Author Archive for Mari Redington



Wheeled Wonders: a celebration of Bookmobiles

by Mari Redington on April 9th, 2019

Students from Alexander after a bookmobile visit.

National Bookmobile Day is Wednesday April 10th, and all week we are celebrating the second birthday of our very own ICPL bookmobile!

I spend almost half of my work week on the Bookmobile, and my favorite statement that I often hear is, “I loved the Bookmobile when I was a kid.” I hear this from Iowa City residents of all ages with home towns all over the country. For many, visiting a Bookmobile is an experience they will never forget. Bookmobiles are nostalgic, and let’s face it, they’re just neat.

For more than 100 years bookmobiles have brought a library to those that otherwise may not have access to one. So, in honor of a holiday of celebrating the wonderful services bookmobiles all over the world provide, I have scoured the internet for the most “novel,” whimsical and just plain neat bookmobiles over the past century.

 

Originating in the nineteenth century, the earliest bookmobiles were horse-drawn wagons filled with boxes of books. However, in the 1920s, Sarah Byrd Askew, a New Jersey librarian, thought reading and literacy so important that she delivered books to rural readers in her own Ford Model T. (From the Multnomah County Library Archives.)

 

 

 

During the Great Depression, there was a fleet of “book women” who delivered books, regardless of weather, to rural communities in Appalachia. These women would ride 100-120 miles every week on horseback, traversing dangerous terrain, to ensure that their readers received their books on time. (From the Kentucky Library and Archives.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Biblioburro is a mobile library that brings books to children in remote rural areas of Colombia using two donkeys. It’s been the subject of a PBS POV film and inspired a popular children’s book, Waiting for the Biblioburro. (From the PBS POV Archive.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa’s first mobile library rolled out in 1926 via the County Library Committee of the Iowa Library Association. The idea of the book caravan, also known as “The Lydia”, was conceived by Miss Lydia Barrette, city librarian at Mason City. Every county in Iowa could secure the use of this library on wheels for a week at a cost of $50, to help stimulate interest in the levy of a tax so that each county might have its own library and caravan.

 

 

Here’s some stunning photos of the Utah State Library Bookmobile is traveling near Zion National Park circa 1970. (From the Utah State Library.)

 

 

 

 

 

This Bookmobile Tank is a ‘Weapon of Mass Instruction.’ In 2015, Argentine artist Raul Lemesoff created a Ford Falcon-based “tank” that’s armored with free books that he distributes, gratis, to people in and around Buenos Aires.

Garbage collectors in the Turkish capital Ankara decided to give discarded books a new life by creating a unique bookmobile that tours schools in suburban districts to impart the passion for reading in children. With a total population of 5.5 million people, the Turkish large capital province Ankara is divided into 25 districts, where not all schools have the privilege of a usable library. (From the Borneo Bulletin.)

BiebBus is a children’s mobile library from the Netherlands. A traditional bookmobile would be too big for the narrow Dutch streets, so the BiebBus can expand – vertically. The bottom room is filled with shelves with 7,000 children’s books. Through the transparent ceiling you can see the upper room, which is a wonderful reading and playing area. BiebBus has a total space of 52 square meters, and offers space for 30-45 kids.


Green Day’s first tour bus was an old bookmobile van that drummer Tre Cool’s dad refurbished into a unique tour bus. Last year, Green Day donated the dilapidated bookmobile to Wheels For Wishes to be restored, after which it was sent to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland. The proceeds from auctioning this donation will go towards helping Make-A- Wish grant wishes to local children. (From Wheels For Wishes)

The Mongolian Children’s Mobile Library carried by camel to nomadic herding communities and remote parts of the Gobi desert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Bahman Beigi’s mobile library in Iran. Mohammad Bahman Beigi was a passionate activist who devoted his life to educate nomadic communities in Iran. In the 1970s he visited numerous desert villages, bringing in his jeep the books to read.

Last but not least, here are a few photos of our now 2-year old ICPL Bookmobile over the years!

ICPL’s Bookmobile on the day of it’s arrival 2 years ago this week!

 

Just recently, hitting 10,000 miles, the Bookmobile has been all across Iowa City, helping patrons of all ages in rain and shine, snow and heat, and anything else Iowa weather has to offer.

Please help us celebrate this week and year round by continuing to visit and use the resources our Bookmobile can offer!

 

Library Winter Break Activities for Kids

by Mari Redington on December 10th, 2018

As the holidays creep up, it’s not too early to start planning your family’s two week winter break, when the kids are home from school and you already need a break from the coveted family time at home. The library has something going on every day besides city holidays, including a family-friendly party to ring in the New Year! Events are always free and there’s something for all ages. And be sure to sign up for the Winter Reading Program to kick off 2019 with a sweet reading goal. You can register online, at the Children’s Room desk or on the Bookmobile beginning December 17th, look for the link on our website.  Check out these library events coming up while school’s out! 

