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ICPL launches redesigned website

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 18th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library’s redesigned website is live, with features designed to improve user experience, especially for patrons using Smartphones and tablets.

“Part of our long-term strategic plan was to make improvements to the Website that’s easier to navigate from both a desktop computer and mobile devices,” says Brent Palmer, the Library’s Information Technology Coordinator. “We also wanted to make our website more dynamic.”

To meet the first goal, “responsive design” elements were incorporated into the webpage infrastructure to assure an optimal viewing experience. The website is now easier to use on all equipment including smart phones, tablets and desktop computers. The content automatically adjusts based on the screen size of the user’s equipment, making site navigation easier and more appealing.

To meet the second goal, Library staff identified content, created by staff members, patrons would be interested in, including the new 123 South Linn Library Blog, which contains book recommendations from staff, and program information listed in the Library’s online calendar. Then staff identified existing webpages where the staff-created content would augment the information presented.

Infrastructure was created so the webpage dynamically pulls information into correlating webpages, bringing together a hybrid of information for our patrons.  One example is the “Books” webpage at  In addition to standard information about loan periods and online book-related resources, users may now explore books recently added to the collection and book reviews written by staff.

The launch of the new design is the culmination of a year’s work by the Library’s IT staff.

“We look forward to sharing the redesigned webpage with our community and continuing to explore ways to improve our user’s online experience,” Palmer says.

First Hour Free Parking Program Continues in Downtown Iowa City

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 10th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library wants to remind patrons about the City of Iowa City’s “First Hour Free” program.

The “First Hour Free” program provides all visitors to Downtown Iowa City, including Library patrons, with one hour of free parking in four of the downtown area parking ramps:FirstHourFree-IC

  • Capitol Street (253 S. Clinton St.)
  • Dubuque Street (280 S. Dubuque St.)
  • Tower Place (351 Iowa Ave.)
  • Court Street Transportation Center (380 S. Dubuque St.)

This means a two-hour Library visit will only cost $1 for parking.

First Hour Free parking is available in designated downtown ramps only; on-street metered parking is not included in the program.

The Library also has free short-term parking (20 minutes) on Linn Street in front of the Library. These spaces are reserved for Library use only during Library hours.

Koza Family Teen Center Announces Summer Tech Times

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 5th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library’s Koza Family Teen Center will have new Tech Time Hours this summer.teen tech

Beginning Monday, June 9, the new Tech Hours will be 12:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday. During Tech Hours, teens in grades seventh through 12th can play video games on the big screen, check out iPads and laptops.

Students who will enter the seventh grade this fall can use the Koza Family Teen Center.

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


Iowa City Public Library Celebrates The World Cup

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 5th, 2014

Every four years, the best national soccer teams in the world compete for the FIFA World Cup, a tradition the Iowa City Public Library is ready to share with its diverse international community.

Beginning June 16, the Library will host free viewings of multiple live matches on our big screen in Meeting Room A. This will continue every Monday throughout June. The dates and times of ICPL’s free showings are as follows:

Monday, June 16 – Group matchessoccer ball

  • 11 a.m. – Germany vs. Portugal
  • 2 p.m. – Iran vs. Nigeria
  • 5 p.m. – Ghana vs. USA

Monday, June 23 – Group matches

  • 11 a.m. – Netherlands v. Chile
  • 3 p.m. – Croatia v. Mexico

Monday, June 30 – Round of 16

  • 11 a.m. – Teams determined based on group match results
  • 3 p.m. – Teams determined based on group match results

Spirited cheering is encouraged and good sportsmanship required. Be sure to check out the pop-up display of Soccer books and DVDs on the 2nd floor in mid-June, too.

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

All Iowa Reads 2014: An Evening with “Little Wolves” Author Thomas Maltman

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 4th, 2014

Thomas Maltman, the author of the 2014 All Iowa Reads Book, Little Wolves, will be at the Iowa City Public Library for a special event at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 9, in Meeting Room A.little wolves

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to welcome Thomas Maltman to the Iowa City Public Library for this one-night only event,” Adult Programming Librarian Beth Fisher says. “The purpose of All Iowa Reads is for foster a sense of community and unity through reading. What better ways to do that than have this year’s author come and talk about his book?”

