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OH NO I returned my library book to the wrong library!

by Kara Logsden on December 22nd, 2014

2014 12 22 oa returns YESEvery day we receive materials returned to Iowa City Public Library that are owned by other libraries. We often receive items from the Iowa City Community School District, UI Libraries and other local libraries. Fortunately we have a good routine in place to return these materials.

As a part of the State Library’s Open Access program, participating libraries around the state routinely mail books back to the owning library. This is also tied to the service where people who live in a community that supports a public library may get a library card and check out books from public libraries in other communities. The formal system to return books is a great deal for all libraries because it means our materials are routinely mailed back to us.

Because not all materials are eligible for return in the mail, patrons who wish to return items to other libraries for mail return should check ahead of time to assure it is something that can be mailed. Materials that are not eligible for mail return are often high-demand collections and mail return means the items are not available to other people while they are “in transit.” Because of this, libraries ask patrons to return these items directly to the library where the materials were borrowed.

Trivia question: Which library do we return the most items to? Choice are:

a. Weber Elementary Library

b. Coralville Public Library

c. North Liberty Community Library

d. Cedar Rapids Public Library

e. University of Iowa Libraries

Feel free to record your choice in the comments box below this post.

The next time you accidentally return your book to Iowa City Public Library that is owned by another library, rest assured the book will find its way home. Feel free to give us a call to check, but chances are it’s already in the mail :)

Teen Center Tech Hours, Winter Break Edition

by Ella Von Holtum on December 16th, 2014

GOTG-posterGetting ready for a break from school? Me too! The Teen Center tech times will be expanded over the next two weeks, and we even have some special events planned. Get the rundown below:

 

Monday  12/22:  1:00  -  8:00 pm

Tuesday  12/23:  1:00  -  8:00 pm

Wednesday  12/24:  1:00  -  4:00 pm

Thursday  12/25:  CLOSED

Friday  12/26:  1:00  -  6:00 pm

——-

Monday  12/29:  1:00  -  8:00 pm

Tuesday  12/30:  1:00  -  8:00 pm

(Super-special Tuesday event: Super Smash Bros video game tournament on the Wii U, 2-4pm)

Wednesday  12/31:  1:00  -  5:00 pm

(Super-special Wednesday event: watch Guardians of the Galaxy and eat popcorn with us, 2-4pm)

Thursday  1/1:  CLOSED

Friday  1/2:  1:00  -  8:00 pm

Saturday  1/3:  1:00  -  6:00 pm

Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Nelson

by Stacey McKim on December 15th, 2014

We asked volunteer Emily Nelson a few questions for this “Volunteer Spotlight:”

EmilyNelsonHow long have you been volunteering at the Iowa City Public Library?
I have been volunteering for about 11 years.

What do you do at the Library?
I check in books and prepare them for reshelving. I also perform other tasks as needed.

Why did you decide to volunteer at the Library?
I’ve loved libraries since I was little. I worked at the Truman State University library while I was a student. When I moved to the Iowa City area, I missed being in a library environment and was seeking a volunteering opportunity, so this was perfect.

What is your favorite part of the collection?
All of it! It depends on the day.

What else do you like to do?
Anything outdoors. I love to bike and am a 13-year RAGBRAI veteran. I also love to run and have gotten into triathlons in the last few years. My husband and I love to travel – especially when it involves hiking in national parks. Obviously, I love reading, but I also really enjoy watching movies.

Thank you, Emily, for all of your time and hard work!

If you are interested in volunteering, go www.icpl.org/volunteer or come in to the Library and fill out a Volunteer Application.

Why is the Library closed on Friday?

by Kara Logsden on December 10th, 2014

business_closed_sign_pageEvery year the Library closes on the second Friday in December for Staff Inservice Day. This is a day for staff to retreat, honor co-workers for years of service, and invest time in learning. We strongly believe this opportunity for training results in better overall services to our community through learning and team building.

My first day working at the Library sixteen years ago was Staff Inservice Day. I liked that I was moving to an organization that invested in staff and felt strongly about life-long learning and team building. That certainly remains a big part of the culture of working at the Library.

