Iowa City Book Festival 2018: What to Read First?

by City of Literature on July 31st, 2018

Amid 90 degree days, vacation plans, and orientation tours, fall seems eons away. With the announcement of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature’s tenth annual Iowa City Book Festival lineup, however, the change of seasons can’t come quickly enough. The festival, which will take place from Oct. 1-7, 2018 will feature authors from across the country and around the globe, including some from other UNESCO Cities of Literature.

This year’s festival will also continue with the many traditions of the Book Festival including the history of partnerships with other area organizations, and the festival’s reading of a classic piece of literature. This year’s reading will be Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in celebration of the novel’s 200th anniversary. In addition to the reading, related work and panel discussions will take place during the week, along with a special screening of one of the adaptations of Frankenstein hosted at FilmScene.

Later in the week, Thursday will feature the presentation of the City of Literature’s annual Paul Engle Prize to writer Dina Nayeri. The prize honors an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit, and whose active participation has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts. Nayeri, the seventh writer to receive the award, is a novelist, essayist and activist who has written extensively about the life and challenges of refugees. Due to Nayeri’s prominence in the festival as the Paul Engler Prize winner in addition to the relevance of her work to current events, her book Refuge is one of my “must read” picks for the book festival. In Refuge, Nayeri tells a story similar to her own. “I don’t feel like any place is home,” she says. “There’s no place where I can really say, you know, I feel complete and at ease.” Like Nayeri, Refuge’s protagonist, Niloo, left Iran as a child. It is through Niloo, and the father she leaves behind, that Nayeri explores the tension of being tied to a homeland and the urge to assimilate to a new culture. Nayeri, who now lives in London, is an MFA graduate from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow and a Teaching Writing Fellow.

A read completely different from Refuge my second choice to read in preparation for the ICBF isn’t for the faint of heart. Although you may recognize David Small’s name from your/your children’s favorite childhood stories his graphic memoir, Stitches, isn’t for kids. Writer and illustrator David Smalls recreates the horrific family drama surrounding his concealed childhood battle with cancer in Stitches. While Stitches may at first seem to be a bleak look into a Kafkaesque nightmare the story actually serves as a, “tale of redemption that informs us that things can get better, that good can emerge from evil, and that art has the power to transform.” Which is exactly what Small’s art does, transforming Stitches from a gripping memoir to a silent movie that not only keeps the reader turning pages, but also places them in the author’s shoes (or mouth as you’ll find out). If you enjoy Stitches keep an eye out for Small’s newest graphic novel, Home After Dark, which is expected out September 11, just in time for the Iowa City Book Festival!

The majority of the events of the 2018 Iowa City Book Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6, but the full schedule will be released closer to the event. For specific times and locations for festival events, or to learn more about programs and authors, please visit and follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (, where we will share news of new programs and authors as they are confirmed.


First Year on the Bookmobile

by Kara Logsden on July 30th, 2018

Bookmobile at Mercer ParkThe FY18 statistics are in and what a GREAT first year for the Bookmobile! From July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, 15,233 people visited the ICPL Bookmobile and checked out 25,885 items.

The Bookmobile drove 3,863 miles around Iowa City and Johnson County. The Bookmobile’s checkouts per mile varied from a low of 5 in January and February to a high of 10 in July. The Bookmobile averaged 7 checkouts per mile driven in FY18.

Staff at the Bookmobile hosted 96 programs for children with 3,158 people attending. Most programs were a part of Stories in the Park, but there were many other special programs as well.

The University of Iowa Community Credit Union-Mormon Trek stop checked out the most items for an individual stop – 2,717. Lemme Elementary was the next busiest stop (2,444 checkouts) followed by Mercer Park (2,110) and Breckenridge Estates (2,156).

Bookmobile staff collected many wonderful stories while out in the community. My favorite story is service to Breckenridge Estates in rural Johnson County. Each week, a teacher from Lemme Elementary meets us at Breckenridge and helps students find books. She also brings sweet treats the children enjoy. On the last day of Bookmobile service last summer, two siblings came to the Bookmobile wearing the Summer Reading Program t-shirts they earned by completing all the required  SRP activities. They were especially proud of their t-shirts because they had never had an opportunity to participate in Summer Reading Program before. Living 5 miles out in the country without a ride to town, Summer Reading Program was not accessible until the Bookmobile rolled into their neighborhood.

