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Help, I need a word that rhymes with cantilever!

by Maeve Clark on February 11th, 2016

He was such an eager beaver

We had to use a cantilever

Off he soared

Oh, way up high

Luckily we had a wide receiver

Don’t you love it when you stumble upon something so much fun you have to share it with everyone?  That happened to me today.  I was looking for the etymology of the word plummet, a lovely word if I don’t say so myself, and I found the answer using the Merriam-Webster online dictionaryplummet Plummet comes from Middle English plomet, from Anglo-French plumet, plomet, from plum lead, lead weight.  That was cool, I had used a plumb bob on an archeological  dig many summers ago and always loved those two words together, but I digress.  On the same page as the origin of the word plum was the heading Other Civil Engineering Terms.  What a grand addition to a dictionary – other civil engineering terms.  I immediately clicked on cantilever to see if I could get even more civil engineering terms, alas, they were all the same, but I did discover another wondrous option – Rhymes with.  Come on, admit it you too have always wanted to know what rhymes with cantilever.  I was so tickled with my new found knowledge, I made up a rhyme. It isn’t very good, but what the heck, I got to use eager beaver, cantilever and wide receiver.  cantileverI hope this post makes you a true believer.

Beer me!

by Brian Visser on February 10th, 2016

I wrote a newspaper article this month about beer books in the Library’s collection.  There are a lot of resources online for beer enthusiasts too.  So, I guess this is a companion piece.

FuriousIn my article, I mention Beer Advocate, which is a fantastic online community that spawned its own print magazine.  They also host beer festivals across the country.  Anyway, they’re an excellent place to start online.  There’s a very involved user base that post in the forums and write reviews.  The reviews are what brought me to the site.  When I’m at the store, I check BA to see what a particular beer’s score is.  Since there are so many people using the site and posting reviews, I feel like the score is a pretty good indicator of a beer’s quality.  It’s fun to browse their forums too.  I don’t post there personally, but I could see myself doing it someday.

Another great website is Rate Beer.  It has reviews too (you could probably figure that out from the name)hopslam
and includes different information than what Beer Advocate does, such as the best kind of glass to drink each beer in.  I feel like their reviews are pretty trustworthy too.  They also include information about the beer’s availability, but, honestly, I don’t find it very accurate.  It says that many hard to find beers are common, though, it probably is more indicative of national availability.  That said, the website has a Local Beer guide, which tells you the best beers that can be obtained in your area and the best beers brewed in your area.  As you can imagine, when you put in Iowa, the best beers brewed in your area list is dominated by Toppling Goliath.

Beer blogs are abundant, but which are any good?  First on our short tour is Beervana, a blog by the author of hopreviewThe Beer Bible, Jeff Alworth, one of the books from my article.  Jeff writes about the beer industry and his thoughts on it.  If you liked The Beer Bible, then his blog is definitely worth checking out.  The Hop Review is a slick looking website that covers the craft beer scene in Chicago and the Midwest.  The site features well written articles and everyone involved is obviously very passionate about brews.  Finally, there’s the fun site Pints and Panels.  Em, the creator of the site, draws comics where she reviews beers.  I find beer reviews hard to read sometimes, but Em’s reviews are very accessible.  I love what she’s doing and you should check it out too.

There’s a bunch of other stuff out there, like apps that you can use to track what you drink.  I like the idea, untappdand I’ve tried using Untappd.  I was a little confused by it and soon gave up.  It’s something that I want to explore more.  Alright, go out there and enjoy a drink.  Also, be glad that you don’t have auto-brewery syndrome, which gives home-brewing a whole new meaning.

Digitally Preserving your Family History

by Jennifer Eilers on February 8th, 2016

This weekend I had the opportunity to talk with the Daughter’s of the American Revolution Pilgrim Chapter about preserving their families’ histories. Preservation is a daunting task especially  since we must think about not only saving the physical copy but the digital one as well.

In preparing for my talk, I researched  tools to help these women creatively think about sharing their families’ stories, photos, and heirlooms digitally. There are many great online tools, websites, and projects out there; but for me what makes the stuff I’ve inherited so valuable are the stories or memories attached to the items.

rootsmapperFamilySearch.org is one of the search engines that helps you trace your family’s roots. I don’t feel its search capabilities are as good as Ancestry’s (which you can access for free at the library!) but it offers many great tools and apps to help you collect family history and put it into a context your family can appreciate. One such tool is the Rootsmapper app which traces your family’s migration across continents or across the country over time.

