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Plug into an audiobook today

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 25th, 2016

I purchased a new smartphone recently. It took two days to figure out what I wanted, another to psych myself up to enter the store and less than 24 hours to fall in love with my purchase.

My old phone was nearly four years old. It had 16GB of storage. I spent a lot of time deleting photos in order to take one. I had the bare minimum of apps, too. My new phone has 64 GB. I’ve yet to receive the dreaded Storage Almost Full message. Even better, I finally had enough room download the OverDrive app and listen to my first audiobook ever: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.bernadette

I’m a little late to the party with this title – and with the Library’s eMedia services in general. I highly recommend both.

The book is about Bernadette Fox, a quirky and elusive woman who was once the darling of the architect world, but left it all behind – but for what? The story tries to uncover the mystery through e-mails (some by Bernadette, others by woman who love to talk about her), news articles and other documents, but not before Bernadette disappears, leaving her 15-year-old daughter, Bee, to make sense of it all. Narrator Kathleen Wilhoite does a great job of distinguishing her voice to help listeners keep the colorful cast of characters sorted out, though there were times I had to remind myself Bee is 15; not 12.

If you haven’t visited the Library’s eMedia page, you should. Your Library Card is the ticket to free digital content for adults and children, with audio and digital books, online magazines – even local music through the Local Music Project. Upgrades to all delivery systems have made the process of downloading the materials even easier.

It used to be that ICPL’s eMedia services were available to patrons who live in Iowa City, Hills, University Heights, Lone Tree, or rural Johnson County, while Coralville residents could use it if that had a valid Coralville Public Library card. However, since July 1, ICPL, Coralville and North Liberty Community Library have offered combined eBook and digital audiobook collections through OverDrive. We call this service Digital Johnson County. As someone who works in Iowa City but lives in North Liberty, this service has been a wonderful addition to my reading options.

Happy Earth Day! Leave it to Beavers

by Maeve Clark on April 22nd, 2016

April 22 is Earth Day and what a better way to celebrate it than in a salute to beavers and their engineering prowess.   I happened upon a Nature program on PBS on Wednesday night called Leave it to Beavers by Dam Builder Productions in association with Thirteen Productions LLC for WNET.  It was wonderful.  Sometime I start to watch a Nature program and I have to stop, the inevitable outcome is that the animals or area being studied is in such a steep decline that there is nothing that can be done to save them.  Not so with the beavers.  This realistic, Beavers_Infographic-Final1but optimistic look at the world of beaver rescue and rehabilitationm gave me hope.  Beavers are amazing aquatic animals.  The dams they create do far more good than not.  Leave it to Beavers, which is available on DVD from the library, highlights how beavers can transform and revitalize landscapes.  They can help keep water where it should be and lower the temperature in the high desert area where they build their dams.

Leave it to Beavers showcases a hairdresser in Denver who rescues beavers and a Canadian wildlife biologist who rehabilitates injured beavers.   The interactions between the beavers and the rescuers and rehabilitators are heartwarming.  But I think the best part of all of Leave it to Beavers was the peek that viewers were afforded when we were able to see how the beaver family lived during the winter.  The camera showed not only a family of beavers, including the new kits, but a pair of muskrats, a family of deer mice, frogs and aquatic insects.  The beaver lodge is a very warm and welcoming abode for a long winters stay.  Here’s a clip from Leave it to Beavers to pique your interest.   And if you want to learn more about Earth Day, the Iowa City Public Library has shelves of materials to make the earth a better place for all of us, people and animals alike.

Patience has Virtues

by Frances Owens on April 22nd, 2016
Patience has Virtues Cover Image

I have enjoyed the graphic novels of Daniel Clowes for 10+ years, which isn’t saying much as he was first published in 1989, but for a creator to keep making things I liked as teenager and still enjoy as an adult is quite a feat.  My first introduction to his work came after seeing the 2001 movie Ghost World which he wrote along with  director Terry Zwigoff (who spoke recently at Film Scene as part of the Mission Creek Festival).  The movie, which is fantastic BTW, is based on the graphic novel of the same name and has all of the quirkiness and themes common to Clowes’ oeuvre.