Another happy story is the children who visit the Bookmobile at Mark Twain Elementary after school. Staff from their after school program, run by the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, help the children to find books and movies to check out. They also give reminders to return Bookmobile materials. Students at Mark Twain Elementary checked out 1,851 items from the Bookmobile in FY18.

Our most fun stop this summer has been the College of Medicine Courtyard stop on Thursdays from 11AM-1PM. It’s 12 Food Trucks plus the Bookmobile parked on the MERF/PBDB/BSB Courtyard with live music. We have many staff from the College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics visit us and everyone is happy because there’s delicious food and great books and movies.

If you haven’t visited us yet this summer, there’s still time. The Summer Schedule runs through August 17. Then we take a break for a week and the Fall Schedule begins on Monday August 25. Watch this blog for Fall Schedule announcements.

Library Access During RAGBRAI

by Heidi Lauritzen on July 25th, 2018

The Library will be open regular hours (10:00-8:00) on Friday, July 27th, as Iowa City hosts RAGBRAI XLVI. The Library lobby will be open extended hours, until 10:00 pm.

Due to downtown street closures for the Book It to Iowa City Bash (noon to midnight), vehicular access to the Library will be very limited. Linn Street will be closed from Iowa Avenue to College Street. The following parking ramps will be open: Dubuque Street (closest to the Library), Capitol Street, Harrison Street, and Court Street.

We have extended the due dates for Library materials originally due on Friday, July 27th, to Saturday, July 28th. No materials are due on Friday.

The City of Iowa City is asking community members “to pack their patience when traveling around Iowa City on Friday. Expect delays due to street closures and heavy cyclist and pedestrian traffic.” More information about RAGBRAI and street closures is here.

No Bookmobile Service August 20 through August 24

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 24th, 2018

2017-07-bookmobileThe Bookmobile Summer Schedule concludes on Friday, August 17, and the Fall Schedule begins on Monday, August 27. We’ve had a great summer and look forward to a seeing everyone again in the fall!

A break between schedule periods gives us time for vehicle maintenance, deep cleaning, and restocking the Bookmobile with great new Library materials.

During Bookmobile service breaks, Holds and ILLs scheduled for pickup on the Bookmobile may be picked up at the Help Desk in the Downtown Library. We will not capture any holds when the Bookmobile is not in service, so there may be a period of time when the Bookmobile is on break when holds will be at the Library waiting for pick-up. Don’t worry, though, because the 7-day waiting period for picking up a hold does not begin until we “trap” the hold. That’s when we send the eMail, call you on the telephone, or mail your Hold Pick-up Notice.

For full Bookmobile schedule information, visit

RAGBRAI Kids’ Art Contest on display

by Stacey McKim on July 13th, 2018

Find the display outside of the Children’s Room

Are you looking forward to RAGBRAI as much as these kids?  Come see the twenty-six entries to the Kids’ Art Contest for Iowa City’s RAGBRAI stop, on display in the library through July 29.

To promote spirit during The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa overnight stop in Iowa City on Friday, July 27, kids in grades K-5 were encouraged to capture the fun of RAGBRAI through original artwork on the “Book it to Iowa City” theme.

Iowa City’s winner: A.J. 4th Grade

A.J. won the Iowa City contest with this beautiful line drawing spattered with paint!  Vote for his piece in the statewide kid’s art contest.  The winner will receive a $350 prize.

No Bookmobile Service on Independence Day

by Kara Logsden on July 3rd, 2018

The Iowa City Public Library Bookmobile will not be in service on Wednesday July 4th. The Downtown Library is also closed in honor of the holiday.

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

Although the Bookmobile and Library are closed, online services are available 24/7 at This includes account access and, for those who live in our service area, access to ICPL’s Digital Library including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, New York Times and Kanopy video streaming.

Speaking of 24/7 access – we know our community accesses services when we are closed. On Independence Day in 2017 there were 200 holds placed and 302 items renewed through our online catalog. Also on Independence Day 2017, 214 eAudiobooks and 272 eBooks were checked out. That’s a lot of reading for a holiday!

Happy Independence Day! We’ll see you back on the Bookmobile or at the Downtown Library on July 5th.

Using Multiple Cards with Libby

by Brent Palmer on July 2nd, 2018
Screen shot showing how to add a name to a linked library card

Screen shot showing how to add a name to a linked library card. This is key if you are going to link more than one card.

One nice feature with Overdrive’s newer Libby app that is not available with the Overdrive App (as far as I know) is the ability to add multiple cards.  For example, if you have a family iPad, each family member can add his or her card.  All the titles appear together on your shelf.  When you check out new items, you can choose which  card to put them on.  However, there is one key step.  In order to distinguish between the cards, you have to rename each card as you put it in, otherwise they will all show up as a “linked card” which can lead to confusion.

