Author Archive for Heidi Lauritzen



Library Access During RAGBRAI

by Heidi Lauritzen on July 25th, 2018

The Library will be open regular hours (10:00-8:00) on Friday, July 27th, as Iowa City hosts RAGBRAI XLVI. The Library lobby will be open extended hours, until 10:00 pm.

Due to downtown street closures for the Book It to Iowa City Bash (noon to midnight), vehicular access to the Library will be very limited. Linn Street will be closed from Iowa Avenue to College Street. The following parking ramps will be open: Dubuque Street (closest to the Library), Capitol Street, Harrison Street, and Court Street.

We have extended the due dates for Library materials originally due on Friday, July 27th, to Saturday, July 28th. No materials are due on Friday.

The City of Iowa City is asking community members “to pack their patience when traveling around Iowa City on Friday. Expect delays due to street closures and heavy cyclist and pedestrian traffic.” More information about RAGBRAI and street closures is here.

Annotated Editions of Classics

by Heidi Lauritzen on July 16th, 2018
Annotated Editions of Classics Cover Image

For all the Jane Austen fans out there who watch public television, MASTERPIECE has just announced that a multi-part dramatization of Sanditon is coming.  Sanditon was unfinished when Jane Austen died; the original story is contained in the Library’s copy of Lady Susan; The Watsons; Sanditon. The screenwriter for the miniseries is Andrew Davies (he also wrote the screenplay for the 1995 A&E version of Pride and Prejudice), and filming is scheduled to begin next spring.  Casting has not yet been announced.

While waiting to see this new miniseries, perhaps you can get your Jane Austen fix by checking out one of our annotated editions of her other titles. We have annotated editions for Emma; Persuasion; and Pride and Prejudice.

Annotated books typically provide the original text of the book on one half of each page, with the other half of the page devoted to notes on the text. The notes may be historical background, references to foreshadowing, definitions of obscure terms, or translations of foreign phrases. There may be pictures or photographs that add historical or modern context. The goal of most annotated books is to increase the reader’s understanding of the original text.

ICPL has a variety of annotated versions of popular literature. Do a keyword search for “annotated” in the catalog and you will see a list. The annotated editions usually are shelved with other works of literary criticism in the 800s on the second floor. (You will also find the CliffsNotes study guides of literary titles in the same place–sort of the opposite of an annotated edition.)  Please ask at the Information Desk if you have any questions.

I’m not sure I would want to read a novel for the first time in an annotated edition–I think the intended pace of the storyline would be severely compromised. But once the storyline is known, to go back and reread all of the illuminating details is a real treat.

Weber Days Book Display–Read Like It’s 1897

by Heidi Lauritzen on May 6th, 2018

A fun piece of Iowa City history lives in our Library’s archives:  the accession books that show the book purchases that the Library made in its early years. The Iowa City Public Library opened on January 21, 1897, and the first 1,050 entries in the first accession book were recorded on January 14, 15, and 16, 1897.  The best part is, we still circulate some of those original titles.

A book display on the first floor gathers together a sampling of the more than one hundred titles that you can still find at ICPL.  Many of the titles are what we call “classic fiction”, and you can probably guess some of the authors represented:  Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Jonathan Swift, William Thackeray, Jules Verne, and William Shakespeare.

There’s a sprinkling of children’s fiction as well: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, and  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll to name just a few.

A few entries in the accession book particularly caught my eye: Looking Backward, 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy (first published in 1888—when the year 2000 must have seemed impossibly far away, and is now in our past); and Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey (still a timely issue, alas). In the publishing norms of the time, the author entry in our accession book for Cranford is written as “Mrs. Gaskell”.  Our catalog today does give the author her full name, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell.

With poetry, we do not have an exact match in title in many cases, but we still provide collections from authors represented in the Library’s opening day collection. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Keats, Henry Longfellow, Alexander Pope, Alfred Tennyson, and William Wordsworth continue to be found at ICPL.

Kick off our month of Weber Days activities by reading a classic book that’s been in circulation in Iowa City for 120 years! And for a full listing of Weber Days events at the Library, look here.

