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Author Archive for Kara Logsden

A Gift from International Students

by Kara Logsden on May 5th, 2015

Today we received a wonderful gift at the Library – feedback from some of the many International Students who we work with about their impressions of Iowa City Public Library.2015 05 05 IIEP

Each year we work with the University of Iowa’s Iowa Intensive English Program (IIEP) which is a part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. We give tours for International Students introducing the Library and its many programs, resources and services; we help students select books they might enjoy; and we invite students to use the Library for their recreational needs while they live in Iowa City.

Today one of the IIEP instructors brought us the Spring 2015 Edition of the IIEP Landscape. This is a journal of student writings about their experiences in Iowa City. Two of the entries were about the students’ experiences at the Iowa City Public Library.

The first groups of students wrote:

One day, our teacher, Erin decided with us to visit the Iowa City Public Library. Then, we visited and explored the Library. We like the way that the staff welcomed us and showed us the library sections. At the end they gave us library cards. After that day, we go there for reading and borrowing books and movies. We like ICPL. It is a great place to study, find books, and to hang out. I want to say a great thank you to ICPL.

Another group of students wrote:

Our first impression of the public library is that it is big and has many books. Our school library is like an old man, and the public library is like an energetic young man. So I love this library, it makes my life exciting. It has lots of functions, such as the video area, where you can borrow any video you want.

For me, the most interesting part is the blind date with a book. That is my favorite part of February. They cover the book with the white paper, and just give you the topic of the book. We also liked the part where they write letters to J.K. Rowling and buy some owl toys. That is so cute.

We also think that it is super convenient for us to borrow the book by ourselves. We also like the language corner. It has lots of books from different countries.

Finally, I think the people who work at the library are so friendly, and give us lots of help. They are always very excited when we come to the library.

Many thanks to our International Student friends for their wonderful gift of sharing their thoughts about the Library. It really made our day. Please visit us again soon!

Free Materials Distribution @ ICPL

by Kara Logsden on May 5th, 2015

The Library Board recently reviewed and revised the Free Materials Distribution Policy that governs which items we provide for free in the Library’s Lobby. According to Board policy:

Free Materials Distributed in the Lobby at the Iowa City Public Library

Free Materials Distributed in the Lobby at the Iowa City Public Library

The purpose of the Library’s free materials distribution policy is to make space available for newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, forms, and other informational materials from local organizations and governmental agencies. Materials distributed will focus on information about local organizations, events, performances or cultural offerings; Iowa City and surrounding areas; tourism; public facilities; and current issues as well as frequently requested forms from local, state, or federal governmental agencies. Information about children’s and parent’s activities are distributed in the Children’s Room, as space allows.

The complete policy is available at:

Each year the Library distributes over 29,000 items in the Lobby. Popular items include Iowa City Transit schedules, Iowa City Recreation Department class schedules, Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center Program Guides, Little Village, Modern Maturity, and Iowa City Visitors Guides.

If you have free materials for your local organization you would like to distribute, please drop them off at the Library’s Help Desk. Library staff will review the items to assure they meet our policy and then add the materials to the inventory of items we distribute.

For more information, please call the Library at 319.356.5200.

Event Board @ ICPL

by Kara Logsden on May 2nd, 2015

The Library Board recently reviewed and updated the policy that governs the Event Board where posters about community events are found in the Library’s Lobby.

Iowa City Public Library Lobby Event Board

Iowa City Public Library Lobby Event Board

According to the Board Policy:

The purpose of the Library’s public event board is to make space freely available to display information about events sponsored by or benefiting non-profit organizations (defined as those entities granted tax-exempt status by the IRS under section 501(c)(3) or other tax exempt sections of the Internal Revenue Code), a candidate’s campaign committee (as defined in Iowa Code §68A.102(5)), a political committee (as defined by Iowa Code §68A.102(18), or a governmental subdivision, or a department/bureau of a governmental subdivision.

The complete policy may be viewed at

If you would like to post a flyer about an upcoming event in Johnson County, please take the flyer to the Library’s Help Desk. Library staff post flyers each morning. Please note we often receive more flyers than we have room for, especially in the spring and fall. Preference is given to smaller flyers (8.5″ x 11″ or smaller) so we are able to post more items.

If you are looking for something to do, a stop at the Library’s Event Board is a great place to find out about events in our community.

