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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:

narrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Why are books on a subject shelved in more than one place?

by Heidi Lauritzen on October 6th, 2014

While working at the Reference Desk last week, I got a question from a couple of young students.  More than anything I wanted to give a simple answer that would signal to them that the Library is easy to use.  But no such luck, because the question—Where are your books on prairie plants?—resulted in two places to look.

The Dewey Decimal Classification scheme, used in many public libraries, provides a framework for grouping materials together by subject.  More than 100 years old, the scheme has been resilient and adaptable.  But sometimes it conspires to keep similar things apart, if the approach to the subject matter differs.  I think the best illustration for this is the 500s and 600s.  The 500s are “Pure Science” and the 600s are “Technology,” sometimes referred to as “applied science”.

glareless13   Some examples:

The Dewey Decimal classification numbers in the 530s are about physics, with electricity at 537.   But if you are interested in wiring your house, you would look at applied physics in 621.31924.

In the 580s you find books about the natural history and identification of plants; and in the 600s, you find the books about gardening and cooking with plants.

In the classification number 590, you find books about animals—their history and biology.  But look in the 600s to find books about animals in  the subject areas of farming, cooking, and keeping animals as pets.

Doing a subject search in the catalog will help you identify all the places you can look for what you need.   If you do a subject search for “parrots”, the catalog will send you to 598.71 for “Parrots of the World:  An Identification Guide” and also to 636.6865 for books on training and caring for a pet parrot.  If you do a subject search for “prairie plants,” as I did for the students last week, the catalog will direct you to 581.744 for “An Illustrated Guide to Iowa Prairie Plants” and also to 635.95 for “A Practical Guide to Prairie Reconstruction”.  glareless16

Browsing an area of the collection that you know is one way of finding what you need, but there may be similar items of interest in other areas.  We hope that you will check with staff at the Reference Desk whenever you have a question about where to find a subject that interests you.  Chances are there is more than one place to look, and we can help you find them all.

How do I get the local TV channels without having cable?

by Melody Dworak on September 9th, 2014

TV antennaThis question came in on Saturday, and it was a ton of fun sleuthing it out.

Iowa City currently has 5 local television channels (4, 5, 10, 18, 21). These broadcast from Iowa City itself and are government or community channels like the City Channel, Library Channel, and PATV (public access).

The affiliate stations like CBS, ABC, FOX, and NBC broadcast from farther away, and that’s why they don’t come in as well without the right kind of antenna. PBS/IPTV is a little farther away as well, but word is it comes in a little better than the others. Read the rest of this entry »

What should you read next? NoveList Plus can help

by Brian Visser on September 5th, 2014

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Have you ever gone to Amazon to find a new book to read?  Maybe you viewed the page of a book you really loved and looked at the books in the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section.  I know I have, but there’s a better way!  Behold: NoveList Plus.  NoveList Plus is a tool created to connect readers with books they will enjoy.  To access it, go to http://www.icpl.org/resources/ scroll down and click on “Novelist Plus.”   You can use the search bar near the top of the screen.  Type your favorite author, series, or book into the bar, then click “Search.”  At the results screen, click on the title that you’re looking for.  Read-alikes are listed on the right side of the book’s page:

read-alikes

These read-alikes are based on subject and genre, as well as “appeal factors” grouped by storyline, pace, tone, and writing style.  For example, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell appeal factors are:

Genre:Love stories; Multiple perspectives; Teen chick lit
Storyline:Character-driven
Tone:Angst-filled; Bittersweet; Romantic

Like No Other by Una LaMarche is offered up as a good read-alike.  Its appeal factors are:

Genre:Love stories; Multiple perspectives; Realistic fiction
Storyline:Character-driven
Tone:Bittersweet; Moving

Sounds like a good match to me!  Give NoveList Plus a try.  You might find a new favorite book!

August 26 National Dog Day

by Beth Fisher on August 28th, 2014

August 26th is National Dog Day, and to celebrate we have two new displays on the 2nd floor.  There is a photo display of ICPL Staff Dogs and book display of with all kinds of dog books:

dog history  dog ownershipBooks about the history of domesticated dogs and owning ( or being owned by) dogs.

 

 

 

dog new dog adoption   Books about bringing a new dog into your family.

 

 

 

 

 

breeds2  breedsBooks about specific breeds of dogs.

 

 

 

 

dog parks dogs picture books  And books about fun things to do with your dog – from Dog Parks to books about photographing your dog.

School Yearbooks at the Iowa City Public Library

by Beth Fisher on August 20th, 2014

yearbooksRecently I had a conversation with one of the Library’s 2nd floor Information Pages about the yearbook collection at ICPL.  Hannah had become curious about her paternal grandfather and looked through our collection of University of Iowa Hawkeye yearbooks to see if she could find him.

dick kane2Hannah’s grandfather passed away in 1965, leaving a wife and 6 young children – Hannah’s father was four years old at the time.  Her grandmother passed away in 2005.   Hannah found her grandfather  in the 1949 year book, and she made an interesting discovery.  Her grandfather had been a member of Psi Omega Fraternity.  Hannah made a copy of the picture, and took it along to the next family gathering.  Turns out this fact was news to everyone.  The picture is now on Hannah’s refrigerator.

ICPL has quite a few yearbooks in our collection.  They are stored at the 2nd floor Page Station, and they do not check out of the library.   Unfortunately we do not have a complete collection of any of them – there are years missing from each title.   For a basic catalog search, click here.  

Yearbooks ICPL owns:

  • The Hawkeye – University of Iowa  1893-1987
  • The Red and White – Iowa City City High School  1917 – 2013
  • The Trojan Epic – Iowa City West High School 1969-2013
  • The Spectrum: Regina Catholic Education Center 1977-1996
  • The Hawkeye – University High School 1961-1971
  • Baby Hawklety – Central Junior High School  1973/74 – 1982/83
  • Reflections – North West Junior High School  1973-1987
  • On Forever More/SE Memories – South East Junior High School  1972/73 – 2002/03
  • St Mary’s High School 1921
  • C.E.C. Yearbook 1990-1992
  • P.S.#4  1978
  • The Elm -Lone Tree Community High School 1978-2008
  • The Spartan – Solon Community High School 1970-1993
  • The Clipper – Clear Creek/Amana Community Schools  1983-2007
  • The Reverie – Iowa Mennonite School 1947-1969

We would love to add missing volumes to our UI, City High and West High year book collections.  If you have a volume you would consider donating to the library, please contact Beth Fisher at beth-fisher@icpl.org to see if that volume is one we need.

 




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