Author Archive for Maeve Clark



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.

Hurry up spring!

by Maeve Clark on January 25th, 2017

sunshineHave you missed the sun?  It’s out there, of course, though hiding behind the clouds that make our days seem so grey and dreary.  Is January the greyest month of the year or are we simply experiencing a run of gloomy skies?  It turns out that November or December are the least sunny months, with January and February giving the last two months of the year a run for their money. When trying to find easy to understand reports and statistics I stumbled across Brian B’s Climate Blog. Brian Brettschneider, an Anchorage-based environmental planner and climatoldrearinessogist, has analyzed a myriad of weather and climate statistics and created a Dreariness Index map.  He uses three variables to create the Dreariness Index – total annual precipitation, days per year with measurable precipitation and annual cloud coverage.  Iowa falls smack dab in the middle of the range, which if you are like me, knowing that we aren’t the dreariest location in the United States helps, at least a little.

If you would like to learn more about weather, the library has a good number of books on the subject, ranging from weather prediction to extreme weather to climate change.

Where do emoji come from?

by Maeve Clark on December 28th, 2016

foodemojiI have recently read a couple of posts about food emoji and really wanted to learn about how an emoji goes from an idea to a pictograph on my phone and why there are only 82 food emoji. The Unicode Consortium Emoji Subcommittee makes decisions about adding new emoji. Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world’s writing systems.  The standard is maintained by the Unicode Consortium.  The first emoji were created in 1999 in Japan for cellphone users.  It was a way to express something in a single character when text messages were limited to 60 to 140 characters.  Emoticons, not be to be confused with emoji, first appeared in 1982.   iemoji.com  is a great site to learn more about the world of emoji.

The more I read about Unicode and the consortium, the more confused I became.  I felt like I was reading a foreign language written in English.  But I did find out how you can submit a proposal for a new emoji. Not all submissions are approved, here’s a tumblr of emoji rejected by the Emoji Subcommittee. If you are curious about how an emoji is expressed across platforms and social media sites take a look at emojopedia.org.

More Animal Facts! The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts

by Maeve Clark on November 3rd, 2016
More Animal Facts! The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts Cover Image

¨Let’s have an animal fact a day. Melody posted on Tuesday about “Weird Animal Facts” and right next to it on the nesea ottersw shelf is “The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts” by Maja Safstrom. Well, it was on the shelf until I snatched it up and checked it out. This delightful little book written and illustrated by Safstrom.   Every page contains an illustration and one or two or three animal facts.  Safstrom’s Instagram shows her flipping through each page.

Here’s today’s amazing animal fact – badgers dig amazing underground dens that can have up to 50 exits (!) and host several badger families.  And here an animal fact for tomorrow, (you know you can never ever have too many animal facts, said the reference librarian), a group of flamingos is called a flamboyance.   If you want to know more animal facts check out “The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts” or you can call, email or chat or even better visit the Info Desk; we have animal and every other kind of facts at the ready.

Hamlet’s Dreams : the Robben Island Shakespeare – Join the book discussion

by Maeve Clark on September 21st, 2016
Hamlet’s Dreams : the Robben Island Shakespeare – Join the book discussion Cover Image

Shakespeare in prisons is a thing, a powerful and life-changing thing. The library has books and documentaries on how Shakespeare’s works are used in prisons and other unconventional locations, such as Shakespeare Saved My Life : ten years in solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates about her Shakespeare in Shackles program at the Indiana Federal Prison.  Caesar must die Cesare deve morire, a is a documentary about inmates at a high-security prison in Rome preparing for a public performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The prisoners discover how the play resonates with them as they rehearse.

On Tuesday, September 28, Collen Kennedy will lead a discussion at the library on another work about Shakespeare in prison, Hamlet’s Dreams: the Robben Island Shakespeare by David Shalkwyk.  Shalkwyk uses the circulation of the so-called ‘Robben Island Shakespeare’, a copy of the Alexander edition of the Complete Works that was secretly circulated, annotated and signed by a group of Robben Island political prisoner in the 1970s (including Nelson Mandela), to examine the representation and experience of imprisonment in South African prison memoirs and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It looks at the ways in which oppressive spaces or circumstances restrict. Copies of Hamlet’s Dreams are available from the Info Desk on the second floor of the library.  This brief, but powerful work, is fascinating in its examination of the Robben Island prison and just how Shakespeare changed the lives of the political prisoners who read his works.   Please join us to share your thoughts on Shakespeare and the beauty and force of his words.  This program and other Shakespeare related programs and displays are done as a partnership with the University of Iowa Library and its First Folio exhibition.

