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Author Archive for Kara Logsden



Yes Please by Amy Poehler

by Kara Logsden on January 1st, 2015
Yes Please by Amy Poehler Cover Image

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

My takeaway from Amy Poehler’s Yes Please is she has worked hard, taken risks, cultivated friendships, laughed at herself, experienced good & bad in life, and made people feel good.

Poehler is best known for her work on Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation, but Yes Please reveals there’s a lot more to this actor than laughs and feeling good. She is a Mom, humanitarian, advocate for girls and women, community builder, and “bossy” in the very best way.

I listened to this book and because it was narrated by Poehler, with help from family and friends, the listening experience felt intimate and revealing. Kathleen Turner introduces the chapters and we hear from Amy’s parents, Carol Burnett, Mike Schur, Patrick Stewart, Seth Meyers, and others. Poehler has an infectious laugh and I found myself laughing along with her while thoroughly enjoying the listening experience.

I started this review with a quote Amy Poehler included in the book. I’ll end with Poehler’s words:

The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone…

Happy New Year!

And the 2015 All Iowa Reads Book is …

by Kara Logsden on December 25th, 2014

2014 12 My nameEvery year I look forward to the announcement of the new All Iowa Reads book. The book for the following year is always announced at the Iowa Library Association meeting in October. The book selected is a big secret that members of the selection committee guard until the big announcement.

The 2015 book is My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira. This historical fiction novel is set during the Civil War and tells the story of a midwife who has aspirations of becoming a surgeon. My Name is Mary Sutter has been compared to Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and Robert Hicks’ The Widow of the South.

The Iowa City Public Library has copies of this book available in many formats including regular print, large print, audio recording, eBook and eAudio. We’re also working on a Book Club Kit that will be available for checkout soon.

More information about the book is available at the Library’s All Iowa Reads webpage including links to the Iowa Center for the Book’s All Iowa Reads webpages. There you can find discussion questions and a list of book discussions happening throughout the state.

If you are looking for a great book and opportunities to discuss a book with friends, neighbors, co-workers and others, My Name is Mary Sutter is an excellent choice. The Library’s All Iowa Reads webpage also has information about books selected in the past that are also good choices if you are looking for a great book to read.

 

 

OH NO I returned my library book to the wrong library!

by Kara Logsden on December 22nd, 2014

2014 12 22 oa returns YESEvery day we receive materials returned to Iowa City Public Library that are owned by other libraries. We often receive items from the Iowa City Community School District, UI Libraries and other local libraries. Fortunately we have a good routine in place to return these materials.

As a part of the State Library’s Open Access program, participating libraries around the state routinely mail books back to the owning library. This is also tied to the service where people who live in a community that supports a public library may get a library card and check out books from public libraries in other communities. The formal system to return books is a great deal for all libraries because it means our materials are routinely mailed back to us.

Because not all materials are eligible for return in the mail, patrons who wish to return items to other libraries for mail return should check ahead of time to assure it is something that can be mailed. Materials that are not eligible for mail return are often high-demand collections and mail return means the items are not available to other people while they are “in transit.” Because of this, libraries ask patrons to return these items directly to the library where the materials were borrowed.

Trivia question: Which library do we return the most items to? Choice are:

a. Weber Elementary Library

b. Coralville Public Library

c. North Liberty Community Library

d. Cedar Rapids Public Library

e. University of Iowa Libraries

Feel free to record your choice in the comments box below this post.

The next time you accidentally return your book to Iowa City Public Library that is owned by another library, rest assured the book will find its way home. Feel free to give us a call to check, but chances are it’s already in the mail :)

Why is the Library closed on Friday?

by Kara Logsden on December 10th, 2014

business_closed_sign_pageEvery year the Library closes on the second Friday in December for Staff Inservice Day. This is a day for staff to retreat, honor co-workers for years of service, and invest time in learning. We strongly believe this opportunity for training results in better overall services to our community through learning and team building.

My first day working at the Library sixteen years ago was Staff Inservice Day. I liked that I was moving to an organization that invested in staff and felt strongly about life-long learning and team building. That certainly remains a big part of the culture of working at the Library.

We recognize staff for years of service awards in five year intervals. This year we will recognize seven Library employees for years of service. These staff members alone represent 85 years of service to the community and individual milestones range from 5 years to 30 years of service.

Our overall theme for Inservice Day is User Experience. Our keynote speaker is Aaron Schmidt who is a principal at Influx Library User Experience Consulting. Through Schmidt’s guidance we’ll look at user experience and how we can improve the Library’s websites, programs, and services.

Last year’s theme was 21st Century Skills. These include critical thinking, problem solving, communication, flexibility, adaptability, creativity and innovation, global awareness, teamwork, interpersonal skills, technology literacy, media literacy, listening and assessment. Over the past year we’ve worked on our 21st Century Skills as individual staff and tried to incorporate opportunities for learning these skills into our collections, classes and programs.

