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Upcoming Children’s and Family Events

by on June 18th, 2015

With the Summer Reading Program in full swing I thought this would be a perfect time to remind you all of some great programs we have coming up in the next few weeks. Be sure to mark your calendars!

  • Thursday, June 25th: 10:30-11:15 am We’re hosting a wonderful concert about Real American Heroes with Mike Schneider of Pint Size Polkas
  • Thursday, June 25th: 2:00-3:00pm Dynamic storyteller and troubadour, Darrin Crow is making his return to ICPL with a program about Super Heroes of Folk Tales
  • Saturday, June 27th: 10:30-11:15am  Mister G is making his ICPL debut with a bilingual concert entitled Los Animales Fiesta
  • Sunday, June 28th: 2:00-3:00pm After a wonderful program here last summer, the Macbride Raptor center is making a return visit to ICPL
  • Thursday, July 9th: 10:30-11:00am & 2:00-3:00pm The Blank Park Zoo’s Show ans Tell program is back!  Be sure to stop by the library to see which wonderful animals we’ll meet this year.
  • Sunday, July 12th: 2:00-3:00pm Don’t miss the Super Heroes of Outer Space concert with Dino O’Dell!
  • Thursday, July 16th: 10:30-11:00am A first for the library, Iowa’s very own Mr. S and the Sandbox Band will be making their debut appearance!
  • Thursday, July 23rd: 10:30-11:15am & 2:00-3:00pm  Come to the library to be amazed by tricks and illusions galore! Not only will Jason Kollum leave you mesmerized with his feats, but he’ll teach you how to do some of them at home.
  • Sunday, August 2nd 2:00-4:00 Back by popular demand the Iowa State University’s Insect Zoo will be bringing its living display for you to interact with and learn from! This program is full of creepy crawlies for you to see, meet and handle, be sure to bring your sense of adventure.

More information about any of these programs may be found on the ICPL calendar online at www.calendar.icpl.org

 

 

The view from above

by on June 17th, 2015

You might be familiar with the Park@201 building downtown. It’s the new building on the ped mall with the glass exterior. Take a look at the top of building, the southwest and northwest corners in particular, and you will notice two protrusions. No, they are not gargoyles. They are video cameras that provide a giant’s-eye view of Iowa City courtesy of MetaCommunications. Here’s the website: http://www.metacommunications.com/webcam.

One camera is pointing north and the other is pointing south. The neat thing is that you can control the cameras. On the lower right part of the camera view, you will see this:  CameraControl

 

 

Clicking on the icon to which the green arrow is pointing will give you a fullscreen view. The icon to the right of that will let you control the camera. From there you can choose the camera’s orientation and you can zoom in or out.

Here are views from both cameras:

SouthViewNorthView

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite view is Ped Mall South. What’s yours?

Brassicas and the Wednesday Farmer’s Market

by on June 17th, 2015

BrassicasI ♥ the Wednesday Farmer’s Market. There are fewer vendors and fewer shoppers so you can take your time and talk to the farmers. Or if you’re in a hurry, you can get in find what you need and get out all in a few minutes. Wednesday trips to the Farmer’s Market are super convenient for me because I am able to pick up my CSA box and deliver the produce that is donated from the Library Children’s Garden to Table to Table.

This time of year you can get a lot of lovely leafy veggies like kale and collards at the market. These kinds of vegetables are called brassicas and they are NUTRITIONAL POWERHOUSES. Not a fan? Give ‘em another try with fun recipes and cooking techniques featured in Laura B. Russell’s new book, Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More. This book will show you how to bring out the flavors of these brassicas without the usual boiling or burial under a blanket of cheese.

My new favorite go-to recipe for kale (or collards) is called Brazilian Kale. It’s simple: take a pile of kale or collards, de-stem the leaves and roll them up like a cigar. Next slice the rolls into thin strips. Mince a couple garlic cloves, then heat olive oil or coconut oil in a frying pan. Once it’s at a medium heat add the garlic for a few minutes (don’t burn it!), then add the sliced up kale. Stir-fry everything for a few minutes, then add a pinch of salt. So delish and so healthy! What’s your favorite brassica recipe?

