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Crafting in a Crunch

by Shawna Riggins on October 27th, 2015

It’s that time of year; The leaves are falling, the temperature is cooling and the days are getting shorter…It’s time to do all the crafting I put off all summer! After each holiday season I tell myself that I will start crafting early in the year to avoid late December nights where I knit blisters onto my fingers. Of course, I still haven’t learned and as of now I still have a cross stitch project to start and finish, two afghans to complete and numerous other projects that I haven’t even planned yet….

So much to do so little time!

So much to do so little time!

If you’re like me you might be looking for every opportunity to work on craft projects without becoming a social recluse for the last two months of 2015. Luckily, ICPL has several upcoming events where you can lap craft while maintaining your social life. Music is the Word: Music on Wednesdays events provide a great midweek break where you can meet a friend for lunch and tunes while you squeeze in some crafting. Join us this week to see Saul Lubraroff play his jazz saxophone. Our special Music is The Word Friday Concert on November 13th featuring Dick Watson and Eve Minkler playing piano jazz is a great opportunity for you to start your weekend off with some fun times and a chance to knit. Maybe you get to play taxi driver and give a ride to teens attending some of our teen programs in November like Way Cool Chemistry or Let’s Make Something. Meet a friend at the library, stake out a cozy spot in the library and get some crafting done while you catch up. If you don’t feel like chatting, just settle in with an audio book from our Book on CD collection or Overdrive and let the knitting continue. Knitting isn’t just for adults, though. Regardless of skill level or experience, 3-6th graders are invited to the Totally Tweens Knit-In on November 12th.wool-637104_1920

If you’re more motivated and a better planner than I am then you might already be done with your holiday crafting. Still looking for something to keep your hands busy as it gets cold and you begin spending more and more time indoors? ICPL is accepting donations of crafted items until Friday December 4 for the annual Arts and Craft Bazaar. No matter the reason ICPL can help you stay social as you craft this season. What project will you be working on at the library?

Music on Wednesday: Saul Lubaroff

by Kara Logsden on October 24th, 2015

2015 09 Music on WednesdayOnce upon a time nearly 40 years ago, there were two young Iowa City musicians who met in Mr. McNally’s 6th grade Band at City High School. One was an aspiring young saxophone player who showed tremendous talent. The other was a timid young flute player who felt overwhelmed by the whole band experience.

One musician went on to have an amazing and productive musical career. The other loves to sing in the shower and discovered a passion for working in libraries. Fast forward 40 years and, although Saul and I no longer play in the same band, our paths still cross.

2015 09 Saul LSaul Lubaroff is local iconic musician who plays with many area bands including The Fez-Iowa City’s Steely Dan tribute band, The Monday Night All Stars, The Johnny Killowatt Band and The Saul Lubaroff Quartet. Lubaroff has received tremendous praise from music reviewers during his long musical tenure. One writer said, “Lubaroff’s approach is to gently massage the songs into the cranium as opposed to forcing them down the throat.” Saul is featured on many YouTube videos. One of my favorites is Blues 4 Zane and Will that can be viewed here.

I look forward to Saul’s performance at Noon on Wednesday October 28th in the Library’s Lobby. And I can always say, once upon a time, I was in a band with Saul Lubaroff!

Sharing Favorite Songs

by Stacey McKim on October 22nd, 2015

Gone are the days of painstakingly making mixtapes for friends, so we wanted to revive the act of sharing favorite songs this month.  If you haven’t seen our interactive playlist displays yet, look for them near the music CDs and up on the 2nd floor.  We’ve provided themes; you provide the songs.Midwest Musicians edited

If you’d like help tracking down any of the songs you see on the display, let us know!  ICPL might own the album, we could help you listen to particular songs online, or we can borrow CDs on interlibrary loan for residents of our primary service area at no cost to you.

Music is the Word

a Title for Adult and Teenage Girls

by Frances Owens on October 19th, 2015
a Title for Adult and Teenage Girls Cover Image

I don’t have very much time for reading what with balancing work, school, and the rest of life, so lately I have turned to graphic novels to stimulate my love of the printed word.  This has led to me finally reading Saga by Brian Vaughn, reacquainting myself with childhood (and local) favorite Bloom County, and of course the Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner which is the subject of this particular blog post.

I will grant that I am a little tardy to the party on this book as it originally came out back in 2002, but it was recently adapted into a film directed by Marielle Heller starring Bel Powley in the titular role, but also Kristin Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard.  Besides being excited for the movie because it was playing at Iowa City’s own FilmScene, the director of the movie AND the author of the book were interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air.  Being the library worker such that I am I figured I must read the book first.

