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IC Farmer’s Market Harvest Storytime Recap

by Morgan Reeves on October 3rd, 2015

With a chill in the air, it was time for the last Farmer’s Market Storytime. I found a sunny spot on the Chauncey Swan Park lawn to spread my blankets for a cozy place to read. A small but dedicated group joined me as the band started playing in the opposite corner of the park. Some of us were still finishing breakfast buys from the market, so I took a moment to talk about the fall harvest and what it brings to the farmer’s market.

Then we read our first book, All for a Dime by Will Hillenbrand. This story follows three friends as they get ready to sell their wares at Market Day and shows what they get for just a dime.

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Storytime Recap: Banned Books

by Morgan Reeves on September 30th, 2015

Today we visited a topic near and dear to every librarian’s heart: intellectual freedom. It’s banned books week so of course we had to read some banned and challenged books. We started storytime off as usual with our welcome song, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” I explained that challenging a book is an attempt by a person or group of people to have materials restricted or removed, while banning is actually removing those items from the collection. One boy summarized the concept as, “they don’t like those books.” I also talked briefly about how it is often parents or other adults challenging books in an attempt to protect children from difficult ideas and information, but that the library believes in intellectual freedom. We believe that only parents have the right and responsibility to restrict access to ideas to only their children and no one else. A bit of serious talk for storytime, but an important subject. I told everyone I would be reading some banned and challenged books and that they could guess the reasons for the challenge or ban after each story.

Then to get us in the mood for some stories, I led the room in a nursery rhyme.

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
When she came there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

Poor puppy! After another repetition for those new to the rhyme, we moved on to our first story, Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray.

A lot of voices shouted out “because he farts” as the reason behind this challenge, which was pretty on target. This story in which a family learns to appreciate and love their especially flatulent dog was challenged for its use of the words “fart” and “farting” 24 times.

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Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village

by Katherine Habley on September 29th, 2015
Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village Cover Image

This gorgeous new picture book is written by Fang Suzhen of Taiwan and illustrated by Sonja Danowski of Germany.  In the story, a little boy, Xiao Le, and his mother travel by train to visit his maternal grandmother who is sick.  At first the little preschooler is shy when he sees his grandmother in bed looking older than he remembered.  Although he brought his truck to show her, Xiao Le isn’t ready to part with it yet.  The adult reading this book to a child will understand quickly that Grandma is dying and this will be their last visit together.  Little Xiao Le runs to get his mother’s help when Grandma needs some water.  He pets her cat, Shadow, on the bed.  While the mother goes outside to hang clothes in the yard, Grandma gets out of bed to enjoy some sunshine and play a game with the wood sorrel leaves outside with Xiao Le.  The three enjoy tea in the garden and finally his grandmother goes back to bed to sleep and Xiao Le gives her his truck for company.  Back home the little boy and his mother learn from Aunt Zhou that Grandma has “left Perfume Village and moved into heaven.”  The loving comfort depicting the mother’s grief and her son’s concern is tender and realistic.  What makes this book about death so special is the artwork.  Danowski’s exquisite watercolor paintings are reminiscent of the artwork by Paul O. Zelinsky and Gennady Spirin.  The illustrations are warm and gentle, and lovingly detailed.  Capturing the Asian family so beautifully in the artwork gives us a very special book to share with youngsters who may have encountered a death in their own family.  The quality of the book is also obvious in the heavy paper used.  There is further information about the author and the illustrator at the back of the book.  Gorgeous pictures and the touching text make for a wonderful picture book.  Take note of this title; I loved it!

Marching Band Display

by Casey Maynard on September 26th, 2015

Our nine month long initiative to welcome the new UI School of Music, Music is the Word (MITW), has officially begun with a bang! We had a wonderful kickoff musical revue event at the Englert last Sunday and are looking fMarching band pics2orward to some wonderful events through May of next year.

Currently we are displaying some unique and fun marching band items in the large display case outside of the Children’s Department.  Herky is also making an appearance in ICPL on a very large, vintage bass drum on one of the large print shelves.

Many thanks go to West Music, the University’s School of Music and Regina High School for their generous donations for the duration of this display.Be sure to stop by and check out these wonderful items through Homecoming weekend.

Keep your eyes peeled for more fun displays to come throughout the rest of MITW!



ICPL Introduces Totally Tweens LittleBits Club

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 24th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library’s Totally Tweens program has a new club for students in third through sixth grades who like to invent things.

