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Back to School! Home Schooling Resources

by on September 4th, 2016

file791271781089Last week was my kindergartner’s first full week of school. While my kiddo has only reported back to me about the fun she’s had at recess, her backpack is full of the school work she’s been doing but doesn’t bother mentioning. Since I plan and put together the curriculum for the adult computer classes at the library, I know that crafting an interesting lesson for any learner can be a challenge. I have to applaud not only the teachers who plan out my child’s learning on a daily basis but the parents that choose to home school their kiddos as well. While I know many home school parents have started school already, I thought it might be helpful to mention of few of the library’s resources as well as the resources I’ve run into that may make lesson planning a little easier. Read the rest of this entry »

ICPL hosts Shakespeare’s Herbs and Flowers at the Farmers Market

by on September 2nd, 2016

It was William Shakespeare’s Juliet who once asked “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any another name would smell as sweet.”

It was not the first time Shakespeare used the language of flowers in his work. From Othello to Hamlet, the playwright’s characters have referenced daisies and violets, roses and lilies.

When Shakespeare was alive, flowers and herbs were used for more than adding color to the coffee table or spice to a meal. Join Dr. Colleen E. Kennedy, visiting assistant professor at the University of Iowa English department, at the Iowa City Farmers Market Saturday, September 10, to learn how herbs and flowers were used during Shakespeare’s time.

Kennedy’s hour-long demonstration will be presented twice; first at 9 a.m. and again at 11 a.m.

Kennedy’s presentation is part of a series of programs sponsored by the Iowa City Public Library in conjunction with the First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare exhibit at the University of Iowa Main Library. The exhibit will remain on display through September 25.

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

The most powerful card in the world!

by on September 2nd, 2016

I’ve had a library card since I was a wee one.  I grew up in Tipton, Iowa and spent hours and hours at the library. My mom was on the library board so I think I even got to go to the library when it was closed.  I can still conjure up the large red leatherette piece of furniture in the children’s section of the library where I was often sprawled reading Dr. Seuss books over and over and over again. library card When I was old enough to read nonfiction books I really started to use my library card.  There was the whole world to explore and those nonfiction books and the World Book Encyclopedia made me an expert on everything, or so I thought.  We had books at home and at school and there was the annual Scholastic paperback book order, but the library had more books, and books for everyone and I had a card, a passport to everywhere.

September marks the American Library Association’s Library Card Sign-Up Month when the Iowa City Public Library and other libraries across the nation encourage everyone to get a library card or to renew a card that has expired.  Libraries want people to use their services and at the core of our services are the books and other materials we lend.  This past April, the Atlantic Monthly, published Is the Library Card Dying? a piece by Sara Polsky that helped me understand that while a library card acted as a passport for me, it served an entirely different function for a library.

“Public libraries, funded by municipal rather than member dollars, began appearing in the northeastern U.S. in the early to mid-19th century. Cards were essential at these libraries, too. The card was the “arbiter of all disputes” when it came to missing books, wrote the St. Louis librarian Frederick M. Crunden, “and since we have had this respected referee there have been but few contested cases.”

Borrower requirements varied by library, and so did the types of library cards issued. At the St. Louis public library, adults received white cards and minors blue ones, and cardholders had to identify themselves as residents, taxpayers, students, or local employees. The cards for minors came with a warning that “only books suitable for young people will be issued on this card.” Adults were allowed second cards, but were not allowed to use them to take out novels. Teachers and members of the clergy could have three cards, with the third for professional use.

Late returns and card losses carried penalties. A St. Louis library user who lost a card circa 1900 had to “pay fivepence and wait a week for another,” Crunden explained. The dual penalty was meant to send cardholders searching harder for their lost cards, but the fine and the waiting period targeted different library users: “Most men will not much mind the fivepence,” Crunden theorized, “but if they find they also have to wait a week, they bethink them that perhaps they can find the card, and they go home and do so. Women and children, on the other hand, are generally willing to wait the week; but when it comes to the fivepence, they conclude it will be cheaper to make further search for the card.” (Crunden’s gender essentialism came with a heavy dose of moralizing. “Rules,” he wrote, “should be so framed and so applied as to make careless people pay the cost of their carelessness.”)

vintage_library_cardLibrary cards are different now and patron confidentiality is respected and enforced. However, when I was little and the Tipton Public Library’s collection wasn’t computerized, each book had a pocket and in each pocket was a card with the name of the person who had borrowed the book before.  I was fascinated with who else wanted the book that I was about to borrow.  Why did my neighbor down the street want to read about dog breeds and why did my teacher’s husband  have an interest in the Easter Islands.  Those days are long gone and it would take a court order to find out who had which book checked out (Iowa Code sections 22.2 and 22.7(13)).  Now if you are interested in who has read a book you liked, Goodreads will help, but you will just have to speculate on who in Iowa City might have also opened the pages of a book you just finished.

If you are reading this post, you are probably already a library card holder, library_card_icplbut I bet you have friends or neighbors who might not realize that a card is free and waiting for everyone at the Iowa City Public Library.    And if you’d like to see an enormous collection of library cards of all types, retired librarian Larry Nix keeps a fascinating website.

