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Posts Tagged ‘nonfiction’


New Archival Scanner Available

by Heidi Lauritzen 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.

2015 Adult Summer Reading Program

by Beth Fisher on June 9th, 2015

ICPL has a great Summer Reading program every year.  But it’s not just for kids.

The Adult Summer Reading program “Everyday Heroes” runs from June 1 to August 9th, (just like the kids’ and teens’ programs.)  Simply read 5 books – or read 3 books and attend 2 of our Summer Reading Program events – before August 9th to be eligible for a free book and an entry into our Grand Prize drawings. (*see the bottom of this post for a list of prizes).

Signing up is easy:  click  HERE  to register, and then HERE to print your game card – or stop by either the Help or Information Desk next time you’re in the building and we’ll sign up up in person and grab a preprinted game card.

We have some great events scheduled for this summer.  The fun kicks off this Wednesday night, June 10th at 7:00 p.m.

ForeverGR Be An Environmental Hero  Managing Storm Water/Create a Rain Garden. Managing Storm water to protect our water resources has hit home in our communities. The goal of storm water management practices is to capture rain fall and allow it to absorb into the ground reducing runoff, pollution, and the risk of flooding. Lucy Hershberger, founder of Forever Green Garden Center, will be here to teach us what we can do in our yards to help reduce flooding, protect our drinking water and improve water quality in our rivers, streams and lakes.

Other events scheduled for this summer:

monuments menWed., June 24 7:00 p.m.  Monuments Men Movie Screening.   Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Bill Murray, Directed by George Clooney, this film follows a group of every day men who joined the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program during WWII. Their mission was to find and save pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction or theft by the Nazis during WWII.

 george stoutWed., July 1, 7:00 p.m.  Iowa’s Own Monuments Man: George Stout.  During WWII, Winterset, Iowa native George Stout was a member of the U.S. Army’s “Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program” devoted to recovering art and other items of cultural importance that had been stolen by Nazis or hidden for safekeeping.    In 2014 these men and their mission became known world-wide with the release of the film “The Monuments Men,” directed by and starring George Clooney, who’s character Frank Stokes was based on George Stout.  Our guest speaker, Nancy Trask, Director of the Winterset Public Library, Winterset, Iowa has spent years researching George Stout and the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program.  She’ll be here to share all that she’s learned.

unsungWednesday July 8, 7:00 p.m.  Documentary Screening:  Unsung Heroes – The Story  of America’s Female Patriots.   Every woman that has ever served in the American military has volunteered to do so. These are women who, despite the hardships of military service, are proud of their long-standing commitment to the patriotic ideals of the United States. This new documentary, written and directed by Frank Martin with executive producers Ron Howard, Richard Rosetti, and Louisa Velis, is currently airing on PBS stations across the nation.  See it here first!

gable brandsMonday, July 13, 7:00 p.m.  What it Takes to Become A World Champion – with Dan Gable and Tom Brands. Spend and evening with Olympic gold metalists – and former and current Iowa hawkeye Wrestling Coaches Dan Gable and Tom Brands as they talk about what it takes to become an Olympic competitor.

open sesameWednesday July 22, 7:00 pm  Documentary Screening: Opene Sesame – The Story of Seeds.   This documentary by M. Sean Kaminsky follows the history of seeds, from their shift from a shared, local and cultureal resource, into patented, privately and coporately owned property.  Open Sesame details this history and presents some of the challenges faced today by organic and small growers, seed savers, and seed freedom advocates.

 seed savers decorahWednesday, July 29th 7:00 pm  An Evening with Seed Savers Exchange.   Staff from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa will be here to talk about saving seeds and theimportance of preserving heirloom seeds.  Seed Saving makes us all heroes.  This event is sponsored by ICPL and New Pioner Coop.

 

*Grand Prize Choices for the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program:  A single one-year membership to Film Scene; one $50 Downtown Iowa City gift card; one $50 gift certificate to A&A Pagliai’s Pizza; and a pair of 2-hour Paddle Passes at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area.

 

 

Go for a run!

by Candice Smith on June 3rd, 2015
Go for a run! Cover Image

June 3rd is National Running Day!

