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Little Free Library Tour Ends at Iowa City Book Festival

by on September 30th, 2015

On a Sunday afternoon in June of 2013, I watched as my daughter’s Girl Scouts troop filled two Little Free Libraries with books from their bookshelves. It was the last step in their year-long Silver Award project and a way to leave a legacy at their North Liberty elementary schools as they made the transition to junior high.Little Free Library

Those girls are in high school now, but the Little Free Libraries they installed at Garner and Van Allen elementary schools remain, both an ever-revolving selection of books for the students who walk by them every day.

The Take a Book, Leave a Book movement got its start in Hudson, Wisc., in 2009 when Todd Bol built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.

Today, there are more than 32,000 registered Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and 70+ countries.

Bol, executive director of the Little Free Library movement,  and Margret Aldrich, author of The Little Free Library Book, are two of this weekend’s Iowa City Book Festival featured speakers. Their presentation will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in Meeting Room A.

This appearance is Bol’s last on his Iowa leg of his Little Free Library Across America Tour. Rachael Carlson, director of operations for the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, says Bol will build a Little Free Library is the Pedestrian Mall before and after his talk. For anyone who has considered building their own Little Free Library, Saturday’s event is the perfect time to learn more about it.

The Iowa City Book Festival begins Thursday and continues through Sunday. For a complete list of events, including those happening at the Library, visit

Volunteers are still needed for this year’s festival. To sign up, click here.

Craft from home with ICPL! (Part 1)

by 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!

ICPL Announces October Music is the Word Events

by on September 29th, 2015

Join Iowa City Public Library as we celebrate all things musical with Music is the Word.

This special series of programming, to continue through May 2016, welcomes the University of Iowa School of Music building to downtown Iowa City. The Voxman Music Building is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.

Music is the Word launched last month with a Musical Revue at The Englert Theatre, followed by several events at the Library, including live music in the lobby and a special family concert. Here’s what’s happening in October:

2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, in the Storytime Room: A Family Concert featuring Marc Falk. Marc Falk is a choral conducting professor from Coe College. He will also give audience members a micro-conducting lesson.

2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, in Meeting Room A: Reading by Stephen Witt, author of “How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy.” Journalist Stephen Witt traces the secret history of digital music piracy, from the German audio engineers who invented the mp3, to a North Carolina compact-disc manufacturing plant where factory worker Dell Glover leaked nearly two thousand albums over the course of a decade, to the high-rises of midtown Manhattan where music executive Doug Morris cornered the global market on rap, and, finally, into the darkest recesses of the Internet. Part of the Iowa City Book Festival (

10:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in Meeting Room A: Preschool Storytime. We will make and use homemade kazoos and other instruments in our very own Kidcophony.

7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in Meeting Room A: Documentary Screening – “From the 50 Yard Line.” This documentary tells the emotional marching band story through two high school bands: one an Ohio championship show band, the other a Los Angeles band reborn after 18 years of silence due to budget cuts. Travel on adventures through band camp, the marching season, and 2006 competitions. See the life-changing effects for these exceptional students and the ramifications when music is lost. (2007) 94 min.

5:45 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, Downtown Iowa City: ICPL Book Cart Drill Team and Kazoo Band. Don’t miss our annual Book Cart Drill Team in the University of Iowa Homecoming Parade, joined this year by a special Kazoo Band.

Noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, in the Lobby: Music on Wednesday @ICPL featuring Pigs and Clover. Take a few minutes during your lunch hour for a live musical performance.

7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, in Meeting Room A: Iowa Roots Music with David Zollo and Andy Fleming. David Zollo joins Andy Fleming of the Des Moines-based band, Brother Trucker, in a unique conversational music performance.

7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, in Meeting Room A: Iowa Literary Heritage Film Screening – “State Fair.” This film version of Phil Stong’s 1932 novel of the same name, directed by Walter Lang and starring Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crane, was the only musical written directly for film by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. A small-town family travels to the State Fair. The father is looking for a blue ribbon for his prize hog, Blue Boy, Mom is looking for glory in her cooking, and the kids are looking for love. (1945) 100 min.

