Author Archive for Maeve Clark



Downtown Block Party @ ICPL

by Maeve Clark on June 17th, 2019

The Iowa City Public Library will be open until 10 on Saturday, June 22. Join your friends playing play Mario Kart and Smash Brothers in Meeting Room A from 6 pm to 8 pm as part of the Downtown Block Party. From 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm Jason Snell, a multidisciplinary artist, presents Primary Assembly, a performance using an EEG biosensor to compose music and video with his mind. His performance is sponsored by the Iowa City Public Art Program.

 

Free snacks for kids at ICPL

by Maeve Clark on June 10th, 2019

The Iowa City Public Library is partnering with the Iowa City Community School District to provide free snacks to any child age 1-18. Free snacks will be distributed at 3 pm in the Children’s Room and the Teen Center. Snacks will be available from Monday, June 10 – Friday, August 9.

What was that really loud sound I heard last night? A cryoseismic boom!

by Maeve Clark on January 30th, 2019

Yep, that’s right.  That sound you heard was a ‘COOL’ weather phenomenon also called a cold boom.  Technically, it is known as a cryoseismic boom. A phenomenon reserved for only the coldest of temperatures and rare for the lower latitudes of the continental United States.  The boom sound is created by a cryoseism, which is a mini explosion within the ground caused by the rapid expansion of frozen water.

Cryoseisms usually occur when temperatures rapidly decrease from above freezing to subzero, and are more than likely to occur between midnight and dawn (during the coldest parts of night). In general, cryoseisms may occur 3 to 4 hours after significant changes in temperature. Perennial or seasonal frost conditions involved with cryoseisms limit these events to temperate climates that experience seasonal variation with subzero winters. Additionally, the ground must be saturated with water, which can be caused by snowmelt, rain, sleet or flooding. Geologically, areas of permeable materials like sand or gravel, which are susceptible to frost action are likelier candidates for cryoseisms. Following large cryoseisms, little to no seismic activity will be detected for several hours, indicating that accumulated stress has been relieved. (wikipedia)

The library has many fascinating books and dvds on weather and weather phenomena.  Come on down and borrow them.  Or if it’s too cold, you can stream documentaries from kanopy on extreme weather from the warmth and comfort of your home while sipping a delicious hot chocolate. If you seem a hear a loud boom between midnight and dawn, you need not fear an earthquake or an explosion.  It just the the ground crying out that it is too darn cold.  Stay warm everyone!

Make a local phone call for free at the Iowa City Public Library

by Maeve Clark on November 29th, 2018

Members of the public will now be able to make free local phone calls of five minutes or less. Social service agencies’ numbers are listed on the phone. Many thanks to ImOn for providing the free phone line to the Iowa City Public Library. The phone is located in the west vestibule.

ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH Reading

by Maeve Clark on October 25th, 2018
ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH Reading Cover Image

 

Alexander McCall Smith, the author of No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, will be reading from his newest book, The Colors of All the Cattle in Iowa City on Monday evening, November 12 at the First United Methodist Church @ 214 Jefferson Street. While this is a ticketed event, (with your ticket you can receive a book to be singed by the author, you can ask questions and take home your book to read that night), but if you can’t attend, don’t despair, you can find nearly all of his books at the Iowa City Public Library, including The Colors of All the Cattle.  To place a hold on this title or any others, just click on the link below and reserve a copy.

I had the pleasure of meeting Alexander McCall Smith at an earlier author event and, he is, as you might imagine, as charming as the day is long. McCall Smith, a Scotsman, was born in Bulawayo in 1948 in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe). His father worked as a public prosecutor in Bulawayo. McCall Smith was educated at the Christian Brothers College in Bulawayo before moving to Scotland at age 17.   Zimbabwe is adjacent to Botswana and McCall Smith writes knowingly of the urban and rural lands and their people in southern Africa. He earned a PhD in law at the University of Edinburgh.  He returned to southern Africa in 1981 to help co-found the law school and teach law at the University of Botswana. While there, he co-wrote The Criminal Law of Botswana with Kwame Frimpong.

