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Art to Go!

by on August 19th, 2016

Art on the wallOne of the Library’s more unusual collections is our circulating art.  Most pieces are framed prints, but a substantial number are original artworks by local artists and include photographs, mixed media, screen prints, watercolors, and oil paintings.

It is a great time to pick out a piece of art to take home–the selection is always a little better during the summer when the University population shrinks.  But that won’t last long now, with students coming back and classes set to begin next week.  We have about 400 pieces to choose from.  Browsing what is available is the easiest way to find what you want, but you can also see images of our original art in the catalog and place a hold for something you like.  Just look up “Art Purchase Prize Collection” and click on the link to “View art work in this collection”.

The loan period for art prints is eight weeks, and each borrower is limited to two at a time.  The collection is located on the first floor, between the Fiction books and the children’s room.  We display as many as we can on the walls there, but many are stacked in the bins as well. Art in a bin

The original art collection has been built up over the years thanks to gift funds.  There is an annual competition from which the Library’s Art Advisory Committee selects and purchases several works to add to our collection.  This year’s competition is a little different, with the theme of “New Covers For Old Classics” (see more information here.)  But hurry–deadline for entries is September 2, 2016.

In the meanwhile, enjoy our remarkable art collection.  I always have two checked out, and these are my current favorites:  “Apples #4” by Yvette Jury, and “In Carol’s Garden” by Susan Coleman.

apples4In carol's garden

ICPL to host stage fighting workshop for teens

by on August 19th, 2016

Shakespeare Fighting FunThe Iowa City Public Library will host a stage fighting workshop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, in Meeting Room A. This event coincides with Shakespeare’s First Folio exhibit at the University of Iowa Libraries Aug. 29 through Sept. 25.

Lukas Brasherfons, a master of fine arts student in dramaturgy at the University of Iowa, will lead the two-hour introduction to unarmed combat for the stage. He’ll show participants how to safely punch, slap and fall in the most basic of ways. The lesson will tie into how William Shakespeare used violence in his plays.

This workshop is intended for teens ages 13 through 18. Registration is not required.

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

We’re back up and running

by on August 17th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library’s online catalog and digital collections are now available, which means you can place that hold, check out a digital magazine, and download your eAudiobook.

We thank you for your patience and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

This morning, these services were down so we could update the operating system on our library system’s server. Our library system is integral to our day-to-day operations. It’s where we keep track of everything in our collection, if an item is on the shelf or has been borrowed. It is what digital services like OverDrive and Zinio reference to lend eBooks, eAudiobooks, and digital magazines to you. It holds your library card numbers and keeps track of what you currently have checked out and when the books are due back. It allows you to renew your books, place holds, and use the self-checks. The system also keeps track of our orders for purchased books, paid invoices, and what issue of magazine didn’t arrive so we can contact our vendor. When the library system is down, everything stops. Well, almost everything.

Because it is so important, we want to ensure we are running the most recent software on updated equipment.

Again, thank you.  And we’re glad it’s over.

I think I know you …

by on August 17th, 2016
I think I know you … Cover Image

I’m relatively new to audiobooks, having listened to my first one a few months ago, but I agree with my colleagues who say they are a great way to pass the time on long drives, during a run or cleaning the house.

I also agree with them that a narrator makes, or breaks, the audiobook.

There are several I’ve started but couldn’t finish because I didn’t like the narrator’s voice. One of these books was even read by the author, but she did not sound at all like I thought she would. For some odd reason even I can’t explain, that did not sit well with me. I returned the audiobook on my OverDrive app and checked out the physical book instead.

I recently finished listening to I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: My Life as a Co-Star by Judy Greer. She also voiced the audiobook. If the name isn’t familiar, I’m sure it will be after you Google it. With more than 16 working years in Hollywood, and 90+ film and TV credits to her name, she’s one of those actors who seems to be in everything.

She’s a star, yet she isn’t. She’s worked with George Clooney and Paul Rudd and Jennifer Lopez, but can still run to a 24-hour drug store without fear of being recognized. In fact, if/when she is recognized, the people who stop her aren’t sure why they’ve stopped her. Best of both worlds? The work, some fame, but no paparazzi?

(If you aren’t going to Google Judy Greer, she played Lucy in 13 Going on 30; Maggie Lang in Ant-Man; Karen Mitchell in Jurassic World; and Kitty Sanchez in Arrested Development.)

