Five Things You Can Do With Your Library Card Right at Home

by Anne Mangano on September 5th, 2017

In honor of September, National Library Card Sign-Up Month, here are five ways you can make the most of your ICPL Library card, right at home:

Try digital audiobooks on your smartphone or device today using OverDrive's Libby app.Listen up—You’re busy. Whether it’s work or school, caring for others or commuting, chores or exercising, there isn’t always time in your life to snuggle up with a book. Why not give audiobooks a try and listen to a book wherever you are? ICPL has thousands of audiobooks to choose from, whether you are in the mood for a heart-pounding thriller or an in-depth history. And OverDrive’s new app, Libby makes listening super easy.

Distraction Reading—If getting into that in-depth history—or even that heart-pounding thriller—isn’t in the cards right now, there is nothing like a magazine to give you the short distraction you need. With your Library card, you can read over 175 magazines Read the rest of this entry »

Most Popular Books from the Adult Summer Reading Program

by Beth Fisher on September 2nd, 2017

 

One of the most interesting parts of the Summer Reading Program comes at the end when we take a look back at at what actually happened during the summer.  While over 1000 people registered for the Adult Summer Reading Program, only 289 avid readers completed our 5 Books in 11 Weeks challenge – reading a total of 1770 books!  Taking out the 82 books that were logged without titles and the 233 duplicate entries, there were 1,455 individual titles read. That’s pretty impressive!

Of the 153 books that were read by more than one person, here are the Top Five Books of the 2017 Adult Summer Reading Program.  How many have you read?

 

into-the-waterInto the Water” by Paula Hawkins

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return. Read the rest of this entry »

A Historical House and a Holy Hooligan

by Candice Smith on August 31st, 2017

sanxay2The Press Citizen recently had an article about Gloria Dei Lutheran Church’s plans to relocate a historical home on their property, before selling said property to the UI. That house was at one time owned by Theodore Sanxay, one of Iowa City’s early citizens and business owners. He was also one of the founding members of the First Presbyterian Church, and you can find his name on the Church’s original 1847 Constitution, as well as two letters written by him, on the Library’s Digital History website. Those two letters tell a small part of a very interesting story: the beginnings of the First Presbyterian Church, and the Reverend Michael Hummer. The letters were written to Rev. Hummer while he was out east raising money for the new church that was being built, and they discuss various details related to the ongoing construction and various costs, but also relate gratifying little bits of information and news: “Mr. Trowbridge has married the widow Willis!” and “I am commencing business here once more…My father wanted me to try business in some other place as he thought I had made a perfect failure here.” Reverend Hummer eventually returned to his flock, and the Church was completed in 1850. Before that, though, things got a little weird. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Love through Online Dating

by Jennifer Eilers on August 30th, 2017

Dating can be tough but dating as a “senior” can be really tough. In partnership with the Senior Center, the library created and put together an online dating class series that took place over four weeks and included a wrap-up session this past Tuesday. Each session focused on a different aspect of online dating from finding a site to going on that first face-to-face date. Some of the participants from the Online Dating class pose with teacher

 Pew research shows that nearly half of all Americans know someone who has used an online dating service. With this growth has come an enormous amount of choice in the online dating platform realm. Choosing a platform that fits your needs can be hard and even knowing what options are available can be a challenge as well. The first session helped patrons get familiar with the benefits and draw backs of the various popular dating sites that are out there from Tinder to Our Time.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to watch the eclipse online

by Maeve Clark on August 21st, 2017

eclipseHave you got the rainy days and Mondays blues? Couldn’t make a trip to see the total eclipse of the sun and now the inclement weather is going to cloud your partial viewing. You can still watch the eclipse in totality online.  And while you are waiting, take a trip back to 1979 with Walter Cronkite reporting on that wondrous celestial event.  Or come down to Meeting Room A at ICPL and watch with all your friends and neighbors.

