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How do I get a map of Iowa City?

by Melody Dworak on November 24th, 2014

Maps IowaFew places carry paper maps anymore. If you are looking for a map of Iowa City, you can turn to the Iowa Department of Transportation. They have a place on their website where you can look for maps of Iowa cities and counties. From this webpage, click the “City and county maps” link, and then find Johnson County. Clicking on the Johnson County shape takes you to where you can choose between Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty. Clicking on the name of the city will bring up a PDF that you can then see all of the roads in one view.

If you really wanted to see the whole thing on paper, you can print it on 25 different pages (Print –>Page Size/Handling–>Poster). Of if you are in the neighborhood of the Johnson County Administration Building during business hours, you can try to stop in to see if they have what you’re looking for. The Assessor’s Office should have a small map at the very least.

 

Consumer Reports on line through ICPL.

by Beth Fisher on November 17th, 2014

consumerreportsBegun in 1936, Consumer Reports magazine is the go-to source for unbiased consumer reviews of consumer products – from air conditioners to vacuums and everything in between. Consumer Reports publishes reviews and comparisons of products based on its own  in-house laboratory testing and survey research center.  Published monthly by the not for profit organization Consumer’s Union,  Consumer Reports contains no advertising, and they anonymously purchase every product that they test at retail price, and they accept no free samples for testing.   Consumer Reports forbids the use of its reviews by manufacturers – positive reviews may not be used to help sell merchandise, and CR has gone to court to enforce that rule.

The print version of Consumer Reports is available at ICPL both as a circulating magazine and as a Reference item to be used here in the Library.

If you have an ICPL Library card and live in Iowa City, Hills, Lone Tree, University Heights or rural Johnson County you can access Consumer Reports articles online through ICPL’s online database “EbscoHost Magazine Index” by following these steps:

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To get to the online databases, from the library’s homepage (icpl.org) find the link to Reference and Research on the left hand side, and click to see the dropdown menu.   From there choose Online Resources.

 

 

Capture3From the Online Resources page, choose Magazines & Newspapers.

 

 

 

Capture4On the Magazines & Newspapers page, you need to scroll down to find EbscoHost Magazine Index – and click on the link that says visit now.

 

 

 

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EbscoHost itself is a very large product that provides access to a wide variety of databases.   Consumer Reports is contained in the default search MasterFILE Premier, so simply click on the continue button at this step.

 

 

 

Capture6On the homepage of EbscoHost there is a search box, and you could search for your article here, but you will likely get a wide variety of results from a wide variety of magazines.   To go directly to Consumer Reports, it is faster to do an Advanced Search.

 

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From the advance search page, fill in the subject you’re looking for at the top of the form then scroll down until you find the blank for Publication and put Consumer Reports in that blank. Then hit the green Search button.

 

 

 

Capture8The search results page will show you a list of articles to choose from.   You can either click on the individual article to read more about it, or click directly on one of the full text options – either PDF or HTML to view as a web page.

 

Health Insurance Enrollment Help and Information

by Jennifer Eilers on November 14th, 2014

Are you unsure about how the Affordable Care will affect you? The library is hosting a series of information and enrollment sessions at the library that coincide with the Marketplace’s open enrollment period. This Saturday from 10 -11 a.m.   in the Library’s computer lab, Navigator, Karen Wielert, will present information pertinent to those that already have healthcare coverage. From 11 a.m. – 1p.m., anyone is welcome to come and ask questions about the Affordable Care Act and get help with enrollment.

Additional informational and enrollment sessions are offered on November 29th and December 6th from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the computer lab. All sessions are free.  The library is also providing materials and books about the Affordable Care Act, heath care, and health insurance through its display on the second floor.

For more information about these sessions, click here or call the library at 319-356-5200.

If you are unable to attend these sessions but would still like to receive assistance with enrollment or get more information about the Affordable Care Act visit  healthcare.gov.

