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Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

by on July 15th, 2015

Kent Haruf’s beautiful, lyrical final novel was a bit of serendipity I recently discovered on the Fiction Express shelf. I love Haruf’s novels. They are set in Eastern Colorado and have a strong sense of place. Haruf develops his characters in a way that brings them alive on the page and he has a gift of writing beautifully about the complexities of human relationships. Haruf is a 1973 graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop who died late last year at age 71.

According to a New York Times article, “Kent Haruf pulled a wool cap over his eyes when he sat down at his manual typewriter each morning so he could “write blind,” fully immersing himself in the fictitious small town in eastern Colorado where he set a series of quiet, acclaimed novels, including “Plainsong,” a 1999 best seller.”

I first discovered Haruf’s writing when I read his 1999 novel, Plainsong. I was drawn into the beautiful writing and the compelling story. I vividly remember the characters in that book – two bachelor brothers who took in a pregnant teenager, creating an unlikely but loving family. Equally memorable are the two main characters in this novel. Addie Moore is a lonely widow who takes a big chance in her life. Louis Waters is also lonely but rediscovers a purpose for his life through a new relationship and responsibility.

Our Souls at Night is a quick read, but one that will make the reader smile and appreciate human relationships and love.

Get access to Consumer Reports online!

by on July 15th, 2015

CRThe Library has recently subscribed to what I think is one of the most useful online resources out there–Consumer Reports. We’ve had the actual magazine for years, as well as access to the print articles in digital format through our magazine database EbscoHost (if you actually jumped through the hoops required to do that, you’ll love this!).  Consumer Reports online has all of the ratings and reviews that you see in the magazine, plus video content. It’s easy to use, very up-to-date, and looks great.

You can get access to it from the Library’s Online Resources page; scroll down the list until you find Consumer Reports, then enter your library card number and password (if you need help with your password, contact the Information Desk). Once you’ve accessed the site, you can use the search bar to search for items, or you can browse categories in the grey ‘Find Ratings’ box on the left side of the page.

Note: to access this resource from outside the Library, you must be a library card holder who lives in Iowa City, rural Johnson county, Hills, or University Heights. If you live outside these areas, contact your local public library to see if they subscribe to the site.

Anyone can access Consumer Reports online if you’re actually at the Iowa City Public Library; we have four database computers on the second floor that do not require signing in and have no time-limit, so you can read product reviews to your heart’s content!

Teachable moments @ the IC Farmer’s Market

by on July 15th, 2015

Now that my kids are teenagers (insert clichéd “Where did the time go?” mental photo montage here), I don’t experience as many teachable moments as I did when they were little. Don’t get me wrong, we still have teachable moments, but now they are more “OK, time to practice parallel parking” and “No one knows how to fold fitted sheets; you’re fine” instead of “What color is the apple?”

Visiting the Iowa City Farmer’s Market is a great activity for families because the place is filled with teachable moments. Preschoolers can show off their color knowledge, older students can practice their math skills, and babies can take in the scenery and, hopefully, be so exhausted by the time they get home, they take a long nap.

But what about teens? What teachable moments can they have at the farmer’s market?Farm to table pic1

A lot, actually.

My daughter accompanied me to the market last fall as part of her social studies’ world hunger unit. She had a BINGO card of activities she needed to complete and one was to go to a local farmer’s market and interview a vendor. She had to ask about what they sold, how they grew and/or made it, how far they traveled to get to the market, etc.

It was fun to watch her approach a vendor, explain the purpose of her assignment and go through her list of questions. Not only did she learn something new, she was able to practice her interview and note-taking skills, and patience, as their conversation was interrupted several times so the vendor could help a customer.

I’m teaching my children how to cook this summer. Correction. I’m teaching them how to cook something besides toast and hot dogs. They recently visited the Library’s cookbook collection (check out our Farm to Table cookbook display on the second floor), found recipes they want to try, and then went to the farmer’s market to buy their ingredients.

I took photos. I was told not to put them on Facebook. When I said it was for work, I got the look. If you have (or had) teens, you know what look I’m talking about.

Here’s a teachable moment for parents: pick your battles.