Magazines with Staying Power

by Heidi Lauritzen on March 30th, 2018

When the Iowa City Public Library opened in 1897, its reading room contained twenty magazine titles for visitors to read.  More than a century later, we still offer seven of those first twenty titles!  They are:
The Atlantic, Harper’s Bazaar, Harper’s Magazine, National Geographic, Popular Science, and Publishers Weekly.  The seventh title, Library Journal, is circulated among just library staff since it is primarily library news and reviews of new materials that help with acquisition decisions.

We receive only print issues of Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. For the other titles, we provide both the print issues in our magazine area in the first floor atrium, and a downloadable version via RBdigital Magazines. Find out more about downloading these and 100+ other magazines on this Digital Johnson County page on our website.

The Library typically keeps one year’s worth of issues for monthly magazines, and three months’ worth of issues for a weekly magazine. Back issues may be checked out, but the latest issue is always for in-house use only. You may place holds on magazine issues, just as you do for books or movies.

Each of these original seven titles is indexed in the Gale online resource called “PowerSearch”. Dates vary among the titles, but many of these magazines are indexed back forty to fifty years, and have full-text articles from the past twenty years or more.  PowerSearch contains more than 300 million articles, from thousands of sources. Find PowerSearch on our website here.

Are magazines that have been around for 120 years too stuffy for you? Try one of our newer titles at the Library: MaryJanesFarm (“simple solutions for organic living”), Plein Air Magazine (for landscape and plein air painting), Milk Street (cooking magazine from Christopher Kimball, formerly of America’s Test Kitchen), or Atomic Ranch which “celebrates mid-century houses from 1940s ranch tracts to 1960s modernist homes”.

Books About Fathers

by Heidi Lauritzen on February 21st, 2018

I have just finished two special books about fathers and highly recommend both. I took them home because of the titles: “An Odyssey” (I was a Classics major), and “The Wine Lover’s Daughter” (I do enjoy a glass of wine). While I learned much about Odysseus, and about Clifton Fadiman and wine, mostly I was touched by the relationships between the adult children and their fathers who are the subjects of these memoirs.

Author Daniel Mendelsohn is a classicist who teaches literature at Bard College. “An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, and An Epic” is about the semester his 81-year-old research scientist father joins his seminar on Homer’s Odyssey.  The elder Mendelsohn provides commentary in class that often is in stark contrast to that of the young undergraduates–and frequently in opposition to his son’s professorial ideas as well.  After the seminar, the father and son decide to join an educational Mediterranean cruise that traces Odysseus’s homeward journey. The book blends the telling of these two experiences as it takes us through the Odyssey, and is rich in emotion and humor. Their adventure will remind sons and daughters that there likely are many facets of their parents’ lives that are unknown to them, until the circumstances are right to hear the stories. You need not have read the tale of Odysseus to enjoy this book, although if you have studied the Odyssey you will probably come away with some fresh insights about it.

In the book’s introductory chapter, Mendelsohn says “it is a story, after all, about strange and complicated families…about a husband who travels far and a wife who stays behind…about a son who for a long time is unrecognized by and unrecognizable to his father, until late, very late, when they join together for a great adventure…a story, in its final moments, about a man in the middle of his life, who at the end of this story falls down and weeps because he has confronted the spectacle of his father’s old age, the specter of his inevitable passing…”  He is speaking of Odysseus, and his son and father, but we also will learn that it is about something much closer to home.

Anne Fadiman is the wine lover’s daughter, and this is a book about her relationship with her father Clifton Fadiman. Although she is the well-known author of Ex Libris and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, her father perhaps was even more famous in his time: an editor-in-chief at Simon & Schuster, book critic for The New Yorker, a Book of the Month Club judge for forty years, and emcee of the NBC radio quiz show Information Please. And from an early age, he also educated himself about wine and began creating a wine cellar that ultimately reflected his extensive knowledge and savvy acquisitions. He co-authored two editions of The Joys of Wine.

