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Why am I excited about the Iowa City Book Festival?

by Kara Logsden on September 25th, 2014
Why am I excited about the Iowa City Book Festival? Cover Image

Recently I was in a meeting and someone asked, “Who was the first author you heard speak in person?”  Suddenly I was swept back to my junior high years and listening to Madeleine L’Engle.  I know there were author readings before that (I grew up in Iowa City and we had the amazing experiences of authors visiting our schools) but it was my memory of listening to L’Engle speak that conjured such a strong memory for me.  Not only was L’Engle the author of my favorite books (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet) but she was an amazing speaker.  I didn’t want the program to end, and really wished I could have found a rocking chair, curled my teenage body up in her lap, and had her read A Wrinkle in Time to me … cover to cover.

I’ve had strong reactions to listening to other authors read since then, but nothing as powerful for me as that experience.  I love listening to authors because I always learn something new.  A couple years ago, at the Iowa City Book Festival, I had the opportunity to ask Robert Goolrick why he chose a story theme for one of his characters in A Reliable Wife.  His explanation was logical but sparked a reaction for me because I didn’t agree with him.  At an outreach program for the Library, I saw a person with dementia brighten up and connect with author Carol Bodensteiner over a story from Bodensteiner’s childhood about ironing.  Who would have guessed a story about ironing would awaken such a strong response?

Each year the Iowa City Book Festival brings an amazing group of authors to town and we have the opportunity to listen to them speak … and it’s free.  I can’t guarantee the programs will be as transformational as my experience with Madeleine L’Engle, but you never know :)  The Festival is a couple weeks away so there’s plenty of time to read a book or two written by one of the authors who will be speaking.  Here’s the list to help you get started:   2014 FESTIVAL READING LIST.

 

Protecting Your Freedom to Read

by Susan Craig on September 24th, 2014

Protecting Your Freedom to Read

During Banned Book Week we have many interesting programs and displays to offer (http://blog.icpl.org/2014/09/22/iowa-city-public-library-celebrates-banned-books-week/), but it’s also a good time to think about the role public libraries play in supporting the full range of first amendment rights.

It’s easy for us to take for granted that materials expressing many viewpoints and opinions are available in our public library, and that we can use those materials without fear that we will be monitored, chastised or punished. Many people have fought bitter and sometimes dangerous battles to protect the right to say and read what you want. Librarians have lost jobs for purchasing and circulating information that someone didn’t approve.

The very form of “government” of most municipal libraries in Iowa, a semi-autonomous library board, was designed to create a barrier between the politicians (city councils) who are more likely to be swayed by public opinion or current political trends and the information providers (library staff) who work to represent all points of view through collections and hold confidential who uses what (a confidentiality that is also protected by state law in Iowa). The Library Board sets policies, has budget authority to spend money as they approve, and hires a library director. Typically other city departments’ budgets, policies and hiring/firing of executives are under the authority of the City Council and/or City Manager. The primary reason for an independent library board is to ensure that an enraged phone call from a constituent to a City Council member, or a demand from law enforcement does not result in a book being removed from the collection, or records being turned over without a subpoena.

Over the years we have had a variety of complaints about materials people did not think were appropriate – and that they should be kept from some group of people, usually children. Staff who select library materials continue to work to ensure all points of view are represented.

So, look at the books you take home and consider that there is someone who probably thinks some of them shouldn’t even be in the library. It’s not hypothetical.

There’s a new painting upstairs, but not for long…

by Stacey McKim on September 23rd, 2014

FoodForEveryoneVisitors to the Library’s 2nd floor may have noticed a new oil painting hanging on the back wall — a view of south Iowa City made by local artist Thomas Agran, who also did the mural on the New Pioneer Co-op.  The painting is here through October 8th to promote the Local Foods Connection’s “Food-For-Everyone Fall Fundraiser” on October 9th.

Would your community group like to put up a display at the Library?

There are spaces on the Library’s 2nd floor that are designated to show off your organization, agency, or club.  You might present an interesting topic, display your high-quality creative work, or simply explain what your group is all about.  Enrich our community by sharing your passion with the thousands of people visiting the Library each day!

Find more details about Community Displays at ICPL, or contact new staff member Stacey McKim at stacey-mckim@icpl.org to discuss your display idea.

Ride and Read at Your Library!

by Kara Logsden on September 16th, 2014

Did you know your Library Card is a ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit bus? The program is called “Ride and Read.”  Two times a week, patrons with a valid Iowa City Public Library card may present their card to the Help Desk, Children’s Desk or Reference Desk and get a FREE bus pass to ride an Iowa City Transit bus.  The bus pass is stamped with the current date, and must be used on that day.  The Ride and Read program is for people of all ages – the only requirement is a valid Library card.  This is another great reason to make sure you always have your Library Card handy.

