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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.




Little Free Library Tour Ends at Iowa City Book Festival

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 30th, 2015

On a Sunday afternoon in June of 2013, I watched as my daughter’s Girl Scouts troop filled two Little Free Libraries with books from their bookshelves. It was the last step in their year-long Silver Award project and a way to leave a legacy at their North Liberty elementary schools as they made the transition to junior high.Little Free Library

Those girls are in high school now, but the Little Free Libraries they installed at Garner and Van Allen elementary schools remain, both an ever-revolving selection of books for the students who walk by them every day.

The Take a Book, Leave a Book movement got its start in Hudson, Wisc., in 2009 when Todd Bol built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.

Today, there are more than 32,000 registered Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and 70+ countries.

Bol, executive director of the Little Free Library movement,  and Margret Aldrich, author of The Little Free Library Book, are two of this weekend’s Iowa City Book Festival featured speakers. Their presentation will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in Meeting Room A.

This appearance is Bol’s last on his Iowa leg of his Little Free Library Across America Tour. Rachael Carlson, director of operations for the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, says Bol will build a Little Free Library is the Pedestrian Mall before and after his talk. For anyone who has considered building their own Little Free Library, Saturday’s event is the perfect time to learn more about it.

The Iowa City Book Festival begins Thursday and continues through Sunday. For a complete list of events, including those happening at the Library, visit

Volunteers are still needed for this year’s festival. To sign up, click here.

On Air: Episode 13

by Bond Drager on September 29th, 2015

Get the podcast here or from iTunes or Stitcher

Maeve from Adult Services joins the group and we can’t stop crying. Plus we’ll talk all things Music is the Word

00:52 What we’re reading/watching/listening to
Brian: Ex Machina
03:50 Jason: Mr. Robot
09:14 Maeve: Dead Wake by Erik Larson
12:30 Things that make us cry
13:30 Maeve: Where the Red Fern Grows
14:22 Brian: Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Up
21:35 Jason: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Alive Inside
27:30 Meredith: Sophie’s Choice, Homeward Bound
29:25 Crowdsourced: Where the Red Fern Grows, Bridge to Terabithia, Field of Dreams, Remains of the Day
31:35 Meredith: Rudy, Friday Night Lights, Remember the Titans
33:55 Music is the Word
Watch the Musical Revue here:

Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village

by Katherine Habley on September 29th, 2015
Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village Cover Image

This gorgeous new picture book is written by Fang Suzhen of Taiwan and illustrated by Sonja Danowski of Germany.  In the story, a little boy, Xiao Le, and his mother travel by train to visit his maternal grandmother who is sick.  At first the little preschooler is shy when he sees his grandmother in bed looking older than he remembered.  Although he brought his truck to show her, Xiao Le isn’t ready to part with it yet.  The adult reading this book to a child will understand quickly that Grandma is dying and this will be their last visit together.  Little Xiao Le runs to get his mother’s help when Grandma needs some water.  He pets her cat, Shadow, on the bed.  While the mother goes outside to hang clothes in the yard, Grandma gets out of bed to enjoy some sunshine and play a game with the wood sorrel leaves outside with Xiao Le.  The three enjoy tea in the garden and finally his grandmother goes back to bed to sleep and Xiao Le gives her his truck for company.  Back home the little boy and his mother learn from Aunt Zhou that Grandma has “left Perfume Village and moved into heaven.”  The loving comfort depicting the mother’s grief and her son’s concern is tender and realistic.  What makes this book about death so special is the artwork.  Danowski’s exquisite watercolor paintings are reminiscent of the artwork by Paul O. Zelinsky and Gennady Spirin.  The illustrations are warm and gentle, and lovingly detailed.  Capturing the Asian family so beautifully in the artwork gives us a very special book to share with youngsters who may have encountered a death in their own family.  The quality of the book is also obvious in the heavy paper used.  There is further information about the author and the illustrator at the back of the book.  Gorgeous pictures and the touching text make for a wonderful picture book.  Take note of this title; I loved it!

Overdrive Tips: ePub vs Kindle Formats

by Brent Palmer on September 25th, 2015

Some of our eBook users have asked for more information about eBook formats and which one is best.

Image showing the download button with format options from overdrive

After you have selected an eBook to check out you are presented with a choice about which format to download. The “format” just describes how the content of an eBook is assembled so it can be displayed in eReader software.  Functionally, they are all about the same although there may be some small feature differences.  Generally speaking, you can usually use any format. In order to read Kindle format on a non-Kindle device you need the Kindle app. To read ePub formats on a Kindle, you need the Overdrive app (however, Kindle eReaders like the Paperwhite must use the Kindle format).  Here are a few guidelines:

Kindle Format

Pro: If you own a Kindle, the books show up in your carousel and generally behave like other eBooks you have bought from Amazon.
Con: checking out and returning books can be a little more cumbersome as this has to be done online via your Amazon account.

ePub Format

Pro: Assuming you are using the Overdrive Media Console (app), the whole process happens within the app. Browsing, checkout, download, read and return.
Con: If you are a kindle user, it may be more cumbersome to remember that your library eBooks are in the Overdrive app.