2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, in Meeting Room A: Family Concert with The Dandelion Stompers. The Dandelion Stompers are a local New Orleans-style jazz combo featuring Chris Clark, Katie Greenstein, Ira Greenstein, Brandi Janssen, Marc Janssen, Katie Roche, Suzanne Smith and Jacob Yarrow.

7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, at The Mill. Join us for the fall 2015 series of the B.Y.O.Book “Books In Bars” Book Club meetups! This month we will discuss Sherman Alexie’s “Reservation Blues.” Registration is encouraged due to space limitations. Limited copies of the book will be available for check out from Info Desk staff on the Library’s second floor.

7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, in Meeting Room A: Iowa Literary Heritage Film Screening – “State Fair.” Starring Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, Anne Margaret, and directed by Jose Ferrer, with words and music by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers, this film is a remake of the 1945 movie, with new songs by Richard Rodgers. An Iowa farm family heads to the Iowa State Fair. The parents are focused on winning the competitions for livestock and cooking. However, their restless daughter Margy and her brother Wayne meet attractive new love interests. (1962) 118 min.

10:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, in Meeting Room A: Family Concert with Orchestra Iowa. Stop by to learn about the string family and hear wonderful quartet music!

2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, in the Storytime Room: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” Sing-Along.

Noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in Meeting Room A: University of Iowa School of Music Lunch Performance. Join musicians from the UI School of Music as they share their talents with the community.

Noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the Lobby: Music on Wednesday @ICPL featuring Saul Lubaroff. Take a few minutes during your lunch hour for a live musical performance.

10:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, in the Storytime Room: Halloween Dance Party Preschool Storytime. Come in costume today for a Halloween dance party and costume parade around the Library!

A listing of all Music is the Word events can be found at

For more information, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village

by on September 29th, 2015
Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village Cover Image

This gorgeous new picture book is written by Fang Suzhen of Taiwan and illustrated by Sonja Danowski of Germany.  In the story, a little boy, Xiao Le, and his mother travel by train to visit his maternal grandmother who is sick.  At first the little preschooler is shy when he sees his grandmother in bed looking older than he remembered.  Although he brought his truck to show her, Xiao Le isn’t ready to part with it yet.  The adult reading this book to a child will understand quickly that Grandma is dying and this will be their last visit together.  Little Xiao Le runs to get his mother’s help when Grandma needs some water.  He pets her cat, Shadow, on the bed.  While the mother goes outside to hang clothes in the yard, Grandma gets out of bed to enjoy some sunshine and play a game with the wood sorrel leaves outside with Xiao Le.  The three enjoy tea in the garden and finally his grandmother goes back to bed to sleep and Xiao Le gives her his truck for company.  Back home the little boy and his mother learn from Aunt Zhou that Grandma has “left Perfume Village and moved into heaven.”  The loving comfort depicting the mother’s grief and her son’s concern is tender and realistic.  What makes this book about death so special is the artwork.  Danowski’s exquisite watercolor paintings are reminiscent of the artwork by Paul O. Zelinsky and Gennady Spirin.  The illustrations are warm and gentle, and lovingly detailed.  Capturing the Asian family so beautifully in the artwork gives us a very special book to share with youngsters who may have encountered a death in their own family.  The quality of the book is also obvious in the heavy paper used.  There is further information about the author and the illustrator at the back of the book.  Gorgeous pictures and the touching text make for a wonderful picture book.  Take note of this title; I loved it!

Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin

by 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!


Marching Band Display

by on September 26th, 2015

Our nine month long initiative to welcome the new UI School of Music, Music is the Word (MITW), has officially begun with a bang! We had a wonderful kickoff musical revue event at the Englert last Sunday and are looking fMarching band pics2orward to some wonderful events through May of next year.

Currently we are displaying some unique and fun marching band items in the large display case outside of the Children’s Department.  Herky is also making an appearance in ICPL on a very large, vintage bass drum on one of the large print shelves.

Many thanks go to West Music, the University’s School of Music and Regina High School for their generous donations for the duration of this display.Be sure to stop by and check out these wonderful items through Homecoming weekend.

Keep your eyes peeled for more fun displays to come throughout the rest of MITW!



