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So I’m rereading Harry Potter…

by on April 9th, 2015

hpThe 15th anniversary has come and gone, and I myself haven’t read a word of Harry Potter since I finished The Deathly Hallows in 2007. The teens in Iowa City’s Home School Assistance Program have a monthly book club in the library, and we’ve been discussing Harry Potter books every other month. A lot of small things have accreted to plant the seed. Last weekend I got a cold and I decided it was finally time to reread Harry Potter.

We have all the books (and Ebooks!) here at ICPL, so after work on Friday I grabbed the first two. I’m on book three, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s great how little time it’s taken me to get this far – the books are an effortless read, and hours zip by as chapters unfold. Admittedly, the books are about to get long, so I’m savoring these fast reads while I can.

hp4Part of what makes them an easy read for me is the ways they are so familiar.I came to Harry Potter a little late, starting in 2003, and was too old to have grown up with them. I was an adult living in Scotland, and after some P.G. Wodehouse and Stephen Fry it felt like a logical leap. Winter in Glasgow was really the perfect moment for the story to take root in me, but it’s been awhile since I started and finished the series. So I was less surprised at how many details and plot points I’ve forgotten. Things as major as who opened the Chamber of Secrets or as small as the name of the Weasleys’ perpetually exhausted owl were all new to me this time through. I can’t wait to see what surprises await me as I continue reading!

It’s funny, too, how many conversations I’ve had in the last week about my re-read, entirely with people in their 20′s, who grew up with the books. One friend is rereading them for the first time too, and loving it. Another friend had been pondering a reread and posed an interesting question: “how do you think HP’s gonna age?” Not the character, but the series. How will it weather in the cannon?Will it be for kids in the next few generations and beyond like The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia were for me? Will children get excited when they are finally tall enough to reach the shelf where the books live on their parents’ shelves? Will people read them to their young ones as they fall asleep, maybe skipping over the real nightmare material? Or will they fade away, another momentous but momentary cultural phenomenon, something that people who were kids at a certain time remember so well, and everyone else just doesn’t get -what’s all this fuss about Quidditch and Wingardium Leviosa?

hp2I gave my copies away the last time I moved – they were just so much book to haul around from apartment to apartment – so I won’t be loaning them off my shelves. And I wonder too how appealing the series would be to a hesitant young reader when they can clearly see just how long the last four books really are. Maybe only the most dedicated will undertake the quest. On the other hand, they are still so ubiquitous, and so much has been made of Harry Potter’s role in introducing reading to so many kids of a certain generation. And the series still circulates in all the libraries I’ve visited. These marks are indelible for now, and I do wonder, how indeed will HP age?

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

by on April 8th, 2015
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Cover Image

I’ve been pretty excited for the movie adaptation of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews since it debuted to universally positive reviews at the Sundance Fim Festival this year.  It won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize, which are the two big awards at Sundance.  The first trailer just hit.  You can watch it here (warning: There’s a little colorful language).  The buzz is that it will be the next The Fault in Our Stars, and the book commonly came up as a TFiOS read-alike.  You can beat the rush and read the book (or eBooknow!

Storytime Recap: Dinosaurs

by on April 8th, 2015

I was in the mood to introduce some dinosaurs with the recent news that Brontosaurus (formerly part of the Apatosaurus family) would officially be its own dinosaur again. I saw some new faces in the crowd this morning, but they learned quickly to sing along with our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” I could tell we had a talkative bunch today, so I began by asking, “Who likes dinosaurs?” Predictably everyone put their hand up and wanted to let me know which was their favorite dinosaur. After some sharing, I xplained that dinosaurs are extinct and what that means. Then we read Edwina : The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems.

Next I asked the kids what they would do if they had a dinosaur, which led to more sharing. Letting children share their thoughts and opinions in front of others helps boost their confidence. Then we listened to and sang along with Raffi’s “If I Had a Dinosaur

If I had a dinosaur,
Just think what we could do.
He could lift me off the floor
And take me to the zoo.

And if I had a dinosaur,
Just think what we could see.
We could look inside the clouds
Above my balcony.

And if I had a dinosaur,
Just think where we could go.
All the way to grandma’s house
To play her piano.

If you sing about dinosaurs, you must then dance like dinosaurs. Up next was the story Dancing with the Dinosaurs by Jane Clarke. As I read I asked the kids to imitate the dino dances they saw, which was a nice bit of movement for an energetic group.

To keep us in motion, we did an action rhyme about dinosaur movements. We did this twice so everyone had a chance to master the actions and participate.

Spread your arms, way out wide,
Fly like a Pteranodon, soar and glide.

Bend to the floor, head down low,
Move like Stegosaurus, long ago.

Reach up tall, try to be
As tall as Brontosaurus eating on a tree.

Using your claws, grumble and growl
Just like Tyrannosaurus on the prowl

Then I told everyone I had a new book to share with them about a hungry dinosaur looking for an egg, Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg! by Steven Weinberg. A great way to finish storytime, this was a quick read with plenty of repetition and a funny twist at the end.

