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Author Archive for Kara Logsden

Music Music Music

by Kara Logsden on October 8th, 2015

2015 10 lmpMusic is the Word at Iowa City Public Library and we’re off to a great start. Music is the Word is a 9-month celebration of music to welcome the University of Iowa School of Music to Downtown Iowa City.

We’ve hosted a couple music events and already I’ve broadened my “music horizons.” The kickoff at The Englert Theatre in September was awesome and I was in awe of the many talented people who performed (thank you!). After seeing The Beggarmen, Kol Shira, and others, I want to hear more! Fortunately the Library’s Local Music Project has options for listening to local musicians.

2015 10 School of music

Scott Cochran and Matt Kearney’s performance at a recent Noon program sparked my interest in their music and I was able to see Scott’s band, Slewgrass, at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market a week or so ago. I also found Scott’s music with his other band, Flannel, in the Local Music Project and, after downloading it, I’ve been listening to their music at work and at home.

2015 10 SlewgrassMany other Music is the Word performers have music available in the Local Music Project. These include Awful Purdies, Crystal City, and David Zollo.

We invite to you head to the Library for the many upcoming musical events. A full schedule is available at There’s something for everyone! See you at the Library :)

Music on Wednesday: Scott Cochran and Matt Kearney

by Kara Logsden on September 19th, 2015

2015 09 Music on WednesdayHead to the Library at Noon on Wednesday September 23rd for some toe-tapping Americana music from Scott Cochran and Matt Kearney.

Scott Cochran is a musician from the Iowa City-based bands, Slew Grass and Flannel. In a recent post about the Slew Grass CD, one reviewer described the music as “Singer-songwriterly regional bluegrass music with vocal harmonies, and instrumental finesse that will take your breathe away.” You can preview Scott’s vocals and guitar while playing with Flannel on this recording on YouTube. Listening makes me excited for the live performance at the Library!

Matt Kearney is also a musician from Iowa City and plays with the Iowa City-based band Pigs and Clover. (Pigs and Clover will perform in the Library’s Lobby on Wednesday October 14th at Noon.) Matt grew up in Western Iowa and discovered his passion for music at a young age while playing with friends. Matt’s vocals and instrumentals can be previewed on this recording from the Pigs and Clover webpage.

2015 09 Scott CochranOn a personal note, I’ve known Scott since we were in junior high together more years ago than we’d like to admit. Recently we’ve become reacquainted on Facebook and I’ve been curious about his music. When I asked Scott for a photo to help promote his program, he sent me the awesome photo of him playing guitar when he was young.

I’m looking forward to Scott and Matt’s performance at the Library and the experience of live music in the Lobby. We hope to see you at Noon on Wednesday September 23rd. :)

Music on Wednesday Kickoff

by Kara Logsden on September 15th, 2015

2015 09 Music on WednesdayMark your calendars and head to the Library for a wonderful variety of live music. Music is the Word at the Library and we are excited to share live music at NOON on many upcoming Wednesdays. Most performances will be in the Library’s Lobby but we’ll move to Room A if we have a big group of performers. The Fall 2015 schedule is below and we’ll have another wonderful series in the Spring of 2016.

The kickoff event is Wednesday September 23rd at Noon with Scott Cochran and Matt Kearney. Scott and Matt are local songwriters and musicians who will share an eclectic mix of original songs of Americana. OK … confession time. Scott has been inviting me to the many local performances of his band, Slew Grass, but despite hearing how awesome the band is and my good intentions, I haven’t gone to a performance. I’m excited to hear Scott play at the Library and for sharing live music with our Library audience.

For a full list of Music is the Word programs, check out See you soon :)

Date Location Performer
September 23 Lobby Scott Cochran and Matt Kearney
October 14 Lobby Pigs & Clover: Jamie Kearney & Matt Kearney
October 28 Lobby Saul Lubaroff
FRIDAY November 13 (Note: Not Wednesday) Room A Preucil School of Music
December 9 Room A Preucil School of Music


Happy Library Card Memories

by Kara Logsden on September 8th, 2015

Do you remember when you got your first Library Card? I do. Actually I have two memories.

My first memory of getting a Library Card is at Iowa City Public Library’s old Carnegie Building (kitty-corner from the current Library). We moved to Iowa City in 1967 and I’m guessing we found the Library a couple years later. The legendary Ron Prosser, with his bushy eyebrows and loud voice, welcomed me to the Library and said something about always being responsible for my card. I wasn’t really listening because I was eager to head up to the Children’s Room.

My second memory is of Library staff traveling to my elementary school, Hills Elementary, to issue new Library Cards. This is when I received the iconic yellow ICPL plastic Library Card (I still have it) and close to the time when the Library moved to an electronic online catalog. I remember the enthusiasm of Library staff. They reinforced my already established love for the Library.