This was an entertaining memoir. Greer is funny, honest – some might think she’s too honest, but I loved it – and anyone who’s curious about what happens behind-the-scenes in Hollywood will get a little bit of gossip. Not dirt – she’s not stupid; she still has to make a living – but the next time you see a celebrity looking like the wish they were anywhere else on the red carpet or at a press junket, Greer’s book will explain why both aren’t fun.

ICPL Tech Help Saves My Day!

by on August 16th, 2016

It’s safe to say I am NOT a digital native — I learned to type on a manual typewriter in high school !  I was  very involved in library technology in the 1970s and 80s, but about the time of the rise of personal computers and then smart phones I lost what intuitive approach I ever had and I struggle to learn and retain new skills.  Thankfully I am surrounded by lots of people at work who really know what they’re doing and by children and grandchildren in my personal life who usually know more than I do.

Recently, I had a dilemma and I took it to ICPL Tech Help.  This service is available at the Library on Mondays from 10:00-noon, Tuesdays noon-4:00 and Wednesdays 10:00- noon in the 2nd Floor Computer Lab.  People are there for you to drop in ask your technology related questions about computers, ebook readers, iPods, cell phones, email, Skype, Facebook….just about anything in the realm of technology.

I had recently booked a plane trip to New York to visit family in November.  However, when I went to send my itinerary to my son, it wasn’t there!  I had inadvertently deleted it.  I thought, “maybe I didn’t really make that reservation?”, but the credit card statement showed that I had.  What to do?  The first place I turned was a ICPL Tech Help.  Within minutes Jason had showed me how to search my gmail trash, retrieved the itinerary, forwarded it back to my email and printed me out a copy.

If you have a personal technology crisis come to ICPL Tech Help.  It may save your day the way it saved mine!  Thank you, thank you ICPL.

 

 

ICPL online catalog, digital collections unavailable Wednesday

by on August 15th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library’s online catalog and digital collections will be unavailable Wednesday, Aug. 17.  This includes eBooks and digital audiobooks through OverDrive, digital magazines through Zinio, and research databases.

The interruption in service is due to a scheduled maintenance to the Library’s server. We apologize for the inconvenience, and will work quickly to make the catalog and digital collections available to the public as soon as possible.

For more information, call the Library at 319-356-5200 or visit our website at icpl.org/ask.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

by on August 15th, 2016
Kitchens of the Great Midwest Cover Image

I recently enjoyed the book Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. I love books about food (Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle is one of my all-time favorites) and Kitchens of the Great Midwest not only vividly captures the sensory experience of some terrific meals, it also evokes memories of my own Midwestern childhood and the foods I grew up with.

It has a unique structure: Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, and sometimes there are jumps forward of several years at a go. This left me wanting more with every chapter change.

Here’s an excerpt of Amazon’s synopsis: When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine–and a dashing sommelier–he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter–starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.

I didn’t want to put this book down. It was funny and sweet, and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to the characters.

Enjoy!

Dottie Ray – An Iowa City Legend

by on August 13th, 2016

Dottie Ray, an Iowa City legend, passed away on Tuesday, August 6. I feel so fortunate that I was able to be her guest on the Dottie Ray Show with Jen Jordan, the recycling coordinator for the City of Iowa City, to talk about an ECO Iowa City, an 18-month initiative to create a greener Iowa City.  Dottie so liked the idea of the environmental partnership between the library and recycling center that she let Jen and me be her guests on a monthly basis.  (She told us to keep  quiet that we were booked each month because one of her goals was to keep the Dottie Ray Show fresh and new. Jen and I were so thrilled that we had her wide audience that we never told anyone about our special treatment.)

Dottie’s career in journalism spanned more than seven decades, beginning while she was a high school student in Eagle Grove, Iowa, working on the student newspaper and the yearbook.  At 17 she began her first job in Iowa journalism working Saturdays at the Eagle Grove Eagle.   After completing two years of junior college Dottie, (Dorothy) Klein transferreDottie Ray Pictorial Historyd to the University of Iowa in 1942 as a junior.  She joined the Daily Iowan staff, writing obituaries.  She also worked for Wilbur Schram, head of the journalism school, typing articles he submitted to the Saturday Evening Post. Schram encouraged her to apply to be the editor of the Daily Iowan.  She followed his advice and was in the running against two other finalists for the editor-in-chief position, both men. When she was selected as editor, many were surprised, and when she hired an all-female staff, the reaction was even greater. In fact, her decision to lead an all woman staff, made state-wide news. John Gerber, in his book on the history of the University of Iowa, “A Pictoral History of the University of Iowa”, included a photograph of Dorothy Klein and her all-woman staff, in a chapter on campus changes from 1934-1964.


