by Kara Logsden on October 17th, 2014
It’s the weekend and I’m reading two great books … and I can’t wait to get back to them. I know there are soccer games, football games, house chores, and other activities, but I really would prefer to just read all weekend. Who wants to join me?
A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable is based on true events and tells the story of two women in Paris. One is a modern-day Sotheby’s furniture specialist (April Vogt) and the other is renowned courtesan during the Belle Époque period in Paris just before World War I (Marthe de Florian). April is summoned to Paris and jumps at a chance to escape her crumbling life in the United States. In Paris she discovers an apartment that has been shuttered for more than 70 years and full of priceless furniture and paintings collected by Marthe but abandoned by her family. April also meets a solicitor who agrees to share Marthe’s journals. Through these journals, April learns about the woman behind the collections.
I’m also reading Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. This historical fiction novel is set in occupied France during World War II and is the story of Marie-Laure, a young French girl who lost her eyesight when she was six and lives with her father who is a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. It is also the story of Werner, a young German boy who has a special talent for building and fixing radios. As the war rages, Marie-Laure and Werner cross paths. Doerr recently received a National Book Award nomination for this book. The writing is lyrical and foreboding and I can’t wait to start reading again.
If you are looking for a good book this weekend, head to the Library. And remember …. You can’t read all day if you don’t start in the morning!
by Kara Logsden on October 6th, 2014
I often think someone could write a mystery book about a items left in the Library’s Lost and Found. Maybe it could be an espionage story about a secret message on an item left at the Library or a heartwarming story about a child being reunited with a favorite stuffed animal. Regardless, there are many interesting items in the Library’s Lost and Found that may be reclaimed at the Help Desk.
Staff at the Help Desk are the stewards of Lost and Found and can share many interesting stories about items left behind. Today’s items feature one crutch, a cell phone, a wallet, miscellaneous IDs, a few umbrellas, some homework assignments, and a bag full of wet swimsuits and towels (must have been at the Rec Center pool before stopping at the Library). A clue to that lost item: “Anderson” is a monogrammed on the bag.
When we are able to identify the owner of an item (often through their Library Card account) we call or eMail to let the person know the item is at the Library. Library Cards left at the Library are “stopped” and then mailed to the patron. Stopped cards must be activated again via a call to the Library or visit to the Help Desk.
Unfortunately we can also tell stories about liquids oozing out of lunch boxes, mold growing in sippy cups, and other unsavory tales of woe. Because of this, we have a new procedure to throw away anything that goes into the mouth (sippy cups, pacifiers), personal grooming items, and anything else that may illicit an “eeeewww” or strong gag reflex.
So you might ask, “What happens to all the unclaimed items?” Photo IDs and any items of value that have not been reclaimed after a period of time are sent to the Iowa City Police Department. Clothing and other miscellaneous items are donated to Goodwill. Papers are recycled and books are considered a donation to the Library.
If you are looking for a lost item that may have been left at the Library, please give us a call or stop by the Help Desk. If you are curious about found items around the world, there are a number of webpages that catalog found items including Found magazine and foundinbooks.wordpress.com (I should pass along a general disclaimer to the content of these two webpages. They are not related to the Library and not guaranteed for all audiences. They are amusing though … )
by Kara Logsden on October 3rd, 2014
The other day someone asked me what the oddest thing we found left in a book. I couldn’t think of anything specific, but I do know we frequently have money, checks, photographs, and other items that are accidentally left in Library materials when they are returned. When we find these items, we attempt to locate the owner. Updated contact information helps us with that.
According to the “Circulation and Library Card” policy, “Library cards expire regularly to confirm address and other contact information.” We expire cards so that we may periodically check with patrons to assure we have updated information. Many people are dropping their landlines so this gives us an opportunity to update to a new telephone number. Also, if you’ve been in the area long, you might feel like half of the town moves on August 1 when leases typically expire. Cards with apartment numbers expire annually in August so we can touch base with the patron and update an address when needed.
Beyond returning items left in books, we want to make sure Hold Notices are delivered (either via eMail, telephone notification, or U.S. Mail) or we can contact you if you accidentally forgot to return a disc or a puzzle piece that was part of a set.
We also often have keys turned into the Library that have a Library Card attached to the keychain. Many patrons have breathed a huge sign of relief when the Library calls to tell them a good Samaritan returned their keys to the Library.
We also have contracts with vendors such as OverDrive (eBooks/eAudio) and Zinio (eMagazines) who stipulate we must limit access to people who live in our service area. The Library’s service area is Iowa City, rural Johnson County, Hills, University Heights, and Lone Tree. Basically this means that people who live in these areas directly support the Library through their property taxes (thank you!). Keeping Library accounts updated assures we are meeting the contractual obligations with our vendors.