Clifton Fadiman came to all of this through relentless hard work, and a quest for self improvement that would raise him above his humble beginnings in Brooklyn, New York and life with his parents, recent immigrants. He studied how to speak without an accent, how to dress, how to eat, and what to drink. Despite his successes, he never felt entirely comfortable that he had achieved the level of society that he wished for.

The love he showed his children is evident however:  he nurtures the talents in his children, and generously teaches them about wine.  Anne Fadiman’s burden is that she doesn’t really enjoy wine, although she desperately wants to in order to please her father. A fun thread of the book describes her efforts to determine scientifically why she doesn’t like wine. And while there is an element of competition with him in her early writing career, it seems primarily self-imposed and she always credits him with influencing her to be a reader and writer.

And what can be better than books and wine? Fadiman writes “My father had long associated books and wine: they both sparked conversation, they were both a lifetime project, they were both pleasurable to shelve, they were the only things he collected. The Joys of Wine called wine cellars ‘wine libraries’.”

Like Mendelsohn’s book, this also is about an adult child coming to terms with an aging father, learning that father’s full story, and sharing much love and warmth along the way.

 

ICPL History and the Archives Crawl

by Heidi Lauritzen on February 13th, 2018

Coming soon is the Iowa City Archives Crawl, and to get you in the mood we have set up a display of objects from the Iowa City Public Library’s archive.  The display is on the second floor near the Information Desk, and has a lot of interesting things in it–but first, some details about the Crawl:

The Archives Crawl is on Saturday, February 24, 2018, from 11:00-3:00 and includes special activities at ICPL, the State Historical Society, the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, and the University of Iowa Main Library.  (A bonus fifth site has just been added:  a Dada Futures exhibit at UI Memorial Union.)

The website for the Crawl invites you to “snoop in between the pages of historic diaries, read other people’s mail, hold feathers and fossils, and peer into mysteries revealed by historic artifacts like swords and locks of hair kept in remembrance.”  It is sponsored by the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and you can see a listing of events here.

Iowa City Public Library has short presentations every half hour, on topics such as genealogy, using our local history resources, and “Iowa City’s Most Famous Athlete You Never Heard Of”.  The full, fun list is here.  We have also invited the Johnson County Historical Society, the Friends of Historic Preservation, and Historic Foodies to join us and display information about their organizations.

But back to the display of ICPL history.  It was both a fascinating and frustrating task to choose items from our archive cupboards to include in the display:  frustrating because it was difficult to put things back when I realized I didn’t have room for everything, fascinating because ICPL is 120 years old and, thank goodness, we have saved a lot of interesting stuff.

The oldest object I found dates from around 1870, a book that has a book plate in it from the “Iowa City Library Association,” a proprietary library that loaned materials to Iowa City residents who purchased memberships in the Association.  It was active from 1870-1873, 25 years before the Iowa City Public Library was founded.

Another special book is ICPL’s first accession book, in which the first purchases for the Public Library were recorded.  You can see what those titles were if you take a look at the display (and, we still have copies in our collection of some of those early acquisitions).

We’ve also included the 1926 rules for borrowing materials, a cast iron property stamp embosser, the 1959 dress code for Library employees, a beer box, and a jar of dirt.  Check out the display and find out why!

We hope the displayed objects provide you with an appreciation of just how old this Iowa City institution is, and that the more recent photos will bring back memories of your past experiences at the Iowa City Public Library.  The display will be up until March 4th–and don’t forget the Iowa City Archives Crawl on February 24th.

 

Left:  Checkout desk in new 1963 Carnegie Library addition.

Right:  Checkout desk in the new library at 123 S. Linn St., 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Party Like ‘Tis 999

by Heidi Lauritzen on January 5th, 2018

There’s a great display on the second floor, next to the Information Desk.  Maeve has gathered books and DVDs on the Middle Ages from our nonfiction collection, and placed them under a showcase of objects reflecting medieval times.

The “Middle Ages” and the “Medieval Period” often are used interchangeably, and cover roughly the 5th to 15th centuries.  Among other things in the showcase, look for the silver coronet, a dagger, and a pewter spoon.

