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Library Links Golf Classic set for June 26

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 2nd, 2015

It’s almost tee time!

The Third Annual Library Links Golf Classic will be held Friday, June 26, at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City, beginning with lunch at 11:30 a.m., followed by shotgun at 1 p.m.

This annual fundraiser on the green is held to raise green for the Annual Fund of the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation. This year, the Library is focused on growing its Summer Reading Programs to keep children and teens reading and learning throughout the summer months.

Visit to register or learn more about sponsorship opportunities. Registrants can sign up as a foursome or individual player.

Forms can also be downloaded at and returned to Patty McCarthy, Director of Development, at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. in Iowa City, or dropped in the donation box on the Library’s first floor, next to the book return.

For more information, contact Director of Development Patty McCarthy at or (319) 356-5249.

Holds @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden on June 2nd, 2015

One of our most po2015 06 02 Holds SHelf 2pular services is HOLDS – items we hold for patron pick-up. Holds may be placed online at Your Account or with assistance from Library staff. Patrons may have up to ten free holds at any time.

We also offer Paging services (see my previous blog post about Paging) and those items also land on the Holds shelf for pick-up.

In May 2015, Library Staff put 8,588 items on the Holds shelves for people to pick-up. We notify patrons about Holds in 3 ways depending on how their Library Account is coded: eMail, telephone or printed message sent via US Mail. In May, 95% of the Hold notifications were sent via eMail, 4% were sent vial telephone, and 1% were printed and sent in the mail.

Once an item reaches the Holds shelf, patrons have 6 days to pick-up the Hold.

There were between 618 and 841 holds each day on the Holds Shelf waiting for pick-up in May. The average number of items on the shelf was 708.

Unfortunately 13.5% (1,163) of the holds were not picked up. Sometimes people get busy, sometimes they forget, or sometimes they don’t receive their notice because an eMail address or phone number changed (please always let us know if your account information changes). Because 32% of our holds not picked up move to the next person in the Holds Queue, please give us a call and let us know if you cannot pick-up your hold. You can also login to Your Account and cancel your hold online.

If you have questions about Holds, or would like to place a Hold for an item, please give us a call or stop by. We’ll see you soon :)



A basket full of memories

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 2nd, 2015

There’s a woven basket in my living room that it a catch-all for all the things that don’t have a set destination: magazines, mail, papers I’ll get to eventually. basket

The basket was purchased at The City Market in Kansas City nearly 15 years ago. When we bought it, it was to hold our son’s building blocks (though we still tripped over them more often than not). Over the years, its uses have ranged from toy storage to cat bed to the-kitchen-table-is-covered-with-stuff-so-use-the-basket.

I love this basket. It has survived four moves, three cats and two toddlers. There’s not a lot of furniture in my house that can make that claim.

Farmers markets are great places to find items like baskets, benches and trunks that you didn’t know you needed until you see it. I love that such finds are crafted by local artisans because no matter how many craft books I check out from the Library, the only things I can make without throwing a minor temper tantrum is a bookmark.

(This is not an exaggeration. I took a knitting class almost two years ago and the scarf I started it still on the needles because I ran out of yarn and didn’t know what to do next.)

What’s your favorite non-food farmers market find?


Overdrive Tips: Holds

by Brent Palmer on May 28th, 2015

I’ve gotten several calls recently about users who were confused when they where notified of available holds but could not find them on their bookshelf.

When you place holds for eBooks and eAudioBooks, you have the option of being notified via email and to have Overdrive check the book out automatically when it becomes available.  We learned in a previous Overdrive Tips post that there are actually two bookshelves.  The ebook will be checked out to  your library bookshelf waiting to be downloaded.  See this article on how to find these items that have been checked out.

If you did not select the “automatically borrow this item when it becomes available” then the items will be found on your holds list.  You have 3 days to retrieve the hold before it moves on to the next patron.  Here is how to find that list.  You can then manually check out the held title.