Patience, Clowes’ latest is no different.  Blending storytelling whimsy, colorful artwork, and digging into human thought and emotion this graphic novel is a treat for fans.  It starts off like most other of Clowes’ work in that it just seems like a story of one person’s internal conflicts, but then plot twists!  And genre blending!  What starts off as a seemingly narcissistic not particularly compelling story turns into a time traveling tale of revenge!

However it is not your average time traveling adventure, after all it is still written by Daniel Clowes.  He does a great job with addressing typical time travel problems, think Marty McFly’s disappearing siblings in Back to the Future, but also sticking with tried and true themes of loneliness and the very personal nature of memory.  While I prefer Clowes’ earlier works that are more character studies of outsiders, his recent venture into stronger storytelling is a welcome maturation in my opinion.

Anywho, if you like Daniel Clowes, you’ll like Patience.  If you’re not familiar, or you’ve never tried his stuff, pick it up!

A Sugar Creek Chronicle – Cornelia F. Mutel

by Jason Paulios on April 22nd, 2016
A Sugar Creek Chronicle – Cornelia F. Mutel Cover Image

The latest in the Bur Oak Books series from the University of Iowa Press is Cornelia Mutel’s account on climate change as seen from the mixed oak woodlands in rural Johnson County, Iowa. The book is cleverly structured to follow the four seasons during the year 2012, each season features daily journal entries detailing weather and climate notes. Interspersed are notable updates on various woodland species in the acreage alongside Iowa natural history. Paired with the day-to-day of 2012 country living are complimenting memoir sections detailing growing up in Madison, her mother’s early death, and parenthood in Iowa City.  

Her writing is organized and passionate, her love of the natural world is infectious and I often found myself considering putting down the book to wander a nearby nature trail. Throughout all the meditative trail walking anecdotes filled with chipmunk scurrying and spring ephemeral blooming are sobering climate science facts and how they are impacting all these things we care about. Her research is presented in small digestible amounts and her teaching background is evident in the way in which she breaks down complicated earth science processes. 

Women on currency – what old is new again

by Maeve Clark on April 21st, 2016
Women on currency – what old is new again Cover Image

Yesterday, Jacob Lew, Treasury Secretary, announced the proposal to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman, the former slave and abolitionist, and to add women and civil rights leaders to the $5 and $10 notes.  This brought up a couple of questions at the Info Desk.  Has there ever been a woman on United States paper currency?  There’s the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, right?  Yes, but it’s no longer minted.

ICPL’s reference collection is no where near as large as it was before the Internet (BI), but books on collecting coins and paper currency and stamps are still staples.  (The collecting of coins and stamps have two fancy names -numismatics and philately – but I am always afraid I am mispronouncing t20 billhem so I just stick with calling them coin  collecting and stamp collecting, no need to put on airs…) The Standard Catalogs of World Paper Money and Scott  Standard Postage Stamp Catalogues are integral parts of the collection.  While there is a lot information on the values of coins, paper currency and stamps online, many collectors still prefer to use books.  I am sure that next year’s Standard Catalog of World Paper Money will have a feature the changes to United States currency.  Maybe they will even feature the Harriet Tubman bill on the cover.

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History had a fascinating piece on woman on currency on its website.  One of the first historic women to appear on money was Arsinoe II, a Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, in the 3rd century BCE.  Queen Elizabeth the Second, (celebrating her 90th birthday today, Happy Birthday!) has been featured on coins and currency all over the British realm.  The federal government began issuing paper currency in 1861.  Martha Washington appeared on a one dollar silver certificate in 1886 and Pocahontas was on the back of a 20 dollar bill in 1875.  Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul and Elizabeth Cady Stanton will be featured on the back of the new $10 bill.  Women on 20, a online site that pushed to have women featured on currency, is now mounting a campaign to have the new $20 bill appear at the same time as the $10 bill.  The movement is a strong one and highlights the power of the web as a tool for change. queen maeve And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t also include the Irish pound note that featured Queen Medb, also know as Maeve.  The note was issued from 1977 to 1989 until is was replaced by the Euro.