Screenshot showing libby with 2 library cards linked.

Screenshot showing libby with 2 library cards linked. To use the second card, click the “use this card” link near the arrow.

All of the card management options appear under the “libby” icon in the upper right corner.  After you add a card, tap on the card and then under ‘actions”, choose “change name on card”.  Do this for each card you add.  Later when you go to checkout a new title you can choose which card you want.  See the screenshot at left.  One card is selected by default, but you can choose a different one.   I found this very confusing at first.  I didn’t realize that it was listing two cards. Also, on your shelf, if you have renamed both cards, you can click on each title to see which card it’s checked out under.

Summer Reading Program on the Bookmobile

by Shawna Riggins on June 21st, 2018

Bookmobile at Mercer ParkThe Summer Reading Program is in full swing on the ICPL Bookmobile and everyone is invited to participate. The first step is to sign-up at home or in-person on the Bookmobile. For those signing up at home who want to participate in the Summer Reading Program via the Bookmobile, choose “Bookmobile” as your branch when you register. So far 14 babies, 114 kids, 6 teens and 22 adults have registered for the Summer Reading Program and listed the Bookmobile as their branch. Choosing the Bookmobile as your branch gives us an idea of how many prizes to stock on the Bookmobile, but we always carry extra so feel free to be flexible and pick up Summer Reading Program prizes at the most convenient location (Downtown or on the Bookmobile) for you.

Being on the Bookmobile is always a blast, but summertime is my favorite season to visit our Mobile Library. In addition to our regular stops, we also have Stories in the Park on Monday (Willow Creek Park), Wednesday (Wetherby Park) and Friday (Mercer Park) mornings at 10:30 AM. These stops include regular Bookmobile service along with a Storytime program. Throughout the summer, for an extra special Stories in the Park Storytime we will feature local performers and musicians on some days. See page 2 of our Summer Reading Program Activity Guide for more information about these special performances.

For some extra summer fun, find the Bookmobile at Party in the Park programs on Thursdays from 6:30-7:30. Each week, join the celebration at a different Iowa City park to hear live music, participate in kids crafts, see a fire truck, check out an item from the Bookmobile, and connect with friends and neighbors. For the full schedule of Party in the Park events, read more here.

We’ll see you this summer on the Bookmobile!

Public Displays @ ICPL

by Kara Logsden on June 21st, 2018

Did you know Library provides space for individuals and community groups to create displays at the Library? Information about displays is available on the Library’s webpage.

According to Library Board policy, displays from individuals or community groups must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Highlight current issues, events or other subjects of public interest.
  • Display high quality original art, crafts, photographs, writings, or interesting collections of Iowans.
  • Explain the activities of local organizations and agencies engaged in educational, recreational, cultural, intellectual, or charitable activities.

Space for community displays is available on the 2nd floor of the Library. Display spaces are reserved for a calendar month and individuals/groups are limited to one display in a 12-month period. For more information or to reserve display space, please contact the Community & Access Services Assistant at 319-887-6025.

Meeting Rooms @ ICPL

by Kara Logsden on June 14th, 2018

The Library has 5 meeting rooms available for community organizations to use free of charge. Information about each room is available on the Library’s webpage and includes details about room capacity, standard set-ups, equipment in the rooms and hours the rooms are available.

The Library’s meeting rooms are in high demand. In FY17 there were 1,497 community meetings with an estimated attendance of 30,883. In addition, there were 2,055 Library uses of the meeting rooms for programs, events, training and meetings.

Community groups are welcome to use the Library’s meeting rooms. According to Library Board Policy, “Rooms are available to non-profit corporations (defined as those entities granted tax-exempt status by the IRS under section 501(c)(3) or other tax exempt sections of the Internal Revenue Code), a candidate’s campaign committee (as defined in Iowa Code §68A.102(5)), a political committee (as defined by Iowa Code §68A.102 (18), a non-profit citizen’s group that provides appropriate contact information, a governmental subdivision, or a department/division/bureau of a governmental subdivision”

Please note – Rooms are not available for private parties or use as a regularly scheduled classroom or study space by educational institutions.

To schedule a meeting room, navigate to the Meeting Room information webpage and click on “Request a Meeting Room.” You may also call the Library at 319-356-5200 during regular business hours or stop by the Library’s Help Desk or Information Desk.