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Author Archive for Meredith Hines-Dochterman

Iowa City Public Library’s Digital History Project at Johnson County Fair

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 16th, 2014

Every year, visitors flock to the Johnson County Fairgrounds to partake in a summer tradition: The Johnson County Fair.

From competitions to must-see shows, the fair is home to thousands of memories; memories the Iowa City Public Library’s Digital History Project wants you to share.Banner_fade

Librarians will be at the Public Libraries of Johnson County Fair Booth from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to solicit audio recordings of fair memories from all fair attendees. The recordings will be added to the Library’s Digital History Project website at

Launched in 2013, the Digital History Project is an initiative to share and explore historical images and stories of life in Iowa City and Johnson County. The project’s partners include the Iowa City Public Library, the Iowa City Host Noon Lions Club, and the Johnson County Historical Society.

Everything from fair favorites and special events to earliest recollection qualifies as a fair memory. Stop by the Public Libraries of Johnson County Fair Booth to share yours.

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

Visit the Public Libraries of Johnson County at the Johnson County Fair

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 11th, 2014

The Public Libraries of Johnson County are ready for this year’s Johnson County Fair; are you? fair

Representatives from all of Johnson County’s public libraries – Coralville, Iowa City, North Liberty, Oxford, Solon, Swisher, and Tiffin-Springmier – will host a booth in Exhibition Hall #2 during the county fair July 21 through July 24.

Stop by to learn more about how the libraries work together to promote literacy and learning throughout the county. We’ll also have giveaways to hand out, including a special kids-only prize on Kids’ Day on July 22.

All visitors to the Public Libraries of Johnson County fair booth can enter the drawing for an oversized stuffed teddy bear sporting a Public Libraries of Johnson County T-shirt.

We’ll see you at the fair!

Iowa City Public Library presents Stargazing Basics

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 9th, 2014

Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered what, exactly, you were seeing?starGazing

Brent Studer, an adjunct professor of astronomy at Kirkwood Community College, will help you decipher the mysteries of the night sky with Stargazing Basics and a Tour of the Summer and Fall Sky.

Studer’s presentation will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, in Meeting Room A at the Iowa City Public Library. He will give a basic introduction to stargazing and explain how to get started in astronomy as a hobby.

Stargazing Basics and a Tour of the Summer and Fall Sky is part of the Adult Summer Reading Program.

The event is free and open to the public. It also will be broadcast Live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 10.

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

ICPL announces July Classes for Adults

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 1st, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library is so much more than books; it’s online music, genealogy resources, and online language learning systems! Register for our July adult classes to learn more about these programs.

Do you want to start a project tracing your family lineage? Join us Friday, July 11, from 10 to 11 a.m. or Saturday, July 19, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. for our Introduction to Genealogy class. Learn about the Library’s free subscriptions to, HeritageQuest, and Newspaper Archive. A librarian will show you how each of these resources can make finding your ancestors easier.GenealogyTreeB-W_JPG300

Join us on Tuesday, July 15, from 10 to 11 a.m. and learn the difference between online music providers Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, and the Iowa City Public Library’s own Online Music Project. The Introduction to Music Online class discusses the difference between streaming and downloading music. Participants will also find out how to make a playlist and share music on a social media site or embed it on a blog.

Learning a language? Tracking stocks? Investigating local Iowa City history? The library has an online resource you can use to do all of these things. Come to the Library Friday, July 25, from 10 to 11 a.m. for a demonstration of the library’s best kept secret – our databases.

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.

ICPL to celebrate Batman Day on July 23

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 1st, 2014

Holy celebration, Batman! batman-logo

The Caped Crusader celebrates his 75th anniversary this year, a feat which will be celebrated with special events all year long, including Batman Day on Wednesday, July 23.

DC Entertainment is partnering with thousands of comic book retailers, bookstores, and libraries on Batman Day to commemorate the Dark Knight’s influence in popular culture.

The Iowa City Public Library will celebrate Batman Day with a costume contest and a free screening of “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.” Don your best Caped Crusader apparel and enjoy an animated film in which we Batman is investigating the murders of several prominent gangsters at the same time his ex-fiancée is back in Gotham City.

Comic book artist Eric Gapstur will draw Batman sketches for anyone who wants one during the movie.

After the film, you’re invited to show us how much you know about Bruce Wayne’s Alter Ego in our Batman Trivia Challenge.

The celebration begins at 2 p.m. in Meeting Room A. It is free and open to all ages.