Dottie Ray’s career in broadcast journalism began at WSUI, (now part of Iowa Public Radio), with a show aimed at women.  In a 2013 interview in Emily Busse’s series on Iowa Women in Journalism Dottie Ray recounts her history with KXIC.  “Gene Clausen convinced her to come on their radio station at KXIC, stationed above what is now Pancheros at the corner of Clinton and Washington streets.  Every Saturday, Ray became “President Alice” for half an hour. Any child who had their birthday the week before or the week after could attend the “birthday party on the radio” with cupcakes from the local bakery and chocolate milk from the dairy. For two years, she “just played and talked and had fun” with kids on air. After a couple years, Clausen had an idea for a new show, The Dottie Ray Show. To accommodate her needs, they put together a studio in Ray’s own living room. Every day for about 40 years, Ray came on the air at 11:45. Women at home sat down for lunch and listened to Ray’s show, followed by news. Ray recalls how a mother once wrote her explaining that the habit of listening to the show had become so routine, that when the music that precedes The Dottie Ray show came on in the afternoon randomly, her four year old ran to get the peanut butter out for lunch.

dottie rayAfter about 40 years, she said, “women went back to work and homes were empty.” People began listening to radio outside the home — in the car or at work — and Ray decided it was time to end her show. But the station, now owned by Clear Channel, didn’t want to lose her show. “They said, ‘No, no no. What about doing it in the morning?’” she said. So the show moved to 8:45 a.m. “I thought, ‘That’s OK. I can get it out of the way and it will be a graceful way to bow out because you’ll lose all your listeners,’” she said. “And just the opposite happened. We moved it and now people are in cars going to work or yoga or whatever.”

The Dottie Ray Show ended in 2014.  From the round table in her apartment she interviewed more than 32,000 guests.  Each guest was greeted by Dottie with the offer of a cup of coffee and a request to pull up a chair.  Dottie’s program was community journalism at its best.  She helped to share the story of Iowa City and Johnson County and promote many many worthy causes. Every Monday through Friday, for more than five decades, Dottie Rays shared with the KXIC  audience what was happening in their community.

Dottie Ray was, of course, more than her radio program.  When I shared with Patty McCarthy, Development Director at the Iowa City Public Library, that I was going to write a blog post on Dottie, she said Dottie was not only a great friend and supporter of the Library, but that in 1982 she and Ann Feddersen were the first co-Presidents of the newly created Friends of the Iowa City Public Library organization.  Dottie contributed to a multitude of community organizations and promoted initiatives for the betterment of the community.  If you would like to learn more about this amazing woman’s life, watch another remarkable Iowa radio broadcaster, Ellen Buchanan, interview Dottie in a 1990 interview that is part of  Tell Me Your Story.  This past June, a documentary of Dottie’s life, Staying Tuned: The Dottie Ray Story, premiered at the Coralville Center for the Preforming Arts.  The Documentary was produced with private funding including grants from the Iowa Arts Council, Humanities Iowa, and the Community Foundation of Johnson County. A copy of the documentary will be available later this year.

Finding a family

by on August 12th, 2016
Finding a family Cover Image

I, like many people I work with and see here at the Library, am interested in genealogy. I’ve done a little bit of research here and there, mainly on my mother’s side of the family. Her maiden name is Klein, her father’s first name was Henderikus, and this ended up being a good name to start with. Aside from the fact that it was often misspelled, it is a somewhat unique name which made it a little easier to trace, and I was able to find him in the census records, as well as documentation of his family’s immigration from the Netherlands. Working backwards, I eventually hit a genealogy jackpot, when I found someone from the Netherlands who had done the research for the same relatives I was looking at, all the way back to the 1600s.

My father’s last name is Smith. I have resisted doing any research on that side of the family out of fear that I would be lost in a morass of Smiths in the midwest, unable to go much further than a couple generations. However, I recently decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »

Farm to Table cookbooks

by on August 12th, 2016
Farm to Table cookbooks Cover Image

Inspired by my overabundant CSA hauls (Community Supported Agriculture) and the Farm to Street dinner next Thursday, I thought I’d put together a list of “Farm to Table” cookbooks.

This is a list of fantastic books that came out within the past year or so, books that feature vegetables in all their fabulous glory. I curated this list with the easy meal in mind. Check out one of these books, pour that glass of wine, and start cooking! Read the rest of this entry »





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