South to Kalona

by on August 10th, 2017

south-to-kalonaA friend of mine posted this photo, which I have titled South to Kalona, on Facebook. It was so quintessentially Iowa that I asked her if I could share it and she agreed. She took the photo one afternoon driving from Iowa City south to Kalona on Highway One. When I asked her why she took the photo, she said she felt compelled to pull off the road when she came upon the perfectly lit cornfield. And I am glad she did. It was, at least to me, evocative of Grant Wood’s work, especially his paintings of Stone City and rural Jones County. If you would like to learn more about Grant Wood the library has many books of his paintings and other creative endeavors and several biographies.

hiking-iowa

If you are looking for a day trip to find your own perfect picture of Iowa, the library can help you plan your adventure. We have a number of items on Iowa travel. One of my favorites is Hiking Iowa by Elizabeth Hill. Other titles of interests to the Iowa tourist are Great Iowa Walks: 50 strolls, rambles, hikes, and treks by Lynn L. Walters and Take the next exit : new views of the Iowa landscape edited by Robert F. Sayre.

If you would like to learn more about how to take great photographs, , the library can help you. We have many books on photography, from the basics to advanced, from using an SLR camera, to your cellphone or even how to use a drone. We also have coffee-table books of famous photographers works as well. Let me issue you all a challenge – take a little trip before summer is over and take a photograph that captures Iowa for you. Then share it. Let’s celebrate the beauty of our state.

 

The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017!

by on August 9th, 2017

Something very exciting will happen on Monday, August 21.  We will get to witness a solar eclipse.  While we aren’t in the path for the total eclipse, at 1:12:42 thnasa_eclipse_mape moon will obscure 92.3% of the sun.   I witnessed a total solar eclipse in 1980 while I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, (Democratic Republic of Congo) and it was truly awe inspiring.  The day went black, the temperature dropped, the roosters crowed, the peafowl and other birds took to the trees.

There are hundreds of websites to find out information about this phenomenal astronomical event.   One of my favorite is from eclipseVOX.  It has a eclipse location function where you can type in your zip code and find out how much of the sun will be obscured.  NASA, of course, has excellent resources. NPR has run a couple of stories about the excitement around the eclipse including one on the first photograph taken of a solar eclipse.

The Children’s Department has programs on Sundays about the eclipse. On Monday, August 14 at 7 pm in Meeting Room A, Brent Studer, Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Kirkwood Community College, will explain the circumstances under which eclipses occur and what you can do to be ready for the upcoming solar eclipse, the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States since 1979.   Join us on Monday, August 21 while we step outside the library to safely view the eclipse.  Another eclipse watching event will be hosted by the University of Iowa Sciences Library, the UI Museum of Natural History (Pentacrest Museums) and the UI Astronomy Club, on the Pentacrest lawns.

The library has books and videos galore for all ages on astronomy and the natural wonders of the sky.  Come learn more about the Great Solar Eclipse of 2017. We might just make an umbraphile out of you!

ICPL Rocks My Block! on August 12

by on August 9th, 2017

You are invited to the first-ever block party to benefit the Iowa City Public Library on Saturday, August 12th. Our gracious hosts, neighbors Michael Lensing, and Tom Scott, say they’re ready for a crowd at ICPL Rocks My Block! The weather forecast couldn’t be better for the fun at 411 Fairchild Street, Iowa City, 6pm-9pm on Saturday, August 12. $50 per person Make Reservations Now! or you can pay at the door.

Join us for marvelous music by Elizabeth Moen, and the Blake Shaw Trio, fabulous food and drink from Pop’s Barbeque and ReUnion Brewery, as well as charming conversations with other ICPL friends. Hope to see you there! Contact me if you have any questions.

Yes or No on the Iowa City Community School District General Obligation Bond Issue? And don’t forget there is a school board election too

by on August 7th, 2017

one-district-tri-color-shaded-snippedBond Issue. 60% required.