We recognize staff for years of service awards in five year intervals. This year we will recognize seven Library employees for years of service. These staff members alone represent 85 years of service to the community and individual milestones range from 5 years to 30 years of service.

Our overall theme for Inservice Day is User Experience. Our keynote speaker is Aaron Schmidt who is a principal at Influx Library User Experience Consulting. Through Schmidt’s guidance we’ll look at user experience and how we can improve the Library’s websites, programs, and services.

Last year’s theme was 21st Century Skills. These include critical thinking, problem solving, communication, flexibility, adaptability, creativity and innovation, global awareness, teamwork, interpersonal skills, technology literacy, media literacy, listening and assessment. Over the past year we’ve worked on our 21st Century Skills as individual staff and tried to incorporate opportunities for learning these skills into our collections, classes and programs.

Many thanks to our patrons for your understanding as we close for a day to invest in our staff and plan for how we can improve service to our community. Regular Library hours will resume on Saturday Saturday December 13.

Little Dutch Boy Game

by Brent Palmer on November 30th, 2014

If you have kids that regularly visit the Ellen Buchanan Children’s Room, then you have probably met Mabel the Table.  This is a large interactive touch table that immediately draws kids’ attention.  The library has been a long-time host of Coder Dojo Iowa City, the local chapterdutchboy of an international movement to teach and inspire kids in the vocation of computer programming.  Young programmers in this dojo collaboratively designed and built a custom game called Little Dutch Boy that is only found on Mabel the Table.  The game is a race against time as a dike holding back water is starting to fill with holes.  Players around the table try to plug as many holes as they can with their fingers before the water gets too high. I hope you have a chance to try it out next time you are at the library.  The kids of Coder Dojo did a wonderful job of working together to contribute a cool new custom app for our table.  If you are a game designer or involved in a developer group and want to help us improve these games or create new ones, please contact me at the library

Support Your LIbrary

by Susan Craig on November 24th, 2014

It’s that time of year. Every day your mailboxes (physical and virtual) have new appeals for worthy causes, and the Library is asking for your support as well. If you haven’t seen the annual report of the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation, please look it over. The Library receives good tax funding, but the Foundation gifts allow us to move from great to fantastic which is what we want you to think your library is.

Last year Foundation gifts to the Library paid more than half the cost of our building renovations, purchased library materials for all ages, supported huge growth in our Summer Reading Program (allowing us to continue to provide books to participants — see p. 8 of the annual report for a heartwarming story), supported programs, and improved technology.

You can give online or by mail (make checks payable to the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation). You also support the Library through your purchases at the Arts & Crafts Bazaar (Saturday, December 6, 10-3) at special book sales (same day) or at The Book End.

At this time of year I am thankful for a great public library.  What would our community be without it?  Please consider a gift today.

My Reading History @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden on November 24th, 2014
My Reading History @ Your Library Cover Image

There’s an awesome user feature in our online Catalog called “My Reading History.” “My Reading History” will keep track of every physical item you have checked out from the Library. It will also eMail the list to you. This feature is available to everyone but you must turn the feature on before it will begin tracking items checked out.

To activate “My Reading History,” login to your online account at catalog.icpl.org and click on “Reading History.”  If you don’t have a password, or don’t remember your password, please give us a call during Library hours or stop by the Help Desk and we’ll set one up for you.2014 11 my reading hist

Once you’ve logged in to the Catalog and selected “My Reading History,” there is a toggle button to Opt In or Opt Out. The default is for accounts to be set-up to “Opt Out” so you must choose “Opt In” for the system to begin tracking your checkouts.

I enjoy browsing through “My Reading History” because it’s a walk down memory lane. Some titles bring back memories of learning to draw with my children (Ed Emberley books are great for this) and favorite books while others remind me about planning a vacation, craft projects and driving in blizzards. I’ve used this feature for nearly 10 years so I have quite a long memory lane cataloged there.

We often get questions about “My Reading History” so here’s the fine print if you have questions or concerns:

Library Staff may not access these lists so they are completely private.  It is up to you to activate this feature IF you want the catalog to keep track of the physical items you check out.