In general, if you aren’t sure which to choose, I would recommend using the ePub format.

More Info from Overdrive Help:

The difference between eBook Formats

If you want more help we have time and staff dedicated each week to answer your questions about Overdrive in Drop-In Tech Help.

A Budding Hobby

by Shawna Riggins on September 25th, 2015

When my husband and I were looking for new places to live this past spring our top priority was finding a place with a fenced in yard for our pugs to romp in and enjoy. After living in our new location for almost three months now I have realized that the yard is almost as exciting for me as it is for the pugs.

Frank and Fifi are not the only ones excited to have a yard!

Frank and Fifi are not the only ones excited to have a yard!

Over the past few weeks I noticed mums being sold all around town and walked past them with longing. Then it dawned on me; I have a lawn, I can plant flowers! I immediately searched the Iowa City Public Library catalog and found some books to help me as I began thinking about what to plant and how to go about creating my first flower bed. I knew I wanted to plant mums because I love how they look and I read that they are pretty hardy so hopefully I wouldn’t kill them. Additionally, I decided to plant tulips so I would have flowers to enjoy as soon as winter ends, as well as some hostas that I was able to split and transplant from an abandoned bunch in the back yard.

Luckily I will have plenty of reading material over the Winter!

Luckily I will have plenty of reading material over the Winter!

Now the flowers are in the ground and the mulch has been spread, but my new obsession has just begun! I am already scoping out other parts of the yard and wondering what more I can do. Luckily for me, ICPL subscribes to several home and garden magazines to keep me thinking about new and different projects I can begin. What lawn or house project have to undertaken recently with the help of library resources?

14 Days, 88 Meetings, 12 Authors –What’s It Worth?

by Susan Craig on September 22nd, 2015

I attended a talk in the Library yesterday titled, “Creative Matters,” by Sunil Iyengar, Research and Analysis Director for the National Endowment for the Arts.  He was sharing information about world-wide efforts to begin to quantify and measure the contribution to a country’s GNP from arts and culture activities.

Measuring beyond counting is a hard thing for single public library.  We can count the number of things checked out, the number of people at a program, the number of questions answered, or the use of our computers.  However, the most meaningful measures indicate how lives were changed in positive ways, and for that we have mostly anecdotal evidence.

I am confident that we contribute substantially to the vitality and economy of downtown Iowa City.  We are a destination point with over 800,000 visitors a year — not a number to sneeze at!  Many of those people come to the library to attend a class, a program, or a meeting.

From Sunday, September 20, through Saturday, October 3, we have 88 meetings, programs and classes offered at the Library.  Seventeen children’s programs include Book Babies (choose English one week, Spanish the next!), traditional story times, Minecraft and video games, a family concert and a Mary-Poppins sing-along.  Teens have special tech times as well as group activities.

It’s a busy time for Library or Library co-sponsored programs with many choices that are part of the Intellectual Freedom Festival or of the City of Literature’s Iowa City Book Festival, including 12 authors, one book discussion and a poetry reading.  Music is the Word programs account for live music programs for all ages, films and a book discussion. Adults can also learn to organize and share digital photographs, improve their financial literacy, attend a showing of the documentary of the Postville Raid or the Gallery Walk:  Rummage ReDux.

If that’s not enough you may be coming to the Library to go to one of 57 non-library meetings or programs scheduled during this two week period.  A few of the groups associated with these meetings are The Society For Creative Anachronism, League of Women Voters, Catholics in America, Old Capital Toastmasters, Open Meditation Group, Korean Cultural Festival, Friends of Hickory Hill Park, and Hawkeyes for O’Malley– truly a cross section of the Iowa City Community.

Iowa City has an active creative economy – one that is fully supported in many (hard to measure :)) ways by the Library.   So many things to do….so little time.

Artists–get your entries in for this year’s Art Purchase Prize contest!

by Candice Smith on September 22nd, 2015


There’s just a little over one week left to get your submissions in for this year’s Art Purchase Prize contest! We’re accepting entries through Sunday, October 4, and the first round of judging is on Tuesday, October 6.

Find the full criteria on our website; if you have any questions please contact Candice Smith at or 319-887-6031.

Winning works of art are added to the Library’s Art To Go collection, located on the first floor, on the wall separating the adult fiction collection and the Children’s Room. Cardholders can check out two works at a time, for two months. The collection is made up of original art from the contest, along with reproductions of well-known works of art. So, if you’ve still got some bare apartment walls to decorate, or want to try out a new kind of art in your home, stop by the Library!