Why on Earth, you might ask? Why celebrate an activity that, among other things:

  • is insanely hard for many (I’ve run for years, and it’s still really hard most of the time. People tell you it gets easier. People lie.);
  • can make you feel uncoordinated and inferior to others (I’m really slow…my pace doesn’t qualify me as a ‘real’ runner in certain circles;
  • doesn’t always seem to bring positive benefits or change (running makes he hungry, I eat more, I don’t lose weight. And, after all that running I always end up…back home, where I started);
  • makes you look pretty awful during and after (I not only have a shorts tan line, but also a lovely one from my headband. Nice.);
  • hurts. During, it can hard to breathe, my right knee sometimes aches, I roll my left ankle, and I get chafed. After, my muscles are sore and sometimes swollen, my hips are unyielding, and if you’re really good, you might lose some toenails).

But don’t get me wrong. Running can be a fantastic activity–it must be, if I continue to do it, right?. It relieves stress, helps increase bone density and strengthen muscles, improves your cardiovascular system, causes the release of endorphins, gives you the opportunity to meet people in your community (other runners, race organizers and spectators, EMTs), and gets you outside and on the trails, on the sidewalks, into nature. You get to set goals and achieve them on your own schedule, for your own reasons. Running can make you stronger, healthier, and happier. Honest.

So go on, give it a try. If you’ve ever driven past a runner and wondered briefly ‘hmmm…would I like that?’, today is your day to find out! Get out for a quick jog, do a run-walk, run some sprints, or go long. Run down to the Library and grab a book about running that will help you get started, train for a race or improve your form, or give you some insight into runners and why they do it.

 

Hampton Sides

by Tom Jordan on May 18th, 2015

A friend recommended Blood and Thunder: an epic of the American West to me awhile back, but I was reluctant to read it.  It had been some time since I had read a history and had unreservedly enjoyed it.  Take Charles Mann’s 1491 and 1493, for example.  They’re both great.  You will be enlightened, and you will learn all sorts of fascinating things if you read them.  I’ll go ahead and say that you will be a better person.  But I’d guess that you’ll also find the level of detail tedious at times.blood_and_thunder

My experience with Hampton Sides has been different.  He is a master storyteller.

In Blood and Thunder, Sides focuses on the American Southwest from the 1840s to the 1860s and on the life of Kit Carson in particular. Carson participated in the conquest of the West and gave his loyalty to the American military and government. He also married two Indian women and spoke many Indian languages. Popular westerns of the time – blood and thunders they were called – portrayed Carson as a swashbuckling hero protecting settlers from marauding Indians. More contemporary histories have tended to the reverse these roles. Sides is more interested in telling stories about human beings whose actions and motivations are complex and develop over time. The story of the Navajo people and their land is particularly interesting.hellhound

Hellhound on his Trail is both history and true crime, and it’s riveting. Martin Luther King, Jr’s last days are chronicled and details of his assassin’s life and flight from justice are doled out at a measured pace. The manhunt for King’s killer, who had been living under an alias or two, was massive, and it eventually reached overseas. Please note that Sides gives no credence to the government conspiracy theory of the assassination, so you’ll have to look elsewhere (one-star Amazon reviews) if you’re inclined that way.

kingdom_of_iceI’ll give his latest, In the Kingdom of Ice, another thumbs up. I’m about a third of the way into it, and I’ve never looked forward more to hearing about shivering, miserable sailors in the Arctic. The mission was operating on the notion that there might very well be an open polar sea. There was a current in the Pacific Ocean, it was thought, similar to the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, and that current was flowing through the Bering Strait and warming the Arctic Ocean at the Pole. They imagined the wonders.

Help, I found a fawn or bunny or robin! What do I do?

by Maeve Clark on May 12th, 2015

Baby-Robins_110422_0563Not only do wild flowers emerge in the spring, but  wild animal young do, too.  We’ve had questions about what to do when someone has found a nest of baby bunnies or a young robin on the ground or even a fawn without a doe nearby.  Our natural inclination to think the young animal has been abandoned, but that may not be the case at all.  Books on animal rescue and rehabilitation as well as websites devoted to wildlife suggest that the first step you take is determining whether the young animal is orphaned, injured or just fine.rescuing wildlife

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) posted the article Leave Wildlife Babies in the Wild . “If you find an animal baby that appears to be on its own, don’t worry. Generally, one of its parents is nearby, watching. They’re teaching their offspring to be independent, and in the case of danger, some animal parents will take off in order to create a distraction away from their young,” suggests the DNR.

