Author Archive for Melody Dworak



What’s the best snowblower? Laptop? Tablet?

by Melody Dworak on November 28th, 2018

 

Snowblower Ratings

So the 2018 Thanksgiving weekend snowstorm has you considering a snow blower for the next time Iowa City gets 8 inches. Or the gift giving season is causing you to pull your hair out about which laptop to buy to send Sally back to college with. Make informed decisions about your spending by looking up product ratings and reviews on Consumer Reports before you buy.  Read the rest of this entry »

Academic Research @ICPL

by Melody Dworak on November 19th, 2018

History by TNS from the Noun Project

Whenever I get a question at the Info Desk that requires digging deep into a research topic, I get a little excited (#NerdAlert). We may not carry textbooks in our collection, but if we can’t find a book that meets the needs of a research topic, we still can look to our Online Resources database collection to dig into the issue.  Read the rest of this entry »

Did you vote early? Track your absentee ballot!

by Melody Dworak on November 1st, 2018

Today I learned that early voters can track their absentee ballot through the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Here’s a snapshot of the info you need to look up your ballot:

Information needed to track your absentee ballot

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How do I register to vote?

by Melody Dworak on September 24th, 2018

VoteNational Voter Registration Day is September 25, 2018. If you are not yet registered to vote, or not registered to vote in Iowa, National Voter Registration Day is a perfect time to get registered. There are so many places in this area to register in person, thanks to this nationwide voter drive. Anyone can search for events in their zip code on the National Voter Registration Day website. For local events, register in person at the following locations:  Read the rest of this entry »

What’s in the State Historical Society of Iowa archives?

by Melody Dworak on September 19th, 2018

Sometimes we get a question at the Info Desk that makes us turn to the archives held by the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI). The SHSI’s official web presence has information maintained by the State of Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, their parent body. You can dig for the links on their website to find a way to search the SHSI’s catalog of items, or you can stick this knowledge in your back pocket: the University of Iowa Libraries hosts the SHSI catalog, so you can go directly to their InfoHawk+ catalog to do your research.

 

Simple InfoHawk Search Bar

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Listen: Stream Libby Audiobooks to Smart Speakers

by Melody Dworak on June 5th, 2018
Stream Audiobooks to Smart Speaker

Stream audiobooks to your smart speaker! Bluetooth streaming symbol by Google Inc. Google Home image in the public domain.

Everyone I talk to knows how much I love listening to audiobooks whenever I’m doing housework. Up until recently, I thought I could only use apps approved by the maker of my smart speaker. I knew I could cast but didn’t have my devices paired in the right way in order to make the audio from *any* app stream through my speaker. I now have my smartphone paired to my speaker and I’m never looking back.

Why didn’t I google this sooner? The instructions for pairing a device up with an Echo smart speaker are on the Amazon.com Help site. Basically, you make sure Bluetooth is turned on on the device you want to pair and you say “Pair” within range of the speaker. Then you can play whatever audio you want like it was any old Bluetooth speaker.

The Google Home Help site has instructions for pairing an Android phone to the Google Home, but what about an iPhone? They do have general instructions for playing music via Bluetooth that also works for audiobooks.

CNET has put together a how-to video to guide Apple users through the process.

You won’t be able to verbally direct the smart speaker to play what you want it to play, but using your device like a remote is the next best thing.

 

Free access to the New York Times!

by Melody Dworak on March 16th, 2018

New York Times Digital AccessNever hit a paywall again with your Iowa City Public Library card! We are pleased to announce that residents now have free access to the New York Times website anywhere, anytime. From quick news updates to deep dives into a topic, The New York Times keeps you up-to-date on what you need to know.

You will need an access code to use this resource. You must also live in Iowa City, Hills, Lone Tree, University Heights, or rural Johnson County. Further details can be found on the New York Times resource page on the ICPL website. Happy reading!

Edit: This access is available through the Digital Johnson County collections we share with the Coralville Public Library and the North Liberty Community Library. That means that Coralville residents can get free access through the CPL website, using their CPL card, and North Liberty residents use the NLCL website with their NLCL card.

New Urban Fantasy on OverDrive/Libby

by Melody Dworak on February 26th, 2018
New Urban Fantasy on OverDrive/Libby Cover Image

Those of us who use Libby regularly may have noticed that there have been some new fantasy books on the “just added” list. I’m happy to spread the news that our fiction buyer has gotten us several Helen Harper books. Helen Harper is an independent author from the UK who writes excellent series books in the urban fantasy genre. I first learned of her through the podcast Smart Podcast Trashy Books, which is hosted by a popular blog that reviews romance books.

Keeping with urban fantasy tradition, Harper’s books have strong female protagonists, as well as more alpha males than you can shake a stick at. I have yet to read her Blood Destiny series but I have made it through the 3 audiobooks for the Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic series. I will warn you that she likes bad jokes and puns, and for me that makes the series more lighthearted and fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Hey series readers, Libby has a new feature just for you

by Melody Dworak on December 28th, 2017

A new feature in Libby has made finding the next book in that series you’re reading even easier. The biggest improvement is this little icon added to the bottom right of the book cover, making it plain and easy to see which book number that title is. I am notoriously bad at knowing which Harry Potter book is which number, and with this trick, I never have to. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s announce the iPad Mini winner, shall we?

by Melody Dworak on December 22nd, 2017
iPad Mini and travel magazines

Love to travel? Don’t forget to download your favorite RBdigital magazines before you hit the road!

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the iPad Mini!

Jeff is an engineer who travels for work. He said he uses ICPL’s digital magazine collection to download magazines before hopping on his flights to and fro. The RBdigital app helps him curb impulsively buying expensive magazines while waiting in the airport. Congratulations, Jeff! We hope you enjoy your prize. Bon voyage!

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the Digital Johnson County iPad promotion. I hope you grew to love our digital magazine collection as much as I do.