The most powerful card in the world!

by Maeve Clark on September 2nd, 2016

I’ve had a library card since I was a wee one.  I grew up in Tipton, Iowa and spent hours and hours at the library. My mom was on the library board so I think I even got to go to the library when it was closed.  I can still conjure up the large red leatherette piece of furniture in the children’s section of the library where I was often sprawled reading Dr. Seuss books over and over and over again. library card When I was old enough to read nonfiction books I really started to use my library card.  There was the whole world to explore and those nonfiction books and the World Book Encyclopedia made me an expert on everything, or so I thought.  We had books at home and at school and there was the annual Scholastic paperback book order, but the library had more books, and books for everyone and I had a card, a passport to everywhere.

September marks the American Library Association’s Library Card Sign-Up Month when the Iowa City Public Library and other libraries across the nation encourage everyone to get a library card or to renew a card that has expired.  Libraries want people to use their services and at the core of our services are the books and other materials we lend.  This past April, the Atlantic Monthly, published Is the Library Card Dying? a piece by Sara Polsky that helped me understand that while a library card acted as a passport for me, it served an entirely different function for a library.

“Public libraries, funded by municipal rather than member dollars, began appearing in the northeastern U.S. in the early to mid-19th century. Cards were essential at these libraries, too. The card was the “arbiter of all disputes” when it came to missing books, wrote the St. Louis librarian Frederick M. Crunden, “and since we have had this respected referee there have been but few contested cases.”

Borrower requirements varied by library, and so did the types of library cards issued. At the St. Louis public library, adults received white cards and minors blue ones, and cardholders had to identify themselves as residents, taxpayers, students, or local employees. The cards for minors came with a warning that “only books suitable for young people will be issued on this card.” Adults were allowed second cards, but were not allowed to use them to take out novels. Teachers and members of the clergy could have three cards, with the third for professional use.

Late returns and card losses carried penalties. A St. Louis library user who lost a card circa 1900 had to “pay fivepence and wait a week for another,” Crunden explained. The dual penalty was meant to send cardholders searching harder for their lost cards, but the fine and the waiting period targeted different library users: “Most men will not much mind the fivepence,” Crunden theorized, “but if they find they also have to wait a week, they bethink them that perhaps they can find the card, and they go home and do so. Women and children, on the other hand, are generally willing to wait the week; but when it comes to the fivepence, they conclude it will be cheaper to make further search for the card.” (Crunden’s gender essentialism came with a heavy dose of moralizing. “Rules,” he wrote, “should be so framed and so applied as to make careless people pay the cost of their carelessness.”)

vintage_library_cardLibrary cards are different now and patron confidentiality is respected and enforced. However, when I was little and the Tipton Public Library’s collection wasn’t computerized, each book had a pocket and in each pocket was a card with the name of the person who had borrowed the book before.  I was fascinated with who else wanted the book that I was about to borrow.  Why did my neighbor down the street want to read about dog breeds and why did my teacher’s husband  have an interest in the Easter Islands.  Those days are long gone and it would take a court order to find out who had which book checked out (Iowa Code sections 22.2 and 22.7(13)).  Now if you are interested in who has read a book you liked, Goodreads will help, but you will just have to speculate on who in Iowa City might have also opened the pages of a book you just finished.

If you are reading this post, you are probably already a library card holder, library_card_icplbut I bet you have friends or neighbors who might not realize that a card is free and waiting for everyone at the Iowa City Public Library.    And if you’d like to see an enormous collection of library cards of all types, retired librarian Larry Nix keeps a fascinating website.

Dottie Ray – An Iowa City Legend

by Maeve Clark on August 13th, 2016

Dottie Ray, an Iowa City legend, passed away on Tuesday, August 6. I feel so fortunate that I was able to be her guest on the Dottie Ray Show with Jen Jordan, the recycling coordinator for the City of Iowa City, to talk about an ECO Iowa City, an 18-month initiative to create a greener Iowa City.  Dottie so liked the idea of the environmental partnership between the library and recycling center that she let Jen and me be her guests on a monthly basis.  (She told us to keep  quiet that we were booked each month because one of her goals was to keep the Dottie Ray Show fresh and new. Jen and I were so thrilled that we had her wide audience that we never told anyone about our special treatment.)

Dottie’s career in journalism spanned more than seven decades, beginning while she was a high school student in Eagle Grove, Iowa, working on the student newspaper and the yearbook.  At 17 she began her first job in Iowa journalism working Saturdays at the Eagle Grove Eagle.   After completing two years of junior college Dottie, (Dorothy) Klein transferreDottie Ray Pictorial Historyd to the University of Iowa in 1942 as a junior.  She joined the Daily Iowan staff, writing obituaries.  She also worked for Wilbur Schram, head of the journalism school, typing articles he submitted to the Saturday Evening Post. Schram encouraged her to apply to be the editor of the Daily Iowan.  She followed his advice and was in the running against two other finalists for the editor-in-chief position, both men. When she was selected as editor, many were surprised, and when she hired an all-female staff, the reaction was even greater. In fact, her decision to lead an all woman staff, made state-wide news. John Gerber, in his book on the history of the University of Iowa, “A Pictoral History of the University of Iowa”, included a photograph of Dorothy Klein and her all-woman staff, in a chapter on campus changes from 1934-1964.


