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.
by Kara Logsden on July 11th, 2015
The Johnson County Auditor’s Office will begin accepting applications for Community ID cards Friday July 17 at 1:00 PM.
UPDATE 7/14/15: Here’s a link to the online application for the new Community ID Cards.
We are excited about the program and hope this will encourage members of our community to use their Community ID card to get at Library Card.
It’s easy to get a Library Card and only takes a couple minutes. The online application is available at http://www.icpl.org/cards/get-a-card/ It works great to sign-up online at home or you can complete an online application at the Library at any of the catalog terminals.
Once you’ve registered online, stop by the Help Desk to pick up your Library Card.
Adults and students in 7th grade and older should be prepared to show photo identification and proof of your residence address. A Community ID card or Driver’s License fulfils the requirement for both if the current address is listed. Other documents that work for proof of address include a lease, voter registration card, mail with a current post mark or pre-printed checks from a bank.
Students in 6th grade or younger should be accompanied by a parent or guardian who will be asked to show a photo ID and proof of current address.
Three Cheers for the new Community ID program and everyone who made this possible! We look forward to seeing these ID cards at the Library.
by Kara Logsden on July 7th, 2015
Bird Houses from the Iowa City Farmer’s Market
One of my favorite parts of the Iowa City Farmer’s Market is not the produce or the yummy food, but the arts and crafts available at the Market. I have some awesome garden art purchased at the Market as well as sweet-scented soap and bird feeders.
One of my favorite Market purchases was bird houses. We had a beautiful weeping cherry tree in our front yard. We think it may have been struck by lightning because there was suddenly a big, gaping split down one side of the tree. Then the tree started look a bit sickly, the leaves shriveled up and the tree died. We trimmed the beautiful bent branches back to near the tree trunk and then had an inspiration. What if we turned our beloved tree into a bird colony?
We had a pin oak tree in the back yard that died about five years ago. As we were cutting off the branches we realized the post that was left would be great for a bird house. We purchased an awesome bird house at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market to put at the top of the trimmed-up trunk. The birds love it and we enjoy watching the birds come and go.
But … I digress. Back to the weeping cherry tree. The trimmed tree looked a bit like it was from a Dr. Seuss book and maybe some Who’s from Whooville may want to move it. Once we added birdhouses from the Farmer’s Market, though, it became a bit of an art installation in our yard.
First Bird House
The good news is the birds also love it. This year we have many bird families living in these new houses. We thoroughly enjoy the birds singing in the morning and are happy our weeping cherry tree was re-purposed without leaving an empty spot in our yard.
If you have questions about yard art, bird houses, or feeding wild birds, remember the Library has great books on these topics and many more!
See you at the Market!
by Kara Logsden on June 9th, 2015
Dinner at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market
Wednesday nights are Farmer’s Market nights and that often means dinner at The Market for our family. Whether it’s food trucks or food from vendors, there’s a lot yummy decisions to make. The good news is, when there are so many choices, everyone is happy. When there’s Market Music it’s a great night to sit back, relax, people watch and enjoy the great food.
Recently I was pondering some of the delicious braided bread I purchased and wondering if I could make this bread at home. My son loved pulling the bread apart and eating it in chunks. He said it tasted like a pretzel without the salt. The part of the loaf that did make it home was delicious toasted and topped with butter and cinnamon sugar. The savory loaf I purchased was also delicious. When I cut it diagonally it was tasty as a sandwich.
But I digress … When I was in graduate school I used to make bread regularly. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh bread baking in the kitchen and the taste of fresh bread slathered with butter. The call number for cookbooks related to making bread is 641.815. There are many wonderful books there to help with bread baking. I found one in particular that I’m interested in: The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. There’s a recipe for Pretzel Buns. Looks yummy!
See you at The Market!
by Kara Logsden on June 3rd, 2015
It’s summer and for many this means relaxed days, vacations, and no school. For others this means long days, no school breakfast or lunch, and being hungry. Fortunately our community has a Summer Food Rocks! program. From June 15th through July 30th on Mondays through Thursdays, breakfast and lunch are served at Fairmeadows Park and the Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood Center.
Summer Food Rocks! is open to all children 18 and younger. There is no enrollment and no cost. Breakfast is served 9-9:30 AM and lunch is served Noon-12:45 PM.
Here’s a link to more information: 2015 SummerMeals_flyer_2015
Feel free to print this PDF and post it where students might find it. If you know a student who could benefit from this program, please pass along the information.
For more information, contact Alison Demory, RD/LD, Director of Nutrition Services, Iowa City Community School District, 688-1021.
Three cheers for summer!
by Kara Logsden on June 2nd, 2015
One of our most popular services is HOLDS – items we hold for patron pick-up. Holds may be placed online at Your Account or with assistance from Library staff. Patrons may have up to ten free holds at any time.
We also offer Paging services (see my previous blog post about Paging) and those items also land on the Holds shelf for pick-up.
