Check out an Experience

by on March 5th, 2019

The Library recently introduced Discovery Kits for children, teens and adults, and they have been very popular! From pickle ball, to astronomy, cake decorating or how to play the ukulele, there’s something for everyone.

Many thanks to the Community Foundation of Johnson County for providing funds for these kits and KWWL for a great news story about the kits.

We invite everyone to check out a new experience.

What’s Up with the Bookmobile and No Heat?

by on March 5th, 2019

The long winter is wearing on everyone, including the Bookmobile. We’ve thought of the Bookmobile’s two heaters this winter as the “Little Heaters that Could.” Unfortunately, last week they just couldn’t keep up with the extended cold and their attempts to keep the inside of the Bookmobile toasty warm. The good news is the heaters are fixed. The bad news is a fuel pump to one of the heaters is not working. Our good friends at the City’s Equipment Division have a new fuel pump on order. Hopefully the Bookmobile will be ready to roll in time for Wednesday afternoon stops. Many thanks to everyone for your patience this winter. Spring will be here soon, right?

Last chance for a Blind Date With A Book

by on February 15th, 2019

Did you spend Valentine’s Day without a current read that makes your heart pound?

This weekend’s your last chance to let us set you up on a Blind Date With a Book.  The books are using their first sentences as pick-up lines this year — these are two of my favorites!









Anyone who finishes their Blind Date by the end of the month can enter a prize drawing for this ICPL book bag valued at $29.99.  Return your Rate Your Date bookmarks to the Help Desk.

Your library

No Bookmobile Service on Monday, Feb. 18

by on February 10th, 2019

The Iowa City Public Library Bookmobile will not be in service on Monday, February 18.

The Downtown Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bookmobile holiday hours are always available on the Library’s website.

Remember, even when the Bookmobile isn’t in service, online services are available 24/7 at This includes account access and, for those who live in our service area, access to ICPL’s Digital Library including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, The New York Times and Kanopy video streaming.

We’ll see you back on the Bookmobile on February 19!

Language and Literacy Skills Start Early: Before Birth!

by on January 31st, 2019

Families are faced with many changes after baby arrives, but implementing a daily reading routine doesn’t need to be one of them.

Today the Iowa City Public Library launches a new program – Belly Baby Reads – to help growing families encourage literacy. While many early literacy programs focus on children after they’re born,  Belly Baby Reads fosters literacy before a child’s arrival by focusing on the expecting family.

hello baby animalsThe library’s Belly Baby Reads program encourages families to develop a reading routine before baby arrives, empowering caregivers to become more confident as a child’s first teachers. By encouraging expecting families to do 50 “read alouds”  before baby arrives, parents become more comfortable reading aloud, siblings can practice their literacy skills, and families can build a routine around reading, creating a bonding experience that sets the tone and expectation that reading is important and valued at home. Families will receive a black and white board book upon registering, and when they finish 50 “read alouds.”

Belly Baby Reads is the perfect tie-in to Iowa City Public Library’s 1,000 BooksHello Animals Before Kindergarten that was started in 2016 with a generous grant from Pearson. Once families complete Belly Babies Reads, their new baby will be signed up for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.

Visit and click on the Belly Babies link to register or find more information, or register at the Children’s Desk.

Belly Babies Reads was inspired by the Stork Storytime programming created by Jennifer Jordebrek and developed in collaboration with the North Liberty Community Library.”

Our calendar got an upgrade!

by on January 30th, 2019
Screenshot of new calendar

Screenshot of the new calendar

You’ll notice our calendar looks quite a bit different than it used to. Today we integrated it into the rest of our site to streamline your event finding experience with the rest of our site. Along with the integration, you’ll find some (hopefully!) good improvements.

Now the default view to see events is a list. If you’re browsing for events, you can quickly scan the list and see what’s happening at the library either today, this week, or this month. If you’re looking to request a meeting room, we also still have the grid view available to spatially see when our meeting rooms are available.

We’ve also re-categorized all of our events to make it easier to narrow down to events you’re interested in. See all the events in a single age category or type of event when looking at a month’s worth of events and you can easily see what’s coming up and mark your calendar accordingly.

Add to calendar buttonSpeaking of marking your calendar, you can also now add events directly from the event page to your personal calendar by clicking the calendar icon next to the date. There are several calendars available including Google Calendar, iCalendar, and Outlook Calendar.

Each event also has a list of related events so if you find one you like, you can find more upcoming events like it.