Set on the Minnesota prairie in the late 1980s during a drought season that’s pushing family farms to the brink, Little Wolves features the intertwining stories of a father searching for answers after his son commits a heinous murder, and a pastor’s wife who has returned to the town for mysterious reasons of her own.

Little Wolves was named one of the Best Books 2013 Adult Books for Teens by “School Library Journal” in November. Maltman’s first book, The Night Birds, received a Spur Award, the Friends of American Writers Literary Award, and an Alex Award.

Maltman lives in the Twin Cities. He received his MFA from Minnesota State University.

Little Wolves: An Evening with Author Thomas Maltman is one of the Library’s Adult Summer Reading Program activities. To learn more about the Summer Reading Program, or to register, visit

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

ICPL Announces June Classes for Adults

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 3rd, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library wants to help you relax with a good book this summer by helping you connect your smartphone and tablets to our e-resources. The library’s e-resources include electronic books, audiobooks, and more; all are available for download.ipad-ereaders

Want to learn how to access the library’s e-media for your specific device? Come to one of the classes for adults this June that will help you learn how to use the Overdrive software to find and download items from the Library’s e-media collection.

If you have an Android device, join us Tuesday, June 10, from 6 to 7 p.m. or Friday, June 20, from 6 to 7 p.m. for eMedia for Android Devices.

eMedia for Apple Devices classes will be held on Friday, June 13, from 10 to 11 a.m. while the eMedia for Kindle Devices class will be on Friday, June 13, from 10 to 11 a.m.

Participants are asked to bring a valid Iowa City or Coralville Public Library card.

All classes for adults are held in the Computer Lab on the Library’s second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 10 people per program, so patrons should register early. Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Participants should also be aware that in order to download e-media from the library they need to be an Iowa City or Coralville resident or are a resident in rural Johnson County, Hills, University Heights, and Lone Tree.

ICPL Announces Tweens on Tuesday Summer Program

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 3rd, 2014

Tweens, are you looking for something fun to do this summer? The Iowa City Public Library has you covered.

Tweens on Tuesday is a special program geared specifically to students in third through sixth grades. Held every Tuesday as part of the Summer Reading Program, Tweens on Tuesday promotes fun and learning for elementary students in the “in between” ages of summer programming.Tuesday

“We have a great lineup of summer activities, but some of the programs can feel a bit too young for older elementary students,” Children’s Librarian Katherine Habley says. “At the same time, these kids aren’t old enough for the Teen Summer Reading Program. Rather than have them feel left out, we decided to design a program specifically for them.”

Starting June 10 and continuing through July 29, each Tweens on Tuesday activity will be held in the Storytime Room beginning at 2 p.m. The following is a list of all Tweens on Tuesday events:

  • June 10: Hawk Eyes on Science — The zany scientists from the U of I department of Physics and Astronomy return with knock-your-socks off experiments with lasers, electricity, and 3D wonders.
  • June 17: Tween Yoga – Practice yoga with Dana Robinson of Sweet Feet Yoga.
  • June 24: Dangerous Decibels — This fun and interactive program will teach you about sound, how we hear, how we can damage our hearing, and how to prevent hearing loss.
  • July 1: Movie and Popcorn – Come to the Library for a special screening of “The Lego Movie.”
  • July 8: Altered Book Art – Join us as we get creative with books.
  • July 15: Lego Robots – Is there anything Legos can’t do?
  • July 22: Terrariums – Ever wanted to make your own terrarium? Mari will show you how!
  • July 29: Healthy Treats with Cathy Gehris – Everyone loves snacks, but not all treats are good for you. Join Cathy to learn more about choosing healthy treats that taste great and will keep you moving!

