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Author Archive for Susan Craig



We’re Planning for an ICPL bookmobile!

by Susan Craig on May 24th, 2016

The Iowa City City Council has approved funding for a new library service — a bookmobile! The timeline calls for the bookmobile (which has to be custom designed and built) to hit Iowa City streets in March of 2017.  The idea for the service grew out of feedback we heard during our last strategic planning process.  People wanted and needed greater access to library services, and for some, coming downtown was a barrier.  Branch libraries are very expensive to build, maintain and operate and they only serve the neighborhood they’re in.  A bookmobile will provide flexible, neighborhood services reaching new library users as well as providing convenient access to people who already use the library.

If you have ideas about where you would like to see stops for the bookmobile let us know.  We are considering schools, parks, mobile home parks, retirement communities, and retail areas.  We need enough room to park a large vehicle with safe access for people coming and going, restrooms available near by as well as a safe area in case of severe weather.  We are very excited about this new service that will bring the library to you!

If you’re looking for a current bookmobile service, the Antelope Lending Library, a local nonprofit library, has a full summer schedule planned.  The Antelope Lending Library’s primary focus is serving families and children, but they have materials for adults as well.

Mothers and Libraries

by Susan Craig on April 21st, 2016

Some of my earliest memories are of my mother taking my brothers and me to the Waterloo Public Library.  We would lay in the “big” bed at night and she would read us library books.  My mother instilled in me a love of books, reading, and libraries that I have never lost.  I hope I have done the same for my children, and now enjoy  passing it on to grandchildren.  My mother would be incredibly happy if she could see her great-grandchildren turning into readers.

We owned a few books, but didn’t have much money, and the library was crucial to providing the number and variety of materials children need.  The Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation’s spring fundraiser happens to fall on Mother’s Day this year.  How fitting.  The Foundation makes many things possible at our library, among them are providing families with great collections and free programs (children even earn books of their own through participation in the summer reading program thanks to Foundation support!).

Please join us on Sunday evening, May 8th, for some fine music and fellowship in support of the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation. For more information, to buy tickets, or make a donation go to  http://www.icpl.org/support/looking-forward/  or call 356-5249 and speak to Patty McCarthy.  Your mother will be proud.

Spring time weeding: books & plants

by Susan Craig on March 15th, 2016

It’s early spring and I am walking around my yard thinking about what needs pruning, what new plants I want to make room for that I have learned about during the winter gardening programs I have attended and what areas need special attention this year.  The process makes me think about how the library staff are continually doing a similar assessment of the library collection.

We have limited space (just like my yard), and pretty much when we add new thing we have to get rid of old things.  We are not a research library where things are purchased and kept forever, we want to spend our budget, both tax and gift dollars, on things people will use, and we get rid of things people aren’t using anymore.  We are constantly “weeding” (yes, that is an official library term) items that have not been used, or have been loved so much they are falling apart.

Last year we added 34,619 new items to the collection, 18,962 of those were new titles, the rest were additional copies of titles we already owned.  During the same time we withdrew 37,767 items.  The largest collection component, 74%, is print books.  Electronic/digital media makes up only 7.5% of the collection, and audiovisual items (primarily CD’s & DVDs) account for 18.5%.

We are constantly moving things around, again, just like my yard.  Last year we pulled the comics and graphic novels out of the children’s nonfiction collection, this fall look for a similar change to happen with the adult collection.graph

 

 

 

All Iowa Reads Lila

by Susan Craig on January 29th, 2016
All Iowa Reads Lila Cover Image

Lila by Marilynne Robinson is the 2016 All Iowa Reads book and I want to encourage everyone to read it. Robinson is a brilliant author,  her last four novels have been: a finalist for the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, awarded the 2005 Pulitzer, awarded the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction, and awarded the 2014 National Book Critics Fiction Prize.  Lila, the fourth in this list and the third book revolving around the small Iowa town of Gilead is a remarkable story of how a child grows into a woman dealing with abandonment and deprivation, struggling to understand her past and envision a more hopeful future.  Sounds grim, doesn’t it?  And, yet, somehow it is an inspiring tale of a fierce, obstinate woman I wish I could talk to.