Many thanks to our patrons for your understanding as we close for a day to invest in our staff and plan for how we can improve service to our community. Regular Library hours will resume on Saturday Saturday December 13.

Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words

by Kara Logsden on December 9th, 2014
Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words Cover Image

Malka Marom‘s new book chronicles her conversations and friendship with Joni Mitchell beginning in 1973 and culminating in their final interview in 2012. Marom first met Mitchell at a coffeehouse in 1966. In their conversations they explore friendship, the creative process, and life.

Marom, who has a unique story of her own, was a pioneer in international music performance and hosted “A World of Music” TV show in Canada beginning in 1966. Marom’s background gave her the unique perspective to share Mitchell’s words as a peer and a friend.

Although I enjoyed the entire book, I keep thinking about three parts. The first is when Malka and Joni first meet. The written words gave a good sense of who Joni Mitchell is and how her career began. This laid the framework for the entire book.

The second part I think about is Joni’s formative years when she contracted polio and spent a lot of solitary time in a hospital. This period in her life set the foundation for her work as a musician, poet, writer, painter and composer. It also helped her become comfortable with the concepts of loneliness and aloneness.

The final part, and probably my favorite, was Joni’s quest to describe herself. Because she’s had such a prolific music career and explored other artistic mediums such as poetry and painting, she is hard to describe. She also took the lead to produce many of her albums and worked hard to win the respect of the musicians she worked with. This was a difficult feat because she was not formally trained as a musician so they often didn’t “speak the same language” when describing their goals for performance. Ultimately the description Maron and Mitchell settled on was “Renaissance Woman.” I liked that description and after hearing Mitchell’s words, I think it is a fair description for a remarkable life.

My Reading History @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden on November 24th, 2014
My Reading History @ Your Library Cover Image

There’s an awesome user feature in our online Catalog called “My Reading History.” “My Reading History” will keep track of every physical item you have checked out from the Library. It will also eMail the list to you. This feature is available to everyone but you must turn the feature on before it will begin tracking items checked out.

To activate “My Reading History,” login to your online account at catalog.icpl.org and click on “Reading History.”  If you don’t have a password, or don’t remember your password, please give us a call during Library hours or stop by the Help Desk and we’ll set one up for you.2014 11 my reading hist

Once you’ve logged in to the Catalog and selected “My Reading History,” there is a toggle button to Opt In or Opt Out. The default is for accounts to be set-up to “Opt Out” so you must choose “Opt In” for the system to begin tracking your checkouts.

I enjoy browsing through “My Reading History” because it’s a walk down memory lane. Some titles bring back memories of learning to draw with my children (Ed Emberley books are great for this) and favorite books while others remind me about planning a vacation, craft projects and driving in blizzards. I’ve used this feature for nearly 10 years so I have quite a long memory lane cataloged there.

We often get questions about “My Reading History” so here’s the fine print if you have questions or concerns:

Library Staff may not access these lists so they are completely private.  It is up to you to activate this feature IF you want the catalog to keep track of the physical items you check out.

If you checked out something you don’t want to keep track of, you can delete the item from your list.

You can choose to Opt Out any time and opt back in later if you choose to.

My Reading History does not track any eMaterials checked out on other webpages like OverDrive and Zinio.

If an item is withdrawn from our collection, it no longer appears in My Reading History.

Some patrons come in hopeful that we track their circulation over time – this usually happens when they can’t remember a book they checked out. We don’t track specific items checked out because of privacy issues. IF the patron turned on My Reading History, the record will be there once they login to their Library Account. In most cases, though, they have not turned this feature on and so the information is not available.

If you wish to Opt In to “My Reading History” and need help, please stop by or give us a call. It’s a nice feature for those who are interested in keeping track of materials checked out over time.

Vacationers by Emma Straub

by Kara Logsden 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.

New Self Checkouts @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden 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.

ICPL Bags @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden 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.

Remote Book Returns @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden on November 5th, 2014

Did you know the Library has two remote book returns available for returning most materials to the Library?  This is in addition to the outside book return located along Linn Street near the staff entrance to the Library.  All outside bo2014 10 23 return booksok returns are available 24 hours a day and are a convenient way to return Library materials.  Some materials, such as audiovisual equipment and oversize items that do not fit into the book returns, must be returned to the Help Desk during regular Library hours.

There are two remote book returns in Iowa City – one on the east side at the First Avenue HyVee Pharmacy Drive-through and one on the west side at the Mormon Trek University of Iowa Community Credit Union Drive-through (far right lane).  More information is available here on the Library’s webpage.  Items returned at the remote book returns must be in the box by 1:00 PM each day or the item is considered returned the next day.

Four times a year we count the number of items returned through the Library’s remote book returns so we have an idea of the level of service they are providing.  During the week of October 12-18, 2014, 15.6% of all items returned to the Library were returned through the two remote book returns.

Remote books returns are one of the many conveniences that make the Library easy to use.  If you have questions, please give us a call at 319-356-5200 during Library hours or contact us through our “Ask a Librarian” link.




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