if you’re really good, you might lose some toenails).
But don’t get me wrong. Running can be a fantastic activity–it must be, if I continue to do it, right?. It relieves stress, helps increase bone density and strengthen muscles, improves your cardiovascular system, causes the release of endorphins, gives you the opportunity to meet people in your community (other runners, race organizers and spectators, EMTs), and gets you outside and on the trails, on the sidewalks, into nature. You get to set goals and achieve them on your own schedule, for your own reasons. Running can make you stronger, healthier, and happier. Honest.
So go on, give it a try. If you’ve ever driven past a runner and wondered briefly ‘hmmm…would I like that?’, today is your day to find out! Get out for a quick jog, do a run-walk, run some sprints, or go long. Run down to the Library and grab a book about running that will help you get started, train for a race or improve your form, or give you some insight into runners and why they do it.
by Candice Smith on May 1st, 2015
I was digging through some boxes of photos the other day, and found this one that made me especially happy for two reasons. The first is because of the carousel–the Drollinger carousel in City Park. This is one of the rides that is still in the park, but when this picture was taken (I think in 1997 or 1998?) there were other rides that are no longer there. I like to think of all the times I was in the park, all the kids and families enjoying Iowa City’s very own amusement park that used to be just a little bit bigger.
I’m sure there are many of you who have similar items tucked away at home–maybe some photos of picnics or ballgames in the parks around town, or of your kids messing about in the old fountain in the ped mall (that old, wonderful, vaguely dangerous, somewhat evocative fountain), of family outings to the Devonian Fossil Gorge right after it was created. Pictures of the floods, of the tornado’s aftermath, of buildings that used to be downtown, old pictures from school, scenes of neighborhoods and homes from a while back. We want to see them! We’re looking for photos and documents related to the history of Iowa City to scan and add to our Digital History Project, and we’re hoping our patrons and community members can help!
The second reason I was happy to find this photo? Because the two tiny little children in it are turning 22 today–happy birthday, Peter and Rachel!
by Candice Smith on April 10th, 2015
For over 30 years, the Iowa City Public Library has maintained the Art To Go collection–maybe you’ve seen it, stored in bins and along the walls that separate the Children’s Room from the rest of the first floor. About half of this collection is made up of framed posters and prints of well-known works of art, and the other half is original works of art by local artists. Anyone with a library card can come in to the Library, browse the collection, and take home with them something beautiful and unique to decorate their walls with.
How do we add the original works of art to the collection? Each year the Library holds the Art Purchase Prize, a contest that invites local artists to submit their original works to be judged for purchase and inclusion in the collection. The budget for this comes from the Library Board of Trustees and the Friends Foundation. What about the artistic consideration and judgment? That comes from the Library’s Art Advisory Committee, and that committee is looking for a few good people!
If you would like to be involved with this collection–to help select and provide art for our community to enjoy, while at the same time providing artists with a chance at some recognition and compensation–please think about serving on the Art Advisory Committee.
If you have questions or would like more details, please contact Candice Smith at email@example.com or 319-887-6031.
by Candice Smith on April 1st, 2015
Our most recent BYOBook event, on March 24 at Brix, focused on Jon Ronson’s book The Psychopath Test: a Journey Through the Madness Industry. The book is a reporter’s journey of investigation that touches upon a few specific characters and events, filled out with some science and theory. It is by no means an overwhelmingly serious, complete look at psychopathy; Ronson places himself at the center of inquiry, and readers follow along as he interviews the people he found to be most interesting or illustrative. I found it to be highly entertaining and informative, and was happy to accept it for what it was. Other readers were left a little frustrated at the lack of depth on the topic or parts of it, at Ronson’s somewhat meandering storytelling and discussion, and at the sort of lack of conclusion (or maybe definitive opinion on his part? a real yes or no answer?) in many of the questions presented. Is Tony a psychopath or not? Is the DSM real and useful, or is it a harmful tool created by a bunch of people who feel the need to label everything? What IS the whole point of the Being and Nothingness book deal??