Displays @ ICPL

by Kara Logsden on April 29th, 2015
Display on the "T-Walls" at the Iowa City Public Library

Display on the “T-Walls” at the Iowa City Public Library

The Library Board recently reviewed and updated the Display Policy that governs displays members of the community host at the Library. More information about display space at the Library may be found at

According to Board Policy:

The purpose of the Library’s display facilities is to fulfill the Library’s mission and increase awareness of Library resources. The Library provides display facilities for the public and Library use. Exhibits using these facilities shall further one or more of these purposes:

A. To call attention to a theme related to Library services, collections or programs.

B. To bring together Library materials from several subject areas related to a theme of current interest.

C. To highlight current issues, events or other subjects of public interest.

D. To display original art, crafts, photographs or writings created by Iowa artists or contained in traveling exhibits.

E. To explain the activities of, or issues of interest to, local organizations and agencies engaged in educational, recreational,  cultural, intellectual or charitable activities.

F. To display interesting collections or hobbies of local residents.

The next time you are in the Library, browse through the many displays at the Library. They are constantly changing and the information shared in informative and entertaining. If you would like to schedule a display at the Library, please call the Library at 319.356.5200 and ask to be directed to Stacey in Community and Access Services.

Driveway Moments and Talking to my Disc Player

by Kara Logsden on April 21st, 2015
Driveway Moments and Talking to my Disc Player Cover Image

I love listening to recorded books. I often listen in my car and the stories sweep me away. Too often I arrive at my destination and don’t remember the drive there because I’m so wrapped up in listening to a great story. It reminds me of my childhood and my love of being read to.

Currently I’m listening to what I’d typically characterize as a “page turner” – although I don’t think I can call it that when I’m listening. C.J. Box’s new book, Endangered, is set in Wyoming and centers on a crime committed against Joe Pickett’s adopted daughter, April. I’m finding myself talking back to my car’s disc player (“JOE – That’s a clue. Pay attention!”) or sitting in my driveway not wanting to turn the car off without knowing what happens next. The narrator of the story, David Chandler, is perfect and his performance enhances the story.

As you plan your summer road trip vacations, remember to include a trip in to the Library to find a great book for your family to listen to. Library staff are happy to recommend good stories for road trips. And if you see me sitting in my driveway or talking to my car’s disc player, just smile and wave … and remember to ask me which book I was listening to.


An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War

by Kara Logsden on April 8th, 2015
An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War Cover Image

Patrick Taylor’s newest installment in the Irish Country Doctor series provides background information about many of the beloved characters in the stories. An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War moves between Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly’s service on the HMS Warspite battleship during WWII and two decades later in the iconic Irish village of Ballybucklebo.

I enjoy the Patrick Taylor books on many levels. The very basic level involves storytelling. I listen to these audiobooks and the narrator, John Keating, is awesome. His Irish brogue adds an element to the story that makes it come alive. There are many layers to the stories and Patrick Taylor weaves plots, details, and resolutions through chapters and decades.

The stories also have a strong sense of place and great character development. In my mind I know what Ballybucklebo looks like and, if I could visit, I would expect to find the publican, the town counselor, and the other assorted characters just as they are described in the books. Although the village is a bit iconic, it adds to the enjoyment of the story.

And finally, I like these stories for the pure enjoyment of the experience. I listen, I laugh, and I think about traveling to Ireland someday. I affectionately tell my son he’s a “buck eejit” and he smiles because he’s listened to the stories and also enjoys them.

Paging @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden on April 3rd, 2015

What is Paging?

In the computer world, paging relates to how data is stored and schemes to keep data handy so it can easily be retrieved.

In the Library world, Paging is retrieving checked in items from the Library’s collection. Paging is both a service and an activity. Paging as a service means our patrons may put an item that is checked in on hold. Our response is to send one of our Pages (hourly staff members) to the shelf to Page (retrieve) the item and put it on the Holds shelf for the patron to pick up.

Each day we Page over 100 items for patrons. Basically this is how it works:

1. The patron places a hold on an item that is checked in. Holds may be places through our catalog ( or by calling the Library at 319-356-5200. Checked in items with holds become “Paged” items. Patrons may have up to 10 free holds in their Library Account at any time.Paging Cart 4

2. Before we open, and about every 2 hours after that, we run a list of items that have been Paged. A Page goes to the shelf, pulls the Paged item off the shelf, and delivers it to Switchboard staff.

3. Switchboard staff check the Paged items in and print holds slips. This is when the hold slip is placed in the book and then the book is placed on a cart to be shelved on the Holds shelf.

4. Once all the Paged books are accounted for, Switchboard staff send Hold Notices. They are delivered by either eMail, Automated Telephone Notification, or via a print notice in US Mail.

