If you have kids that regularly visit the Ellen Buchanan Children’s Room, then you have probably met Mabel the Table. This is a large interactive touch table that immediately draws kids’ attention. The library has been a long-time host of Coder Dojo Iowa City, the local chapter of an international movement to teach and inspire kids in the vocation of computer programming. Young programmers in this dojo collaboratively designed and built a custom game called Little Dutch Boy that is only found on Mabel the Table. The game is a race against time as a dike holding back water is starting to fill with holes. Players around the table try to plug as many holes as they can with their fingers before the water gets too high. I hope you have a chance to try it out next time you are at the library. The kids of Coder Dojo did a wonderful job of working together to contribute a cool new custom app for our table. If you are a game designer or involved in a developer group and want to help us improve these games or create new ones, please contact me at the library
Two dads, four boys, one dog, one cat, and one invisible cheetah. The Family Fletcher is preparing for a new school year, the first school year where all four of the very different boys will be in school. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Levy follows this unique, and at the same time totally normal, family throughout the year as they deal with their individual problems. Twelve year-old Sam is a soccer player, a cool kid looked up to as the example for his younger brothers. Can he transfer his talent for storytelling into a part in the school play, and more importantly still be cool? 10 year-old Jax thinks Sam is the coolest, and wants to be accepted as part of the same crowd, now that he’s in the same school building. But with a changing friendship and a school project hanging over his head, Jax might end up more behind than ever. Eli, also 10 (but a couple of months younger), is starting a new, expensive, academically minded school, trading familiar faces for scholarly challenges. When his new school turns out to be less amazing than he had hoped, he struggles with the his ability to admit he made a mistake. Six year-old Froggie (not Jeremiah) is excited to start kindergarten with Flare, his invisible cheetah. His biggest problems are asking for kittens, turtles and convincing his family that his new friend Ladybug is real girl.
Even with all of their individual issues to work through, the whole family comes together for the biggest Halloween party ever, camping trips, and convincing their grumpy neighbor Mr. Nelson that they mean no harm. With loving support from both Papa and Dad (who have some misadventures of their own), the Fletchers work together to overcome all obstacles that come their way. This is a fun romp that just happens to have a diverse family at the heart of it.
Have you ever loved a book so much that you had to let the author know? That they were the only person who would understand how you felt? Letters About Literature is a program where students in grades 4 through 12 write a letter to an author explaining how that author’s work impacted them.
The Letters can be written about works from any genre, fiction or nonfiction by authors from the present or the past. Students can write about a book, short story, poem, or speech.
The program is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The Iowa Center for the Book is the Iowa sponsor.
Iowa first place winners win $75. Second and third place winners win $50. Honorable Mention winners win $25.
The deadline for high school students is December 15, 2014. The deadline for elementary and middle school students is January 15, 2015. You can learn more at the Iowa Center for the Book website and read last year’s winning entries at http://www.iowacenterforthebook.org/letters
But maybe you don’t want to enter the contest and just want to write a letter to your favorite author. We have a database that can help with that. To access it, go to http://www.icpl.org/resources/ scroll down and click on “Contemporary Authors.” Contemporary Authors has a lot of interesting information about more than 120,000 U.S. and international authors. For example, you can search “Lowry, Lois,” and it will list info about awards she has won, her bibliography and personal information including a home address. So, you could write a letter about how The Giver is your absolute favorite book of all time. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
“3 weeks 2 sisters 1 car” Perfect for the holidays—the quintessential family road trip!
I’m not generally a fan of graphic novels, but author and illustrator Raina Telgemeier does a great job of convincing me to broaden my horizons. I just read her newest title, Sisters, which explores the complexity and humor of sibling rivalry and family relationships. Sisters evokes a universal familiarity. Who doesn’t remember the family road trip as the perfect time to fight and bond?
Telgemeier’s first autobiographical novel, Smile, continues to be incredibly popular. Booklist described it as “possibly the only universally embraced graphic novel on the planet.” Sisters continues Raina’s story, sharing how she and her sister Amara fight their way to common ground, against the backdrop of a family reunion, also filled with family fights and affections. Sisters left me with a smile and warm memories of my own sisters…and wishing for more. Perhaps Telgemeier will turn me into a graphic novel fan yet!
Sisters and Smile both have hold lists on them at the library, but they are worth the wait. (And the lists aren’t too long!) While you’re waiting, you could check out a couple of my other favorite sister books, touching picture books great for all ages: Big Sister, Little Sister by LeUyen Pham and Maple & Willow Together by Lori Nichols.
This week I get to see one of my sisters, and I’m excited to share Sisters with her. We can relate–it’s surprisingly like our story!
Few places carry paper maps anymore. If you are looking for a map of Iowa City, you can turn to the Iowa Department of Transportation. They have a place on their website where you can look for maps of Iowa cities and counties. From this webpage, click the “City and county maps” link, and then find Johnson County. Clicking on the Johnson County shape takes you to where you can choose between Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty. Clicking on the name of the city will bring up a PDF that you can then see all of the roads in one view.
If you really wanted to see the whole thing on paper, you can print it on 25 different pages (Print –>Page Size/Handling–>Poster). Of if you are in the neighborhood of the Johnson County Administration Building during business hours, you can try to stop in to see if they have what you’re looking for. The Assessor’s Office should have a small map at the very least.
It’s that time of year. Every day your mailboxes (physical and virtual) have new appeals for worthy causes, and the Library is asking for your support as well. If you haven’t seen the annual report of the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation, please look it over. The Library receives good tax funding, but the Foundation gifts allow us to move from great to fantastic which is what we want you to think your library is.
