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Overdrive Tips: Read In Your Browser

by Brent Palmer on August 25th, 2015

After checking out an eBook in overdrive you often see two buttons: Download or Read (in your Browser). I wanted to give you a little more information on the Read Image showing the download and read buttonsoption. I’m not sure if all the titles in our collection offer this option, but most do. Essentially, this button allows you to simply start reading the eBook without having to download the book and find it in your bookshelf.   OverDrive Read has many of the same features as popular reading apps and eBook readers, like the ability to add bookmarks, search for terms, add notes and highlights, look up words, and change the font. It also offers some extra features, like fixed layout support for graphic-heavy eBooks and professional narration for some titles.

Some downsides are that this works best if you only read eBooks where you have a reliable WiFi connection.  Also there may be some compatibility issues with older browsers. However in some situations, this might be the best option. For example, if you are reading an eBook on desktop or laptop computer (as opposed to a handheld device). Or if you find the process of downloading books, navigating between the two bookshelves and returning books confusing, this might be best.

More info from Overdrive Help

In the next tip, I’ll explain about formats available from the Download button. If you want more help we have time and staff dedicated each week to answer your questions about Overdrive in Drop-In Tech Help.

Enjoying farmer’s market bounty all year long

by Bond Drager on August 25th, 2015

I often say the thing that makes our winters worth it is our summers. One thing that contributes is our terrific farmer’s market. In the weeks leading up to the first market of the year I tend to get annoyingly giddy with anticipation. I start daydreaming of fresh produce and happy Iowans finally emerging from their winter habitats. I needn’t suffer all winter from a lack of good local food, however. This year I have been stockpiling fresh produce for my family in various ways.

There are lots of options for this, and ICPL has resources to help you get started. If it’s canning and freezing you’re into, we have a program on safe practices from the Johnson County Extension that you may be interested in:

ICPL has a huge selection of books on canning and preserving. You can find many of these materials under call number 641.4.

Here are just a few selections:
You Can CanBetter Homes and Gardens You Can Can (A Guide to Canning, Preserving, and Pickling)

Home PreservingBall’s Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today

I have a young one at home who will be ready to start eating solids right about the time that getting fresh local produce is impossible. I’m planning ahead by freezing some pureed fruits and veggies (and it’s also so much less expensive than purchasing jarred baby food!)cherries
“Some lovely cherries getting ready to be pureed”

I happened to use the book Realsmart Baby Food, although we have a large selection of books on making homemade baby food.

If you’re interested in batch cooking to store ready made meals in your freezer, we have a lot of options. Last fall I did a batch cook from the book “Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook” The great thing about this book is that it gives you a complete plan for your batch cook, complete with a grocery shopping list and detailed instructions about what order to prep and cook things. However, this means you’re limited to the menu plans that they outline, and if you want to alter any of the recipes you would have to factor that in. We have many more books about make-ahead cooking available in our collection.

So stop by the farmer’s market this weekend and stock up on fresh, local produce that you can enjoy all miserable tolerable Iowa winter long.

Entries Sought for ICPL’s 2015 Art Purchase Prize

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 21st, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will begin accepting artwork for the 2015 Art Purchase Prize, with winning pieces added to the Art-To-Go collection, on Sept. 1.

The competition is open to artists over the age 18 who live/work/exhibit in the Iowa City or the Johnson County area, and have participated in at least one juried or judged competition.

In order to foster new talent, previous winners who have had two or more works purchased by the Library are ineligible for entry. Previous winners who have had one work purchased must sit out for two consecutive contests before entering again. Library employees and their immediate family are ineligible for entry.

To enter, artists should submit a digital image representation of their original work(s), and those should be in .jpeg format, with a minimum resolution of 72 dpi and a minimum size of 1024 x 768 pixels.

Entries can be emailed to, or mailed on disc to Candice Smith at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA 52240. Entries must include the artist’s name, address, phone number and email, and the following for each artwork: Title, Medium, Size/Matted Size (if appropriate), and Price.

Artwork should be priced under $300.

Artists may enter two artworks. Any two-dimensional or low-relief media are acceptable, including: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, collage, paper/textile and mixed media.

Only original art will be accepted. All submitted artwork must have been created within the last three years.

