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Bread and a Dog

by on November 15th, 2015
Bread and a Dog Cover Image

Natsuko Kuwahara, a Tokyo food stylist and former baker and pastry chef has created a delightfully quirky book, Bread and a Dog. The bread in the title is what she would bake each morning for breakfast and the dog in the title is Kipple, a rescue dog she adopted nine years ago. The small book contains 100 photographs of her breakfasts, beautifully crafted breakfasts that she shared through Twitter and Instagram.  Kipple often crept into the frame and instead of banishing him and deleting those with hibread-and-a-dogm in them, Kuwahara decided to share those photos. (Don’t all of us with dogs know how our canine friends are very interested in everything that comes from the kitchen or that is consumed at the table.)  Kibble soon developed a following and the result is this book. She also includes recipes for a number of her breakfast breads and muffins.

Kuwahara in an animal rescue advocate.  She and her husband also have two rescue cats, Kuro and Kotetsu.  This book would make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves breakfast and dogs.  And who doesn’t?

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

by on November 14th, 2015
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States Cover Image

I am currently reading Sarah Vowell’s latest book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, which now has added relevance in light of the sad news from Paris. In a statement yesterday, President Obama said, “France is our oldest ally. The French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States time and again.” And Lafayette’s shoulders were the first in this friendship; they were right there next to George Washington.

In Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, Vowell focuses on Lafayette’s time in the Continental Army starting with how he got there. Lafayette, a French aristocrat, wasn’t even 20-years old when he embarked to America and had to trick his family and King Louis XVI to make the journey. He pretty much ran away. Before setting sail across the Atlantic, he went back to apologize when he heard how angry everyone was, but he wasn’t really sorry. He then “disguised himself in a courier’s get-up, made a U-turn for Spain, and sweet-talked an innkeeper’s daughter he had flirted with en route to point his trackers in the wrong direction.” Why would he do all this? It was a mix of identifying with the American cause and looking for adventure.

Vowell argues that Lafayette came to the colonies thinking he would find a united army fighting for a common cause. This assumption was far from the truth. Congress couldn’t agree on who should run the Continental Army, much less on how to pay to supply the army. The troops were in shambles, barely trained and without shoes or clothing. And there was a great deal of in-fighting among Washington’s staff. But Lafayette found a place for himself, so much so that the only thing Americans could agree on was Lafayette. He became a beloved national hero, even though he wasn’t our “national.”

Like always, Vowell is very funny. Her writing blends her love of the subject, personal anecdotes of her research process, and of course, sarcasm.

Street Art

by on November 12th, 2015


At my desk I can look out across the alley to the backside of another building. The largest surface is a brick wall painted bright white. On sunny days it can be almost blinding. Occasionally there are messages scrawled across the wall or on the HVAC units. Often it is a one word tag that has no meaning to me. It cound be a gang, a sports ball team or maybe a character from My Little Pony. Not long ago new text was added. It says “I feel lonely.” It isn’t in a fancy graffiti font, just plain cursive. Without knowing any specifics I think most people can understand this one.



badBad Graffiti by Scott Hocking As the title implies it is full of crudely drawn pieces of anatomy, references to bodily functions and just plain bad graffiti.




worldThe World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti by Rafael Schacter On the flip side, this book is filled with beautiful pieces of street art. It includes some artists you may have heard of like Banksy and Shepard Fairy and plenty that you have not. It goes beyond just graffiti to include commissioned murals, paper graffiti and installation pieces.


flipFlip the Script by Christian Acker If you are interested in graffiti AND you are a font geek then this is the book for you. It is page after page of graffiti writing styles used across the country. They are grouped geographically, showing which group or individual used it and in what time period.



historyThe History of American Graffiti by Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon I liked this one because of the photos, especially the large graffiti done on trains and subway cars. It makes me want to watch Beat Street again.





Storytime Recap: Veterans Day

by on November 11th, 2015

In honor of Veterans Day, we had a veterans and peace themed storytime. As usual, we began our time together with our welcome song, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” Afterwards, I introduced the concept of honoring our veterans for their contribution to keeping the peace by reading excerpts from Veterans Day by Arlene Worsley. I talked about how Veterans Day used to be called Armistice Day, honoring the peace agreement after World War I.

