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by on July 14th, 2014

If you’ve been online at all in the past couple of days, you might’ve gotten wind of the disaster that has been #DashCon, a first-year convention organized by and for members of Tumblr. Elsewise, consider this a primer.

In the organizers’ own words,

DashCon aims to be the largest gathering of Tumblr users to date, concentrating on the particulars of this stand out social media site. DashCon will be a place where Tumblr users can express common site wide interests, in both fashion, art, science, and in the world of geekery.

(To be super clear, this was an unofficial event that is not affiliated with the administrators of Tumblr itself.)

Moreover, the convention’s primary target audience appears to have been Tumblr users who are also active participants in various fandoms across media, an intersection of interests that is hugely populated by teens. The inaugural event took place in Schaumburg, Illinois (my old stomping grounds!), over this past weekend and has already become a meme.

And from what I can tell, it has been outrageously disorganized and mismanaged from start to finish, the highlights of which includeballpit

  • mis/disinformation from DashCon organizers to attendees, performers, and possibly the host site
  • reports that the organizers were unable to pay agreed-upon performance, transportation, or accommodation fees for guests of honor, such as Noelle Stevenson and the Welcome to Night Vale staff, on arrival
  • reports that DashCon admin held a hasty (though, amazingly, successful) crowdfunding effort to raise $17,000 in the middle of the convention, ostensibly in order to keep the convention going
  • reports that some panels were poorly/not moderated, and that crushed attendees who had registered for cancelled events were not refunded the cost of their ticket but were instead offered the now-infamous free hour in the ball pit

Here are some master posts that go into more detail:

Opinions vary on whether or not the chaos of DashCon’14 was a result of the organizers’ honest incompetence (managing an event of this size, with so many moving pieces, is seriously daunting stuff) or if the whole thing was a scam targeting the young and inexperienced (and their parents).

Board Games in the Teen Center

by on July 12th, 2014

catan Some of you may’ve already noticed the newest addition to the Koza Family Teen Center: board games!

Now, during staffed hours (12:30-5pm Monday through Friday, 1:00-6pm on Saturdays), you can play Bananagrams, Settlers of Catan, Skip-Bo, Smash Up, Taboo, Ticket to Ride, Uno, or Zombie Dice.


Visit the Public Libraries of Johnson County at the Johnson County Fair

by on July 11th, 2014

The Public Libraries of Johnson County are ready for this year’s Johnson County Fair; are you? fair

Representatives from all of Johnson County’s public libraries – Coralville, Iowa City, North Liberty, Oxford, Solon, Swisher, and Tiffin-Springmier – will host a booth in Exhibition Hall #2 during the county fair July 21 through July 24.

Stop by to learn more about how the libraries work together to promote literacy and learning throughout the county. We’ll also have giveaways to hand out, including a special kids-only prize on Kids’ Day on July 22.

All visitors to the Public Libraries of Johnson County fair booth can enter the drawing for an oversized stuffed teddy bear sporting a Public Libraries of Johnson County T-shirt.

We’ll see you at the fair!

Video Staff Picks – British TV and Getting the Body of a Werewolf

by on July 10th, 2014

Jason talks about a British mystery series you may have missed, and Melody shows that the library can teach you how to have the body of a werewolf.

State Fair Tidbit

by on July 9th, 2014

We all know that the Iowa State Fair famous for it’s butter sculptures.  In addition to the ubiquitous Butter Cow there are always other examples of this quaint artistic medium each year.  The theme for the 2014 fair is “Field of Dreams” which will feature elements of baseball and rural landscapes. The link below gives some additional history of Iowa’s butter art over the years.

While Iowa takes credit for starting the tradition of butter sculpting exhibitions at fairs in the United States,  what you may not know, is that butter sculpting originated 100′s of years ago.  In Tibet it is an ancient Buddhist tradition; yak butter and dye are still used to create temporary symbols for the Tibetan New Year and other religious celebrations.  There is also reference to a banquet in 1536 with centerpieces constructed from butter.

