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Farm to Table cookbooks

by Melody Dworak on August 12th, 2016
Farm to Table cookbooks Cover Image

Inspired by my overabundant CSA hauls (Community Supported Agriculture) and the Farm to Street dinner next Thursday, I thought I’d put together a list of “Farm to Table” cookbooks.

This is a list of fantastic books that came out within the past year or so, books that feature vegetables in all their fabulous glory. I curated this list with the easy meal in mind. Check out one of these books, pour that glass of wine, and start cooking! Read the rest of this entry »

New downloadable local music

by Jason Paulios on August 4th, 2016

LocalMusicProject_imageThe Iowa City Public Library is celebrating our fifth year of offering free downloadable music from regional artists via the Local Music Project. This unique service allows ICPL cardholders to download over 80 albums from artists based in eastern Iowa. The project is currently limited to those living in Iowa City, Hills, University Heights, Lone Tree, or unincorporated (rural) Johnson County. The offerings are always changing with new albums added throughout the year from a variety of genres. Read the rest of this entry »

Reeling in some new podcasts

by Stacey McKim on July 29th, 2016

PodcastsPhoto2Lots of my library coworkers love podcasts, so we put up a display of our favorites this summer.  (If you missed it, the full list is at the bottom.)  I tried and thoroughly enjoyed three of the shows:

The Dollop: The Dollop is two comedians discussing a topic or person from American History. One guy, Dave Anthony reads about a topic or person from American History, and the other guy, Gareth Reynolds, has no idea what the topic will be about each episode, so he’s consistently shocked or confused. It’s hilarious and terrible all at once. (Recommended by Rachael)  I agree – the episodes about “America’s Worst Lottery Winner” and “The Jones County Deserters” were both appallingly funny.

Judge John Hodgman: Do you ever feel you need someone to rule on life disputes with your spouse, co-workers, or friends to tell you who’s right? “Judge” and comedian John Hodgman does just that. (Recommended by Christina)  The episode titles alone are entertaining:  “Do You Want to Hoard Some Snowglobes?” and “Wrecks Libris.”

No Such Thing as a Fish: From the team behind long running British panel show QI (Quite Interesting) comes No Such Thing as a Fish. Every episode, four of the QI fact-checkers (or “elves” as they are called) scour the internet to present to you their four favorite humorous or interesting facts of the week.  (Recommended by Kristin)  I love QI — hosted by Stephen Fry and available on YouTube — and I’m glad to have even more of their random, bizarre facts.

Our full list of recommendations:

  • 99% Invisible
  • The Allusionist
  • Answer Me This
  • BBC The Conversation
  • The Bugle
  • Criminal
  • The Dollop
  • How Did This Get Made
  • Judge John Hodgman
  • The Last Podcast on the Left
  • Mortified
  • Myths and Legends
  • No Such Thing as a Fish
  • On the Media
  • Radiolab
  • Reply All
  • School of Movies
  • Serial
  • Sleep With Me
  • Snap Judgement
  • Surprisingly Awesome
  • Talking Theatre
  • Think Again
  • This American Life
  • Unqualified
  • Welcome to Night Vale
  • The West Wing Weekly
  • Wolf 359
  • WTF with Marc Maron
  • You Must Remember This

Share your favorites in the comments!

Crafting with Decoupage

by Kara Logsden on July 28th, 2016
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D2016 07 Decoupageecoupage is back in style! Recently I discovered a couple books in the Library’s collection about decoupage using Mod Podge, and it brought back a flood of happy childhood memories.

My friends and I used to make decoupage gifts for one-another. One of my favorites is displayed in my office – a cartoon from Western Horseman my friend decoupaged onto a board showing a girl riding a horse. The caption is “If you can read this bumper sticker … you might be kicked.” (It still makes me giggle.)

I also remember working with my Mom to make decoupage gifts for the holidays – one year we decoupaged our school pictures onto small boards as a gift for our grandparents. Read the rest of this entry »

ICPL Recommends…

by Anne Mangano on July 21st, 2016
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On KCJJ with Captain Steve and Tommy Lang this morning, Melody and I had a great time discussing what ICPL staff are reading this summer.  Here are some of the books we talked about if you are looking for your next read:

My favorite book of the summer is Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett. Our narrator and hero, Mary Davidson is looking back to the 1908 whaling season in New South Wales. That year her father, a whaler was having a very bad year—there just doesn’t seem to be any whales to catch. She was also in charge of the Davidson Read the rest of this entry »

Signed, Sealed, Published: Epistolary Novels

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 13th, 2016

pop up displayReceiving a letter in the mail was a big deal when I was a child. It didn’t happen often, so the days I’d come home from school and find an envelope with my name sitting on the kitchen table were treasured. I’d rip it open and start reading before taking off my coat, devouring the words the sender shared with me.