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Video staff picks: Documentaries with Terri

by on November 10th, 2015

Do you need some fresh documentary recommendations? Come up to our second floor and enjoy all the fun and informative viewing our nonfiction DVD collection has to offer.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

by on November 10th, 2015

Over the weekend, the Library fielded a team for the Police Dodgeball Tournament to help raise money for the Special Olympics. Our team, The Artful Dodgers, had a lot of fun. Games were won and lost, and at the end of the day we brought in $400 to go towards helping athletes compete in the Special Olympics by paying for uniforms, training and hotel rooms, among other things.

Rosemary KennedyAs team captain, I wanted to learn more about the Special Olympics, especially the history of the organization. As it happens, there’s a fascinating new book at the library, Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson, about the life of Rosemary Kennedy, sister of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who helped found the Special Olympics.

Rosemary Kennedy was the third child of Joseph Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald. Problems during her birth caused Rosemary to be deprived of oxygen for a prolonged period of time, which lead to her having intellectual disabilities. As a young child, Rosemary was sent to special schools, but as Larson recounts through Rosemary’s own letters and notes, she struggled to fit in with her family and please her parents. As she grew older she began to act out, sometimes violently, and so a a decision was made to have Rosemary undergo a new kind of medical procedure called a lobotomy, with the hopes that it would help calm her moods. The procedure was a disaster and left Rosemary permanently disabled. She was placed in an institution in Wisconsin and remained there for decades.

The one bright spot in this story is how Rosemary’s younger sister Eunice became inspired by her sister’s tragic life and became an advocate for children’s health and disability issues. Eunice lobbied her father and her bother, then President Kennedy, to fund research and establish the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In 1962 Eunice founded Camp Shriver, which eventually evolved into the Special Olympics.

Today, more than 4 million athletes are involved in Special Olympics sports training and competition in 180 countries. Programs are offered free of charge, so fundraising events, like the dodgeball tournament, are crucial for helping Special Olympians attend the games and compete.




Saturday Morning Cartoons

by on November 10th, 2015


rThis Saturday, November 14th at 10am the ICPL will be having its first Retro Saturday Morning Cartoon showing in the Storytime Room. When planning this event, I had to ask what makes something “retro?” I discovered retro is defined as “style that is consciously derivative or imitative of trends, music, modes, fashions, or attitudes of the recent past, typically 15–20 years old.”

Thanks WikipediaMy childhood has been officially classified as retro. Since my childhood cgummie bearsan now be defined as retro, I chose cartoons from 1987 for Saturday’s program. See Mom, I didn’t waste my life away watching cartoons as a child. I was doing research for my future job!

There are a few websites available that can tell you what shows were on which channel at any given time. My choice in cartoons in 1987 ranged from the Carebears and Alvin and the Chipmunks to the Gummie Bears and Pound Puppies. (I can still sing all of their theme songs).

I was the classic Midwestern, middle class 7 year old. We had just moved to a new home and had two! television sets. My family had a cable box which required you to get up (the horror!) and manually select the TV channel you desired.  I could never remember what cartoon were on what cablechannel and what time they came on. That was fine, because I had all morning to lay around in my pajama’s to watch before Mom or Dad woke up and started making me do those dreaded chores.

I would get up earlier than I ever would on a school day and watch cartoons all morning while eating my bowls of cereal, usually Cookie Crisp, S’mores Crunch or Fruity Pebbles. In doing research for tsmorescrunchhis program, I came across a wide variety of odd cereals. I remember begging my mom to buy these, normally she would say no, but eventually I would wear her down and I would eat one bowl. I can see why some of these never made it out of the 80’s!

This Saturday we will have some cereal for the kids to enjoy as they watch a retro cartoon or two! These are cereals that were introduced in the 1980′s and just like me they are still around! If they want, kids can come in their pajama’s, bring a blanket or their favorite stuffed toy.

