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Happy Birthday, ICPL — 120 and going strong!

by Susan Craig on January 20th, 2017

cod-steam-laundryHappy 120th Birthday, Dear ICPL. The Iowa City Public Library  first opened it’s doors on January 21, 1897. The effort to establish a public library in Iowa City started in 1896 so we get confused about whether the institution’s “real” birthday started with the egg (the organizational efforts) or the chicken (opening the door).   I think opening the doors is a good thing to celebrate. The first library location was two rooms measuring 100 X 30 feet over the newly constructed brick building at 211-213 Iowa Ave. The ground floor was occupied by the C.O.D. Steam Laundry.

The directors hired a librarian (a bookkeeper who received a annual salary of $600), and three committees were appointed to select books and periodicals. They also purchased bookcases, newspaper racks, tables, chairs, a desk for the librarian, five hundred sheets of letterhead, blank library cards, thirteen 16-candle power lamps with porcelain shades, board games (crokinale, archrena, checkers, chess and Parcheesi) as well as some basics like a wastebasket, ink stand, stamp pad, broom and dustpan.

The first library was open ten hours a day six days a week and four hours on Sunday to anyone age ten or older. People could borrow one book at a time with a five cents a day fine on books past due. One hundred and twenty years later we serve people of all ages and are open eleven hours four days a week (M-Th), ten hours one day (Fri), eight hours on Saturday and five hours on Sunday (3 total hours more than in 1897) and our fines are 25 cents a day for most things — well under the inflation rate.

At the opening ceremony the words of speech written by president of the Iowa City Public Library Association still remind us 120 years later of the core mission of the public library. “…this library is and will be public in the fullest sense of the word.  It belongs to no person nor class of persons. It is to be under the control of no particular race nor creed. … Parents may feel that their children in coming here for books, whether they be rich or poor are placing themselves under obligation to no one. They are simply exercising a right… Every person in the city shall feel perfectly free to seek the advantages of this library.”

If you want to learn more about the history of ICPL look for Lolly Eggers’ book, A Century of Stories:  the History of the Iowa City Public Library, 1896-1997. where I found this historical information.

Public libraries have transformed my life and I hear stories every day of the impact this library has had on others’ lives. Happy Birthday, ICPL! May you prosper for another 120 years.

Don’t let the bedbugs bite!

by Susan Craig on December 28th, 2016

We’re always learning at the Iowa City Public Library and recently we have learned a lot about bedbugs, because we found some at the Library. Bedbugs have been a growing problem in many places, including  libraries.  After we had single spotting last fall we set up regular inspections – by a bedbug sniffing dog no less!—and educated ourselves on how to recognize and get rid of these pesky insects.  Our knowledge came in handy when some bugs were spotted on a recently returned book by a library employee.

You may have noticed some book shelves that are empty, this is because in an abundance of caution we removed all the books from any section where a book was thought to possibly have bedbugs in it. The shelving where the books were have been treated chemically and the books themselves are currently being treated with temperature – bedbugs will die if exposed for a certain length of time to either high or low temperatures.   We tracked back the first book and every book that patron had over the last 45 days and they have all been pulled for treatment as well.  We also contacted everyone who had checked out anything that had been returned.

We hope this doesn’t happen again, but it may. You can help by letting us know if your residence has been treated recently – often bedbugs can move around within an apartment complex for instance.  If you ever see a bedbug on library materials put them in a sealed plastic bag with a note and let us know right away.  You can protect yourself by learning more about bedbugs and how to recognize them.  There are many good websites –I have visited them!  Here are two I found very helpful:

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/ss/slideshow-bedbugs

https://www.reference.com/home-garden/bed-bugs-53c64f735cab0d6d?qo=similarQuestions

Knowledge is power!

Don’t forget the ICPL Friends Foundation on this Giving Tuesday!

by Susan Craig on November 29th, 2016

We do like to name things:  Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday.  I appreciate the concept of Giving Tuesday because it gives us a specific reminder at a very hectic time of the year.   Often the end of the year comes and I think, I meant to give to this or that local cause, and I probably have a mail or e-mail appeal lingering somewhere, but I just never got around to it.  Well, today’s the day.  Break out your checkbook or credit card and support the institutions and organizations you believe make our community better and stronger.  Do it today.