So,  if you find this curiously fascinating, you may also enjoy the 2011 movie  Butter.  A bit of a dark comedy about “the cutthroat world of competitive butter sculpting”  it will lurk in the back of your mind as you tour the extravaganza of butter at the fair this year.   Very entertaining with an excellent cast playing unexpected characters, it may make you want to play with food too.


Iowa City Public Library presents Stargazing Basics

by on July 9th, 2014

Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered what, exactly, you were seeing?starGazing

Brent Studer, an adjunct professor of astronomy at Kirkwood Community College, will help you decipher the mysteries of the night sky with Stargazing Basics and a Tour of the Summer and Fall Sky.

Studer’s presentation will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, in Meeting Room A at the Iowa City Public Library. He will give a basic introduction to stargazing and explain how to get started in astronomy as a hobby.

Stargazing Basics and a Tour of the Summer and Fall Sky is part of the Adult Summer Reading Program.

The event is free and open to the public. It also will be broadcast Live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 10.

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

Kids Are Invited to Read with Senior Citizens on Fridays This Summer at ICPL

by on July 8th, 2014

At Rock and Read, kids can read with community members from the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) while working their way toward meeting their summer reading goals.

Rock and ReadEveryone walks away with a smile on their faces after Rock and Read: Children are entertained with stories; RSVP volunteers delight in sharing their love of reading; and parents are pleased knowing their child is developing his or her reading skills and strengthening their appreciation for books.

Vickie Pasicznyuk, Children’s Services Coordinator, says, “Rock and Read is such a popular program in area schools that we wanted to extend that into the summer at the Library. It’s a great community-builder and helps kids love reading.”

Held on Fridays this summer in the Children’s Room, kids can drop in between 1 to 3:00 p.m. to get started. The next Rock and Read will be this Friday, July 11.

Rock and Read is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Iowa City Public Library at (319) 356-5200.

4-H on Wheels in Lone Tree

by on July 7th, 2014

lone treeWe really enjoyed partnering with 4-H on Wheels in Lone Tree this summer.  Library staff traveled to Lone Tree once a week to check out Library materials to children based on the weekly 4-H on Wheels theme.  All the topics were related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

There were 26 youth signed up for the program, and they check out 48 books over the past 5 weeks.  Fifteen children signed up for Library Cards during the 4-H on Wheels registration process and received their cards in the mail.  Staff issued another 10 library cards at the park in Lone Tree.

It was a lot of fun seeing the children participate in science experiments, create art projects, play games, and eat nutritious snacks, and then come over to the Library table and find books correlating to what they had just learned.  I hope this is a partnership that continues for years to come!

The writing on the wall will be printed neatly in block letters

by on July 7th, 2014

src: Dallas News (click through for related article)

This recent post, “Cursive is an Endangered Species,” along with many other similar articles, discusses the decline of cursive in younger generations, particularly with increased reliance on digital devices to take notes, send messages, etc.

So now I’m curious: how many of you learned how to write in cursive, in or out of school? When have you found it useful to know? (Could you read the text in the image?)

ICPL announces July Classes for Adults

by on July 1st, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library is so much more than books; it’s online music, genealogy resources, and online language learning systems! Register for our July adult classes to learn more about these programs.

Do you want to start a project tracing your family lineage? Join us Friday, July 11, from 10 to 11 a.m. or Saturday, July 19, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. for our Introduction to Genealogy class. Learn about the Library’s free subscriptions to, HeritageQuest, and Newspaper Archive. A librarian will show you how each of these resources can make finding your ancestors easier.GenealogyTreeB-W_JPG300

Join us on Tuesday, July 15, from 10 to 11 a.m. and learn the difference between online music providers Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, and the Iowa City Public Library’s own Online Music Project. The Introduction to Music Online class discusses the difference between streaming and downloading music. Participants will also find out how to make a playlist and share music on a social media site or embed it on a blog.

Learning a language? Tracking stocks? Investigating local Iowa City history? The library has an online resource you can use to do all of these things. Come to the Library Friday, July 25, from 10 to 11 a.m. for a demonstration of the library’s best kept secret – our databases.

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.