To help patrons understand why cards expire, we added information to the Library webpage. If you are wondering what your account expiration date is, you may login to your account. The date will be listed under your name in the upper left-hand corner. You may also call us during regular Library hours at 319-356-5200.
If your card is expiring soon, please give us a call or stop by the Library’s Help Desk. Hopefully you’ll never leave something in a book or lose your keys, but you never know …
by Kara Logsden on September 25th, 2014
Recently I was in a meeting and someone asked, “Who was the first author you heard speak in person?” Suddenly I was swept back to my junior high years and listening to Madeleine L’Engle. I know there were author readings before that (I grew up in Iowa City and we had the amazing experiences of authors visiting our schools) but it was my memory of listening to L’Engle speak that conjured such a strong memory for me. Not only was L’Engle the author of my favorite books (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet) but she was an amazing speaker. I didn’t want the program to end, and really wished I could have found a rocking chair, curled my teenage body up in her lap, and had her read A Wrinkle in Time to me … cover to cover.
I’ve had strong reactions to listening to other authors read since then, but nothing as powerful for me as that experience. I love listening to authors because I always learn something new. A couple years ago, at the Iowa City Book Festival, I had the opportunity to ask Robert Goolrick why he chose a story theme for one of his characters in A Reliable Wife. His explanation was logical but sparked a reaction for me because I didn’t agree with him. At an outreach program for the Library, I saw a person with dementia brighten up and connect with author Carol Bodensteiner over a story from Bodensteiner’s childhood about ironing. Who would have guessed a story about ironing would awaken such a strong response?
Each year the Iowa City Book Festival brings an amazing group of authors to town and we have the opportunity to listen to them speak … and it’s free. I can’t guarantee the programs will be as transformational as my experience with Madeleine L’Engle, but you never know :) The Festival is a couple weeks away so there’s plenty of time to read a book or two written by one of the authors who will be speaking. Here’s the list to help you get started: 2014 FESTIVAL READING LIST.
by Kara Logsden on September 16th, 2014
Did you know your Library Card is a ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit bus? The program is called “Ride and Read.” Two times a week, patrons with a valid Iowa City Public Library card may present their card to the Help Desk, Children’s Desk or Reference Desk and get a FREE bus pass to ride an Iowa City Transit bus. The bus pass is stamped with the current date, and must be used on that day. The Ride and Read program is for people of all ages – the only requirement is a valid Library card. This is another great reason to make sure you always have your Library Card handy.
And speaking of bus rides, we recently received information from Iowa City Transit staff about utilization of the Summer Library Bus program. We think this program is awesome, and many others thought so too because 2,943 people hopped on the Summer Library Bus and caught a ride downtown this summer. What’s even more awesome is that utilization of this program was spread throughout Iowa City – the busiest routes were Lakeside and Oakcrest. There’s a chart below that shows how use was spread across the Transit routes..
For those who don’t know about the Summer Library Bus program, the Library provides free bus rides to children through 12th grade, and the adult caregivers who are with them, on any Iowa City Transit bus route, from the day after Iowa City Schools dismiss until the day before school start, on weekdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Bus riders show their Iowa City Public Library card to the bus driver to gain free access to the bus.
Happy Reading and Happy Riding!
by Kara Logsden on September 3rd, 2014
Recently the Library Board voted to make changes to help make your Library easier to use. We also updated a couple procedures to respond to patrons requests.
Patrons may now place 10 (ten!) FREE holds. Login to your account, call the Library or stop by – there are many ways to place holds. We’ll even let you place holds on items that are on the shelf. Periodically, throughout the day, staff pull items with holds that are on the shelf. We just ask that you give us a little bit of time to do this work. You’ll know when the hold is ready when we send you a notice. Notices come by eMail, telephone or in the mail depending on your preference.
Overdue Fines changed too and we hope they are easier to understand. All fines are 25 cents per overdue day with the following exceptions: Express DVDs, Games and Equipment are $1.00 per overdue day and Wii Game Consoles are $5.00 per overdue day. Our goal is to make the collection as available to our community as possible. We view fines as a motivation to return items on time so others can enjoy them.
Patrons may now receive one free replacement card per year. We can also make a replacement card with the same number, so there’s no need to worry if you have your number memorized. We need the original card in order to replace a card with the same number. Also, it takes us a few minutes to make the card, so please plan for a little extra time if you are getting a card replaced with the same number.
Videogames may now be renewed 1 (one) time. Patrons may still have a limit of 2 videogames checked out at a time, but they can be renewed once and the fine is now only 25 cents per overdue day.
