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New Zinio magazines, app

by Melody Dworak on October 12th, 2015
Zinio for Libraries App

Zinio for Libraries App

As of last Friday, the Iowa City Public Library has five new digital magazines we’re offering on Zinio. Plus, Zinio is offering a new app for Kindle Fire/HD users now, too! The above Zinio link directs you to a page where you can read about our Zinio service, as well as find the links for the new app on Amazon and how-to instructions for the Fire.

So what about these new magazines? Take a look: Read the rest of this entry »

I’m heading back to school.

by Candice Smith on October 9th, 2015

pieblogPie School, that is.

Several years ago, a friend of mine confided in me that she was really nervous to bake a pie that she would be sharing with other, more accomplished pie bakers. She was, in particular, worried about the crust–she’d heard rumors that one of these other pie bakers could make the perfect crust. Now, I know from experience (okay, experiences…) that my friend is no slouch in terms of baking–or cooking in general, for that matter–so I was perplexed and dismissive of her worry. I didn’t get why she would be concerned about it when, in the end, we all knew the pie would be good enough.

After baking my first two pies, I get it.

With me, it’s not so much worry, since I’m sharing the baked goods with a captive audience who is 1) fond of dessert, 2) often hungry, and 3) legally bound by marriage to me and therefore must eat what I bake (it was in the vows). It’s more of a strong desire to keep making pies–better pies–and that means better crusts. I’m finding it’s not so simple as I previously thought; there are any number of pie crust recipes, using mostly the same ingredients but with small differences in the amounts, some additions, some substitutions. All of those little differences make for crusts that have varying characteristics. Theoretically, these recipes should make for pie crusts that are perfectly good. It’s not just the recipe you have to worry about, though, it’s how you put the ingredients together. How cold is your water, and how do you add it to the dry mix? Mixing by hand, or in a mixer? How are you adding your butter into the mix–literally, how are you rubbing the butter and dry ingredients together, and for how long? Chilling the dough, rolling the dough–there are so many variations on this process and the techniques. Yes, most of these crusts will taste good. BUT–will they be perfectly browned, with the right amount of bite? Will they have tender layers and not crumble apart, but still have nice flakiness?

I’m just a newbie at this. First crust was a bust, second was much better (not beautiful, but tasty). Both have been apple. I’m going to do a couple more tries on a basic crust and fruit pie, then maybe move on to something slightly more adventurous…I’m thinking the gouda and pear pie in Kate Lebo’s Pie School. If you want your own piece of the action, head to the 641.8652s, find a book, and get in the kitchen.

Music Music Music

by Kara Logsden on October 8th, 2015

2015 10 lmpMusic is the Word at Iowa City Public Library and we’re off to a great start. Music is the Word is a 9-month celebration of music to welcome the University of Iowa School of Music to Downtown Iowa City.

We’ve hosted a couple music events and already I’ve broadened my “music horizons.” The kickoff at The Englert Theatre in September was awesome and I was in awe of the many talented people who performed (thank you!). After seeing The Beggarmen, Kol Shira, and others, I want to hear more! Fortunately the Library’s Local Music Project has options for listening to local musicians.

2015 10 School of music

Scott Cochran and Matt Kearney’s performance at a recent Noon program sparked my interest in their music and I was able to see Scott’s band, Slewgrass, at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market a week or so ago. I also found Scott’s music with his other band, Flannel, in the Local Music Project and, after downloading it, I’ve been listening to their music at work and at home.

2015 10 SlewgrassMany other Music is the Word performers have music available in the Local Music Project. These include Awful Purdies, Crystal City, and David Zollo.

We invite to you head to the Library for the many upcoming musical events. A full schedule is available at There’s something for everyone! See you at the Library :)

Farewell Catalog Card

by Maeve Clark on October 6th, 2015

Some of you may never have used a card catalog or touched an actual catalog card, so the news from Dublin, Ohio that OCLC printed its last catalog card may not have meant much to you. To those of us who used catalog cards or took cataloging classes and used a typewriter to create a catalog card, it makes us wistful.

An excerpt from the Columbus Dispatch  10/02/2015 tells the story of the last printed catalog card: catalog card 4

Shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday, an era ended. About a dozen people gathered in a basement workroom to watch as a machine printed the final sheets of library catalog cards to be made by Dublin-based OCLC.

The final tally: 1.9 billion cards. 

OCLC long ago shifted its emphasis to online records and services, even changing its name from the Ohio College Library Center to the Online Computer Library Center. The company is known today by its initials.

“We were going to have a monk doing calligraphy on the last card,” joked Skip Prichard, the president and CEO, standing among the observers.

