Author Archive for Maeve Clark



Heartbroken over Tom Petty’s death

by Maeve Clark on October 11th, 2017

I’ve always liked Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and thought someday I’d get to hear them live, but I waited too long.  His death last week at the tom-petty age of 66 came as a shock.  I wanted to learn more about Petty’s influence and found a fantastic DVD on his life at the library, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Runnin’ Down a Dream. The documentary, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, is long, nearly 4 and 1/2 hours, but so worth the investment.  It begins with his childhood in Gainesville, Florida and ends with the final stop on his 30th anniversary tour on September 21, 2006 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, University of Florida in Gainesville.  Petty was a phenomenal songwriter and performer.  It’s hard for me to name a favorite son;  maybe American Girl, or Southern Accent or Mary Jane’s Last Dance.  There are so very many great songs to choose from.

Tom Petty’s first band Mudcrutch,  formed in 1970 and broke up in 1975. In late 1975 the band moved from Florida to California and a new band, the Heartbreakers was formed including several of the original band members.  The documentary chronicles all of the iterations of the band from 1975 to 2006. It features interviews with George Harrison, Eddie Vedder,  Stevie Nicks, Dave Grohl, Jeff Lynne, Rick Rubin, Johnny Depp, Jackson Browne and Jimmy Iovine among others.  Petty embraced change. He was one of the first artists to make music videos for MTV.

800px-tom_petty_walk_of_fameTom Petty’s fight with his record company to retain the rights to his music is highlighted as are other principled stands he took such as holding firm on the price an album would cost. Petty’s solo career is also  featured as is the Heartbreakers’ tour with Bob Dylan. His time with the Traveling Wilburys is a focus of the film.   Runnin’ Down a Dream ends in 2006, but Tom Petty’s career didn’t.  To hear more of his music or to read about him, check the catalog, we have 11 Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker  cds and a selection of other cds where he sang and played guitar.

On the Media’s Brooke Gladstone to speak in Iowa City

by Maeve Clark on September 22nd, 2017

trouble-with-realityBrooke Gladstone,  WNYC’sbrooke On the Media‘s co-host, will kick off Iowa City Public Library’s Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival this Sunday.   Brooke will be joined by Lyle Muller, the executive director – editor of IowaWatch.org. Gladstone’s most recent book, “The trouble with reality : a rumination on moral panic in our time” is an brief but studied examination of current state of news and media.  She states that everyone is subjective and that even those serious consumer of the news needs to be aware of their biases, especially in this hyper-charged time.  It is even more important that we pay attention to what is said, written, viewed, posted and shared.  She cites Hannah Arendt, Walter Lippmann, Philip K. Dick and Jonathan Swift in showing that there is an art to persuading us that a lie is really the truth.

If you aren’t familiar with Brook Gladstone, On the Media airs on Iowa Public Radio on Sundays at 5 pm.  You can listen to past shows or stream an interview with Brooke Gladstone and Lulu Garcia Navarro discussing her book.

Please join us on Sunday, September 24 at 2 pm at the Englert Theatre.  Doors open at 1:30 and there is no cost to attend. Prairie Lights Bookstore is selling books and Brooke will sign books after the program.

 

How to watch the eclipse online

by Maeve Clark on August 21st, 2017

eclipseHave you got the rainy days and Mondays blues? Couldn’t make a trip to see the total eclipse of the sun and now the inclement weather is going to cloud your partial viewing. You can still watch the eclipse in totality online.  And while you are waiting, take a trip back to 1979 with Walter Cronkite reporting on that wondrous celestial event.  Or come down to Meeting Room A at ICPL and watch with all your friends and neighbors.

Charlottesville – Confronting Racism in America

by Maeve Clark on August 18th, 2017

maeves-booksWhy Charlottesville and why now? There have been tweets and Facebook posts, news stories and magazine articles offering explanations, but for longer more reflective and scholarly works, you can turn to your library. The website Bustle published a list by Sadie Trombetta of 17 Books on Race Every White Person Needs to Read. The library has almost all of the books on the list and multiple titles of many. It isn’t a new topic and more books will surely be written.

