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On Air – The ICPL Podcast: Episode 10

by on March 24th, 2015

Get the podcast here or from iTunes or Stitcher

“Great Movies that Didn’t Win Oscars, and Jen’s Dating Game Results”

This month the gang discusses Great Movies that Didn’t Win Oscars plus Jen is back with follow up on how her Blind Date with a Book went.

00:41:What we’re reading/watching/listening to Jen: Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
01:19 Brian – The Martian by Andy Weir
03:21 Melody – Tim Johnston’s Descent
04:41 Jason – Louise Penny
6:02 Melody Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction
06:40 Meredith – Maeve Binchy’s new biography
08:35 Great Movies that Didn’t Win Oscars
09:10 Brian – LA Confidential loses to Titanic
14:35 Jason – Movie Scores – Psycho
19:25 Melody – Bechdel Test Movies – A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night/Before Midnight
26:27 Jen – Sense and Sensibility
28:03 Meredith – Shawshank Redemption
30:17 Brian – Short Term 12
32:39 Jason – Last of the Mohicans
36:53 Jen – The Descendants
41:37 Jen’s Dating Game Follow Up – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

ICPL celebrates National Poetry Month

by on March 24th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library received funding from Humanities Iowa, a private, non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to host a presentation called Landscape Iowa: Poems of James Hearst at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8. A cultural resource for Iowans since 1971, Humanities Iowa offers many cultural and historical programs and grants to Iowa’s communities.

This program, during which Dr. Scott Cawelti will explore the life and poetry of Iowa farmer-poet James Hearst through song, is one of several programs the Library has planned for National Poetry Month in April.

The Library will host a Totally Tweens: Poetry Workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, in Meeting Room A. Tweens in grades third through sixth are invited to write their own poems and learn about various poetic forms from haiku, concrete poems, acrostic poems, limericks, etc. Participants may share their poems aloud with the group if they wish. All materials will be provided and refreshments will be served. A poetry slam will take place the last 15 minutes of the workshop; parents and guardians may attend.

The program is free to attend, but registration is required. To register, visit; call (319) 356-5200; or stop by the Children’s Room desk.

Our Poetry Month Open Mic Night will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 13, in Meeting Room A. Stop by to share your favorite poem penned by you or another poet, or simply show up to hear other people read. There is a five minute limit per reader.

Reading Aloud, the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center’s poetry group, will present poetry readings about places from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, in Meeting Room A. This event is co-sponsored by the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center.

Finally, be sure to visit our collection of poetry books on the Library’s second floor and try your hand at crafting your own on our super-sized Magnetic Poetry display, also located on the second floor.

For more information, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Video Staff Picks: March 2015 – Music, Quick Reads, and More

by on March 23rd, 2015

This month we share a musician who will be performing at the upcoming Mission Creek Festival, a quick read, a mystery, and a book Maeve describes as a “Gateway from fiction to nonfiction.” Enjoy!

Book Madness Update: What titles, characters will make our Sweet 16?

by on March 23rd, 2015

I didn’t fill out a NCAA basketball bracket this year and that’s a good thing because it would be busted by now. My Book Madness bracket, however, still has a chance.BookMadness

Below are the titles in our Second Round. You have until the Library closes on Wednesday to vote for the titles, characters you want to see advance to the Sweet Sixteen. We will reveal the updated bracket Thursday morning.

If you would like a list of every title in this year’s Book Madness competition, click here.

Book Madness 2015: Adults and Teens


  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • How to Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman
  • One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • I Drink for a Reason by David Cross


  • A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  • House Rules by Jodi Picoult
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card


  • 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand


  • A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich
  • A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
  • The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
  • On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
  • What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? By Peter Hedges
  • The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas

Book Madness 2015: Children’s


  • Olivia
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Percy Jackson
  • Pete the Cat
  • Curious George
  • Little Critter
  • The Pigeon


  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • A Bargain for Frances by Lillian and Russell Hoban
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


  • Lunch Lady
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Magic Tree House
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Amulet
  • Babymouse
  • Rainbow Magic Fairies
  • Elephant and Piggie


  • Journey by Aaron Becker
  • The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
  • Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
  • A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Mayer
  • Owly by Andy Runton
  • The Umbrella by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert
  • Chalk by Bill Thomson
  • Fox’s Garden by Princesse Camcam


Want to contribute to teen programming in the library?

by on March 20th, 2015

Joining the Teen Activity Group at ICPL is a great way to have a say in what happens in your library! We meet once a month, eat snacks, talk about books, TV, and movies, and discuss what’s coming up in the Teen Center. If you need volunteer hours, TAG counts! If you want to meet people, come to TAG! If you have an idea about an event you’d like to see in the library, come to a TAG meeting and talk about your idea! Recently we’ve had video game tournaments and TV show parties with the help and input of TAG members. And with summer coming up, we need more volunteers and people with good ideas.

The next TAG meeting is tomorrow, Saturday, from 1-2pm, in the Koza Family Teen Center. We have a meeting every month, usually on a Saturday, so come whenever you can. Check the calendar to confirm.

ICPL announces April classes for adults

by on March 19th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library is so much more than books! The Library gives free access to helpful tools that can help you manage your money, learn a language or find great local music. In April, our classes will focus on teaching you how to use and access these great resources.