Catalog cards were once a key part of the company, with rows of printers running in a sunny second-floor observatory, hitting a peak output of 131 million cards in 1985. The company’s innovation was in compiling the information on the cards, which meant that libraries didn’t need to write the text themselves. As of last year, orders had fallen to less than 1 million. The final shipment was bound for Concordia College in Bronxville, N.Y., where librarians use the cards as a backup to an online catalog.

card_catalog_2In 1981 the Iowa City Public Library stopped using catalog cards. It was the dawning of a new era in the library world and Iowa City was a pioneer.   A 1982 article in Library Journal on the opening of the new Iowa City Public Library titled An Electronic Public Library for Iowa City  Connie Tiffany shared the story of how “the library used 14 full-time data entry operators who worked 21.500 hours retyping the bibliographic information for 120,000 items into the online format.  Some 10,300 patrons were re-registered …. and in October 1979 the circulation system went online”.   It wasn’t until the new library opened its doors did the physical card catalog finally disappear

The first online catalogs were very different from the ones we use today.  There was eerie wavering green type on a touch-screen terminal and they were slow; in order to find a title, subject or author the user had to keep narrowing down the search until the title of the item finally appeared.   There were eight catalog terminals when the library opened in 1981, today we have 24 online catalog spread throughout the entire library.  They are no longer touch screen monitors and the eerie green glow is gone.  Their speed is greatly improved and and access to other types of information has increased by the integration of many of the library’s online databases into a search.

While I don’t want to return to the age of the printed catalog card, I do feel somewhat nostalgic. card catalog 1 There was magic sometimes in riffling through the cards in the catalog, the mix of the new cards and old, and perhaps even the memory of past searches.




Hopping on the Express Shelf Express

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 6th, 2015

I am reading Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. I’m enjoying it immensely, but unfortunately it’s due on Friday and I still have 200 pages to go.ExpressShelf-SocialMedia

Did I mention that there are 23 holds on the Library’s eight copies?

I may finish by Friday, but what if I don’t? Do I keep the book over the weekend and pay a late fine? Do I return it and hope I remember where I left off when my hold comes up and I check it out again? Do I break down and buy a copy of my own?

The correct answer is none of the above.

I found a copy on the Library’s Express Shelf. I returned my copy of the book and checked out the Express book. Now I have 14 days to finish my book, while freeing another copy for someone on the holds list. Everyone is happy.

Be sure to check our Express Shelves, located on the first floor for fiction, second floor for non-fiction. The book you’re waiting for might be there waiting for you!

Oh, and if you do check out an Express Shelf copy and know you’ll finish it in two weeks, go ahead and take your name off of the holds list for that title. You’ll make tons of strangers happy!


October is Here

by Anne Mangano on October 3rd, 2015

This October is shaping up to be an exciting month for books. Not only are we currently celebrating the Iowa City Book Festival this weekend, but the list of authors who have new books this month is impressive. Want proof? Here is a selection of what’s coming out this month:

October 6

mtrain Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

M Train by Patti Smith

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks Read the rest of this entry »

Reading another person’s letters …

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 1st, 2015

An upcoming episode of On Air: The ICPL podcast will feature a Favorite Book segment.

Not books.


It isn’t easy choosing a favorite book. I have tons of favorites from various stages in life, but there is one title that remains my hands-down favorite: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

84, Charing Cross Road details the 20-year friendship between Hanff, a writer living in New York City, and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co., antiquarian booksellers in London. This lovely non-fiction book is an epistolary book, written entirely in the pair’s letters. (It was later turned into a stage play, TV play and a movie, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.)

I love epistolary novels – books written as a series of documents, such as letters and journal entries. There’s realness with this genre, even in fiction works. Reading something private instantly makes the reader part of the character’s personal life.

Some of my favorite epistolary titles include Stephen Chboksky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (bonus: it’s also a banned 0504_i-will-always-write-backbook; perfect for Banned Books Week reading); Attachments: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell; and Where Rainbows End (previously published as Rosie Dunne) by Cecelia Ahern. Now, I have a new title to add to the list: I Will Always Write Back by Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka.

I Will Always Write Back is the true story of two lives changed by a letter. Caitlin wrote to Martin as part of an English assignment, choosing Zimbabwe because she liked the name of the country. Her letter arrived with nine others, at a poor school with 50 students. Martin was lucky enough to receive one because he was the top student.

Caitlin and Martin had very little in common, but somehow they struck up a friendship that transcended their differences, eventually changing both of their lives. I Will Always Write Back is a great story of generosity, inner strength, and friendship. I could not put it down, finishing it in one afternoon.