Mma Precious Ramotswe is one of my favorite characters in detective fiction.  Her understated means of detection by learning as much about those involved are more important to her than finding who committed the crime. Mma Grace Makuts, her sole employee, who began work as secretary, first as secretary, then as assistant detective, and then as an associate detective, and finally as a partner in business. They and others in their circle of friends and acquaintances always do solve the mysteries. Obed Ramotswe, Precious’s father, figures highly in the stories.  He lived in the rural area of Botswana, and was a keen cattleman with an eye for the best. It was Precious’s inheritance, her father’s cattle, that allowed her to move to the capital Gabarone, purchase a home and set up her agency.  If you haven’t read the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, I suggest you get started tout suite.  There are now 19 books, but each is captivating and you will want to read them all.

If you are already a fan of McCall Smith, he has more series to his name – the 44 Scotland Street series, The Sunday Philosophy Club series, the Corduroy Mansions series, the  Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainments series, a good number of children’s titles, including several series and many stand alone novels for both children, teens and adults.  He has also authored a number of academic and professional texts on law and medicine.  The library has 181 titles by McCall Smith in print or on compact disc and 60 titles to listen to or to read online.

 

 

 

 

 

Other

Hunter’s Moon

by Maeve Clark on October 22nd, 2018

 

Image via EarthSky.com

Have you noticed moon recently? It will be full this Wednesday. It’s a Hunter’s Moon, (though with harvest delay it might be called a Harvest and Hunter’s Moon).

According to the website EarthSky “every full moon has many names, and most are tied to months of the year. But some moon names are tied to seasons, such as the Harvest and Hunter’s Moons. The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. The Hunter’s Moon is the full moon after the Harvest Moon. The 2018 autumnal equinox was on September 22-23 and the Harvest Moon was around September 24-25. So the upcoming full moon – on the night of October 24, 2018 – is the Hunter’s Moon.

What makes a Hunter’s Moon unique?

Nature is particularly cooperative around the time of the autumn equinox to make the fall full moonrises special. On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day. But when a full moon happens close to the autumnal equinox – either a Harvest or a Hunter’s Moon – the moon rises only about 30 to 35 minutes later daily for several days before and after the full moon. The reason is that the ecliptic – or the moon’s orbital path – makes a narrow angle with the evening horizon around the time of the autumn equinox. The result is that there’s a shorter-than-usual lag time between successive moonrises around the full Hunter’s Moon.

These early evening moonrises are what make every Hunter’s Moon special. Every full moon rises around sunset. After the full Hunter’s Moon, you’ll see the moon ascending in the east relatively soon after sunset for several days. The moon will be bright and full-looking for several nights beginning around October 23 or 24.

The narrow angle of the ecliptic means the moon rises noticeably farther north on the horizon from one night to the next. So there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise, and, around the time of full moon, many people see the moon in a twilight sky.

How did the Hunter’s Moon get its name? There are many different explanations for the name Hunter’s Moon. In the autumn there is not long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise for several days in a row, around the time of full moon. Before there were tractors or tractors with lights, the glow of the Harvest Moon helped farmers to gather their crops. As the sun’s light faded in the west, the moon would soon rise in the east to illuminate the fields throughout the night. A month later, after the harvest was done, the full Hunter’s Moon was said to illuminate the prey of hunters, scooting along in the stubble left behind in the fields.”

I love to watch the night sky, do you?

2018 Primary Election Voting and Candidate Information

by Maeve Clark on May 29th, 2018

The 2018 primary election is Tuesday, June 5.  You can find out voter information including how to register,  where to vote early and much more at the Johnson County auditor’s website.   Voters can cast an absentee ballot in-person at the Johnson County Auditor’s office before any election. Ballots must be voted in the office, you cannot take a ballot home with you. In-person absentee voting is NOT available on election day at our office, voters will have to cast ballots at their polling place.   It is too late to request an absentee ballot to be sent by the mail.  The deadline for that request May 25, eleven days before the election.

If  you are interested in learning more about the candidates in the gubernatorial races, a number of news sources have website links to help you make an informed decision.  There is no Republican primary race for governor, Governor Kim Reynolds is the only candidate on the ballot.   There five candidates on the Democratic ballot (the list includes Nate Boulton who has withdrawn from the race) and two candidates running in the Libertarian primary.  The Des Moines Register  published profiles on the Democratic candidates on March 23.  You can watch the six candidates in a debate sponsored by Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press on May 16. Iowa Public Radio has profile for all of the contested gubernatorial races on the Iowa Politics siteLittle Village has a field guide to the Democratic contenders for the governor’s office with links to each of the candidates’ websites.