Community IDs and Library Cards

by on July 11th, 2015

Community IDThe Johnson County Auditor’s Office will begin accepting applications for Community ID cards Friday July 17 at 1:00 PM.

UPDATE 7/14/15: Here’s a link to the online application for the new Community ID Cards.

We are excited about the program and hope this will encourage members of our community to use their Community ID card to get at Library Card.

It’s easy to get a Library Card and only takes a couple minutes. The online application is available at http://www.icpl.org/cards/get-a-card/ It works great to sign-up online at home or you can complete an online application at the Library at any of the catalog terminals.

Once you’ve registered online, stop by the Help Desk to pick up your Library Card.

Adults and students in 7th grade and older should be prepared to show photo identification and proof of your residence address. A Community ID card or Driver’s License fulfils the requirement for both if the current address is listed. Other documents that work for proof of address include a lease, voter registration card, mail with a current post mark or pre-printed checks from a bank.

Students in 6th grade or younger should be accompanied by a parent or guardian who will be asked to show a photo ID and proof of current address.

Three Cheers for the new Community ID program and everyone who made this possible! We look forward to seeing these ID cards at the Library.

Return to Augie Hobble

by on July 9th, 2015

One of my favorite books I remember getting from a grandparent when I was just learning to read was TAugie Hobblehe Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith. I still have it and it’s still one of my favorites.  Having been a life long fan of Lane Smith it’s no shocker that I still adore his picture books and am glad to see that he’s received plenty of recognition for his fantastic body of work, as author/illustrator and illustrator.

I was especially excited for his new and first novel, Return to Augie Hobble. I devoured this book, reading it in a total of three sittings over the course of twelve hours. The seamless blending of myth, fairy tale and reality through poignant text and interactive images brought me right back to my first readings of Stinky Cheese Man. 

It’s summer, school is out. AAugie Hobble nd yet Augie Hobble has to work on a project for his Creative Arts class, a project that he failed the first time around. Balancing work at his father’s fairy tale themed amusement park, spending time with his best friend, Britt, and trying to finish his make-up project is no easy task. Throw in mysterious pet disappearances, clairvoyance, lycanthropy, messages from the beyond as well as government agents poking about and you’ve got one hot season.

Augie Hobble is a triumphant debut and will definitely leave parents and children alike eager for more from Lane Smith.Augie Hobble

 

ICPL hosts What It Takes to Become a World Champion with Dan Gable and Tom Brands

by on July 7th, 2015

Spend the evening with Olympic Gold Medalists, and former and current Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling coaches Dan Gable and Tom Brands, on Monday, July 13, at the Iowa City Public Library as they share what it takes to be a champion.

Gable was a two-time NCAA champion and three times was an All-American, Big Eight champion and Iowa High School state champion. He claimed the gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, without surrendering a single point.

Gable joined the University of Iowa wrestling coaching staff in 1972 and took over the program in 1976. Under his leadership, Iowa won 15 NCAA titles and 21 Big Ten team titles. Gable was named the NCAA Coach of the Year three times. He was head coach of the United States Olympic team in freestyle wrestling in 1980, 1984, and 2000, and coached 12 Iowa Hawkeye Olympians.

Brands was a four-time All-American, three-time NCAA champion, and three-time Big Ten Conference champion before winning gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He served 12 years as an assistant wrestling coach at Iowa before taking the head coach position at Virginia Tech. He returned to Iowa as head wrestling coach in the spring of 2006 and led the Hawkeyes to national titles in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Gable and Brands will be in Meeting Room A at the Library at 7 p.m. as part of the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program. This event is free and open to the public. It will be broadcast LIVE on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

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

Arts and Crafts @ the IC Farmer’s Market

by on July 7th, 2015

Bird Houses from the Iowa City Farmer’s Market

One of my favorite parts of the Iowa City Farmer’s Market is not the produce or the yummy food, but the arts and crafts available at the Market. I have some awesome garden art purchased at the Market as well as sweet-scented soap and bird feeders.

