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ICPL announces May Classes for Adults

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 29th, 2016

May is National Historic Preservation month and the Iowa City Public Library will celebrate by honoring local historian, Irving B. Weber. To honor your personal history, join us for computer classes that focus on genealogical research, and photo preservation and restoration.

Join us for a two-part class where you can learn how to restore a scanned image by using GIMP, a free, open source software similar to Adobe Photoshop. Part one, to be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 13, will focus on using the GIMP software and doing basic skills in the program like cropping and resizing images.

Part two of this series focuses on photo correction. Learn to transform the original item by filling small areas of damage like water spots or balancing faded colors. In order to participate in the second part of this series, participants should have a good understanding of GIMP’s interface and tools. Class for Restoring Scanned Images Part II will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 17.

Want to learn how to take care of your digital photo collection? On Saturday, May 2, come to another two-part class beginning at 10:30 a.m. Begin by getting crash course on important terminology and digital photo file types. Then at 12:30 p.m. learn the key steps needed to preserve your digital photos using metadata and tools like Picasa, Apple Photos, and Adobe Lightroom.

Finally, the month wraps up with an Introduction to Genealogy at 4 p.m. Monday, May 23. A librarian will help you get started by talking about what questions to ask, how to keep track of your research, and places you might want to search.

All classes for adults are held in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 10 people per program, so patrons should register early.

Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at 319-356-5200.

ICPL announces March Classes for Adults

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on February 25th, 2016

Are you creative? Do you enjoy learning new computer skills? The Iowa City Public Library will be teaching classes on GIMP, free graphic design software, and YouTube which has a built-in video editor in March. When you learn how to use these tools, you can edit and create personalized videos, or make cards, invites and other graphics on the computer.

Our Beginning Graphic Design: Part I class will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 8, and again at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 19. Learn to use the GIMP interface by creating a project in which you download a picture from a website, import a picture from the computer, and resize and crop an image.

Part II of the Graphic Design class will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 15, and 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19. Participants will learn how to draw a shape, color a shape using different editing tools, draw a line, and edit simple shapes captured from the internet. In order to take part in this class, registrants must have taken Beginning Graphic Design I or have previous experience with GIMP.

If Graphic Design isn’t part of your creative niche, attend one of our YouTube classes. Learn to use YouTube’s video editing tools to improve your own digital videos by adding transitions, trimming clips, adding titles, adding filters, and more. This class is offered at 10 a.m. Friday, March 25, and 2 p.m. Monday, March 28.

All classes for adults are held in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited, so patrons should register early. Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at 319-356-5200.

2015 Art Purchase Prize winners

by Candice Smith on October 16th, 2015

This year’s Art Purchase Prize contest has resulted in the purchase of eight new works of original art. During the annual contest, the Library solicits art from artists who live, work, or exhibit in the Iowa City area; the art is then judged by the Library’s Art Advisory Committee, made up of six local residents who are involved with, and have an interest in, the arts. Iowa City has a very vibrant and active arts community, and the contest always brings in a wonderful variety of entries.

The art will be on display during the months of December and January, and then will be added to the Library’s Art-To-Go collection of framed artwork. Works from this collection can be checked out for two months by anyone with an ICPL library card.

The winning entries are: Calliope (water soluble oil on paper, monotype) by Pamela Read; Contact (oil on canvas) by John Tiffany; Ghosts of the Mississippi: Blackhawk Bridge (photograph) by Rebecca Miller; It’s Almost 1997 (oil on paper) by Phil Ochs; Red Barn & Winter Trees (acrylic on canvas) by Lianne Westcot; Still Life with Metal Pitcher & Pears (watercolor and pastel on paper) by David Noyes; and View From Overpass I & II  (charcoal on paper) by Joe McKenna.

Calliope1 contact1 GhostsOfTheMississippi1 ItsAlmost19971

StillLifeWithMetalPitcherAndPears1 ViewFromOverpass1a ViewFromOverpass2a

Author Jane Smiley at ICPL on Oct. 26

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 12th, 2015
Author Jane Smiley at ICPL on Oct. 26 Cover Image

The Iowa City Public Library and Prairie Lights are pleased to welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley to the Library on Monday, Oct. 26.

Smiley will read from her latest novel, Golden Age; the much-anticipated final volume in her Last Hundred Years trilogy, at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A. Following Some Luck and Early Warning, Golden Age follows the next generation of Langdons in the 1980s as they face economic, social, political and personal challenges.

Smiley was born in California, but grew up in a suburb of St. Louis. After getting her BA at Vassar College in 1971, she traveled in Europe for a year before moving to Iowa City, where she subsequently earned an MA (1975), MFA (1976), and PhD (1978) at the University of Iowa. In 1981, she went to work at Iowa State University, where she taught until 1996.

She published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980. Her fifth novel, A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a movie of the same name in 1997, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, Jason Robards and Colin Firth.

Prairie Lights will have Smiley’s books available for purchase at the event.

Smiley’s reading will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

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

ICPL announces October Classes for Adults

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 25th, 2015

October’s computer classes for adults at the Iowa City Public Library bring users back to the basics. Investigate how the hardware in your computer makes it such a powerful machine, and learn how to empower yourself to surf social media and the internet safely.

Our Internet Safety: Protecting Your Privacy class will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Learn how to protect yourself and your privacy when browsing the internet, making a purchase or doing online banking.

Our Social Media Safety: Protecting Your Online Privacy class will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12. This class will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of using privacy settings on several social networking sites. Learn how to adjust your privacy settings and discover what information is already out there online about you.

