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The wind began to switch – the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch

by Maeve Clark on April 11th, 2016
The wind began to switch – the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch Cover Image

Quick, what happened almost ten years ago to the date?  BINGO! The F2 tornado that hit Iowa City on the night of April 13, 2006.  Where were you that night and what were you doing when the twister hit?  ICPL wants to know.  You can stop in the library and add your story to the tornado board and even place your tale on the exact location of where you were that monumental night.  And you can share your photos of the aftermath of the storm with all the world through ICPL interactive tornado map. tornado smallWe already have over 2000 photos but we are looking for more, especially ones from where the tornado first touched down, the south end of town.  On Wednesday, you are all invited to share your stories of the the night of the tornado and the days of recovery afterwards.  Iowa City, while suffering millions of dollars in damage saw not loss of life.

The National Weather Service has linked 15 tornadic events from April 13, 2006 on one page, starting with a tornado north of Marion, Iowa and ending in Alexis, Illinois.  The tornado activity began at 7:40 in Iowa and ended at 10:15 in Illinois.  Wikipendia calls all of the tornado activity that weekend and the following Monday, the Easter Week Tornado Outbreak, as the first tornadoes started on Maundy Thursday, April 13 and ended on Tuesday, April 18.  The tornadoes moved across the plains and prairie and spread a path of destruction.

The library has a wealth of information on tornadoes real and fictional.  Watch Twister, filmed in Madison County, Iowa, or everyone’s favorite, The Wizard of Oz, or better yet, read the L. Frank Baum stories on which Victor Flemming based the his film production.   Look under the subject heading of tornadoes to find out what it takes for the atmosphere to roil to the extent that every home in a town is destroyed and many lives are lost or why in another locality a house can be sucked into a swirling vortex and set down in a field of corn with nary any damage .

And finally, do you know the difference between a twister and a tornado?

Digitizing your Slides at ICPL

by Brent Palmer on March 31st, 2016

Recently, we have had a few patrons coming in to digitize their slides. Maybe you have been thinking about getting out those boxes of slides and doing a little digitizing project. 11000xl-ph_fla-ons-nn_396x264ICPL has a station set up to help you do just this. We have an archive quality scanner donated to us by the Noon Host Lions Club. The large-format scanner can quickly be converted to slide scanner and you can scan multiple slides at once. You should be aware that it isn’t a quick process though. To get a decent sized image from the slide, the scanner has to do a fairly hi-resolution scan which can take several minutes. I would recommend bringing a flash drive that is large enough to store your images on. Or you could upload the images to cloud storage. The Info Desk staff can help you get set up and working quickly.

caramateii

The Caramate II still has some life left in her.

You may also want to be able to quickly scan through your slides to make sure that they are worth digitizing in the first place. Well we also have a Singer Caramate II on hand for that. Not only can you quickly preview your slides without taking them out of the carousel, it has some serious retro appeal going. Again, ask at the Info desk if you want to try it out. If the slides are of people or places in Iowa City and they are historical in nature, we would like to hear from you. We may want to preserve them in our Digital History Project.

Beware of the 3 Czech Ice Kings!

by Kara Logsden on March 28th, 2016
Beware of the 3 Czech Ice Kings! Cover Image

2016 03 Spring FlowersLonger days, spring flowers, and sunshine have me in the mood for garden planning. A little voice in the back of my head, though, has been telling me I shouldn’t get ahead of myself and to remember the Three Ice Kings my Grandmother, Mother, and Father have always warned about. I remembered to “Beware of the Ice Kings” but I couldn’t remember the details beyond they had something to do with planting tomatoes (a staple in my garden).

I was talking to a Master Gardener, who also happens to be an ICPL Reference Librarian, and asked if she’d ever heard of the Three Ice Kings. Expert sleuth she is, she found a couple articles including this one from Homegrown Iowan:

“As the story goes, the three kings or saints – Pankrac on May 12, Servac on May 13 and Bonifac on May 14 – were frozen when the temperature dropped while they were fishing at sea. On May 15, St. Zofie came along with a kettle of hot water to thaw out the three frozen kings.

The legend, brought to the United States by Czech immigrants, means that, for Iowans,  it’s a good idea to wait until May 15 to plant your tomatoes, peppers and other tender vegetables and flowers, or at least provide them with some protection in case overnight temperatures drop below freezing.”

My Grandmother is 100% Czech and first generation Iowan from Czech immigrants, so it makes sense she would know about the Ice Kings Legend.

