And the Winners are…

by on February 2nd, 2018

I am happy to present the medalists and honorees for ICPL’s 2018 Mock Youth Media Awards. Without any further ado here they are–

The Newbery Medal goes to:
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The Newbery Honor titles are:

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Midnight without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly




The Caldecott Medal goes to:

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The Caldecott Honor titles are:

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal


Thank you to everyone who participated in ICPL’s 2018 Mock Awards! We will be making an announcement with the real winners on February 12th.

Experience Ex Libris with Us!

by on February 2nd, 2018

You’re invited to join other library friends at a special Iowa City screening of Ex Libris, the award-winning film about the New York Public Library. I think that fans of director Frederick Wiseman’s films and everyone else who loves what public libraries like NYPL and ICPL mean to their neighborhoods and communities will not want to miss this opportunity. We’re partnering with FilmScene and the University of Iowa Libraries to offer the film on Saturday, February 17 at 10am, and again on Sunday, February 18 at 10am. Tickets for this amazing documentary are available at FilmScene (118 E College St, Suite 101, Iowa City) or online at

Discount tickets are available to supporters of the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation. Make a donation and use the Additional Information section to tell me that you’d like to know how to get the discount and I’ll happily share that information. See you there!


Deposit Collections from ICPL

by on February 2nd, 2018


The Deposit Collections are not a well-known Outreach offering of the Iowa City Public Library, but they provide a fun “mini browsing” experience for residents of Melrose Meadows Retirement Community, Oaknoll Retirement Community, and Oaknoll’s Health Center. Retirement and assisted living facilities in Iowa City, Hills, University Heights, and Rural Johnson County are eligible to borrow 30 Large Print books from our collection every 9 weeks. Community & Access Services works with Maintenance to ensure these temporary browsing collections are delivered and switched out on time.

I love choosing which 30 books get the honor of making the trip to each facility. Since one of the library’s purposes is to provide information and entertainment that appeals to a variety of interests and tastes, I am sure include a variety of popular literary fiction, mysteries, romances, westerns, and nonfiction. I am also careful not to send the same books out over and over, aiming instead to send a new batch each time.

Responsibility for the Deposit Collections rests with the institutions that host them, since they are loaned items and not donations. If a prospective outreach site feels they do not have a controlled enough environment to keep track of loaned books, they may choose to receive gift books instead. For more information about Deposit Collections and Outreach Libraries, you can contact me at or by calling me at 319-887-6038.

Mock Newbery Nominee: Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson

by on January 31st, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson Cover Image

This is the last Mock Newbery summary and review before voting ends and we declare a winner! Our final nominee is Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson. This intense piece of historical fiction delves into racism, identity and the choices we make.

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra by Kieron Gillen

by on January 31st, 2018

I read a lot of Star Wars comics.  A lot.  I blogged in the past about my favorite title, Star Wars: Darth Vader, which ended in 2016.  Star Wars: Doctor Aphra is a sequel of sorts.  Doctor Aphra is a character who was introduced in Star Wars: Darth Vader, and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra takes place after the end of that series.

Doctor Aphra is an archaeologist who worked for Darth Vader (before he tried to kill her).  Aphra brings along the supporting cast from Star Wars: Darth Vader–two assassin droids, Beetee and Triple-Zero (my favorites!) and Black Krrsantan, a Wookiee bounty hunter.  In this first volume, we learn more about Aphra’s history and meet some people from her past.  Also, Aphra owes just about everyone money, and there’s a lot of double-crossing.  She’s just a woman trying to make her way in the galaxy, you know?

It’s hard to introduce an original character into the Star Wars universe and have them fit naturally, but writer Kieron Gillen did a phenomenal job of creating one in Aphra.  She’s anti-hero that you can’t help but love.  Seriously, give her a spin-off movie or something.  I really dig Kev Walker’s art in it too.  Star Wars: Doctor Aphra is an easy recommendation for someone who read and liked Star Wars: Darth Vader.  I’d recommend both titles to any Star Wars fan!

The Lunar Trifecta – A Super Blood Blue Moon Lunar Eclipse – where and when to watch

by on January 30th, 2018

If you are an early morning skywatcher, you are in for a treat tomorrow.   Monday’s Trilobites column by  Nicolas St. Fleur in the New York Times details what will happen during this celestial event – “Lunar eclipses are not uncommon, but the coincidence of Wednesday’s blood moon with other astronomical events is what makes this event special. First, because it is a “blue moon” — that means it is the second full moon to occur in a month. Also, it is a supermoon, meaning it will be closer to the Earth than usual, ” According to Mr. Johnston.  a program executive at NASA””Midwesterners are a tad luckier as they will be able to see more of the event. For them, the moon enters the penumbra at 4:51 a.m. Central Time and starts to turn reddish around 6:15 a.m. Central Time. Between 6:15 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. local time will be the best chance for anyone living in the Midwest to see the spectacle before the sun rises.”   Johnston has been blogging about the moon for NASA since 2004

The best tip for anyone trying to see the eclipse is to get a clear view of the horizon and look in the west-northwest direction. “The farther west you are, the higher in the west-northwest the moon will appear, the darker the sky will be,” said Mr. Johnston, “and the longer you will be able to view the eclipse before sunrise and moonset.”  NASA will be streaming the lunar event at and has a lot of great information at it including a graphic that shows the cycle of the eclipse. If this post and the upcoming lunar trifecta has piqued your interest in the skywatching, the library has a wealth of books for all ages of readers.  We also have spectacular dvds to aid you in your understanding of the universe.