Shall the Board of Directors of the Iowa City Community School District in the County of Johnson, State of Iowa, be authorized to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $191,525,000 to provide funds to address health, safety, and accessibility issues in all school buildings, including air conditioning all school buildings, reducing the use of temporary classroom structures in the District, addressing classroom, lunchroom, and gymnasium overcrowding, and dedicating rooms to art, music, prekindergarten, and science by constructing, furnishing and equipping a new building, constructing additions to and/or remodeling, repairing, and improving the school buildings remaining in the District’s Facilities Master Plan, as follows: Mann and Lincoln renovations, Liberty High athletic facilities construction and site improvements, new elementary school construction in North Liberty and site improvements, West High renovation, South East and North Central Junior High additions, Shimek renovation, City High addition and upgrades, Wood addition, Wickham upgrades, Garner and Northwest additions, Liberty High addition, Horn renovation, Kirkwood addition, Borlaug, Alexander, and Lemme additions, and Tate High addition and upgrades?
(Johnson County, Iowa Auditor)

The general obligation bond, the $191,525,000 bond, is the largest school bond issue ever proposed in Iowa history will be voted on September 12.   There are, as you can imagine, proponents and those opposing the vote.  The Auditor’s website is a good place to start for basic information.  The site lists all of the candidates and from Holly Hines of the Iowa City Press Citizen a list of upcoming forums.  The Auditor’s site links to the times and voting locations for the September 12 elections.  (Remember, there are fewer locations for school board and school bond votes than for general elections, so before you go to your regular location to vote, confirm the location.) The Iowa City Community School District’s website has a wealth of information on the general obligation bond.  There is a lot of information and it can be daunting to try to read and understand all of it.  I suggest starting with the three page G.O. Bond Quick Fact Guide.

Another source of information on the bond, and depending upon where you stand on the vote, you may not agree with the opinions espoused, are the websites for the two groups for or against the bond issue.  Vote No September 12 represents the opposition to the bond issue.  One Community One Bond represents  the proponents of the bond.  Each group also has a very active Facebook page and each links letters to the editor supporting their respective positions

 

Totally Tweens: littleBits Invention Workshop

by on August 4th, 2017

This past Tuesday the Library welcomed tween inventors to our littleBits Invention Workshop. We talked about how to use the snap-able circuits to solve problems, like how to wake up in the morning or how to keep someone out of your room.

Each group chose their own problem and brainstormed ways to solve their problem. The kids then got to experiment and try different ways of attaching the bits to create new outcomes, but mostly just for fun.

A frenzy of experiments and prototypes.

A frenzy of experiments and prototypes.

 

Finally each group had created their own invention.

Alarm-o-matic 2000 by Colin

Alarm-o-matic 2000 by Colin

Colin’s Alarm-o-matic 2000 would wake up even the heaviest sleeper with a multitude of flashing lights and loud buzzers. It comes with a convenient dimmer switch if you want to go back to sleep.

Buzzer Fan 8000 by Paul

Buzzer Fan 8000 by Paul

Paul (preferred to not be pictured) put together the Buzzer Fan 8000 in order to keep his brother out of his room. He used a sound sensor and motion sensor to turn on a buzzer and fan, which would alert him if his brother was trying to enter his room.

Volume Volt 2000 AKA Scare-o-matic 4000 by Kaden and Isran

Volume Volt 2000 AKA Scare-o-matic 4000 by Kaden and Isran

Kaden and Isran originally wanted to solve waking up in the morning. They had so much fun experimenting, that they decided to add even more startle power, and created the Volume Volt 2000 AKA Scare-o-matic 4000. With buzzers, fans, and lights triggered by motion sensors, this contraption hit all the senses with sudden stimulation sure to scare your socks off.

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Automatic Art Machine by Lydia and two others

Lydia and two other girls (who didn’t write their names down) created the fantastic Automatic Art Machine. Turn it on, hold it to the paper, and watch art appear with no more effort needed.

Automatic Art Machine by Lydia and two others

Iowa State Fair at the Library

by on August 3rd, 2017

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Thursday August 10th is the last big program day for the 2017 Summer Reading Program season, and we are having one last hurrah to celebrate an amazing summer! Children of all ages are invited to attend a mini-version of the Iowa State Fair in Meeting Room A from 1-3pm. Stop in the enjoy all of the great traditions of the Fair right here in Iowa City, including food, games, prizes and more! Bring your creative skills to make your own “butter sculpture,” not limited to cows. We will also have “tractor races,” a cake walk, carnival games, face painting, and a couple blue ribbon animals to meet. You can create your own “snack on a stick,” guaranteed to be tasty, although not deep fried. Everything is free and all ages are welcome!

billyWe will also have a special State Fair-themed storytime in the morning at 10:30 in Meeting Room A for children preschool age and younger. We will be enjoying stories, songs and a movie about experiences at the State Fair.

