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ICPL Presents FREE Jim Gill Concert at The Englert

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 12th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library is excited to announce that award-winning musician and author Jim Gill will perform from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at The Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City. Parents and children of all ages are invited to attend this FREE concert as part of the Library’s Music is the Word celebration.

Gill is known for his recorded albums and books with musical themes. Music Play for Folks of All Stripes won a Notable Children’s Recording award from the American Library Association in 2012. He’s the author of two children’s books and six award-winning CDs of music play for young children. His work has received five separate awards from the American Library Association.

Gill is currently traveling across the country with his Family Room Concert Tour to promote the benefits of play in young children’s lives. Experience this phenomenon firsthand on Jan. 23, as Gill’s distinctive music will have attendees clapping, singing, dancing, jumping and sneezing along.

No advanced reservations are required for this FREE concert. The first 100 children in attendance will receive a special souvenir.

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

Iowa City Public Library’s January Teen Events Announced

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 7th, 2016

The UAY Job Shop, Dungeons and Dragons, and tiny food are part of the Iowa City Public Library’s Teen Events lineup for January.

Are you looking for a job? The United Action for Youth Job Shop is designed to help teens ages 12 through 17 search for employment. Stop by from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, for assistance in looking for jobs, filling out applications, creating a resume and preparing for interviews.

We’re starting a Dungeons and Dragons campaign and need you to attend from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, to make it a success. Never played before? That’s no problem! Allie is ready to help all novices.

TAG, the Library’s Teen Activity Group, is looking for new members to help plan teen programs. Anyone wanting to make a difference in the Library, and earn volunteer hours at the same time, should give TAG a try. The January TAG meeting will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23.

You know how miniatures are always cuter than regular-sized things? We’re going to see if that translates to food, too! Join us for Let’s Make Something! Tiny Food from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23. The snacks may be tiny, but the fun will be huge!

All teen programs are open to students in grades 7through 12 and are held in the Koza Family Teen Center on the Library’s second floor, unless otherwise noted.

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

ICPL Announces Second Sunday Garden Forum Lineup

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 3rd, 2016

For nearly 25 years, the Iowa City Public Library and Project GREEN have partnered to host the Second Sunday Garden Forum series. This winter’s forums will be held on Jan. 10, Feb. 14, and March 13.

Chuck Porto, retail manager at Iowa City Landscaping & Garden Center and host of KXIC’s Saturday Lawn & Garden Show, will kick off the 2016 series on Jan. 10 with “Something Old, Something New – Trees, Shrubs and Evergreens.” Porto will re-introduce attendees to traditional standards and share information about new plants gaining popularity on the market.

“Daylilies: Past, Present and Future” is the topic of Jonathan Poulton’s presentation on Feb. 14. A University of Iowa emeritus professor, Poulton’s interest in daylilies began while vacationing in Wisconsin in 2006. Since then he has developed a collection of registered daylilies and created several thousand seedlings by hybridization. Join Poulton as he explores the origins of modern daylilies, presents a selection of hybrids celebrated by daylily enthusiasts, and describes hybridizers’ efforts to reach the “holy grail” of daylilies – a true blue cultivar.

Feel like going on a trip? David Cavagnaro’s presentation, “Where Our Food Comes From,” on March 13 will take attendees “around the world in 80 minutes” to look at the origins of all our major food crops. Cavagnaro is the former Preservation Gardens Manager at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah.

All Second Sunday Garden Forum programs will be held on the second Sunday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Iowa City Public Library. After each presentation, there will be a refreshment break followed by a question and answer session.

All programs will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

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

ICPL Launches Winter Reading Program

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 2nd, 2016

Get a jump start on your 2016 reading goal by participating in Read to the Rhythm, the Iowa City Public Library’s Winter Reading Program.

Pick up a Read to the Rhythm bingo card at any of our public service desks beginning Monday, Jan. 4. There are four cards available, one for each age level of the program: babies, children, teens and adults.

Each bingo card is filled with suggestions and activities that will get you reading, exploring ICPL – possibly even singing, as the Library kicks off Season Two of our Music is the Word celebration. Look at your bingo card closely. The music event you plan to attend could fill in a square.

Anyone who completes their card’s requirements before the program ends on Feb. 29 is eligible to attend our Winter Reading Program Pizza and Popcorn Party from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1. One bingo is all that’s needed for participants in the teens and adults Read to the Rhythm program to gain entry to the pizza party. The babies’ and children’s programs require three regular bingos (15 squares) in order to attend.