With storytime at an end, we watched a movie and found out what happened on the day When Dinosaurs Came with Everything based on the book by Elise Broach.

Finally, everyone got a stamp of a Brontosaurus on the way out.

An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War

by on April 8th, 2015
An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War Cover Image

Patrick Taylor’s newest installment in the Irish Country Doctor series provides background information about many of the beloved characters in the stories. An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War moves between Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly’s service on the HMS Warspite battleship during WWII and two decades later in the iconic Irish village of Ballybucklebo.

I enjoy the Patrick Taylor books on many levels. The very basic level involves storytelling. I listen to these audiobooks and the narrator, John Keating, is awesome. His Irish brogue adds an element to the story that makes it come alive. There are many layers to the stories and Patrick Taylor weaves plots, details, and resolutions through chapters and decades.

The stories also have a strong sense of place and great character development. In my mind I know what Ballybucklebo looks like and, if I could visit, I would expect to find the publican, the town counselor, and the other assorted characters just as they are described in the books. Although the village is a bit iconic, it adds to the enjoyment of the story.

And finally, I like these stories for the pure enjoyment of the experience. I listen, I laugh, and I think about traveling to Ireland someday. I affectionately tell my son he’s a “buck eejit” and he smiles because he’s listened to the stories and also enjoys them.

Poetry Month events at ICPL

by on April 8th, 2015

.poetry

April is National Poetry Month

ICPL is hosting a variety of programs to celebrate:

 

cawelti

Landscape Iowa:

Poems of James Hearst, Sung.

Wednesday, April 8th  7:00 p.m.

Meeting Room A

Dr. Scott Cawelti explores the life and poetry of Iowa farmer-poet James Hearst.  Dr Cawelti puts the poetry of James Hearst to music, accompanying himself on accoustic steel-string guitar.   *This event is sponsored in party by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

TweenPoetryWorkshop

Totally Tweens: Poetry Workshop

Saturday, April 11th 2:00 p.m.

Meeting Room A

Tweens are invited to write their own peoms and learn about various poetic forms from haiku, concrete poems, acrostic poems, limericks, etc. Participants may share their poems aloud with the group if they wish. All mateirals will be provided. Refreshemnts will be served.  A poetry slam will take place the last 15 minutes of the workshop, with parents invited.  Registration is required, click here  or  call the library at 319-356-5200 to register.

 

Poetry Month Open Mic Night

Monday, April 13th 7:00 p.m.

Meeting Room A

Read your favorite poem.  It can be your own work or the work of another poet you admire.  Limit of 5 minutes per reader.

Where in the World:  Places in Poetry

Tuesday, April 28th, Noon

Meeting Room A

Members of the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center group “Reading Aloud” will be reading poems about places.  * This event is cosponsored by the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center.

Stop by and check out the Library’s Poetry Month displays on the first and second floors,  or express yourself with our giant magnetic poetry game on the 2nd floor.

 

We have our Book Madness winners!

by on April 7th, 2015

It was extremely close, but J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings edged out Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale to be named ICPL’s 2015 Book Madness champion in the Teens & Adults bracket.

The Children’s bracket winner was the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. The demigod beat out Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series.BookMadness

Nearly 100 patrons turned in completed brackets, but only 14 had the winning title in their bracket — seven in the Teens & Adults bracket, and seven in the Children’s bracket. We moved to a point system to determine our winner (one point for every correct title moving on to Round 2, two points for every correct title in the Sweet 16, three points for every correct title in the Elite 8, etc.).

The winner of the Children’s bracket racked up 72 points, while the winner in the Teens & Adults bracket earned 81 points. We will contact them this week.

Library staff also participated in the competition, though none had Percy Jackson winning the Children’s bracket and only one staff member picked Lord of the Rings to win the Teens & Adults bracket.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Book Madness! Remember, you can find a list of all 2015 titles here.

 

Book Madness: The Final Round

by on April 4th, 2015

At the beginning of March, 128 books (64 titles in two brackets: Children’s, and Teens & Adults) were vying for ICPL’s 2015 Book Madness champion title.BookMadness

Your votes have narrowed that vast field of classic literature, childhood favorites, and pop culture must-reads to four books: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale; The Lord of the Rings by J.R. R. Tolkien; Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series; and the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems.

Now it is time to choose which books will be named the 2015 Book Madness Champion in their bracket.

2015 BOOK MADNESS: ADULTS & TEENS

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

vs.

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

2015 BOOK MADNESS: CHILDREN’S

Percy Jackson (series by Rick Riordan)

vs.

Elephant and Piggie (series by Mo Willems)

Voting begins now and will continue until we close Monday night. We will announce our winning Book Madness titles Tuesday and will contact our contest winners soon after. Remember, you can vote by visiting the Library. You can also vote online on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @ICPL using the #ICPLBookMadness hashtag! We’ll accept social media votes until 9 p.m. Monday.

You can find the list of all books in this year’s Book Madness literary competition here.

