Upcoming B.Y.O.Book events

by on July 28th, 2017

37380B.Y.O.Book, the Library’s books-in-bars book club, has some new events coming up! Grab a book, then pull up a chair to discuss it with us, while enjoying some food and drink at a great, local restaurant. Find more information and register for events by clicking on the links below.

August 15, at The Mill, 6 p.m., we’ll talk about Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

September 19, at Basta Pizzeria Ristorante, 6 p.m., we’ll talk about Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend

October 24, at Share Wine Bistro & Small Plate Lounge, 6 p.m., we’ll talk about Jeff Speck’s Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

A limited number of each title will be available at the Info Desk on the 2nd floor of the Iowa City Public Library for checkout; there are also copies in the Library’s print, audio, and digital collections. Please call the Info Desk at 356-5200 for more information, or email candice-smith@icpl.org

Give Peaks a Chance?

by on July 25th, 2017

On February 28th, 1991, in the “B” section of the Iowa City Press-Citizen, there is this small article:

 

twin-peaks-fans

IC Press-Citizen, 2/28/91

 

Yes, Iowa City held a protest…well, more like a letter-writing party at The Mill to push ABC to change the network’s mind on cancelling Twin Peaks (1990-1991), the television series created by Mark Frost and David Lynch. The show was like nothing else on television at the time. (I was watching TailSpin and Rugrats at this time in my life, so I don’t speak from memory but reviews). Twin Peaks was watched, talked about, and had pretty decent ratings. However, during the second season, the show was losing its audience and ABC decided to pull the plug. Lynch called on the show’s fans to write to the network and Iowa City’s chapter of the Citizens Opposing the Offing of Peaks (C.O.O.P.) delivered.

But they didn’t stop there.

Read the rest of this entry »

One town, many stories

by on July 25th, 2017

janesvilleIt used to be when you asked the people of Janesville, Wisc., to describe their town — and, by default, themselves — in one word, that word would be perseverance. Or maybe diligence. Determined. Tenacious.

You can scour a thesaurus for the right word, but it boils down to this: when the people of Janesville get knocked down, they rise again — better and stronger. The city history is filled with examples of how the industrial town reinvented itself to roll with the punches. Even when the nation’s oldest operating General Motors plant — the backbone of the town’s identity and economy — closed two days before Christmas in 2008, many believed it was temporary. The plant had closed its doors before only to reopen with a new product, a new purpose. It would again.

Only it didn’t.

The plant’s closing was news. It translated into national headlines. But then Janesville fell off the public’s radar. It wasn’t the only town impacted by The Great Recession. However, reporter Amy Goldstein stayed behind to see what happened to a town without its identity, to people who not only lost their jobs, but their sense of self. The result? Janesville: An American Story.

(Note: This is Paul Ryan’s hometown. He’s in the story, but it’s the real people of Janesville who show what happened best.)

The ripple effect of the plant’s closing was felt by everyone. Teachers had students who were hungry and scared. Parents took jobs that made less money. The local community college saw historic enrollment numbers, but also adult students who didn’t know how to use computers. In-home child care operations closed because parents were no longer going to work every morning — another person out of a job. Middle class families slid into lower class and lower class families dropped below poverty level. Teenagers took jobs to support their families and families struggled to stay together. Politicians on both sides of the aisle claimed to be on the side of the American worker, but as the political divide deepened at the state and federal levels, Janesville residents shifted from being one community and turned on each other. Laid off GM workers resented those who retired with their pensions. The unemployed were angry at teachers protesting the governor’s plan to slash union rights because at least they had a job. Community leaders who still believed Janesville could survive struggled to remain positive while food banks searched for ways to keep shelves full.

This was a powerful story. Kudos to Goldstein for painting such a vivid picture of what too many towns have experienced in our economic climate. Only time will tell if we learned anything from it.

Renewing Your Drivers License

by on July 24th, 2017

Do you need to renew your license? Can’t find the time to get to the DOT office during their hours? Don’t like waiting? If you answered YES to any of these questions, ICPL may have the solution for you.

We have had a DOT kiosk on the 2nd floor of the library for the past couple of years. You can use it any time that the library is open to renew or replace your license. There are some restrictions. For example, if your current license if not from Iowa or if  it has been expired for a long time (more than 1 year and 60 days), you will still need to go to the DOT office. The kiosk, similar to visiting the DOT in person, will give you a paper receipt at the conclusion of your transaction. You must pay with either credit or debit card. Your actual license will be mailed to you within 21 days of application.

In FY17 our Kiosk was used 1,1712 time. This is a 32% increase over the previous year. It is a popular service but we have not had any lines waiting to use it–so far.

For complete information about requirements and who is eligible to use  this convenient service go to:  https://iowadot.gov/mvd/kiosks.