For more information about Music is the Word, visit

For more information about Read to the Rhythm, visit

ICPL Announces January Music is the Word Events

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 1st, 2016

Join Iowa City Public Library as we celebrate all things musical with Music is the Word. This special series of programming, to continue through May 2016, welcomes the University of Iowa School of Music building to downtown Iowa City. Here’s what’s happening in January:

2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 3, in Meeting Room A: Sing-Along – “Frozen.” Does the weather have you down? Let it go with today’s sing-along!

7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center Gymnastics Room: Yahoo Drummers. This Family Drumming Session at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center will have families exploring and playing percussion instruments from all over the world. No fee; no registration required.

Noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, in the Lobby: Music on Wednesday @ICPL with Deb Singer. Since 1980, Deb Singer has shared her passion for music and movement with the Iowa City community. A perennial favorite at ICPL Storytimes, local preschools, and other events for the “under 5 crowd, Singer also shares her joy in music through her performance with the world music band Kol Shira. Stop by to listen to Singer play some of her classical guitar favorites.

10:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, in Meeting Room A: Preschool Storytime – West Music’s Sing and Play and Learn Today. West Music will lead a special musical preschool storytime. Stop by to learn some new songs, and have a great time singing, dancing and playing together.

7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, in Meeting Room A: Documentary – “Keep on Keepin’ On.” This documentary follows jazz legend Clark Terry’s mentorship of 23-year-old blind piano prodigy Justin Kauflin. 84 min (2014)

Noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, in Meeting Room A: Lunch talk – German POWs Making Music in Iowa during the Second World War. Join Kelsey Kramer, a doctorate student in musicology at the University of Iowa, for this informative presentation. Kramer also is a staff member at the UI Center for Human Rights.

10:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, in Meeting Room A: Preschool Storytime with Marc Falk. Marc Falk, a music professor at Coe College and founder of Iowa City’s Outdoor Adventure Camps, will present a concert of fun and interactive music for kids and parents.

2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at The Englert Theatre: Family Concert – Jim Gill. Jim Gill is an award-winning musician, picture book author and child development specialist. Get ready to sing, dance and play at this free family concert at the historic Englert.

7 to 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, in Meeting Room A: Dali Quartet – String Quartet Residency Program Concert. The Dalí Quartet’s captivating performances of traditional string quartet and Latin-American repertoire create an extraordinary concert experience that takes listeners on an eclectic journey of rhythm and sound.

2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, in Meeting Room A: Family Concert – Awful Purdies. The Awful Purdies are an eclectic quintet of female multi-instrumentalists who take turns stepping up as songwriter and lead singer.

For more information, visit or call the Library at 319-356-5200.

ICPL announces January Classes for Adults

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 31st, 2015

Want to learn more about your iPad? The Iowa City Public Library will offer several classes that help beginning and intermediate users get a better handle on their tablet in January.

New or beginner iPad users, join us in Meeting Room A at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 8, for “Explore Your iPad.” Participants will discover how to expertly navigate their device, capture and access photos and video, bookmark a webpage, set important security options, and much more. This class also will be offered at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16, in the computer Lab on the Library’s second floor.

Our “iPad Tips and Tricks” class, which will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, in the Computer Lab and 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, in Meeting Room A is perfect for the intermediate iPad user. Learn how to customize your device, keep your iPad safe, and get the most out of your device’s memory.

All classes for adults are free, but space is limited, so patrons should register early. Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at 319-356-5200.

ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Best of the Best

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 31st, 2015
ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Best of the Best Cover Image

It’s here! Iowa City Public Library’s Top Picks for 2015!

Staff members nominated more than 100 books released in 2015 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.

  • The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (fiction)blue-ribbon
  • Descent by Tim Johnston (fiction)
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (young adult)
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (young adult)
  • Simon’s New Bed by Christian Trimmer (children’s)
  • The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin (children’s)
  • The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton (children’s)
  • Waiting by Kevin Henkes (children’s)
  • The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville (children’s)
  • Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley (children’s)
  • Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (children’s)
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (mystery)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (science fiction/fantasy)
  • Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (autobiography/biography/memoir)
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (autobiography/biography/memoir)
  • Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon (autobiography/biography/memoir)
  • On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks (autobiography/biography/memoir)
  • Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (nonfiction)
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (nonfiction)
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (nonfiction)
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (graphic novel)
  • Sunny Side Up by Jennifer and Matthew Holm (graphic novel)

For the second year in a row, two books share the honor of being ICPL’s Most Recommended Book of 2015 — Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson.

