by Susan Craig on October 6th, 2016
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 »
by Susan Craig on September 12th, 2016
Iowa 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!?).
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.
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.
by Susan Craig on June 29th, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
by Susan Craig on January 29th, 2016
Lila by Marilynne Robinson is the 2016 All Iowa Reads book and I want to encourage everyone to read it. Robinson is a brilliant author, her last four novels have been: a finalist for the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, awarded the 2005 Pulitzer, awarded the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction, and awarded the 2014 National Book Critics Fiction Prize. Lila, the fourth in this list and the third book revolving around the small Iowa town of Gilead is a remarkable story of how a child grows into a woman dealing with abandonment and deprivation, struggling to understand her past and envision a more hopeful future. Sounds grim, doesn’t it? And, yet, somehow it is an inspiring tale of a fierce, obstinate woman I wish I could talk to.
This is the first time the All Iowa Reads committee has selected a second book by the same author (Gilead was an earlier selection), but this story and how it is told deserves a broad audience. I find Lila a much easier read than Gilead. I like Lila more than I did Reverend Ames. I find her story compelling and the narrative– although it jumps from present to past and is not sequential– easier to follow. Several people I know tried to read Gilead and put it down before they were finished, I urged them to give Lila a try, and one who did said it was an excellent book they enjoyed very much.
The Library has many copies of the book — in regular print, large print, e-book, audio on compact disc and downloadable, plus a book club kit. I highly recommend the book to all readers and it is a great discussion book for reading groups as well.
by Susan Craig on January 6th, 2016
Many of us are busy making (or breaking already?) our New Year’s resolutions. And, I have a suggestion for you — resolve to use the Library more in 2016. Here are a few specific suggestions.
1. Participate in our first ever Winter Reading Program. It’s intended to challenge people to keep reading in the winter and try out some new things. Pick up a game card today.
2. Attend Music-is-the-Word programs. We are entering Season 2 of our special music programming, intended to welcome the University of Iowa School of Music to downtown Iowa City. Programs are aimed at all ages and a variety of interests.
3. Get free digital magazines through the library’s Zinio subscription (restricted to Iowa City, rural county, University Heights, Hills and Lone Tree residents). If you’re uncertain how to set this up bring your device and come to a Drop in Tech-Help session where staff will provide assistance.
4. Read to a child. In February we will be launching a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. Sign up a child you know and bring them to the Library often.
5. Make a gift to the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation. Through gifts we are able to support and strengthen our collections and programming.
I resolve to do all of these things! I think these are resolutions I can stick with. Happy 2016.
by Susan Craig on December 14th, 2015
‘Tis the gift giving season and a gift from you makes it possible for the Library to bring more books to more people. The Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation supports numerous programs and projects at the Library, but the collection is always a major beneficiary. Last year over $64,000 in Foundation support purchased new items for the collection — items that will be shared again and again. Please consider a year-end tax deductible gift to the Friends Foundation today.