In a new picture book biography by Barbara Herkert, a brief text in language appropriate for K-3 grades tells about the strong-willed girl born in 1860 who wanted to be an artist. At 16 she enrolled in art school and studied at the Academy with all the male students. She next traveled to Paris to study against her father’s objections. Like many artists, she copied the Old Masters paintings found in the Louvre Museum. When her artwork was rejected by the Salon, the impressionist painter, Degas, invited Cassatt to join an independent painters’ group and they broke all the rules by using brilliant tones and splashes of white, pastels and soft blurry images. She captured on canvas what she saw around her. For Mary, art was life and life was art. Although she never married, Cassatt painted many beautiful pastels of mothers and babies. When her family moved to Paris, she used them as subjects of her heartfelt paintings. Her art now hangs in museums all over the world. This book will be encouraging to young artists to pursue their artistic dreams. Cassatt’s paintings continue to inspire, inform, and uplift people today. The illustrations in this picture book are done by Gabi Swiatkowska of France. An author’s note and list of sources are included in the back of the book. Before a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, check out this title and share it with your youngster.
I just discovered a new TV series that has become one of my all-time favorites: The Detectorists. As the two protagonists keep having to explain, “We’re not metal detectors, we are detectorists”. That is: they are the guys who operate the metal detectors; and they take it very seriously. The show surrounds the efforts of hobbyist treasure hunters who are convinced they are about to discover the lost burial of a Saxon king. It’s high stakes among the hobby clubs in the area to secure the rights to a farm that is rumored to be a hot prospect. The show was written and directed by Mackenzie Crook, who you might know as the gung-ho assistant on the British version of The Office. It is very funny and the dialog is great as is the music and filming. This is an easy one to binge-watch, so take it easy. Only watch a couple at a time; there are only six in the first season.
A huge thank you to the 336 people who volunteered at the Library in 2015!
Volunteers checked in books, ran the Book End bookstore, cleaned the play kitchen items in the Children’s Room, tutored high school students, planned teen programs, indexed the Press-Citizen, hauled books for our book sales, and more.
Their total of 9,567 hours in 2015 was 611 more than last year and equivalent to 4.6 full-time staff. ICPL wouldn’t be the same without the help of our dedicated volunteers!
Want to get involved? Read more about volunteering at icpl.org/volunteer.
From January 4 through February 29th people of all ages can join in the fun of ICPL’s first Winter Reading Program!
You don’t even need to register – just stop by any of the desks in the Library and pick up a Bingo game card. There are four game cards available: Babies, Kids, Teens and Adults. Instructions for playing are on the back of each card. To fill in a square all you need to do is read, attend a program, or explore the Library. Everyone who finishes the game before March 1st is invited to the Pizza and Popcorn Party to celebrate. Your completed Bingo card is your ticket to the party.
Here are some of the squares on the Adult game card (and some possible answers):
Read a book you should have read in High School. (Something all your friends were reading, or a popular book of the time. You don’t have to read a classic that was assigned in school. Unless you want to.)
Once upon a long time ago my daughter decided she wanted to take guitar lessons. I checked around and Deb Singer’s name kept coming up as a recommended teacher. For some reason we decided I should take lessons too, so soon my daughter and I had guitars and we were meeting with Deb once a week.
I’d love to say that we became guitar masters but alas, it was not meant to be (and this was no fault of Deb’s ). Mostly we enjoyed listening to Deb play with us and were amazed at how great we sounded when we were with Deb (an how not great we sounded when we were home practicing).
Please join us on Wednesday January 13, 2016 at Noon when Deb will share her classical guitar favorites with our Library audience. If the weather is mild we will be in the Lobby. If it’s cold we’ll move the program to the 1st Floor Gallery area near the magazine collection.
Deb is very well known in our community with the “under 5 crowd.” She is a regular at ICPL Storytimes and at local preschools. Deb has a passion for music and movement and it is a joy to watch and listen as she plays and dances with children.
Deb is a founding member and plays acoustic guitar with the Iowa City-based world music band, Kol Shira. Kol Shira’s CD, A New World, is available on the Library’s Local Music Project at http://music.icpl.org/kol_shira/a_new_world.
We hope you enjoy this video of a few staff with their favorite furry friends, plus books.
Last Wednesday was my last outreach before schools’ Winter Break. The kids say they’ll miss me. They give me hugs before I leave for the library…what’s not to love about my job?