New Archival Scanner Available

by on June 16th, 2015
New Archival Scanner Available Cover Image

Sometimes a simple question gets a not-so-simple answer.  The question was “Does the Library have a slide projector?  I found some old slides and I want to see what they are.”  The quick answer was No, the Library no longer has a slide projector.  But we do have a powerful new archival scanner that is equipped to view and scan slides.  It is available to patrons whenever the Library is open, first-come, first-served.

The Epson Expression is a large-format flatbed scanner funded by a generous gift from the Iowa City Noon Host Lions Club.  It can be used to scan photographs or documents up to 12 x 17 inches, and with a simple attachment can be converted to view or scan negatives and slides.  Some basic instructions are available at the Reference Desk, where the slide tray also is stored.

Slide Tray & slide orientationThe scanner software allows you to preview the slides first.  You can then choose to scan some or all of the images.  If you wish to save the scanned images, please bring a flash drive, or you can email the scans to yourself using a web-based email program such as gmail.  Please note:  scanning slides and negatives requires a higher resolution setting than you would use for a photograph, and so takes longer to scan and uses more space on your storage device.

If you want to go beyond simply viewing and begin to preserve and organize your old photos, you will find a book on our new nonfiction shelves most helpful.  How to Archive Family Photos:  A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally, by Denise May Levenick assumes you are a beginner and starts at the first step, instructing you on what equipment you will need and how to set up a filing system for your digital images.  It also contains advice on what scanning settings to use for different media, tips such as scanning the reverse side of a photo to save what was written about it,  and has workflows for various projects.  It’s an excellent resource if you have been intending to take on that shoebox full of old family pictures.  Or slides.

A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear

by on June 14th, 2015
A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear Cover Image

Jaqueline Winspear’s latest Maisie Dobbs novel is an intriguing mystery sure to engage readers even if not familiar with the popular series.  The title comes from a quote by Albert Einstein, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”  Set in 1937 at the precipice of World War II, the psychologist/private investigator’s life has been turned upside down with the untimely death of her husband and subsequent miscarriage four years earlier.  After a trip to India to find solace, Maisie is still grieving and just not ready to return to London and her concerned father and stepmother.  She disembarks in Gibraltar where the Spanish civil war is happening just across the border.  There she comes across the body of a man, Sebastian Babayoff, while out walking one night.  He was a photographer and Sephardic Jew, and the circumstances surrounding his murder cause Maisie to want to find out the truth about his death. Having something meaningful to sink her teeth into helps lift Maisie out of her depression and suicidal thoughts. She begins her investigation in the British garrison town full of refugees trying to piece together the bits of information she gathers from Babayoff’s family and the Jewish community.  Complications arise when she herself comes under scrutiny and she finds herself being investigated by the British Secret Service.  The period detail is descriptive and accurate about life and times on “the Rock.” This novel will be appealing to readers of historical fiction and followers of the intrepid protagonist.

 

ICPL celebrates Monuments Men with two events

by on June 12th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will celebrate a piece of American history with a screening of Monuments Men on Wednesday, June 24.

This 2014 film, directed and co-written by George Clooney, stars Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, Cate Blanchett, and Clooney. It is loosely based on the non-fiction book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.

During World War II, the Allies are making good progress driving back the Axis powers in Italy. However, Frank Stokes (played by Clooney) persuades the American President that victory will have little meaning if the artistic treasures of Western civilization are lost in the fighting. Stokes is directed to assemble an Army unit nicknamed the “Monuments Men,” comprising seven museum directors, curators, and art historians to both guide Allied units and search for stolen art to return it to its rightful owners.

The movie will be shown on the big screen in Meeting Room A beginning at 7 p.m. Popcorn will be provided.

Eager to learn about Iowa’s connection to Monuments Men? Join us for a presentation by Nancy Trask, director of the Winterset Public Library in Winterset, Iowa, about Iowa’s own Monuments Man, George Stout, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1.

Iowa native Stout was a member of the U.S. Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Program. Established in 1943 to help protect cultural property in war areas during and after World War II, Stout was one of about 400 service members and civilians who worked with military forces to safeguard historic and cultural monuments from war damage. As the conflict came to a close, the mission shifted to find and return works of art and other items of cultural importance that had been stolen by the Nazis or hidden for safekeeping.

In the movie Monuments Men, George Clooney’s character — Frank Stokes — is based on George Stout.