If you checked out something you don’t want to keep track of, you can delete the item from your list.

You can choose to Opt Out any time and opt back in later if you choose to.

My Reading History does not track any eMaterials checked out on other webpages like OverDrive and Zinio.

If an item is withdrawn from our collection, it no longer appears in My Reading History.

Some patrons come in hopeful that we track their circulation over time – this usually happens when they can’t remember a book they checked out. We don’t track specific items checked out because of privacy issues. IF the patron turned on My Reading History, the record will be there once they login to their Library Account. In most cases, though, they have not turned this feature on and so the information is not available.

If you wish to Opt In to “My Reading History” and need help, please stop by or give us a call. It’s a nice feature for those who are interested in keeping track of materials checked out over time.

New Self Checkouts @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden on November 18th, 2014

2014 11 New Self CheckoutThis week we rolled out new Self Checkout machines. The six new Self Checkout stations may be found on the First Floor near the entrance and in the Children’s Room and on the Second Floor near the Reference Desk.

This project is a culmination of months of behind the scenes work by Library staff and completes a Strategic Plan goal to “Upgrade checkout equipment to provide more efficient service.”

Highlights of the new equipment include a bigger, more responsive screen and new DVD Unlockers that give a GREEN LIGHT indication when the DVD has been unlocked. They also feature new credit card payment terminals that are easy to use and assure PCI Compliance for transactions.

A new feature is a “smart” barcode reader that reads barcodes on smart phone screens. We’ve received many requests for this feature and know our patrons will appreciate this enhancement. The scanner works with pictures of Library Cards on the smart phones or through barcodes generated by third-party apps such as CardStar.

Another option in response to patron requests is the ability to choose no receipt, a printed receipt, or an eMail receipt. We can only send an eMail receipt if we have a valid eMail address in the patron’s record. If you wish to add an eMail address to your account, please give us a call or stop by the Help Desk.

As with many technology upgrades we are still working through a couple issues. The Self Checkout software is not communicating with our system to give information about holds in the queue. Patrons will be notified when a hold is ready for pickup but at this time we are unable to show holds at the Self Checkout stations. If you need help with holds, please go to a public service desk.

Nearly 70% of our checkouts run through the Library’s Self Checkout stations so it is a critical tool for us to serve our community. We are delighted with the new product and the improvements the technology brings. While we offer the option of Self Checkout, please remember staff are just a couple steps away if you need help or prefer for staff to check out materials for you.

Your Favorite Book On Display

by Stacey McKim on November 17th, 2014

WeirdWonderfulStaff members at ICPL enjoy recommending our favorite books year-round.  Now, it’s your turn!

Participate in the interactive “Take a Favorite – Leave a Favorite” display on the 1st floor during the month of November.  When you decide to check out one of the books on the display, you may fill that empty spot with your own favorite.  Write a note about why it is such a great book, and enjoy the thrill of knowing that you passed on your favorite to someone new!

YoursAndMine1

ICPL Bags @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden on November 12th, 2014

Bags editedAt the Library we try to be as green as possible.  One way we do this is by promoting the use of reusable bags to carry home Library materials.  The Library sells two different bags at the Help Desk.  Both types of bags hold a lot of materials and can be easily folded down to a small size when not being used.

The blue bags feature two handles and light-weight material.  They sell for $1 each and sport a great message:  “Read More Books: It’s good for you!”  We’ve also had people purchase these to serve as gift bags – another green idea.

The canvas bags feature one over-the-shoulder strap.  They sell for $9 and carry a message that can be interpreted in many ways:

Read Books

Eat Food

Read Food

Eat Books

The graphic encourages the imagination and deeper thought into the message.  Regardless of how you interpret the message, it’s a fun bag to carry home lots of great Library materials.  I also know from personal experience that these bags can be tossed into the washing machine for easy cleaning.

If you are looking for other ways to reduce your use of plastic bags, check out the Iowa City Landfill/100 Grannies display on the first floor, through December 10, that shares many ideas for alternatives to plastic bags.




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