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First Presbyterian Church on ICPL’s Digital History Project

by Candice Smith on September 12th, 2015


This weekend culminates a year-long celebration of First Presbyterian Church’s 175th anniversary, with events planned at the Church and at their previous location at Old Brick. Here at the Library, we are very excited to unveil a new collection of items in our Digital History Project–materials from the Church’s extensive archive of items from throughout its history!

This collection of items is the product of many hours of work in the Church’s library with archivist Dwight Miller, as well as behind the scenes at the Library, finalizing images and adding data. In these documents you’ll find the story of the early Church and its founding as well as its changes throughout the years, details about the construction of the first church building along with that of Old Brick and the current structure, and a lot of information about various people who have been part of the Church. You’ll also find part of the story of Iowa City; the Church was formed while Iowa was still a territory, Iowa City had only been settled for about ten years, and prominent people, business owners, politicians, and every day people from that time are all represented in some of the items here.

We hope you enjoy browsing through these pieces of history. If you have any information or historical material you’d like to add to the collection, feel free to use the comments box on the Digital History website, or contact Candice Smith at or Melody Dworak at

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss

by Katherine Habley on September 11th, 2015
What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss Cover Image

Theodore Geisel, the real name of Dr. Seuss, passed away in La Jolla, California, in 1991, at the age of 87.  He left behind a treasure trove of beloved picture books and Beginner Books published by Random House.  He wanted to make reading fun for children and succeeded mightily in that goal.  Shortly after Ted died, his second wife, Audrey, found a box of his materials for future books–sketches, ideas, and snippets of humorous text, and the manuscript for what would become What Pet Should I Get?  With the help of his former secretary and friend, Claudia Prescott, and Ted’s art director, Cathy Goldsmith at Random House, this latest picture book has seen the light of day.  How wonderful is it that Ted’s creative stories and zany illustrations can delight a whole new generation of children!  Ted was a perfectionist who wrote draft after draft of his stories.  The editors for What Pet Should I Get? sometimes had to use their best judgement on which version would work best for this book published posthumously and believe that the good Dr. Seuss would be happy with the final results.  The age-old question for many families is what kind of pet they want.  In the story, we see Kay from The Cat in the Hat stories, and her brother in a pet store trying to choose a pet from the dozens of choices.  Their father has given them money for one pet and their mother has told them to come home by noon, so the rush is on to select the best pet….But it’s so hard to choose between a dog, cat, fish, rabbit or a new kind of pet!  The illustrations at the end of the book show the brother carrying home a basket on his head with two eyes peeking out from under the lid.  The reader can decide for herself what pet the children decide to call their own.  This book is shorter and less complicated than many of the Dr. Seuss books, but no less delightful. The large format picture book is one I am looking forward to sharing with preschoolers in a storytime about pets at my outreach sites or at Wednesday morning storytimes at the library. ICPL has ten new copies of What Pet Should I Get? for bedtime reading to your child or for a young reader to tackle on his own.  Look for them on the New Picture Book shelves in the Children’s Room. You won’t be disappointed.

Happy Library Card Memories

by Kara Logsden on September 8th, 2015

Do you remember when you got your first Library Card? I do. Actually I have two memories.

My first memory of getting a Library Card is at Iowa City Public Library’s old Carnegie Building (kitty-corner from the current Library). We moved to Iowa City in 1967 and I’m guessing we found the Library a couple years later. The legendary Ron Prosser, with his bushy eyebrows and loud voice, welcomed me to the Library and said something about always being responsible for my card. I wasn’t really listening because I was eager to head up to the Children’s Room.

My second memory is of Library staff traveling to my elementary school, Hills Elementary, to issue new Library Cards. This is when I received the iconic yellow ICPL plastic Library Card (I still have it) and close to the time when the Library moved to an electronic online catalog. I remember the enthusiasm of Library staff. They reinforced my already established love for the Library.

Library staff still tr2005 Zach and Amyavel to local elementary schools and talk about Library Cards, Summer Reading Program, Summer Library Bus, and all the awesome collections, programs and services available at the Library. The photo in this post is from when Library staff visited Weber Elementary School ten years ago and enlisted Weber Students to help tell a story. My son and his friend are now Juniors in High School but I bet they could tell you the story of when Library staff visited their school :)

Fast forward more years than I care to think about and now I’m the one creating Library Card accounts for members of our community. I love it when parents take a photo of their child getting their first Library Card and I get excited when I see young children who can’t wait to get their card and jump into using the Library. I also enjoy going to community events, such as the recent Iowa City elementary schools Ice Cream Socials, when I can talk to children and families about the Library and help them sign up for a Library Card.

Do you remember when you got your first Library Card? We’d love to hear from you.


The Library Card: A Ticket to Adventure

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 3rd, 2015

I was sitting at my desk Monday when I received a phone call from the Help Desk.