Walk down almost any aisle in the nonfiction collection, and you can find something of medieval interest:  religion, fashion, art, literature, travel, history, and biography are all represented in the display.  Some of the materials that caught my eye are: The Medieval World:  An Illustrated Atlas, full of colorful illustrations and arranged chronologically; Medieval Dress & Fashion by Margaret Scott and published by the British Library; Life in the Medieval Cloister by Julie Kerr; the DVD Medieval Siege (“catapult yourself into the chaos of medieval battle”); and The Bayeux Tapestry: the Complete Tapestry in Color

All the materials on the display kiosk are available for checkout.  Time travel back a millennium or so, and find out how to party like ’tis 999.

How To Contact Elected Officials

by Heidi Lauritzen on February 9th, 2017

Want to make your views known to the elected officials who represent you?  Here are quick links to the contact information for the elected officials who serve Johnson County residents.  Officials at the federal, state, and county levels are included, as well as city council members in Iowa City, mayors of other towns in Johnson County, and Board members of the Iowa City Community School District.  Click on the level of government you are interested in, and you will find names, addresses, phone numbers, and when available, the official’s website address and contact form.

Not sure which state or federal official represents you?  The Iowa Legislature has an easy-to-use “Find Your Legislator” feature for anywhere in Iowa.  Search by your own street address, by city name or by zip code.  For school officials, you can search by your school district.  It looks like this:
find-your-legislator

 

 

When you search by your street address, your Iowa representative and senator will be shown, with a chance to request info about “Other Elected Officials”.  One more click, and you will see your two U.S. senators and your U.S. representative, all with links to their websites where you will find contact information for letters, phone calls or email messages.

The Johnson County Auditor’s website also has a directory of elected officials.  Their directory includes some of the lesser known levels of local government, such as township officials,  members of the Agricultural Extension Council and the Soil and Water Conservation District, and all the school districts that are situated wholly or in part in Johnson County.

Save a Click

by Heidi Lauritzen on November 10th, 2016

We made a minor change on our website that will be welcomed by many users.  Our webmaster has switched the default search in the search box on our website to the catalog. So, if you land on our homepage first and want to search the catalog, you can simply type in your catalog search term, hit return and you will find yourself in our catalog at the results of that search.

default website search

 

Previously, the default search in the search box was for the website itself, and to search the catalog you had to remember to click on “Catalog” after you typed in your search term.  Now you are saved from making that click.

This update comes as a result of the public survey of website users that the Information Technology staff did recently.  It was the number one comment they got on the survey, and was a change they could make immediately.  Watch for other improvements as the IT staff continue to evaluate the survey responses.

Art to Go!

by Heidi Lauritzen on August 19th, 2016

Art on the wallOne of the Library’s more unusual collections is our circulating art.  Most pieces are framed prints, but a substantial number are original artworks by local artists and include photographs, mixed media, screen prints, watercolors, and oil paintings.

It is a great time to pick out a piece of art to take home–the selection is always a little better during the summer when the University population shrinks.  But that won’t last long now, with students coming back and classes set to begin next week.  We have about 400 pieces to choose from.  Browsing what is available is the easiest way to find what you want, but you can also see images of our original art in the catalog and place a hold for something you like.  Just look up “Art Purchase Prize Collection” and click on the link to “View art work in this collection”.

The loan period for art prints is eight weeks, and each borrower is limited to two at a time.  The collection is located on the first floor, between the Fiction books and the children’s room.  We display as many as we can on the walls there, but many are stacked in the bins as well. Art in a bin

The original art collection has been built up over the years thanks to gift funds.  There is an annual competition from which the Library’s Art Advisory Committee selects and purchases several works to add to our collection.  This year’s competition is a little different, with the theme of “New Covers For Old Classics” (see more information here.)  But hurry–deadline for entries is September 2, 2016.

In the meanwhile, enjoy our remarkable art collection.  I always have two checked out, and these are my current favorites:  “Apples #4” by Yvette Jury, and “In Carol’s Garden” by Susan Coleman.

apples4In carol's garden