For more information about the Library’s Batman Day celebration, contact Brian Visser at (319) 356-5200.

For the latest information and exclusive content celebrating Batman’s 75th anniversary, visit

Families will learn, play during ICPL’s Messy Science Day

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 30th, 2014

Experimenting with science can be fun. It can also be messy. For one day, parents, you won’t be the ones cleaning it up. boy-microscope-post

Join the Iowa City Public Library from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 12, for Messy Science Day, a fun-filled family event with all sorts of science experiments.

Librarians will set up the lab on the City Plaza, leading participants through experiments that include the creation of chalk bombs and Mentos soda rockets.

Old clothing is encouraged. Everyone will get messy.

Messy Science Day is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Iowa City Public Library at (319) 356-5200.

Iowa City Public Library Will Be Closed July 4

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 27th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library will be closed on Friday, July 4.Closed-sign-tm

Regular hours will resume on Saturday, July 5.

More information on the Library’s holiday hours schedule can be found at:

Baking with books

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 19th, 2014

I went a little crazy at the farmers market the other day. I bought the first container of strawberries I spotted and snacked on them while strolling the other tables.

I ended up purchasing two more pints to replace the ones I ate.Sallys-Baking-Addiction-Cookbook-on-sale

It seemed like a great idea at the time — strawberry season is never long enough — but then I had a pile of strawberries I needed to use before they went bad. I also forgot about the two pints of blueberries already in the refrigerator.

I didn’t panic. Instead, I visited the Library’s cookbook collection, checking out Sally McKenney’s Sally’s Baking Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes & Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix. I’ve been a fan of McKenney’s blog, also called Sally’s Baking Addiction, for years, so I was thrilled to find out which of her amazing recipes she chose to feature in her first cookbook.

Flipping through the colorful pages, my stomach rumbling the whole time, I found the perfect recipe for my strawberry and blueberry situation: Jumbo Blueberry Streusel Muffins. I added strawberries to the list of ingredients and ended up with a grab-and-go breakfast that made me and my family happy for several days.

I posted a picture of the muffins on the Library’s Instagram account. If you are on Instagram or twitter, please share photos of the great recipes you’ve made because of ICPL’s cookbook collection using the with the #cookingwithicpl hashtag. It’s the next best thing to a city-wide potluck!

ICPL launches redesigned website

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 18th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library’s redesigned website is live, with features designed to improve user experience, especially for patrons using Smartphones and tablets.

“Part of our long-term strategic plan was to make improvements to the Website that’s easier to navigate from both a desktop computer and mobile devices,” says Brent Palmer, the Library’s Information Technology Coordinator. “We also wanted to make our website more dynamic.”

To meet the first goal, “responsive design” elements were incorporated into the webpage infrastructure to assure an optimal viewing experience. The website is now easier to use on all equipment including smart phones, tablets and desktop computers. The content automatically adjusts based on the screen size of the user’s equipment, making site navigation easier and more appealing.

To meet the second goal, Library staff identified content, created by staff members, patrons would be interested in, including the new 123 South Linn Library Blog, which contains book recommendations from staff, and program information listed in the Library’s online calendar. Then staff identified existing webpages where the staff-created content would augment the information presented.

Infrastructure was created so the webpage dynamically pulls information into correlating webpages, bringing together a hybrid of information for our patrons.  One example is the “Books” webpage at  In addition to standard information about loan periods and online book-related resources, users may now explore books recently added to the collection and book reviews written by staff.

The launch of the new design is the culmination of a year’s work by the Library’s IT staff.

“We look forward to sharing the redesigned webpage with our community and continuing to explore ways to improve our user’s online experience,” Palmer says.

First Hour Free Parking Program Continues in Downtown Iowa City

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 10th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library wants to remind patrons about the City of Iowa City’s “First Hour Free” program.

The “First Hour Free” program provides all visitors to Downtown Iowa City, including Library patrons, with one hour of free parking in four of the downtown area parking ramps:FirstHourFree-IC

  • Capitol Street (253 S. Clinton St.)
  • Dubuque Street (280 S. Dubuque St.)
  • Tower Place (351 Iowa Ave.)
  • Court Street Transportation Center (380 S. Dubuque St.)

This means a two-hour Library visit will only cost $1 for parking.

First Hour Free parking is available in designated downtown ramps only; on-street metered parking is not included in the program.

The Library also has free short-term parking (20 minutes) on Linn Street in front of the Library. These spaces are reserved for Library use only during Library hours.