Climate Action Survey

by Maeve Clark on January 16th, 2018

People living and working in Iowa City are invited to participate in a community survey that will help provide direction for Iowa City’s first ever Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. The short survey asks participants for their thoughts and perspectives as the Iowa City community works toward creating a plan to reduce the City’s emissions reduction goals and also creating a more livable, equitable and resilient Iowa City. Iowa City’s Climate Action Committee formed in November 2017  and meets on a monthly basis. Learn more about the project at


If you are interested in reading more about climate change, the library has many resources  If simplicity is a goal for 2018 we have many titles motivate you. One of my favorite new titles is The gentle art of Swedish death cleaning : how to free yourself and your family from a lifetime of clutter  with text and drawings by Margareta Magnusson.  Trying to reduce your carbon footprint, we also have books and dvds to help.  And if driving less is important, you can borrow books and magazines to read or listen to without leaving your home or workplace through Digital Johnson County.   If you are looking for inspiration on how to buy less, Ann Patchett  wrote recently in the New York Times about challenges of her year of no shopping.   Or listen to her interview with friend Elissa Kim on WBUR’s On Point.



Coretta Scott King kept her husband’s dream alive

by Alyssa Hanson on January 16th, 2018

Who tells your story? For Martin Luther King, Jr., it was his wife Coretta Scott King. I was reminded of this by a tweet on Twitter from one of King’s children:

The reason we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr’s life is due to Mrs. King who continued to advocate for civil rights, even after her husband’s assassination. It’s easy to forget that while we need leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., we also need those who tell their stories and carry on their ideas. Mrs. King devoted her life to telling her husband’s story and became a leader herself, championing the work to promote equality. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Snowing, Where Can I Park?

by Mary Estle-Smith on January 8th, 2018

Don’t let this be you!

We have been pretty spoiled the last 2 winters with mild temps and very little snow.  This one looks to be more of the “normal” Iowa winter we all know and love(?).

If you live or park in Iowa City it is pretty important to know where you can and cannot park, when your street will be plowed,  under what circumstances you can be ticketed and/or towed, etc.

Visit  Iowa City streets page  for a wealth of information about all these questions and many other winter or snow related issues.  There is also a map of plow routes coded by priority which may be helpful.

Coralville residents can visit the Coralville Streets site for similar information.

If you are new to the Iowa City area or have allowed yourself to forget what winters can bestow on us, look at these sites as a refresher to potentially save yourself some difficulty.


Party Like ‘Tis 999

by Heidi Lauritzen on January 5th, 2018

There’s a great display on the second floor, next to the Information Desk.  Maeve has gathered books and DVDs on the Middle Ages from our nonfiction collection, and placed them under a showcase of objects reflecting medieval times.

The “Middle Ages” and the “Medieval Period” often are used interchangeably, and cover roughly the 5th to 15th centuries.  Among other things in the showcase, look for the silver coronet, a dagger, and a pewter spoon.

Walk down almost any aisle in the nonfiction collection, and you can find something of medieval interest:  religion, fashion, art, literature, travel, history, and biography are all represented in the display.  Some of the materials that caught my eye are: The Medieval World:  An Illustrated Atlas, full of colorful illustrations and arranged chronologically; Medieval Dress & Fashion by Margaret Scott and published by the British Library; Life in the Medieval Cloister by Julie Kerr; the DVD Medieval Siege (“catapult yourself into the chaos of medieval battle”); and The Bayeux Tapestry: the Complete Tapestry in Color

All the materials on the display kiosk are available for checkout.  Time travel back a millennium or so, and find out how to party like ’tis 999.

New fireworks rules in Iowa City

by Brian Visser on December 27th, 2017

Families with babies and owners of dogs rejoice!  It is now illegal to use of fireworks inside the city limits of Iowa City.  Some fun folks like to ring in the New Year with a Roman candle or two.  If someone does, call the Iowa City Police Department at 319-356-6800.  Please be ready to provide an address or vehicle description.  It is a minimum $250 fine for anyone caught using fireworks inside city limits.

Net Neutrality

by Jennifer Eilers on December 11th, 2017

Net Neutrality

Last week I taught a class over at the Senior Center about new technology. The majority of the questions related to “cord cutting” which is a means of opting out of expensive cable packages in lieu of streaming services (or content provided over and delievered through the internet). Seniors wanted to know how they could get entertainment using technology like a Roku or Smart TV to play content from subscription and free streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, SlingTV, Amazon Prime and others. At the end of class concerns about Net Neutrality were raised as the delivery of streaming services may be impacted by the upcoming changes proposed by the FCC.


Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (or ISPs — think Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T) must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

Why am I Hearing About it NOW?

This Tuesday, December 14th the Federal Communications Commission will most likely repeal the Net Neutrality rules that were put into place in 2015 under the Obama administration.  Currently the chairman, Ajit Pai, has the 3 to 2 votes needed to repeal the designation due to the majority make-up of Republican commission members. Congress has oversight of the Commission including the ability to appointment members but will not vote on the issue as it is not in charge of regulation.

What is Being Repealed?

In 2015, ISPs were classified under Title II which made them “common carriers” instead of “information providers.” This classification means that Internet Service Providers have to follow the same rules as utilities as outlined in the Communications Act of 1934 which was amended in 1996 to make accommodations in technological advances and differences in service.  The repeal of the “common carrier” designation became a priority of the new chairman when appointed by President Trump.

What are People Nervous About?

Many see the Net Neutrality rules as pro-consumer and as a means to protecting how the internet functions today. Another concern is Pai’s prior connections to the Internet Service Provider, Verizon. Net Neutrality is an issue that has also been for the most part divided along party lines and the current repeal doesn’t have bipartisan support.

For more information about Net Neutrality see these sources:

How to Argue About Net Neutrality – Washington Post

Net Neutrality for Dummies – Business Insider

Net Neutrality – Last Week Tonight

Net Neutrality – New York Times (all coverage)

Two more weeks to enter the iPad giveaway!

by Melody Dworak on November 30th, 2017
Digital magazines on iDevice

Check out magazines and win!

The Digital Johnson County team has extended the iPad promotion until December 15.

If you haven’t yet given the new RBdigital app a chance, do so now for a chance to win an iPad Mini from your library. Enter the drawing at the Digital Johnson County website, and then head over to the digital magazine collection to sign up for an account. You must check out 5 magazines by December 15 to have your name entered into the drawing.

Need help downloading the app? Our IT manager, Brent, has written up helpful instructions for getting started with the RBdigital app. If you try to set up the app before you create an account on the digital magazine page, you will get an error message.

Looking for inspiration on what to check out? Drool over these Christmas cookie recipes in 5 great magazine options.

Renovation of the Computer Lab

by Beth Fisher on November 28th, 2017

Starting this week ICPL’s second floor Computer Lab will be closed for renovation. The Lab was originally designed as a computer classroom, and it served us well. Over time technology and community needs change, so we are reconfiguring the space to allow for more flexibility and innovation.

The new space will support training and programs and provide access to technology to assist in digital media creation. The footprint of the room will grow, as walls are being moved. The furniture will be movable, and a new large screen monitor will add additional options for display. Some activities (Minecraft, tax assistance) will continue to use the entire space, but at other times the room can be used for multiple activities at once. The new space will be open in late February.

While the room is under construction, we’ve had to relocate all of the regularly scheduled classes and events that happen in that room. The majority of events, like our Drop-in Tech Help sessions (Monday-Thursday) the Community Writing Center (Tuesdays) will be moved down the hall to Meeting Room E, while other events (VITA Tax Help) have relocated to other places in the building. The Library’s Calendar will list the updated locations, and Staff at the Help or Information Desks can help you find the right rooms.

We look forward to our new Computer Lab and hope you do to.

Buying with Consumer Reports Confidence

by Alyssa Hanson on November 22nd, 2017

I recently helped my mom pick out a new printer after her old one died. Not knowing which one she wanted, we headed to the Consumer Reports section on printers to see what models had the best ratings. With a couple of features she knew she wanted like good photo quality prints as well as duplexing in mind, it was helpful to see a quality rating comparison chart of various models as well as a breakdown of each printer’s features.

If you have no idea what type you want or need, the product’s Buying Guide is the best place to start. It gives you a break down of different types as well as various things to consider when buying. For printers there are two types – all-in-one printers or regular printers – and the Buying Guide also recommended keeping in mind how much maintenance costs might be, which for printers includes pricey ink cartridges.
Read the rest of this entry »

Keep Track of Your Library Reads

by Anne Mangano on November 21st, 2017

Always wanted to keep track of what you borrowed from the Iowa City Public Library? There are a couple of ways to do this, depending on what you are borrowing.

Reading History in Library Account

If you are checking out print books, DVDs, compact discs, or anything that is in a physical state, turn on your Reading History in your account. Turning on this option will save everything you check out from Read the rest of this entry »