Come learn about ICPL’s Online Music Project and a host of other free music providers at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 10. Learn the differences between streaming and downloading music, make a playlist or share music on a social media site.

Learn about MorningStar and Value Line, two leading resources for investment research, at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 21. We’ll demonstrate how to use these databases so you can get the information you need to be a smarter investor.

Want to learn a language, prepare for the GRE, or learn to use Microsoft Excel? You can do each of these things using the library’s database subscriptions for Mango and Learning Express. Join us at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 27 and we’ll demonstrate how to use these great resources and get you on the learning fast track.

All classes for adults are held in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 10 people per program, so patrons should register early. Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Teen Homework Help

by on March 18th, 2015

Homework Help

Stuck with your homework?  The Library can help!

The Iowa City Public Library has teamed-up with Envision Tutoring to provide free weekly tutoring sessions in all subjects for students in grades 7 through 12.  The tutors are volunteers–both university students and former educators–qualified to teach all subjects. Each tutor undergoes a background check and training to ensure students get the most benefit from the sessions, and tutoring sessions are confidential.

All tutoring will take place within the Koza Family Teen Center on the Library’s second floor. To sign up for your session, visit

Once you have chosen a slot that works for you, use the form at the bottom of the page to schedule that slot. We will get back to you within two weekdays to confirm your tutor reservation.

HORRORSTÖR: A Novel by Grady Hendrix

by on March 18th, 2015
HORRORSTÖR: A Novel by Grady Hendrix Cover Image

Last week as I was walking by the New Fiction books a colleague handed me, HORRORSTÖR by Grady Hendrix.  How fortuitous.  I was heading off to Chicago-landhorrorstor that weekend and would be making my inaugural visit to IKEA, and this title was the perfect primer, (in a twisted sort of way, that is).

Grady Hendrix’s book is a fast, very funny read.  HORRORSTÖR, takes place at ORSK: THE BETTER HOME FOR THE EVERYONE, an IKEA wannabe.   The book is cleverly designed with each chapter, at least initially, showcasing a named piece of furniture. The first, the BROOKA, is a very Scandinavian-like sofa, with clean lines and a description that screams IKEA.  “A sofa that’s everything you ever dreamed a sofa could be.  With memory-foam cushions and a high back that delivers the support your neck deserves, BROOKA is relaxing beginning to the end of your day.”.

horrostor1Something has gone amiss at ORSK, greatly amiss.  Every morning staff arrives to find furniture broken, glassware shattered and worse.  Three employees agree to work an overnight shift to try to discover what is happening during the nighttime hours.  As the night progresses, the pieces of furniture prefacing each chapter change.  We move from the sofa to bookshelves, to a dining room table to instruments of torture.  As the story unfolds we learn that this suburban Ohio ORSK store was built on the site of a prison, a prison of unspeakable horror.  While not the scariest of stories, HORROSTÖR, more than makes up for that weakness in the sleek design and packaging of the book.  Both fans and those who are not so keen on the IKEA experience will find HORRORSTÖR very entertaining.


Erin go Braugh

by on March 17th, 2015

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! In searching out where the Irish and their descendents live in the United States I came across a good number of maps. The first I found was from an article in Forbes listing the cities in the United States with highest density of Irish.  Boston was the highest with 20.4%.  More fun facts about the Irish diaspora is that Irish-Americans are at least 5% of the popirish Nationals2ulation in most counties across the U.S., and 10% or more in most of New England, New York state, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and other smaller counties across the country. At the other extreme, Miami is just 1% Irish.  What I really wanted was a map that would allow a user to click on a county and see what percentage of the population is of Irish ancestry. I got close with a map posted today by the US Census that showed Irish in the United States using figures from 2009 to 2013.   The Census map is pretty but it didn’t allow me to drill down as far as I wanted.

I found an interactive map, Measuring the U.S. Melting Pot, that offered me a means of comparing the ethnicity of various populations in the United States.  You can compare the number of Swedes to Norwegians in Minnesota, the number of Irish to Italians in New York City, the Irish to the Germans in Iowa.  Another map of interest is, Mapping the Emerald Isle: a geo-genealogy of cartogram irishIrish surnames, where you can search a a surname and find where folk of that name lived in  which Irish counties, both the Republic and the North,  according to the 1890 census.  I also found a cartogram, posted by Jerry Soloman from the University of Georgia,  of the percent ofIrish ancestry by county.  It still wasn’t interactive, but it was a fascinating map.  Cartograms distort the area of geographic features to reflect the values of an underlying variable, in the map to the  right, it shows the percentage of those claiming Irish descent.  The cartogram at the bottom shows shows those claiming Irish ancestry with an emphasis large urban areas. (I particularly like it because it kind of resembles a whale.)  And whether you can claim any Irish blood, most all of us live in a county were someone can. Sláinte!

cartogram irish whale




Video Game Tournament Tomorrow

by on March 17th, 2015

Happy spring break! The Teen Center is open for extended tech times all week (1-8pm), and tomorrow we’re hosting…


The Naruto shippuden ultimate ninja storm revolution video game tournament. Be here at 1pm to get your spot in the tournament, which will run until 2pm. There will be a prize for the champion!

Even if you just want to watch, this should be an exciting tournament. Be in the Teen Center on the second floor at 1pm for the fun!