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Why does a quarter have 119 ridges?

by Maeve Clark on April 5th, 2014

ask-history-coin-ridges One of the fun facts I learned from the Money Smart Week exhibit at the library is that dimes have 118 ridges or grooves and quarters have 119.  But what the exhibit didn’t tell me was the reason for the ridges.  So what’s a reference librarian to do? Find the answer, of course.  I started at the United States Mint which lead me to the American Numismatic Association. The first thing I learned was the technical term for the ridges or grooves on coins  is reeding.  Before the introduction of reeding, small amounts of gold or silver from coins could be chiseled or shaved away and the precious metal sold again or remelted and made into another coin. (The slang usage of the world chisel may even derive from this ancient practice.)  While quarters and dimes are no longer minted from silver, (with the exception of special collectable quarters), the ridges remain.

Come in a take a look at the exhibit – you will find it in the first floor gallery. You can explore the life cycle of currency, learn about the role of the Federal Reserve Bank and get your photo taken in $100 bill.  What else can you learn during Money Smart Week?money smart week Preschoolers will have a visit from Ben Franklin for the 10:30 preschool story time Thursday morning, April 10.   And if you want to know more about estate planning, the library has a program tailor made for you. Thursday evening, April 10, Thomas Gelman, attorney Phelan Tucker Muller Walker Tucker Gelman and John Chadima, Vice President and Trust Officer MidWestOne Bank offer Estate Planning 101: Basic Considerations.


by Patty McCarthy on April 4th, 2014

Retish donation

Brothers Walter and Clyde Retish love reading, love libraries, and love their grandparents.  So when the boys were here to visit Paul and Esther Retish, it made sense for them to stop by the Iowa City Public Library to get some books before taking grandma home after her volunteer shift at The BookEnd.

“My grandpa and grandma travel a lot, they go to many places around the world,” Walter, 11, says.

They usually bring back foreign money, which their grandsons took to the bank and cashed, walking out with $66.67.

On Wednesday, Walter and Clyde also visited us in the Development Office of the Iowa City Public Library to make a $66 donation. The 67-cents went in the donation box at The BookEnd.

Walter and Clyde’s presentation was a great surprise.  I assured them that yes, we could use the gift to buy several more of the Young Adult books they love reading, and thanked them.   Their generosity made my day.

KXIC Jay Capron Morning Show

by Kara Logsden on April 1st, 2014

We had a lot of fun on the Jay Capron Morning Show today!  We learned about Bark Madness (I voted for the cat) and send our best wishes to our good friend, Dottie Ray, to feel better soon!

We started off by talked about D.E.A.R. (Drop everything and READ) and had to delay the radio program a bit while I finished reading a chapter in the book I brought (just kidding).

Anne talked about ICPL Collections, and most specifically OverDrive and Zinio.  The big news on that front is OverDrive is now available through the Library’s catalog and some titles can now be renewed.  eCollection titles are great for cold blustery days like today!

Anne also talked about a number of upcoming programs including Money Smart Week, Mission Creek FREE programs at the Library this weekend, and B.Y.O. Book.

I talked about the Library’s new Blog, 123 South Linn, and how the response has been great.  We have between 50 and 250 views per day.  I also talked about Book Madness FINAL FOUR and encouraged patrons to vote on the Library’s Facebook page or in person at the Library.

There’s always something going on at the Iowa City Public Library and we enjoy sharing the information with our friends who listen to KXIC.



Are you ready to Drop Everything and Read?

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 1st, 2014
Library Director Susan Craig takes a few minutes before a meeting to read Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby, Age 8 in honor of D.E.A.R. Month.

Library Director Susan Craig takes a few minutes before a meeting to read Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby, Age 8 in honor of D.E.A.R. Month.

Raise your hands if you’d love to stop what you’re doing and read instead. Now, high five yourself because we’re giving you permission to do just that. After all, April is D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Month!

D.E.A.R. is the acronym beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary penned in Ramona Quimby, Age 8. In this story, Ramona’s third grade teacher, Mrs. Whaley, tells the students they will have Sustained Silent Reading every day.

“This means that every day after lunch we are going to sit at our desks and read silently to ourselves any book we choose in the library.”