Totally Tweens LittleBits Club will meet from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Thursday from October 1 through November 19 in the Storytime Room to master different design challenges using LittleBits electronic modules and craft supplies. This program is designed to increase students’ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) skills.

Registration is required for each LittleBits event. To register, visit and click on the date you wish to attend.

For more information, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

Toy Collection at ICPL

by Heidi Lauritzen on September 21st, 2015

puzzle It’s been a long time since I’ve had a toddler at my house, so when I got news that my three-year-old great niece was coming for a visit I knew I had to get my hands on some children’s books and toys.  The Children’s Room came to my rescue, with age-appropriate reading suggestions from Nancy and a rack full of toys in bags that I could browse.

I checked out four toys and six books, and everything got a once-over by my visitor as she unpacked the book bag and took the toys our of their plastic bags.   Alas, we didn’t actually read any of the books–I think we needed to get more settled than their short visit allowed–but the toys were a hit.

My selections were the Alphabet Balloons Puzzle, the Palace Pals Hand Puppets, Otis the Tractor Doll, and the Kidnoculars.  The puppets got a little bit of play and the puzzle was taken apart and put back together again with some help, but it was the Kidnoculars that were the big hit.  The plastic binoculars have 2x magnification and do not require focusing.  They are light, easy to use, and were perfect for scouting the yard for birds.  They also had to come along on a short walk we took down the alley.binoculars

The bags of toys in the Children’s Room are all listed in the catalog and check out for three weeks.  The labels on the bags give the suggested age range to help you pick out appropriate materials for the children you are playing with. The labels also contain a description of the contents, so you can be sure you have all the parts back in the bags before returning them to the Library.

The toy collection is great for someone like me, who needs toys only occasionally.  It also can be helpful for families with children and toys already at home by providing a way to try out new kinds of entertainment.  The toys are a popular collection so what’s available will be different each time you come in and browse the shelf.

Thanks to the Children’s Room staff for the great resources and help–youKimber with binoculars equipped a new young explorer and made this aunt look good!

ICPL Preschool Storytime at Upper City Park Log Cabins

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 21st, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library’s Thursday Preschool Storytime will move to a special location on October 1.

The Library has partnered with the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department to host Pioneer Storytime and Picnic Lunch at the historic log cabins at Upper City Park, 200 East Park Road, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.log cabins

The program will include stories, pioneer crafts and learning about Iowa City history. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring lunch for themselves and their children to enjoy an outdoor picnic.

The two cabins are commemorative efforts by the Old Settlers’ Association of Johnson County to celebrate the city’s pioneer heritage. The single-room cabin, constructed in 1889, was originally built as an exhibit for Johnson County’s Semi-Centennial. It was moved to City Park in 1918.The double log cabin, or dogtrot log house, is a replica of Iowa City’s John Gilbert Trading Post. It was built with hewn oak logs in 1913.

Both cabins were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. The City plans to launch a three-phase total restoration project once funding is secured.

For more information about the restoration project, contact Joyce Carroll, Iowa City Parks and Recreation Program Supervisor, at or 319-356-5100.

For more information about Pioneer Storytime, contact the Library 319-356-5200.

ICPL Invites Parents, Children to a Performer’s Showcase

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 15th, 2015

Parents with children ages three and above are invited to attend the Iowa City Public Library’s Performer’s Showcase on Friday, September 25.

This special event will feature performers from around the state and beyond. It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Meeting Rooms, A, B, C and D, though families are encouraged to come and go as they please.

Each entertainer will have 15 minutes of show time, giving local librarians, educators and families a sneak peek of their shows. A meet-and-greet will take place during the lunch hour, giving all who attend the opportunity to talk with the performers.

For more information, contact the Library (319) 356-5200.

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.

ICPL Announces After School Minecraft Dates

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 11th, 2015

Do you play Minecraft? Do you want to meet other Minecraft players? Are you a student in third through eighth grades? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then the Iowa City Public Library’s After School Minecraft program is perfect for you.

After School Minecraft will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Oct. 15, Oct. 22, Nov. 19 and Dec. 17 in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Registration is required. You can register online at by clicking on the date of the event you wish to attend.

Students should have a Minecraft account to play in multiplayer mode. Players without an account may use a library account, but these are limited and first come first serve. Otherwise players without an account may still play in single player mode.

For more information, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.