Note: The delivery method for notices is determined by each individual’s preference based on information in thShelving 10eir Library Account. If you want to change how you receive notices, please give us a call or stop by the Help Desk. In March 2015, Switchboard staff sent over 7,600 notices about holds ready for pickup.

5. Help Desk staff file the item on the Holds shelf. They are filed by the first three letters of the patron’s last name and first initial. My holds are found at LOG K.

6. A happy patron picks up their Paged item and tells a friend about the wonderful Paging service at the Library :)

Periodically a patron will find a checked in item that has been put on hold by another patron. When this happens it is a bit tricky. Our procedure is the Hold takes priority and we explain to the patron that someone had requested the item be Paged and we must honor their hold. We also offer to place a hold on the item so the patron may borrow it once the patron who requested the Page returns it.

Sometimes we have patrons who place a hold on items then come to the Library immediately, expecting to pick the item up. Please remember it takes us a bit of time to Page materials and, in some cases, we are unable to find the item on the self. In that case, we continue to search for the item in hopes we find it. Please wait until you receive your hold notice before you come to the Library to pick up your materials.

If you have questions about Paging or Holds, please give us a call or stop by one of our service desks. On any given day we have over 700 items on our Holds shelf waiting to be picked up. We will hold items for six days, so that gives patrons a bit of time to come in and retrieve their holds.

Remote Book Returns @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden on March 3rd, 2015

Can’t make it Downtown to return your Library materials? Never fear – remote book returns are here!2015 03 Book Return

Many community members utilize the Library’s two remote book returns – our recent quarterly count of materials returned shows 14% of all items returned to the Library February 23rd through March 1st came through the remote book returns. This compares to 15.6% in our count last fall.

The Library maintains 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).  These book returns are in addition to the outside book return located along Linn Street near the staff entrance to the Library.

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. Book returns are emptied 365 days a year and items picked up on holidays are checked in the next day the Library is open. 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.

If you have questions about returning Library materials, please give us a call or stop by the Help Desk on the Library’s first floor.

Serendipity in the Stacks

by Kara Logsden on February 23rd, 2015

Recently we had a great conversation at the Help Desk about good movies. A patron read my blog post about the 100 Foot Journey and suggested The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I love when I get suggestions from people I’m helping – it’s a bit of serendipity in my day. There have also been many conversations leading up to the Oscars, and it’s fun to hear what others think about different movies.

One of the more interesting conversations last week was about The Grand Budapest Hotel and the facial hair of the actors. Stories from National Public Radio and Esquire Magazine piqued our interest and had me guessing which mustaches were real and which were not. According to NPR:

“They’re made of real human hair, which you buy in all different textures and colors,” says Hannon. “There’s usually five minimum colors in each mustache.”

The hairs are sewn individually into tiny holes — less than a half-millimeter in diameter — of what Hannon calls “the finest silk lace you can find. … So you can imagine the time that goes into the perfection of each.”

My holds for The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel came in before the weekend, so we had a great movie fest Friday and Saturday with a hotel theme. Although both movies were very good, they were very different. While I enjoyed the precision and scenery in The Grand Budapest Hotel, I especially enjoyed the heartwarming story and characters in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Another bit of serendipity today … when writing this post I learned the there’s a sequel to look forward to – The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens in theatres on March 6th.

Give us a call or stop by if you need help finding a good movie or want to place a hold on the Oscar nominees or winners. You may discover your own serendipity in the stacks :)

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod

by Kara Logsden on February 18th, 2015
Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod Cover Image

I dream of Paris. I’ve only traveled to Southern France, so my ongoing travel to Paris is vicarious through books. Author Janice MacLeod also dreamed of Paris and made her dream a reality through planning, checklists, and determination.

Janice MacLeod was “living the dream” working as a copywriter in Southern California. Unfortunately her life was more of a nightmare as she faced 12-hour work days, burnout and exhaustion. One day she doodled on a notepad, “How much money does it take to quit your job?”

Soon she was writing lists and making plans in her journal. Her first step was to save $100 per day, her estimated cost for what an escape to Paris would cost. To meet this goal she changed social plans (instead of dinner, let’s go on a hike and have a picnic), weeded her wardrobe (goal: all clothes fit in one suitcase) and downsized everything that tied her to California.

Soon the journey to transform her life became an adventure as she sets out for Paris. Along the way, and through continued journaling, she created a new life through words, art and friends … oh and a cute Polish dude she met while sitting in a cafe writing.

Paris Letters was a fun book to read … determination and serendipity along with some great letters.