I Will Always Write Back is cataloged as for ages 12 and up, but I see it as one of those books everyone should read, no matter if you are 15 or 50. It will make you smile, make you cry, and make you better for having experienced how truly amazing people can be.

Craft from home with ICPL! (Part 2)

by Melody Dworak on September 30th, 2015

Part 2: e-magazines on Zinio

Yarn bombing a car

A yarn-bombed car in Alicante, Spain. Source: Wikipedia.

Today I wanted to focus exclusively on the craft magazines we have on our digital magazine portal Zinio. Like yesterday’s post about crafty e-books on Digital Johnson County, you can find what e-magazines we have through our catalog, as well. You follow the same steps as finding only the e-books as you do for e-magazines. But instead of selecting “Adult EBOOK” under Format, you choose “EMAGAZINE.”

Read our Zinio Digital Magazines introduction and connect to the service with your library card number and password. You might also consider reading my how-to blog post introducing the new Zinio app in April 2015.

What crafting magazines do we offer? Here is the current list: Read the rest of this entry »

Craft from home with ICPL! (Part 1)

by Melody Dworak on September 29th, 2015
"Mr. Whiskers and his knitting needle" from MonotonousG on DeviantArt.

“Mr. Whiskers and his knitting needle” from MonotonousG on DeviantArt.

Love to knit, sew, or quilt? We have books for you! In addition to the great recommendations from Library Director Susan Craig, I wanted to share my own ways to find crafting books and magazines—ones you can check out from the comfort of your own home.

Part 1: e-books on Digital Johnson County (OverDrive)

If you are used to searching our catalog on a computer, you can always start there. Type in your craft of choice, then go to the left-hand side and select “Adult EBOOK” under the Format heading.

Once you are there, you can click the “Check out with OverDrive” button. If your library account is up to date and you know your password, you can log in and be on your way! If you haven’t updated your address with us in a while or have more than $10 in fines, you may get an error message.

You can also go directly to the Digital Johnson County website to browse around that way. To get all the craft books we have on OverDrive, you’ll want to do an Advanced Search, and change the drop-down menu that says “All Subjects” to “Crafts”. For some reason, you can’t get to the Crafts subject from the red box area where you might be used to looking around. You can type in “crafts” into the general search, too, but not all of the books that show up will be relevant. You’ll have a better time searching for the specific craft (knitting, crochet, etc.) in that simple search box.</p?

And keep the 4th Annual ICPL Arts and Crafts Bazaar in mind while you work on your projects. If you have something special enough to donate, this ICPL fundraiser is on Saturday, December 5, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and donations will be accepted through Friday, December 4.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow–Craft magazines on Zinio!

Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin

by Katherine Habley on September 29th, 2015
Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin Cover Image

Okay I admit it….I’m a Midwestern girl through and through.  Born in Cleveland, moved to Chicago as a young child, then to Kansas City where I grew up, then off to college in Columbia, Missouri, then to my first professional library job in Normal, Illinois (where I met my husband), next to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where our two children were born, and finally to Coralville where our kids grew up (now 32 and 34 years old). The point is, I am proud of my Midwestern upbringing and the work ethic and sense of values inherent in being part of a friendly and down to earth region of the country.  So I found the book, Primates of Park Avenue, quite a stretch in subject matter from what I can relate to as a woman, wife, and mother.  The author has a PhD. from Yale and does writing and social research.  Her background in anthropology is evident as she compares mommies who live on the Upper East Side to primates and to women from other countries. This book is a memoir about Martin’s life moving from downtown NYC to Park Avenue with her wealthy husband, a native of Manhattan.  The customs and social life of the women in her uber rich neighborhood are absolutely foreign to me, and thus, very interesting and appalling at the same time. Trying to fit in as a new mom in a new neighborhood, wanting a good school for your son, and wanting to meet new friends are definitely things I understand; but the high society social climbing that apparently happens in the Upper East Side is something I’m glad I’ve never encountered in Iowa.  Martin feels like a social outcast in her new lifestyle.  The stress of getting a kindergartner into the best school in the city, wearing only designer clothes and carrying a Birkin bag, always being dressed to the nines whenever you leave the apartment to buy milk at the local store, taking Xanax to ward off a nervous breakdown, being snubbed when trying to set up a child’s playdate, owning a second home in the Hamptons, and vacationing in Vail are all discussed in this funny and erudite novel written from an interesting slant.  The comparisons between mother baboons and mommies on Park Avenue is just amazing. Talk about looking at cultural mores and animal behavior in a whole new way! I didn’t want to put this book down.  Hope you enjoy it as well!