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Author Archive for Shawna Riggins



Finally, an edition of War and Peace I can understand!

by Shawna Riggins on March 21st, 2016

While I am loving my slow trek through Tolstoy’s War and Peace as part of a book group, I do appreciate some additional input after finishing some chapters. While searching online recently for a chapter summary and analysis, I found an edition of War and Peace that really broke the book down to a level that I could certainly understand and included some beautiful images. 20160321_104309While actually intended for babies and toddlers (considering it is a board book), I must admit I wasted no time in ordering a copy from Amazon.

I was happy to discover this edition of War and Peace is merely one in the delightful Cozy Classics board book series. On their website, creators, Jack and Holman Wang explain, “…no classic was written for the classroom; every one was written to give pleasure. We prefer to get away from the classroom and have kids grow up thinking of The Great Books as great fun.” This series, with its simplified stores and beautiful art, is a great way to make classics interesting and accessible at an early age. 20160321_104333Find books in this series including Pride and Prejudice, Tom Sawyer, and others in our collection. Jack and Holman Wang introduce little ones to other essential stories with their similar series, Star Wars Epic Yarns, also available from ICPL. Still curious about these books? Check out their YouTube Channel for book trailers and behind the scenes clips.

Now be honest, who will be more excited about these books; you or the little one in your life?

Pugs of the Frozen North

by Shawna Riggins on March 9th, 2016

pugs of the frozen northThe temperature may be warming up outside but Pugs of the Frozen North written by Philip Reeve and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre will transport you to the magical cold of True Winter and the Great Northern Race. After an unusual weather phenomenon leaves young ship-hand, Shen, alone in freezing temperatures with 66 cold and hungry pugs, he finds friendship, support, and a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in a nearby city.  Throughout Shen & his new friend Sika’s journey as participants in the Great Northern Race, they work with each other, their goofy yet gallant pugs, and even (most of) their competitors. If after reading this book your thoughts are not lingering on the excitement of the race and the antics of the adorably odd pugs, you might be mulling over the message that people (and dogs) can overcome expectations and reach their dreams.

pugs page 1

Though certainly enjoyable for readers of all ages (especially for pug-lovers like myself), the exciting illustrations paired with text makes this a great book for children transitioning to chapter books. If you or your child liked the illustrations in Pugs of the Frozen North, try out McIntyre’s tutorial to draw your own puggy pups!

If this wacky adventure sounds right for you or a reader you know, check out other books from Reeve and McIntyre’s series of Not-So-Impossible Tales.

My pug Fifi wasn't so keen on the idea of pulling a sleigh.

My pug Fifi wasn’t so keen on the idea of pulling a sleigh.

Thankful for ICPL

by Shawna Riggins on November 20th, 2015

You might have noticed our latest display on the first floor that states “Be Thankful for Books” which without a doubt, I am, but I am also thankful for all the other resources made available by Iowa City Public Library. Recently, I have caught myself taking our local library for granted, which has taught me to appreciate the services that ICPL is able to provide to our community and to give thanks (900x900)definitely take advantage of them!

During a recent trip home to visit my mom, we had to rearrange our weekend plans to ensure that we could make it to her local Library before they closed on Saturday since they are closed every Sunday. Thankfully, ICPL’s hours are pretty comprehensive, and their website can fill in most gaps when the library is closed. I have done research using library databases, renewed and reserved books, downloaded ebooks and magazines, and downloaded music all while the library was closed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Crafting in a Crunch

by Shawna Riggins on October 27th, 2015

It’s that time of year; The leaves are falling, the temperature is cooling and the days are getting shorter…It’s time to do all the crafting I put off all summer! After each holiday season I tell myself that I will start crafting early in the year to avoid late December nights where I knit blisters onto my fingers. Of course, I still haven’t learned and as of now I still have a cross stitch project to start and finish, two afghans to complete and numerous other projects that I haven’t even planned yet….

So much to do so little time!

So much to do so little time!

If you’re like me you might be looking for every opportunity to work on craft projects without becoming a social recluse for the last two months of 2015. Luckily, ICPL has several upcoming events where you can lap craft while maintaining your social life. Music is the Word: Music on Wednesdays events provide a great midweek break where you can meet a friend for lunch and tunes while you squeeze in some crafting. Join us this week to see Saul Lubraroff play his jazz saxophone. Our special Music is The Word Friday Concert on November 13th featuring Dick Watson and Eve Minkler playing piano jazz is a great opportunity for you to start your weekend off with some fun times and a chance to knit. Maybe you get to play taxi driver and give a ride to teens attending some of our teen programs in November like Way Cool Chemistry or Let’s Make Something. Meet a friend at the library, stake out a cozy spot in the library and get some crafting done while you catch up. If you don’t feel like chatting, just settle in with an audio book from our Book on CD collection or Overdrive and let the knitting continue. Knitting isn’t just for adults, though. Regardless of skill level or experience, 3-6th graders are invited to the Totally Tweens Knit-In on November 12th.wool-637104_1920

If you’re more motivated and a better planner than I am then you might already be done with your holiday crafting. Still looking for something to keep your hands busy as it gets cold and you begin spending more and more time indoors? ICPL is accepting donations of crafted items until Friday December 4 for the annual Arts and Craft Bazaar. No matter the reason ICPL can help you stay social as you craft this season. What project will you be working on at the library?