If you want more help we have time and staff dedicated each week to answer your questions about Overdrive in Drop-In Tech Help.  Once again, good luck and enjoy your eBooks!

Looking for a short-term volunteer opportunity?

by Stacey McKim on May 21st, 2015

srp2Want to share your love for our Summer Reading Program and help families sign up?  Volunteers are needed for the Summer Reading Program registration table in the library.  We have many shifts to fill from June 1 to June 14, at 10:00-12:30, 12:30-3:00, and 3:00-5:00. You’ll be trained on how to 1) explain how the program works, 2) put individuals’ information into a simple online form, and 3) hand out game cards!

We’re looking for adult and teen volunteers who are friendly, patient, and enjoy working with the public.  Previous experience is not required.  Computer skills necessary.  A State of Iowa Criminal History Record Check is required for this position.

If interested, please turn in a Volunteer Application to the Help Desk soon!  Training will be held on Wednesday, May 27.

childrensdayAnother (messier) option is Children’s Day on Saturday, June 6!  We need volunteers to help with colored hairspray, our giant Bookmark chalkboard, Paint the Town, and our Silly Props photo booth.  There are 5 openings for the 9:30am-12:30pm shift and 7 spots left for 12:15-3:30pm.

I’ve put myself down for the afternoon shift — join me!  Sign up at as part of the 2015 Iowa Arts Festival.  For assistance registering, contact Jenna Isaacson at 319-337-7944 or

RRR U Ready for Summer?

by Kara Logsden on May 20th, 2015

2013 Summer Library BusSchool’s out in a couple weeks so it’s a good time to take inventory and make sure you are ready for summer. Your Library Card is your ticket to the “Three R’s of Summer” – Reading, Riding and Relaxing.

Today is a great day to make sure you know where your card is and assure it is ready for the 3-R’s of summer.

If you need to apply for a Library Card, it’s easy to do online at Simply apply for a card online and then head to the Library’s Help Desk with a picture ID and something with your current address (a piece of mail, a checkbook, a current lease). If your Driver’s License has your current address on it, it works for both the picture ID and proof of address.

Astute readers may be thinking, “I understand reading and relaxing, but what does Riding have to do with a Library Card?”

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 your child’s ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit bus free this summer. The Library will provide 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 (Wednesday June 3, 2015) until the weekday before school starts (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.

Children can catch a ride home anytime the same day with a Ride & Read bus pass, issued by showing a Library Card at any public service desk at the Library.

Three cheeRRRs for summer! See you at the Library!

Bringing a Nebraskan to the Farmer’s Market

by Shawna Fredrickson on May 19th, 2015

When I moved from Nebraska to Iowa City a couple of summers ago, my friends and family couldn’t understand wNebraskahy I was leaving the “Good Life” for Iowa. It has since become my personal goal to educate
Nebraskans (as well as other non-Iowans) about how great life is on the other side of the Missouri! To achieve this goal, I jump at the opportunity to show guests some of the best spots in the community.

My family came into town last weekend for my Friday evening graduation ceremony, which was well and good, but I was really excited to show off the Farmers Market on Saturday morning. I knew that I was facing some pretty steep competition, because my mom enjoys visiting the Farmers Market in Omaha’s Old Market. We arrived early to avoid the crowd and took our time touring the stalls. My mom loved looking through the photos of the dairy goats at one stall and was especially interested in the bat houses made by another vendor. We both went home with some great looking (and smelling!) produce, which was cause enough for satisfaction, but I couldn’t hide my delight when she declared the Iowa City Farmers Market to be better than Omaha’s! Another win for Iowa City!

Though I do enjoy the sweet taste of success, nothing can compare to our hearty soup made with Farmers Market ingredients that we enjoyed for dinner last weekend!

I love looking up the farm where my produce was grown!

I love looking up the farm where my produce was grown!

Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life

by Katherine Habley on May 16th, 2015
Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life Cover Image

Many of you know that I am a huge Beatrix Potter fan and as a children’s librarian, have been charmed by her 23 small books about Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, Squirrel Nutkin, Benjamin Bunny and her other animal friends for many years.  I have collected Beatrix Potter books and related merchandise my entire career and have displayed my collection at the Iowa City Public Library and the Coralville Public Library.  So when I accidentally came across Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life:  The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales, needless to say, I was thrilled.  Oh, and did I tell you that I am a flower gardener?  Author Marta McDowell from the New York Botanical Garden gives an account of the famous children’s writer and illustrator’s life.  Included in the book are old photographs, quotes from Potter’s books, letters, book illustrations, journal entrees, and her beautiful watercolor sketches of flowers and book characters. The second part of the book is a seasonal overview of what is blooming in Potter’s gardens at Hill Top Farm and her other properties in the Lake District of England.  The book culminates in a traveler’s guide with information about visiting Potter’s home and gardens today.  Readers may not have known that Beatrix Potter left her privileged life in London to farm, raise sheep, write, garden, and conserve the beautiful landscapes in the north of England.  Most impressive are all the thousands of acres of land she left to the National Trust upon her death.  I’ve read several biographies about Beatrix Potter so I didn’t learn anything new about her life; however, her passion for gardening and the expert information by the author, a consulting horticulturalist, was most informative and a pleasure to read.  Someday I hope to travel to the Lake District and visit Hill Top Farm and before I do, I’ll re-read this fascinating book.

Breakfast @ the IC Farmer’s Market

by Kara Logsden on May 12th, 2015

Breakfast at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market

I love the Iowa City Farmer’s Market. I grew up in Iowa City, so I have happy memories of going to the Market when I was young. My children have also grown up going to the Farmer’s Market and one of their favorite Saturday morning activities is breakfast at the Market.

We typically bring our coffee cups and stop at Cafe del Sol for a refill, and then take in the Market. Once we’ve checked out all the booths we wander over to Washington Street and scope out all the different choices for breakfast food.

Our final decision for what to order is typically based on what looks good and where the shortest lines are. My personal favorite is the breakfast burritos while my kids like the breakfast sandwiches that use pancakes as the outer layer and yummy eggs and other fillings in the middle.

Once we have our food, we typically pull up a seat on the curb and people watch. We always see lots of friends so it turns into a social occasion too.


Poppyseed Kolache from the Iowa City Farmer’s Market

A trip to the Market would also not be complete without our beloved kolaches. I grew up with a Czech grandmother who made the best kolaches in the world, so finding a good kolache is a real treat. My favorites are poppy seed while my family prefers apricot, cherry, and peach. We all agree the prune kolaches are to be avoided.

Writing this blog post inspired me to investigate the books about Czech cooking at the Library. I found many awesome selections at the call number 641.59437. One book has recipes for poppy seed and cheese filling as well as the dreaded prune filling.

It’s so exciting to welcome the Iowa City Farmer’s Markets back into our weekly routine. I look forward to the food, fun and meeting friends. See you at the Market!

Author Jon Katz: “Iowa got to me”

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 7th, 2015

The Library and Prairie Lights were pleased to host New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz at the Library this week. We were the last stop on his self-organized book tour for Saving Simon.

Author Jon Katz

Author Jon Katz

As the host of numerous author readings, film screenings, events and presentations every year, the Library strives to plan programming that speaks to our community. Patron feedback guides future programming and we are grateful for the comments we receive. However, being curious people, we sometimes wonder what kind of impression we — the Library, our community, the city and our beloved state — make on outside visitors.

That’s why reading Katz’s blog post about his trip to Iowa is so rewarding. Katz made three stops in Iowa — Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City — and writes that he and his wife were charmed by what they saw.

“The people were the nicest and warmest people I have met anywhere – they really love authors and books and strangers – the food was as good as any we have eaten in New York City.” According to him, Iowa City “is the state’s proud answer to the East Village or Brooklyn.”

Thank you, Jon Katz, for including Iowa and the Iowa City Public Library on your tour. We’re happy you had a great visit and that you got the chance to experience firsthand what makes our state so great. We hope you’ll visit again soon!