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What should you read next? NoveList Plus can help

by on September 5th, 2014


Have you ever gone to Amazon to find a new book to read?  Maybe you viewed the page of a book you really loved and looked at the books in the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section.  I know I have, but there’s a better way!  Behold: NoveList Plus.  NoveList Plus is a tool created to connect readers with books they will enjoy.  To access it, go to scroll down and click on “Novelist Plus.”   You can use the search bar near the top of the screen.  Type your favorite author, series, or book into the bar, then click “Search.”  At the results screen, click on the title that you’re looking for.  Read-alikes are listed on the right side of the book’s page:


These read-alikes are based on subject and genre, as well as “appeal factors” grouped by storyline, pace, tone, and writing style.  For example, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell appeal factors are:

Genre:Love stories; Multiple perspectives; Teen chick lit
Tone:Angst-filled; Bittersweet; Romantic

Like No Other by Una LaMarche is offered up as a good read-alike.  Its appeal factors are:

Genre:Love stories; Multiple perspectives; Realistic fiction
Tone:Bittersweet; Moving

Sounds like a good match to me!  Give NoveList Plus a try.  You might find a new favorite book!

ICPL Announces Dates for Teen Comic Book Club

by on September 5th, 2014

Do you read comic books? Do you like talking about comic books with others? Do you have a favorite character you are ready to defend against anyone who claims otherwise? If so, the Iowa City Public Library’s Teen Comic Book Club is for you!

Students in grades seventh through 12th are invited to read any comic about our selected characters and/or teams, and attend the Teen Comic Book Club meeting to geek out or dispute their greatness in the comic book world.

The discussion lineup is as follows:comic book

  • Iron Man: Thursday, Sept. 25
  • Green Lantern: Thursday, Oct. 30
  • X-Men: Thursday, Nov. 20
  • Wonder Woman: Thursday, Dec. 18

All Teen Comic Book Club meetings are held from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Koza Family Teen Center.

For more information, contact the Iowa City Public Library at (319) 356-5200.

Melissa Gilbert at ICPL Sept. 16 for Discussion, Book Signing

by on September 5th, 2014

Actress Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on the popular television series, Little House on the Prairie, has a new title to add to her list of credentials: cookbook author.Jacket

Gilbert is the author of My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours. This piece of television nostalgia features 80 recipes and more than 75 pages of scrapbook images from the show. Gilbert also shares memories and behind-the-scenes stories.

Gilbert will be at the Iowa City Public Library at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, for a discussion and book signing. Her appearance is co-sponsored by the Library and Prairie Lights Books. Copies of the cookbook will be available for purchase. The cookbook is also available for checkout.

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

Iowa City Public Library Celebrates Library Card Sign-Up Month

by on September 4th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library wants to card you.library-card

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month and the Library is encouraging local residents to sign up for a free card. A Library card can be used to:

  • Check out materials from the Library’s collection
  • Access premium databases
  • Explore the Library’s digital collection
  • Get connected to the Library’s on-site public computer stations
  • And much more!

You can apply for a card online at After completing the online application, stop by the Library within two weeks to pick up your card. You must have identification and proof of your residence address (current driver license, lease or voter registration card; mail with a current post mark; preprinted checks from a bank).

You also can apply for a card in person. Stop by the Help Desk any time the Library is open to apply for a card. You will need identification and proof of your residence address.

Children age 12 and under must have a parent or guardian with them to receive a card in their name.

If you’ve lost your Iowa City Public Library Card, visit the Help Desk on the Library’s first floor for a free replacement during Library Card Sign-Up Month.

Connecting: Your Library Easier to Use

by on September 3rd, 2014

Recently the Library Board voted to make changes to help make your Library easier to use. We also updated a couple procedures to respond to patrons requests.

Patrons may now place 10 (ten!) FREE holds.  Login to your account, call the Library or stop by – there are many ways to place holds.  We’ll even let you place holds on items that are on the shelf.  Periodically, throughout the day, staff pull items with holds that are on the shelf.  We just ask that you give us a little bit of time to do this work.  You’ll know when the hold is ready when we send you a notice.  Notices come by eMail, telephone or in the mail depending on your preference.

Overdue Fines changed too and we hope they are easier to understand.  All fines are 25 cents per overdue day with the following exceptions: Express DVDs, Games and Equipment are $1.00 per overdue day and Wii Game Consoles are $5.00 per overdue day.  Our goal is to make the collection as available to our community as possible.  We view fines as a motivation to return items on time so others can enjoy them.

Patrons may now receive one free replacement card per year.  We can also make a replacement card with the same number, so there’s no need to worry if you have your number memorized.  We need the original card in order to replace a card with the same number.  Also, it takes us a few minutes to make the card, so please plan for a little extra time if you are getting a card replaced with the same number.

Videogames may now be renewed 1 (one) time.  Patrons may still have a limit of 2 videogames checked out at a time, but they can be renewed once and the fine is now only 25 cents per overdue day.