If you want your kids to catch a glimpse of your own childhood, bring them to the library and stick around with us for Saturday Morning Cartoons to bring back some good old memories! What were some of your favorite Saturday morning memories? Tell us!




We Give Thanks For Music

by on November 9th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library is pleased to welcome The Rita Benton Music Library’s exhibit, “We Give Thanks for Music: an A-Z list” to the library this November.

The fantastic display with all of the 26 musical concepts is located in the large display case outside of the Children’s Room at the Iowa City Public Library, 123. S. Linn St. The display fits in well with ICPL’s nine month initiative, Music is The Word, which aims to offer music-related programming initiated by the Iowa City Public Library, in partnership with other Iowa City entities, to welcome and introduce the University of Iowa School of Music to downtown Iowa City. Weekly programming will run from September 2015 through May 2016 at the library, unless noted otherwise. The focus will be all things musical and will include performance events for all ages and tastes, as well as non-performance, music related programs, displays and exhibits.

Katie Buehner, Head of UI Music Library says it was hard to pick just one or two reasons to be thankful for music, so they chose 26 musical concepts, instruments, styles, genres, and ensembles (one for each letter of the alphabet) to represent a portion of what makes music great.

“I wanted to share a little bit of everything from our collection – books, scores, recordings - but with some local flavor sprinkled throughout. Several objects highlight the School of Music’s history, and the exhibit contains sheet music selections that hail from Cedar Rapids and radio station WHO.”
There are several items with strong ties to Iowa City and the University of Iowa’s School of Music, including recordings by jazz ensemble Johnson County Landmark, an opera by Iowa professors Philip Bezanson and Paul Engle, and some locally produced vinyl records. Several items from the Music Library’s rare book and score collection are highlighted, as well as early 20th song collections from WHO in Des Moines and ukulele clubs in Cedar Rapids.

This is an exciting year for the Music Library because in just nine months, the University of Iowa Music Library will move into the new Voxman Music Building on the corner of Burlington and Clinton in downtown Iowa City.

To see a list and full detail of all the display concepts visit their website at: and for an up-to-date look at the ICPL’s Music is the Word events, visit our online calendar at: .

Just in time for the Holidays!

by on November 9th, 2015

2015 11 New ICPL BagThe Library has new reusable bags for sale at the Help Desk. At $1.00 per bag, they work great for loading up books and movies and keep plastic bags out of our landfill. They also work really well as gift bags.

If you’re looking for a snazzy new tote or need a great bag for holiday gifts, head to the Help Desk. We also have the blue “Read More Books, It’s Good for You” bag for $1.00 each and the “Read Food Eat Books” canvas tote for $9.00 each.

We also have many of the 2015 Summer Reading Program t-shirts in adult sizes for sale for $5.00 each. They may also be purchased at the Library’s Help Desk.

Happy Holidays!

All Things Cello: Preucil School of Music

by on November 8th, 2015

Cello(Cello) Music is the Word at Iowa City Public Library on Friday November 13, 2015 when the Preucil School of Music’s Cello Department presents an awesome program of cello choirs, solos, and faculty performances.

Friday November 13th is a NO SCHOOL day in Iowa City, so it’s a great opportunity to head Downtown, pick up some lunch and listen to great music at the Library. Preucil is planning a program that showcases all levels of cello performance, giving the audience an opportunity to hear a variety of music.

According to Wikipedia, “The name cello is a contraction of the Italian violoncello,[2] which means “little violone“. The violone (“big viol”) was the lowest-pitched instrument of the viol family, the group of stringed instruments that went out of fashion around the end of the 17th century in most countries except France, where they survived another half-century before the louder violin family came into greater favour in that country as well. In modern symphony orchestras, it is the second largest stringed instrument (the double bass is the largest).”

If you want to investigate cello music more, a simple SUBJECT search of the Library’s catalog returns 356 items with the subject of “Cello.” Most items are music CDs; however, there are some books mixed in as well. One that caught my eye? “I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello” – a rhyming book for children (now I have that title in my head!). Enjoy!