One of the most acclaimed books from the list, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by legal scholar Michelle Alexander, examines the legal structure of the courts, parole, probation and laws that effectively turn a perpetrator of a crime into a moral outlaw who is unworthy of rehabilitation. White rage : the unspoken truth of our racial divide by Carol Anderson, a professor of African-­American studies at Emory University, is the book Senator Al Franken selected when asked by the New York Times Book Review to name a book you wish all Americans would read right now.  Franken said, “There’s a book called White Rage by Carol Anderson about a history that most Americans don’t know: the history of oppression that African Americans have faced from the Civil War to the present day. If every American read it, maybe we could really begin to have a conversation about race in America.”

Richard Rothstein, a former columnist for the New York Times and a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, as well as a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, has written The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated AmericaListen to Terry Gross’s interview of Rothstein on Fresh Air. In Stamped from the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America , assistant professor of African American history at the University of Florida, offers this history through chronologically arranged sections based on the lives of five figures from American history: socially and politically influential Puritan minister Cotton Mather; President Thomas Jefferson; prominent abolitionist and social reformer William Lloyd Garrison; civil rights activist and author W. E. B. Du Bois; and political activist and writer Angela Davis.

Claudia Rankine, winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize and chancellor of the Academy of American Poets 2014 work Citizen: an American Lyric recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media.  Slavery by another name : the re-enslavement of Black people in America from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon, Wall Street Journal bureau chief, is the groundbreaking and disturbing account of a sordid chapter in American history, “the lease (essentially the sale), of convicts to “commercial interests” between the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th.

None of these books are easy reads and they shouldn’t be.

South to Kalona

by Maeve Clark on August 10th, 2017

south-to-kalonaA friend of mine posted this photo, which I have titled South to Kalona, on Facebook. It was so quintessentially Iowa that I asked her if I could share it and she agreed. She took the photo one afternoon driving from Iowa City south to Kalona on Highway One. When I asked her why she took the photo, she said she felt compelled to pull off the road when she came upon the perfectly lit cornfield. And I am glad she did. It was, at least to me, evocative of Grant Wood’s work, especially his paintings of Stone City and rural Jones County. If you would like to learn more about Grant Wood the library has many books of his paintings and other creative endeavors and several biographies.

hiking-iowa

If you are looking for a day trip to find your own perfect picture of Iowa, the library can help you plan your adventure. We have a number of items on Iowa travel. One of my favorites is Hiking Iowa by Elizabeth Hill. Other titles of interests to the Iowa tourist are Great Iowa Walks: 50 strolls, rambles, hikes, and treks by Lynn L. Walters and Take the next exit : new views of the Iowa landscape edited by Robert F. Sayre.

If you would like to learn more about how to take great photographs, , the library can help you. We have many books on photography, from the basics to advanced, from using an SLR camera, to your cellphone or even how to use a drone. We also have coffee-table books of famous photographers works as well. Let me issue you all a challenge – take a little trip before summer is over and take a photograph that captures Iowa for you. Then share it. Let’s celebrate the beauty of our state.

 

The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017!

by Maeve Clark on August 9th, 2017

Something very exciting will happen on Monday, August 21.  We will get to witness a solar eclipse.  While we aren’t in the path for the total eclipse, at 1:12:42 thnasa_eclipse_mape moon will obscure 92.3% of the sun.   I witnessed a total solar eclipse in 1980 while I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, (Democratic Republic of Congo) and it was truly awe inspiring.  The day went black, the temperature dropped, the roosters crowed, the peafowl and other birds took to the trees.

There are hundreds of websites to find out information about this phenomenal astronomical event.   One of my favorite is from eclipseVOX.  It has a eclipse location function where you can type in your zip code and find out how much of the sun will be obscured.  NASA, of course, has excellent resources. NPR has run a couple of stories about the excitement around the eclipse including one on the first photograph taken of a solar eclipse.