I was quite glad that I did as I found it to be one of the most honest portrayals of life as a teenage girl just as the title suggests.  It was painfully honest even.  Warning to those that maybe more sensitive than others: this book is pretty scandalous on every front.  Language, sex, drugs are all present along with a healthy dose of what is often termed “age inappropriate content”.  Another of Gloeckner’s graphic novels, A Child’s Life and Other Stories, was banned from the public library in Stockton, CA in fact.  However in belated celebration of banned books week I recommend checking out the Diary of a Teenage Girl.  It is truly an unforgettable read!

As to the visual content, this book really is more of a novel than a graphic novel, but what art there is reminds the reader of one of Gloeckner’s big influences, R. Crumb.

Musical Revue – Music is the Word – Watch the Video!

by Bond Drager on October 17th, 2015

Did you miss the Musical Revue kickoff program for #MusicistheWord which took place at the Englert Theatre on September 20th? You can now watch the video via our YouTube channel.

Many local artists performed including Collegium Tubum, The Beggarmen, Champagne Academy of Irish Dance, Kol Shira, Combined Efforts Theatre Men’s Choir, The Extra Credit Project, Girls Rock, The Recliners, The City, Too, Cedar County Cobras, Andy Parrott Trio, Chase Garrett, and the Hawkeye Marching I-Club Band. Special thanks to the Englert Theatre and staff, Musician’s Pro Shop, University of Iowa School of Music, Smith Music Studios, and Chris Okiishi.

2015 Art Purchase Prize winners

by Candice Smith on October 16th, 2015

This year’s Art Purchase Prize contest has resulted in the purchase of eight new works of original art. During the annual contest, the Library solicits art from artists who live, work, or exhibit in the Iowa City area; the art is then judged by the Library’s Art Advisory Committee, made up of six local residents who are involved with, and have an interest in, the arts. Iowa City has a very vibrant and active arts community, and the contest always brings in a wonderful variety of entries.

The art will be on display during the months of December and January, and then will be added to the Library’s Art-To-Go collection of framed artwork. Works from this collection can be checked out for two months by anyone with an ICPL library card.

The winning entries are: Calliope (water soluble oil on paper, monotype) by Pamela Read; Contact (oil on canvas) by John Tiffany; Ghosts of the Mississippi: Blackhawk Bridge (photograph) by Rebecca Miller; It’s Almost 1997 (oil on paper) by Phil Ochs; Red Barn & Winter Trees (acrylic on canvas) by Lianne Westcot; Still Life with Metal Pitcher & Pears (watercolor and pastel on paper) by David Noyes; and View From Overpass I & II  (charcoal on paper) by Joe McKenna.

Calliope1 contact1 GhostsOfTheMississippi1 ItsAlmost19971

StillLifeWithMetalPitcherAndPears1 ViewFromOverpass1a ViewFromOverpass2a

Fall at the Farmer’s Market

by Kara Logsden on October 13th, 2015
Fall at the Farmer’s Market Cover Image

2015 DoughnutIt’s fall at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market. Pumpkins and gourds are for sale, the air is crisp, apples are fresh, and we’re starting to think about frost.

This time of year I start making my “just one more” list …

Just one more order of breakfast tacos …

Just one more cup of delicious coffee enjoyed while sitting on a curb watching people …

Just one more Farmer’s Market pie …

Just one more (well … 2 more) spring rolls for my lunch …

Just one more pint of jalapenos for Poppers …

And my favorite … Just one more CIDER DONUT … (How will I live without them?)

The good news is there are a few more weeks of Farmer’s Market remaining and time to check off the items on my “just one more” list.

When I was a child my Mom used to make homemade donuts. I remember dough fried in oil in a cast iron skilled, flipped over with a fork, drained on a paper towel and then tossed in powdered sugar. Yummy! We didn’t have donuts often, but when we did it was a treat. I’ve never made donuts for my family – crepes are our go-to weekend morning treat. The Library has a few books about donuts, though, and I may give them a try. To find these books, navigate to the Library’s catalog (, select the SUBJECT tab, and type in DOUGHNUT. You can type in DONUT but it will refer you to the formal spelling. The book that caught my eye was A baker’s field guide to doughnuts : more than 60 warm and fresh homemade treats. :)



Music on Wednesday: Pigs and Clover

by Kara Logsden on October 10th, 2015

2015 09 Music on WednesdayPigs and Clover will perform in the Library’s Lobby at  Noon on Wednesday October 14th. Pigs and Clover is the dynamic duo of Iowa City Musicians Jamie Kearney and Matt Kearney. Jamie grew up in Eastern Iowa and sings and plays guitar, banjo and drums. Matt grew up in Western Iowa and sings and plays guitar, bass, banjo, mouth harp and piano. 

