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Author Archive for Melody Dworak

Inspiration for your fiction

by Melody Dworak on November 17th, 2015
Inspiration for your fiction Cover Image

NaNoWriMo is more than halfway over. Looking for inspiration to get you past writer’s block? Consider consulting dictionaries and encyclopedias on specific subjects.

Last week, someone stumbled upon our encyclopedias on the short Reference shelves on the second floor. He wondered if we had anything like that for sci fi/fantasy mythology. He was curious as to where storytellers got their information about the strengths and weaknesses of monsters.

Lucky for him, he was talking with someone who’s been reading a ton of fantasy fiction this year. I have read the accounts of countless vampires, ghosts, werewolves, fae, demons, witches, trolls, shape-shifters—you name it!

I got him the book How to Kill a Vampire as a place to start. As we were talking about what his goals were for finding books like this, it struck me that he had a great idea: use these kinds of books to inspire and research your fiction writing.  Read the rest of this entry »

Uproariously funny and irreverent take on modern pregnancy and parenting

by Melody Dworak on November 3rd, 2015
Uproariously funny and irreverent take on modern pregnancy and parenting Cover Image

Emily Flake’s Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting hilariously pokes fun at experiences of expectant and first-time parents, particularly those of women who established careers and were fully independent thinkers before deciding to start a family.

At eight months pregnant myself, I peeled through the first third of her book, howling with laughter every few pages or so. I can identify with dealing with “swole” feet and eating cookies to make the baby kick (and just to eat cookies). This book was much needed comic relief for my final stretch as a pregnant lady.

Read the rest of this entry »

What it’s like to read Janet Evanovich for the first time

by Melody Dworak on October 30th, 2015
What it’s like to read Janet Evanovich for the first time Cover Image

Okay, I’m using the term “read” here liberally as I’m really listening to her audiobooks. But the sentiment is the same: after a long aversion to mainstream romance and mystery, what do Janet Evanovich’s stories have for me?

Caving in to one of OverDrive’s auto-generated recommendation that I should try out Wicked Business, I listened to a sample of the book and discovered a familiar voice. Lorelei King, talented performer of my beloved Mercy Thompson series, reads Evanovich’s Wicked books too. I have really enjoyed King’s tender interpretation of the Mercy Thompson books–she has whisked me up in wistfulness before–so I was tickled to find that her voice narrates more stories in our collection. (You never think to search by reader, do you?)  Read the rest of this entry »

New Zinio magazines, app

by Melody Dworak on October 12th, 2015
Zinio for Libraries App

Zinio for Libraries App

As of last Friday, the Iowa City Public Library has five new digital magazines we’re offering on Zinio. Plus, Zinio is offering a new app for Kindle Fire/HD users now, too! The above Zinio link directs you to a page where you can read about our Zinio service, as well as find the links for the new app on Amazon and how-to instructions for the Fire.

So what about these new magazines? Take a look: Read the rest of this entry »

Craft from home with ICPL! (Part 2)

by Melody Dworak on September 30th, 2015

Part 2: e-magazines on Zinio

Yarn bombing a car

A yarn-bombed car in Alicante, Spain. Source: Wikipedia.

Today I wanted to focus exclusively on the craft magazines we have on our digital magazine portal Zinio. Like yesterday’s post about crafty e-books on Digital Johnson County, you can find what e-magazines we have through our catalog, as well. You follow the same steps as finding only the e-books as you do for e-magazines. But instead of selecting “Adult EBOOK” under Format, you choose “EMAGAZINE.”

Read our Zinio Digital Magazines introduction and connect to the service with your library card number and password. You might also consider reading my how-to blog post introducing the new Zinio app in April 2015.

What crafting magazines do we offer? Here is the current list: Read the rest of this entry »

Craft from home with ICPL! (Part 1)

by Melody Dworak on September 29th, 2015
"Mr. Whiskers and his knitting needle" from MonotonousG on DeviantArt.

“Mr. Whiskers and his knitting needle” from MonotonousG on DeviantArt.

Love to knit, sew, or quilt? We have books for you! In addition to the great recommendations from Library Director Susan Craig, I wanted to share my own ways to find crafting books and magazines—ones you can check out from the comfort of your own home.

