The Library offers five meetings rooms for community groups to use. Library meetings rooms are a busy community resource. In FY14 the Library hosted 1,508 community meetings in its meeting rooms. This is in addition to a very busy schedule of Library programs held in the meeting rooms.
According to Library Board Policy, “The purpose of the Library’s meeting rooms is to provide space for library programs and community events, to fulfill the Library’s role as a community center, where the public can attend informational, educational, cultural events and to champion the principle of intellectual freedom by providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas.”
We recently updated our webpage with information about Library meeting rooms. You can see more information here. Groups are welcome to reserve meeting rooms online or call the Library at 319-356-5200 for staff assistance.
The final round of judging for the 2014 Art Purchase Prize took place on Tuesday, and seven new works of original art were selected.
The winning pieces and artists are: Buffalo Bill, duct tape on wood, artist Jaimie Tucker; Champagne, digital rendered 3d art, artist Jared Williams; Girl In Aqua Top, oil on canvas, artist Bekah Ash; Magma Carta, color lithograph, artist Amanda Johnson; Raven and Untitled, monoprint, artist Cheryl Graham; and Untitled, charcoal, artist Maureen Jennings.
The new artworks will be on display on the North Wall of the second floor during the months of December and January, and then they will go into the Art To Go collection of circulating art. Patrons may place holds on the art while they are on display.
Congratulations to the winners, and many thanks to all artists who participated in this year’s contest. The Art Purchase Prize is an annual contest to purchase original art by local artists, and is funded by gifts from the Library Board and the Library Friends Foundation.
Saturday, October 25th marks our annual Popo’s Puppet Festival. Joining us this year along with our favorite clown, Popo, are Jester Puppets and a rendition of Bony Legs by Buffy Quintero. Bony Legs also known as Baba Yaga, follows little Sasha as she goes to borrow a needle and thread from her witch of a neighbor. Will Sasha find a way to escape the horrifying Baba Yaga before she gets made into dinner? Stop by the library from 10-12 to find out and for other wonderfully creepy and fun shows for the entire family to enjoy.
As the holiday approaches and our collection of jHoliday books begins to dwindle keep the following titles in mind for spooky reading
Brown: A Dark, Dark Tale, Chaperon: Eerie Dearies, Cole: Bony Legs, Cyrus: Your Skeleton is Showing, Ehlert: Boo to You!, Gorey: The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Idle:Zombelina, Kohara: Ghosts in the House & The Midnight Library, Rohmann: Pumpkinhead, Schwartz: A Dark, Dark Room, Van Allsburg: The Witch’s Broom, Wilson, Who Goes There?
For more spooky titles outside of the Halloween collection, stop by the children’s department!
Need a good book to read? Join our library director Susan for some wonderful book recommendations taken from the All Iowa Reads list.
This year’s author, Thomas Maltman, visited ICPL recently. A video of that talk is here: http://video.icpl.org/maltman
Most Iowa City residents are probably familiar with the 8th grade Personal Development class, which gets teens volunteering for 4 hours in the community. At ICPL, we are delighted to be a place that many students choose to volunteer.
In the past few weeks, we’ve had several 8th grade volunteers helping to straighten books on the shelves, keep the magazines in order, and put together the Begin With Books packets that are distributed to the families of newborns. Thanks to those volunteers!
If you are an 8th grader who hasn’t done your volunteering yet, there’s still time! Contact the Library right away to make your October 20 or 21 deadline. And if you are taking Personal Development later in the school year, consider ICPL as a fun place to make a difference.
I often think someone could write a mystery book about a items left in the Library’s Lost and Found. Maybe it could be an espionage story about a secret message on an item left at the Library or a heartwarming story about a child being reunited with a favorite stuffed animal. Regardless, there are many interesting items in the Library’s Lost and Found that may be reclaimed at the Help Desk.