The students could read what they wanted and would not have to write a book report. To make Sustained Silent Reading sound more fun, Mrs. Whaley decided to call it D.E.A.R.

(Ramona, of course, thought Sustained Silent Reading was better because it sounded more grown up. It also got her out of playing with Willa Jean after school.)

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 was published in 1981. Since then, Drop Everything and Read promotions have been held on April 12 in honor of Beverly Cleary’s birthday, but why stop there? HarperCollins Publishers decided to make D.E.A.R. a month-long celebration – a decision we’re happy to support.

All month long, we’ll share photos of Library staff dropping everything to read on our Facebook page and invite you do the same. After all, what reader doesn’t want an excuse to finish one more chapter?

Let the Madness Begin!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on March 19th, 2014
You can find the 2014 Book Madness brackets on the Library's first floor. Voting begins Thursday, March 20!

You can find the 2014 Book Madness brackets on the Library’s first floor. Voting begins Thursday, March 20!

When it comes to filling out my March Madness bracket, I embrace the “Not a sports fan” cliché and choose teams randomly. The way I see it, the less knowledge equals a better bracket, as evidenced by the number of times I’ve won competing against sports writers.

The first year I filled out a bracket, I sat next to a colleague who had folders of statistics. He’d review records and injury reports before making his decision. I chose Gonzaga because it sounds like Gonzo and I like The Muppets.

I won. He refused to let me play the following year.

When the Library decided to design a Book Madness bracket, I was thrilled. I know books! I could totally win this thing! But as the nominations started coming in, I got worried.

How could I choose between Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars?

Is it really fair to pit any series against Harry Potter?

I love Beloved! I love Atonement! I know too much! I can’t choose!

Sadly, though, we must. That’s the game.

Beginning Thursday, March 20, you can vote for your favorite title in our Book Madness brackets – there’s one for children’s books, and another for teens and adults. To start, we have 64 titles in four categories. Submit a vote for your favorite(s) – if you want to vote for just one book, you can, or you can choose 16 titles to move forward in the first two rounds; it’s up to you! – and watch as the titles progress.

Here are the dates to remember:

  • First and Second Round: March 20 through March 23
  • Sweet 16: March 27 and 28
  • Elite 8: March 29 and 30
  • Final 4: April 5
  • Championship Game: April 7

(Given the large number of books, all votes must be made at the display in the Library. Once we reach Elite Eight status, we will allow for voting on our Facebook page.)

I visited with a Library patron, Rachel, as she studied the boards this morning. We don’t have printouts of the brackets, which do make excellent reading lists, so I promised to post all the nominations to 123 South Linn so she’d have access to them.

Did any of your favorites make the list?

What title do you think should win?



  • Clifford by Norma Bridwell
  • Curious George by H.A. Rey and Margaret Rey
  • Olivia by Ian Falconer
  • Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child
  • Max and Ruby by Rosemary Wells
  • Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • Pete the Cat by James Dean
  • Llama Llama by Anna Dewdney
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Maisy books by Lucy Cousins
  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Mother Goose
  • Otis by Loren Long
  • Little Critter by Mercer Mayer
  • Five Little Monkeys stories by Eileen Christelow
  • Pigeon books by Mo Willems


  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
  • Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo Stilton
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
  • Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall
  • Rainbow Magic Fairies series by Daily Meadows
  • Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
  • Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
  • Judy Moody and Stink books by Megan McDonald
  • Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
  • EllRay Jakes series by Sally Warner
  • American Girls Collection
  • Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis


  • Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  • Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems
  • Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish
  • Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor
  • Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo
  • Biscuit books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler
  • Fly Guy books by Tedd Arnold
  • Rotten Ralph books by Jack Gantos
  • Little Bear books by Elsa Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak
  • Minnie and Moo books by Denys Cazet
  • Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa books by Erica Silverman
  • Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel
  • Henry and Mudge books by Cynthia Rylant
  • Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant
  • Dick and Jane series


  • Lego/Ninjago
  • Star Wars
  • Garfield by Jim Davis
  • Bone books by Jeff Smith
  • Babymouse series by Jennifer Holm
  • Pokemon
  • Shel Silverstein poems
  • Disney Princess stories
  • Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
  • Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce
  • Squish series by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier
  • Ologies series
  • Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons
  • Eyewitness books
  • Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka



  • The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
  • Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith
  • Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Every Day by David Levithan
  • Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
  • The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day (or some other Sedaris) by David Sedaris
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield
  • Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
  • The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger
  • The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Dog Songs by Mary Oliver
  • Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened … by Allie Brosh
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
  • The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure
  • The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow


  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Ender Wiggins Quartet by Orson Scott Card
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson
  • No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly
  • Broken Harbor by Tana French
  • Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin

Hidden treasures on your bookshelf

by Christina Stanton on March 12th, 2014
Treasure Chest of Books

Photo courtesy of Newton Public Library recently released its yearly report of the 100 most sought after out-of-print books in America.

You might expect that a 51-volume set of The Harvard Classicsedited by Charles W. Eliot (1869-1909) may be worth more than $478 to an eager collector.

Other gems, you don’t have to build a separate bookshelf to store.

Are you a crafter? New copies of A History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt, published in 1989, sell for $147 on You’re even luckier if you once collected books by author Mary Konior: her books on tatting patterns range from $99 – $250, and sellers of Crochet Lace: An Illustrated Guide to Making Crochet Lace Fabrics ask upwards of $400 for an unread copy.

If these books are collecting dust on your shelf, consider donating them to The BookEnd to benefit the Iowa City Public Library! The BookEnd, a used bookstore on the 2nd floor of the Iowa City Public Library, sells donated books, CDs, and DVDs as well as well-loved copies retired from the Library’s collection. All proceeds from The BookEnd benefit programs like the Children and Teen Summer Reading Programs and Art-to-Go, and add new items to the Library’s collection. Think of how many new books your 1984 copy of Nora Roberts’ Promise me Tomorrow could buy!

If you have any of these hidden treasures on your bookshelf, we’d be happy to take them off your hands. Didn’t keep your 1986 novelization of Labyrinth? Support the Library by shopping for next year’s list-topper at The BookEnd!

Librarians and Basketball

by Kara Logsden on March 11th, 2014

This week two of my favorite things come together in Indianapolis: the Public Library Association Conference and the Big Ten Men’s Basketball tournament. While I don’t expect to see my favorite Iowa basketball players, I anticipate a great week at the Conference.

In preparation for the conference, here’s my top 10 list of what I’m looking forward to.

#10 Meeting Librarians: PLA hosts librarians from around the world. I’ve met many amazing librarians while sharing a table at a meal and standing in a line.
#9 New Technology: What’s new in the market for DVD unlockers, gadgets, Library Vending Machines (think RedBox for Libraries) and ????
#8 Outreach Ideas: What outreach services do other libraries offer? Could these programs work in Iowa City?
#7 New Service Models: The AnyThink libraries in Colorado are unique and approach services to patrons in a new way. What other unique ideas are out there?
#6 Meeting authors: In the past I’ve met Carl Hiassen, Nora Roberts, Nancy Pearl and others.
BTW: One year I’d just heard Robie Harris and Michael Emberley on NPR talking about their new book, “It’s So Amazing” when I met them at a conference.  My daughter used to make up one-liners that started with, “You know your mom’s a librarian if [fill in the blank].”  My favorite: “You know your mom’s a librarian if your books about puberty are signed by the author … and the illustrator!” LOL
#5 Telling the Library’s Story: What are the trends in social media? What resonates with patrons? Are there new ideas or best practices for sharing information about the Library?
#4 Trends: What’s on the horizon for libraries? What will patrons in Iowa City expect from the Library in the future? How should we prepare for this?
BTW: Did you know vendors track what type of listening options are offered in new cars to predict future demand for audiobook formats? The demise of cassette players in cars foreshadowed the decrease in demand for audiobooks on cassette.  How have formats and technology changed how we listen?
#3 eBook Updates: After consensus building between the American Library Association and publishers, there has been a lot of good news on the Library eBook frontier. I look forward to more friendly conversations with people in the publishing industry and hope for better integration of eBooks with our Library Catalog.
#2 Books, BOOKS and more BOOKS: PLA offers a sneak peek and advanced reader copies of upcoming books. There are author programs, book signings, and receptions with popular authors.  Did I mention lots of BOOKS!?
#1 Making it Real: I always return from a conference recharged and full of new ideas for how we can improve the Library experience for ICPL patrons.