This is the first time the All Iowa Reads committee has selected a second book by the same author (Gilead was an earlier selection), but this story and how it is told deserves a broad audience.  I find Lila a much easier read than Gilead.  I like Lila more than I did Reverend Ames.  I find her story compelling and the narrative– although it jumps from present to past and is not sequential– easier to follow.  Several people I know tried to read Gilead and put it down before they were finished, I urged them to give Lila a try, and one who did said it was an excellent book they enjoyed very much.

The Library has many copies of the book — in regular print, large print, e-book, audio on compact disc and downloadable, plus a book club kit.  I highly recommend the book to all readers and it is a great discussion book for reading groups as well.

Resolve to Use the Library More in 2016

by Susan Craig on January 6th, 2016

Many of us are busy making (or breaking already?) our New Year’s resolutions.  And, I have a suggestion for you — resolve to use the Library more in 2016.  Here are a few specific suggestions.

1.  Participate in our first ever Winter Reading Program.  It’s intended to challenge people to keep reading in the winter and try out some new things.  Pick up a game card today.

2. Attend Music-is-the-Word programs.  We are entering Season 2 of our special music programming, intended to welcome the University of Iowa School of Music to downtown Iowa City.  Programs are aimed at all ages and a variety of interests.

3.  Get free digital magazines through the library’s Zinio subscription (restricted to Iowa City, rural county, University Heights, Hills and Lone Tree residents).  If you’re uncertain how to set this up bring your device and come to a Drop in Tech-Help session where staff will provide assistance.

4.  Read to a child.  In February we will be launching a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.  Sign up a child you know and bring them to the Library often.

5.  Make a gift to the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation.  Through gifts we are able to support and strengthen our collections and programming.

I resolve to do all of these things!  I think these are resolutions I can stick with.  Happy 2016.

A Book is a Gift You Can Open Again and Again

by Susan Craig on December 14th, 2015

‘Tis the gift giving season and a gift from you makes it possible for the Library to bring more books to more people.  The Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation supports numerous programs and projects at the Library, but the collection is always a major beneficiary.  Last year over $64,000 in Foundation support purchased new items for the collection — items that will be shared again and again.  Please consider a year-end tax deductible gift to the Friends Foundation today.

A Piano for Hancher

by Susan Craig on November 30th, 2015

I read an interesting story in the Cedar Rapids Gazette this morning  about six Hancher representatives visiting Steinway to pick out a new piano for the new building.  The piano will be on display at West Music until it moves next fall.  I can’t play a piano, but I like to listen to piano music and I have always been intrigued by the construction of such a large, complex instrument.  As part of our Music is the Word series we showed a couple of documentaries in November about piano construction, both of the DVDs are available in our collection.

Pianomania,  tells the story of a  Steinway & Sons’ chief technician and master tuner in Vienna.  He pairs his world-class instruments with world-class pianists, juggling the demands of both the pianist and piano.  Note by Note follows the manufacture of one Steinway piano — one year, 12,000 parts and 50 employees.

The Library is a great place to find documentaries that are not available online.  Enjoy learning about pianos … or anything else you are interested in.  Documentaries are located on the second floor.

Great Time to Visit the Library and Downtown Iowa City

by Susan Craig on November 25th, 2015

After you’ve sated yourself on food and football this weekend and you’re looking for a nice place to walk around,  get a little exercise, show your guests some interesting things, and get the kids out from in front of a screen come on downtown.  The Library is closed Thursday, but open from 10-6 both Friday and Saturday, and 12-5 on Sunday.  We have a story time at 10:30 on Saturday, and celebrate C.S. Lewis’ birthday with a variety of crafts on Sunday from 2-4.  Pick up some books to read, DVDs to watch (I haven’t yet indulged in the trend of binge watching TV shows, but we have a wide selection!), or toys for the kids.  Guests to Iowa City often enjoy a visit to the Library. Best of all, many people are out of town, so parking is easy — something we can’t say every day.  The Iowa City Downtown District has a full calendar of events to participate in while you start your holiday shopping including hunting elves, visiting Santa and riding in a horse drawn carriage. Check out their calendar at: http://downtowniowacity.com/pages/events.php l

Enjoy!