Last year Foundation gifts to the Library paid more than half the cost of our building renovations, purchased library materials for all ages, supported huge growth in our Summer Reading Program (allowing us to continue to provide books to participants — see p. 8 of the annual report for a heartwarming story), supported programs, and improved technology.
You can give online or by mail (make checks payable to the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation). You also support the Library through your purchases at the Arts & Crafts Bazaar (Saturday, December 6, 10-3) at special book sales (same day) or at The Book End.
At this time of year I am thankful for a great public library. What would our community be without it? Please consider a gift today.
There’s an awesome user feature in our online Catalog called “My Reading History.” “My Reading History” will keep track of every physical item you have checked out from the Library. It will also eMail the list to you. This feature is available to everyone but you must turn the feature on before it will begin tracking items checked out.
To activate “My Reading History,” login to your online account at catalog.icpl.org and click on “Reading History.” If you don’t have a password, or don’t remember your password, please give us a call during Library hours or stop by the Help Desk and we’ll set one up for you.
Once you’ve logged in to the Catalog and selected “My Reading History,” there is a toggle button to Opt In or Opt Out. The default is for accounts to be set-up to “Opt Out” so you must choose “Opt In” for the system to begin tracking your checkouts.
I enjoy browsing through “My Reading History” because it’s a walk down memory lane. Some titles bring back memories of learning to draw with my children (Ed Emberley books are great for this) and favorite books while others remind me about planning a vacation, craft projects and driving in blizzards. I’ve used this feature for nearly 10 years so I have quite a long memory lane cataloged there.
We often get questions about “My Reading History” so here’s the fine print if you have questions or concerns:
Library Staff may not access these lists so they are completely private. It is up to you to activate this feature IF you want the catalog to keep track of the physical items you check out.
If you checked out something you don’t want to keep track of, you can delete the item from your list.
You can choose to Opt Out any time and opt back in later if you choose to.
My Reading History does not track any eMaterials checked out on other webpages like OverDrive and Zinio.
If an item is withdrawn from our collection, it no longer appears in My Reading History.
Some patrons come in hopeful that we track their circulation over time – this usually happens when they can’t remember a book they checked out. We don’t track specific items checked out because of privacy issues. IF the patron turned on My Reading History, the record will be there once they login to their Library Account. In most cases, though, they have not turned this feature on and so the information is not available.
If you wish to Opt In to “My Reading History” and need help, please stop by or give us a call. It’s a nice feature for those who are interested in keeping track of materials checked out over time.
Straub’s Vacationers is a vicarious trip out of the cold Iowa winter. Frannie and Jim decide to vacation in Majorca, Spain with their grown-up children and Frannie’s best friend, Charles, and his husband. For each character Majorca represents a turning point of either falling back into the ruts of life or moving forward and finding new potential.
Emma Straub’s writing is clean and crisp. The books is funny, warm and realistic. Straub creates characters who are real and struggle with insecurities and secrets while ultimately triumphing over what life throws at them. I listened to the book and Kristen Sieh’s narration is perfect.
As I look out my window I see it is snowing again. If you need a vicarious escape to Spain check out Emma Straub’s Vacationers.
This season has been chock full of sequels to some of my favorite wordless picture books from 2013.
“The Journey Continues” in Aaron Becker’s Quest. Fans of the Caldecott Honor winner Journey will be delighted and enthralled from the moment they open this second installment in the Journey Trilogy.
Becker picks up exactly where the friends left off and immediately readers are taken on an incredible journey to save a king and his kingdom. With vivid imagery, vibrant colors and an expert hand at illustration, Becker draws readers into his world and simultaneously ties it to our own.
Hank Finds an Egg, by Rebecca Dudley has been joined this month by the sequel, Hank Has a Dream. Dudley’s work continues to amaze me, she works in diorama and photography–everything seen in any of the Hank books has been made by hand. Her craftsmanship and abilities as a storyteller are truly incredible.
One of my favorite additions to this work is the map of “Storywoods”, Hank’s world, within the endsheets. Another addition to this work, is words: Dudley juxtaposes Hank and his friend acting out the dream with an image of the dream itself on the opposite page. Honestly, everything about this work is beautiful, inspiring and original. Rebecca Dudley is a singular artist and definitely an author to watch!
Last, but certainly not least is another Caldecott Honor winner, Molly Idle, with her latest book about Flora. After dancing in the cherry blossoms with her pal the Flamingo, Flora gets ready for winter and ice skating with her pal Penguin. In what is becoming her signature wordless style, Molly Idle combines beautiful color illustrations, fun characters and flaps to tell a wonderful friendship story. The bodily expressions of Idle’s characters tell the story and lead the reader through the growing friendship between Flora and the Penguin. Though things may get frosty, the two find a way to not only make their relationship work but have a ton of fun doing it.
Quest, Hank has a Dream, and Flora and the Penguin are great reads for the young and young at heart that leave us wanting more and excited about what’s to come from these amazing Author/Illustrators.
With updated technology and a larger touchscreen, the new machines make it easier for patrons to borrow Library materials. For instance, the new machines give patrons the option of no receipt, eMail receipt or printed receipt when checking out items and/or paying a fine. An eMail receipt will only be sent if the Library has a valid eMail address on file.
“The self-serve option is designed to ease wait times for patrons, freeing staff members to focus on borrowers with questions and requests for reserves, equipment loans, and other services,” said Kara Logsden, the Library’s Coordinator for Community and Access Services.
The Library also installed new DVD unlocking stations at each self-checkout machine.
Self-checkout machines are available on the Library’s first and second floor, and in the Children’s Room.
For more information, please call the Library at (319) 356-5200.