And, when you do, please consider a gift to the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation.  You can find all you need to give online or send a check here.  The Library is one of the most heavily used cultural, educational, and recreational institutions you will ever find, serving people of all ages, abilities and cultures.  Gifts to the Foundation support the purchase of library materials, our important Summer Reading Program, building improvement projects, entertaining and informing programs for young and old, outreach to people who can’t get to the library, and making sure technology is accessible to all.

Watch for The Window newsletter in your mailbox in early December with great stories about the Foundation and a milestone they are celebrating.

Thank you for your support of a local organization that touches so many people in a positive way.

It Could be Worse : Dystopian Fiction

by Susan Craig on October 6th, 2016
It Could be Worse :  Dystopian Fiction Cover Image

The days are getting shorter, the political sniping is at an all- time high (or is that low?) and won’t end for  weeks (or is it perpetual?), up north they just had a serious flood and down south they are evacuating for a hurricane.  It’s time to read some dystopian fiction to give you some perspective.

Wikipedia says, “A dystopia …is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening.  It is translated as “not-good place”, an antonym of utopia, …Dystopian societies appear in many artistic works, particularly in stories set in the future. Some of the most famous examples are 1984 and Brave New World. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society..”

Not surprisingly, there is a lot of dystopian fiction written for young adults (think of the Hunger Games and Divergent series), but I’ve recently read several novels aimed at adults that fall into this genre.  After hearing a radio interview with the author,  I wanted to read Underground Airline by Ben H. Winters.  All our copies were checked out so I had to put a hold on it, and in the meantime I read the author’s Last Policeman series.  These are very engaging books.  The last policeman is Detective Palace.  He is trying to do the right thing as civil society disintegrates around him in the face of earth’s collision with a massive asteroid that will happen in 6 months.  The scenario in Underground Airlines is worse somehow because the fault lies in humans, not some natural outside force.  The story takes place in modern day United States, however, Read the rest of this entry »

Do Not Miss These Programs!

by Susan Craig on September 12th, 2016

BikesBikesBikes_BuildaBikeIowa City is going to be hosting an international event on September 24 in a sport few Americans know much about — Cyclo-cross.  In preparation the Library has planned three programs so people can educate themselves about the sport.  Last week you missed a great documentary, For the Love of Mud.  I learned a lot and gained a real appreciation of the sport.  Luckily, it is now in our collection so you can watch it at your leisure — perhaps this winter when the snow is falling and you want to see people covered in mud carrying bicycles up hills and throw them over creeks (this is fun!?).BikesBikesBikes_JingleCross

This week we are featuring University of Iowa professor, Dr. Steve McGuire who will be talking about the fabrication and design of bikes — Wednesday, September 14, 7:00, Meeting Room A.  Next week we have the founder of our Jingle Cross event and key figure in bringing the World Cup Cyclo-cross event to Iowa City, Dr. John Meehan — Tuesday, September 20, 7:00, Meeting Room A.

Let’s show our international visitors that we appreciate this exciting, family oriented sport.  For more information see the website.

ICPL Tech Help Saves My Day!

by Susan Craig on August 16th, 2016

It’s safe to say I am NOT a digital native — I learned to type on a manual typewriter in high school !  I was  very involved in library technology in the 1970s and 80s, but about the time of the rise of personal computers and then smart phones I lost what intuitive approach I ever had and I struggle to learn and retain new skills.  Thankfully I am surrounded by lots of people at work who really know what they’re doing and by children and grandchildren in my personal life who usually know more than I do.

Recently, I had a dilemma and I took it to ICPL Tech Help.  This service is available at the Library on Mondays from 10:00-noon, Tuesdays noon-4:00 and Wednesdays 10:00- noon in the 2nd Floor Computer Lab.  People are there for you to drop in ask your technology related questions about computers, ebook readers, iPods, cell phones, email, Skype, Facebook….just about anything in the realm of technology.

I had recently booked a plane trip to New York to visit family in November.  However, when I went to send my itinerary to my son, it wasn’t there!  I had inadvertently deleted it.  I thought, “maybe I didn’t really make that reservation?”, but the credit card statement showed that I had.  What to do?  The first place I turned was a ICPL Tech Help.  Within minutes Jason had showed me how to search my gmail trash, retrieved the itinerary, forwarded it back to my email and printed me out a copy.

If you have a personal technology crisis come to ICPL Tech Help.  It may save your day the way it saved mine!  Thank you, thank you ICPL.

