Lobby Stop Pilot

by Heidi Kuchta on November 15th, 2018

The Bookmobile has successful stops at several retirement homes in Iowa City, but we have noticed that there is a population of patrons at these stops who are not comfortable navigating the Bookmobile. There are also retirement homes that can’t accommodate the Bookmobile due to a lack of suitable parking. Staff have been thinking about how we can serve this population. One idea is a Lobby Stop Program, which provides library services in the comfort of the hosting facility. Staff learned about Lobby Stops at an ABOS (Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services) conference a couple years ago. On Tuesday, I began investigating the possibilities of this new service with my spiffy outreach wagon, a few bins of large print books, and a staff laptop. The initial response was overwhelmingly positive.

The three pilot sites for this new service are Walden Place, Bickford Senior Living, and Legacy Assisted Living. Overall, I made 14 new library card accounts on Tuesday and checked out about 10 items. I also updated several accounts, helped with Digital Johnson County related questions, placed holds, and had fun chatting with new patrons. Materials I bring to the Lobby Stops will adapt as I get to know the patrons at the sites better. Two recommendations I will apply immediately, based on patron suggestions, are the inclusion of books-on-disc and photography/art books. The plan is to continue visiting each Lobby Stop site twice monthly and re-evaluate in the Spring. Beginning in January, we will likely add Emerson Point to the list of sites we visit. The Bookmobile will no longer visit this site, but many people there come to our Tales and Travels program, so we’re hoping a Lobby Stop would be the type of service they need.

Last chance for a Blind Date With A Book

by Stacey McKim on February 15th, 2019

Did you spend Valentine’s Day without a current read that makes your heart pound?

This weekend’s your last chance to let us set you up on a Blind Date With a Book.  The books are using their first sentences as pick-up lines this year — these are two of my favorites!









Anyone who finishes their Blind Date by the end of the month can enter a prize drawing for this ICPL book bag valued at $29.99.  Return your Rate Your Date bookmarks to the Help Desk.

Your library

No Bookmobile Service on Monday, Feb. 18

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on February 10th, 2019

The Iowa City Public Library Bookmobile will not be in service on Monday, February 18.

The Downtown Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bookmobile holiday hours are always available on the Library’s website.

Remember, even when the Bookmobile isn’t in service, online services are available 24/7 at www.icpl.org. This includes account access and, for those who live in our service area, access to ICPL’s Digital Library including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, The New York Times and Kanopy video streaming.

We’ll see you back on the Bookmobile on February 19!

Our calendar got an upgrade!

by Alyssa Hanson on January 30th, 2019
Screenshot of new calendar

Screenshot of the new calendar

You’ll notice our calendar looks quite a bit different than it used to. Today we integrated it into the rest of our site to streamline your event finding experience with the rest of our site. Along with the integration, you’ll find some (hopefully!) good improvements.

Now the default view to see events is a list. If you’re browsing for events, you can quickly scan the list and see what’s happening at the library either today, this week, or this month. If you’re looking to request a meeting room, we also still have the grid view available to spatially see when our meeting rooms are available.

We’ve also re-categorized all of our events to make it easier to narrow down to events you’re interested in. See all the events in a single age category or type of event when looking at a month’s worth of events and you can easily see what’s coming up and mark your calendar accordingly.

Add to calendar buttonSpeaking of marking your calendar, you can also now add events directly from the event page to your personal calendar by clicking the calendar icon next to the date. There are several calendars available including Google Calendar, iCalendar, and Outlook Calendar.

Each event also has a list of related events so if you find one you like, you can find more upcoming events like it.

You might have also noticed the homepage changed today as well. Along with upgrading the calendar, we also took the opportunity to update our homepage to a simpler layout. We’re still making improvements and you’ll continue to see more changes throughout the year as we continue working to make our website easy to use.

Have comments or feedback? Feel free to contact us through email or chat, or leave us a note through our Website Feedback form.

Iowa City Food Pantries & Free Meals list

by Angela Pilkington on January 29th, 2019

The extreme cold and school cancellations can add strain to our local families. Here is list of food resources in Iowa City and Iowa City Food Pantries & Free Meals:

Johnson County Crisis Center Food Bank
1121 S Gilbert Ct.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 12-4:30pm
Tuesday: 12-7:00pm
Thursday: 9:30am-4:30pm
Phone: (319) 351-0128

Iowa City Catholic Worker
1414 Sycamore Street
Little Free Food Pantry is available
Meal is served:
Saturday 4-7pm
Sunday 12-4pm

ICCompassion Food Pantry
1035 Wade St.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Wednesday: 12-4pm (Free community meal from 5-6pm)
Thursday: 5:30-7pm
Phone: (319) 330-9883

The River Community Church Food Pantry
Must be a resident of Iowa City
3001 Muscatine Ave.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Wednesday: 12-5pm
Phone: (319) 354-3118

Salvation Army
1116 S Gilbert Ct.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Food items to take-
Monday-Friday: 1-2pm
Soup kitchen-
Monday-Friday: Meal served at 5pm
Sunday: Grab and go bag lunch at 9:30am
Phone: (319) 337-3725

Free Lunch Program
1105 S Gilbert Ct. Suite 100
Iowa City, IA 52240
Monday-Saturday: 11:30am-1pm
Phone: (319) 337-6283

Agape Café (Old Brick Church)
Free made-to-order breakfast served during the school year (August-May)
26 E Market St.
Iowa City, IA 52245
Wednesdays: 7-8:30am
Phone: (319) 351-2626

Stay warm, Iowa City!

