Author Archive for Stacey McKim

65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

by Stacey McKim on June 25th, 2019

Posters on display in the libraryIf you’ve wondered what it was like to live during “separate but equal” times, stop by the 1st floor Gallery to view an exhibit on loan from the Brown Foundation, brought to town courtesy of the Iowa City Human Rights Commission.  Learn more about the historic Brown v. Board of Education case, which overturned the justification for racial segregation in public facilities that had been in place since 1896.

Dr. Cheryl Brown Henderson

Dr. Cheryl Brown Henderson

And then attend the Human Rights Commission‘s Inclusive Teaching Awards event this Friday, June 28 from 1:30-3:00 and hear guest speaker Dr. Cheryl Brown Henderson (daughter of named plaintiff Oliver Brown) share what the court case meant to her family.  The founding president of the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research, and owner of Brown & Associates, an educational consulting firm, she has an extensive background in education, business and civic leadership.

Event details


Earth Day Every Day at ICPL

by Stacey McKim on April 23rd, 2019

At today’s Earth Day Fair at Kirkwood Community College, some people wondered why the public library was there alongside groups like 100 Grannies, Table to Table, and Field to Family. Well, when it comes to “Reduce and Reuse,” public libraries have been there from the start. Think of all the books and movies you’ve checked out from the library instead of purchasing, and all the paper and plastic casing that was avoided!

Not to mention our books on every environmental topic you can imagine. Here’s a partial list with call numbers to whet your appetite:

307.12   Urban planning
332.024 Going car-free
333.95   Biodiversity
344.046 Environmental law
363.7     Environmental ethics
363.73874  Climate change
621.042 Alternative energy
631.875 Composting
635.0484  Organic gardening
635.95177  Native plants
640         Eco cleaning supplies
640         Zero waste lifestyle
641.5636   Vegetarian cookbooks
641.56366   Vegan cookbooks
644         Energy efficient home
648.8     Minimalism
697.78   Solar power your home
745.5     Upcycling
796.6     Bicycle riding

With so many great online resources, you can keep your carbon footprint small by cutting down on some trips to the library. Get the New York Times online, watch streaming movies on Kanopy, flip through magazines on RB Digital, and of course get your ebooks and e-audiobooks on Libby.

AND one of our new Discovery Kits has perfect Earth Day appeal: “Make your home more energy efficient” has a thermal leak detector and an electricity usage monitor, so you can find out where your house has room for improvement.

Tree-lovers might also enjoy our Arbor Day display, featuring books and movies with prominent trees. Think the Ents from Lord of the Rings, Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Whomping Willow from Harry Potter. We’ve also included tree identification guides and other nonfiction about the ways that trees resonate with people.

Finally, ambitious homeowners will find landscaping books on display upstairs. Build a patio, a stone retaining wall, walkways, or find advice on laying out your garden this year.

Last chance for a Blind Date With A Book

by Stacey McKim on February 15th, 2019

Did you spend Valentine’s Day without a current read that makes your heart pound?

This weekend’s your last chance to let us set you up on a Blind Date With a Book.  The books are using their first sentences as pick-up lines this year — these are two of my favorites!









Anyone who finishes their Blind Date by the end of the month can enter a prize drawing for this ICPL book bag valued at $29.99.  Return your Rate Your Date bookmarks to the Help Desk.

Your library

World War I Honor Roll

by Stacey McKim on December 18th, 2018

Stop by the first floor of the library to view this traveling exhibit created by the State Historical Museum of Iowa featuring the names and photos of over 4,000 Iowans lost during World War I.

The State Historical Society of Iowa collected photographs from affected Iowa families in 1920 and again in 2017, making this display possible in time for the 100th anniversary of the war.

The list of Iowan casualties includes Merle Hay of Glidden, who was among the first Americans to die during the war, and Wayman Minor of Centerville, who was among the last. The first U.S. servicewoman to die during active duty in the war was Marion Crandall of Cedar Rapids. This display also includes photographs and information of about 41 individuals from Johnson County.

The exhibit will be on display at the Iowa City Public Library from December 18 to January 27.  Learn more at

Lots to see at the library this month

by Stacey McKim on October 5th, 2018

When you’re downtown for the Iowa City Book Festival and Gallery Walk this weekend, make sure to stop in the library to take in some fresh displays:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights:  This moving community display created by the Iowa United Nations Association will catch your eye on the 1st floor. A celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it features unique posters from a UNESCO exhibit shortly after the Declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, interspersed with modern interpretations.

Book Fest authors: There’s still time to check out a book by a visiting author before you attend their reading!  You’ll find the last few available books on this 1st floor display.

Art-To-Go:  In honor of the Gallery Walk, librarian Candice Smith has selected several pieces of our circulating artwork to showcase on the 2nd floor of the library.  Information about the pieces and artists are included.  Do you know where the originals are housed, in galleries around the world?