According to the Pigs and Clover webpage, “Matt and Jamie write and sing all kinds of songs, but the ones they like best speak truth to power, challenge the status quo, and give voice to the voiceless in the great tradition of American protest music.”

2015 09 pigs and cloverI’ve enjoyed watching some of the Pigs and Clover performances featured on YouTube as I prepared for the Music on Wednesday series. Their upcoming performance schedule can be found on the Pigs and Clover Facebook Page.

We look forward to Jamie and Matt’s performance in the Library’s Lobby at Noon on Wednesday October 14th.

Music Music Music

by Kara Logsden on October 8th, 2015

2015 10 lmpMusic is the Word at Iowa City Public Library and we’re off to a great start. Music is the Word is a 9-month celebration of music to welcome the University of Iowa School of Music to Downtown Iowa City.

We’ve hosted a couple music events and already I’ve broadened my “music horizons.” The kickoff at The Englert Theatre in September was awesome and I was in awe of the many talented people who performed (thank you!). After seeing The Beggarmen, Kol Shira, and others, I want to hear more! Fortunately the Library’s Local Music Project has options for listening to local musicians.

2015 10 School of music

Scott Cochran and Matt Kearney’s performance at a recent Noon program sparked my interest in their music and I was able to see Scott’s band, Slewgrass, at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market a week or so ago. I also found Scott’s music with his other band, Flannel, in the Local Music Project and, after downloading it, I’ve been listening to their music at work and at home.

2015 10 SlewgrassMany other Music is the Word performers have music available in the Local Music Project. These include Awful Purdies, Crystal City, and David Zollo.

We invite to you head to the Library for the many upcoming musical events. A full schedule is available at There’s something for everyone! See you at the Library :)

Farewell Catalog Card

by Maeve Clark on October 6th, 2015

Some of you may never have used a card catalog or touched an actual catalog card, so the news from Dublin, Ohio that OCLC printed its last catalog card may not have meant much to you. To those of us who used catalog cards or took cataloging classes and used a typewriter to create a catalog card, it makes us wistful.

An excerpt from the Columbus Dispatch  10/02/2015 tells the story of the last printed catalog card: catalog card 4

Shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday, an era ended. About a dozen people gathered in a basement workroom to watch as a machine printed the final sheets of library catalog cards to be made by Dublin-based OCLC.

The final tally: 1.9 billion cards. 

OCLC long ago shifted its emphasis to online records and services, even changing its name from the Ohio College Library Center to the Online Computer Library Center. The company is known today by its initials.

“We were going to have a monk doing calligraphy on the last card,” joked Skip Prichard, the president and CEO, standing among the observers.

Catalog cards were once a key part of the company, with rows of printers running in a sunny second-floor observatory, hitting a peak output of 131 million cards in 1985. The company’s innovation was in compiling the information on the cards, which meant that libraries didn’t need to write the text themselves. As of last year, orders had fallen to less than 1 million. The final shipment was bound for Concordia College in Bronxville, N.Y., where librarians use the cards as a backup to an online catalog.

card_catalog_2In 1981 the Iowa City Public Library stopped using catalog cards. It was the dawning of a new era in the library world and Iowa City was a pioneer.   A 1982 article in Library Journal on the opening of the new Iowa City Public Library titled An Electronic Public Library for Iowa City  Connie Tiffany shared the story of how “the library used 14 full-time data entry operators who worked 21.500 hours retyping the bibliographic information for 120,000 items into the online format.  Some 10,300 patrons were re-registered …. and in October 1979 the circulation system went online”.   It wasn’t until the new library opened its doors did the physical card catalog finally disappear

The first online catalogs were very different from the ones we use today.  There was eerie wavering green type on a touch-screen terminal and they were slow; in order to find a title, subject or author the user had to keep narrowing down the search until the title of the item finally appeared.   There were eight catalog terminals when the library opened in 1981, today we have 24 online catalog spread throughout the entire library.  They are no longer touch screen monitors and the eerie green glow is gone.  Their speed is greatly improved and and access to other types of information has increased by the integration of many of the library’s online databases into a search.

While I don’t want to return to the age of the printed catalog card, I do feel somewhat nostalgic. card catalog 1 There was magic sometimes in riffling through the cards in the catalog, the mix of the new cards and old, and perhaps even the memory of past searches.