Be Creative — We can Help!

by Susan Craig on September 25th, 2015
Be Creative — We can Help! Cover Image

It’s that time of the year again… time to be creative and make some items to donate to the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation’s Arts & Crafts Bazaar which will be held this year on Saturday, December 5.

The Library has many books to help spark your imagination or give you tips on how to improve your crafting skills.  I currently have three checked out that I found on the NEW nonfiction book shelves on the second floor.

Learn to Sew with Lauren by Lauren Guthrie has lots of cute projects that start out “easy peasy” and work up to “more tricky”.  The language is understandable, the illustrations really show each step in a clear way.  I think using patterns can be intimidating to beginning sewers and the chapter on using patterns is very good and also explains how to copy patterns using dressmakers’ pattern paper — a must when using the full size patterns in the book!

present perfectPresent Perfect:  25 gifts to sew & bestow by Betz White is full of fun projects that would appeal to many shoppers at the bazaar.  Tagalong Teddy, Kinetic Felt Baby Mobile, and Hexie the Turtle Floor Pillow all look like things I could handle.

all things quiltingFor beginning quilters All Things Quilting by Alex Anderson covers all the bases — from selecting fabric to the actual quilting.  As a person trying to learn more about quilting techniques I appreciate the clear illustrations showing how to align different shaped pieces (having struggled with this on a couple of projects!).

Maybe sewing isn’t your thing — if you prefer working with yarn, or wood, or paper, or beads, or metal, or any other medium, the Library has books for you.  Check out a few and be creative.

P.S. One of my favorite things about our bazaar is that for every $10 you spend you get chance to win one of 8-10 door prizes, which are — you guessed it! — books, that represent the many ways people can be creative.

 

14 Days, 88 Meetings, 12 Authors –What’s It Worth?

by Susan Craig on September 22nd, 2015

I attended a talk in the Library yesterday titled, “Creative Matters,” by Sunil Iyengar, Research and Analysis Director for the National Endowment for the Arts.  He was sharing information about world-wide efforts to begin to quantify and measure the contribution to a country’s GNP from arts and culture activities.

Measuring beyond counting is a hard thing for single public library.  We can count the number of things checked out, the number of people at a program, the number of questions answered, or the use of our computers.  However, the most meaningful measures indicate how lives were changed in positive ways, and for that we have mostly anecdotal evidence.

I am confident that we contribute substantially to the vitality and economy of downtown Iowa City.  We are a destination point with over 800,000 visitors a year — not a number to sneeze at!  Many of those people come to the library to attend a class, a program, or a meeting.

From Sunday, September 20, through Saturday, October 3, we have 88 meetings, programs and classes offered at the Library.  Seventeen children’s programs include Book Babies (choose English one week, Spanish the next!), traditional story times, Minecraft and video games, a family concert and a Mary-Poppins sing-along.  Teens have special tech times as well as group activities.

It’s a busy time for Library or Library co-sponsored programs with many choices that are part of the Intellectual Freedom Festival or of the City of Literature’s Iowa City Book Festival, including 12 authors, one book discussion and a poetry reading.  Music is the Word programs account for live music programs for all ages, films and a book discussion. Adults can also learn to organize and share digital photographs, improve their financial literacy, attend a showing of the documentary of the Postville Raid or the Gallery Walk:  Rummage ReDux.

If that’s not enough you may be coming to the Library to go to one of 57 non-library meetings or programs scheduled during this two week period.  A few of the groups associated with these meetings are The Society For Creative Anachronism, League of Women Voters, Catholics in America, Old Capital Toastmasters, Open Meditation Group, Korean Cultural Festival, Friends of Hickory Hill Park, and Hawkeyes for O’Malley– truly a cross section of the Iowa City Community.

Iowa City has an active creative economy – one that is fully supported in many (hard to measure :)) ways by the Library.   So many things to do….so little time.




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