And don’t forget to redeem your Summer Reading prizes at the Children Room Desk during your visit, the last day to qualify for the grand prize drawing is August 11th.

Storytime Recap: Old and New

by on August 1st, 2017

It all started when I was combing through the milk crate of flannel board stories in our back room, searching for something to share at my Monday toddler storytime.  I stumbled upon a “House That Jack Built” story so old that its accompanying story sheet had been typed on a genuine typewriter; even better, the story was typed on the back of a children’s room calendar from 1976!  I adore vintage paper ephemera, so my mind immediately began to race, imagining how I could create an entire storytime around this fascinating bit of library history.

Had my storytime been on a different day this week, I could have easily paired it with a pleasingly alliterative catchphrase: “Throwback img_0222Thursday” or “Flashback Friday.”  Even “Way Back Wednesday” might have worked in a pinch, right?  But alas, my storytime is on Monday each week, so I simply called it “Storytime: Old and New.”

I shared the 1976 “House That Jack Built” flannel board story, handing out the many flannel characters to my toddler attendees ahead of time, inviting them to come forward and place their piece on the flannel board when their character appeared in the story: the “man all tattered and torn,” the “cow with the crumpled horn” and the “priest all shaven and shorn” arrived on cue.  I paired this old flannel board story with a new one, that of Pete the Cat and his four groovy buttons, which is great for toddlers in that it’s colorful, involves repetitive singing and counting, and teaches the Buddhist principle of non-attachment.

I showed everyone the retro calendar I’d found and then showed them a picture of the children’s room in 1965, which I fo6d81bbe1ff985dee2cd794e1db607768-1und on ICPL’s Digital History Project.  Gratifyingly, the parents seemed as delighted as I was by these items.

I read an old book, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and a brand-new one – Feathers and Hair: What Animals Wear by Jennifer Ward.  Children rang handbells and danced to an early ’70s hit, “ABC” by the Jackson 5.  Interspersed throughout were songs and fingerplays that I chose because of their nostalgia factor for my own childhood – I vividly remember singing “Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, swish your bushy tail” at the now-defunct Jack and Jill Preschool.

Despite the regretful lack of a catchy title, I think we had a blast (from the past) anyway!

Finish out your Summer on the Bookmobile!

by on August 1st, 2017

Summer is wrapping up at the Library, but you can still make the most of the time we have left! The 2017-03-bookmobile-drawingBookmobile Summer schedule continues through August 18th and the Summer Reading Program wraps up on August 11th.

Are you ready to redeem prizes for completing the Summer Reading Program, but you haven’t had a chance to stop by the Library? Stop by your nearest Bookmobile stop to redeem your prizes and keep the reading going by checking out a book on the go. The Bookmobile collection is comprised of the newest and most popular items in the Library, so I am confident you will find something you can’t pass up!

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Eat Out to Read: Pagliai’s Pizza on July 31st!

by on July 28th, 2017

Monday, July 31st is the last day to enjoy delicious Pagliai’s Pizza and benefit the Iowa City Public Library at the same time! Mention ICPL when dining in or carrying out on Monday, 4:00-11:00 pm, and Pagliai’s will generously donate 25% of your total ticket. Hope to see you at Pagliai’s Pizza, 302 East Bloomington Street in Iowa City. Call 351-5073 for an order to go. Thank you to our Library friends at Pagliai’s Pizza for participating in Eat Out to Read on Mondays in July!

The Elephant’s Garden

by on July 28th, 2017

Image result for JANE RAY ELEPHANTS GARDENJane Ray’s new folktale retelling, The Elephant’s Garden is absolutely stunning. Not only is the tale itself lovely, but Ray’s illustrations show her understanding and respect for the folktale’s origins. Be sure to check this one out!

Jane Ray has also been nominated for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award for her body of work.