Staff at the Help Desk are the stewards of Lost and Found and can share many interesting stories about items left behind. Today’s items feature one crutch, a cell phone, a wallet, miscellaneous IDs, a few umbrellas, some homework assignments, and a bag full of wet swimsuits and towels (must have been at the Rec Center pool before stopping at the Library). A clue to that lost item: “Anderson” is a monogrammed on the bag.
When we are able to identify the owner of an item (often through their Library Card account) we call or eMail to let the person know the item is at the Library. Library Cards left at the Library are “stopped” and then mailed to the patron. Stopped cards must be activated again via a call to the Library or visit to the Help Desk.
Unfortunately we can also tell stories about liquids oozing out of lunch boxes, mold growing in sippy cups, and other unsavory tales of woe. Because of this, we have a new procedure to throw away anything that goes into the mouth (sippy cups, pacifiers), personal grooming items, and anything else that may illicit an “eeeewww” or strong gag reflex.
So you might ask, “What happens to all the unclaimed items?” Photo IDs and any items of value that have not been reclaimed after a period of time are sent to the Iowa City Police Department. Clothing and other miscellaneous items are donated to Goodwill. Papers are recycled and books are considered a donation to the Library.
If you are looking for a lost item that may have been left at the Library, please give us a call or stop by the Help Desk. If you are curious about found items around the world, there are a number of webpages that catalog found items including Found magazine and foundinbooks.wordpress.com (I should pass along a general disclaimer to the content of these two webpages. They are not related to the Library and not guaranteed for all audiences. They are amusing though … )
The other day someone asked me what the oddest thing we found left in a book. I couldn’t think of anything specific, but I do know we frequently have money, checks, photographs, and other items that are accidentally left in Library materials when they are returned. When we find these items, we attempt to locate the owner. Updated contact information helps us with that.
According to the “Circulation and Library Card” policy, “Library cards expire regularly to confirm address and other contact information.” We expire cards so that we may periodically check with patrons to assure we have updated information. Many people are dropping their landlines so this gives us an opportunity to update to a new telephone number. Also, if you’ve been in the area long, you might feel like half of the town moves on August 1 when leases typically expire. Cards with apartment numbers expire annually in August so we can touch base with the patron and update an address when needed.
Beyond returning items left in books, we want to make sure Hold Notices are delivered (either via eMail, telephone notification, or U.S. Mail) or we can contact you if you accidentally forgot to return a disc or a puzzle piece that was part of a set.
We also often have keys turned into the Library that have a Library Card attached to the keychain. Many patrons have breathed a huge sign of relief when the Library calls to tell them a good Samaritan returned their keys to the Library.
We also have contracts with vendors such as OverDrive (eBooks/eAudio) and Zinio (eMagazines) who stipulate we must limit access to people who live in our service area. The Library’s service area is Iowa City, rural Johnson County, Hills, University Heights, and Lone Tree. Basically this means that people who live in these areas directly support the Library through their property taxes (thank you!). Keeping Library accounts updated assures we are meeting the contractual obligations with our vendors.
One of our strategic plan goals for us this year is to improve our self-checkout stations. There are currently six of these stations, four near the main entrance of the library, one on the second floor near the info desk and one in the children’s room. Patrons can check out materials at these stations, access account information and pay fines. The goals for this project are two-fold: to improve the experience for our patrons and to make the payment of fines more secure.
Within the next few weeks we will be rolling out the new updated self checkouts. We believe that the software will be easier to use and the touchscreen monitors more responsive. In order to pay fines, there will be a credit card terminal next to each machine that looks similar to those you see at other retail places. These terminal will make the payment of fines more secure.
There are quite a few steps to putting all this into place including additional wiring at each station, putting together a hardware profile, network configurations, integration with our library system, configuring each station and setting up the credit card processors among many others. With any change at a well-used service point, there will undoubtedly be frustrations, kinks in the system and adjustments that have to be made. I ask for your patience and help as we try to bring these new self-checks on line. Stay tuned and feel free to send me questions.
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.
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.