  Read the rest of this entry »

Stories in the Park with the Bookmobile Kicks off in June

by Mari Redington on May 30th, 2018

You don’t have to choose between a morning trip to the library for storytime or a playground visit before the sun gets too hot this summer, check out Stories in the Park all summer long! The Iowa City Public Library’s summertime outdoor reading series, Stories in the Park, will be held from 10:30 to 11 a.m. June 4 through August 3 at the following locations:

  • Monday at Willow Creek Park, 1177 Teg Dr.
  • Wednesday at Wetherby Park, 2400 Taylor Dr.
  • Friday at Mercer Park, 2701 Bradford Dr.

Stories in the Park is a mix of traditional storytimes and special performances, most similar to Preschool Storytime at the downtown library,  but appropriate for all ages. On traditional storytime days, you can expect stories, songs, and rhymes. Special performances will be mostly musical in nature in celebration of our Summer Reading theme Libraries Rock!

Children, parents and caregivers should remember to bring their Library Card in order to check out books and DVDs from the Bookmobile. If you need to sign up for a card you can do that on the Bookmobile as well.  You can sign up for the Summer Reading Program and redeem prizes for Babies & Toddlers, Kids, Teens and Adults on the bookmobile at all of scheduled stops. See the bookmobile summer schedule to plan your visits. the Bookmobile will also be at all of the Thursday Party in the Park events this summer for your library needs, see the Party in the Park schedule to find out when we’ll be in your neighborhood!

In the event of rain, the Monday and Wednesday storytimes will be held at the Library and the Friday storytimes will be cancelled. However, the Bookmobile will still travel to the parks, rain or shine, so visitors can check out items. There won’t be Stories in the Park or Bookmobile service on Wednesday, July 4.

Be sure to plan on attending a few of the special Stories in the Park programs, this summer, here’s what we have scheduled: Read the rest of this entry »

ABC’s Saturday: Art, Books & Children 2018

by Mari Redington on May 22nd, 2018

 

The Arts Fest is the unofficial kick-off of summer in Iowa City, so be sure to bring your whole family down to Clinton Street for all of the fun, free activities perfect for children of all ages.

On Saturday June 2nd, 11 am-3 pm, we are celebrating Art, Books and Children, or the ABC’s, during the Iowa Arts Festival!  Mark your calendars now for this annual event, formerly known as Children’s Day, produced by the Iowa City Public Library with Summer of the Arts. Due to construction in the Ped Mall, all of the children’s activities will be concentrated on Clinton Street between the College Street crosswalk and Washington Street, with the Family Stage at the south end and the bookmobile at the north end. This is a great time to sign up for the ICPL’s summer reading program—Libraries Rock! and visit the ICPL bookmobile!

 

Learn about art, music, science and more with activity booths from local groups and enjoy a show on the Family Stage. With live performances, arts and crafts, fun activities, and the ICPL Bookmobile, there’s something for everyone!

The fun doesn’t end on Saturday! On Sunday, check out the Children’s Global Village, featuring activity booths representing different countries and cultures. Find out more about the Arts Festival, ABC’s: Art, Books and Children on Saturday and Children’s Global village on Sunday from Summer of the Arts!

 

Renowned children’s musician Dino O’Dell

 

Family Stage Schedule:

11:00 AM      After School Specials

11:45 AM      Dino O’Dell

12:30 PM     Herky and the Hawkeye Cheerleaders

1:15 PM         Dream Divas

2:00 PM       Family Folk Machine

 

 

 

 

Activity Booths:

  • ICPL Bookmobile and Summer Reading Program Sign-up
  • Recycled Craft and Games with the 100 Grannies
  • Mason Bee Habitats with Green Iowa AmeriCorps and Iowa City Park and Recreation
  • Furry Friends with Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center
  • Rock Painting with the Iowa City Public Library
  • Make Your Mark with the City of Literature
  • Tiles for a Mural with Big Picture Young Artist Studio
  • Paint the Town with ICPL and Blick Art Materials
  • Making Music Together with the Preucil School of Music
  • Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois
  • Iowa Children’s Museum
  • Spin Art with Johnson County 4-H
  • Jingle Bracelets with West Music
  • Summertime Shrinky Dinks with ICPL

Fantastic Embroidery Projects and Where to Find Them

by Mari Redington on February 15th, 2018

I have always been a craft dabbler. In high school I learned how to sew when I made Juliet’s dress for my final project during Romeo & Juliet. It was the one of the dresses in the class that looked “mom interference-free.” Collaging in college. I’ve made exactly 1 quilt. I learned how to knit but for me it was not the relaxing pastime advertised.  My latest craft dabble has been embroidery, which was a past hobby revived after I attended embroidery classes offered at the library this past fall. This hobby has seemed to stick longer than most, and I thought I would share some great resources I’ve come across over the past few months. Hand embroidery has recently become modernized and popular again. It translates really well from drawings and paintings and offers lots of options to express sentiments and pop culture references. If it can be drawn or traced, it can be embroidered. Supplies are inexpensive and easy to obtain at craft stores and even second-hand stores. I hand embroidered personalized gift for friends and family for the holidays. Since I’ve started posting pictures of works-in-progress and finished pieces on Instagram, a lot of my friends have told me that I have inspired them to pick up the hobby.