Chinese Book Donation

by on April 3rd, 2015

 

Morgan Chinese Books (2)

Would you like to read books to your children in Chinese? Are you learning to read simplified Chinese? The Iowa City Public Library has what you need. Recently the library received a donation of new Chinese books to our children’s collection. The Iowa Chinese Reading Club generously donated the 171 books in February. Most of the books are now available to check out from the children’s room.

Look for the call number j495.1 in the jNonfiction section. All of our materials in Chinese for children are shelved here, including movies and music.

chinese shelf

Maybe you’ll find a translated copy of one of my favorite stories Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. Follow Gerald the giraffe as he overcomes the ridicule of the other animals and finds his own beat.

chinese giraffes can't dance

The last few books are awaiting catalog translation help, but should be available soon. A big thank you to our friends from the Iowa Chinese Reading Club!

Paging @ Your Library

by on April 3rd, 2015

What is Paging?

In the computer world, paging relates to how data is stored and schemes to keep data handy so it can easily be retrieved.

In the Library world, Paging is retrieving checked in items from the Library’s collection. Paging is both a service and an activity. Paging as a service means our patrons may put an item that is checked in on hold. Our response is to send one of our Pages (hourly staff members) to the shelf to Page (retrieve) the item and put it on the Holds shelf for the patron to pick up.

Each day we Page over 100 items for patrons. Basically this is how it works:

1. The patron places a hold on an item that is checked in. Holds may be places through our catalog (catalog.icpl.org) or by calling the Library at 319-356-5200. Checked in items with holds become “Paged” items. Patrons may have up to 10 free holds in their Library Account at any time.Paging Cart 4

2. Before we open, and about every 2 hours after that, we run a list of items that have been Paged. A Page goes to the shelf, pulls the Paged item off the shelf, and delivers it to Switchboard staff.

3. Switchboard staff check the Paged items in and print holds slips. This is when the hold slip is placed in the book and then the book is placed on a cart to be shelved on the Holds shelf.

4. Once all the Paged books are accounted for, Switchboard staff send Hold Notices. They are delivered by either eMail, Automated Telephone Notification, or via a print notice in US Mail.

Note: The delivery method for notices is determined by each individual’s preference based on information in thShelving 10eir Library Account. If you want to change how you receive notices, please give us a call or stop by the Help Desk. In March 2015, Switchboard staff sent over 7,600 notices about holds ready for pickup.

5. Help Desk staff file the item on the Holds shelf. They are filed by the first three letters of the patron’s last name and first initial. My holds are found at LOG K.

6. A happy patron picks up their Paged item and tells a friend about the wonderful Paging service at the Library :)

Periodically a patron will find a checked in item that has been put on hold by another patron. When this happens it is a bit tricky. Our procedure is the Hold takes priority and we explain to the patron that someone had requested the item be Paged and we must honor their hold. We also offer to place a hold on the item so the patron may borrow it once the patron who requested the Page returns it.

Sometimes we have patrons who place a hold on items then come to the Library immediately, expecting to pick the item up. Please remember it takes us a bit of time to Page materials and, in some cases, we are unable to find the item on the self. In that case, we continue to search for the item in hopes we find it. Please wait until you receive your hold notice before you come to the Library to pick up your materials.

If you have questions about Paging or Holds, please give us a call or stop by one of our service desks. On any given day we have over 700 items on our Holds shelf waiting to be picked up. We will hold items for six days, so that gives patrons a bit of time to come in and retrieve their holds.

The Maine Coon’s Haiku by Michael J. Rosen

by on April 1st, 2015
The Maine Coon’s Haiku                                                                                                                                     by Michael J. Rosen Cover Image

The Main Coon’s Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers is a 2015 new poetry book for children that I checked-out in preparation for the library’s annual Poetry Workshop for Kids coming up Saturday, April 11th, from 2:00–4:00 p.m.  I enjoy facilitating this program for tweens each April in honor of National Poetry Month and am always amazed at the creative poems kids write.  We talk about haiku, originally a poetic form from Japan describing a moment in nature in 17 syllables (5-7-5) written in three lines.  Nowadays we take lots of poetic license in the writing of haiku as illustrated in this new collection of poems by Rosen who gave us The Cuckoo’s Haiku in 2009.  Each of the twenty haiku are about a particular kind of cat.  For example, in the haiku entitled “Burmese,” it goes like this:  “Only the blazing/forsythia blooms rival/the Burmese cat’s gaze.”  Another poem I enjoy is “Maine Coon” written in three simple lines of verse:  “Crouched before the couch,/suddenly, cat has all night/for just one sound–mouse.” Haiku is a great form of poetry to teach because it’s short and understandable for young readers and writers. Children can use their imagination to think of a scene in nature that for one brief moment is worthy of notice and describe it in a haiku.  It is personal, reflective, and quiet poetry that relies on eliciting  feelings, emotions, and wonder.  The illustrations in this book are by Lee White and are done digitally in muted colors.  A bonus in The Maine Coon’s Haiku is the thumbnail description and image from the book of the breed.  Don’t forget to register your 3rd-6th grader for the Poetry Workshop and we’ll talk more about haiku and write some of our own.  In the meantime, check out this book on the New Book Shelves and celebrate National Poetry Month!





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