So with a few more weeks to wait before planting, I decided a quick trip to the Library’s New Nonfiction Collection would help with garden planning. The first book I found is Vegetable Gardening in the Midwest by Michael VenderBrug. Not only does this book share a calendar for garden planning, but it also focuses on Midwest gardening issues. I especially liked the section addressing trellising tomatoes.

Foodscaping by Charles Nardozzi gives practical information about introducing edibles into regular landscaping. The pictures are great and I appreciated the information about container gardening.

Mystery writer Diane Mott Davidson’s book, Goldy’s Kitchen, weaves some of my favorite things into one book: Mysteries and Food. The Heirloom Tomato Salad recipe from her book, Fatally Flaky, looks perfect for my future tomato and basil harvest.

While I’m waiting for the Three Ice Kings, it’s nice to know I can find spring gardening inspiration at the Library.

Go

by Tom Jordan on March 16th, 2016

Chinese checkers is a game I like to play with my kids.  It’s simple, the rules are easy, and there’s no luck involved.  Alas, the divots on our playing board are too shallow, and a bumped board means marbles rolling where they shouldn’t.  While searching for a better board to buy online, I often see Go boards too.  Those look neat, I think, I’ll have to learn more about this game.  Go photo2

Have you heard of Go?  It’s been in the news lately.  Google created an artificial intelligence program over the past few years that recently defeated a Korean Go master.  It was a big deal.  The story is here.  Creating an AI program to compete above the amateur level has been a project for decades.  The rules are simple, but the possibilities for the game are almost infinitely complex.

The board is a 19×19 square grid and the pieces are black and white stones.  The object is to hold the most territory.  Like Chess and Chinese checkers, there is no luck involved in Go.

The other night, I made an account on the first Go site that came up after a search and played a few games.  I was so bad that I felt sorry for my opponents.  I had a friendly chat with one of them who offered some nice encouragement – thanks, kurr5.    Go photo1

ICPL has books on Go at 794.4.  We have a manga series that features the game at 741.5952 Hotta Hikaru too.

Art Advisory Committee looking for new members.

by Candice Smith on March 8th, 2016

BAartadvDo you like your Library? Do you like spending money? Do you like art??

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you might also like being part of the Library’s Art Advisory Committee! We’re looking for candidates who are involved and interested in the arts community in some way — artists, framers, instructors, students, gallery employees, collectors and serious enthusiasts — to join the Committee. The Committee is made up of six members, and terms run for three years. One of the primary responsibilities is the judging of artworks submitted to the annual Art Purchase Prize contest, with the winning works being purchased by the Library and added to our Art To Go collection of framed posters and original works that patrons can check out. Other tasks for which the Committee would be called upon include the reviewing and deciding upon any gifted works for Art To Go, as well as any proposals for art to be added to the Library’s permanent collection.

If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, fill out an application and return it, in person or via email, to Candice Smith (candice-smith@icpl.org). If you’ve got questions about the Committee, feel free to contact me by email or phone (319-887-6031). In the meantime, stop by the Library and take a look at the Art To Go collection, and take home a couple pieces!

Moving House

by Anne Mangano on March 1st, 2016

It was announced last week that the United Action for Youth building at 422 Iowa Ave is moving to a new home: 623 College Street. What will it take to move the beautiful Queen Anne a few blocks? To get an idea, take a look at some of our uhouseparade1rban renewal photographs on the Digital History Project, which include several houses parading down the street to new locations.

To find these photographs, search for “house relocation.” For more photographs on urban renewal, click on “Browse Collections” and choose the collection “Urban Renewal, 1970’s-1980’s.”

 

 

In Like a Lion

by Heidi Lauritzen on February 29th, 2016
In Like a Lion Cover Image

After the tease of warm weather last week, the first day of March promises to be cold and windy, and we even may have some snow.  All of which brought to mind that phrase about March, “in like a lion, out like a lamb.”  What is the history of the phrase?  I headed for the reference collection to find out, and became happily distracted reading the definitions and origins of many other proverbs and sayings.  (For instance, who knew that the mouthwash Listerine “takes its name from Lord Lister, the English surgeon who is generally considered the father of aseptic surgery”?  That tidbit is from the Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins.)