Part 1: e-books on Digital Johnson County (OverDrive)

If you are used to searching our catalog on a computer, you can always start there. Type in your craft of choice, then go to the left-hand side and select “Adult EBOOK” under the Format heading.

Once you are there, you can click the “Check out with OverDrive” button. If your library account is up to date and you know your password, you can log in and be on your way! If you haven’t updated your address with us in a while or have more than $10 in fines, you may get an error message.

You can also go directly to the Digital Johnson County website to browse around that way. To get all the craft books we have on OverDrive, you’ll want to do an Advanced Search, and change the drop-down menu that says “All Subjects” to “Crafts”. For some reason, you can’t get to the Crafts subject from the red box area where you might be used to looking around. You can type in “crafts” into the general search, too, but not all of the books that show up will be relevant. You’ll have a better time searching for the specific craft (knitting, crochet, etc.) in that simple search box.</p?

And keep the 4th Annual ICPL Arts and Crafts Bazaar in mind while you work on your projects. If you have something special enough to donate, this ICPL fundraiser is on Saturday, December 5, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and donations will be accepted through Friday, December 4.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow–Craft magazines on Zinio!

Quick Guide to Local Newspaper Resources @ICPL

by Melody Dworak on August 25th, 2015
Irving B. Weber

The headstone of Iowa City historian, Iriving Weber.

Use this guide to find obituaries and articles in Iowa City area newspapers. To access the premium databases listed here, you must reside in Iowa City or one of the library’s contracted service areas. You will want to have your library card number and password ready. Call 356-5200 if you need assistance.

Read the rest of this entry »

eBook cookbooks? So convenient!

by Melody Dworak on July 20th, 2015
eBook cookbooks? So convenient! Cover Image

Recently I wanted to take a new cookbook home with me, but I was on my bike and didn’t want the extra weight. The answer to my woes? Finding an e-book cookbook!

I wound up checking out the Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker and found an excellent (and easy!) recipe for slow cooker risotto. And I am excited for leftovers tonight.

Here’s how to browse what cookbooks we have available through Digital Johnson County on OverDrive.  Read the rest of this entry »

Interior Decorating @ICPL

by Melody Dworak on May 27th, 2015
Interior Decorating @ICPL Cover Image

One of the things I like about being both a book buyer and a cataloger (the person who says where to put the books in the stacks) is that I get to see all the new nonfiction books come in—especially those books that are in demand. This means that I see a ton of cookbooks that make my mouth water before lunchtime, as well as other new books that tempt me to click that “Place a Hold” button in the catalog.

Today, cataloging Terence Conran’s new books Conran on Color made me remember what an awesome interior design collection we have. When it is not checked out, it will be living with the other interior decorating books about color with the 747.94s on the second floor. Our general interior decorating section starts with the 747s.

Don’t know where to start? Here are a few recommendations from the shelves: Read the rest of this entry »

New Digital Magazine App: Zinio for Libraries

by Melody Dworak on April 27th, 2015


tl;dr If you’ve never tried out our digital magazines, sign up at Zinio Magazine Collection web page and download the Zinio for Libraries app for Android and Apple!

ZinioforLibraries_0The Long Version

In the fall of 2012, the Iowa City Public Library began offering digital magazines through a service called Zinio. Two and a half years later, we have grown to offering more than 150 digital magazine titles. We also now offer a more streamlined experience for signing up as a new user.

The Zinio for Libraries app is a new app that allows you to fill out one simple form after clicking “Create New Account” on our Zinio Magazine Collection web page. Once you fill out this form, you are ready to start browsing and reading on your computer.

For those who are new to Zinio, you can download the Zinio for Libraries app for Apple and Android devices. This new app has fewer distractions than the previous app we were required to use. The Zinio for Libraries app will open straightaway to the magazines you have checked out. It will not show you any content that you have to buy in order to read.

ZinioforLibraries_1New users, please note: When you go to download the app, be sure to choose the Zinio for Libraries app with the white background and dark colored Z. If you see the regular Zinio app with the dark square and Zinio name in white, that is the app that has all that extra commercial content. Your login information will *not* work on the commercial app.

Already Use Zinio? Read the rest of this entry »