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Blind Date With a Book

by on March 16th, 2015

Our first year of playing matchmaker with you and a Blind Date With a Book was so much fun. We set you up with over 200 books in February and loved hearing how 71 of those dates went on your returned Rate Your Date slips. Congratulations to Katharine Thompson, the winner of a box of chocolates courtesy of Aspen Leaf & Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory!

datesrated
Library staff were interested to see what people thought of their selections, and some of us (ahem, Meredith) might have gotten a little bit competitive about it… You can see the mix of reactions to some of the books I picked here. Not every book was a good match, so we want to thank all the intrepid readers who gave it a try!

If you missed this display, remember that you can step outside of your regular reading routine anytime by taking a book from the Recently Returned shelves or wandering into a section that you might not normally visit. Library staff members are always willing to offer a suggestion, too.

Did you check out a Blind Date book? What did you think? What would you want to see different in next year’s display?

Need Computer Help?

by on March 16th, 2015

Many  know that the library has Drop-In Tech times and computer classes to help you with your technology needs. But what if you cannot make it to those Tech Help times or want to learn from the comfort of your own home? Learning Express is another resource the library has to offer for free. It is a database that has a wide range of computer tutorials.

Learning Express offers comprehensive lessons on many popular software programs like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Illustrator, and  Adobe Photoshop. For computer novices, it also offers basic computer and internet courses and tutorials on both Windows and Mac operating systems. The Learning Express software records your progress as you work to achieve your learning goals and features friendly experts who help to make learning both comprehensive and fun.

To access Learning Express go to www.icpl.org.

Click on, Reference and Research in the drop-down menu on the left-hand side. Select “Online Resources.”

Reference_Research

Click on, “Learning Tools”  in the “Online Resources: Browse by Category” menu

Learning Express is the first database offered. Click on “Visit Learning Express 3.0 now” to begin!

Online_Resources

 

If you would like more information about Learning Express or the other databases the library subscribes to, please call the library at 356-5200 or speak with a librarian. If you are interested in Iowa City Public Library’s Tech Help Times or classes visit www.icpl.org/classes.

**** Please note that only residents of Iowa City or rural Johnson County and the cities of Hills, Lone Tree, and University Heights can access databases from home.

Halp! I started a business in 2014. Where can I find tax info?

by on March 13th, 2015
Calculator close-up

Photo by Phillip on Flickr.

Those new to filing taxes as a sole-proprietorship business owner or as someone who is self-employed have a few forms and resources they need to become familiar with.

If you are starting from the very beginning, you can visit the Self-Employed Individuals Tax Center, an information resource provided by the IRS. The information in this blog post comes from there.

This web page links to the primary forms and publications needed. Pay attention to the following:  Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Break Specials

by on March 13th, 2015

Be sure to make ICPL a destination this spring break as we will be celebrating vacation with activities every day!

On Saturday the 14th Orchestra Iowa’s Pied Piper woodwinds concert will take place at 10:30.LEGO

Join us from 2-4pm on Sunday for a LEGO air and space vehicle free play afternoon. Dan Daly will  be bringing his collection and the library’s new collection of LEGOs will be making its debut as well.

Monday and Tuesday afternoons mark our tween programs, specifically geared for children from minecraft_13rd-6th grade. We will be playing Minecraft on Monday from 2-4 and doing Print it, Frame it on Tuesday from 3:30-4:30.

The Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center’s Friends of the Animal Center Foundation will be leading PreschThe Boxtrollsool Storytime on Wednesday morning at 10:30.  In the afternoon, from 2-3:30pm, we will be showing The Box Trolls and eating popcorn!

Prepare to laugh yourself silly and be blown away as Comedy Magician Rick Eugene Brammer joins us for a special performance on Thursday afternoon from 1-2pm!Rick Eugene

And finally, Saturday we will be hosting a special performance of Little Red Riding Hood by Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre Company.

Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre Company

BLUE ON BLUE by Dianne White

by on March 12th, 2015
BLUE ON BLUE by Dianne White Cover Image

Soon it will be April and I’ll be pulling out my folder for my favorite rainy day stories in preparation for a library storytime or an outreach storytime at any one of a number of community preschools and day care sites.  A new picture book is a perfect addition to toddler and preschool storytimes and for any parent whose child might be fearful of a thunderstorm.  Blue on Blue is Dianne White’s first book.  It is written in a rhyming text that is short and sweet.  The book depicts a day that is bright and beautiful until a storm comes along with rain, thunder, and lightning.  By late afternoon the little girl takes her umbrella outside and the sun peeks out from behind the rain clouds.  The dogs go outside to play and the pigs roll happily in the mud.  The mother and baby watch the sunset, the father washes the dogs in the trough, and finally it is time to go back inside for a bath and bedtime.  How fortunate for a first-time author to be paired with the Caldecott Award winner illustrator, Beth Krommes.  As in The House in the Night, Krommes employs the technique of scratchboard and watercolor to create realistic, detailed artwork that is within the realm of a young child’s understanding of the world.  Each beautiful spread has familiar objects in each scene depicted.  By the front door we see a red tricycle, a jump rope, an umbrella stand, a basket of laundry and a bag of clothespins, a ball, and a cat looking in while the puppy looks out.  Those same objects are later seen in another image outside.  The father tills the soil from a distance with the horses out in the field, and then drives the tractor into the barn and rounds up the horses while his daughter hides with her doggie under the covers upstairs in her bed.  Turtles, ducks, flowers, lightning bugs, stars, and a toad are other things that will be fun for a small child to point out when the story is shared with an adult.  What a happy combination of story and illustrations that mesh together beautifully.  Enjoy!

SMICK! by Doreen Cronin

by on March 12th, 2015
SMICK! by Doreen Cronin Cover Image

A book on the New Shelf that caught my eye is entitled Smick! and written by the author of many ridiculously funny picture books like Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Diary of a Worm, and Giggle, Giggle, Quack. This one is very short with only a couple of words per page that often rhyme.  There is a dog named “Smick” who plays with a stick and cavorts with a chick.  The illustrator is Juana Medina, a Colombia native and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.  She now lives and works in Washington, D.C., and teaches at the Corcoran College of Art + Design.  Her spare artwork is done in mixed media.  The dog is drawn in what looks like black crayon; the stick looks like a photograph; and the chick appears like a red and yellow photo of a flower petal with black crayon features.  This simple story and pictures is a delightful picture book that has already proven to be a hit in storytime.  All the white space on the pages combined with the artwork demonstrates that less is definitely more. Check out Cronin’s newest offering and sit back and enjoy all the laughs with the toddler and preschool set.

Storytime Recap: Good Morning!

by on March 11th, 2015

Today’s Preschool Storytime was all about saying good morning to a beautiful day. To start, we talked about the sun coming up and how the weather is warm enough that we don’t need our coats anymore. Then we sang our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello” from the CD Sally Go Round the Sun by Kathy Reid-Naiman. Then we talked about how it is sometimes hard to wake up in the morning and sang “Brother John.”

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
Brother John, Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing
Morning bells are ringing
Ding, dang, dong
Ding, dang, dong

Next we talked about waking up after a dream and trying to remember what happened. Which led nicely into reading Hank Has a Dream by Rebecca Dudley.

With everyone awake, we did a finger-play song with “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” I like to sub in the words “great big hairy” on the second time through for a funny ending.

The itsy bitsy spider (finger to thumb climb)
Climbed up the waterspout (finger to thumb climb)
Down came the rain (wiggle fingers downward)
And washed the spider out (wipe motion with hands across body)
Out came the sun (use arms to make circle above head)
And dried up all the rain (open arms to sides)
And the itsy bitsy spider (finger to thumb climb)
Climbed up the spout again (finger to thumb climb)

Next to celebrate the change to warmer weather we read Wake Up, It’s Spring by Lisa Campbell Ernst.

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After reading about all the animals waking up, we did an action rhyme that follows the movements of different animals.

Can you hop like a rabbit?
Can you jump like a frog?
Can you waddle like a duck?
Can you run like a dog?
Can you fly like a bird?
Can you swim like a fish?
And then can you be
As still as this?

When everyone was still, I told them I needed help from a friend for the next book. My friend  was a stuffed animal rabbit that I put on my head in order to be just like the boy in A Boy and His Bunny by Sean Bryan.