Two classes are scheduled for The Computer: Let’s Talk Hardware course. One will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20. The other will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 30. Get ready and roll up your sleeves for some hands on activities which will help you explore the inside of a computer.

All classes for adults are held in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 15 people per program, so patrons should register early.

Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at 319-356-5200.

Artists–get your entries in for this year’s Art Purchase Prize contest!

by Candice Smith on September 22nd, 2015


There’s just a little over one week left to get your submissions in for this year’s Art Purchase Prize contest! We’re accepting entries through Sunday, October 4, and the first round of judging is on Tuesday, October 6.

Find the full criteria on our website; if you have any questions please contact Candice Smith at or 319-887-6031.

Winning works of art are added to the Library’s Art To Go collection, located on the first floor, on the wall separating the adult fiction collection and the Children’s Room. Cardholders can check out two works at a time, for two months. The collection is made up of original art from the contest, along with reproductions of well-known works of art. So, if you’ve still got some bare apartment walls to decorate, or want to try out a new kind of art in your home, stop by the Library!

ICPL to Host One Community, One Book Discussion

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 16th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will host a discussion about the 2015 One Community, One Book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, in Meeting Room A.just mercy

Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization providing legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners denied fair and just treatment in the legal system.

One of Stevenson’s first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship — and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times,The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, Esquire and Time, Just Mercy is the winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction, the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction and a Books for a Better Life Award.

One Community, One Book is a community-wide reading project. The book discussion, which will be led by the University of Iowa College of Law Associate Dean Emily Hughes, and Adrien Wing, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law Programs at the University of Iowa and Director of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, coincides with ICPL’s 2015 Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival.

For more information about this year’s Intellectual Freedom Festival, visit

For more information about the book discussion, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

ICPL Announces September Classes for Adults

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 27th, 2015

Get creative with digital tools! September’s classes will help you develop the skills you need to edit movies, organize your photos, write HTML code, and create graphics. These classes are meant to be interactive with a lot of great hands-on experience. Roll-up your sleeves and warm-up your keyboard and mousing skills – it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Learn to upload and use YouTube to safely edit and share your videos online. Join us on Thursday, Sept. 3, at 2 p.m. for our Editing Digital Video class.

On Saturday, Sept. 12, at 10:30 a. m., the library will offer Beginning Graphic Design. Learn how to use GIMP, a free, graphic design and photo editing software, to create shapes, cut out photos, and insert great fonts.

Digital Photos: Organizing, Sharing, and Basic Editing will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21. Getting all of your digital photography organized and in print worthy condition can be pretty daunting. Learn about the various tools you can use to store your photos, edit them or share them online.

To round out all of this digital creativity, join us on Friday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon for HTML Coding Basics. Every website you visit relies on an HTML as the skeleton that gives the site’s pages their structure. Learn how to add paragraphs, headings, images, links, and basic formatting to create a webpage.

All classes for adults are held in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 10 people per program, so patrons should register early. Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at (319) 356-5200.

ICPL Launches Music is the Word Series with Musical Revue

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 19th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will kick off nine months of special programming with the Music is the Word Musical Revue at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, at The Englert Theatre.

The revue will feature live performances by local musicians playing everything from bluegrass and rock to vocal choir and ethnic love songs. Performers include The Beggermen with the Champagne Academy of Irish Dance; Kol Shira; the Extra Credit Project; Cedar County Cobras; The Recliners; Combined Efforts Theatre Men’s Choir; and Chase Garrett.

“We want to showcase the wide variety of musical talent in Iowa City,” Paul Bethke of Children’s Services said. “At the same time, we see this concert as an opportunity to introduce new genres to the audience – adults and children – who might not otherwise experience it.”

The Library’s Music is the Word celebration is to help our community welcome the University of Iowa School of Music building to downtown Iowa City, currently scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. Weekly programs focused on all things musical are scheduled from September 2015 through May 2016.

“The Musical Revue is the first of what will be nine months of programming of all types for all ages,” Library Director Susan Craig says. “This is an opportunity for us to share Iowa City’s rich musical culture through live performances, presentations, displays, hands-on activities, movies, and sing-alongs.”

“This is an exciting time in our community, as we prepare for the opening of the UI School of Music downtown and adding to Iowa City’s abundant musical complexity,” said Maeve Clark, the Library’s coordinator of adult services.

General admission tickets for MITW Musical Revue are $10 each; children 5 and under are free. Everyone must have a ticket to the show, free or paid, to gain entry to the Englert.

Tickets are for sale at Library’s first floor Help Desk at the Library and The Englert Theatre’s website at

All performers are donating their time and talent to the Musical Revue. Ticket proceeds will help support additional Music is the Word programming.

For a list of Music is the Word events, visit For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Explore the Importance of Seeds at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 22nd, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will explore the shift of seeds from a local resource to a corporately-owned property with a screening of Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds tonight (Wednesday, July 22).open-sesame

This 2015 environmental documentary by M. Sean Kaminsky looks at the challenges facing one of the world’s most precious resources: seeds. In the past, seeds were saved season-to-season and shared gardener-to-gardener. Today, more than half of the seed stock is controlled by three major corporations. Open Sesame details the history of seeds and presents the challenges organic and small growers, seed savers and seed freedom advocates face today.

The film will be shown in Room A at 7 p.m. Popcorn will be provided.

Our exploration and understanding of seeds continues on Wednesday, July 29, with a presentation by Seed Savers Exchange from Decorah.

Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the preservation and utilization of heirloom varieties since 1975, working with farmers and gardeners to ensure that these unique varieties are not lost forever.

This event begins at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A. It is co-sponsored by New Pioneer Food Co-op and will be broadcast LIVE on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

Both events are part of the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program.

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