Mabel the Table, the Children’s Room’s interactive touch table made her debut at the beginning of the summer and has gotten lots of use since then. The library recently teamed up with Dev/Iowa Bootcamp to produce some new games for Mabel. Part of the U of I’s entrepreneurial efforts, the Bootcamp is an intensive nine-week hands-on program where participants learn web development skills and industry practices. As part of the program, members of the community can pitch a project to have the bootcampers take them on as a client. We presented the idea of creating games for the interactive table in the children’s room and two students stepped forward. One game is called Hungry Dragon and allows several kids to play at the same time controlling their dragon to grab balls moving around in the center. The other is a creative painting game where kids can paint a picture and post it for others to see. If you are visiting the Children’s Room, have your kids give these local games a try and give us feedback. If you are a programmer or game developer and want to help us improve these games or create new ones, please contact me at the library.
August 26th is National Dog Day, and to celebrate we have two new displays on the 2nd floor. There is a photo display of ICPL Staff Dogs and book display of with all kinds of dog books:
The One Community One Book* selection for 2014 is The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande.
Born in a small town in Guerrero, Mexico, Reyna Grande Rodriquez was two years old when her father left for the U.S. to find work. Her mother followed him north two years later, leaving Reyna (4) her older brother Carlos (7), and her older sister Mago (11) in the care of their paternal grandmother, Abuela Evila (her true name). Already caring for one grandchild who’s mother had left for America, Abuela Evila took in Reyna and her siblings out of a sense of duty, but the mistreatment she heaped on them was kept secret from her son. All the money he sent back for their care was used to buy treats for herself and her other granddaughter, while Reyna, Carlos and Mago suffered severe neglect. Mago tries to care for her brother and sister the best she can.
Four years later, Reyna’s mother Juana returns with a baby daughter, claiming her husband has abused her and left her for another woman. She brings Reyna, Carlos, and Mago to live with her at their maternal grandmother’s, but Juana was not the same caring mother who left years before. Soon Juana moved out, leaving the children with Abuelita Chinta, a kind and caring woman who, though living in extreme poverty, loved her grandchildren dearly.
In 1985, when Reyna was nine years old, her father returned to Mexico with a new wife. He borrowed money to pay a Coyote to help him bring his children back across the border. On their third try they were successful, and Reyna, Carlos and Mago begin life as undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles.
Filled with hope, Reyna soon realizes that life as an immigrant will be very hard. Her father isn’t the man she dreamed about for all those years in Mexico. His dreams for his children were what got them across the border, but his own failure to assimilate into an English speaking world and his alcoholic rage slowly undermine all his hard work and good intentions. Reyna finds solace from a violent home life at school and, with the help of one special teacher, through the Latina voices she beings to read. She turns to writing as a way to make sense of her own life. Her father is eventually able to get himself and his children green cards, and then citizenship. They graduate from High School, and Reyna goes on becomes the first member of her family to graduate from college with degrees in creative writing, film and video from UC Santa Cruz. She earned an MFA in creative writing at Antioch University. The Distance Between Us is her third book.
*The One Community One Book project, coordinated by the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights. The goal of the project is to encourage people in our community to read and discuss the selected book in order to develop a greater community awareness of human rights issues locally, nationally and internationally. For more information go to the One Community One Book Website here.
ICPL will be hosting a Book Discussion Saturday September 20th at 10:30am in Meeting Room E. All are welcome.
Meredith talks about one of her favorite epistolary novels (stories made up of letters or correspondence) and Katherine shares a novel that was a hit at her local book club.
From birth through the preschool years children learn mostly through play. Play is one of the practices that librarians encourage to enhance early literacy skills. For many years, the Children’s Room at ICPL has provided free access to a variety toys designed to enhance learning.
Simple wooden puzzles help children build skills they need to read, write and solve problems. Even before the age of two, children will show an interest in knobbed puzzles that are easy to grasp as they develop eye hand coordination. Manipulating puzzle pieces help develop the fine motor skills that little hands will need to grasp a pencil or crayon.
Puzzles also provide great opportunities for language development as you describe shapes, sizes and colors with your children.
Children do “learn” puzzles and always like the chance to try something new. If you have young children, consider borrowing a puzzle or toy for three weeks from our circulating toy collection.at ICPL.