Watch the solar eclipse without viewing glasses.

by Beth Fisher on August 16th, 2017

Many people have been asking us how to safely watch the eclipse on Monday if they don’t have viewing glasses.  There are lots of ways you can watch the eclipse. Here are some DIY ideas.  You’ll need to practice a bit with each of these; just make sure the sun is behind or above you. And if all else fails, check out the last thing on this list.  Have fun!

Two paper plates (or pieces of card stock) about the same size. pinhole-projector

Using a pin or a needle make a very small hole in the center of one plate. Hold that plate in your hand. Put the second plate on the ground but not in your shadow. Hold the first plate in the air over the second one so that its shadow just about covers the plate on the ground. Moving it up and down and changing the angle of your hand, try and make the shadow the same size as the second plate, and you will see the image of the sun on the plate on the ground. Now just watch as the moon’s shadow makes the sun disappear.

 

An empty cereal box:cereal-box-viewer

All you need is an empty cereal box, a piece of tin foil, some tape, a sheet of white paper and a pair of scissors. Trace around one small end of the box on the paper.  Cut out the rectangle cutting just inside your tracing line. Tape this piece on the inside bottom of the cereal box. Cut two holes in the top of the box to look like picture to the right. Place the piece of foil over one hole, covering it completely. Tape it down securely, then poke one small pin hole in the center of the foil.   Stand with your back to the sun. Printable instructions here. Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017!

by Maeve Clark on August 9th, 2017

Something very exciting will happen on Monday, August 21.  We will get to witness a solar eclipse.  While we aren’t in the path for the total eclipse, at 1:12:42 thnasa_eclipse_mape moon will obscure 92.3% of the sun.   I witnessed a total solar eclipse in 1980 while I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, (Democratic Republic of Congo) and it was truly awe inspiring.  The day went black, the temperature dropped, the roosters crowed, the peafowl and other birds took to the trees.

There are hundreds of websites to find out information about this phenomenal astronomical event.   One of my favorite is from eclipseVOX.  It has a eclipse location function where you can type in your zip code and find out how much of the sun will be obscured.  NASA, of course, has excellent resources. NPR has run a couple of stories about the excitement around the eclipse including one on the first photograph taken of a solar eclipse.

The Children’s Department has programs on Sundays about the eclipse. On Monday, August 14 at 7 pm in Meeting Room A, Brent Studer, Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Kirkwood Community College, will explain the circumstances under which eclipses occur and what you can do to be ready for the upcoming solar eclipse, the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States since 1979.   Join us on Monday, August 21 while we step outside the library to safely view the eclipse.  Another eclipse watching event will be hosted by the University of Iowa Sciences Library, the UI Museum of Natural History (Pentacrest Museums) and the UI Astronomy Club, on the Pentacrest lawns.

The library has books and videos galore for all ages on astronomy and the natural wonders of the sky.  Come learn more about the Great Solar Eclipse of 2017. We might just make an umbraphile out of you!

Yes or No on the Iowa City Community School District General Obligation Bond Issue? And don’t forget there is a school board election too

by Maeve Clark on August 7th, 2017

one-district-tri-color-shaded-snippedBond Issue. 60% required.

Shall the Board of Directors of the Iowa City Community School District in the County of Johnson, State of Iowa, be authorized to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $191,525,000 to provide funds to address health, safety, and accessibility issues in all school buildings, including air conditioning all school buildings, reducing the use of temporary classroom structures in the District, addressing classroom, lunchroom, and gymnasium overcrowding, and dedicating rooms to art, music, prekindergarten, and science by constructing, furnishing and equipping a new building, constructing additions to and/or remodeling, repairing, and improving the school buildings remaining in the District’s Facilities Master Plan, as follows: Mann and Lincoln renovations, Liberty High athletic facilities construction and site improvements, new elementary school construction in North Liberty and site improvements, West High renovation, South East and North Central Junior High additions, Shimek renovation, City High addition and upgrades, Wood addition, Wickham upgrades, Garner and Northwest additions, Liberty High addition, Horn renovation, Kirkwood addition, Borlaug, Alexander, and Lemme additions, and Tate High addition and upgrades?
(Johnson County, Iowa Auditor)