Katherine Habley, Nancy Holland, and I do children’s outreach every week. Maybe you’ve seen us leaving the library with bags of books or puppets hanging out of our wheeled library suitcases. Between the three of us, we visit 40 Iowa City sites, which include preschools, daycares, Neighborhood Centers, and Hacap (Hawkeye Area Community Action Program) centers. We share stories with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
While manning the desk, we’ll often encounter a family whose child runs to us with arms open. The child’s parents are somewhat confused and ask how we know their child, so we explain our outreach program and are acknowledged with immediate smiles and gratitude for our services to the community.
Part of our strategic planning for fiscal year 2016 is to create a bookmark informing parents about our 30-minute storytime. Hopefully, the bookmark will encourage parents to talk and ask open-ended questions about encouraging early literacy in the home.
Here are the bookmarks we’ve been handing out to sites since the beginning of the school year.
Outreach is a big part of the joy we get from our jobs. We get the “warm and fuzzies” after each visit. There’s nothing better than reading books and getting smiles, hugs, and kisses after storytime. Our job is as Mister Rogers sings, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”
We are starting to get users calling or stopping by for help with Overdrive and Windows 10. If you have recently upgraded to Windows 10 and need to get Overdrive working again, here are some helpful tips:
- There are two versions of Overdrive. There is the app version and the desktop version. They can both be downloaded and used together.
- You can download both versions at app.overdrive.com (Scroll to the bottom). Use the Download for Windows 8 link for the “app” version. (At the time of writing, there is no Windows 10 link – but the 8 works). Use the Download for Windows Desktop link for the desktop version.
- If you want to transfer your books to an mp3 player, you need to at least have the desktop version. It’s nice to have both as they seem to work pretty well together. For example, after you add an audiobook to your bookshelf, there is a transfer option. When you click that, it will automatically open up the transfer wizard.
- You can listen to audio books right in the app.
Here are some Overdrive Help links:
If you want more help we have time and staff dedicated each week to answer your questions about Overdrive in Drop-In Tech Help.
If you’re like me, you weren’t too shocked when an article from earlier this year suggested that people stop listening to new music around the age of 33. Even though that study was based on Spotify user data, which I considered a fairly small pool, it had definitely been a while since this 34-year-old had sought out a new band and given an album a reverential first listen like she used to.
So it was partially in my own interest that I asked my co-workers how they find and listen to music online for a December display. “Our favorite music apps and websites” are currently displayed on the library’s 2nd floor, and they include apps for streaming music, ways to listen to the radio online, methods for finding the name of a song heard in public, recordings of live performances, free tuning apps (for the musicians out there), and places to find music news and reviews.
Take this opportunity during Music Is The Word to shake up the statistics by downloading a free app, establishing a streaming account to generate recommendations, or finding your new favorite sound. Here’s a selection of our 27 staff recommendations:
- Spotify “I really love listening to my Discover Weekly playlist. It takes suggestions from what you have already listened to or saved and creates a playlist of around 30 songs that you don’t already have. Every Monday I check out my playlist and by the end of the week I usually save about half of the songs that week. It’s a great way to expand your musical horizon without being overwhelmed and it feels like your week has a soundtrack.” -Mari
- Pandora “We have cultivated lists (developed by “liking” and “disliking” songs). We also use some universal lists (James Taylor Christmas, for example). There is a 100 list limit and often we have to delete a list to create or open a new one. One year we stayed at the Grand Canyon Lodge (North Rim) and they were playing music from the 1940’s. When we came home, we made an Andrews Sisters playlist. Whenever we listed, we felt like we were back at the Grand Canyon.” -Kara
- daytrotter.com “Amazing live sessions featuring a mix of national recording artists and local or “under the radar” touring groups, based out of Rock Island, IL.” -Jason
- dustandgrooves.com “I use this when I want to listen to music, and expose myself to new tunes. You get the benefit of someone else’s knowledge in various genres. It is like listening to the radio, without the commercials!” -Dona [Their newly released book is available at ICPL, too!]
- AllMusic “If you type in any band or artist name in the search engine, it will lead you to that group’s page. If you click on the “related tab” above the band’s overview, it gives nice lists of groups/artists that are “similar to” the artist searched as well as a list of the artists’ influences and what groups were influenced by them, if that makes any sense. It is a great way to find things that are related to a certain sound you already like!” -Heidi
How do you find and listen to music online?