Author Archive for Meredith Hines-Dochterman



It’s Book Madness Time at ICPL!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on March 5th, 2018

It’s Book Madness time at ICPL!

Voting in Round One of our annual literary competition starts today! Stop by the Library before closing time on Sunday, March 11, to see what books are in this year’s competition and submit a vote for your favorite(s). If you want to vote for just one book, you can, or you can choose 32 titles to move forward in the first round; it’s up to you!

Here are the voting dates to remember:

  • First Round: March 5 through March 11
  • Second Round: March 12 through March 18
  • Sweet Sixteen: March 19 through March 25
  • Elite 8: March 26 through April 1
  • Final 4: April 2 through April 8
  • Championship Game: April 9 through April 15

Be sure to check in and vote regularly! The winning book in each bracket will be announced on Monday, April 16.

Let’s Make Music!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 4th, 2018

If you’ve ever attended Storytime at the Library, you know music is just as important to the program as the stories themselves.

“Music before the program sets the stage and warms up everyone into thinking fun,” Karen said. “At Book Babies, we sing lots of songs and we repeat the songs because research shows that children learn through repetition. Repeating the songs helps babies and toddlers learn words.”

The Children’s Room staff attended Kids First last spring and learned even more about the importance of music education from singer-educator Carole Stephens. One of the facts she shared is that 90 percent of the brain is used when a child actively participates in music.

A parent recently contacted the Library to ask if we have playlists for our Storytime music. The answer is yes and no.

“For the most part, we import CDs from our collection onto our iTunes database and customize our playlists for each storytime,” Mari said. “Every librarian has their favorites that tend to get played more often, though.”

Most Storytimes often start with “Clap Your Hands” by Lisa DeRosia, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello” by Kathy Reid-Naiman, “I’m in the Mood” by Raffi, or “Oh Hi Hello” by Jim Gill. Other songs/artists you’ll often hear include: “The More We Get Together;” Laurie Berkner; Carole Peterson; Raffi; and Old Town School of Folk Music (Songs for Wiggleworms).

So yes, we have playlists for Storytimes, but no, they aren’t something that can be checked out by patrons.

There is a bright side, though.

“We use a lot of music that is in our Children’s CD collection,” Karen said. “I have had many parents ask for the name of the artist or album after Storytime.”

So if there’s a song you and your child enjoy at Storytime, or you want to expand the repertoire of songs you sing at home, ask the Children’s Room staff for their recommendations. Your question might even launch an impromptu singalong.

Hey, those songs are catchy!

ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2017: Best of the Best

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 31st, 2017

It’s here: the Iowa City Public Library’s Top Picks for 2017!

Staff members nominated nearly 100 books released in 2017 as their favorite reads of the year. Those that made this list were nominated by more than one person, which truly makes them the Best of the Best.

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson
  • The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
  • Golden Hill by Francis Spufford (published in Britain in 2016; released in the U.S. in May of 2017)
  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
  • La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey
  • Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
  • Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre
  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
  • Glass Houses by Louise Penny
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Hunger by Roxane Gay
  • Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman
  • Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
  • Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
  • My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Volume 1 by Emil Ferris
  • Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Our Best Book Overall for 2017 is The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas.

This debut novel was nominated by more staff members than any other book this year, which makes sense given all the other Best of 2017 lists it has appeared on this month. If you haven’t read it, be sire to check out a copy before the movie is released!

ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2017: Graphic Novels

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 30th, 2017

 

When you think of graphic novels, the mind often pictures superheroes. While individuals with extraordinary powers certainly are a familiar feature in these colorful tomes, graphic novels introduce us to real life heroes. They are inspirational, yet have the power to challenge how we think. The graphic novels released this year include bigger-than-life stories and illustrated versions of ordinary happenings that speak to everyone.

Our nominations for the Best Graphic Novels of the year include both children and adult titles. Children titles can be found in the Children’s Room.

ICPL’s BEST GRAPHIC NOVELS OF 2017

  • Pigs Might Fly by Nick Abadzis
  • Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
  • My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Volume 1 by Emil Ferris
  • One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale
  • Real Friends by Shannon Hale
  • I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
  • Paper Girls, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn

ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2017: Autobiography/Biography/Memoir

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 28th, 2017

Perhaps you’ve seen this phrase on a T-shirt or coffee mug: Careful or You’ll End Up in My Novel. When it comes to writers of autobiographies, biographies and memoirs, that’s 100 percent true!

Here’s a list of people’s stories we had trouble putting down in 2017:

  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Hunger by Roxane Gay
  • Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman
  • David Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones
  • The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs
  • Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana
  • Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Are there any titles we missed? Let us know!

ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2017: Children’s Books

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 25th, 2017

“When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” — Kathleen Kelly, You’ve Got Mail

We salute all the amazing children’s book writers and illustrators who enrich our lives with their stories. Today, we share with you the children’s book titles that grabbed our attention — and imaginations — in 2017.

  • Pup and Bear by Kate Banks
  • A Christmas for Bear by Bonny Becker
  • See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
  • Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
  • City Moon by Rachael Cole
  • Big Cat Little Cat by Elisha Cooper
  • The Wearle (Erth Dragons No. 1) by Chris d’Lacey
  • Windows by Julia Denos
  • Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers
  • Baabwaa and Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship by David Elliott
  • Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey
  • Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
  • A Greyhound, A Groundhog by Emily Jenkins
  • Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus
  • A Small Thing … but Big by Tony Johnston
  • Binny Bewitched by Hilary McKay
  • We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
  • Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre
  • Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder
  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2017: Fiction

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 23rd, 2017

The Iowa City Public Library is pleased to present our favorite reads of 2017.

Employees were asked to submit the titles they read and loved this year with all nominations divided into eight categories: fiction, young adult, children’s, mystery, science fiction/fantasy, autobiography/biography/memoir, non-fiction, and graphic novel. The only rule was that the book had to be released in 2017. Any book that was nominated by more than one staff member made our 2017 Best of the Best list.

We’ll share our Best of the Best list on the last day of 2017. Until then, here are the Library’s top fiction books for 2017. Keep checking back to see what made the cut in our other categories.

ICPL BEST FICTION BOOKS OF 2017

  • The Address by Fiona Davis
  • Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
  • Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson
  • The Good People by Hannah Kent
  • Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley
  • The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
  • Lincoln at the Bardo by George Saunders
  • Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
  • The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
  • The World to Come by Jim Shepard
  • Golden Hill by Francis Spufford (published in Britain in 2016; released in US in May of 2017)
  • Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
  • Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
  • Wait Till You See Me Dance by Deb Olin Unferth

What was your favorite fiction read of 2017?

Wrapping up Picture Book Month

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 1st, 2017

November was National Picture Book Month. To celebrate our love for picture books, ICPL staff shared photos of their favorites on social media platform all month long. The result was a list of beloved books, both old and new. If you missed seeing them the first time around, here’s every book we recommend:

Shawna: Mister Bud Wears the Cone by Carter Goodrich

“Carter Goodrich’s stories featuring Mister Bud and his brother Zorro teach some great lessons about pets, siblings, and friends. Also the illustrations are simply adorable and hilarious!”

Erik: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone- Roach

“I really love the pastel artwork and the bear’s big hungry eyes as he makes his journey to the delectable sandwich! And just prepare yourself for a wonderful twist at the end!”

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Get ready … get set … WRITE!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 25th, 2017

In one week, writers of all ages will take on the ultimate challenge: to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.typewriter-801921_640

National Novel Writing Month is an internet-based creative writing project that encourages anyone who has ever thought of writing a book to use the 30 days of November to accomplish that goal. Participation is easy. Just sign up on their website before November 1 and you’ll receive notifications of local writing meet-ups, pep talks from well-known authors, tips for beating writer’s block, etc. throughout the challenge.

The Library is a great NaNoWriMo resource. We have plenty of space for you to write, nonfiction titles about writing, databases and other research materials for the fine details pertinent to your story, and published books that started as NaNoWriMo novels to inspire you. These include:

Each one of these writers started with a dream. NaNoWriMo gave them the incentive they needed to get the first draft of their dream on paper/a computer screen. There’s no reason why the next author on this list can’t be you! As Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

Happy writing!

Considering the minimalist lifestyle? ICPL can help!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 6th, 2017

Two years ago, I embarked on a cleaning spree I dubbed The Great Purge of 2015.

I spent weeks shredding credit card statements from the Clinton and Bush years. Books I couldn’t finish were placed in Little Free Libraries throughout town, kitchen gadgets I rarely used found new homes and clothes I hadn’t worn in years were stuffed inside donation bins. I’m not a minimalist, but the more items I took out of my house, the more I understood why “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo sold 1.5 million copies.

According to NPR, the average size of an American home has tripled in size over the past 50 years. Inside those homes, according to the Los Angeles Times, is an average of 300,000 items. One-fourth of homes with two-car garages have too much stuff for the cars to fit inside. Only 3.1 percent of the world’s children live in the United States, yet they own 40 percent of the toys consumed globally.

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