Allplegate’s Crenshaw tells the story of Jackson, a young boy whose family has fallen on hard times. With no money for rent  Crenshaw2and very little for food, Jackson, his parents, his little sister and their dog may have to live in their minivan — again. Jackson’s imaginary friend, a large cat named Crenshaw, wants to help, but is he enough to save a family from losing everything?

Publishers Weekly calls the book “accessible” and “moving” and “… demonstrates how the creative resilience of a child’s mind can soften difficult situations, while exploring the intersection of imagination and truth.” Children’s Librarian Morgan Reeves says Crenshaw is the book she has recommended the most to readers of all ages since its release in September of 2015.

dead wakeDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania tells the story of a historical event many people think they know, but don’t: the sinking of the Lusitania during WWI.

The luxury ocean liner sailed out of New York en route to Liverpool in 1915, just as WWI was entering its tenth month. Though Germany has declared the seas around Britain a war zone, Captain William Thomas Turner had faith in “the gentlemanly structures of warfare” that had kept civilian ships safe in the past. What follows is one of the greatest tragedies of maritime history. “It’s the other Titanic, the story of a mighty ship sunk not by the grandeur of nature but by the grimness of man,” Hampton Sides writes in his review for The New York Times.

Did your favorite read of 2015 make our list?

If you are looking for more great reads, here are the links to our Best of the Best lists for 2014, 2013 and 2012.


ICPL Top Picks for 2015: Graphic Novels

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 30th, 2015
ICPL Top Picks for 2015: Graphic Novels Cover Image

According to Publishers Weekly, graphic novels are one of the fastest-growing genres in public libraries. The reasons for this vary from academic (studies have shown the positive impact graphic novels have on reluctant readers and English-learning students) to entertainment, as some of the today’s biggest TV shows and movies are based on graphic novels.

ICPL’s graphic novel collection has followed this trend, with more titles added to our shelves every year. As such, we decided to add a graphic novel category to our end-of-the-year staff picks list. This list includes titles found in the children’s room and the Library’s second floor.


  • Intro to Alien Invasion by Owen King and Mark Jude Poirier and Nancy Ahn
  • Hawkeye Volume 4: Rio Bravo by Matt Fraction and Francesco Francavilla
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
  • Sunny Side Up by Jennifer and Matt Holm
  • The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
  • Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson
  • Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca
  • Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
  • Step Aside Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton
  • A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima*

* This title was originally released in 2013. It wasn’t published in English until 2015, which is why it’s included on our list.


ICPL Top Picks for 2015: Nonfiction

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 29th, 2015
ICPL Top Picks for 2015: Nonfiction Cover Image

From exploring romance through Tinder to sharing the stories of everyday people on the streets of New York City, this year’s crop of nonfiction titles run the gamut from humorous to thought-provoking, inspiring to contemplative.

Nonfiction is always a popular category among ICPL staff  (We work at a Library; of course we love learning!), so we apologize now if our picks for the best nonfiction titles of 2015 add  to your never-ending reading list.


  • Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
  • Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers by Nick Offerman
  • Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on Their Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum
  • Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
  • Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenthood by Emily Flake
  • The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck
  • The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
  • The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self by Anil Anandaughtersthaswamy
  • Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back by Janice P. Nimura
  • The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks
  • The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger’s Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare’s First Folio by Andrea betweeMays
  • Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
  • So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

ICPL Top Picks for 2015: Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 28th, 2015
ICPL Top Picks for 2015: Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs Cover Image

Quiz time! What’s the different between an autobiography, biography and memoir?

An autobiography is a story an author writes about his or her life. Usually all-encompassing, most autobiographies start with the author’s childhood and move chronologically highlighting important events, ending at the present time.

A biography also follows a chronological structure over a long period of time, but it is written by someone other than the subject of the book.

Memoirs are sometimes confused with autobiographies, which is completely understandable. Like an autobiography, a memoir is a narrative written by the author about their life. But while autobiographies cover the author’s life up to the point of publication, a memoir focuses on one aspect or theme of the author’s life. Memoirs tend to be less formal, and focus more on memories, feelings, and emotions instead of facts.

No matter which genre you prefer, autobiographies, biographies and memoirs introduce readers to fascinating people, reveal the stories of well-known individuals, and provide inspiration, insight and greater understanding of others.


  • Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir by Felicia Day
  • Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
  • Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film by Patton Oswalt
  • Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
  • Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
  • Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus
  • I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda
  • Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin
  • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
  • On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks
  • Live Like Line, Love Like Ellyn: One Community’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph by Bill Hoeft