We hope these changes will make it easier to use your Library and we hope to see you at the Library soon.

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

by on September 2nd, 2014
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper Cover Image

Two-time Coretta Scott King Award winning author, Sharon M. Draper, has written a stunning novel for upper-elementary school children that opens like this:  “Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes–each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands.  Deep within me, words pile up in huge drifts.  Mountains of phrases and sentences and connected ideas.  Clever expressions.  Jokes.  Love songs …. But only in my head.  I have never spoken one single word.  I am almost eleven years old.”  So begins the story of fifth grader Melody Brooks who has cerebral palsy but doesn’t want to be defined by it.  Although she can’t walk, talk, feed herself, or go to the bathroom without help, she can read, think, remember, and feel.  She is a brilliant girl trapped in her own weak body and confined to a wheelchair.  Melody learns of a computer with technology that will allow her to communicate to others and her world changes big time!  But there are still ignorant doctors, thoughtless teachers, and cruel classmates to deal with.  Fortunately, Melody has a fierce advocate in her mother, not unlike the author whose own daughter has cerebral palsy, thus providing great authenticity and accuracy in the writing.  This book is a compelling read that will hopefully make all readers more compassionate and understanding toward those with disabilities and the misconceptions that go with them.  I especially loved Melody’s sense of humor and fortitude despite her many challenges.  This is one book you won’t be able to put down until you come to the final page.

Iowa City Public Library Lowers Overdue Fines, Increases Hold Limits

by on September 2nd, 2014


Effective Tuesday, Sept. 2, patrons will be charged 25-cents per item per day for materials returned past their due date. This is effective for all items, except Express DVDs and circulating equipment, which will remain $1 per item per day, and circulating game consoles which remain at $5 per day.hold shelf 3

The Iowa City Public Library Board of Trustees approved a policy change Thursday.

Library patrons also will be able to have 10 free holds in the system, an increase from eight. Holds may be placed for all types of circulating materials, except for the Express Collections. Patrons are notified when an item is ready for pickup.

Additional holds, beyond the limit of 10, may be placed for the patron by a Library staff member for 50-cents each.

“The purpose of fines is to provide an incentive for on-time return of Library materials. Our overarching goal is to assure materials are available for the community. One fine rate at 25 cents per day, with a couple exceptions, will be easy for our community to remember,” says Kara Logsden, Community and Access Services Coordinator.

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


Carcosa and The Yellow King

by on August 30th, 2014

King In Yellow

Fans of True Detective have heard of Carcosa and The Yellow King but might not know where they are originally from. I did not until Candice pointed it out to me.

Carcosa was first mentioned in the short story “An Inhabitant of Carcosa” by Ambrose Bierce in 1891. A few years later Robert W. Chambers used Carcosa, and a few other locations that Bierce mentions. It was in a collection of connected short gothic horror stories, “The King in Yellow”, published in 1895. Four of the stories are connected by references to a work of fiction also titled “The King in Yellow”. In the stories anyone who reads the this meta-book is purported to go completely insane.

The stories have a very gothic, Lovecraftian feel to them. They are tales of supernatural powers which are just out of sight and the madness that it brings. This little known book has influenced a lot of authors (as well as RPG game developers). Many authors have either mentioned Carcosa or expanded upon the Carcosa mythos. It has been used by H.P. Lovecraft and many writers of the Cthulhu  Mythos. Other writers like Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and George R. R. Martin have locations named Carcosa in their works.

Here is a short excerpt from the book within the book, hopefully it will not drive you mad. You may recognize it from the journal of Dora Lange, one of the characters from True Detective.

“Along the shore the cloud waves break,
The twin suns sink behind the lake,
The shadows lengthen
In Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies,
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead,
Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
Shall dry and die in
Lost Carcosa.”

—”Cassilda’s Song” in The King in Yellow Act 1, Scene 2


Hungry Dragon Game

by on August 29th, 2014

Mabel the Table, the Children’s Room’s interactive touch table made her debut at the beginning of the summer and has gotten lots of use since then.  The library recently teamed up with Dev/Iowa Bootcamp to produce some new games for Mabel.  Part of the U of I’s entrepreneurial efforts, the Bootcamp is an intensive nine-week hands-on program where participants learn web development skills and industry practices.  As part of the program, members of the community can pitch a project to have the bootcampers take them on as a client.  We presented the idea of creating games for the interactive table in the children’s room and two students stepped forward.  One game is called Hungry Dragon and allows several kids to play at the same time controlling their dragon to grab balls moving around in the center.  The other is a creative painting game where kids can paint a picture and post it for others to see.  If you are visiting the Children’s Room, have your kids give these local games a try and give us feedback.  If you are a programmer or game developer and want to help us improve these games or create new ones, please contact me at the library.

Video Staff Picks: with Terri

by on August 29th, 2014

Terri’s back to talk about some great biographies from musicians and sports heroes.