The Children’s Department has programs on Sundays about the eclipse. On Monday, August 14 at 7 pm in Meeting Room A, Brent Studer, Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Kirkwood Community College, will explain the circumstances under which eclipses occur and what you can do to be ready for the upcoming solar eclipse, the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States since 1979.   Join us on Monday, August 21 while we step outside the library to safely view the eclipse.  Another eclipse watching event will be hosted by the University of Iowa Sciences Library, the UI Museum of Natural History (Pentacrest Museums) and the UI Astronomy Club, on the Pentacrest lawns.

The library has books and videos galore for all ages on astronomy and the natural wonders of the sky.  Come learn more about the Great Solar Eclipse of 2017. We might just make an umbraphile out of you!

Yes or No on the Iowa City Community School District General Obligation Bond Issue? And don’t forget there is a school board election too

by Maeve Clark on August 7th, 2017

one-district-tri-color-shaded-snippedBond Issue. 60% required.

Shall the Board of Directors of the Iowa City Community School District in the County of Johnson, State of Iowa, be authorized to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $191,525,000 to provide funds to address health, safety, and accessibility issues in all school buildings, including air conditioning all school buildings, reducing the use of temporary classroom structures in the District, addressing classroom, lunchroom, and gymnasium overcrowding, and dedicating rooms to art, music, prekindergarten, and science by constructing, furnishing and equipping a new building, constructing additions to and/or remodeling, repairing, and improving the school buildings remaining in the District’s Facilities Master Plan, as follows: Mann and Lincoln renovations, Liberty High athletic facilities construction and site improvements, new elementary school construction in North Liberty and site improvements, West High renovation, South East and North Central Junior High additions, Shimek renovation, City High addition and upgrades, Wood addition, Wickham upgrades, Garner and Northwest additions, Liberty High addition, Horn renovation, Kirkwood addition, Borlaug, Alexander, and Lemme additions, and Tate High addition and upgrades?
(Johnson County, Iowa Auditor)

The general obligation bond, the $191,525,000 bond, is the largest school bond issue ever proposed in Iowa history will be voted on September 12.   There are, as you can imagine, proponents and those opposing the vote.  The Auditor’s website is a good place to start for basic information.  The site lists all of the candidates and from Holly Hines of the Iowa City Press Citizen a list of upcoming forums.  The Auditor’s site links to the times and voting locations for the September 12 elections.  (Remember, there are fewer locations for school board and school bond votes than for general elections, so before you go to your regular location to vote, confirm the location.) The Iowa City Community School District’s website has a wealth of information on the general obligation bond.  There is a lot of information and it can be daunting to try to read and understand all of it.  I suggest starting with the three page G.O. Bond Quick Fact Guide.

Another source of information on the bond, and depending upon where you stand on the vote, you may not agree with the opinions espoused, are the websites for the two groups for or against the bond issue.  Vote No September 12 represents the opposition to the bond issue.  One Community One Bond represents  the proponents of the bond.  Each group also has a very active Facebook page and each links letters to the editor supporting their respective positions

 

It’s not the heat, it’s the evapotranspiration!

by Maeve Clark on July 21st, 2017

Last year on July 21, I wrote about the heat and humidity and evapotranspiration.  This July 21, it seemed apt to share the same information. Evapotranspiration, what on earth is that you ask? Well, let me tell you.  Evapotranspiration is corn sweat corn-field-c-keeva999-flickr-creative-commons  and according to the United States Geological Survey evapotranspiration is the sum of evaporation and transpiration. The transpiration aspect of evapotranspiration is essentially evaporation of water from plant leaves. Transpiration rates go up as the temperature goes up, especially during the growing season, when the air is warmer due to stronger sunlight and warmer air masses. Higher temperatures cause the plant cells which control the stoma (openings) to release even more moisture into the atmosphere making it even more humid. And while evapotranspiration does not make it hotter, it makes it more more humid and that makes us feel much hotter.

corn-mapThe Washington Post posted an extremely informative article, complete with a map of corn acreage by county and a chart of relative humidity clearly showing how high humidity can make it feel oppressive inside without adequate cooling and make activities dangerous for those who work or recreate outside. This type of weather can also be life-threatening for livestock. In fact the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning with the following precautions:

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER…STAY IN AN AIR CONDITIONED ROOM…STAY OUT OF THE SUN…AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS. YOUNG CHILDREN AND PETS SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT UNATTENDED IN VEHICLES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE DURING HOT WEATHER WHEN CAR INTERIORS CAN REACH LETHAL TEMPERATURES IN A MATTER OF MINUTES.