Dig In to the issue using ICPL databases

by on September 1st, 2016

The group of Iowans demonstrating against the Bakken oil pipeline are putting up a last-ditch effort (sorry, couldn’t resist) with their non-violent protest.  But I have a feeling the only real chance they have of stopping the construction relies on their challenge of the state’s use of eminent domain to obtain land for it.  I wanted to dig into this issue  (I can’t stop) of eminent domain a bit more.  All I really knew is that property owners are entitled to “just compensation” and that the property should be for public use.   I was curious how the utilities board can use eminent domain for a pipeline that doesn’t seem to have any direct benefit to the people of Iowa other than some temporary jobs and future tax revenue. Read the rest of this entry »

Fresh Picks: Beautiful Nonfiction

by on August 31st, 2016
Fresh Picks: Beautiful Nonfiction Cover Image

In the world of children’s literature, picture books are the shining jewels that we admire for their beautiful illustrations and imaginative stories. Nonfiction titles are often seen as unglamorous workhorses, judged on their ability to meet educational standards in imparting information to their young readers. While there is certainly a necessary place for curriculum supporting, report fodder nonfiction, there is plenty of room on the shelves for nonfiction that captures the imagination as well as presenting the facts.

Read the rest of this entry »

September is Library Card Sign Up Month

by on August 31st, 2016

With the new school year underway, now is the perfect time to check your wallet, purse or backpack to make sure you have the most important school supply item of all: your Iowa City Public Library Card!

September is Library Card Sign Up Month. If you don’t have a Library Card, now is the time to get one. Use your Library Card to check out books, movies, videogames, framed art, laptop computers, and music; access databases; explore the Library’s digital collection, including eBooks and audio books, and digital magazines; and get connected to the Library’s on-site public computer stations.

Cards are available for Iowa residents of any age. Pre-apply online at www.icpl.org/cards/get-a-card/ or complete the entire process in person at the first floor Help Desk whenever the Library is open. A photo ID and Iowa address verification are required for both options.

All new Library Card holders will receive a free ICPL drawstring book bag, while supplies last. If you’ve lost your card, we’ll replace it for free all month long!

For more information, visit www.icpl.org or call the Library at 319-356-5200.

MidWestOne Bank Hosts Book Drive

by on August 30th, 2016

A special community effort to restock the shelves at the Iowa City Public Library’s Book End used bookstore starts soon at local MidWestOne bank locations.

The eleventh annual September collection will benefit The Book End store on the second floor of the library. The drive will run from September 1 through September 30.

Each MidWestOne bank in Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty will accept gently-read fiction and non-fiction books for all ages at a special inside collection box. If you have paperback romance, and any children’s books which are in great shape, please consider donating them. Bank customers, staff, and the public are encouraged to deliver their donations during convenient bank hours.

“It is wonderful of MidWestOne Bank to host this drive for The Book End again! Every year, the number of books received increases thanks to our generous communities. When those books are sold at The Book End, proceeds are used to buy prize books for every child and teen to finish our Summer Reading programs, and they help add more Art-to-Go. It will be wonderful to be able to see what is donated this year,” says Patty McCarthy, Director of Development of the Iowa City Public Library.

The Book End is staffed by dedicated volunteers as a fundraising activity of the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation.

Win tickets to see Rick Riordan at The Englert

by on August 30th, 2016

Best-selling author Rick Riordan will be in Iowa City for the Iowa City Book Festival October 4 through October 9, appearing at The Englert Theatre on October 7. Tickets to the event are sold out, but the Iowa City Public Library has two to award to the winner of our Rick Riordan fan fiction writing contest.

The contest is open to students in 4th through 12th grades. The stories can be about any of Riordan’s works, but must be written by the student and no more than four pages in length.

Finished stories must be turned in at the Children’s Room Desk or Info Desk on the Library’s second floor by 5 p.m. Friday, September 23. Only one story per entrant, please. The winner will be announced at the Library’s screening of Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and trivia contest at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, September 29, in Meeting Room A.

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

Digging in to Consumer Reports online

by on August 29th, 2016

Consumer Reports LogoLast year, Candice introduced the library blog-reading public to our new online subscription to the Consumer Reports website. Today I’m going to call out some special features that have helped me recently in my search to replace my workhorse of a vacuum cleaner. We’ve had our little bagless Hoover for eight years before I did something stupid and tried to suck up silver maple helicopters with an indoor vac. Now it’s time for me to find its replacement.

First things first, if you’ve never used our access to the Consumer Reports website, you will want to know how to get there. You need to live in Iowa City or one of our contracting services areas, and have a library card number and password. Check, check, and check? Do this next: Read the rest of this entry »

Get creative with Recovering the Classics

by on August 29th, 2016

Does your favorite classic novel have a “blah” cover?  Wouldn’t it be fun to make up a new one?

Recovering_ScarletThat’s the idea behind Recovering the Classics, a crowdsourced collection of original covers for great works in the public domain, and the upcoming exhibit at the Iowa City Public Library.  We’ll be displaying 50 book covers made by artists from around the world in October and November, alongside yours.

1) Choose a book from our list of classics in the public domain, 2) create a piece of art that reimagines its front cover, and 3) drop it off at the library’s Help Desk by September 19.  We’ve already received our first entry — a mixed media version of The Secret Garden, made with watercolors and collage.  One of my coworkers is thinking of doing a cover in cross-stitch…  Anything goes!

This is about sharing our love of literature — and possibly getting someone to try a book they always assumed was fusty or boring — so the project is open to all ages and ability levels. Every display space in the library is booked for Recovering the Classics, so help us fill it up!

Questions?  Ask Stacey (stacey-mckim@icpl.org 319-887-6025) or Candice (candice-smith@icpl.org 319-887-6031).  More details are available at icpl.org/classics.





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