And speaking of bus rides, we recently received information from Iowa City Transit staff about utilization of the Summer Library Bus program.  We think this program is awesome, and many others thought so too because 2,943 people hopped on the Summer Library Bus and caught a ride downtown this summer.  What’s even more awesome is that utilization of this program was spread throughout Iowa City – the busiest routes were Lakeside and Oakcrest.  There’s a chart below that shows how use was spread across the Transit routes..

For those who don’t know about the Summer Library Bus program, the Library provides free bus rides to children through 12th grade, and the adult caregivers who are with them, on any Iowa City Transit bus route, from the day after Iowa City Schools dismiss until the day before school start, on weekdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.  Bus riders show their Iowa City Public Library card to the bus driver to gain free access to the bus.
Happy Reading and Happy Riding!
2013 Summer Library Bus

 

 

 

 

Bus Route # Rides
Lakeside 514
Oakcrest 426
Court Hill 350
Broadway 326
Westwinds 253
Rochester 213
Towncrest 206
N Dodge 106
Crosspark 84
Manville Hgts 79
Westside Hosp 77
Mall 74
Plaen View 72
Westport 67
Eastside Exp 58
Melrose Exp 33
7th Avenue 5
Total Rides 2,943

Iowa City Public Library Celebrates Intellectual Freedom

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 11th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library will celebrate the 2014 Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival Sept. 22 through Sept. 26.

This annual celebration is named for former librarian Carol Spaziani in honor of her 26-year career at ICPL and for her life-long commitment to the freedom of ideas. This year, the Library is collaborating with University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the Reading Aloud Group from the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, the University of Iowa Library and the Departments of English, Cinematic Studies, and Journalism and Mass Communications and the University of Iowa International Writing Program to present a series of programs designed that celebrate our right to think.

Monday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.: A screening of “Diagram or Delinquents.” This documentary captures the zeitgeist of late 1940s and early 1950s America, and investigates how comics went on trial.IFF Poster 2014

Wednesday, Sept. 24 at noon: The Reading Aloud Group from the Iowa City Johnson County Senior Center will read the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, some of whose poems were censored until well after his death.

Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m.: Carol L. Tilley, an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will present “When Comics Almost Died – Readers, Censors, and Innovation.” Tilley’s lecture is based on her research regarding Fredric Wertham, who blamed juvenile delinquency on reading comics.

Thursday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.: A screening of “Dixie Chicks:  Shut Up and Sing.” This documentary follows the Dixie Chicks over a period of intense public scrutiny, fan backlash, threats, and pressure from both corporate and conservative political elements after lead singer Natalie Maines publicly criticized then President of the United States George W. Bush during a live 2003 concert in London.

Friday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m.: An adult education class, Social Media Safety: Protecting Your Online Privacy, will be held in the Library’s second floor Computer Lab. This class focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of using privacy settings on several social networking sites.

Friday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.: Maureen Freely, a 2014 Ida Beam Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa International Writing Program, will speak on censorship. Freely also is the president of English PEN, a global literary center that defends and promotes free expression.

Whenever possible, the Festival coincides with Banned Books Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read sponsored by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, among other groups and associations.

During Banned Books Week, Sept. 21 through Sept. 27, teen patrons will be able to complete an online scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt is designed to increase awareness of young adult literature that is challenged and banned in the U.S.

Teens with the most correct answers will be entered into a drawing to win a Downtown District Gift Card. The scavenger hunt will be accessible at teens.icpl.org beginning Sunday, Sept. 21.

For more information on the Iowa City Public Library’s Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival, visit icpl.org/iff.

For information about Banned Books Week, visit www.bannedbooksweek.org.

Want to See Whats Coming?

by Mary Estle-Smith on September 9th, 2014

on order searchOne of my favorite things is to keep up with the new materials that are coming in.  You would think that we would see everything since we’re here all the time but the reality is far from it.  So, because I like new stuff,  I do a search of ON ORDER materials periodically.

If you want to do this too, here is the process.From the main catalog page above chose the Call Number  tab and type in the words “on order.”  If you want to see everything just click “search”  and you are done.  If you are searching the new items regularly (like me) you can specify the sort of “newest first” or one of the other choices from the pull down sort menu.

You can also limit by type, say fiction books, or format using the Limit option shown below.

sort 2

If an item catches your interest you can place a hold. Also if you know of something  coming out that we have not yet ordered you can request that we purchase it through the link in the blue box on the right side of the screen.

A good deal all around.  Give it a try.

 

Connecting: Your Library Easier to Use

by Kara Logsden on September 3rd, 2014

Recently the Library Board voted to make changes to help make your Library easier to use. We also updated a couple procedures to respond to patrons requests.

Patrons may now place 10 (ten!) FREE holds.  Login to your account, call the Library or stop by – there are many ways to place holds.  We’ll even let you place holds on items that are on the shelf.  Periodically, throughout the day, staff pull items with holds that are on the shelf.  We just ask that you give us a little bit of time to do this work.  You’ll know when the hold is ready when we send you a notice.  Notices come by eMail, telephone or in the mail depending on your preference.