Getting Started:

There are over 200 different kinds of embroidery stitches, but most projects only require knowledge of the basics. Craftsy has a great tutorial offering instructions with pictures of the top ten most commonly used stitches.

My favorite way to learn a new stitch is to watch a YouTube video and stitch along. That way I can pause, start over, and repeat until I have the stitch mastered. The YouTube channel I frequent the most is Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘n Thread. Her videos show the stitch clearly, at a good pace, and she offers tips as she goes. 

 

 

 

 

A great place to start for patterns is DMC.com. They offer over 250 free patterns with tutorials ranging from beginner to advanced. DMC is a popular thread company, so you can easily “Buy the Kit” to order the thread needed to complete the pattern. DMC patterns are made from collaborations with artists, and new patterns are added every week. I have close to a dozen patterns saved that I hope to create eventually! Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Break Events for Kids at ICPL

by Mari Redington on December 5th, 2017

As the holidays creep up, it’s not too early to start planning your family’s two week winter break, when the kids are home from school and the excitement of new toys and eating until your tummy aches has worn off. The library has something going on every day besides city holidays, including a family-friendly party to ring in the New Year! Events are always free and there’s something for all ages. And be sure to sign up for the Winter Reading Program to kick off 2018 with a sweet reading goal. You can register online, at the Children’s Room desk or on the Bookmobile beginning January 2nd, look for the link on our website.  Check out these library events coming up while school’s out!   Read the rest of this entry »

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

by Mari Redington on October 14th, 2017

pashminaAll of the Children’s librarians were abuzz this week after voraciously reading Pashmina, the first graphic novel from artist Nidhi Chanani. Born in Kolkata, Chanani brings her Indian heritage and her talent and love of art together in this story about Priyanka, a young girl who knows very little about India. As a second generation Indian American, Priyanka is torn between two worlds. She tries not to stand out too much at school by shortening her name to Pri, and she doesn’t understand all of the Hindu traditions her family practices at home.

India is her mother’s homeland which she fled at a young age and where she has vowed to never return. Pri can only imagine what it would be like to live in India until she discovers a forgotten pashmina in her mother’s belongings that transports her to beautiful and fantastical Indian landscapes too good to be true. She doesn’t realize the truth about why her mother left until a cash prize from an art contest allows her to travel to India to stay with her aunt. Pashmina explores bicultural and immigrant culture clashes as well as a feminist look at ways women are constrained by patriarchy. Chanani’s beautifully drawn images uses color to draw a clear contrast between Pri’s real life which is shown in pale neutrals and her wondrous visions of India, bright and vivid like the cover art. capture

ICPL Bookmobile adds special preschool visits to fall schedule

by Mari Redington on September 6th, 2017

bookmobile-preschoolStarting this month, the ICPL Bookmobile will be making stops at area preschools on Wednesday mornings. This will be an additional service for several preschools who are already receiving regular visits from an ICPL Children’s librarian each month for a classroom Storytime. Preschoolers and their families as well as teachers will have the opportunity to check out books on the bookmobile, sign up for library cards, and even redeem prizes for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading program! While the Wednesday morning preschool visits will not be publicly advertised on the schedule, if you happen to see the bookmobile parked at a school, the public is welcome to return library books, pick up holds, check out library items, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Iowa State Fair at the Library

by Mari Redington on August 3rd, 2017

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Thursday August 10th is the last big program day for the 2017 Summer Reading Program season, and we are having one last hurrah to celebrate an amazing summer! Children of all ages are invited to attend a mini-version of the Iowa State Fair in Meeting Room A from 1-3pm. Stop in the enjoy all of the great traditions of the Fair right here in Iowa City, including food, games, prizes and more! Bring your creative skills to make your own “butter sculpture,” not limited to cows. We will also have “tractor races,” a cake walk, carnival games, face painting, and a couple blue ribbon animals to meet. You can create your own “snack on a stick,” guaranteed to be tasty, although not deep fried. Everything is free and all ages are welcome!

billyWe will also have a special State Fair-themed storytime in the morning at 10:30 in Meeting Room A for children preschool age and younger. We will be enjoying stories, songs and a movie about experiences at the State Fair.

And don’t forget to redeem your Summer Reading prizes at the Children Room Desk during your visit, the last day to qualify for the grand prize drawing is August 11th.

Silhouettes and Shadows by Sea Beast

by Mari Redington on July 19th, 2017

We’ve had a lot of wonderful special programs so far for the Summer Reading Program, including visits from hissing cochroaches, snakes, lizards, a duck, a tortoise and a fancy rat, not to mention Dan Wardell! However, one of my favorite performers to host at the library is a shadow puppet company from Chicago called Sea Beast. Shadow puppetry is considered the oldest form of puppetry in the world. It originated thousands of years ago in China and India. In Western Europe shadow puppetry became popular in the 19th century when the art of cutting silhouettes out of paper was fashionable. In 1926 German shadow puppeteer Lotte Reiniger made the first full length animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmet. Reiniger hand-cut stunning opaque silhouette figures that were moved on an animation table. Sea Beast embodies the evolving history of shadow puppetry in their artistry with an almost extinct technology—overhead projectors. Read the rest of this entry »