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Author Archive for Meredith Hines-Dochterman

The Library Card: A Ticket to Adventure

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 3rd, 2015

I was sitting at my desk Monday when I received a phone call from the Help Desk.

This postcard shows an image of the Fort Dodge Public Library I remember. The Carnegie building closed on November 30, 2000. The new library opened in by the City Square in January 2001.

This postcard shows an image of the Fort Dodge Public Library I remember. The Carnegie building closed on November 30, 2000. The new library opened in January 2001.

“There’s someone here to see you.”

I didn’t have an appointment scheduled, but drop-ins aren’t uncommon, so I grabbed a notebook and pen, and walked to the Library’s first floor.

“There you are!”

It was my parents. They live on the other side of the state, but ever since my dad retired, surprise visits have become a common thing. They don’t last long — my parents left after I gave them a tour of the Library — but they make me smile. (Then I text my siblings to let them know that our parents are on the road again and to be prepared.)

I love giving tours of the Library, be it to people I’m related to or visitors who stop by because they’ve heard great things about ICPL. From the slide in the Children’s Room to the Koza Family Teen Center on the second floor, the Art-To-Go collection and an amazing selection of graphic novels, the Library is a wonderful place that truly has something for everybody.

Author Lilian Jackson Braun says “a library card is the start of a lifelong adventure.” As we celebrate Library Card Sign-up Month, I think back to the adventures I’ve had because of my Library Card. They begin, of course, with the stories I’ve read, but entwined are memories of biking to the Library with friends and that huge feeling of maturity when my mom decided I was old enough to hold on to my Library Card instead of giving it to her for safekeeping.

My very first Library Card was from the Fort Dodge Public Library. It was about the size of a business card, made from heavy beige paper, with a silver bar threaded through it. The card came with a tiny manila-type envelope for safekeeping. I felt so grown up every time I used it. I thought it was amazing that with just this card, I could take home any book I wanted for free.

I still think it’s amazing.

As I led my parents around ICPL, my mom joked that they had to stop by to see if I was actually working. I was always a reader, so it’s safe to assume I would spend my days at a Library and call it my job.

“It’s the perfect job for you, kid,” my dad said as they left to visit one of my younger sisters.

It’s not only a job, it’s an adventure. I do work in a Library, after all.

Author Steven Pinker at ICPL on Sept. 22

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 2nd, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library, the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program and Prairie Lights are pleased to welcome Steven Pinker to the Library on Sept. 22.


Steven Pinker

The experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist, and popular science author will launch his tour for his seventh book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A.

The Sense of Style provides a new writing guide for the 21st Century, containing comic strips, cartoons and numerous of examples of comically-bad writing. Pinker’s formula for good writing is simple: write clearly, try to follow the rules most of the time — but only when they make sense.

Pinker was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004. Since 2008, he has chaired the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and wrote the essay on usage for the fifth edition of the Dictionary, which was published in 2011.

This author reading is co-sponsored by the Library, the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, and Prairie Lights. Copies of The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century will be on sale before the event.

Pinker’s reading will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Arts & Crafts Bazaar Call for Donations

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 1st, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation is now accepting donations of handmade arts and crafts for the Fourth Annual Arts & Crafts Bazaar.

This year’s bazaar will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. Proceeds from the sale support the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation to benefit Library programs and collections.

Those wishing to donate items may bring them to the Library during open hours before Friday, Dec. 4. All items must be handmade and be delivered with an ICPL Arts and Crafts Bazaar donation form (available at the Library and online at

For more information, contact Christina Stanton at (319) 887-6017 or

ICPL Announces September Classes for Adults

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 27th, 2015

Get creative with digital tools! September’s classes will help you develop the skills you need to edit movies, organize your photos, write HTML code, and create graphics. These classes are meant to be interactive with a lot of great hands-on experience. Roll-up your sleeves and warm-up your keyboard and mousing skills – it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Learn to upload and use YouTube to safely edit and share your videos online. Join us on Thursday, Sept. 3, at 2 p.m. for our Editing Digital Video class.

On Saturday, Sept. 12, at 10:30 a. m., the library will offer Beginning Graphic Design. Learn how to use GIMP, a free, graphic design and photo editing software, to create shapes, cut out photos, and insert great fonts.

Digital Photos: Organizing, Sharing, and Basic Editing will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21. Getting all of your digital photography organized and in print worthy condition can be pretty daunting. Learn about the various tools you can use to store your photos, edit them or share them online.