 

 

Arts & Crafts Bazaar is only 156 days away!

by Susan Craig on June 29th, 2016
Shoppers at the 2015 Arts & Crafts Bazaar

Shoppers at the 2015 Arts & Crafts Bazaar

On those summer days when the sun beats down, the humidity goes up, and it’s just not pleasant outside consider starting your crafting project for the Library’s annual Arts & Crafts Bazaar fundraiser (December 3, 2016).  We accept donations of a wide variety items that are handmade (no food or living plants).  In the past donations have included hats and scarves, quilts and pillows, holiday decorations and pictures, cards and ceramics, aprons and bags, toys and shelves.  These are just some of the many wonderful items that you can contribute.  The purpose of the bazaar is primarily a fundraiser (raising over $5,000 last year for the Friends Foundation), but also to showcase the great talents of library lovers.  So, checkout out some inspirational books, break out the hammers, sewing machines, knitting needles, paint brushes…your tools of choice, and get crafting!  Watch the library website for the donation form that will be available soon.

We’re Planning for an ICPL bookmobile!

by Susan Craig on May 24th, 2016

The Iowa City City Council has approved funding for a new library service — a bookmobile! The timeline calls for the bookmobile (which has to be custom designed and built) to hit Iowa City streets in March of 2017.  The idea for the service grew out of feedback we heard during our last strategic planning process.  People wanted and needed greater access to library services, and for some, coming downtown was a barrier.  Branch libraries are very expensive to build, maintain and operate and they only serve the neighborhood they’re in.  A bookmobile will provide flexible, neighborhood services reaching new library users as well as providing convenient access to people who already use the library.

If you have ideas about where you would like to see stops for the bookmobile let us know.  We are considering schools, parks, mobile home parks, retirement communities, and retail areas.  We need enough room to park a large vehicle with safe access for people coming and going, restrooms available near by as well as a safe area in case of severe weather.  We are very excited about this new service that will bring the library to you!

If you’re looking for a current bookmobile service, the Antelope Lending Library, a local nonprofit library, has a full summer schedule planned.  The Antelope Lending Library’s primary focus is serving families and children, but they have materials for adults as well.

Mothers and Libraries

by Susan Craig on April 21st, 2016

Some of my earliest memories are of my mother taking my brothers and me to the Waterloo Public Library.  We would lay in the “big” bed at night and she would read us library books.  My mother instilled in me a love of books, reading, and libraries that I have never lost.  I hope I have done the same for my children, and now enjoy  passing it on to grandchildren.  My mother would be incredibly happy if she could see her great-grandchildren turning into readers.

We owned a few books, but didn’t have much money, and the library was crucial to providing the number and variety of materials children need.  The Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation’s spring fundraiser happens to fall on Mother’s Day this year.  How fitting.  The Foundation makes many things possible at our library, among them are providing families with great collections and free programs (children even earn books of their own through participation in the summer reading program thanks to Foundation support!).

Please join us on Sunday evening, May 8th, for some fine music and fellowship in support of the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation. For more information, to buy tickets, or make a donation go to  http://www.icpl.org/support/looking-forward/  or call 356-5249 and speak to Patty McCarthy.  Your mother will be proud.

Spring time weeding: books & plants

by Susan Craig on March 15th, 2016

It’s early spring and I am walking around my yard thinking about what needs pruning, what new plants I want to make room for that I have learned about during the winter gardening programs I have attended and what areas need special attention this year.  The process makes me think about how the library staff are continually doing a similar assessment of the library collection.

We have limited space (just like my yard), and pretty much when we add new thing we have to get rid of old things.  We are not a research library where things are purchased and kept forever, we want to spend our budget, both tax and gift dollars, on things people will use, and we get rid of things people aren’t using anymore.  We are constantly “weeding” (yes, that is an official library term) items that have not been used, or have been loved so much they are falling apart.

Last year we added 34,619 new items to the collection, 18,962 of those were new titles, the rest were additional copies of titles we already owned.  During the same time we withdrew 37,767 items.  The largest collection component, 74%, is print books.  Electronic/digital media makes up only 7.5% of the collection, and audiovisual items (primarily CD’s & DVDs) account for 18.5%.

We are constantly moving things around, again, just like my yard.  Last year we pulled the comics and graphic novels out of the children’s nonfiction collection, this fall look for a similar change to happen with the adult collection.graph

 

 

 




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