The Humane Society of the United States cautions that “unless the animal appears injured or in distress, there may be no need to rescue them.” They do suggest you follow up if -a cat or dog presents the wild animal to you; there is evidence of bleeding; there is an apparent or obvious broken limb; there is a featherless or nearly featherless bird on the ground or the baby animal is shivering or there is a dead parent nearby.

The next step, according to the DNR is to contact a certified wildlife rehabilitator.  The DNR maintains a list on its website. If you cannot reach a rehabilitator, you should contact your conservation officer or animal control officer.  If you would like to learn more about what an wildlife rehabilitator does, Talk of Iowa, an Iowa Public Radio program, recently hosted several rehabilitators and they shared their stories of helping return the young back into the wild.

 

 

Rabbit hole of enlightenment

by Todd Brown on April 30th, 2015

Have you ever watched a video on Youtube, which then led you to another and another. Then you realize you have fallen down the rabbit hole. I sometimes do that with books. I will be reading a book which references a person, a subject or another book. So I will run out to the stacks to see what we have on that. This leads to having multiple partially read books, which I may or may not ever finish.

10% Happier

10% HappierIt started when I saw this author on one of the morning talk shows and ads for it kept popping up on websites. He suffered from PTSD, drug abuse and a lot of bad choices, leading to an on-air panic attack during a live news broadcast. The book is about his search for a way get his head on straight. Along the way he meets people like Eckhart Tolle, Depak Chopra, and Ted Haggart.

 

 

 

 

Full Catastrophe living

Full catastrophe livingThis is one of the authors and books mentioned in the previous title. Kabat-Zinn started the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, to help people dealing physical and mental traumas. I made it about half way through this book before…

 

 

 

 

 

The Obstacle is the way

The Obstacle is the wayWhile reading, online either about Kabat-Zinn or meditation in general, I found this title on the Tim Ferris book club list. It is a collection of stories about a lot of successful historical figures and they would turn losses into wins. It leans heavily on the stoic philosophy of Seneca and Marcus Aruelius. I actually didn’t read this, I listened to it in the car. I feel like I miss things because I am not entirely focused on listening while I am driving.

 

 

 

 

Meditations and The stoic philosophy of Seneca

The Stoic philosophy of SenecaMeditationsThe previous book had a lot of quotes from these two men so I thought I would checkout more of what they actually said. Sadly, I am not sure if I opened either of these books. Maybe some day.

 

 

 

 

A guide to the good life

A Guide to the good lifeSince I wasn’t going to read the previous two I thought I would at least try to find something else which would summarize their works. The cover looks sort of depressing but it really isn’t. It starts with a brief history of Stoicism, followed by general psychological techniques such as negative visualization and meditation. It also gives advice on  specific problems like handling anger, dealing with insults, and death.

 

 

 

 

The Nerdist way

The Nerdist wayReading through all of the above books I saw a lot of things which I thought would be helpful for teens, I have two of them. But I knew mine would not have any interest in investing the time in those books. I stumbled across this one which seemed like it might be a little more appealing to them. I don’t know if I would put them in the nerdist category, but they are both gamers so I thought that aspect might draw them in. Plus the Body section has illustrations of a bear with a headband doing exercises! It is divided into three sections Mind, Body and Time. I made it through most of the Mind section before I passed the book on to my son. He seemed interested in at least looking at it.

 

 

Author Jon Katz at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 29th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library and Prairie Lights are pleased to welcome New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz to the Library Tuesday, May 5.simon

Katz, the author of The Last Housewife: A Suburban Detective Mystery and The New Work of Dogs: Tending to Life, Love, and Family, will read from his newest book: Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion.