In May 2015, Library Staff put 8,588 items on the Holds shelves for people to pick-up. We notify patrons about Holds in 3 ways depending on how their Library Account is coded: eMail, telephone or printed message sent via US Mail. In May, 95% of the Hold notifications were sent via eMail, 4% were sent vial telephone, and 1% were printed and sent in the mail.
Once an item reaches the Holds shelf, patrons have 6 days to pick-up the Hold.
There were between 618 and 841 holds each day on the Holds Shelf waiting for pick-up in May. The average number of items on the shelf was 708.
Unfortunately 13.5% (1,163) of the holds were not picked up. Sometimes people get busy, sometimes they forget, or sometimes they don’t receive their notice because an eMail address or phone number changed (please always let us know if your account information changes). Because 32% of our holds not picked up move to the next person in the Holds Queue, please give us a call and let us know if you cannot pick-up your hold. You can also login to Your Account and cancel your hold online.
If you have questions about Holds, or would like to place a Hold for an item, please give us a call or stop by. We’ll see you soon
by Kara Logsden on May 20th, 2015
School’s out in a couple weeks so it’s a good time to take inventory and make sure you are ready for summer. Your Library Card is your ticket to the “Three R’s of Summer” – Reading, Riding and Relaxing.
Today is a great day to make sure you know where your card is and assure it is ready for the 3-R’s of summer.
If you need to apply for a Library Card, it’s easy to do online at icpl.org/cards. Simply apply for a card online and then head to the Library’s Help Desk with a picture ID and something with your current address (a piece of mail, a checkbook, a current lease). If your Driver’s License has your current address on it, it works for both the picture ID and proof of address.
Astute readers may be thinking, “I understand reading and relaxing, but what does Riding have to do with a Library Card?”
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 your child’s ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit bus free this summer. The Library will provide 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 (Wednesday June 3, 2015) until the weekday before school starts (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.
Children can catch a ride home anytime the same day with a Ride & Read bus pass, issued by showing a Library Card at any public service desk at the Library.
Three cheeRRRs for summer! See you at the Library!
by Kara Logsden on May 16th, 2015
We have a new smoker/grill at our house, just in time for summer. Our challenge now is to learn how to use it. Have no fear, the Library is here! We’ve had some delicious meals including Slaw Burgers (a family favorite of smoked pork on a bun with traditional cole slaw), marinated smoked vegetables and some great salmon. Now we’re ready to try some new meals.
A quick search of the Library’s catalog shows there are many books to help learn how to use a smoker. Subject headings of “Barbequing” and “Smoked Foods” were most helpful. I found a new book, Smoke and Spice 3rd Edition, that had some great recipes. Two recipes looked especially good – Peabody-Style Stuffed Onions and Deep-Dish Smoked Mozzarella Pizza. Yummy!
If you are ready to relax and enjoy some great summer food, but need some culinary inspiration, give us a call or stop by. The call numbers 641.5784 and 641.61 are a great place to start.
by Kara Logsden on May 12th, 2015
Breakfast at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market
I love the Iowa City Farmer’s Market. I grew up in Iowa City, so I have happy memories of going to the Market when I was young. My children have also grown up going to the Farmer’s Market and one of their favorite Saturday morning activities is breakfast at the Market.
We typically bring our coffee cups and stop at Cafe del Sol for a refill, and then take in the Market. Once we’ve checked out all the booths we wander over to Washington Street and scope out all the different choices for breakfast food.
Our final decision for what to order is typically based on what looks good and where the shortest lines are. My personal favorite is the breakfast burritos while my kids like the breakfast sandwiches that use pancakes as the outer layer and yummy eggs and other fillings in the middle.
Once we have our food, we typically pull up a seat on the curb and people watch. We always see lots of friends so it turns into a social occasion too.
Poppyseed Kolache from the Iowa City Farmer’s Market
A trip to the Market would also not be complete without our beloved kolaches. I grew up with a Czech grandmother who made the best kolaches in the world, so finding a good kolache is a real treat. My favorites are poppy seed while my family prefers apricot, cherry, and peach. We all agree the prune kolaches are to be avoided.
Writing this blog post inspired me to investigate the books about Czech cooking at the Library. I found many awesome selections at the call number 641.59437. One book has recipes for poppy seed and cheese filling as well as the dreaded prune filling.
It’s so exciting to welcome the Iowa City Farmer’s Markets back into our weekly routine. I look forward to the food, fun and meeting friends. See you at the Market!
by Kara Logsden on May 9th, 2015
Lisa Lutz’s new novel is different from her previous novels, and yet the same. Lutz is known for her quirky characters, fast moving pace, and unanticipated plot twists. The difference with this novel is the characters – the characters are more developed and real. Half way through the book I realized I cared about the characters and their story.
How to Start a Fire is about three college friends and the paths their lives take. The story develops by revealing events between 1993 and 2014. Reading the book is like river rafting. Sometimes there are rapids and the rafter has to pay attention while other times the river meanders and the rafter can relax and enjoy the scenery. Ultimately the book is about friendship, loyalty, choices, forgiveness, accountability and expectations about life.
I thoroughly enjoyed the new Lisa Lutz novel and think it will be a popular summer title.