Library Catalog Ask a Librarian Book a Meeting Room

Road Trip to Lone Tree

by Kara Logsden on February 21st, 2014

2013 12 Lone TreeOn Saturday February 22, ICPL staff will travel to the Lone Tree School Library to share information about Iowa City Public Library collections, online resources, programs and services.  Everyone who lives in Lone Tree is invited to attend.  There’s a rumor there may be some sweet treats too.

Iowa City Public Library staff will be available 9-10:30 AM to issue Library Cards and share information about ICPL collections, programs and services.  There will also be a Storytime and craft program for children and a class about how to download eCollections.

Recently the Lone Tree City Council contracted with Iowa City Public Library for library services. This event is planned so Lone Tree residents can learn more about Library services and sign-up for a Library Card.

We’ll see you in Lone Tree on Saturday :)

Valentine’s Dessert with Candice – Video Staff Picks

by Bond Drager on February 14th, 2014

Candice takes us behind the scenes at ICPL to make a special chocolate caramel sauce from the Mast Brothers Chocolate Cookbook.


Dirty Books in the Library

by Kara Logsden on February 14th, 2014

Recently one of our dedicated patrons provided feedback about “dirty books in the Library.”  Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day and no, we are not talking about bodice-ripping romances that are very popular. He was talking about books that had been “violated with food stains and other deposits.”

Photo from

Photo from

At the Library, we take great pride in the physical condition of our collections. We allocate a portion of our collection budget to replacing worn or damaged materials. We understand things happen and sometimes our materials get damaged (OK – confession time – I have fallen asleep in the bathtub with a Library book and yes, the book fell in the water … oops).

We also check in over 1 million items each year. While we catch many damaged materials at checkin, we can’t catch everything. We depend on our patrons to let us know if a book, DVD or other item needs to go to mending or be “retired” because of damage or “violation.” The easiest way to let us know is to tape a note on the cover. A note will alert the people who check in Library materials that we need to route the item for further inspection and follow-up.

Happy Valentine’s Day, happy reading in the bathtub, and please let us know if a Library item needs attention.


Welcome to the new Iowa City Public Library blog

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on February 11th, 2014

Our website looks a little different and this blog is the image

123 South Linn: Iowa City Public Library’s Staff Blog serves several purposes. We want to engage with our community; promote Library collections, programs and services; assist our patrons; and build support for the Library.

To do this, our blog has several channels, each which serves a specific area of the library. For children’s room information, which will include anything from upcoming programs to early literacy, check out the Kid Bits channel. The Teens channel features routine posts that are of interest to teen patrons.

From the Director features posts from Library Director Susan Craig, while From the Reference Desk shares questions or topics Reference Desk staff encounter.

For reviews and other information about the Library’s collections, check out the From the Shelves channel.

The News channel will feature routine posts about Library news, while the Inside ICPL channel will take a deeper look at the Library’s operations.

Spend some time exploring the new blog and if you have questions or comments, please let us know!

Outreach Libraries

by Lynn Mennenga on February 7th, 2014

ICPL has a number of services for those who are unable to come to the library. Among these are libraries maintained by the Community & Access Services department (CAS). As Outreach Assistant in CAS, part of my job is sending books to various retirement residences and social service agencies in the area. I also get to choose the books that are sent: this is the equivalent of turning a chocolate fanatic loose in a Godiva store and telling them their job is to pick out the best candies.

The Deposit Collection program, for instance, involves choosing books from ICPL’s large print collection, both fiction and nonfiction, which are then delivered by our Maintenance staff to participating retirement residences. It’s a great way for the residences to enhance their library collections with a regular supply of new titles. Each location has a designated staffperson or resident who is responsible for overseeing their library, keeping track of books and gathering them up at the end of the nine-week checkout period. Our Maintenance staff then collects the books and delivers a new batch at the same time.

In addition to the Deposit Collection libraries, where the books are on loan from ICPL’s collection, there are sites whose libraries we stock and maintain; individuals who are mailed items through our At Home program; and collections–such as the Iowa Teen Award books–we provide to area agencies with young adult populations. Our Children’s department also maintains collections at several Outreach libraries.

ICPL partners with Iowa City Hospice to bring books, conversation to area residents

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 9th, 2014

Diana Durham’s years as an elementary teacher serve her well in her retirement.IC hospice

“As a schoolteacher, you learn to perform,” Durham says. “You have to like it.”

Durham liked it so much; she joined the Iowa City Hospice Singers. The singers are a group of volunteers who make visits to area nursing homes for monthly sing-alongs. It was through this program that Durham learned of another volunteer opportunity: The Iowa City Hospice Reading Program.

For more than four years, the Iowa City Public Library has partnered with Iowa City Hospice to offer monthly reading programs at area retirement and residential care centers. The Library provides the reading materials and supplemental information to assist reading program volunteers with their programs and discussions.

“When the program first began, the Library would select books for the volunteers,” says Sarah Neary, Iowa City Hospice’s volunteer program coordinator.

Every group was reading the same book at the same time, with outlines and reading discussion questions provided by the Library. The program has evolved over the years, though, to adapt to the needs and wants of the residents it serves.

“We’ve decided the program works best with less structure,” says Anna Sewell, the Library’s outreach and volunteer assistant. “Some groups continue to be happy with reading and rereading the stories of growing up in Iowa, such as “Little Heathens” and “Growing Up Country,” while other groups prefer to choose their own material to read and discuss. I stay available to all the groups as a source of information, ideas and resources.”