Most of us have air conditioned homes and workplaces, but if you don’t or if you are going to be outside for prolonged periods of time, it’s important to stay hydrated. The American Red Cross offers the following suggestions:

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
Eat small meals and eat more often.
Avoid extreme temperature changes.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
Postpone outdoor games and activities.
Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.snowfall

If you would like to learn more about weather and heat and humidity and corn sweat, come find us at the Information Desk on the second floor of the library. Weather is one of our favorite subjects to research. And don’t forget, winter is only a few short months away…

Shaping our roadways : I-380 Planning Study

by Maeve Clark on June 28th, 2017

i380Do you drive to Cedar Rapids? Do you have an opinion about I-380 and the traffic flow between Highway 30 and I-80? Of course you do, everyone does and the Iowa Department of Transportation wants you to share your opinions with them.

The first section of I-380  was opened to traffic on September 19, 1973, connecting the Eastern Iowa Airport to I-80 near Coralville.

I-380 1973 IDOT map

The website Iowa Highways tells the story of when additional miles of I-380 were added.

  • September 19, 1973: First segment, from I-80 to the Cedar Rapids airport exit (#13), then IA 84, opened
  • December 16, 1975: Segment between 5th Avenue SW and 33rd Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids opened
  • June 25, 1976: Segment between 33rd Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids and the airport exit opened
  • June 11, 1979: Segment between 5th Avenue and 7th Street NE in Cedar Rapids opened
  • December 4, 1981: Segment between 7th Street NE and Glass Road/32nd Street NE in Cedar Rapids opened
  • November 17, 1982: Segment between Glass Road/32nd Street and Boyson Road in Hiawatha opened
  • August 9, 1984: Segment from Mitchell Avenue in Waterloo to the end of the US 20 multiplex opened
  • August 14, 1984: Segment from Hiawatha to IA 150 near Urbana opened
  • September 13, 1985: Last segment, between US 20 and IA 150, opened

For true enthusiasts of road history, the website interstate-guide.com give much more detail about I-380 including current photographs of the entrance signs to the I-380 from I-80 as well as historical ones.

 

Evaluating News Sources

by Maeve Clark on February 7th, 2017

Fake news. Alternative facts.  The post-truth world.   In this rapid-fire world of social media, how do yohow-to-spot-fake-newsu know which sources to trust and which to dismiss?  First of all, ask us. Librarians have been teaching information literacy for as long as there have been libraries.  The International Federation of Library Associations infographic and blog post can help you make educated decisions in evaluating news sources, (and Internet sites in general). Be wary of clickbait, those eye-catching and provocative headlines can lure you in but what you find when you click may be of no substance at all.  If you aren’t familiar with an author, do a search.  What else has he or she written and which publications or online sites publish his or her work? Another clue the credibility of a source is the date.  And older article can, of course, be relevant, but can also be misleading.   And don’t forget to check your bias.

On the Media, a WNYC program which airs on Iowa Public Radio, offers guidance on assessing the credibility of a source onthemedialn-blog480of fast breaking news.  Anonymous sources are a red flag.   If something doesn’t ring true, trust your instincts and find another credible source or two to confirm the original story or prove it wrong.    The American Press Institute lists six questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not what you are reading is trustworthy.    They suggest you evaluate what type of content you are reading.  Is it an advertisement or opinion piece or is it a rigorously researched investigative article.  Look for what sources are cited to buttress the piece – are they credible?  Does the article or post tell the whole story or do find yourself  asking what is missing.

If you want to read more about how Americans consume news, the Pew Research on Journalism and Media has been studying how media is consumed for years.  The results of their most recent surveys are sobering.  If you have questions about a news source,  ask a librarian.  We are ready to help you.