Iowa’s Own Monuments Man: George Stout will be held in Meeting Room A. This event also will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

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

Teach Math with Picture Books!

by on June 11th, 2015

GiraffeNumberCountRhymeWhat I’ve learned during many outreach visits is that math is another important skill to bring to storytime. There are so many wonderful books to get kids counting.
Without a doubt, kids are willing participants . I like to use flannel board activities or fingerplays, because they allow us to count up and count down together. They also learn about subtraction and addition through fingerplays. The kids are so enthusiastic about learning math and I notice these activities give them an extra boost of confidence.
Research shows how important and critical it is that parents read to their children every day from birth up until kids enter school. Well, it’s also critical that parents make an effort to incorporate math, too. This is where picture books can help.
Counting using picture books can spark the interest in, and nurture a wonder of, math the same way reading books can nurture a wonder of books. In math, kids can find imagination and wonder in so many ways.

Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep! by Lucy Cousins  Counting w Maisy cheep is an adorable flap book that will keep any toddler’s attention: “It’s almost bedtime. Mommy Hen is looking for her 10 chicks.” And Maisy is there to find them. Little readers can help by lifting the flaps to see who’s hiding in the stable, the tractor, and the apple tree. This game of hide-and-seek will keep little ones busy and eager for more.

More counting – Look for these new counting books in the Children’s Room.

Count on the subway Count On the Subway by Paul DuBois Jacobs

llustrations and rhythmic text describe the  sights and sounds of a subway ride in New York City as a mother and child go uptown, counting their way from one to ten and back again.

Counting Crows by Kathi AppelCounting Crowst The reader is invited to count hungry crows as they hunt for savory snacks.

1 to 2o Animals a Plenty by Katie Viggers1-20 Animals                                    This beautiful and simply written counting book teaches kids to count from 1 to 20 as they meet a menagerie of amusing creatures.

Robot burp head

Robot Burp Head Smartypants! By Annette Simon
On your mark, get set, belch! The green and purple robots from Robot Zombie Frankenstein! are back for a second round of “Top This” games! Burp to ten? Easy! Burp the alphabet? No sweat! Burp by tens while blindfolded, juggling, and skateboarding? Yikes! Reluctant readers won’t even notice that they’re learning as they laugh out loud at the wacky antics of these irreverent robotic pals.

Tales of a Budding Bicyclist

by on June 11th, 2015

Wanna go for a rideI’ve been commuting to work on my bike for the last three years.  I started because my doctor said that I wasn’t exercising enough.  My grandma has Type 2 diabetes and my dad is pre-diabetic, and my doctor said I was traveling down that same path.  It shook me up enough to do something about it.  Riding my bike to work seemed like a good solution.  I got some exercise, and I didn’t have to sacrifice any of my precious free time.  At first, I was a little anxious to ride on the road.  The Iowa DOT has great resources for bicyclists including safety information for both motorists and bicyclists

Bike Safety

I’ve internalized the safety tips for bicyclists, especially this one–Make eye contact with motorists.
Never assume a motorist sees you or that you have the right-of-way. Expect the unexpected such as: parked vehicles pulling into traffic; vehicle doors opening into your path; and debris on the road

I can’t count how many times I’ve thought, “They see me, right?  Nope, they totally don’t see me.”  Also, motorists, I feel your pain, because you read that “Obey traffic signs and signals” in the bicyclists column and thought, “Yeah, they totally don’t do that.”  I do!  I wish more of my fellow bicyclists did too.

I didn’t expect to like riding my bike so much.  Now I go on longer rides.  I even bought some bike shorts.  Not the super tight spandex kind, but the baggy kind (this Amazon review that said they were like “wearing a fully loaded diaper” is what won me over).   I recently took a ride to North Liberty and back.  Again, the DOT website is great for planning rides like that, because they have an interactive bike map.  I know what you’re thinking, “Brian, I use Google Maps!”  Google Maps is the best, but have you ever used it to plan a bike ride?  It’s awful for that!  If you plug in the ride I just went on, this is the route it tells you to take:

You don't need to know where I live

For some reason it doesn’t want you to use the awesome Clear Creek Trail, which makes for a prettier and safer ride.  That trail is easily found on the DOT map.  Also, Google Maps considers Mormon Trek a “bicycle-friendly road” which is completely bonkers.