Library staff still tr2005 Zach and Amyavel to local elementary schools and talk about Library Cards, Summer Reading Program, Summer Library Bus, and all the awesome collections, programs and services available at the Library. The photo in this post is from when Library staff visited Weber Elementary School ten years ago and enlisted Weber Students to help tell a story. My son and his friend are now Juniors in High School but I bet they could tell you the story of when Library staff visited their school :)

Fast forward more years than I care to think about and now I’m the one creating Library Card accounts for members of our community. I love it when parents take a photo of their child getting their first Library Card and I get excited when I see young children who can’t wait to get their card and jump into using the Library. I also enjoy going to community events, such as the recent Iowa City elementary schools Ice Cream Socials, when I can talk to children and families about the Library and help them sign up for a Library Card.

Do you remember when you got your first Library Card? We’d love to hear from you.


Cooler than being Cool

by Kara Logsden on September 2nd, 2015

September is L2015 09 Library Cardibrary Card sign-up month across the country. At Iowa City Public Library we make it easy to get a Library Card. Online sign-up is available to everyone on the Library’s webpage at Once registered, head into the Library with a picture ID and proof of your current address. Staff at the Help Desk will set-up your account, help you set-up a password if needed, and then you are set.

Community members who already have Library Cards may receive a free replacement card all month. If you have your card number memorized, but your card is damaged, we can make a free replacement card with the same number – we’ll just need the original card to create the new card.

We live in a community that loves its Library and the numbers prove it. At the end of Fiscal Year 2015 (June 30, 2015) the Library had 64,957 active cardholders who borrowed 1,391,482 items. That makes ICPL the busiest library building in the state of Iowa. Some other libraries have higher circulation, but their services are delivered in multiple buildings.

Please join your friends and neighbors and be Cooler than Cool. Make sure you have a Library Card. See you at the Library!



Jalapenos @ the IC Farmer’s Market

by Kara Logsden on August 18th, 2015

Jalapeno Poppers are a family favorite and the Iowa City Farmer’s Market is the best place to purchase fresh jalapenos this time of year. Often these morsels serve as a meal at our house. Baked Poppers can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple days (although they rarely last that long at our house) and are delicious cold as well as reheated.

Jalapeno Peppers from the Iowa City Farmer's Market

Jalapeno Peppers from the Iowa City Farmer’s Market

We have many variations of our Jalapeno Popper recipe and often the final product is contingent on what’s in the refrigerator. Crumbled crispy bacon, goat cheese, and artichoke dip can all be substituted into the basic recipe for delicious results.

One word of caution: Make sure you remove all the seeds from the jalapenos. In general, Jalapeno Poppers are only a bit “warm” – especially with the delicious cheese to cool down the palate. Forgotten seeds can surprise the person eating the popper, though, so caution is needed if consumers are wary of hot food.

Here’s our basic recipe:

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Select fresh, large Jalapenos.

Cut off the top and split in half lengthwise.

Remove all seeds.

Fill with cream cheese.

Wrap with Prosciutto (we prefer Iowa-made La Quercia)

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Arrange on cooking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Check after 15.

If you are looking for summer recipe inspiration, browse our catalog or check out the many awesome books at the Library. 641 is the call number to get you started.

Let us know which delicious dishes you are creating from the fresh ingredients you find at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market.

See you at the Market!


Badlands by C.J. Box

by Kara Logsden on August 12th, 2015
Badlands by C.J. Box Cover Image

OK … I’m ready to forgive C.J. Box. I thoroughly enjoy his Joe Pickett series and enjoyed Back of Beyond, the beginning of a new series featuring who I thought was a recurring character, Sheriff Detective Cody Hoyt. In Box’s next Cody Hoyt book, The Highway, (awesome book, set in Yellowstone, scared the bejeebers out of me) Hoyt is conquering his demons and mentoring a new Sheriff’s Detective, Cassie Dewell. But something goes wrong and suddenly readers are left hanging.

I was mad at C.J. Box after that book. I loved Cody Hoyt and I didn’t like how the book ended. For me, C.J. Box has redeemed himself in his new book, The Badlands. Cassie Dewell emerges as a strong protagonist who can hold her own. I guess maybe Box had to give her a chance and needed a couple good novels to write his way there. Time for me to move on …

In The Badlands, Detective Cassie Dewell takes a new job in Grimstad, the petroleum capitol of North Dakota. Life is tough there. The economy is booming but crime follows money and Cassie is tasked by the Sheriff to do some internal investigating. She is also haunted by her past and the criminal who got away and is still lurking “out there.” She’s also drawn to a young boy who may be invisible, but knows a lot more than the world is willing to acknowledge. The book is fast paced, the characters are great, and readers are left wanting more from this new protagonist. I think we have a lot to look forward to from C.J. Box and his Joe Pickett and Cassie Dewell series!