Everystory is an app that makes it easy to record a voice over with a group of photos of your choosing. What I like about this app is that its easy to use and it is designed to replicate the experience of flipping through a photo album with a loved one as they tell stories about the photographs.

Storycatcher Pro is an app that allows you to create and share video of a family member telling stories. You can choose themes, design titles, capture screen text, capture audio, and import photos to make a very professional oral history. The app is easy to use and requires limited video editing knowledge. The only downside of the app is that it is only available for iOS.

treelines

Treelines uses your family tree as a starting point so that you can add pictures, tags, stories, and page design to help tell your family history. You can give access to family members so that they can also add their photos, documents, stories, and other information to the timeline as well.

If you are just beginning your genealogy search or digitization project, the library has many tools to help you including an archival quality scanner. There are several classes being offered in the month of May. Sign up soon as classes fill up fast!

 

 

 

Daydreaming of gardening? Check out one of these magazines.

by Melody Dworak on February 5th, 2016

Country GardensThe next Project Green Second Sunday Forum is on Valentine’s Day—Sunday, February 14, 2016. Jonathan Poulton will present on Daylillies—Past, Present, and Future. If you can’t wait until then to get your garden on, but also don’t want to go out into the cold, visit the ICPL Zinio collection, where you can look through 18 different home and garden digital magazines.

Magazines are perfect for the weekend where you get to kick back a little more. Our gardening magazines include Country Garden, Better Homes & Gardens, Grit, and Successful Farming.

The January issue of Rodale’s Organic Life features the article “Grow from Scratch,” which includes a guide to growing plants from seeds and lovely illustrations.

ICPL has more than 150 digital magazines. They are available 24/7 through your computer or mobile device. After you log in with your Iowa City library card and password, you can check one out and flip through page by page just like a regular magazine. Reading magazines lets you kick back and relax, and enjoy big beautiful photographs and creative infographics.

Have questions about how to use our Zinio digital magazine collection? Ask a Librarian!

 

 

Using CatalogPro – Advanced Searching

by Jason Paulios on February 4th, 2016

For a few years now we’ve been slowly integrating a catalog discovery layer that we’ve called CatalogPro, this is a keyword search that allows for a narrowing down of results after the search is initiated. It’s gotten more powerful over the years and now works much better for those titles that might have traditionally difficult keyword search terms (try searching Twilight or Room for proof!). There will still be times when you don’t have specific title or author information or you’ll want a more efficient way to search individual terms, thankfully CatalogPro has an Advanced Search option.  You can get to this search via the link below the search box (see the highlighted area in the image below).

advancedsearch

Advanced Searching allows for boolean search which allows you to fine tune your search including “and”, “or”, and “not” operators.  An Advanced Search for “Plants” OR “Flowers” AND “Iowa” in books will give you 30 items which is much more helpful than a normal keyword search of “Plants flowers Iowa” which shows yields 6 since it’s searching for the presence of all three keywords in the record instead of the combination done in Advanced (“Plants & Iowa” and “Flowers & Iowa”).

It’s easiest to narrow these results prior to the search using the dropdown menus on the Advanced Search page, common searches would include a format type (ex. book vs. ebook), location (ex. adult nonfiction vs. children’s nonfiction), and possibly year range (ex. looking for only most up-to-date publications).  I’ll share some more CatalogPro tips in future weeks including spell-check, eBook/eAudiobook checkout, and super-secret remote shelf browsing!

World Book Encyclopedia 2016

by Beth Fisher on February 3rd, 2016

world book 1Before Google was a verb, and before we carried the internet around in our pockets, checking the World Book Encyclopedia was a popular way of looking for new information. Librarians used it.  Students used it.  If you were lucky enough, your family had it’s own set – with the annual “Year Book” updates too – and you didn’t have to go to the library to work on papers for school.