I think it’s my love for mail that launched my love of epistolary novels – books written as a series of documents, such as letters and journal entries. There’s something real about these stories because the reader instantly becomes part of the character’s personal life. Then again, there’s also a thrill that comes from reading another person’s journal – even if they are fictional.

You can check out some of my favorite epistolary novels on the new pop-up display on the Library’s first floor, located near the Help Desk. Choices include everything from young adult fiction, such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboksky, to fiction titles, including Attachments: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell.

Read the rest of this entry »

B.Y.O.Book Upcoming Events

by Candice Smith on July 8th, 2016
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If you’re in the mood for a little reading, eating, and talking, think about joining us at one of our B.Y.O.Book meetups. For the Summer/Fall series, we will be celebrating the exhibition of Shakespeare’s First Folio at the University of Iowa Main Library Gallery (August 29-September 25) by featuring a nonfiction book about Shakespeare’s work and two fiction books that have Shakespearean themes. This will be a very unique opportunity to read a book (or three) by or about one of the world’s most famous and influential writers, while at the same time having the chance to view the first printing of his collected plays.

Tuesday, August 2, 6-7 p.m. at The Mill (120 E. Burlington St.) we will be discussing Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Tuesday, September 20, 6-7 p.m. at Share Wine Lounge & Small Plate Bistro (in the Sheraton Hotel) we will be discussing Andrea Mays’ The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger’s Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare’s First Folio.

Tuesday, October 18, 6-7 p.m. at Northside Bistro (203 N. Linn St.) we will be discussing Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven: a Novel.

There will be a limited number of copies of the books available at the second floor Info Desk in the Library. If you have questions or want more information, please call 356-5200, or email or

We hope you can join us!

Nonfiction Graphic Works

by Brent Palmer on June 30th, 2016
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Books of all kinds in graphic format are becoming more and more popular.   The works in this format are not all Japanese Manga and superheroes, though.  The non-fiction shelves are scattered with different forms of serious non-fiction graphic works.  I thought I’d share a few of these I’ve recently discovered Read the rest of this entry »

Not My Father’s Son

by Heidi Lauritzen on June 30th, 2016
Not My Father’s Son Cover Image

Faced with seven hours of driving in one day, I headed for our collection of nonfiction books on disc and selected a title that has been on my pending list for a while:  Not My Father’s Son, by Alan Cumming.  The print book and the audio version were both published in late 2014, to positive reviews.  I enjoyed it very much, although parts of his story are difficult to listen to (or read, I’m sure).

Cumming weaves together two main story lines in the book.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Sting of the Wild : the Story of the Man who got Stung for Science

by Maeve Clark on June 30th, 2016
The Sting of the Wild : the Story of the Man who got Stung for Science Cover Image

Ouch, ouch, ouch! That hurts, that really really hurts!  Do you want to know why stings and bites hurt and why some insect stings are worse than others?  Then look no further than “The Sting of the Wild”. Schmidt, the “the King of the Sting” and”the Connoisseur of Pain”,  is an entomologist at  Southwestern Biological Institute and is affiliated with the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona and he has written a bitingly good book about insects that inflict pain.  I am attractive to flying insects; mosquitoes, gnats, and black flies – all those annoying little creatures of the air, so I was very interested in why me and not others.  Mosquitoes are attracted to certain blood types more than others, those with Type O being bitten the most frequently.  If you want to know what other factors make a mosquito pick you or ignore you, you’ll have to read the book.

His research area of expertise is insect venom and he is the creator of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.   The Schmidt sting pain index is a 5yellowjacket1-point pain scale, numbered from 0 to 4. An insect that can’t penetrate human skin ranks 0. The most painful stings rank 4 on the index.  I guess five must be death, which is possible with a sting.  Schmidt includes his pain scale as an appendix and it’s fascinating and funny, truly funny.  He gives the name, the range, the description and the pain level of each stinging insect.  There is only one level 4 in North America – the tarantula hawk, but there are many lower pain level insects.  But don’t think it is a tiny tingle if the level is lower, it’s not.  His descriptions read like entries in the “Wine Enthusiast” – Western yellow jacket – Pain Level 2 – Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.  Honey wasp – Pain Level 2 – Spice, blistering. A cotton swab dipped in habanero sauce has been pushed up your nose.

And get this, he based his pain index on experimentation with himself as the subject.    I have been stung by a paper wasp before and it is excrutiatingly painful.  I cannot imagine inflicting all of that agony on myself, but I am glad he was curious and strong enough to do it.  He was interviewed recently on Science Friday and he is in funny in person as he is in writing.