I’m going to make an effort to take part in more local bike events and rides.  ThinkBicyles.org has a good page listing the cycling events in Johnson County, and Bike Iowa has a comprehensive and searchable list of events across the state.  The big one, of course, is RAGBRAI.  I’ve never gone on it before, but this year I’m riding the last day from Coralville to Davenport.  I’m really excited!

Iowa City Noon Rotary Club Celebrates 100 Years

by on June 11th, 2015

The Iowa City Noon Rotary Club is celebrating 100 years of service with its Rev Up for Rotary, Rev Up for Reading raffle drawing.

Buy your tickets now for a chance to win a 2015 Toyota Highlander XLE AWD. Tickets are $25 each or five for $100, with proceeds benefiting the Iowa City Public Library, the Coralville Public Library, the North Liberty Community Library, and Iowa City Noon Rotary community projects.

Tickets can be purchased at the libraries or from an Iowa City Noon Rotary Club member. The winning ticket will be drawn during the club’s Centennial Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 5. Tickets are good for a chance at other valuable prizes, including a 7-day Winter Park at a Colorado condominium that sleeps up to eight people.

Winners need not be present to win.

The Iowa City Noon Rotary Club was established in 1915 to bring the ideals of Rotary International to the community, with club members supporting international, national and local efforts to improve health and wellness, education and literacy, and the lives of others. These include but are not exclusive to:

  • Polio Plus Campaign – a fundraising campaign to eradicate polio worldwide
  • Iowa MOST – funding cleft lip palate surgeries for patients in Central America
  • I Can Read – an early literacy project with Sing-a-Long books, CDs and DVDs gifted to local schools
  • 4th Grade Dictionary Project – dictionaries are distributed to every fourth grade student in the Iowa City Community School District each year
  • Scholarship and travel expenses for local students participating in activities such as Special Olympics and We the People.

For more information about Iowa City Noon Rotary, visit iowacitynoonrotary.org or find them on Facebook under Iowa City Noon Rotary Club.

11 TV Shows to Binge Watch on Maternity Leave

by on June 10th, 2015

I’ve just come back from a maternity leave, and here’s my advice for new parents everywhere: get some fun, light things to watch while you’re feeding your kid. You’ll spend a crazy amount of hours parked on the couch, not able (or unwilling) to focus on anything with much depth. The library makes a great first outing for a new family – there are changing tables and a private lactation room in the children’s area, and parking is free at the Sheraton for an hour. Here are a few shows I’d recommend grabbing the next time you’re here.

Alias – College student is super secret spy on her days off. Bradley Cooper takes his shirt off. ‘Nuff said.

Arrested Development – Dysfunctional formerly rich family loses everything when their dad goes to jail. This show lends itself to binge watching because jokes build on themselves throughout the episodes.

Broad City – If you want some very adult humor to keep you going, this is your show. It is modern and totally funny.

The Good Wife – Former attorney who’s been a stay at home mom for years has to start over when her husband, the State’s Attorney for Cook County, Illinois, gets caught up in a sex scandal and is sent to jail. Surprisingly high quality for a “murder of the week” type show.

IT Crowd – British sitcom about three lazy people who work in an IT department. If you’re a little bit nerdy, you’ll love this show.

Louie – A comedian aptly named Louie lives in New York and shares custody of his two young daughters. As the seasons have gone on, this relatively simple show from standup comedian Louis CK has matured and now each episode is almost a short film.

The Mindy Project – a lighthearted sitcom about Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a single gynecologist who lives in New York. Of course there’s a will they/won’t they plot with her handsome colleague.

Orange is the New Black – suburban girl/former drug smuggler goes to prison. Kind of a comedy, kind of a drama. It’s easy to get hooked on this show.

Parks and Recreation – The main character is a woman who accomplishes terrific things for a small town using her brain and with the help of her friends. This show is terribly funny and the kind of thing I would be okay with my daughter watching one day. Skip the first season and start with the second.

Scandal – A DC “fixer” who is also secretly the President’s former mistress. This show is plot heavy and full of overacting. Lots of twists and mysteries without being super deep. Just the thing for a sleep deprived parent.

Silicon Valley – A comedy about a brilliant programmer who comes up with an algorithm that’s going to “change everything” and how he and his friends try to build a start-up company. Again, over-the-top adult humor (This show aired on HBO), but very funny.





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