Library Streaming Video

by on September 25th, 2015

The Library often has events I’d love to attend, but other life things (having children) make it a stretch. Steven Pinker was here last Tuesday, for example, and there was lots of excitement. A young couple asked me earlier that day if they would get seats by getting here an hour before he started speaking. I said I thought they would.

If you have cable through Mediacom, then you can watch events like this on Channel 20, The Library Channel.


What’s neat is that a lot of ICPL’s videorecordings are available to watch any time at As with the catalog, you are able to browse by subject or search by keyword. If there is a recording that you know the Library has but you’re not seeing on the site, then you can request it be added by writing us here:

Overdrive Tips: ePub vs Kindle Formats

by on September 25th, 2015

Some of our eBook users have asked for more information about eBook formats and which one is best.

Image showing the download button with format options from overdrive

After you have selected an eBook to check out you are presented with a choice about which format to download. The “format” just describes how the content of an eBook is assembled so it can be displayed in eReader software.  Functionally, they are all about the same although there may be some small feature differences.  Generally speaking, you can usually use any format. In order to read Kindle format on a non-Kindle device you need the Kindle app. To read ePub formats on a Kindle, you need the Overdrive app (however, Kindle eReaders like the Paperwhite must use the Kindle format).  Here are a few guidelines:

Kindle Format

Pro: If you own a Kindle, the books show up in your carousel and generally behave like other eBooks you have bought from Amazon.
Con: checking out and returning books can be a little more cumbersome as this has to be done online via your Amazon account.

ePub Format

Pro: Assuming you are using the Overdrive Media Console (app), the whole process happens within the app. Browsing, checkout, download, read and return.
Con: If you are a kindle user, it may be more cumbersome to remember that your library eBooks are in the Overdrive app.

In general, if you aren’t sure which to choose, I would recommend using the ePub format.

More Info from Overdrive Help:

The difference between eBook Formats

If you want more help we have time and staff dedicated each week to answer your questions about Overdrive in Drop-In Tech Help.

A Budding Hobby

by on September 25th, 2015

When my husband and I were looking for new places to live this past spring our top priority was finding a place with a fenced in yard for our pugs to romp in and enjoy. After living in our new location for almost three months now I have realized that the yard is almost as exciting for me as it is for the pugs.

Frank and Fifi are not the only ones excited to have a yard!

Frank and Fifi are not the only ones excited to have a yard!

Over the past few weeks I noticed mums being sold all around town and walked past them with longing. Then it dawned on me; I have a lawn, I can plant flowers! I immediately searched the Iowa City Public Library catalog and found some books to help me as I began thinking about what to plant and how to go about creating my first flower bed. I knew I wanted to plant mums because I love how they look and I read that they are pretty hardy so hopefully I wouldn’t kill them. Additionally, I decided to plant tulips so I would have flowers to enjoy as soon as winter ends, as well as some hostas that I was able to split and transplant from an abandoned bunch in the back yard.

Luckily I will have plenty of reading material over the Winter!

Luckily I will have plenty of reading material over the Winter!

Now the flowers are in the ground and the mulch has been spread, but my new obsession has just begun! I am already scoping out other parts of the yard and wondering what more I can do. Luckily for me, ICPL subscribes to several home and garden magazines to keep me thinking about new and different projects I can begin. What lawn or house project have to undertaken recently with the help of library resources?

ICPL announces October Classes for Adults

by on September 25th, 2015

October’s computer classes for adults at the Iowa City Public Library bring users back to the basics. Investigate how the hardware in your computer makes it such a powerful machine, and learn how to empower yourself to surf social media and the internet safely.

Our Internet Safety: Protecting Your Privacy class will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Learn how to protect yourself and your privacy when browsing the internet, making a purchase or doing online banking.

Our Social Media Safety: Protecting Your Online Privacy class will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12. This class will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of using privacy settings on several social networking sites. Learn how to adjust your privacy settings and discover what information is already out there online about you.

Two classes are scheduled for The Computer: Let’s Talk Hardware course. One will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20. The other will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 30. Get ready and roll up your sleeves for some hands on activities which will help you explore the inside of a computer.

All classes for adults are held in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 15 people per program, so patrons should register early.

Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at 319-356-5200.