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After this sweet but silly story, we talked about how sometimes your day may not start out great, but if you don’t give up it can still be a good day. Our last story was A Good Day by Kevin Henkes.

We finished off the main part of storytime with singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Zip-A-Dee-A

My oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Zip-A-Dee-A

Mister bluebird on my shoulder
It’s the truth
It’s actual
Everything is satisfactual

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Zip-A-Dee-A
Wonderful feeling
Wonderful day

After storytime we watched All the World, an animated film based on the book by Liz Garton Scanlon.

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Maeve Binchy: Maeve’s Times

by on March 10th, 2015
Maeve Binchy:  Maeve’s Times Cover Image

Maeve Binchy, beloved Irish novelist who died in 2012, got her writing start as a reporter and columnist for The Irish Times.  Maeve’s Times:  In Her Own Words is a selection of her columns and stories that appeared in The Irish Times over five decades.  These brief essays are as heartwarming and funny as her novels, but also contain serious commentary about the world around her.  She reminds me of the American political writer Molly Ivins (who also died too young).

Binchy served as the “Women’s Editor” at The Irish Times in Dublin from 1968-1973; she was then transferred to London where she worked as a reporter and columnist.  She resigned her staff position in the 1980′s but continued as a regular contributor to the newspaper.

Her reprinted columns are divided into groups by decade, and chart many societal changes you will recognize from the sixties to 2011.  She observed and recorded everyday life, from conversations at the bus stop and in the neighborhood to giving the commoner take on national politics and the royal family.  She was self-deprecating about her appearance and social skills, which just makes her easier to relate to and trust.  And as is the case in her novels, the relationships among people are her best subject.

If you have enjoyed Maeve Binchy’s novels, I predict you will like this book too.  But if her fiction was not quite your cup of tea, I encourage you to give her nonfiction writing a try.   It is informative, observant and often funny–and always enjoyable.

Share your photograph, tell our story.

by on March 7th, 2015

schoolIt’s said that a photograph is worth a thousand words. Photographs can document and show an event, they can convey an idea, they can explain a thought. They can preserve a moment and tell the story that goes with it.

ICPL wants your photographs and your words. We want your stories.

Join us on Saturday, May 9 from 2-5 pm in Meeting Room A for ScanIt@ICPL–Local History, part of the Library’s Weber Days events.

Bring in your photos, letters, documents, and other items related to the history of Iowa City and Johnson county. Share your items and tell the stories that go with them — stories about the people, places, events, and things that are part of our past, but also part of who we are now. Help the Library build a resource about and for our community — help us tell our story.

We will help you scan your items, and then send you home with your originals plus digital copies of them (you can supply your own USB, or we can send you the copies in an email). If you have questions about what you can bring in, or if you’d like to schedule a specific time (not necessary — drop-ins are welcome!), contact Candice Smith at csmith@icpl.org or 319-887-6031.

Check out our Digital History Project, then become part of it.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

by on March 5th, 2015
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson Cover Image

This book, published in 2011, is the first in a young adult fantasy trilogy. This first book follows chosen one Elisa, a sixteen year old princess, on a journey that takes her far from home and safety. Elisa is an unusual chosen one – she isn’t athletic or adored, and she is deeply unsure of her destiny. But like a good hero story, her journey teaches her about what kind of person she is capable of being. For the first time in awhile, I careened through the first book in less than a week. I’ve now begun The Crown of Embers, the second book in the trilogy.

What I liked about The Girl of Fire and Thorns is that, though it is beautifully written, the story is harsh and at times brutal. This is fantasy, but without false gilding. The characters are real and complex, the food sounds delicious, and the political intrigues are wrought just enough to give context. But Elisa makes hard choices and she makes sacrifices. Being the chosen one is a hard job; so is being a princess. But as Elisa manages to scrape by or outright succeed with each new challenge, I’ve grown to like her, and to root for her, which is one of the best things a YA novel can spark in a reader.

I got interested in Rae Carson after first hearing about her new book, Walk on Earth a Stranger. This new book is about a girl living during the gold rush in the United States who finds herself a target because of a special magical ability. Walk on Earth a Stranger doesn’t come out until September 2015, and at this rate I’ll be done with Carson’s first trilogy long before then. But Rae Carson is a YA writer whose work I will watch for from now on.





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