Finished artwork must be at least 12 x 12 and no larger than 36 x 36. Works chosen for final judging should be matted and/or mounted as needed to create a finished piece. Archival or museum-quality materials must be used for printing, mounting and matting. Works must be suitable for framing and covering with Plexiglas.

The Library takes responsibility for framing works chosen for purchase.

Entries will be accepted from Sept. 1 through Oct. 4. The first round of judging will begin on Oct. 6, with the final round of judging on Oct. 13.

For more information, visit or contact Candice Smith at

Jalapenos @ the IC Farmer’s Market

by Kara Logsden on August 18th, 2015

Jalapeno Poppers are a family favorite and the Iowa City Farmer’s Market is the best place to purchase fresh jalapenos this time of year. Often these morsels serve as a meal at our house. Baked Poppers can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple days (although they rarely last that long at our house) and are delicious cold as well as reheated.

Jalapeno Peppers from the Iowa City Farmer's Market

Jalapeno Peppers from the Iowa City Farmer’s Market

We have many variations of our Jalapeno Popper recipe and often the final product is contingent on what’s in the refrigerator. Crumbled crispy bacon, goat cheese, and artichoke dip can all be substituted into the basic recipe for delicious results.

One word of caution: Make sure you remove all the seeds from the jalapenos. In general, Jalapeno Poppers are only a bit “warm” – especially with the delicious cheese to cool down the palate. Forgotten seeds can surprise the person eating the popper, though, so caution is needed if consumers are wary of hot food.

Here’s our basic recipe:

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Select fresh, large Jalapenos.

Cut off the top and split in half lengthwise.

Remove all seeds.

Fill with cream cheese.

Wrap with Prosciutto (we prefer Iowa-made La Quercia)

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Arrange on cooking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Check after 15.

If you are looking for summer recipe inspiration, browse our catalog or check out the many awesome books at the Library. 641 is the call number to get you started.

Let us know which delicious dishes you are creating from the fresh ingredients you find at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market.

See you at the Market!


A Few of my Favorite Things

by Casey Maynard on August 11th, 2015

Let’s just start by saying that I love the Farmer’s Market–everything I need for a week of healthy and colorful eating I can find there and it’s a great way to support the community. Pairing this with the wonderful cooking resources at ICPL means that the ideas of new and fun things to try are endless.

My favorite thing that I can find at the market would have to be the myriad types of tomatoes.  These special little fruitables are by far one of the most versatile pieces of summer fare around. From little yellow cherries to not quite ripe greens and the large beefmasters, local farmers carry as many types of tomatoes as there are ways to use them.  From red and green salsas, to caprese salads and slow roasted cherries there are so many easy, healthy and delicious ways to use this summer bounty.  For more great ideas check out some of these books:

Summer Food: New Summer Classics, by Paul Lowe


Tomato: a fresh from the vine cook book, by Lawrence Davis-Hollander



The Heirloom Tomato: from garden to table, by Amy Goldman

Video Staff Picks: a biography of ee cummings for children

by Bond Drager on August 11th, 2015

Katherine shares the book “enormous smallness” a story of the poet ee cummings.

Way Cool Chemistry Recap

by Ella Von Holtum on August 4th, 2015

On Saturday, ICPL hosted the last Way Cool Chemistry of the summer. It was a great program: Sally showed us some experiments relating to gardening, plant care, and soil conditions.

Science is all about asking questions, so before we began playing in the dirt (literally!) we came up with some of the questions we might ask about plants: What will we grow? What does it need to grow? How big do we want it to get? What about the environment where we’re growing it? We examined three common store-bought growing mediums – they all had different appearances and mineral compositions. Below, you can see us using some simple chemicals to determine the pH (how acidic or not the soil is) of each sample:IMG_20150801_143320510


We found that each soil had a safe pH for growing our hypothetical planting project, an ash tree, so we moved on to measure the soil density. Below we’re finding out that with some cool beakers, a scale, and a simple math equation, soil density is easy to find. Each of our three soils had very different densities, so some plants with very delicate roots might have trouble with the more dense stuff:



After all that careful work learning about how different soils have different properties, we dug into the Box Of Physics to build a bridge (using only three pieces of tape). The goal is to suspend as much weight as possible on the bridge…below you can see most of the contents of the box suspended over three strings! I think the plastic humanoids are helping too.