But back to the matter at hand.  According to the Macmillan Book of Proverbs, Maxims, and Famous Phrases (1948), “March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb” is listed in John Ray’s English Proverbs published in 1670. Macmillan goes on to list more references to the phrase through the next few centuries.  The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, 2003 edition, cites Ray too, and also lists the use of the phrase in Charlotte Bronte’s 1849 novel Shirley. Bronte would know a thing or two about March wind on the Yorkshire moors.
lion-images-March
The phrase seems uniformly to mean that the weather will be wild and winter-like in the beginning of the month, and soften to more spring-like weather by the end.  The National Weather Service’s forecast for March 1 in Iowa City calls for a 40 percent chance of snow before noon, cloudy, a north wind around 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph, and a high near 33 degrees.  Lion-like for sure.

B.Y.O.Book: Spring dates set, books picked–we just need you!

by Candice Smith on February 26th, 2016
B.Y.O.Book: Spring dates set, books picked–we just need you! Cover Image

B.Y.O.Book, the Library’s books-in-bars group, is ready to welcome the spring–it’s time for a few good books, some good food and drink, and a lot of great conversation! In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize awards, we’ve picked three past winners. We hope you can join us to read and discuss one, or all, of them.

March 22, 6-7 p.m., is our first meet-up; join us at Share Wine Lounge & Small Plate Bistro, in the Sheraton to discuss The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz. Winner of the Pulitzer for Fiction in 2008, the book follows Oscar — a Dominican American, an overweight, geeky teenage nerd–as he tries to navigate his everyday life, fulfill his dream of becoming a writer and, more important, finding love — all in the face of a family curse that has haunted the Wao’s for generations.. I think Michiko Kakutani said it best, in a review for The New York Times: “…a wondrous, not-so-brief first novel that is so original it can only be described as Mario Vargas Llosa meets “Star Trek” meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West.” Readers, how can you resist?

You can register for the event, and check our catalog for a copy of the book–we’ve got print copies as well as CD, ebook and eaudio. We will also have a bookclub kit at the Info Desk soon, so give us a call to see if there are any available copies.

Future dates and titles are April 26 (Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, at Northside Bistro) and May 24 (The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss, at the Mill). We hope to see you there!

 

 

Release the Kraken

by Todd Brown on February 25th, 2016

JacketOne of my children may have an interest in marine biology as future career.  I thought it might be fun for us to take scuba lessons together. I investigated doing this for myself last summer but ran out of time.

The deep end of a swimming pool has always made me uncomfortable. I wouldn’t call it a fear as much as a strong unease. I can swim fine but I do not know what could be lurking beneath the surface waiting to drag me down. It is kind of like the feeling when you are walking up the stairs from the dark basement, but stronger.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) offers courses to get people certified in various levels of scuba diving. I was interested in the very first level which is the Open Water Diver. Eastern Iowa has 3 or 4 shops that offer the course. The first part is usually an taken online with a computer or offline on a tablet. After that is finished, the next step is confined water dives. You get to put on all of the equipment and apply what you have learned so far. I can handle 8 hours in a pool where I can touch the bottom if I need to. The next part, which is sometimes a separate class, is the open diving. This is where I will have to overcome my strong unease. Open dives can be done through any PADI dive center and there are a lot of different places where they do the dives. Some are in a quarry near Cedar Falls, some are in Lake Michigan looking at wrecks, others are in the ocean off the coast of popular vacation spots.

The Library has a few books on scuba diving which I looked through. I immediately flipped to the indexes and made sure none of them listed Kraken, Dagon or mermen. But I do see things like barracudas, scorpion fish, fire coral and territorial biters!

OverDrive app updates

by Melody Dworak on February 18th, 2016

OverDriveYou may have noticed that OverDrive looks a little different this month. On February 1, OverDrive released an update to its app that solved some problems for people but also created some major bugs. Many of us at the Information Desk have been helping people troubleshoot getting things working again.

It sounds like people who read e-books on an iPhone or iPad bore the brunt of these problems. What’s worse, we at the library didn’t have clear instructions for how to solve these problems. Everyone who has come in has been so patient while we take the time to troubleshoot and get things working for them.

Well, yesterday, OverDrive sent out an email that linked to the full instructions for how to deal with these issues. It looks to me like they broadcasted this email far and wide, but in case you missed it and you are still struggling with OverDrive problems on your Apple device, read through this OverDrive Help article to see if it answers some of your questions.

If you don’t want to troubleshoot on your own, you don’t have to! Give us a call (319-356-5200) or stop in and we can help you get things working. Thanks again for your patience in working through these bugs.




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