The Iowa City Public Library’s redesigned website is live, with features designed to improve user experience, especially for patrons using Smartphones and tablets.
“Part of our long-term strategic plan was to make improvements to the Website that’s easier to navigate from both a desktop computer and mobile devices,” says Brent Palmer, the Library’s Information Technology Coordinator. “We also wanted to make our website more dynamic.”
To meet the first goal, “responsive design” elements were incorporated into the webpage infrastructure to assure an optimal viewing experience. The website is now easier to use on all equipment including smart phones, tablets and desktop computers. The content automatically adjusts based on the screen size of the user’s equipment, making site navigation easier and more appealing.
To meet the second goal, Library staff identified content, created by staff members, patrons would be interested in, including the new 123 South Linn Library Blog, which contains book recommendations from staff, and program information listed in the Library’s online calendar. Then staff identified existing webpages where the staff-created content would augment the information presented.
Infrastructure was created so the webpage dynamically pulls information into correlating webpages, bringing together a hybrid of information for our patrons. One example is the “Books” webpage at www.icpl.org/books. In addition to standard information about loan periods and online book-related resources, users may now explore books recently added to the collection and book reviews written by staff.
The launch of the new design is the culmination of a year’s work by the Library’s IT staff.
“We look forward to sharing the redesigned webpage with our community and continuing to explore ways to improve our user’s online experience,” Palmer says.
Libraries are traditionally strong supporters of intellectual freedom. From our official confidentiality policy:
Confidentiality of library records is central to intellectual freedom and directly related to the ability of citizens to use library materials and pursue information without fear of intimidation.
I would like to highlight some of the policies we have in an effort to support digital privacy of our patrons.
Public Internet Computers
At one level we have installed privacy screens on the public Internet computers. These screens are simply meant to limit what others around you can see on the your screen.
In addition, all browsing history and file downloads are cleared after you log out. It is important to remember to log out of the public Internet computers and Express Internet computers when you are finished
When doing searches in our public catalog in the building, your browsing and searching history can be removed by hitting the logout/reset button. If you walk away, this will happen automatically after a short period of inactivity.
Your checkout history in our catalog is disabled by default. Even if we were served with a subpoena we can’t disclose this information if we aren’t storing it.
Note: However, sometimes it is nice to have that list. You can opt to turn on history by logging into your account and clicking on “Reading History” in the left corner.
Let us know if you have questions regarding our confidentiality policies.
East Iowa City? Really, there is an East Iowa City? Learn about the growth of the eastern part Iowa City and its early history as a manufacturing center during Irving B. Weber Days. Weber Days are held every May in honor of Iowa City’s unofficial historian, the late Irving B. Weber. Every Wednesday in May, the Library will host an event that delves into Iowa City’s history. This Wednesday, May 14 Dr. Thomas Schulein, another citizen historian, will share the story of East Iowa City at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A. How East Iowa City Came to Be is one of the library’s WOW – Weber on Wednesday programs.
What would you like to learn about Iowa City history? Share your ideas with the library and help us plan Irving B. Weber Days for 2015.
The Fez is a 15-piece Steely Dan jazz/rock-fusion tribute band composed of many awesome local musicians. Bring your lawnchair and head Downtown to the Weatherdance Fountain Stage to enjoy summer sounds from 6:30-9:30 PM. If there’s a chance of bad weather, check the Summer of the Arts webpage for schedule and location updates.
Can’t wait until Friday night for some local music? Check out the Library’s Local Music Project at http://music.icpl.org/ or click here to listen to Fez musician Saul Lubaroff and his quartet play “Blues for Zane and Will.”
For a full Summer of the Arts schedule, navigate to: http://www.summerofthearts.org
We’ll see you Downtown this summer!
P.S. Don’t forget the Library is open until 8:00 PM on Fridays
The Spring/Summer edition of the Iowa City Public Library’s newsletter, the Window, has arrived.
The contents of the newsletter includes information about this year’s Summer Reading Program, which begins June 1; Weber on Wednesday events; a strategic planning update; news about the children’s garden; and information about the Second Annual Library Links Golf Classic on June 27.
The Window will arrive in mailboxes of Iowa City, Hills, University Heights, Lone Tree and rural Johnson County homes this week. Copies are also available in the Library’s lobby. An online version can be found here.