Dottie Ray’s career in broadcast journalism began at WSUI, (now part of Iowa Public Radio), with a show aimed at women.  In a 2013 interview in Emily Busse’s series on Iowa Women in Journalism Dottie Ray recounts her history with KXIC.  “Gene Clausen convinced her to come on their radio station at KXIC, stationed above what is now Pancheros at the corner of Clinton and Washington streets.  Every Saturday, Ray became “President Alice” for half an hour. Any child who had their birthday the week before or the week after could attend the “birthday party on the radio” with cupcakes from the local bakery and chocolate milk from the dairy. For two years, she “just played and talked and had fun” with kids on air. After a couple years, Clausen had an idea for a new show, The Dottie Ray Show. To accommodate her needs, they put together a studio in Ray’s own living room. Every day for about 40 years, Ray came on the air at 11:45. Women at home sat down for lunch and listened to Ray’s show, followed by news. Ray recalls how a mother once wrote her explaining that the habit of listening to the show had become so routine, that when the music that precedes The Dottie Ray show came on in the afternoon randomly, her four year old ran to get the peanut butter out for lunch.

dottie rayAfter about 40 years, she said, “women went back to work and homes were empty.” People began listening to radio outside the home — in the car or at work — and Ray decided it was time to end her show. But the station, now owned by Clear Channel, didn’t want to lose her show. “They said, ‘No, no no. What about doing it in the morning?’” she said. So the show moved to 8:45 a.m. “I thought, ‘That’s OK. I can get it out of the way and it will be a graceful way to bow out because you’ll lose all your listeners,’” she said. “And just the opposite happened. We moved it and now people are in cars going to work or yoga or whatever.”

The Dottie Ray Show ended in 2014.  From the round table in her apartment she interviewed more than 32,000 guests.  Each guest was greeted by Dottie with the offer of a cup of coffee and a request to pull up a chair.  Dottie’s program was community journalism at its best.  She helped to share the story of Iowa City and Johnson County and promote many many worthy causes. Every Monday through Friday, for more than five decades, Dottie Rays shared with the KXIC  audience what was happening in their community.

Dottie Ray was, of course, more than her radio program.  When I shared with Patty McCarthy, Development Director at the Iowa City Public Library, that I was going to write a blog post on Dottie, she said Dottie was not only a great friend and supporter of the Library, but that in 1982 she and Ann Feddersen were the first co-Presidents of the newly created Friends of the Iowa City Public Library organization.  Dottie contributed to a multitude of community organizations and promoted initiatives for the betterment of the community.  If you would like to learn more about this amazing woman’s life, watch another remarkable Iowa radio broadcaster, Ellen Buchanan, interview Dottie in a 1990 interview that is part of  Tell Me Your Story.  This past June, a documentary of Dottie’s life, Staying Tuned: The Dottie Ray Story, premiered at the Coralville Center for the Preforming Arts.  The Documentary was produced with private funding including grants from the Iowa Arts Council, Humanities Iowa, and the Community Foundation of Johnson County. A copy of the documentary will be available later this year.

It’s not the heat, it’s the corn sweat!

by Maeve Clark on July 21st, 2016

corn-field-c-keeva999-flickr-creative-commonsCorn sweat, what on earth is that you ask? Well, let me tell you. Corn sweat is evapotranspiration 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 openings (stoma) where water is released to the atmosphere to open and the more humid it becomes.  And while evapotranspiration does not make it hotter, it makes it more more humid and that makes us feel much hotter.

The Washington Post just ran an etreamely informative article, complete with a map of corn acreage by county and a chart of relative humidity clearly corn mapshowing 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.

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 seconsnowfalld 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…

 

 

 

 

Iowa City Community School District Candidate Special Election Forums and election information

by Maeve Clark on July 11th, 2016

J.P. Claussen, Paul Roesler and Janice Weiner are in the race to fill the seat of Tom Yates, who resigned in May. There will be a July 19 special election to fill his vacant seat.

Claussen is a former West High special education teacher, Roesler is an outreach leader at Scheels and Weiner is a former U.S. diplomat of 26 years.

The Daily Iowan published piece on the three candidates as well the Iowa City Press Citizen and the Gazette.

Early voting began Tuesday at the auditor’s office, and residents can cast their votes on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Upcoming events are scheduled as follows:

Mission Iowa City: Monday from 7-9 p.m. at Meeting Room A in the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. The event will focus on questions organizers are gathering from students, parents, educators and other community members. Those interested in posing questions can send them to ICSchoolBoardQuestions@gmail.com. Read the rest of this entry »