ICPL to host Teen Fanfiction Event

by on January 29th, 2018

OTP, Fluff, Ships, AU, Fanon, Plotbunny: Do these terms mean anything to you? If so, you might already be into fanfiction, or fiction written by a fan of a particular TV series, book, movie, or anime. Fanfiction picks up where the original leaves off by exploring the fictional worlds and beloved characters in greater detail than ever dreamed possible by its creator. Millions of fanfiction short stories, poems, songs, and novels have already been written about popular fandoms such as Harry Potter, the Avengers, Naruto, and Doctor Who. This do-it-yourself genre provides the characters and you provide the creativity!

Interested in giving fanfiction a try? ICPL’s Teen Services is hosting a fanfiction event from 6-8p.m. on Wednesday, January 31st in Meeting Room E. Open to students in grades 7-12, “Fanfiction Addiction” is an opportunity to explore fanfiction and meet fellow fans. We will play improvisational writing games, watch fan-made videos, discuss our favorite fandoms, eat snacks, and share fanfiction.

“Fanfiction Addiction” is a free event. For more information, call the Library at 319-356-5200.

Mock Caldecott Review: Here We Are

by on January 26th, 2018

Image result for oliver jeffers here we areLast, and last to be published in 2017, but certainly not least in our Mock Caldecott review series is Here We Are: notes for living on planet Earth by acclaimed author-illustrator, Oliver Jeffers.

Written for his son during the first few months of his life, Here We Are is exactly what the title suggests, a guide to life on our planet. With his singular illustration style and tongue in cheek humor, Jeffers takes us through what makes Earth, Earth, and in the process what makes us, human. The overarching theme throughout is respect for our planet, ourselves and one another.

“It looks big, Earth. But there are lots of us on here so be kind. There is enough for everyone.”

Be sure to watch out for characters from other books throughout the illustrations and read the quotations he has chosen for the dedication and copyright pages. Also, don’t forget to vote in our Mock Caldecott awards by January 31st.

Image result for here we are jeffers reviewRelated image

Mock Newbery Nominee: The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla

by on January 24th, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla Cover Image

Welcome to the penultimate Mock Newbery summary and review! Today we’ll consider The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla. This story is all about understanding life and what it means to be a family. Will this heartfelt and humorous story connect with you?

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Happy Library “Shelfie” Day!

by on January 24th, 2018

In 2014, the New York Public Library declared the fourth Wednesday in January to be National Library Shelfie Day – that’s a day dedicated to snapping selfies in front of library shelves, of course! Launching an Instagram campaign encouraging library users to post “shelfies” alongside the hashtag #libraryshelfie, NYPL hoped to reach tweens, teens, and young adults – those demographics for which the selfie seems to be omnipresent.

Well, I’m a late adopter of the smartphone and not totally comfortable with the selfie as a concept, but I do love libraries and books. And I realized this morning that in just one day of work as an Iowa City Public Library children’s librarian, I encountered numerous library shelves beyond the traditional downtown building. We are out in the community bringing the library to you! 

Here’s my #libraryshelfie on the bookmobile!

Find our current bookmobile schedule here.

The bookmobile is a “boutique” library service – we have limited space, so only the best books make it to the shelves here. Better yet, new and popular books that are perpetually checked out at the downtown building can often be found on the bookmobile!

Next I snapped a #libraryshelfie in front of our outreach collection at the Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood Center. The Neighborhood Center serves as a family resource center for the residents of the Pheasant Ridge Apartments, where a large portion of Iowa City’s immigrant and refugee population settles. The library maintains a collection here for residents to enjoy – and each month, we stop in and switch up the books on display, reshelve items, and ensure it’s looking tidy and inviting. Find out more about the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County here.


Then I went to Alexander Elementary School for storytime with the preschoolers there! Each month, ICPL children’s librarians visit over thirty-five preschools to extend their classroom curriculum with early literacy activities and encourage them to visit the library with their families. At some sites, students also visit the bookmobile and select books for their classroom.

After I shared books, flannel board stories, fingerplays, and musical instruments with these kids, I asked them to pose for a #libraryshelfie in front of their classroom library!

And then I was back at the downtown library for one last #libraryshelfie. Happy Library Shelfie Day!