To round out all of this digital creativity, join us on Friday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon for HTML Coding Basics. Every website you visit relies on an HTML as the skeleton that gives the site’s pages their structure. Learn how to add paragraphs, headings, images, links, and basic formatting to create a webpage.

All classes for adults are held in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 10 people per program, so patrons should register early. Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Iowa City Public Library Re-Accredited

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 26th, 2015

Iowa Library Services recently announced that the Iowa City Public Library met the conditions for state accreditation as outlined in “In Service to Iowa:  Public Library Standards Fifth Edition.”

“The director and board of trustees of the Iowa City Public Library and the City of Iowa City are to be commended for this achievement and their commitment to excellence in public library services for their community,” State Librarian Michael Scott said.

The accreditation is valid through June 30, 2018.

Achieving accreditation requires a significant, ongoing commitment to high quality library services. 351 of Iowa’s 544 public libraries are accredited. ICPL has been recognized for its efforts in all areas of library operations including governance and funding, staffing, library collection, services, public relations, access, and facilities.

Iowa’s accredited public libraries are responsive to their communities and exhibit excellence in providing library services. Accredited libraries receive a higher rate of compensation through Iowa Library Services’ Enrich Iowa program.

More than two-thirds of all Iowans have active public library cards. Iowa libraries play key roles in workforce and economic development, lifelong learning and e-government activities. Iowans use their libraries to find jobs, do homework, locate a good book to read, research medical conditions, access government information, and more.

Entries Sought for ICPL’s 2015 Art Purchase Prize

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 21st, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will begin accepting artwork for the 2015 Art Purchase Prize, with winning pieces added to the Art-To-Go collection, on Sept. 1.

The competition is open to artists over the age 18 who live/work/exhibit in the Iowa City or the Johnson County area, and have participated in at least one juried or judged competition.

In order to foster new talent, previous winners who have had two or more works purchased by the Library are ineligible for entry. Previous winners who have had one work purchased must sit out for two consecutive contests before entering again. Library employees and their immediate family are ineligible for entry.

To enter, artists should submit a digital image representation of their original work(s), and those should be in .jpeg format, with a minimum resolution of 72 dpi and a minimum size of 1024 x 768 pixels.

Entries can be emailed to, or mailed on disc to Candice Smith at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA 52240. Entries must include the artist’s name, address, phone number and email, and the following for each artwork: Title, Medium, Size/Matted Size (if appropriate), and Price.

Artwork should be priced under $300.

Artists may enter two artworks. Any two-dimensional or low-relief media are acceptable, including: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, collage, paper/textile and mixed media.

Only original art will be accepted. All submitted artwork must have been created within the last three years.

Finished artwork must be at least 12 x 12 and no larger than 36 x 36. Works chosen for final judging should be matted and/or mounted as needed to create a finished piece. Archival or museum-quality materials must be used for printing, mounting and matting. Works must be suitable for framing and covering with Plexiglas.

The Library takes responsibility for framing works chosen for purchase.

Entries will be accepted from Sept. 1 through Oct. 4. The first round of judging will begin on Oct. 6, with the final round of judging on Oct. 13.

For more information, visit or contact Candice Smith at

ICPL announces Summer Reading Program prize winners

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 20th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library ended the 2015 Summer Reading Program with strong participation numbers among all age levels – babies, kids, teens, and adults.srpwinnerscomiccollage

In all, 4,721 patrons registered for the 2015 Summer Reading Program, with 2,246 participants turning in completed game cards by Aug. 9.

The kids program had the highest number of registrants – 2,878 people – and the highest completion rate – 1,455 people.

More than 1,000 adults signed up for the program, with 434 turning in completed game cards.

The teen program had 399 registrations and 148 returned completed game cards, while the babies program had 420 registrations and 209 game cards returned to the Children’s Room.

All completed game cards were entered in a drawing for the Summer Reading Program Grand Prize, which varied depending on the program level. The winners were chosen by a random drawing and contacted by Library staff.

Congratulations to everyone who received a Summer Reading Program prize and thank you to all who participated!

Babies Summer Reading Program Grand Prize: A $50 gift card to Prairie Lights

  • Winner: Maggi Kaalberg

Kids Summer Reading Program Grand Prize: A $150 VISA gift card

  • Winner: Yousef Ismail

Participants in the teen and adult Summer Reading Programs were eligible for one of multiple prizes.