One of my favorite Market purchases was bird houses. We had a beautiful weeping cherry tree in our front yard. We think it may have been struck by lightning because there was suddenly a big, gaping split down one side of the tree. Then the tree started look a bit sickly, the leaves shriveled up and the tree died. We trimmed the beautiful bent branches back to near the tree trunk and then had an inspiration. What if we turned our beloved tree into a bird colony?

We had a pin oak tree in the back yard that died about five years ago. As we were cutting off the branches we realized the post that was left would be great for a bird house. We purchased an awesome bird house at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market to put at the top of the trimmed-up trunk. The birds love it and we enjoy watching the birds come and go.

But … I digress. Back to the weeping cherry tree. The trimmed tree looked a bit like it was from a Dr. Seuss book and maybe some Who’s from Whooville may want to move it. Once we added birdhouses from the Farmer’s Market, though, it became a bit of an art installation in our yard.

First Bird House

First Bird House

The good news is the birds also love it. This year we have many bird families living in these new houses. We thoroughly enjoy the birds singing in the morning and are happy our weeping cherry tree was re-purposed without leaving an empty spot in our yard.

If you have questions about yard art, bird houses, or feeding wild birds, remember the Library has great books on these topics and many more!

See you at the Market!

 

ICPL hours unchanged during Hillary Clinton’s appearance Tuesday

by on July 6th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will open at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 7, and maintain normal operating hours during Hillary Clinton’s visit.

The East Entrance to the Library will be closed, but the Library can be accessed through the West Entrance off the City Plaza. Parking around the Library may be limited.

The presidential candidate will attend a Hillary for Iowa campaign organizing meeting in the Library’s first floor meeting rooms Tuesday morning. The Library expects a large number of people to attend the event, but staff will do their best continue everyday service.

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

 

 

ICPL partners with Senior Center to Offer Computer Classes

by on July 6th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library and the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center have joined together to offer computer classes to seniors in the Iowa City community this summer.

The classes will be offered at the Center, located at 28 S. Linn St., and taught by an ICPL Librarian. Four classes are scheduled in July and August.

In July, participants can learn how to protect their privacy and safety when online or using social media. “Social Media Safety: Protecting Your Privacy Online” will be offered at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 17. The class will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of privacy settings on several social networks and participants will learn how to adjust those settings.

This topic continues with “Internet Safety: Protecting Your Privacy Online” at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 31. Participants will learn strategies and skills to protect themselves and their privacy.

Classes on digital photo storage and online music sites will be covered in August. Each course will go over the major sites for digital photos and online music to help participants understand and ultimately choose a site they’d like to use in the future.

The online music course — “Introduction to Online Music” — will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 14. The digital photo course — “Digital Photos: Organizing, Sharing, and Basic Editing” — will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 21.

Each class will be held at the Senior Center. Classes are free, but space is limited. To register, call the Senior Center at (319) 356-5220. For questions about the classes, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

I want to see fireworks, can you help? Why, yes I can!

by on July 3rd, 2015

fireworks21Independence Day is two short days away and one of the best parts of the holiday is fireworks.  Fireworks at home or the neighbor’s house or in a park or campground are not legal, with the exception of sparklers and snakes.  A bill in the Iowa House this past session would have expanded the sale and use of fireworks in the state to include cone fountains, bottle rockets and Roman candles, among others. It passed the House, but did not advance in the Senate.   So you will have to wait until next year if you want to legally explode a cherry bomb or bottle rocket.

For a safe, fun and communal way to view fireworks, your can watch fireworks in Iowa City or a nearby town. On Friday, July 3 you can view them in Kalona: dusk at Shiloh Amphitheater or in  Oxford: dusk at Creekside Park, but the majority of the fireworks take place on July 4.  Here are the locations and times: Coralville: dark at S.T. Morrison Park, Hills: 9:05 p.m. at the Ballpark, Iowa City: 9:30-9:45 p.m. Hubbard Park (next to the University of Iowa Memorial Union), North Liberty: No display planned, but will have a hot air balloon glow at 8:30 p.m. July 11 as part of North Liberty Blues & BBQ and Solon: dusk over Lake McBride.

Have a great Fourth of July and if you do decide to shot off a bottle rocket or two, be safe out there.





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