The World Book Encyclopedia debuted in 1917 with 8 volumes. (the 2016 edition has 22)  In the 6th book “E” the entry for Encyclopedia begins “Encyclopedia is a collection of information about people, places, events and things.”  Followed by a 6 page article on the history of encyclopedias and how they are created – from the editors who select the experts in various fields to write each article, to the artists and layout experts who add the photographs and illustrations to compliment or supplement the text.  There is a 12 part graphic that lets you follow the creation of an individual World Book article.

world book 2Kids are full of questions, and my parent’s standard response to an off the wall question was often “Go look it up.”   Not because they didn’t know the answer, but because they knew that for their overly-curious children, reading one entry in the World Book often led to an hour curled up on the floor by the bookcase reading other entries.

Seeing the Library’s brand new 2016 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia appear in the Reference Collection recently makes me want to sit on the floor and start flipping pages.

How and Where to Caucus

by Maeve Clark on January 17th, 2016

Monday, February 1 is the date for the 2016 Iowa caucus.  The caucus begins at 7 pm and in order to particcaucusipate you must be inline or signed in by 7 pm.  Speaking from experience you may want to plan on getting there early as the lines may be very long. Even though the Republican and Democratic caucus are strictly party functions, the Johnson County Auditor receives so many questions that Auditor has compiled a lot of very useful information about the caucus. The two parties differ in how they caucus. www.uspresidentialnews.com has a good explanation of how they work.

Party chairs in the ninety-nine Iowa counties are explicitly charged with issuing the “call” to caucus, setting up caucus locations, and identifying temporary chairs for each of their caucuses. Unlike a primary election, the costs of the precinct caucuses are borne by the parties, not the state. One result is that one of the first activities of any precinct caucus is to “pass the hat” to raise funds for the county and state party. But also unlike a primary election, vote counting is done by the parties, not government officials.

The Republicans begin the presidential straw poll. In most precincts this will be carried out via a paper ballot (the state party’s preference), which may be simply torn pieces of paper or a more formal ballot prepared ahead of time by the temporary chair. Those in attendance are asked if anyone wishes to speak on behalf of a candidate. Speeches are usually short, and are of the type “why I support candidate B and why you should too.” Following the speeches, ballots are cast and then collected by the chair, who next assigns someone (perhaps the secretary) to count them, report the results to the caucus, and record them on a form provided by the state party. More information is available from the Republican Party of Iowa.

The Democratic presidential preference rules are far more complex. This complexity comes because national party rules require proportional allocation of delegates at every level of a caucus-to-convention nomination system. The viability threshold requirement adds to this complexity, but the system may well end up giving more candidates a chance and more voters a choice, and bring about more sincere voting. Party rules require that “preference groups” not be formed until half an hour after the caucus opens, so the time is usually filled by reading letters of greetings from elected officials, and passing the hat to raise money for the local and state parties. Once the appointed time arrives, things shift into gear. More information is available from the Iowa Democratic Party.

The location of your caucus site may not be the same as where you vote.  You can find out your site by using this link if you are going to caucus as a Democrat or if you are going to caucus as a Republican. You will need to know your precinct if you are caucusing as a Republican.  Use this link to find your precinct.

 

OverDrive Tip: Saving Books for Later

by Anne Mangano on January 16th, 2016

When it comes to holds, does it seem like all of your eBooks or audiobooks become available all at once? This happens to me all of the time. I find a few audiobooks I want to listen to, but they are currently checked out to someone else, so I place holds. Then a few days later, I receive several email notifications that all of them are ready for me to check out. Five audiobooks in three weeks for me is not happening. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Our eBook and digital audiobook provider, OverDrive offers a few tools for me to manage my reading much better than just placing holds. I can save books for later.

The Wish List

The first option is using the wish list. Rather than placing holds on everything, I can just add the titles to a list. Underneath the large, red “Borrow” or “Place Hold” bwishlistutton is this small, tiny, gray “Add to Wish List” option. If you click on that, the book is added to your “Wish List”.  There are no limits on the amount of items you can have on your wish list, you can add or delete items at any time, and best of all, you can filter the list to only see the items that are available right now. You’ll find your wish list in your OverDrive account at overdrive.icpl.org.

Suspending a Hold

So maybe you want to keep a hold, you are just not ready for the book right now. This is a great option if you’ve made it to the top of a long waiting list, but are in the middle of something else and don’t want to lose your place. You’ve waited so long! If you “suspend a suspendhold,” you can pick a window of time (7, 14, 21, 28, 60, or 90 days) where you’ll keep your place in line for the book, but won’t actually get the book until the time period is over or you remove the suspension. During the suspension, it goes to the next user in line. This option can be found on your holds list in your OverDrive account at overdrive.icpl.org.

For more OverDrive tips, click on the “OverDrive Tips” tag below.

 

An epiphany, of sorts.

by Candice Smith on January 8th, 2016

holidaysI did not put up a Christmas tree this year, although I usually put one up around Thanksgiving and keep it around until at least New Year’s (actually, it’s always ‘around’ in the sense that it’s fake, it just spends a lot of time in the basement). I really enjoy having the tree; I love decorating it with ornaments that I’ve collected through the years, all of which are special to me for one reason or another, and as I unwrap and place each one I’m reminded of things like when I got it and why I chose it, who gave it to me, or who it used to belong to. I put multiple strands of lights on the tree, a tree skirt for the presents to sit on, and a star on top–the whole deal.

This year, however, I have two 1-year-old boy cats that like to run, jump, climb, and eat whatever they can get their little, adorable paws on. The tree was an obvious no.

Regardless of the sad state of my home and its holiday decor, I recently learned something that I can take into consideration the next time I am able to put the tree up–and that is when to take it back down. I never knew that there were traditions about this, so I may be late to this game. It seems that one should have their tree and all decorations put away by the Twelfth Night holiday. Simple, right? Sort of. January 5 is the twelfth day after Christmas Eve, while January 6 is the twelfth day after Christmas. January 6 is also the holiday of Epiphany, which marks the end of the twelve days of Christmas, and the revealing of the newborn Jesus to the three wise men. So, which night is the real Twelfth Night? It seems that you can choose whether you go with the eve before January 6, or the eve of–according to the book Holiday Symbols and Customs, most celebrate it on the night of Epiphany, the 6th. Which is the twelfth. Choose wisely, though–tradition holds that anyone with decorations still up will suffer bad luck in the coming year.

But wait…there’s more! There is also a tradition that one put away their Christmas tree and decorations on February 2, which is Candlemas–a holiday that marks the presentation of Jesus at the temple, and involves the lighting of many candles to represent the belief that he was a light for the world. The book Folklore of World Holidays states that this marks the end of the Christmas holiday. One representation of that end is that people put away their crèche–which is a Christmas decoration. Again, leaving up the decorations past this date can bring bad luck, even death. Of course, February 2 is also groundhog day, which at first seems unrelated to all of this, until you recall that the little groundhog (or bear or hedgehog, depending on your location) comes out to check his shadow, which is related to the amount of light.

So…short story made a bit long, there is definitely a date by which, according to various traditions, one should take down their Christmas tree and decorations. Three, in fact. Stop by the Information Desk to do a little research and help you pick which date you’ll use.

Animals in the winter

by Maeve Clark on December 31st, 2015

Walking outdoors after a recent snowfall you can discover just what animals are out and about in your neighborhood.  What animal made the track on the left?  If ySquirrel-Track-300x224ou guessed squirrel, you are right. rabbit tracks

And what about the other tracks?  Can you identify that animal?  Yes, you’re correct, that is a rabbit track.

 

For help in identifying tracks the library has a number of books to help you.  There are more advanced books upstairs in the nonfiction collection, including one that offers guidance on tracking rhinos and elephants, probably not so useful for a winter’s walk in an Iowa park, but still full of interesting information on how to best track and observe animals in a very different habitat. There are also a number of books in the children’s collection on animal tracks with easy to follow illustrations and photographs.

If you need something to take with you on a hike, you can find a good number of easy-to-print guides by simply googling animal tracks winter guide.   If  you are interested in learning more about animals a trip to the F. W. Kent Park,  the location of the Johnson County Conservation Board’s Education Center, is in order.  The center offers a good number of activities during the winter including an owl prowl, bird walks and and a snowshoe hike, all opportunities to test your animal tracking skills.   Another fun activity this winter is a chance to learn about bald eagles.  While it was once a rare event to see an eagle you can now find them along many Iowa streams and rivers.  The Iowa Department of Natural Resources hosts Bald Eagle watch in various locations in the state.  The closest one to Iowa City will be near Coralville.

 

 




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