The prize winners in the teen program are:

  •  $50 Marcus Theaters gift card: Maria Brown
  •  $50 Prairie Lights gift card: Emalyn Foster
  •  $50 Game Stop gift card: John Bounds
  •  $50 Pancheros gift card: Daniel Kelly

The prize winners in the adult program are:

  • Two one-year memberships to FilmScene: Amanda Bellis and Heather Steward-Tharp
  •  $50 Downtown Iowa City gift certificate: Kayla Feil
  •  $50 gift certificate to A & A Pagliai’s Pizza: Wendy Berry
  • Pair of 2-hour Paddle Passes at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area: Vernona Myers

Second prize winners in the teen and adult Summer Reading Programs received a $5 gift certificate to spend at Taste of Iowa City. The winners of this prize are: Mya Kahle; Alyssa Skala; Sadie Widmer; Adrian Dale; Daniel Bodin; Chuck Henderson; Sommer Gilbert; Jennie Fischer; Eric Bodin; and Bev Amoroso.

Vote Now to Send ICPL’s Local Music Project to SXSW

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 19th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library broke new ground when it launched the Local Music Project in 2012 to promote local musicians and Johnson County’s live music culture. Since then, libraries across the country have taken up the call to be distributors of local music.

ICPL was the first. The Santa Cruz Public Library in California is the latest. Representatives from both libraries could make an appearance on a panel at the 2016 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, TX.

“Gain Fans and Get Paid with Library Distribution” is under consideration for the 2016 lineup as part of SXSW’s PanelPicker practice. The PanelPicker is a two-step online process that allows the SXSW community to have a significant voice in programming SXSW conference activities, including presentations, panels, discussions and demonstrations.

PanelPicker voting is open through Friday, Sept. 4. To vote, visit You will need to create an account if you don’t have one. The direct link to vote for the “Gain Fans and Get Paid with Library Distribution” panel is:

“When we launched the Local Music Project, it was to create another outlet in which local musicians could share their music with the masses,” Jason Paulios, adult services librarian, said. “To be part of the biggest music event in the country and share our experience in hopes of helping more libraries and local musicians collaborate would be a great honor.”

To learn more about the Local Music Project, visit

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

ICPL Launches Music is the Word Series with Musical Revue

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 19th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will kick off nine months of special programming with the Music is the Word Musical Revue at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, at The Englert Theatre.

The revue will feature live performances by local musicians playing everything from bluegrass and rock to vocal choir and ethnic love songs. Performers include The Beggermen with the Champagne Academy of Irish Dance; Kol Shira; the Extra Credit Project; Cedar County Cobras; The Recliners; Combined Efforts Theatre Men’s Choir; and Chase Garrett.

“We want to showcase the wide variety of musical talent in Iowa City,” Paul Bethke of Children’s Services said. “At the same time, we see this concert as an opportunity to introduce new genres to the audience – adults and children – who might not otherwise experience it.”

The Library’s Music is the Word celebration is to help our community welcome the University of Iowa School of Music building to downtown Iowa City, currently scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. Weekly programs focused on all things musical are scheduled from September 2015 through May 2016.

“The Musical Revue is the first of what will be nine months of programming of all types for all ages,” Library Director Susan Craig says. “This is an opportunity for us to share Iowa City’s rich musical culture through live performances, presentations, displays, hands-on activities, movies, and sing-alongs.”

“This is an exciting time in our community, as we prepare for the opening of the UI School of Music downtown and adding to Iowa City’s abundant musical complexity,” said Maeve Clark, the Library’s coordinator of adult services.

General admission tickets for MITW Musical Revue are $10 each; children 5 and under are free. Everyone must have a ticket to the show, free or paid, to gain entry to the Englert.

Tickets are for sale at Library’s first floor Help Desk at the Library and The Englert Theatre’s website at

All performers are donating their time and talent to the Musical Revue. Ticket proceeds will help support additional Music is the Word programming.

For a list of Music is the Word events, visit For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

ICPL to Host All Iowa Reads 2015 Book Discussion

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 19th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will host a discussion about the 2015 All Iowa Reads book, “My Name is Mary Sutter” by Robin Oliveira, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2.

Twenty-year-old Mary Sutter is a brilliant, head-strong midwife in Albany, New York, who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Determined to overcome the prejudice against women in medicine, she leaves home for Washington, D.C., to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded.

“My Name Is Mary Sutter” received the 2011 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the 2010 American Historical Fiction Honorable Mention from the Langum Charitable Trust.

All Iowa Reads was established in 2003 as a way to foster a sense of unity through reading, with Iowans throughout the state coming together to read and discuss a single book title in the same year. The program is sponsored by the Iowa Center for the Book.

For more information about ICPL’s book discussion, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.