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2015 Adult Summer Reading Program

by Beth Fisher on June 9th, 2015

ICPL has a great Summer Reading program every year.  But it’s not just for kids.

The Adult Summer Reading program “Everyday Heroes” runs from June 1 to August 9th, (just like the kids’ and teens’ programs.)  Simply read 5 books – or read 3 books and attend 2 of our Summer Reading Program events – before August 9th to be eligible for a free book and an entry into our Grand Prize drawings. (*see the bottom of this post for a list of prizes).

Signing up is easy:  click  HERE  to register, and then HERE to print your game card – or stop by either the Help or Information Desk next time you’re in the building and we’ll sign up up in person and grab a preprinted game card.

We have some great events scheduled for this summer.  The fun kicks off this Wednesday night, June 10th at 7:00 p.m.

ForeverGR Be An Environmental Hero  Managing Storm Water/Create a Rain Garden. Managing Storm water to protect our water resources has hit home in our communities. The goal of storm water management practices is to capture rain fall and allow it to absorb into the ground reducing runoff, pollution, and the risk of flooding. Lucy Hershberger, founder of Forever Green Garden Center, will be here to teach us what we can do in our yards to help reduce flooding, protect our drinking water and improve water quality in our rivers, streams and lakes.

Other events scheduled for this summer:

monuments menWed., June 24 7:00 p.m.  Monuments Men Movie Screening.   Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Bill Murray, Directed by George Clooney, this film follows a group of every day men who joined the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program during WWII. Their mission was to find and save pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction or theft by the Nazis during WWII.

 george stoutWed., July 1, 7:00 p.m.  Iowa’s Own Monuments Man: George Stout.  During WWII, Winterset, Iowa native George Stout was a member of the U.S. Army’s “Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program” devoted to recovering art and other items of cultural importance that had been stolen by Nazis or hidden for safekeeping.    In 2014 these men and their mission became known world-wide with the release of the film “The Monuments Men,” directed by and starring George Clooney, who’s character Frank Stokes was based on George Stout.  Our guest speaker, Nancy Trask, Director of the Winterset Public Library, Winterset, Iowa has spent years researching George Stout and the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program.  She’ll be here to share all that she’s learned.

unsungWednesday July 8, 7:00 p.m.  Documentary Screening:  Unsung Heroes – The Story  of America’s Female Patriots.   Every woman that has ever served in the American military has volunteered to do so. These are women who, despite the hardships of military service, are proud of their long-standing commitment to the patriotic ideals of the United States. This new documentary, written and directed by Frank Martin with executive producers Ron Howard, Richard Rosetti, and Louisa Velis, is currently airing on PBS stations across the nation.  See it here first!

gable brandsMonday, July 13, 7:00 p.m.  What it Takes to Become A World Champion – with Dan Gable and Tom Brands. Spend and evening with Olympic gold metalists – and former and current Iowa hawkeye Wrestling Coaches Dan Gable and Tom Brands as they talk about what it takes to become an Olympic competitor.

open sesameWednesday July 22, 7:00 pm  Documentary Screening: Opene Sesame – The Story of Seeds.   This documentary by M. Sean Kaminsky follows the history of seeds, from their shift from a shared, local and cultureal resource, into patented, privately and coporately owned property.  Open Sesame details this history and presents some of the challenges faced today by organic and small growers, seed savers, and seed freedom advocates.

 seed savers decorahWednesday, July 29th 7:00 pm  An Evening with Seed Savers Exchange.   Staff from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa will be here to talk about saving seeds and theimportance of preserving heirloom seeds.  Seed Saving makes us all heroes.  This event is sponsored by ICPL and New Pioner Coop.


*Grand Prize Choices for the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program:  A single one-year membership to Film Scene; one $50 Downtown Iowa City gift card; one $50 gift certificate to A&A Pagliai’s Pizza; and a pair of 2-hour Paddle Passes at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area.



Picture Books and Holiday Survival with On Air: The ICPL Podcast

by Bond Drager on November 24th, 2015

This week we’ve got two great episodes of On Air: The ICPL podcast to share.

In Episode 15, Meredith interviews Casey and Morgan from the Children’s Department about some great picture books for young readers.

Plus, enjoy this special bonus episode, a rerun of one of our favorites: How to Survive the Holidays with ICPL, which originally posted in November, 2014.


