Author Archive for Stacey McKim



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!

We love our volunteers!

by Stacey McKim on January 25th, 2016

volunteerwordleA huge thank you to the 336 people who volunteered at the Library in 2015!

Volunteers checked in books, ran the Book End bookstore, cleaned the play kitchen items in the Children’s Room, tutored high school students, planned teen programs, indexed the Press-Citizen, hauled books for our book sales, and more.

Their total of 9,567 hours in 2015 was 611 more than last year and equivalent to 4.6 full-time staff.  ICPL wouldn’t be the same without the help of our dedicated volunteers!

Want to get involved?  Read more about volunteering at icpl.org/volunteer.

Our favorite music apps and websites

by Stacey McKim on December 15th, 2015

musicapps3If you’re like me, you weren’t too shocked when an article from earlier this year suggested that people stop listening to new music around the age of 33.  Even though that study was based on Spotify user data, which I considered a fairly small pool, it had definitely been a while since this 34-year-old had sought out a new band and given an album a reverential first listen like she used to.

So it was partially in my own interest that I asked my co-workers how they find and listen to music online for a December display.  “Our favorite music apps and websites” are currently displayed on the library’s 2nd floor, and they include apps for streaming music, ways to listen to the radio online, methods for finding the name of a song heard in public, recordings of live performances, free tuning apps (for the musicians out there), and places to find music news and reviews.

Take this opportunity during Music Is The Word to shake up the statistics by downloading a free app, establishing a streaming account to generate recommendations, or finding your new favorite sound.  Here’s a selection of our 27 staff recommendations:

  • Spotify  “I really love listening to my Discover Weekly playlist. It takes suggestions from what you have already listened to or saved and creates a playlist of around 30 songs that you don’t already have. Every Monday I check out my playlist and by the end of the week I usually save about half of the songs that week. It’s a great way to expand your musical horizon without being overwhelmed and it feels like your week has a soundtrack.” -Mari
  • Pandora  “We have cultivated lists (developed by “liking” and “disliking” songs). We also use some universal lists (James Taylor Christmas, for example). There is a 100 list limit and often we have to delete a list to create or open a new one. One year we stayed at the Grand Canyon Lodge (North Rim) and they were playing music from the 1940’s. When we came home, we made an Andrews Sisters playlist. Whenever we listed, we felt like we were back at the Grand Canyon.”  -Kara
  • daytrotter.com  “Amazing live sessions featuring a mix of national recording artists and local or “under the radar” touring groups, based out of Rock Island, IL.”  -Jason
  • dustandgrooves.com  “I use this when I want to listen to music, and expose myself to new tunes. You get the benefit of someone else’s knowledge in various genres.  It is like listening to the radio, without the commercials!”  -Dona  [Their newly released book is available at ICPL, too!]
  • AllMusic  “If you type in any band or artist name in the search engine, it will lead you to that group’s page. If you click on the “related tab” above the band’s overview, it gives nice lists of groups/artists that are “similar to” the artist searched as well as a list of the artists’ influences and what groups were influenced by them, if that makes any sense. It is a great way to find things that are related to a certain sound you already like!”  -Heidi

How do you find and listen to music online?

Graduate from hand-shaped turkeys

by Stacey McKim on November 24th, 2015

If Thanksgiving has you fondly remembering the days of making hand-shaped turkeys out of construction paper, we have some new books about sculptural paper crafts that will take those skills to a new, more 3-D level.

papergoodsprojectsIn Paper Goods Projects, Jodi Levine (who has spent two decades on Martha Stewart’s staff) shows how to use ordinary materials like paper plates, cupcake liners, and cereal boxes to make brightly-colored flowers, animal sculptures, masks, cake toppers, mobiles, and more. Her previous book, Candy Aisle Crafts, was also full of inventive ideas suitable for both fun adults and families. In the introduction of Paper Goods Projects, Levine writes that transforming everyday supermarket supplies into whimsical works of art “helps us retain the youthful skill to see the potential in things.”

ilovepaper_eggsFor something more advanced, check out I Love Paper: Paper-Cutting Techniques and Templates for Amazing Toys, Sculptures, Props, and Costumes by Fideli Sundqvist. Subtle folding, creasing, and layering makes use of shadows to create surprisingly realistic results and elevate the pieces into art. If for any reason you’d like a paper version of a standard eggs-and-bacon breakfast (maybe looking ahead to April Fool’s Day 2016?), Mr. Sundqvist will give you a hand with step-by-step instructions and templates.

papercraftFor the practical crafters out there, try to catch the new Paper Craft book featuring DK’s reliably generous illustrations. With several ideas for accessorizing presents or making customized envelopes, it’s just in time for the holidays. And, if you’re taken by the paper quilling on the cover, you might also like the new Quilled Animals quilledanimalsbook by Diane Boden. Look at that alpaca. Aww.

In the era of 3-D printers, these projects seem especially quaint and honest.  Try your hand at paper sculpture with one of these books published in 2015.

Sharing Favorite Songs

by Stacey McKim on October 22nd, 2015

Gone are the days of painstakingly making mixtapes for friends, so we wanted to revive the act of sharing favorite songs this month.  If you haven’t seen our interactive playlist displays yet, look for them near the music CDs and up on the 2nd floor.  We’ve provided themes; you provide the songs.Midwest Musicians edited

If you’d like help tracking down any of the songs you see on the display, let us know!  ICPL might own the album, we could help you listen to particular songs online, or we can borrow CDs on interlibrary loan for residents of our primary service area at no cost to you.

Music is the Word

Judging a book by its opening sentence

by Stacey McKim on September 22nd, 2015

Trying to decide which events to attend at the Iowa City Book Festival next week? Check out our display featuring the first lines of many festival books, located on the 1st floor of the library. Here are some of my favorites:

  • BookFest2015display2In the face of calamity, the Colliers’ first impulse was to overspend at the bookstore.
    Tracy ManasterYou Could Be Home By Now

  • The happiest moment of my father’s life was finding his name on President Richard M. Nixon’s enemies list.
    Charles HavertyExcommunicados

  • Her name was Caitlin, she was eighteen, and her own heart would sometimes wake her – flying away in that dream-race where finish lines grew farther away not nearer, where knees turned to taffy, or feet to stones.
    Tim JohnstonDescent

  • If the rocks in this place could talk, they’d tell you to ask the trees.
    Tom JanikowskiThe Crawford County Sketchbook

Pretty enticing, right?  Most of the books that will be featured in the festival are currently checked out, though, so look on this display for earlier works by the authors who are presenting this year.

A sweet time at the Ice Cream Socials

by Stacey McKim on August 26th, 2015

Thanks to the Iowa City Community School District, we had a great time at the back-to-school socials last week!  For the first time ever, library staff members went to all 13 elementary schools in Iowa City and Hills to register students and their families for library cards.  (These events were all on the same night, so it was a scheduling triumph!)  We just mailed the last of the 139 new cards out today, so we’ll look forward to seeing those new cardholders at the library soon!