Keep your eyes peeled for more Way Cool Chemistry on the ICPL calendar!

Bus and Books

by Kara Logsden on July 30th, 2015

2017 07 BusA recent viral story on social medial tells the story about a 12-year-old boy in Salt Lake City who asked his mailman for junk mail because he wanted more to read. The mailman posted the story on social media hoping to find some books for the boy to read. This paragraph from the Huff Post article tugged at my Mom/Librarian heart:

“Today while delivering mail to his apartment complex, I saw him reading ads, and then he asked me if I had any extra mail he could read,” Lynch wrote. “He told me his wish is to have books to read. I told him the library had many, but he said they don’t have a car, and couldn’t afford the bus.”

At the Library we have worked very hard over the years to help people access the Downtown Library. Through community surveys conducted before creating each new strategic plan (every 3-5 years) we know our community has concerns about parking downtown. We’ve addressed these concerns in a number of ways. One of the most proactive responses is our Library Bus program in partnership with Iowa City Transit.

The Library offers two great programs for riding Iowa City Transit buses to and from the Library.

Ride and Read: Your Iowa City Public Library Card is your ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit Bus FREE two times each week all year long. Present your Library Card at the Help Desk, Information Desk or Children’s Desk to receive your free pass. There’s a limit of two free passes each week and a Library Card must be presented to receive a pass.

Summer Library Bus: An Iowa City Public Library card is a child’s ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit bus free each summer. The Library will provide free bus rides to children through 12th grade, and any adult caregivers who are with them, on any Iowa City Transit bus route, from the day after Iowa City Schools dismiss until the weekday before school starts (This summer = Friday August 21), on weekdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Eligible bus riders should show their Iowa City Public Library card to the bus driver to gain free access to the bus.

In June 2015 our patrons rode an Iowa City Transit bus 1,007 times as a part of this program. In FY15 we provided 5,406 rides on a bus and last summer (June – August) 2,943 rides were provided. It’s not in our Midwest nature to boast, but I have to say this is an awesome program and a testament to our community’s dedication to our youth and Library. Thank you!



On Air – The ICPL Podcast: Episode 12

by Bond Drager on July 29th, 2015

Get the podcast here or from iTunes or Stitcher

“Summer Livin/Easy Reading and Over Hyped Releases”

In which the gang goes off the rails. This month we have a special guest, Anne from Collection Services. It’s summertime and the livin is easy, and so are the things we are reading, watching, and listening. Also Anne brings a segment on “Go Set a Watchman” and other over hyped releases. Spoiler alert: Brian loves Star Wars. 01:10 What we’re reading/watching/listening to -Anne: Penderwicks Series -Jason: The Wire -Melody: As If: The Oral History of Clueless -Brian: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera -Meredith: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 11:34 Easy Reading/Watching/Listening -Brian: Weezer, Dune Books -Melody: The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne, Road Warrior, The Dresden Files Series Audiobooks -Anne: Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett, Jaws -Jason: Kurt Vonnegut novels, Hot Chip’s album Why Make Sense, Back to the Future trilogy -Meredith: The Great Outdoors 30:52 Go Set a Watchman and other over hyped releases -Brian: Star Wars prequels -Jason: Elliot Smith’s posthumous album From a Basement on the Hill -Melody: Grand Budapest Hotel -Anne: Louisa May Alcott’s A Long Fatal Love Chase -Meredith: Maeve Binchy’s Chestnut Street

Summer Relief at the Library

by Brent Palmer on July 28th, 2015

I was recently at a cookout and met a guy who grew up in Iowa City.  He has since moved on and lived in many places around the country but he was home visiting his parents.  He never had central A/C as a kid and had fond memories of spending the long hot days of summer at ICPL.  He talked about watching movies at the A/V stations in the children’s room including the first time he saw TRON.   He also remembered the exact location in the stacks where he could find all TinTin books .  Even though he no longer lives in Iowa City, he still carries his ICPL library card that he received in 1982 and whipped it out to show me.  libcard2Are the dog days of summer getting you down?  Come on down, there is always plenty to do here at the library.