If you are not able to use the kiosk for some reason,  here is the information on the DOT office:

Eastdale Mall

1700 South First Ave.

Iowa City
(319) 338-5294
and their website:  https://iowadot.gov/mvd/driverslicense/driverslicense/dlsites/iowacity

Storytime Recap: Our Community

by on July 22nd, 2017
Storytime Recap: Our Community Cover Image

Today’s family storytime was all about communities, both large and small. We read books about community helpers, towns, and families. We sang some happy songs about friends and playing together. I talked about the different community events we have in Iowa City, like the Farmer’s Market, Parties in the Park, Stories in the Park, and bookmobile stops.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s not the heat, it’s the evapotranspiration!

by on July 21st, 2017

Last year on July 21, I wrote about the heat and humidity and evapotranspiration.  This July 21, it seemed apt to share the same information. Evapotranspiration, what on earth is that you ask? Well, let me tell you.  Evapotranspiration is corn sweat corn-field-c-keeva999-flickr-creative-commons  and according to the United States Geological Survey evapotranspiration is the sum of evaporation and transpiration. The transpiration aspect of evapotranspiration is essentially evaporation of water from plant leaves. Transpiration rates go up as the temperature goes up, especially during the growing season, when the air is warmer due to stronger sunlight and warmer air masses. Higher temperatures cause the plant cells which control the stoma (openings) to release even more moisture into the atmosphere making it even more humid. And while evapotranspiration does not make it hotter, it makes it more more humid and that makes us feel much hotter.

corn-mapThe Washington Post posted an extremely informative article, complete with a map of corn acreage by county and a chart of relative humidity clearly showing how high humidity can make it feel oppressive inside without adequate cooling and make activities dangerous for those who work or recreate outside. This type of weather can also be life-threatening for livestock. In fact the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning with the following precautions:

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER…STAY IN AN AIR CONDITIONED ROOM…STAY OUT OF THE SUN…AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS. YOUNG CHILDREN AND PETS SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT UNATTENDED IN VEHICLES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE DURING HOT WEATHER WHEN CAR INTERIORS CAN REACH LETHAL TEMPERATURES IN A MATTER OF MINUTES.

Most of us have air conditioned homes and workplaces, but if you don’t or if you are going to be outside for prolonged periods of time, it’s important to stay hydrated. The American Red Cross offers the following suggestions:

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
Eat small meals and eat more often.
Avoid extreme temperature changes.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
Postpone outdoor games and activities.
Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.snowfall

If you would like to learn more about weather and heat and humidity and corn sweat, come find us at the Information Desk on the second floor of the library. Weather is one of our favorite subjects to research. And don’t forget, winter is only a few short months away…

We’ll See YOU at the Johnson County Fair!

by on July 21st, 2017

2017-07-pljc-fair-boothThe 2017 Johnson County Fair runs July 24-27 at the Fairgrounds south of Iowa City. Each year the Public Libraries of Johnson County join together to sponsor a booth celebrating the awesome libraries we have in our county. Please stop by and see us at the Fair. We’ll be giving away orange book bags and you can sign-up to win a giant Golden Retriever (plush dog, not a real dog 🙂 ). Tuesday is Children’s Day. We have special giveaways that day for all the children who stop by.

There’s also a lot of other activities at the Johnson County Fair – something for all ages. Here’s a few quick links to the schedule of activities:

Entertainment Schedule: http://www.johnsoncofair.com/entertainment.html

4-H and FFA Schedule: http://www.johnsoncofair.com/4h_ffa.html

Bill Riley’s Talent Contest: http://www.johnsoncofair.com/talent.html

There’s also a number of contests during the Fair. What’s my favorite? The Rubber Chicken Throwing Contest 🙂 A full schedule can be found on the yellow-side bar of the Fair’s Webpage. We’ll see you at the Fair!

 

Silhouettes and Shadows by Sea Beast

by on July 19th, 2017

We’ve had a lot of wonderful special programs so far for the Summer Reading Program, including visits from hissing cochroaches, snakes, lizards, a duck, a tortoise and a fancy rat, not to mention Dan Wardell! However, one of my favorite performers to host at the library is a shadow puppet company from Chicago called Sea Beast. Shadow puppetry is considered the oldest form of puppetry in the world. It originated thousands of years ago in China and India. In Western Europe shadow puppetry became popular in the 19th century when the art of cutting silhouettes out of paper was fashionable. In 1926 German shadow puppeteer Lotte Reiniger made the first full length animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmet. Reiniger hand-cut stunning opaque silhouette figures that were moved on an animation table. Sea Beast embodies the evolving history of shadow puppetry in their artistry with an almost extinct technology—overhead projectors. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you have a historic archive for the Cedar Rapids Gazette? (Part 2)

by on July 19th, 2017

Boy, do we ever! In my last post, I directed you to how you can get to the same archives The Gazette website uses, but for free. But that’s just a text-based archive, what if you want to see what the actual newspaper pages look like? Read the rest of this entry »

Do you have a historic archive for the Cedar Rapids Gazette? (Part 1)

by on July 19th, 2017

Yes! The Iowa City Public Library has a database of Cedar Rapids Gazette articles, covering 1992 to the present. The years match what the newspaper’s archive page on its website says it has. The articles in NewsBank will be text articles (i.e., no images and smaller download sizes). If you have an active ICPL library card and live in our service area, you can research historic Gazette articles for free.

How do you do that? Head over to our Online Resources page and find NewsBank on the list of resources. (If you are starting from icpl.org, Online Resources is under “Books + More.”) Here are some screenshots of what you will look for. Read the rest of this entry »