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

New Technology in Children’s Room

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 2nd, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library’s introduced its newest piece of technology – an interactive touch table described as a table-sized iPad – to its youngest patrons today.Interactive Table

“The Ideum PLATFORM 55 is the final piece of the Children’s Room technology update,” Information Technology Coordinator Brent Palmer says. “It is an exciting piece of technology, but there isn’t that much ready-made software that would take advantage of its features.”

Palmer has contacted local software developers and student groups to build custom applications for ages six through 12 that are multi-touch, multi-player, and easy to operate. The vision for this table is that it will foster collaborative fun and exploration.

“On one level, the table will bring kids together in the Children’s Room but on another level, it will bring the community together as we determine what people want this technology to do,” Palmer says.

University of Iowa’s EPX Studio and indie developer Virtually Competent have already produced prototypes of custom apps for the table. Palmer is facilitating partnerships with groups and individuals, including a possible Hackathon with Iowa Tech Chicks and the Library’s CoderDojo group later this summer.

If you have an idea or want to help build something for the table, contact Brent Palmer at

ICPL Launches Teen Comic Book Club

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 2nd, 2014

Do you read comic books? Do you like talking about comic books with others? Are you a student between the ages of 12 and 18? If you answered yes to these questions, then the Iowa City Public Library’s Teen Comic Book Club is for you!comic book

New to the Library’s lineup of teen events, the Teen Comic Book Club invites teens to read specific titles for a group discussion.

“Comic books are on the rise, from sales in stores to popularity in the mainstream media,” Teen Services Librarian Brian Visser says. “Some of the highest-grossing movies in recent years are based on comic book heroes, a trend that is introducing more people to their fantastic storylines and amazing art.”

“Hawkeye: Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon” by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Javier Pulido will be the first title read and discussed. This in-depth look at the bow-and-arrow guy from “The Avengers”shows that there’s more to Clint Barton than you thought you knew. Teens will share their thoughts with others from 2 to 3 p.m. Friday, June 27, in the Koza Family Teen Center.

The Caped Crusader faces a series of brutal murders and a conspiracy going back to his youth in “Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls” by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Teens will discuss this comic book from 2 to 3 p.m. Friday, July 25, in the Koza Family Teen Center.

Limited copies of both titles are available for check out from the Reference Desk staff on the Library’s second floor.

The Library’s Teen Comic Book Blub is a free event for students in grades seventh through 12th.

For more information, contact the Iowa City Public Library at (319) 356-5200.

Iowa City Public Library Deemed “Essential” in Mail Survey

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 30th, 2014

Patrons consider the Iowa City Public Library “essential” and “very important,” according to a recent survey.

The Library conducted a mail survey through Himmel & Wilson, Library Consultants in March to gather input for its new strategic plan. The surveys were distributed to 2,000 random households in Iowa City and the Library contract areas – University Heights, Hills, Lone Tree, and rural Johnson County.

A total of 434 completed surveys were returned for a 23.61 percent response rate, resulting in a 95 percent confidence rate and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.68

Nearly 95 percent of mail survey respondents said that the Iowa City Public Library was either essential or very important to the quality of life in the community. This is the highest response Himmel & Wilson has ever received for a public library.

“The Iowa City Public Library is clearly a well-used and well-respected community resource,” Bill Wilson and Ethel Himmel stated in their report. “More than half (55 percent) of survey respondents gave ICPL a rating of 6 (excellent) when asked to rate their overall satisfaction with services. Another 31.5 percent indicated that they thought services were very good. “

Almost ninety percent of respondents stated that they visited the Library at least five times a year, with 30.8 percent marking three times a month or more. During these visits, 79 percent of respondents checked out library materials, nearly 32 percent asked Library staff for help with a question, 13.5 percent attended children playing in the Children’s Room, and 9.5 percent attended a meeting.

“Iowa City is a great library town. One of my favorite things that I learned from the survey is that the average number of books read by people in our community, 24, is twice the national average of 12 — we really are a City of Literature, “ Library Director Susan Craig says. “I appreciate all the participation we had. It really helps the committee working on updating the strategic plan when they have good input.”