This postcard shows an image of the Fort Dodge Public Library I remember. The Carnegie building closed on November 30, 2000. The new library opened in by the City Square in January 2001.

This postcard shows an image of the Fort Dodge Public Library I remember. The Carnegie building closed on November 30, 2000. The new library opened in January 2001.

“There’s someone here to see you.”

I didn’t have an appointment scheduled, but drop-ins aren’t uncommon, so I grabbed a notebook and pen, and walked to the Library’s first floor.

“There you are!”

It was my parents. They live on the other side of the state, but ever since my dad retired, surprise visits have become a common thing. They don’t last long — my parents left after I gave them a tour of the Library — but they make me smile. (Then I text my siblings to let them know that our parents are on the road again and to be prepared.)

I love giving tours of the Library, be it to people I’m related to or visitors who stop by because they’ve heard great things about ICPL. From the slide in the Children’s Room to the Koza Family Teen Center on the second floor, the Art-To-Go collection and an amazing selection of graphic novels, the Library is a wonderful place that truly has something for everybody.

Author Lilian Jackson Braun says “a library card is the start of a lifelong adventure.” As we celebrate Library Card Sign-up Month, I think back to the adventures I’ve had because of my Library Card. They begin, of course, with the stories I’ve read, but entwined are memories of biking to the Library with friends and that huge feeling of maturity when my mom decided I was old enough to hold on to my Library Card instead of giving it to her for safekeeping.

My very first Library Card was from the Fort Dodge Public Library. It was about the size of a business card, made from heavy beige paper, with a silver bar threaded through it. The card came with a tiny manila-type envelope for safekeeping. I felt so grown up every time I used it. I thought it was amazing that with just this card, I could take home any book I wanted for free.

I still think it’s amazing.

As I led my parents around ICPL, my mom joked that they had to stop by to see if I was actually working. I was always a reader, so it’s safe to assume I would spend my days at a Library and call it my job.

“It’s the perfect job for you, kid,” my dad said as they left to visit one of my younger sisters.

It’s not only a job, it’s an adventure. It’s a Library.

Cooler than being Cool

by Kara Logsden on September 2nd, 2015

September is L2015 09 Library Cardibrary Card sign-up month across the country. At Iowa City Public Library we make it easy to get a Library Card. Online sign-up is available to everyone on the Library’s webpage at Once registered, head into the Library with a picture ID and proof of your current address. Staff at the Help Desk will set-up your account, help you set-up a password if needed, and then you are set.

Community members who already have Library Cards may receive a free replacement card all month. If you have your card number memorized, but your card is damaged, we can make a free replacement card with the same number – we’ll just need the original card to create the new card.

We live in a community that loves its Library and the numbers prove it. At the end of Fiscal Year 2015 (June 30, 2015) the Library had 64,957 active cardholders who borrowed 1,391,482 items. That makes ICPL the busiest library building in the state of Iowa. Some other libraries have higher circulation, but their services are delivered in multiple buildings.

Please join your friends and neighbors and be Cooler than Cool. Make sure you have a Library Card. See you at the Library!



Flowers, Flowers Everywhere

by Shawna Riggins on September 1st, 2015

Of course I love to stock up on fresh produce at the Farmers Market, but there are many other parts of the Market that I get excited about. Lately I have been enjoying the beautiful fresh cut flowers available in several stalls. Half the fun is taking the time to build a personalized arrangement. Then you get to bring them home and admire their beauty and scent in your house all week. I love the variSunflowersety that is available at the market as well as knowing that they were grown locally and cut individually. If you don’t have a yard of blooming flowers, this is a great way to enjoy nature. Even if you do have your own yard and flowers, you may not necessarily want to cut them down. Stop by this weekend and build your own bouquet. Looking for guidance as you set out to make your extra special centerpiece? Check out some of our helpful books. Be sure to share a photo with us, we’d love to see your creations!

Watch monarch caterpillars live at Iowa City Public Library

by Bond Drager on August 27th, 2015

photocaterpillarDo you like butterflies? Have you ever wanted to watch a caterpillar as it goes through metamorphoses? Iowa City Public Library has two monarch caterpillars on a live stream so you can check in and see what’s happening. We also have three caterpillars already in the chrysalis stage that we will put on camera from time to time. Check out our live feed here:

MonarchCam 2015 – Iowa City Public Library

Can you spot the caterpillar hidden in the milkweed?

And as always, you can come down to the library and check out some of our great books about monarchs.


A sweet time at the Ice Cream Socials

by Stacey McKim on August 26th, 2015

Thanks to the Iowa City Community School District, we had a great time at the back-to-school socials last week!  For the first time ever, library staff members went to all 13 elementary schools in Iowa City and Hills to register students and their families for library cards.  (These events were all on the same night, so it was a scheduling triumph!)  We just mailed the last of the 139 new cards out today, so we’ll look forward to seeing those new cardholders at the library soon!

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.