Author Archive for Stacey McKim



Bookmobile rhymes with Snowmobile

by Stacey McKim on January 19th, 2018

And, just like a snowmobile, the Bookmobile operates all winter!

When the freezing rain started falling last week, we were already at our Mercer Park stop.  The ground was slick and I warily drove it into the empty parking lot to test how our 22,000 pound vehicle would handle on ice.  We were elated to find that it handled surprisingly well!  We made it to the 1st Avenue Hy-Vee stop and back to our downtown parking spot without any trouble.

Bookmobile at Saddlebrook

Here’s the Bookmobile at Saddlebrook

But snow or a different type of ice on the roads might be a different story, so please don’t be surprised if you see the Bookmobile driving slower than usual!  We’re putting safety first until we all figure out how to handle such a large vehicle in adverse conditions.

What else have we done to be ready for winter Bookmobiling?  We carry a shovel and a bucket of ice melt, to make sure you can comfortably walk up to the vehicle’s door.  As you enter and exit the Bookmobile, take a little extra care in case of slush on the stairs.  You’ll be nice and toasty on board, as we have a very powerful heater.  And, finally, we bought a long ice scraper that hasn’t been used yet – cross your fingers that it stays that way for a while!

New offbeat travel memoirs

by Stacey McKim on December 29th, 2017

Are you going anywhere next year?  Start dreaming of your next trip with travel books from the library.  You probably already know about our collection of travel guides for the U.S. and the world (and that we can get other esoteric locations for you on interlibrary loan!), but also look upstairs for niche guidebooks, gorgeous coffee table books, and new memoirs like these.

My favorite way to spend time in a new city is a long, blister-inducing bout of wandering around.  When I first learned the word flâneur (one who strolls around town observing modern life), I immediately knew it described my desire to feel part of the current of a city.  How surprising, then, to come across this book written to disprove an old idea that there are no female flâneurs?  In Flâneuse: women walk the city in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London, Lauren Elkin shares her experiences alongside those of famous flâneuses from history such as George Sand and Virginia Woolf.  If this book doesn’t get your feet itching for a long walk, nothing will. Read the rest of this entry »

Treat Yo Shelf at the library

by Stacey McKim on October 10th, 2017

What would Leslie Knope read?treat2017_1

This year for Treat Yo Self day — a holiday created by characters on the TV show Parks & Recreation and celebrated by fans every October 13th — we have a display of books that Parks & Rec characters might like.  Donna has some books on glamour, becoming a real estate agent, and fine leather goods.  treat2017_3Tom’s got big-picture entrepreneurial books, The Sartorialist, and a ridiculous photo book of cats wearing candy-colored wigs.  Ben has Batman, early-90s REM CDs, and something boring about the history of accounting.

But if you’re a book-lover (or movie- or magazine- or music-lover), we invite you to adopt the Treat Yo Self mind-set every time you enter the Iowa City Public Library, and load up on the most decadent, luxurious stuff you can find.  Treat Yo Self 2017!

We’re your source for wellness

by Stacey McKim on August 17th, 2017

When you think about it, libraries are all about wellness.

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Our collections of books and services are designed to help you thrive — mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  That’s why we had a booth at yesterday’s Wellness Fair at the Rec Center.  If you missed it, here’s a recap:

Our sign asked attendees to share: “What book made you feel happy?”  “Encouraged you to be yourself?”  “Helped you understand others?”  “Helped you manage health issues?”  Library lovers know the power of a good book.  Which books have impacted your life?

 

bookmark-swirls

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People of all ages took time for some art therapy by painting bookmarks.  It’s an easy project to do at home!  1. Drizzle rubber cement onto thick paper.  2. After it dries, paint over it with watercolors.  3. When the paint is dry, rubbing off the rubber cement will reveal a crisp design.

 

Finally, we distributed lists of the library’s new books on wellness topics.  Remember to browse the Adult Nonfiction section for books like these:

wbook4wbook1wbook2wbook3

Finding an appealing book

by Stacey McKim on December 28th, 2016

Whether you’re gearing up to read an impressive number of books in 2017 (52?  100?  365?) or just need one good read for now, a new feature in NoveList may be helpful.

You might already use the NoveList database to find books similar to ones you already love, but now the adventurous and the forgetful can start from scratch with their appeal mixer.appealmixer1

What makes a book appealing to you?  Choose a combination of character types, storylines, pace, tone, and/or writing styles, and see if it leads you to your next favorite book!

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Recovering the Classics exhibit ends

by Stacey McKim on December 6th, 2016

Our exhibit of redesigned book covers has come to a close, and we hope you enjoyed it!

If you contributed one of the beautiful and thoughtful original designs, you may now retrieve your piece from the Help Desk.  Thank you for participating!

The centerpiece of the exhibit was this year’s Art Purchase Prize winner.  This beautiful redesign of The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman was made by local artist Doran Pearson and is almost ready for 8-week checkouts.  See if it’s available or place a hold.