2019 ALA Youth Media Awards

by Morgan Reeves on January 28th, 2019

American Library Association Youth Media Awards It’s awards season in library land. I look forward to this day each year, as I love predicting which titles will win which awards. The ALA Youth Media Awards recognize distinguished “books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens.” You may be familiar with the John Newbery Medal and Randolph Caldecott Medal, since we just finished our Mock Award voting for these two medals. (See our winners here). Recently award recognition has expanded to include awards that “highlight high-quality literature for young people about diverse peoples and triumphs of the human spirit.” Check out the honor and medal winners below and if you want to know more about the awards, follow the link to the ALA Youth Media Awards.

Read the rest of this entry »

Numbers Numbers Numbers

by Kara Logsden on January 15th, 2019

Our community LOVES the Library! I’m looking at the report of use of the Library between July 1 and December 31, 2018 and it’s amazing to see the numbers. I know there are many stories about how the Library enriched lives woven through these numbers. Here’s a few snippets that made me smile 🙂

An average of …

208 people walk into the Library every hour we are open.

22 people visit the ICPL Bookmobile each hour it is in service (up from 14 last year!)

378 items were checked out every hour the Library was open.

In addition to this …

The Library hosted 716 non-Library meetings with an estimated 13,708 people attending.

2,847 individuals/groups used one of our Study Rooms on the 2nd Floor.

1,973 Ride and Read Bus Passes were distributed.

eMaterials checkouts were up 66% to 107,207 checkouts of 27,770 items.

Drop-In Tech Help answered 334 tech related questions.

The Info Desk answered 8,104 questions in person and the Switchboard answered 3,018 questions on the phone.

Our ICPL Mobile App was used 63,510 times. It’s available in the Apple App Store and in Google Play.

We mailed 995 packages of Library materials to our At Home patrons.

We sent 1,020 items to collections we support at retirement residences, neighborhood centers and other community sites.

17% of all items returned to the Library were returned at our two remote Book Return locations at First Avenue Hy-Vee and University of Iowa Community Credit Union on Mormon Trek. Library staff empty the Remote Book Returns 365 days a year!

2,549 teens attended 176 programs.

17,514 children attended 376 programs in the Library and 2,820 children attended 135 programs hosted in the community.

3,524 people got new Library Cards.

If you have a story about how the Library enriched your life or what these numbers mean to you, we’d love to hear from you!

No Bookmobile Service on Monday, Jan. 21

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 14th, 2019

The Iowa City Public Library Bookmobile will not be in service on Monday, January 21. The Downtown Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Bookmobile’s holiday hours are always available on the Library’s website.

Even though the Bookmobile won’t be on the road, online services are available 24/7 at www.icpl.org. This includes account access and, for those who live in our service area, access to ICPL’s Digital Library including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, The New York Times and Kanopy video streaming.

We’ll see you back on the Bookmobile or at the Downtown Library on Jan. 22

New Year, New Bookmobile Schedule

by Shawna Riggins on January 8th, 2019

After our seasonal service break the Bookmobile is back in action! Our Winter/Spring schedule began on January 7, 2019 and extends through May 23, 2019. The newest stops that we have added to our route include weekly visits to Shimek Elementary, Good Shepherd Center, Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood Center, and Hills Elementary. Keep in mind, all ICPL Bookmobile stops are open to the public and all (excluding the UI College of Medicine Courtyard) offer free, nearby parking.

If you’ve considered visiting the Bookmobile, but have not yet stopped in maybe now is the right time! Don’t have a library card (or lost your old one)? Not a problem! We can issue new cards on the Bookmobile – Adults, just bring a photo ID and we can set you up with library services in a matter of minutes. More information about getting a library card can be found here.

While we feel ready for Spring weather, our calendars tell us Winter is still going strong. Now is a great time to make note of our weather policy. The Bookmobile will not operate on days when inclement weather would result in hazardous driving or service conditions, including any day the Iowa City Community School District cancels due to weather. If this were to occur, public web announcements will be able to be found on our website.

Cheers to a great new Bookmobile season. I hope to see you on the road!

Drop In Tech Help Times Changed

by Brent Palmer on January 7th, 2019

ICPL’s Popular Drop-In Tech Help times are changing.  The new times are:
Tue: 11 am – 2 pm
Wed: 11 am – 2 pm

At Drop-In Tech Help, we try to help patrons with just about any kind of Tech-related question.  We often help people with questions related to using the web, setting up email or getting more from their mobile devices. There are a few things we can’t help with: device repair, setting up routers and getting rid of malware.  As always the service is free but we encourage users to be patient and respectful of others while waiting their turn.

Note: Senior Tech Zone time is still Thu: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.


ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2018: BEST OF THE BEST

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 31st, 2018

It’s here: the Iowa City Public Library’s Top Picks for 2018! 

Staff members nominated more than 130 books released in 2018 as their favorite reads of the year. Those that made this list were nominated by more than one person, which truly makes them the Best of the Best.

  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall
  • White Houses by Amy Bloom
  • The Disappeared by CJ Box
  • A Duke by Default: Reluctant Royals by Alyssa Cole
  • A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals by Alyssa Cole
  • Vox by Christina Dalcher
  • Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal
  • Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
  • Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
  • The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
  • A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  • The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
  • Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies by Christian Trimmer
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
  • Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
  • Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward
  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Our Best Book Overall for 2018 is Becoming by Michelle Obama. The former United States First Lady’s autobiographical memoir was released in mid-November, with Library Holds exceeding 135 requests on our more than 40 copies.

During her eight years in the White House, Obama established herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. Her memoir chronicles the experiences that have shaped her — from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.

Staff who nominated this title call Becoming inspirational and inspiring. “I was excited to read it, but I was surprised by how much I loved it,” one nominator commented. “I couldn’t put it down. I rarely say that about nonfiction!”

Go here to see all of the titles nominated in 2018, as well as our Best Books from 2013-2017!