Go Librarians! Go Hawks!  See you in Indianapolis!

Placing Holds on Available Items

by Heidi Lauritzen on March 10th, 2014

Did you know that you can place a hold on a book or a movie, even if the catalog says it is checked in?  About a year ago, we introduced the ability to place holds on available items and it has been a service that has grown steadily in use.  Here’s how it works:

Searching the catalog from home, you find just the item you are looking for and see that it is checked in.  You simply click on “Request it” (in Catalog Pro) or “Place a Hold” (in Catalog Classic) and supply your library card number and password when prompted.  You may have up to eight holds on your account at a time.

We run a report every few hours that we are open that gives us a list of the holds placed on available items; a staff member then takes that list and heads out to the stacks to retrieve those materials.  They are checked in to “trap the hold”–a step which assigns the item you requested to your account.  We then send you a Hold Pickup Notice to verify that the item was found and is ready for you to pick up from the public Hold Shelves on the first floor.  You have six days in which to pick up your hold.

We have heard from happy library patrons that this service saves time:  they can do do their browsing  and selections from home, and then make a quick trip into the Library to pick up the materials that are waiting for them.hold shelf 3 (3)




Summer Library Bus

by Kara Logsden on March 4th, 2014

2013 Summer Library BusRecently we had a great suggestion from one of our Teacher-Librarians. She said their school needs information about the Library in both English and Spanish. Here’s information about the SUMMER LIBRARY BUS in Spanish and English:

Una tarjeta de la Biblioteca Pública de Iowa City también sirve para tomar el bus de Iowa City completamente gratis durante el verano.  La Biblioteca proveerá por viajes gratis del autobús a niños hasta grado doce, y adultos quien les están guardando, solamente en caminos de Iowa City, desde el día después del final de escuela pública hasta el día antes del primer día de escuela, durante la semana entre 9:00 por la mañana y 3:00 por la tarde. Personas que quieran usar este servicio tengan que mostrar sus tarjetas de Biblioteca Pública a camioneros para sacar viajes gratis.  Todos autobuses de Iowa City paran por el zócalo y está una camina corta de tres cuadras hasta la Biblioteca Pública.  Niños puedan regresar a hogar por cualquier hora con una tarjeta de Read & Ride, que puedan sacar por todas Mesas de Servicio en la Biblioteca Pública.

Visítanos, llámenos o visite para más información sobre tarjetas y usando la biblioteca.

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 until the day before schools start, on weekdays between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM.  Bus riders should show their Iowa City Public Library card to the bus driver to gain free access to the bus.  Iowa City Transit buses stop at the downtown Iowa City interchange at the Old Capitol Town Center, and it is a short three block walk to the Library.  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.

For more information about Library Cards and using the Library, navigate to

The Fire Temple

by Casey Lambert on March 1st, 2014

The Lego Movie

Since Valentine’s Day the Children’s Department has been home to an original Lego castle specifically built for our display case by Sam Maynard.  This castle was constructed to be displayed in sections but in fact was assembled as one piece with individual fold out sections.  This deceptively simplistic concept has allowed us to display the castle in multiple ways so every part of its complex interior can be viewed and enjoyed.   Chock full of costume characters from some of our favorite movies, fairytales and adventures we have created a visual scavenger hunt.  I have been moving these characters over the past few weeks to create individual stories that patrons can follow by checking back to see where characters are now.  I started with Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf Man in separate sections of the castle for instance, and over time they have come together and now stand, weapons drawn facing one another.   Make sure to keep checking the castle to see what happens next!

As part of the fun of the Lego Castle I thought it would be great to get our youngest Lego fans involved by having a name drawing.  Today I drew one name and am happy to announce that the Lego castle has been dubbed “The Fire Temple” by Edward Kenyon.   My thanks go out to all of those who entered the drawing, we ended up with almost 50 names!