We hope these changes will make it easier to use your Library and we hope to see you at the Library soon.
by Kara Logsden on August 20th, 2014
Lisa See’s new novel, China Dolls, brings to life an element of the 1930′s and 1940′s entertainment world I was not aware of, the Chop-Suey Circuit. Three unlikely Asian friends, Ruby, Helen & Grace, gravitate to the newly introduced Chinese revues in San Francisco for different reasons. Although they are from diverse backgrounds, they form a strong bond and the book follows their lives through happiness and heartache. Woven with a backdrop of the attack on Pearl Harbor, World War II and happier times in the 1940′s, the story brings alive not only the glitz and glamor of the stage, but the personal coming-of-age stories of three women whose lives are, for better or worse, intertwined.
Lisa See is a remarkable novelist and I thoroughly enjoyed her other books including Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy. I listened to the book and Jodi Long’s narration is excellent. ~~Enjoy~~
by Kara Logsden on July 23rd, 2014
Ten years ago I fell in love with Julia Glass’ writing. It was a rainy day and I was in Positano, Italy, looking out over the aquamarine Mediterranean and delighted to have survived a white-knuckle drive along the Amalfi Coast. I curled up with Three Junes, a book I’d been meaning to read for a long time, and fell in love with the writing. Most notably I was pulled into the stories, loved the characters, and grieved for the one of the main characters, Malachy Burns (who was dying of AIDS) and his beloved friend, Fenno McLeod (who lovingly cared for him). I look forward to each new Julia Glass book and enjoy her storytelling and how she weaves stories, characters, and places together. It’s like canoeing down a meandering stream, encountering interesting people along the way, and enjoying the journey as much as the moment.
I was delighted when Malachy and Fenno popped up in Glass’ new book, And the Dark Sacred Night. Once again readers are taken on a journey and details are not shared until Glass is ready to share them. The book begins with the main protagonist, Kit Noonan, and a view into his stalled life. Kit is an unemployed art professor who is struggling in his roles as husband, father, and (not by choice) person designated to manage his household. When it’s obvious he must be jarred from his rut, his wife’s wish for a separation serves as the catalyst to send him on a journey of personal discovery. The journey begins in Vermont at the home of Kit’s Stepfather. From there readers are propelled through time and memories in a story woven together in classic Julia Glass style. I was sad when the story ended, but enjoyed the journey and always appreciate a great story!
by Kara Logsden on July 21st, 2014
The newest installment of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, Top Secret 21, is out and it’s a page-turner. While I thought the last couple Plum books were not up to Janet Evanovich standards, I though with this book she was back on target with quirky characters, humor, and more adventures for bounty-hunter, Stephanie Plum. If you are looking for a quick summer chick-lit read, this is a great option.
If you haven’t read the Stephanie Plum series, we have many of the earlier books in multiple formats including regular print, large print, spoken word, eBook and eAudiobook. The plot is easy to follow and it’s not necessary to start at the beginning.
If you are a Janet Evanovich fan and looking for similar authors, there are quite a few I would recommend including Lisa Lutz (Spellman Files), Mary Kay Andrews, and Diane Mott Davidson. These authors have books that are fast paced, funny and perfect for summer reading. If you need help finding a good book, Library staff are always happy to help. Happy Summer Reading!
by Kara Logsden on June 18th, 2014
Recently a friend suggested we meet at Prairie Lights for a book reading. We have a monthly meet-up to knit and chat, but thought we might mix it up a bit and go to a book reading. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the Live from Prairie Lights schedule, so I was delighted when I discovered Iowa City native, Leah Eskin was reading from her new book, Slices of Life.
Leah and I were in 4-H together many years ago. She was a few years older than me and someone who I looked up to. It was fun to hear her read, and learn about her ‘slices of life’ – mother of teenagers, writer, cancer survivor, and much more. When she was signing my book afterwards, my friend mentioned our 4-H connection. Leah wondered if I remembered the goats she showed at the fair. I didn’t, but our conversation conjured happy memories for me of showing my rabbits and dog at the Johnson County Fair.
I’ve enjoyed Leah Eskin’s Slices of Life and how she connects her slices of life with her experiences. One entry that jumped out at me was an ode to her dog, Theo, as an introduction to the “Summer Couscous” recipe. After losing our dog to old age and illness last week, I still have a raw emotion when I think about the human-dog bond. Eskin writes, “At dinnertime we come. We sit. We stay for something delicious, something that fetches memories of meals past. Happily gnawing on a stick of grilled lamb, hunched over a jackpot of couscous, we know that in our family, we all speak the same language.”
I also appreciate the index to the book and the suggestions Eskin weaves into the list. For example, “BRUNCH: I always make Onion Tart (page 153). Other good ideas: Tortilla Espanola (page 185), Sparkling Salad (page 64), and Crab Cakes (page 111).”
Slices of Life is a wonderful tribute to love, cooking, connections and life. And the recipes are yummy too …