Overdue Fines changed too and we hope they are easier to understand.  All fines are 25 cents per overdue day with the following exceptions: Express DVDs, Games and Equipment are $1.00 per overdue day and Wii Game Consoles are $5.00 per overdue day.  Our goal is to make the collection as available to our community as possible.  We view fines as a motivation to return items on time so others can enjoy them.

Patrons may now receive one free replacement card per year.  We can also make a replacement card with the same number, so there’s no need to worry if you have your number memorized.  We need the original card in order to replace a card with the same number.  Also, it takes us a few minutes to make the card, so please plan for a little extra time if you are getting a card replaced with the same number.

Videogames may now be renewed 1 (one) time.  Patrons may still have a limit of 2 videogames checked out at a time, but they can be renewed once and the fine is now only 25 cents per overdue day.

We hope these changes will make it easier to use your Library and we hope to see you at the Library soon.

Hungry Dragon Game

by Brent Palmer on August 29th, 2014

Mabel the Table, the Children’s Room’s interactive touch table made her debut at the beginning of the summer and has gotten lots of use since then.  The library recently teamed up with Dev/Iowa Bootcamp to produce some new games for Mabel.  Part of the U of I’s entrepreneurial efforts, the Bootcamp is an intensive nine-week hands-on program where participants learn web development skills and industry practices.  As part of the program, members of the community can pitch a project to have the bootcampers take them on as a client.  We presented the idea of creating games for the interactive table in the children’s room and two students stepped forward.  One game is called Hungry Dragon and allows several kids to play at the same time controlling their dragon to grab balls moving around in the center.  The other is a creative painting game where kids can paint a picture and post it for others to see.  If you are visiting the Children’s Room, have your kids give these local games a try and give us feedback.  If you are a programmer or game developer and want to help us improve these games or create new ones, please contact me at the library.

August 26 National Dog Day

by Beth Fisher on August 28th, 2014

August 26th is National Dog Day, and to celebrate we have two new displays on the 2nd floor.  There is a photo display of ICPL Staff Dogs and book display of with all kinds of dog books:

dog history  dog ownershipBooks about the history of domesticated dogs and owning ( or being owned by) dogs.

 

 

 

dog new dog adoption   Books about bringing a new dog into your family.

 

 

 

 

 

breeds2  breedsBooks about specific breeds of dogs.

 

 

 

 

dog parks dogs picture books  And books about fun things to do with your dog – from Dog Parks to books about photographing your dog.

One Community One Book 2014: The Distance Between Us

by Beth Fisher on August 19th, 2014
One Community One Book 2014:  The Distance Between Us Cover Image

The One Community One Book* selection for 2014 is  The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande.

Born in a small town in Guerrero, Mexico, Reyna Grande Rodriquez was two years old when her father left for the U.S. to find work.   Her mother followed him north two years later, leaving Reyna (4)  her older brother Carlos (7), and her older sister Mago (11) in the care of their paternal grandmother, Abuela Evila (her true name).  Already caring for one grandchild who’s mother had left for America,  Abuela Evila took in Reyna and her siblings out of a sense of duty, but the mistreatment she heaped on them was kept secret from her son.   All the money he sent back for their care was used to buy treats for herself and her other granddaughter, while Reyna, Carlos and Mago suffered severe neglect.  Mago tries to care for her brother and sister the best she can.

Four years later, Reyna’s mother Juana returns with a baby daughter, claiming her husband has abused her and left her for another woman.  She brings Reyna, Carlos, and Mago  to live with her at their maternal grandmother’s, but Juana was not the same caring mother who left years before.  Soon Juana moved out, leaving the children with Abuelita Chinta, a kind and caring woman who, though living in extreme poverty, loved her grandchildren dearly.

In 1985, when Reyna was nine years old, her father returned to Mexico with a new wife.  He borrowed money to pay a Coyote to help him bring his children back across the border.  On their third try they were successful, and Reyna, Carlos and Mago begin life as undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles.

Filled with hope, Reyna soon realizes that life as an immigrant will be very hard.  Her father isn’t the man she dreamed about for all those years in Mexico.  His dreams for his children were what got them across the border, but his own failure to assimilate into an English speaking world and his alcoholic rage slowly undermine all his hard work and good intentions.  Reyna finds solace from a violent home life at school and, with the help of one special teacher, through the Latina voices she beings to read.  She turns to writing as a way to make sense of her own life.  Her father is eventually able to get himself and his children green cards, and then citizenship.  They graduate from High School, and Reyna goes on becomes the first member of her family to graduate from college with degrees in creative writing, film and video from UC Santa Cruz.  She earned an MFA in creative writing at Antioch University.   The Distance Between Us  is her third book.

 

*The One Community One Book project, coordinated by the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights.  The goal of the project is to encourage people in our community to read and discuss the selected book in order to develop a greater community awareness of human rights issues locally, nationally and internationally.  For more information go to the One Community One Book Website here.

ICPL will be hosting a Book Discussion  Saturday September 20th at 10:30am in Meeting Room E.  All are welcome.




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