Westgate Collection: The Westgate collection of original children’s book art was donated by nationally known authors and illustrators of children’s books, and now features new additions from local illustrators Claudia McGehee and Jennifer Black Reinhardt.  You’ll find the artwork throughout the Children’s Room.

Staff Picks – Music:  Why not grab some CDs when you’re here getting books?  This month kicks off a series of music displays from staff members, with favorites from Jason (who works in Adult Services and chooses our new music CDs) and Elyse (who works in the library’s Business Office).

Bailing Out Benji: Take a look at this 2nd floor community display created by Bailing Out Benji, a small, non-profit organization that is dedicated to educating the public regarding the puppy mill industry. This display provides visual data and information about puppy mills in Iowa, with a focus on data and not shocking imagery.

Silent Witnesses: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and you’ll find a community display created by the Domestic Violence Intervention Program on the 2nd floor.  The Silent Witness display includes life-sized cut-outs of victims who have lost their lives to intimate partner violence, with real stories of lives lost.

Treat Yo Self to a Great Book:  If you haven’t seen Parks & Recreation, you should know that October 13 is Treat Yo Self Day.  Go wild. Get a guilty-pleasure book or something to read instead of being productive.

Celebrity authors:  Sometimes celebrities write books, and we pulled some of those together for you.  Check out books written by actors, athletes, politicians, YouTube stars, comedians, and more.

The Great American Read: Even if you haven’t been watching PBS’s eight-part series about America’s favorite novels, you can still enjoy a popular book off this display and pick up the list of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey) to see how many you’ve read.  There’s still time to vote for your favorite before the series finale on Tuesday, October 23, which we’ll show live in Meeting Room A from 7-9pm.

Community display: Physicians for Social Responsibility

by Stacey McKim on August 6th, 2018

Stop by the second floor of the library in August to see the large, detailed display created by the local chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and Thursday is Nagasaki’s remembrance day.  This exhibit provides a wealth of information about weapons of mass destruction and the Physicians for Social Responsibility’s efforts in advocating for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Sign their guest book, join the Physicians for Social Responsibility mailing list, and take a brochure with more information about nuclear weapons.  You’ll also find a selection of library books on the topic available for checkout.

If your club or organization would like to have a display at the library, please contact or call 319-887-6025 for more information.

RAGBRAI Kids’ Art Contest on display

by Stacey McKim on July 13th, 2018

Find the display outside of the Children’s Room

Are you looking forward to RAGBRAI as much as these kids?  Come see the twenty-six entries to the Kids’ Art Contest for Iowa City’s RAGBRAI stop, on display in the library through July 29.

To promote spirit during The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa overnight stop in Iowa City on Friday, July 27, kids in grades K-5 were encouraged to capture the fun of RAGBRAI through original artwork on the “Book it to Iowa City” theme.

Iowa City’s winner: A.J. 4th Grade

A.J. won the Iowa City contest with this beautiful line drawing spattered with paint!  Vote for his piece in the statewide kid’s art contest.  The winner will receive a $350 prize.

Little Free Libraries in Iowa City

by Stacey McKim on May 24th, 2018

Last month, we hosted a community display about Iowa City’s many Little Free Libraries.  Did you vote for the LFL you most wanted to visit?  If so, the results are in!

1st Place: 1425 Franklin Street, a bright Little Free Library with flamingo accents
2nd Place: 116 Raven Street, the gothic Little Free Library with Día de Muertos features

The display also promoted a Little Free Library scavenger hunt during the month of May, run by the Alexander Elementary PTO.  There’s still time to participate!  Take photos of yourself with as many Little Free Libraries as possible and email them to  The visitor to the most LFLs in Iowa City will win a prize basket full of many Iowa City treats, including a Downtown District gift card, an Englert voucher, knitting lessons, garden seeds, and more!

If your community group is interested in putting up a display at the Iowa City Public Library, please contact or call 319-887-6025 for more information.

Welcome, Cities of Literature!

by Stacey McKim on March 30th, 2018

Representatives from the global Cities of Literature will be in town next week for their annual meeting.  While only one event is open to the public (a panel discussion about the cities’ innovative programs on Thursday, April 5 from 5:15-6:00 at Hancher Auditorium), we’re pretty excited about the chance to think about these twenty-eight cities with rich literary cultures.

Check out a book written by someone from another City of Literature off our display.  We have books by writers from most of the cities, including Durban (South Africa), Reykjavik (Iceland), Krakow (Poland), Lviv (Ukraine), and many more.

While you’re at it, learn a little bit about why each city qualified from the nearby map.  For instance, did you know that Cole’s Book Arcade in Melbourne was reputed to be the largest bookshop in the world at the turn of the twentieth century with two million books, and attracted the attention of visitors like Mark Twain?  How about the fact that Norwich was home to the first female to write and publish a book in the English language?  Or that a Krakow bookstore has been continuously in operation at the same address since 1610?

The Edinburgh City of Literature website has excellent information about each city, if you want to learn more.

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!