 

 

Great Picture Books to Celebrate Earth Day!

by Angela Pilkington on April 20th, 2016

Help your little one celebrate and learn more about our planet for Earth Day coming up this Friday, April 22nd! While I believe we should celebrate Earth Day everyday, books are a great way to help kids learn about it in an exciting and relatable way! Here is a great list of earth friendly picture books to honor this day with your child through reading:

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Take Care of The Earth Everyday by Tammy Gagne.   While not a picture book, it is a short book showing how Earth is our home and how to care for it on a daily basis, including recycling, planting trees, and caring for plants and animals.

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The Earth Book by Todd Parr.  A great book that is simple and gives clear examples for how to save the earth as well as easy to understand reasons for why we need to.

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Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland.  This book about a bear who hugs everything in sight is sure to elicit giggles from young audiences, but it also has an important message about preservation.

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10 Things I can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh.  This super child-friendly book has beautifully die-cut pages filled with ways that even young children can help the environment, from planting seeds to turning off the lights when they leave a room.

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Gabby and Grandma Go Green by Monica Wellington.  This book introduces to little ones what it means to be green with Gabby and her grandma who have a ‘green day’ together.

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The Green Mother Goose : Saving the World One Rhyme at a Time by Jan Peck.  Mother Goose has gone green-and this playful picture book invites kids to join the fun. These are delightful “recycled” rhymes, perfect for Earth Day.

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Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel. Michael Recycle tells the adventures of a young superhero whose power allows him to teach people about recycling. The rhyming text and a child superhero is perfect for reading aloud together.

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The Little Recycler by Jan Gerardi. This board book makes the concept of recycling fun and exciting for your little ones, and there’s plenty of machinery interest for those little engineers!

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The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Last, but not least, the classic Dr. Seuss book that is synonymous with Earth Day. Even though is a long read, is a perfect story on the importance of taking care of our place no matter how big or small you are.

Remember to make Earth Day everyday!

Download this! Interior decorating edition.

by Melody Dworak on April 20th, 2016
HGTV Magazine, May 2016

HGTV Magazine, May 2016

A couple of weeks ago, Anne walked us through some of the new interior decorating books. Today I’d like to share what ICPL has to offer on that front in terms of digital magazines. Even if you never plan to shop at Crate & Barrel, you can indulge in the guilty pleasure of flipping through home decor magazines straight from your phone, tablet, or computer.

What did I read over my cereal this morning? Read the rest of this entry »

Fresh Picks: Poetry

by Morgan Reeves on April 14th, 2016
Fresh Picks: Poetry Cover Image

As a cataloger, I see a lot of interesting, brand-new books every day. Sometimes the covers and titles are just so interesting I have to take a peek inside. Since it’s National Poetry Month, I’ll share some of the most recent poetry books that caught my eye.

Catch Your breath: Writing Poignant Poetry by Laura Purdie Salas is a great new book full of ideas and inspiration to write your own poetry. It’s full of examples of different types of poems, as well as good writing habits and profiles of famous poets.

Read the rest of this entry »

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?

We have our Book Madness winners!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 11th, 2016

It was a heated competition, but Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 defeated Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games to be named ICPL’s 2016 Book Madness champion in the Teens & Adults bracket.

The Children’s bracket winner was Wonder by R. J. Palacio. This wonderful (pun intended) book beat out Erin Hunter’s Warriors series.BookMadness

Nearly 100 patrons turned in completed brackets, but only four had the winning title in their bracket — one in the Teens & Adults bracket, and three in the Children’s bracket. We moved to a point system to determine our winner in the children’s bracket (one point for every correct title moving on to Round 2, two points for every correct title in the Sweet 16, three points for every correct title in the Elite 8, etc.). We will contact the winners this week.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Book Madness! Remember, you can find a list of all 2016 titles here. Please let us know if there’s a category and/or book title you’d like to see in next year’s competition!




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