There were several people who mentioned that they’d been hoping for a more thorough, science-based look at psychopaths and the study of them, as well as other mental disorders. Here are a few recent books that might be of interest:
Confessions of a Psychopath: a life spent hiding in plain sight by M.E. Thomas
Dangerous Personalities: an FBI profiler shows how to identify and protect yourself from harmful people by Joe Navarro
Murderous Minds: exploring the criminal psychopathic brain… by Dean Haycock
Shrinks: the untold story of psychiatry by Jeffrey Lieberman
Up next for B.Y.O.Book is Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation, on April 21 from 7-8 p.m. at Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar.
by Candice Smith on March 7th, 2015
It’s said that a photograph is worth a thousand words. Photographs can document and show an event, they can convey an idea, they can explain a thought. They can preserve a moment and tell the story that goes with it.
ICPL wants your photographs and your words. We want your stories.
Join us on Saturday, May 9 from 2-5 pm in Meeting Room A for ScanIt@ICPL–Local History, part of the Library’s Weber Days events.
Bring in your photos, letters, documents, and other items related to the history of Iowa City and Johnson county. Share your items and tell the stories that go with them — stories about the people, places, events, and things that are part of our past, but also part of who we are now. Help the Library build a resource about and for our community — help us tell our story.
We will help you scan your items, and then send you home with your originals plus digital copies of them (you can supply your own USB, or we can send you the copies in an email). If you have questions about what you can bring in, or if you’d like to schedule a specific time (not necessary — drop-ins are welcome!), contact Candice Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-887-6031.
Check out our Digital History Project, then become part of it.
by Candice Smith on February 3rd, 2015
It was a dark and stormy night…well, I don’t actually recall the weather, but I do remember my surprise when I found out that the IRS had drastically cut the types of tax forms they would supply the Library with through their form outlet program . We’ve been having access to fewer forms for the last several years now, but this year we were informed that, in addition to receiving only the 1040, 1040 A and 1040 EZ forms, we would not be able to get any instruction booklets. As many patrons have pointed out to me upon hearing this, not having easy access to the instructions makes it awfully hard to fill out those forms the IRS is so eager to get. I know. We are with you on that.
The Library can help in a couple ways.
Federal forms and state forms–and the instructions–are all available on the internet. We can print out forms you need, or we can provide you with the internet access and printer to do so yourself. Prints are 10 cents a page. The booklets are longer than forms, and you might not want to print them; instead, you can bring them up on a computer and read them there if you like.
We also have some general tax guides that might be of use to you: JK Lasser’s Your Income Tax and the Ernst & Young Tax Guide. There are copies that you can check out, and we also keep a copy in the Reference area on the second floor.
If you need assistance getting to the forms and booklets you need, stop at the Info Desk on the second floor, or give us a call at 356-5200. We will try and help you get the info you need, in the least taxing way possible.
by Candice Smith on December 18th, 2014
We recently received this book that I’ve been pretty excited about since I ordered it almost two months ago, and I wanted to recommend it to anyone looking for something to read during the holidays. Be warned, it’s not your usual holiday read; on the other hand, it does take place in December, so the setting is timely.
On December 3, 1957, in a small town in Illinois, seven-year-old Maria Ridulph disappeared from the front yard she was playing in; her body was discovered five months later. The case quickly gained a lot of attention and was investigated thoroughly, but there were very few clues to go on. The case remained unsolved for 55 years, until new evidence came to light in 2011. And now, the book is here.
I wonder if any of our patrons remember this happening? Just the next state over, a small girl taken from her family during the holiday season…surely not something you forget hearing about. I imagine this could be a very interesting, if not powerful book for some readers who spent time wondering just what happened. Here’s your chance to find out.
Right now, the book is still being processed…but did you know that putting a hold on a book will speed up the processing? Get to it before I do!
by Candice Smith on November 6th, 2014
It’s always interesting and thought-provoking to read or hear about someone receiving the Medal of Honor, but especially so when it’s 150 years have passed since the act of service took place. Today, Alonzo Cushing was awarded the Medal for his actions on the field at Gettysburg; you can read about it here.
I looked in our catalog to see if we had any books about him, and we don’t. However, there is a new book about his brother, Commander Will Cushing: Daredevil Hero of the Civil War, that is just about ready to go on the shelves. Will also played an important role in the Civil War, in the Navy, and led a distinguished military career for several years afterwards.
If you’re a fan of military nonfiction, or looking for an interesting biography, this book might be a good choice for you. Put a hold on it and get to it first!