Johnson County’s Access Points

Navigator for Johnson County, Karen Wielert: 319-535-2679 or karen.wielert@ppheartland.org

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Enrollment Center: 319-356-2208 or socialservices-marketplace@uiowa.edu

For low income or individuals qualifying for Medicaid

Johnson County Public Health: 319-356-6042

Department of Human Services: 319-356-6050

Voting today?

by Candice Smith on November 4th, 2014

If you’re heading out to vote today, you’ll need to go to your polling station.

You can find your polling station with the Johnson County Auditor’s nifty locator!

This is a new version of their locator, and it utilizes their awesome GIS viewer, which is itself a fantastic tool for viewing maps and information about the area. This locator also gives you directions on how to get to your polling place from your street address.

Of course, you can call us at 356-5200, and we’ll look up your polling place for you!

 

Biggest Book in the World

by Mary Estle-Smith on November 3rd, 2014

oedRecently I was  asked what is the biggest book in the world, and and do we have it.  The biggest book we own, if  you consider it one book, is the Oxford English  Dictionary with 20 volumes and approximately 21,730 pages.

 According to my research the real Biggest Book in the World is literally  carved in stone.  It resides  at the foot of wbbMandalay Hill  in Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma) on  of grounds of the Kuthodaw pagoda (kuthodaw, “royal merit”). It has 730 leaves and 1460 pages; each page stands upright and is 3.51 ft wide,   5.02 ft tall and 5.1 in thick.Each stone tablet has its own roof and precious gem on top in a small cave-like structures which  are arranged around a central golden pagoda.220px-Mandalay_kuthodawIf you are interested in reading the longest and probably most tedious book, it would most likely be the U.S. tax code with some 74,000 pages.

 

Read and pedal

by Tom Jordan on October 17th, 2014

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My oldest daughter is nine and she’s a super reader. She’ll be still for long periods of time and the book is all she needs. My other daughter is on her way to being a super reader too, but the being still part is tough. Part of it is her age, she’s six, but part of it is just who she is. Jumping, kicking, punching the air, or striking a pose is what she’s doing.

So I read this article about children riding exercise bikes in school while reading. There’s more on the program here. Apparently, kids like it and it helps them learn. There’s not enough research presented to satisfy a skeptic, but it fits with my experience of listening to books or podcasts while exercising. It’s a good combination.

Imagine if we had these in your school or here in ICPL. My six-year-old would love it. Maybe yours would too.

Cats! Cats! Cats! and some kittens.

by Candice Smith on October 16th, 2014
Cats! Cats! Cats! and some kittens. Cover Image

Breaking news: Lots of people who work at ICPL have cats. Crazy, right?? Librarians and bookish people and cats??!!

It’s true, and right now we have a lovely little display of some of our cats on the second floor…well, photos of our cats, not the actual cats. I would NEVER bring a cat to work. No.

Also, today is National Feral Cat Day. This is a day to bring attention to the situation of cats living wild in the outdoors, and a method of controlling cat populations with trap-neuter-return. If you’re interested in learning more about it, check out Alley Cat Allies. You can also learn how to build a nifty outdoor shelter for cats, which I did, and not only was it useful and sturdy, it was also a really nice father-daughter bonding experience — this is something my love for cats does not usually produce. Many of my cats were born feral and socialized at a young age, and became wonderful, loving, (large) indoor cats. It happens.

So, come in to the Library, check out some books on picking out a cat, on understanding your cat, or grab the latest, wonderful addition to our section of poetry by cats, I Knead My Mommy. This is the sequel to the well-reviewed I Could Pee On This, and coincidentally, dedicated to “…all the stray cats that need a loving home.”

Meow.

Ancestry.com is much more than family trees

by Maeve Clark on October 14th, 2014

We recently helped a patron find information from a Kansas City City Directory.  And guess where we found it?  Give up? It was Ancestry.com.   (Before I go any farther let me remind you the library’s subscription to this very useful resource limits its use to only in the library and only at our database stations.)

I can see by that look on your face that you want to know what else you can find on Ancestry.com. There is so much more and you can find out just what is available under Quick Links:

quicklinks ancestry

 

 

 

 

 

 

City directories are found in the link, Schools, Directories & Church Histories which has a wealth of other listings too:

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As you can see there is a tremendous amount of information available and we haven’t even narrowed it down to only city directories.  At times it feels like one has fallen into a rabbit hole with so many options and so very many possibilities.

At the very bottom of the above image is the link to the mother lode – the Card Catalog.  The options displayed under Card Catalog show the full breadth of Ancestry.com.

The Card Catalog uses facets, features on the left side of the screen that give users the options in filtering a search.  A search can be filtered by Collection, Location, Date and Language or a combination of any of the four.

As you can see Ancestry.com can be used for many kinds of searches besides a genealogy inquiry.  Come visit us at the library, we can show you how to use Ancestry.com.  And if you still can’t find the answer to your question using Ancestry.com, come and ask us. We are after all, trained reference librarians.

Post From the Past.

by Candice Smith on October 13th, 2014

letter2   A couple weeks back the Info Desk received a letter in the mail from someone who had recently purchased a postcard mailed from Iowa City. The card had been sent in 1875, and had a unique stamp that was the postage cancellation mark. This person wanted to know if we were able to determine anything about that mark and what it might mean.

Where to begin, right? I’m not very familiar with the collecting and/or research of letters and stamps, and we had little to go on. The cancel mark itself looked like the letters ‘JIC’ and didn’t appear to be handwritten. I didn’t even know what to call the mark, so I started by looking at some general resources about the postal system. I found that, before the advent of machine-generated stamping and marking, postmasters would cancel postage in various ways, including uniquely-carved stamps that were often made of cork. The marks that these stamps made are often called ‘fancy cancels.’ I then started looking for other postcards that had been recorded or auctioned that were sent from Iowa City, as well as looking though numerous different fancy cancels from Iowa. I eventually did find one other postcard that had been sent from the area that had a very similar cancel, but was unable to find any specific information about it. However, that was enough to make me think that we were indeed dealing with a stamp that was regularly used by one of our postmasters.

Without ever being able to positively identify what the initials stood for, a good guess would be ‘Johnson Iowa City.’ Other fancy cancels served a similar purpose of identifying place of origin. I also wondered that it might be the initials of a postmaster…but how would I find that out? I started browsing some of the resources contained in the database Ancestry, and lo and behold, it contains the aptly titled Appointments of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971. I was easily able to view all of the postmasters from Iowa City who had appointments during the time this postcard was sent, and…nothing. No names matched those initials. What I did find, though, was that several of the area’s well-known people were appointed as postmasters, including Samuel Trowbridge, Chauncey Swan, and Edward Lucas, son of Robert Lucas. There were other notable names too, such as landowners Jacob Ricard and George Clark, and store owner John Whetstone. Finding these names in this database tells a little more of the story of Iowa City, of the people who lived here and helped build it.

In the end, I was not able to provide a definitive answer for our patron, but I did enjoy trying. If you have any information or ideas related to old postage marks from Iowa City, please leave a comment.

Want to try out Ancestry Library Edition? Stop by the Info Desk for help!

Want to see some old letters mailed to Iowa City? Check out our Digital History Project!

Want to read an oddly fascinating book about postal systems? Check out The Crying of Lot 49!

Planning for the Homecoming Parade

by Anne Mangano on October 9th, 2014

drill teamLooking forward to the Homecoming Parade? Or perhaps, you need to plan an escape route out of downtown. Either way, there are a few informational sites to help you get the best seat or find an alternate way around Washington and Gilbert Streets. The parade starts Friday, October 10th at 5:45 pm.

The Press-Citizen has an overview of what to expect from a description of the parade route to street closures. You can find it here:  http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/local/2014/10/08/iowa-city-announces-closures-changes-ui-homecoming/16948975/

For detailed street closures, no-parking areas, changes to bus routes, and parade parking, check out the City of Iowa City’s announcement from last week: http://www.icgov.org/?artID=10008&navID=1515&type=M

For a map of the parade route, visit the Homecoming Iowa website: http://homecoming.uiowa.edu/parade/

Expect the parade to end around 8 pm.

If you do go, make sure to cheer for the Iowa City Public Library ‘s Book Cart Drill Team, as well as our parade mascot, Book Man.

 

 




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