There is also a contested race for two Johnson County Board of Supervisors’ seats.  You can watch a forum sponsored by the Johnson County League of  Women Voters, an environmental forum sponsored by Environmental Advocates, 100 Grannies, Backyard Abundance, Climate Advocates, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Iowa City Area Group of the Sierra Club, a social justice forum sponsored by the Iowa City Federation of Labor and the Coalition for Racial Justice and a task force on aging forum sponsored by he Johnson County Task Force on Aging.

Facebook – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

by Maeve Clark on March 21st, 2018

Facebook is fun and a great way to share information and stay connected with friends and family. Right? Right. However, after the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal you might be ready to just say goodbye to Facebook.  Before you close your account, consider your options.  David Nield , writing for Gizmodo, walks you through steps on how to stay on Facebook but not share any more information than necessary.  Start by making your profile sparse, keep your activity to a minimum, disconnect from third-part apps, (those puzzles, games and quizzes), and continue to pay attention to your privacy settings.  Nield has links to even more ways to secure your Facebook account.

Gennie Gebhart , a research and advocacy writer on consumer privacy, surveillance, and security issues for  the Electronic Frontier Foundation, informs Facebook members how to control your privacy settings.  She also details how Cambridge Analytica was able to access more than 50 million Facebook users’ data in 2014.  The Guardian gives an even more sobering look at the Cambridge Analytica scandal in a piece by Paul Lewis on Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012. Parkilas had repeatedly warned Facebook that its lax approach to data protection would leave users vulnerable.  And if you still want to go, Facebook details the steps to either deactivate or delete your account.

 

 

The Lunar Trifecta – A Super Blood Blue Moon Lunar Eclipse – where and when to watch

by Maeve Clark on January 30th, 2018

If you are an early morning skywatcher, you are in for a treat tomorrow.   Monday’s Trilobites column by  Nicolas St. Fleur in the New York Times details what will happen during this celestial event – “Lunar eclipses are not uncommon, but the coincidence of Wednesday’s blood moon with other astronomical events is what makes this event special. First, because it is a “blue moon” — that means it is the second full moon to occur in a month. Also, it is a supermoon, meaning it will be closer to the Earth than usual, ” According to Mr. Johnston.  a program executive at NASA””Midwesterners are a tad luckier as they will be able to see more of the event. For them, the moon enters the penumbra at 4:51 a.m. Central Time and starts to turn reddish around 6:15 a.m. Central Time. Between 6:15 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. local time will be the best chance for anyone living in the Midwest to see the spectacle before the sun rises.”   Johnston has been blogging about the moon for NASA since 2004

The best tip for anyone trying to see the eclipse is to get a clear view of the horizon and look in the west-northwest direction. “The farther west you are, the higher in the west-northwest the moon will appear, the darker the sky will be,” said Mr. Johnston, “and the longer you will be able to view the eclipse before sunrise and moonset.”  NASA will be streaming the lunar event at NASA.gov/live and has a lot of great information at it including a graphic that shows the cycle of the eclipse. If this post and the upcoming lunar trifecta has piqued your interest in the skywatching, the library has a wealth of books for all ages of readers.  We also have spectacular dvds to aid you in your understanding of the universe.

Climate Action Survey

by Maeve Clark on January 16th, 2018

People living and working in Iowa City are invited to participate in a community survey that will help provide direction for Iowa City’s first ever Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. The short survey asks participants for their thoughts and perspectives as the Iowa City community works toward creating a plan to reduce the City’s emissions reduction goals and also creating a more livable, equitable and resilient Iowa City. Iowa City’s Climate Action Committee formed in November 2017  and meets on a monthly basis. Learn more about the project at www.icgov.org/climateaction.

 

If you are interested in reading more about climate change, the library has many resources  If simplicity is a goal for 2018 we have many titles motivate you. One of my favorite new titles is The gentle art of Swedish death cleaning : how to free yourself and your family from a lifetime of clutter  with text and drawings by Margareta Magnusson.  Trying to reduce your carbon footprint, we also have books and dvds to help.  And if driving less is important, you can borrow books and magazines to read or listen to without leaving your home or workplace through Digital Johnson County.   If you are looking for inspiration on how to buy less, Ann Patchett  wrote recently in the New York Times about challenges of her year of no shopping.   Or listen to her interview with friend Elissa Kim on WBUR’s On Point.