Neary credits the program, and its volunteers, for providing residents with interpersonal interactions.

“We are dealing with a population that, in general, did not grow up with TV,” Neary says. “These people grew up with stories. They had to entertain themselves. The reading program is more engaging than TV and it reminds them of how they grew up.”

“It’s so rewarding,” Durham adds. “You walk in and see all of these smiles – they’re just so happy to see you. I think I get more out of the program than they do.”

Currently, eight volunteers make up the Iowa City Hospice Reading Program. More facilities are interested in joining the program, but additional volunteers are needed. If you are interested in being a reader, contact Sarah Neary at

# # #

Follow us:

Gadget as Gift…Now what do I do?

by Kara Logsden on December 26th, 2013
Gadget as Gift…Now what do I do? Cover Image

We noticed a trend today with many holds on books about devices including iPads, iPhones, Kindles, and Androids.

Do you need help learning to use your new gift?  Never fear – the Library is here!  We have many opportunities for help and learning in our Computer Lab.  Remember to bring your gadget and Library card.

Scheduled Tech Zones include:


“eBooks, eAudiobooks, and eMagazines for iPad or iPhone” held Monday December 30, 1-2 PM. Click here to register.

“eBooks, eAudiobooks, and eMagazines for Kindle Devices” held Friday January 10, 10-11 AM. Click here to register.

Drop in Tech Help:

Mondays & Wednesdays 10 AM-Noon

Tuesdays Noon-4 PM

Senior Tech Zone:

Thursdays 10:30 AM-12:30 PM

Special Tech Zone:

Saturday January 11, 10 AM- Noon

If none of these times work for you, bring your gadget and Library Card to the Library and we will help.  Happy New Year!

New ICPL book bags available for purchase

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 26th, 2013

book bag

Tell us if this sounds familiar.

You stop by the Iowa City Public Library to pick up a book – maybe it’s one you had on hold or you find something after browsing for a few minutes – but then you decide to check out what’s new in the music collection. Maybe your spouse calls to ask you to pick up a movie for the weekend. Perhaps one of your kids texts you to remind them they have a book report due in a week and they need a book to read. Or maybe your few minutes of browsing turned in to discovering five titles you must check out today.

No matter how it happens, you find yourself in line for the Help Desk, struggling to hold on to the books you have piled in your arms.

Help is on the way, in the form of our new book bags. The “Read More Books” bag is made of bright blue durable canvas perfect for toting Library materials to and from your home. And, at only $1 per bag, they are easy to replace when you accidentally leave one in your car. You can even stock up and use them to “wrap” some of this year’s holiday presents. They’re cheaper than gift bags and better for the environment.

The “Read More Books” bags are available for purchase at the Help Desk on the Library’s first floor.

# # #

Follow us:

Celebrate our freedom to read

by Maeve Clark on September 25th, 2013

As Justice Potter Stewart wrote, “In order to be responsible citizens who have the ability to self-govern, we must be well-informed.” A well-informed citizenry cannot exist in a society where censorship is allowed. Each year the Iowa City Public Library along with many libraries across the nation celebrate our freedom to read and view and create.

In 1995, the Iowa City Public Library established the annual Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival to honor her 26-year career at ICPL and her life-long commitment to the freedom of ideas. Spaziani believes that the public library’s role is to be a resource and a forum for an individual’s pursuit and expression of diverse points of view.  Intellectual Freedom is a basic human right, defined by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Intellectual freedom is central to a democratic society and libraries provide information, ideas and resources in a variety of formats, enabling an informed citizenry.

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. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

At the Iowa City Public Library we have events for all ages, from stories for children from books that were banned or challenged, to activities for teens as well as programs for adults.  Thursday, September 26, at 7 pm we plan a public discussion of what censorship means in a our society and as well as in countries where the freedom of expression is not a right.  Join library staff, writers from the International Writing Program and a representative of the Hawkeye Area Chapter of the ACLU-Iowa as we discuss what it means to have this freedom and what it like to live in a society where opinions and words are suppressed.



ICPL Offers Book Club Kits and Storytime Kits for Checkout

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 12th, 2013

It’s nearly fall here in Iowa City which means book clubs are springing back to life. Whether you are already in a book club or hope to start one, the Iowa City Public Library has an exciting resource for you: Book Club Kits.

 Book Club KitBook Club Kits are loaned for six weeks to help support reading groups and others who wish to read and discuss the same book. The kits come packaged in convenient canvas tote bags. Inside, you’ll find ten copies of books and discussion information to help guide your meetings. Recent Book Club Kit selections include National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson’s The Year We Left Home, a family saga set in the Iowa farmlands, and Rebecca Skloot’s award-winning The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a biography of a woman whose stolen cells have made a huge impact on modern medicine. For a full list of fiction and nonfiction Book Club Kits, click here.

Storytime KitAlso available are Storytime Kits, perfect for birthday parties or daycares. Based around themes, Storytime Kits are loaned for three weeks. They come in plastic containers that consist of books, a storytime starter sheet, and activity items such as puppets and puzzles. No matter what time of year or what your children’s interests are, our Storytime Kits have themes that will excite every child, including holiday stories, animal adventures and multicultural tales. For a full list of Storytime Kits, click here.

You can find Book Club Kits on the first floor near the Help Desk and Storytime Kits at the Children’s Desk. There are no residency requirements on who can check them out; all patrons are welcome!


Follow us: