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Signs of spring: the IC Farmers Market

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 5th, 2015

Were you among the hundreds of people to converge downtown Saturday morning for the first Downtown Iowa City Farmers Market of the season? I lost track of the number of people I said hello to, including the Library’s AV Specialist who attended the market with her four-week-old daughter, as I browsed the stalls with a smile on my face.

My breakfast on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Yum!

My breakfast on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Yum!

It’s farmers market season once more.

Growing up in on the other side of the state (shout out to anyone from Webster County!), I had no experience with farmers markets until I moved to Iowa City in mid-1990s. My college roommates and I would visit the market after classes every Wednesday, during which each one of us would purchase something to contribute to our weekly roommate dinner. This is how I learned to cook using ingredients that weren’t prepackaged.

The Library wants to help you make your farmers market experience even better, which is why we created recipe cards promoting two things: ICPL’s cooking resources and the Digital History Project.

Did you know the number of cookbooks in our collection numbers somewhere in the thousands? With that many choices — not to mention our collection of food-related magazines and children’s cookbooks — you are bound to find a recipe to help you utilize the foods you purchase at the farmers market.

For those of you who love local history, we have access to some treasured family recipes thanks to the Digital History Project. Take time to explore what’s available and look through your own collection of photos. You may have something to add!

FarmersMarketLogoYou can find the recipe cards on the Iowa City Farmers Market table. In addition, Library staff will be blogging about their farmers market experiences all summer long. Feel free to share your stories with us!

We’ll see you at the market!

 

 

Dig out your photos! Bring your IC-related pics to ScanIt@ICPL–May 9, 2-5 p.m.

by Candice Smith on May 1st, 2015

tbt42315I was digging through some boxes of photos the other day, and found this one that made me especially happy for two reasons. The first is because of the carousel–the Drollinger carousel in City Park. This is one of the rides that is still in the park, but when this picture was taken (I think in 1997 or 1998?) there were other rides that are no longer there. I like to think of all the times I was in the park, all the kids and families enjoying Iowa City’s very own amusement park that used to be just a little bit bigger.

I’m sure there are many of you who have similar items tucked away at home–maybe some photos of picnics or ballgames in the parks around town, or of your kids messing about in the old fountain in the ped mall (that old, wonderful, vaguely dangerous, somewhat evocative fountain), of family outings to the Devonian Fossil Gorge right after it was created. Pictures of the floods, of the tornado’s aftermath, of buildings that used to be downtown, old pictures from school, scenes of neighborhoods and homes from a while back. We want to see them! We’re looking for photos and documents related to the history of Iowa City to scan and add to our Digital History Project, and we’re hoping our patrons and community members can help!

The second reason I was happy to find this photo? Because the two tiny little children in it are turning 22 today–happy birthday, Peter and Rachel!

New Digital Magazine App: Zinio for Libraries

by Melody Dworak on April 27th, 2015

 

tl;dr If you’ve never tried out our digital magazines, sign up at Zinio Magazine Collection web page and download the Zinio for Libraries app for Android and Apple!

ZinioforLibraries_0The Long Version

In the fall of 2012, the Iowa City Public Library began offering digital magazines through a service called Zinio. Two and a half years later, we have grown to offering more than 150 digital magazine titles. We also now offer a more streamlined experience for signing up as a new user.

The Zinio for Libraries app is a new app that allows you to fill out one simple form after clicking “Create New Account” on our Zinio Magazine Collection web page. Once you fill out this form, you are ready to start browsing and reading on your computer.

For those who are new to Zinio, you can download the Zinio for Libraries app for Apple and Android devices. This new app has fewer distractions than the previous app we were required to use. The Zinio for Libraries app will open straightaway to the magazines you have checked out. It will not show you any content that you have to buy in order to read.

ZinioforLibraries_1New users, please note: When you go to download the app, be sure to choose the Zinio for Libraries app with the white background and dark colored Z. If you see the regular Zinio app with the dark square and Zinio name in white, that is the app that has all that extra commercial content. Your login information will *not* work on the commercial app.

Already Use Zinio? Read the rest of this entry »

Pie Plant – What’s that and what’s it have to do with Irving B. Weber?

by Maeve Clark on April 23rd, 2015

Rhubarb- Did you know that rhubarb is also known as pie plant?  I hadn’t heard, (or at least I didn’t remember hearing),  rhubarb called pie plant, (or pieplant), until I lived in Dubuque. However, a little online digging shows that term pie plant has been in written use since 1838.  If you are a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, you might recall that it from a passage in The First Four Years -Laura was cooking for the threshers, the first dinner in her very own little house, and was running through the menu: “There was pie plant in the garden; she must make a couple of pies.”

A discussion of the term came up last month when I attended a meeting Historic Foodies, a local group with an interest in using recipes from the cookbooks of  yesteryear.  We were using The Iowa City Cook Book, and on page 181 one of our members found the recipe below. Pie PlantThe cookbook dates from 1898 and is chock-full of recipes that will invite much discussion.  You might just recognize the names of prominent Iowa City residents of the past.  In fact, while we at the meeting we consulted Margaret Keyes book Nineteenth century home architecture of Iowa City to see if we could locate the recipe writer’s house. When we did we pulled up the Iowa City assessors website to find out if the house was extant.  It was tremendous fun and we found a good number of the names in Dr. Keyes’ book and many of the houses are still here!

So what does all of this have to do with Irving B. Weber?  First, Weber wrote the introduction to Dr. Keyes book.  Second,  while Weber’s mother doesn’t have any recipes in the cookbook, some of his parent’s neighbors do.  Third, we are just about to celebrate Irving B Weber Days,  webera full month of programming and displays dedicated to local history.  Fourth, the Historic Foodies will be providing refreshments from the Iowa City Cook Book for a program during Weber Days. Make sure you mark your calendar to come to Rachel Wobeter’s talking to tour of Iowa City food history.  Rachel will share her research on what Iowa City folk ate between 1830 and 1900 on Wednesday, May 20 at 7  p.m.  The program will air live on Library Channel 2o.

And finally, what  does pie plant have to do with with Irving Weber?  Well, here’s what I think, I bet you anything Irving ate pie plant in either a pie or as a sauce or maybe even like I did as a child, by dipping the stalk in the sugar bowl and taking a great big bite of sour delight.

 

 

The Iowa City Assessor

by Tom Jordan on April 9th, 2015

The Iowa City Assessor’s website is useful if you’d like to know more about real property in Iowa City.  In Iowa City, real property (land and buildings), is reassessed every two years.  On the Assessor’s Duties page, there is information on the qualifications of the assessor, definitions of terms like “market value,” and explanations on how and why properties are valued as they are.  Prominent on this page is the General Misconceptions About the Assessor’s Work section, and its gist is that the Assessor is a disinterested party when it comes to taxes.  Grief from property owners over taxes must be ever-present.

IC aerial photoIowa City is divided into parcels, or defined lots of land that are owned by a person or persons. Parcels are searchable by number, name of business, street address, and legal description. It would be nice if non-commercial properties were searchable by name as well. The Johnson County Assessor, which assesses all Johnson County property not in Iowa City, allows a search by name. Do you know someone who owns property in Johnson County outside of Iowa City? Go ahead and search for the property by the owner’s name here.

After doing a search and selecting a parcel on the Iowa City site, you’ll find all sorts of information: values of the buildings and land, lot dimensions, details of building permits, etc. What I find most interesting is the sales information. Who bought from whom? And when and for how much?

You may also search property sales in Iowa City and limit the search by a number of criteria. The first listed is a date range. So, for example, you can see that there were 247 recorded sales in Iowa City in January 2015.

Another search offered is a search of buildings. Would you like to compare your house built in 1924 to others built that year? Do your search here.

To find out more about property in Iowa City, visit the Iowa City Assessor’s website. Or maybe even stop in at the office for a chat. Just be careful if you’d like to talk taxes.

Want a better horse this year?

by Mary Estle-Smith on March 27th, 2015

3-sets

This series of DVDs could be your ticket to a really nice horse.   Regardless of what your equine discipline/interest may be, you will find information and techniques that you can use.

7 Clinics is extensive footage from the filming of  the award-winning documentary “Buck”.  While “Buck” was designed for a wide audience, this series is geared more to the equine aficionado looking for self-education and a better relationship with their (or any) horse.   It has been thoughtfully and professionally edited to move seamlessly from clinic to clinic covering the materials presented at each in a cohesive fashion.

I have attended several Buck clinics over the years as both a participant and an observer. Either way, one is exposed to a wealth of excellent information and not a small amount of entertainment.  Other than not being physically present, almost every aspect of a clinic comes through on this set.

Watching  participants progress throughout the clinic is always interesting. Those who are focused and came to learn will invariably have the “aha” moment when things click with them and their horse and the techniques start to fall into place.  That moment is a wonderful thing!  Even more can be learned from those having problems as Buck walks them through the process of coming out better.

There is way more happening than can be assimilated  in one viewing. Buck’s philosophy/methods work for anyone who considers riding and building horsemanship skills as an endless journey of improvement and education.  I don’t think I can overstate the value especially of the emphasis on groundwork.  I only wish I had been exposed to this caliber of  horsemanship years earlier.  I certainly would have saved both myself and my horses a lot of frustration and mishaps not to mention some unscheduled dismounts!

If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Brannaman clinic I highly recommend it. In the mean time, this set of DVDs is the next best thing!

Help with Travel Resources

by Heidi Lauritzen on March 25th, 2015
Help with Travel Resources Cover Image

Although there’s only one week left to browse the Travel Resources display on the second floor, staff at the Reference Desk can always help you find materials to plan your next happy escape.

The display kiosk has a few representative titles, usually specific to a country or city, from the various guidebook series we carry such as Rough Guides, Frommer’s, Eyewitness, and Fodors.  But when you are not sure where you want to go, there are many general works that can provide some inspiration.  At the moment, the display has books on traveling with children, the best beaches, literary landmarks, adventure travel, and the fun of finding back roads to reach your destination.

An intriguing title that I had to take home is 100 Places You Will Never Visit:  The World’s Most Secret Locations by Daniel Smith.  Each place is described in just a few pages, often with drawings, maps or a photo or two.  There are businesses (Google Data Center, Coca-Cola recipe vault), military sites (Guantanamo Bay Detention Center; Korean Demilitarized Zone), and other interesting places such as Air Force One, Vatican Secret Archives, Swiss Fort Knox and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.  Even though you will probably never go to any of these locations, it is interesting to know a little bit more about them.

Once you have picked out a place to go—one that is not in a top-secret, off-limits location—staff can help you find materials about your destination.   Our collections of architecture, history, cooking, art, and landscape gardening books and DVDs are great supplements to the factual information in the guidebooks.

Erin go Braugh

by Maeve Clark on March 17th, 2015

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! In searching out where the Irish and their descendents live in the United States I came across a good number of maps. The first I found was from an article in Forbes listing the cities in the United States with highest density of Irish.  Boston was the highest with 20.4%.  More fun facts about the Irish diaspora is that Irish-Americans are at least 5% of the popirish Nationals2ulation in most counties across the U.S., and 10% or more in most of New England, New York state, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and other smaller counties across the country. At the other extreme, Miami is just 1% Irish.  What I really wanted was a map that would allow a user to click on a county and see what percentage of the population is of Irish ancestry. I got close with a map posted today by the US Census that showed Irish in the United States using figures from 2009 to 2013.   The Census map is pretty but it didn’t allow me to drill down as far as I wanted.

I found an interactive map, Measuring the U.S. Melting Pot, that offered me a means of comparing the ethnicity of various populations in the United States.  You can compare the number of Swedes to Norwegians in Minnesota, the number of Irish to Italians in New York City, the Irish to the Germans in Iowa.  Another map of interest is, Mapping the Emerald Isle: a geo-genealogy of cartogram irishIrish surnames, where you can search a a surname and find where folk of that name lived in  which Irish counties, both the Republic and the North,  according to the 1890 census.  I also found a cartogram, posted by Jerry Soloman from the University of Georgia,  of the percent ofIrish ancestry by county.  It still wasn’t interactive, but it was a fascinating map.  Cartograms distort the area of geographic features to reflect the values of an underlying variable, in the map to the  right, it shows the percentage of those claiming Irish descent.  The cartogram at the bottom shows shows those claiming Irish ancestry with an emphasis large urban areas. (I particularly like it because it kind of resembles a whale.)  And whether you can claim any Irish blood, most all of us live in a county were someone can. Sláinte!

cartogram irish whale

 

 

 

Need Computer Help?

by Jennifer Eilers on March 16th, 2015

Many  know that the library has Drop-In Tech times and computer classes to help you with your technology needs. But what if you cannot make it to those Tech Help times or want to learn from the comfort of your own home? Learning Express is another resource the library has to offer for free. It is a database that has a wide range of computer tutorials.

Learning Express offers comprehensive lessons on many popular software programs like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Illustrator, and  Adobe Photoshop. For computer novices, it also offers basic computer and internet courses and tutorials on both Windows and Mac operating systems. The Learning Express software records your progress as you work to achieve your learning goals and features friendly experts who help to make learning both comprehensive and fun.

To access Learning Express go to www.icpl.org.

Click on, Reference and Research in the drop-down menu on the left-hand side. Select “Online Resources.”

Reference_Research

Click on, “Learning Tools”  in the “Online Resources: Browse by Category” menu

Learning Express is the first database offered. Click on “Visit Learning Express 3.0 now” to begin!

Online_Resources

 

If you would like more information about Learning Express or the other databases the library subscribes to, please call the library at 356-5200 or speak with a librarian. If you are interested in Iowa City Public Library’s Tech Help Times or classes visit www.icpl.org/classes.

**** Please note that only residents of Iowa City or rural Johnson County and the cities of Hills, Lone Tree, and University Heights can access databases from home.

Halp! I started a business in 2014. Where can I find tax info?

by Melody Dworak on March 13th, 2015
Calculator close-up

Photo by Phillip on Flickr.

Those new to filing taxes as a sole-proprietorship business owner or as someone who is self-employed have a few forms and resources they need to become familiar with.

If you are starting from the very beginning, you can visit the Self-Employed Individuals Tax Center, an information resource provided by the IRS. The information in this blog post comes from there.

This web page links to the primary forms and publications needed. Pay attention to the following:  Read the rest of this entry »




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