You might have also noticed the homepage changed today as well. Along with upgrading the calendar, we also took the opportunity to update our homepage to a simpler layout. We’re still making improvements and you’ll continue to see more changes throughout the year as we continue working to make our website easy to use.

Have comments or feedback? Feel free to contact us through email or chat, or leave us a note through our Website Feedback form.

What was that really loud sound I heard last night? A cryoseismic boom!

by on January 30th, 2019

Yep, that’s right.  That sound you heard was a ‘COOL’ weather phenomenon also called a cold boom.  Technically, it is known as a cryoseismic boom. A phenomenon reserved for only the coldest of temperatures and rare for the lower latitudes of the continental United States.  The boom sound is created by a cryoseism, which is a mini explosion within the ground caused by the rapid expansion of frozen water.

Cryoseisms usually occur when temperatures rapidly decrease from above freezing to subzero, and are more than likely to occur between midnight and dawn (during the coldest parts of night). In general, cryoseisms may occur 3 to 4 hours after significant changes in temperature. Perennial or seasonal frost conditions involved with cryoseisms limit these events to temperate climates that experience seasonal variation with subzero winters. Additionally, the ground must be saturated with water, which can be caused by snowmelt, rain, sleet or flooding. Geologically, areas of permeable materials like sand or gravel, which are susceptible to frost action are likelier candidates for cryoseisms. Following large cryoseisms, little to no seismic activity will be detected for several hours, indicating that accumulated stress has been relieved. (wikipedia)

The library has many fascinating books and dvds on weather and weather phenomena.  Come on down and borrow them.  Or if it’s too cold, you can stream documentaries from kanopy on extreme weather from the warmth and comfort of your home while sipping a delicious hot chocolate. If you seem a hear a loud boom between midnight and dawn, you need not fear an earthquake or an explosion.  It just the the ground crying out that it is too darn cold.  Stay warm everyone!

Iowa City Food Pantries & Free Meals list

by on January 29th, 2019

The extreme cold and school cancellations can add strain to our local families. Here is list of food resources in Iowa City and Iowa City Food Pantries & Free Meals:

Johnson County Crisis Center Food Bank
1121 S Gilbert Ct.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 12-4:30pm
Tuesday: 12-7:00pm
Thursday: 9:30am-4:30pm
Phone: (319) 351-0128

Iowa City Catholic Worker
1414 Sycamore Street
Little Free Food Pantry is available
Meal is served:
Saturday 4-7pm
Sunday 12-4pm

ICCompassion Food Pantry
1035 Wade St.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Wednesday: 12-4pm (Free community meal from 5-6pm)
Thursday: 5:30-7pm
Phone: (319) 330-9883

The River Community Church Food Pantry
Must be a resident of Iowa City
3001 Muscatine Ave.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Wednesday: 12-5pm
Phone: (319) 354-3118

Salvation Army
1116 S Gilbert Ct.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Food items to take-
Monday-Friday: 1-2pm
Soup kitchen-
Monday-Friday: Meal served at 5pm
Sunday: Grab and go bag lunch at 9:30am
Phone: (319) 337-3725

Free Lunch Program
1105 S Gilbert Ct. Suite 100
Iowa City, IA 52240
Monday-Saturday: 11:30am-1pm
Phone: (319) 337-6283

Agape Café (Old Brick Church)
Free made-to-order breakfast served during the school year (August-May)
26 E Market St.
Iowa City, IA 52245
Wednesdays: 7-8:30am
Phone: (319) 351-2626

Stay warm, Iowa City!

2019 ALA Youth Media Awards

by on January 28th, 2019

American Library Association Youth Media Awards It’s awards season in library land. I look forward to this day each year, as I love predicting which titles will win which awards. The ALA Youth Media Awards recognize distinguished “books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens.” You may be familiar with the John Newbery Medal and Randolph Caldecott Medal, since we just finished our Mock Award voting for these two medals. (See our winners here). Recently award recognition has expanded to include awards that “highlight high-quality literature for young people about diverse peoples and triumphs of the human spirit.” Check out the honor and medal winners below and if you want to know more about the awards, follow the link to the ALA Youth Media Awards.

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ICPL’s 2019 Mock Youth Media Award Winners

by on January 25th, 2019

I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read all about the Mock Awards cycle at ICPL, and everyone who cast a vote in this year’s Mock Youth Media Awards! Please be sure to check back here on Monday January, 28th as we will be announcing the ALA’s actual winners. You can also check out the live webcast .

Without further ado, the winners of ICPL’s 2019 Mock Youth Media Awards are…

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