A Budding Hobby

by Shawna Riggins on September 25th, 2015

When my husband and I were looking for new places to live this past spring our top priority was finding a place with a fenced in yard for our pugs to romp in and enjoy. After living in our new location for almost three months now I have realized that the yard is almost as exciting for me as it is for the pugs.

Frank and Fifi are not the only ones excited to have a yard!

Frank and Fifi are not the only ones excited to have a yard!

Over the past few weeks I noticed mums being sold all around town and walked past them with longing. Then it dawned on me; I have a lawn, I can plant flowers! I immediately searched the Iowa City Public Library catalog and found some books to help me as I began thinking about what to plant and how to go about creating my first flower bed. I knew I wanted to plant mums because I love how they look and I read that they are pretty hardy so hopefully I wouldn’t kill them. Additionally, I decided to plant tulips so I would have flowers to enjoy as soon as winter ends, as well as some hostas that I was able to split and transplant from an abandoned bunch in the back yard.

Luckily I will have plenty of reading material over the Winter!

Luckily I will have plenty of reading material over the Winter!

Now the flowers are in the ground and the mulch has been spread, but my new obsession has just begun! I am already scoping out other parts of the yard and wondering what more I can do. Luckily for me, ICPL subscribes to several home and garden magazines to keep me thinking about new and different projects I can begin. What lawn or house project have to undertaken recently with the help of library resources?

Flowers, Flowers Everywhere

by Shawna Riggins on September 1st, 2015

Of course I love to stock up on fresh produce at the Farmers Market, but there are many other parts of the Market that I get excited about. Lately I have been enjoying the beautiful fresh cut flowers available in several stalls. Half the fun is taking the time to build a personalized arrangement. Then you get to bring them home and admire their beauty and scent in your house all week. I love the variSunflowersety that is available at the market as well as knowing that they were grown locally and cut individually. If you don’t have a yard of blooming flowers, this is a great way to enjoy nature. Even if you do have your own yard and flowers, you may not necessarily want to cut them down. Stop by this weekend and build your own bouquet. Looking for guidance as you set out to make your extra special centerpiece? Check out some of our helpful books. Be sure to share a photo with us, we’d love to see your creations!

Bringing a Nebraskan to the Farmer’s Market

by Shawna Riggins on May 19th, 2015

When I moved from Nebraska to Iowa City a couple of summers ago, my friends and family couldn’t understand wNebraskahy I was leaving the “Good Life” for Iowa. It has since become my personal goal to educate
Nebraskans (as well as other non-Iowans) about how great life is on the other side of the Missouri! To achieve this goal, I jump at the opportunity to show guests some of the best spots in the community.

My family came into town last weekend for my Friday evening graduation ceremony, which was well and good, but I was really excited to show off the Farmers Market on Saturday morning. I knew that I was facing some pretty steep competition, because my mom enjoys visiting the Farmers Market in Omaha’s Old Market. We arrived early to avoid the crowd and took our time touring the stalls. My mom loved looking through the photos of the dairy goats at one stall and was especially interested in the bat houses made by another vendor. We both went home with some great looking (and smelling!) produce, which was cause enough for satisfaction, but I couldn’t hide my delight when she declared the Iowa City Farmers Market to be better than Omaha’s! Another win for Iowa City!

Though I do enjoy the sweet taste of success, nothing can compare to our hearty soup made with Farmers Market ingredients that we enjoyed for dinner last weekend!

I love looking up the farm where my produce was grown!

I love looking up the farm where my produce was grown!

Zoning in on Zinio

by Shawna Riggins on October 22nd, 2014

Last week I heard about an interesting article in the newest Rolling Stone magazine. (An interview with the creator of Adventure Time? Yes, please!) I wanted to read the article but didn’t have time to come to the library specifically to sit and read a magazine. (Though I usually look for any excuse to spend time in our atrium – Look how cozy and beautiful it is!)

Atrium

I had vaguely heard about ICPL’s digital magazine stand in the past; I decided now was the time to finally learn to use it. I was afraid it would be complicated, slow, and an all-around hassle. I happily learned, though, that this was not the case at all. From this page on our website, I learned how to access our Digital Magazine Stand, Zinio, on computers as well as personal devices. The service allows you to set up your own personal Zinio account where you can download magazines and sync your devices. During my 15 minute work break I learned about Zinio, created my own account using a computer, downloaded the most recent Rolling Stone to that account, downloaded the Zinio app on my tablet, logged in, and began reading about the creator of one of my favorite TV shows! Now, before I fall asleep at night, I am able to read my favorite magazines on my tablet in the comfort of my own bed. My only disappointment: Realizing I could have been enjoying free magazine downloads for months!

Zinio Page

I was astounded by the amount and the variety of magazines available through the Library’s Zinio service. Whether you’re looking to keep up on your entertainment news or you’re interested in the latest literary publications, ICPL’s Zinio selection has something for you.

  • Searching for new fall recipes to try? Check out the cooking magazines – More recipes can be found in the Home section.
  • There are several Health and Fitness magazines available to download for those who are looking to keep fit even as the weather grows colder.

If you’re like me, you’ll find TOO many magazines on Zinio!




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