Bus and Books

by Kara Logsden on July 30th, 2015

2017 07 BusA recent viral story on social medial tells the story about a 12-year-old boy in Salt Lake City who asked his mailman for junk mail because he wanted more to read. The mailman posted the story on social media hoping to find some books for the boy to read. This paragraph from the Huff Post article tugged at my Mom/Librarian heart:

“Today while delivering mail to his apartment complex, I saw him reading ads, and then he asked me if I had any extra mail he could read,” Lynch wrote. “He told me his wish is to have books to read. I told him the library had many, but he said they don’t have a car, and couldn’t afford the bus.”

At the Library we have worked very hard over the years to help people access the Downtown Library. Through community surveys conducted before creating each new strategic plan (every 3-5 years) we know our community has concerns about parking downtown. We’ve addressed these concerns in a number of ways. One of the most proactive responses is our Library Bus program in partnership with Iowa City Transit.

The Library offers two great programs for riding Iowa City Transit buses to and from the Library.

Ride and Read: Your Iowa City Public Library Card is your ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit Bus FREE two times each week all year long. Present your Library Card at the Help Desk, Information Desk or Children’s Desk to receive your free pass. There’s a limit of two free passes each week and a Library Card must be presented to receive a pass.

Summer Library Bus: An Iowa City Public Library card is a child’s ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit bus free each summer. The Library will provide free bus rides to children through 12th grade, and any adult caregivers who are with them, on any Iowa City Transit bus route, from the day after Iowa City Schools dismiss until the weekday before school starts (This summer = Friday August 21), on weekdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Eligible bus riders should show their Iowa City Public Library card to the bus driver to gain free access to the bus.

In June 2015 our patrons rode an Iowa City Transit bus 1,007 times as a part of this program. In FY15 we provided 5,406 rides on a bus and last summer (June – August) 2,943 rides were provided. It’s not in our Midwest nature to boast, but I have to say this is an awesome program and a testament to our community’s dedication to our youth and Library. Thank you!



A Day with Frank Lloyd Wright

by Kara Logsden on July 23rd, 2015
A Day with Frank Lloyd Wright Cover Image
2015 07 FLW Column

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio

Recently I celebrated a birthday that ended in a ZERO and my husband gave me a “day away.” I chose a day in Oak Park, Illinois touring the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio followed by a walking tour of his neighborhood.

I really enjoy historical fiction novels based on the lives of real people. A few years ago the book Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland inspired a Spring Break trip to New York City to see Tiffany Glass. After reading Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank and T.C. Boyle’s The Women, I’ve wanted to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park as well as Taliesin in Spring Green, WI.

The tour in Oak Park was wonderful. The volunteer guide was very knowledgeable and I learned a lot about Wright’s architecture, style and philosophy. The tour was light on personal details but that was OK. Books can fill in the details there. It was amazing to see Wright’s experimentation through the many homes we walked by in the neighborhood and the evolution of his style.

2015 07 flw cut

If you are looking for a getaway, I’d recommend reading the two historical fiction novels about Frank Lloyd Wright and then heading to Oak Park for a day.

If you are looking for more adventures in Oak Park, the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home and Museum is just a couple blocks from the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. We didn’t get a chance to tour the Hemingway Museum, but if you are interested, you might consider reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain before you go. Enjoy :)



Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

by Kara Logsden on July 15th, 2015

Kent Haruf’s beautiful, lyrical final novel was a bit of serendipity I recently discovered on the Fiction Express shelf. I love Haruf’s novels. They are set in Eastern Colorado and have a strong sense of place. Haruf develops his characters in a way that brings them alive on the page and he has a gift of writing beautifully about the complexities of human relationships. Haruf is a 1973 graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop who died late last year at age 71.

According to a New York Times article, “Kent Haruf pulled a wool cap over his eyes when he sat down at his manual typewriter each morning so he could “write blind,” fully immersing himself in the fictitious small town in eastern Colorado where he set a series of quiet, acclaimed novels, including “Plainsong,” a 1999 best seller.”

I first discovered Haruf’s writing when I read his 1999 novel, Plainsong. I was drawn into the beautiful writing and the compelling story. I vividly remember the characters in that book – two bachelor brothers who took in a pregnant teenager, creating an unlikely but loving family. Equally memorable are the two main characters in this novel. Addie Moore is a lonely widow who takes a big chance in her life. Louis Waters is also lonely but rediscovers a purpose for his life through a new relationship and responsibility.

Our Souls at Night is a quick read, but one that will make the reader smile and appreciate human relationships and love.