The general obligation bond, the $191,525,000 bond, is the largest school bond issue ever proposed in Iowa history will be voted on September 12.   There are, as you can imagine, proponents and those opposing the vote.  The Auditor’s website is a good place to start for basic information.  The site lists all of the candidates and from Holly Hines of the Iowa City Press Citizen a list of upcoming forums.  The Auditor’s site links to the times and voting locations for the September 12 elections.  (Remember, there are fewer locations for school board and school bond votes than for general elections, so before you go to your regular location to vote, confirm the location.) The Iowa City Community School District’s website has a wealth of information on the general obligation bond.  There is a lot of information and it can be daunting to try to read and understand all of it.  I suggest starting with the three page G.O. Bond Quick Fact Guide.

Another source of information on the bond, and depending upon where you stand on the vote, you may not agree with the opinions espoused, are the websites for the two groups for or against the bond issue.  Vote No September 12 represents the opposition to the bond issue.  One Community One Bond represents  the proponents of the bond.  Each group also has a very active Facebook page and each links letters to the editor supporting their respective positions

 

Give Peaks a Chance?

by Anne Mangano on July 25th, 2017

On February 28th, 1991, in the “B” section of the Iowa City Press-Citizen, there is this small article:

 

twin-peaks-fans

IC Press-Citizen, 2/28/91

 

Yes, Iowa City held a protest…well, more like a letter-writing party at The Mill to push ABC to change the network’s mind on cancelling Twin Peaks (1990-1991), the television series created by Mark Frost and David Lynch. The show was like nothing else on television at the time. (I was watching TailSpin and Rugrats at this time in my life, so I don’t speak from memory but reviews). Twin Peaks was watched, talked about, and had pretty decent ratings. However, during the second season, the show was losing its audience and ABC decided to pull the plug. Lynch called on the show’s fans to write to the network and Iowa City’s chapter of the Citizens Opposing the Offing of Peaks (C.O.O.P.) delivered.

But they didn’t stop there.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s not the heat, it’s the evapotranspiration!

by Maeve Clark on July 21st, 2017

Last year on July 21, I wrote about the heat and humidity and evapotranspiration.  This July 21, it seemed apt to share the same information. Evapotranspiration, what on earth is that you ask? Well, let me tell you.  Evapotranspiration is corn sweat corn-field-c-keeva999-flickr-creative-commons  and according to the United States Geological Survey evapotranspiration is the sum of evaporation and transpiration. The transpiration aspect of evapotranspiration is essentially evaporation of water from plant leaves. Transpiration rates go up as the temperature goes up, especially during the growing season, when the air is warmer due to stronger sunlight and warmer air masses. Higher temperatures cause the plant cells which control the stoma (openings) to release even more moisture into the atmosphere making it even more humid. And while evapotranspiration does not make it hotter, it makes it more more humid and that makes us feel much hotter.

corn-mapThe Washington Post posted an extremely informative article, complete with a map of corn acreage by county and a chart of relative humidity clearly showing how high humidity can make it feel oppressive inside without adequate cooling and make activities dangerous for those who work or recreate outside. This type of weather can also be life-threatening for livestock. In fact the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning with the following precautions:

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER…STAY IN AN AIR CONDITIONED ROOM…STAY OUT OF THE SUN…AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS. YOUNG CHILDREN AND PETS SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT UNATTENDED IN VEHICLES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE DURING HOT WEATHER WHEN CAR INTERIORS CAN REACH LETHAL TEMPERATURES IN A MATTER OF MINUTES.

Most of us have air conditioned homes and workplaces, but if you don’t or if you are going to be outside for prolonged periods of time, it’s important to stay hydrated. The American Red Cross offers the following suggestions:

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
Eat small meals and eat more often.
Avoid extreme temperature changes.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
Postpone outdoor games and activities.
Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.snowfall

If you would like to learn more about weather and heat and humidity and corn sweat, come find us at the Information Desk on the second floor of the library. Weather is one of our favorite subjects to research. And don’t forget, winter is only a few short months away…