You can also get our podcast from iTunes or Stitcher

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 »

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

by Heidi Kuchta on November 19th, 2015

Hunger Brownstein

It has been an exceptional year for women-in-rock memoirs. Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band, Patti Smith’s M Train, and Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein have all come out in 2015. Brownstein’s story about how she went from suburban Seattle kid to Sleater Kinney rock guitarist and singer is engaging and funny, as one would expect if they have watched Portlandia. Brownstein definitely has a sense of humor, even about the darker and embarrassing stuff in her life. She starts the book talking about how the thread of music fandom has been the main current through her life – not musicianship, but fandom and a profound interest in performance and exploration. She writes well about nostalgia, particularly music-related nostalgia: the phenomenon of how albums from our formative years can bring us back to a particular time and place instantly, even while they don’t necessarily hold up sound-wise. There are many people who would like this book: Riot Grrrl history buffs, fans of rock and punk music, and people who enjoy watching Portlandia should check out Carrie Brownstein’s memoir. It’s worth the read!

Street Art

by Todd Brown on November 12th, 2015


At my desk I can look out across the alley to the backside of another building. The largest surface is a brick wall painted bright white. On sunny days it can be almost blinding. Occasionally there are messages scrawled across the wall or on the HVAC units. Often it is a one word tag that has no meaning to me. It cound be a gang, a sports ball team or maybe a character from My Little Pony. Not long ago new text was added. It says “I feel lonely.” It isn’t in a fancy graffiti font, just plain cursive. Without knowing any specifics I think most people can understand this one.



badBad Graffiti by Scott Hocking As the title implies it is full of crudely drawn pieces of anatomy, references to bodily functions and just plain bad graffiti.




worldThe World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti by Rafael Schacter On the flip side, this book is filled with beautiful pieces of street art. It includes some artists you may have heard of like Banksy and Shepard Fairy and plenty that you have not. It goes beyond just graffiti to include commissioned murals, paper graffiti and installation pieces.


flipFlip the Script by Christian Acker If you are interested in graffiti AND you are a font geek then this is the book for you. It is page after page of graffiti writing styles used across the country. They are grouped geographically, showing which group or individual used it and in what time period.



historyThe History of American Graffiti by Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon I liked this one because of the photos, especially the large graffiti done on trains and subway cars. It makes me want to watch Beat Street again.





Video staff picks: Documentaries with Terri

by Bond Drager on November 10th, 2015

Do you need some fresh documentary recommendations? Come up to our second floor and enjoy all the fun and informative viewing our nonfiction DVD collection has to offer.

We Give Thanks For Music

by Angela Pilkington on November 9th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library is pleased to welcome The Rita Benton Music Library’s exhibit, “We Give Thanks for Music: an A-Z list” to the library this November.

The fantastic display with all of the 26 musical concepts is located in the large display case outside of the Children’s Room at the Iowa City Public Library, 123. S. Linn St. The display fits in well with ICPL’s nine month initiative, Music is The Word, which aims to offer music-related programming initiated by the Iowa City Public Library, in partnership with other Iowa City entities, to welcome and introduce the University of Iowa School of Music to downtown Iowa City. Weekly programming will run from September 2015 through May 2016 at the library, unless noted otherwise. The focus will be all things musical and will include performance events for all ages and tastes, as well as non-performance, music related programs, displays and exhibits.

Katie Buehner, Head of UI Music Library says it was hard to pick just one or two reasons to be thankful for music, so they chose 26 musical concepts, instruments, styles, genres, and ensembles (one for each letter of the alphabet) to represent a portion of what makes music great.

“I wanted to share a little bit of everything from our collection – books, scores, recordings - but with some local flavor sprinkled throughout. Several objects highlight the School of Music’s history, and the exhibit contains sheet music selections that hail from Cedar Rapids and radio station WHO.”
There are several items with strong ties to Iowa City and the University of Iowa’s School of Music, including recordings by jazz ensemble Johnson County Landmark, an opera by Iowa professors Philip Bezanson and Paul Engle, and some locally produced vinyl records. Several items from the Music Library’s rare book and score collection are highlighted, as well as early 20th song collections from WHO in Des Moines and ukulele clubs in Cedar Rapids.

This is an exciting year for the Music Library because in just nine months, the University of Iowa Music Library will move into the new Voxman Music Building on the corner of Burlington and Clinton in downtown Iowa City.

To see a list and full detail of all the display concepts visit their website at: and for an up-to-date look at the ICPL’s Music is the Word events, visit our online calendar at: .

Just in time for the Holidays!

by Kara Logsden on November 9th, 2015

2015 11 New ICPL BagThe Library has new reusable bags for sale at the Help Desk. At $1.00 per bag, they work great for loading up books and movies and keep plastic bags out of our landfill. They also work really well as gift bags.

If you’re looking for a snazzy new tote or need a great bag for holiday gifts, head to the Help Desk. We also have the blue “Read More Books, It’s Good for You” bag for $1.00 each and the “Read Food Eat Books” canvas tote for $9.00 each.

