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Author Archive for Stacey McKim



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!

appealmixer5

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!

Checking out some bookmobiles

by Stacey McKim on May 27th, 2016

We knew a bookmobile could help us further expand library services beyond downtown, but some of us (including me) had never set foot in one!  Over the past year, ICPL staff members have visited several bookmobiles to get a feel for these moving libraries that fit DVDs, magazines, and books for all ages in the size of a bus.

Inside the Scott County Library System bookmobileI’ve been impressed by how bright and inviting bookmobiles can be. Some have cozy wooden shelves like the Ames Public Library’s, and others have modern-looking metal shelving that can be easily adjusted like one bookmobile we saw in the Chicago area.  Many use creative ways to keep small things like board books and music CDs from flying around while driving, some stagger materials for different ages so that taller people can browse behind children looking at the lower shelves, and they all do their best to maximize every last square inch in the space.  (If you like to daydream about tiny houses like me, here’s a variation!)

I had the pleasure of seeing the Scott County Library System’s bookmobile in Eldridge, Iowa last weekend.  Their two-year-old Bluebird-style bookmobile travels throughout the county to residential neighborhoods, parks, gas stations, a farmers market, a swimming pool, a shopping mall, and even a baseball diamond!  They enjoy being out on the road and getting to know the people at each stop.

scottco_bookmobileThis was a meeting of the Midwest Bookmobile Alliance, a group composed of mainly Iowa bookmobiles that includes the Antelope Lending Library, Scott County, Ames Public Library, and now us.  I received some great advice from Cassi and Braeden of the Antelope Lending Library and Cathy of Scott County about all the little details that go into organizing and operating a bookmobile.  We talked about back-up cameras, picking up holds on the bookmobile, climate control, tips for getting a bookmobile un-stuck in the snow, and much more, including Antelope‘s expanded summer schedule in Iowa City.  I shared my dream of broadcasting music from ICPL’s bookmobile like an ice cream truck, and Cathy said their old bookmobile did play calliope music!  Everyone hated it.  🙂

We’re excited to be preparing for a mobile library branch that will get out to where you are!   Did you grow up with a bookmobile?  Share with us what you loved about it!

Volunteer of the Year: Terri Caplan!

by Stacey McKim on April 29th, 2016

Terri Caplan was awarded Volunteer of the Year this week, having volunteered at the Iowa City Public Library in multiple capacities over the past seven and a half years.  Terri is currently our Book Sorter, sorting through hundreds of donations each weekTerri Caplan volunteering 2 and selecting the best books, movies, and music to be sold in the Book End.

In addition to her current volunteer job, Terri has also checked in library books, worked as a clerk in the Book End, and served on the Book End Committee.  She was a Committee Co-Chairperson from 2012-2013.  According to Patty McCarthy, Director of Development at ICPL, “Terri’s vast knowledge of books, authors, movies, and music have enabled her to provide excellent servicevoty_terri to customers in the Book End and as a Sorter.  Her organizational talents are unmatched, and she helps to maintain order and interest on the bookstore shelves.”

Terri’s dedication to the Book End is inspiring and we thank her for her years of service!  If you are also interested in volunteering at the Library, here’s how to get started.

Eye candy on the 2nd floor

by Stacey McKim on March 30th, 2016

3ddesign_2

Have you seen the current display on the second floor of the library?  The amazing variety of lamps, vases, trays, interior design plans, and other items of functional design were made by tank2Professor Monica Correia and her 3D design students at the University of Iowa.  Everything is breathtaking, but the 3D printed tank that stores rubber bands is funny, too.  If one of the items inspires the maker in you, a selection of design books are on display nearby.

This 3D design exhibit is here until mid-April to coordinate with Monica Correia’s Mission Creek talk on Saturday, April 9 at 1:00pm in the Iowa City Public Library.  Her lecture is titled “Digital Technology in the Process of Making Design to Connect” and admission is free.

Other upcoming community displays include the Awesome Autism Awareness and Acceptance Art Project (April 19-May 15), resources for Sexual Violence Awareness Month (RVAP, April 1-21), and a promotion of the Festival of Flowers (United Action for Youth, April 25 – May 25).  And I hope you caught the impressive exhibit of UI Scottish Highlanders memorabilia last month!

If your group would like to have a display at the Iowa City Public Library, please contact me at stacey-mckim@icpl.org or (319) 887-6025.  Display guidelines can be found at http://www.icpl.org/displays.

What’s up with the wrapped books and CDs?

by Stacey McKim on February 2nd, 2016

You know how you’re always judging books by their covers? Of course, we all do. For the month of February, though, we want you to see past those stereotypical cover images and go home with a book where the author’s name is way bigger than the title (or vice versa).

BlindDateAlbumLibrary staff members have selected our favorites and, based only on our descriptions, we hope you’ll find something you love, too. Blind Date with a Book was so popular last year that we’ve expanded it to music CDs. Pick up your Blind Date with an Album over by the music CDs on the 1st floor.

Blind Dates can be checked out at either a Self Check station or the Help Desk. (Avoid looking at the receipt, though, if you want to keep it a surprise until you get home.) Inside each package, you’ll find a Rate Your Date card to fill in your first impression and let us know how the date went. Return the card to the Help Desk to be entered in a drawing for $25 worth of Molly’s Cupcakes (for books) or $25 in the Iowa City Downtown District (for albums). Many thanks to our generous sponsors!




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