And finally, if you were inspired to make your own design too late, you can always submit a book cover to the online Recovering the Classics project.recovering1

Read Like Rory Gilmore

by Stacey McKim on November 28th, 2016

I don’t have any news about the much-anticipated Gilmore Girls reboot, because I just started with season 1, episode 1 earlier this month.  I had barely heard of the show before the outpouring of excitement for last Friday’s release.  But I’m glad I’m giving it a try, because the show is both nonconformist and cozy, with the quick-witted sass of the characters offsetting the way each episode wraps up with someone doing the right thing.

roryRory – the daughter in the show – is an admirable reader, and a list has been compiled of every book she reads or someone references in the TV show.  See how you rank against Rory or, if you get totally bewildered by something Lorelai says, the show’s cultural references are all annotated here.  Then, come in to the library and look for our Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge display!

(Now, I’m off to the CD section to find something to dislodge the show’s theme song from my head.  ♫ Where you lead… ♫)

Get creative with Recovering the Classics

by Stacey McKim on August 29th, 2016

Does your favorite classic novel have a “blah” cover?  Wouldn’t it be fun to make up a new one?

Recovering_ScarletThat’s the idea behind Recovering the Classics, a crowdsourced collection of original covers for great works in the public domain, and the upcoming exhibit at the Iowa City Public Library.  We’ll be displaying 50 book covers made by artists from around the world in October and November, alongside yours.

1) Choose a book from our list of classics in the public domain, 2) create a piece of art that reimagines its front cover, and 3) drop it off at the library’s Help Desk by September 19.  We’ve already received our first entry — a mixed media version of The Secret Garden, made with watercolors and collage.  One of my coworkers is thinking of doing a cover in cross-stitch…  Anything goes!

This is about sharing our love of literature — and possibly getting someone to try a book they always assumed was fusty or boring — so the project is open to all ages and ability levels. Every display space in the library is booked for Recovering the Classics, so help us fill it up!

Questions?  Ask Stacey (stacey-mckim@icpl.org 319-887-6025) or Candice (candice-smith@icpl.org 319-887-6031).  More details are available at icpl.org/classics.

Reeling in some new podcasts

by Stacey McKim on July 29th, 2016

PodcastsPhoto2Lots of my library coworkers love podcasts, so we put up a display of our favorites this summer.  (If you missed it, the full list is at the bottom.)  I tried and thoroughly enjoyed three of the shows:

The Dollop: The Dollop is two comedians discussing a topic or person from American History. One guy, Dave Anthony reads about a topic or person from American History, and the other guy, Gareth Reynolds, has no idea what the topic will be about each episode, so he’s consistently shocked or confused. It’s hilarious and terrible all at once. (Recommended by Rachael)  I agree – the episodes about “America’s Worst Lottery Winner” and “The Jones County Deserters” were both appallingly funny.

Judge John Hodgman: Do you ever feel you need someone to rule on life disputes with your spouse, co-workers, or friends to tell you who’s right? “Judge” and comedian John Hodgman does just that. (Recommended by Christina)  The episode titles alone are entertaining:  “Do You Want to Hoard Some Snowglobes?” and “Wrecks Libris.”

No Such Thing as a Fish: From the team behind long running British panel show QI (Quite Interesting) comes No Such Thing as a Fish. Every episode, four of the QI fact-checkers (or “elves” as they are called) scour the internet to present to you their four favorite humorous or interesting facts of the week.  (Recommended by Kristin)  I love QI — hosted by Stephen Fry and available on YouTube — and I’m glad to have even more of their random, bizarre facts.

Our full list of recommendations:

  • 99% Invisible
  • The Allusionist
  • Answer Me This
  • BBC The Conversation
  • The Bugle
  • Criminal
  • The Dollop
  • How Did This Get Made
  • Judge John Hodgman
  • The Last Podcast on the Left
  • Mortified
  • Myths and Legends
  • No Such Thing as a Fish
  • On the Media
  • Radiolab
  • Reply All
  • School of Movies
  • Serial
  • Sleep With Me
  • Snap Judgement
  • Surprisingly Awesome
  • Talking Theatre
  • Think Again
  • This American Life
  • Unqualified
  • Welcome to Night Vale
  • The West Wing Weekly
  • Wolf 359
  • WTF with Marc Maron
  • You Must Remember This

Share your favorites in the comments!

Rocketing down to Lone Tree

by Stacey McKim on June 27th, 2016

We’re about halfway through this year’s summertime outreach, and I took my fourth trip to Lone Tree this morning.

The City of Lone Tree contracts with ICPL for library service, and the 4-H on Wheels group in Lone Tree’s North Park is a good place to find kids eager to check out books.

flightbooks2The students were still shooting paper rockets from various contraptions and measuring their results when I got there.  Knowing that flight was their topic this week, I brought about 30 books on that STEM subject as well as perennial favorites like Ripley’s Believe it or Not and some DIY creativity guides.  With a laptop and a wifi hotspot, I got everyone checked out from my pop-up library on a picnic table and then headed back to ICPL!