We also have many of the 2015 Summer Reading Program t-shirts in adult sizes for sale for $5.00 each. They may also be purchased at the Library’s Help Desk.

Happy Holidays!

All Things Cello: Preucil School of Music

by Kara Logsden on November 8th, 2015

Cello(Cello) Music is the Word at Iowa City Public Library on Friday November 13, 2015 when the Preucil School of Music’s Cello Department presents an awesome program of cello choirs, solos, and faculty performances.

Friday November 13th is a NO SCHOOL day in Iowa City, so it’s a great opportunity to head Downtown, pick up some lunch and listen to great music at the Library. Preucil is planning a program that showcases all levels of cello performance, giving the audience an opportunity to hear a variety of music.

According to Wikipedia, “The name cello is a contraction of the Italian violoncello,[2] which means “little violone“. The violone (“big viol”) was the lowest-pitched instrument of the viol family, the group of stringed instruments that went out of fashion around the end of the 17th century in most countries except France, where they survived another half-century before the louder violin family came into greater favour in that country as well. In modern symphony orchestras, it is the second largest stringed instrument (the double bass is the largest).”

If you want to investigate cello music more, a simple SUBJECT search of the Library’s catalog returns 356 items with the subject of “Cello.” Most items are music CDs; however, there are some books mixed in as well. One that caught my eye? “I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello” – a rhyming book for children (now I have that title in my head!). Enjoy!

ICPL on KXIC’s Your Town

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 3rd, 2015

Did you catch Beth’s and my appearance on KXIC’s Your Town program this morning? If not, you can listen to the segment here.KXIC

I love doing the radio show. Yes, it’s early (hence the large cup of coffee on my desk right now), but it’s always fun to talk about what’s happening at the Library. The toughest thing about the show, in my opinion, is the last question Jay Capron always asks: “What book(s) have you read lately?”

2015 is my year of I-Started-A-Lot-Of-Books, Didn’t-Finish-All-Of-Them. Sometimes a book just doesn’t click. Maybe it will at a later time, maybe not. I’ve learned not to feel guilty if I don’t finish a book. Life is too short and my Books-to-Read list too long to force myself to read something I don’t want to. That being said, here are the books Beth, Jay, Kara (last minute drop-in) and I recommend you try and yes, I did finish every book I talked about on the show.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Every story has two sides. In this novel, Gross examines one marriage, as seen through the eyes of husband and wife. I wasn’t sure I liked this book when I finished it. I believe I gave it three stars on GoodReads, but I can’t stop thinking about it. There’s a lot of buzz around this book. It’s worth checking out.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. This science fiction book was released in 2011. It’s The Scarlet Letter meets The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s slightly dystopian, taking place some undisclosed time in America’s future where the skin of a criminal is dyed a color depending on their crime. The story begins with Hannah Payne wakes up as a red after being found guilty of murder following an abortion.

Beth recommended her first-ever Jodi Picoult book, Leaving TimeTold in alternating voices with flashback, this is the story about Jenna Metcalf’s mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Jenna refuses to believe her mother would abandon her, so she enlists the help of Serenity Jones, a psychic, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded detective who originally investigated Alice’s case, to finally learn the truth. (I told Beth she should read The Storyteller next. That’s my favorite Jodi Picoult book.)

Beth said she picked up Leaving Time because the story involves an elephant sanctuary. Alice was studying grief among elephants when she disappeared. That little tidbit led to Jay’s recommendation of When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy, and Kara’s suggestions of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and Philosophy Made Simple by Robert Hellenga, which introduces readers to Rudy Harrington, a man ready for a new life who ends up taking care of an elephant named Norma Jean. Of course, we couldn’t talk about elephant-themes books without mentioning Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books.

Are there any elephant titles we missed?


On Air: Episode 14

by Bond Drager on October 29th, 2015

Get the podcast here or from iTunes or Stitcher

Librarian Life Hacks! aka Favorite Books of All Time and Horror Recommendations from Wimpy Librarians

What we’re reading/watching/listening to
00:52 Melody: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
02:02 Jason: Beach House – Depression Cherry
05:24 Brian: Star Wars Rebels
08:45 Meredith: Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall
10:20 Favorite Books Ever
11:40 Brian: The Giver by Lois Lowry
15:10 Jason: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
18:32 Melody: Naked by David Sedaris
20:30 Meredith: 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
23:13 Bond: The Giver – SPOILER ALERT – Spoiler free at 24:10
26:55 Horror recommendations from wimpy librarians
28:54 Meredith: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
33:36 Jason: Bloodletters & Badmen by Jay Robert Nash
37:10 Melody: The Innocence, Dead of Night, Isle of the Dead
41:20 Brian: Evil Dead Trilogy, It Follows, The Babadook