In the spring of 2011, Katz received a phone call from an animal control officer. She had found a neglected donkey on a farm in upstate New York and hoped Katz and his wife, Maria, would be willing to adopt him. The recovery process was long, but as Katz helped Simon heal, the two formed a bond that illustrates the wondrous ways animals make humans wiser and kinder.

The author reading will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Library. Prairie Lights will have copies of Katz’s books available for purchase at the program and will donate 10 percent of the sales made that night to the Iowa City Animal Shelter.

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

5 books that I have not read

by Todd Brown on April 24th, 2015

At least I haven’t read them in the way that most people read books. I mostly read nonfiction, usually how to do or make something instead of just facts. I rarely read books cover to cover. I skim them and find the parts that either have the information I am looking for or a part that grabs my attention. That makes writing about books a little more difficult for me. While searching through my Reading History to find something to write about I noticed a few recurring themes.

I have always been fascinated by patterns. One small thing repeated over and over can create something big and beautiful. This has been a repeating pattern in my reading history. I would check them out, head to the craft store for supplies and see what I could make. Below are a few of many I have checked out and have not read.

 

The complete book of decorative knots

knotMy parents were a little confused when I asked for a book about Turk’s head knots for Christmas a few years ago. But it came with a little, adjustable tool and hundreds of knot patterns to make. The Library doesn’t own that book, but we do have several about knots. The complete book of decorative knots is one I have checked out several times. It is well illustrated and covers Turk’s heads as well as globe knots, mats and a variety of other knots which look pretty cool when done.

 

 

 

Chain maille jewelry workshop

chainFor a little while I was slightly obsessed with chain mail, as well as Viking knitting. The Library has several books which cover the basics of making chain mail. I think all of them have projects that they work through step by step. Most also have gallery sections to show what various artists have created with chain mail to help you find some inspiration.

 

 

 

Origami tessellations

tessI liked this so much that I bought my own copy. This involves a LOT of paper folding to make grids and then making patterns by folding the grid in different ways. These look great and if you put a light behind it you get a totally different pattern. Twofer! I adapted one of these patterns to make a lamp shade for a lamp I built.

 

 

 

Unit polyhedron origami

unitThis is another one that I bought. Also another one that I used for two lamp shades. Basically this is folding a piece of paper into a interlocking shape and then doing that over and over until you have enough of these shapes to assemble them into a variety of larger geometric shapes.

 

 

 

Arm and finger knitting

armBefore the Library owned this book I made a great infinity scarf for my significant other. I was kind of excited to find out we had purchased this book. Personally I didn’t care much for most of the projects in it but it does still show how to arm knit in general. Once you know that you can go out and find or make your own patterns to knit.

 

 

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Baking with Biscoff–the cookie spread that won’t quit!

by Melody Dworak on April 22nd, 2015
Baking with Biscoff–the cookie spread that won’t quit! Cover Image

Last month I wrote about my efforts to cook in big batches to make weeknight dinner decisions easier. Turns out, you can make breakfast for a week, too. This is not what I had set out to do when I picked up the Biscoff cookie and spread Cookbook, but it was a delightful fringe benefit.

What is Biscoff spread, you ask? In short: creamed cookies. The spread is as decadent as it sounds. In normal cookies, you have regular things like *air* taking up space, wasting precious room where sugar and fat could go. Biscoff spread wastes not a molecule, packing in sweetness at a 90 calories per tablespoon. Some people know the cookies as the ones they give out on airline flights. For me, the red, white, and tan jar of creamed goodness stared at me from the gifty section at the Bread Garden, and I had to try it.

The Biscoff Cookie and Spread Cookbook includes photos of desserts that look mouthwatering. You can see a few recipes on the Biscoff website, but these photos are nowhere near as scrumptious looking as the ones in the book.

Biscoff coffee cake

Biscoff coffee cake

The recipe I baked was the Biscoff coffee cake. The crumble topping itself contains two sticks of butter and lots of sugar. The cake part under the crumble held enough moisture that it did feel like it melted in my mouth.

I’m looking forward to future Biscoff baking Sundays!

 

Art Quilts of the Midwest: Tuesday April 13th

by Beth Fisher on April 13th, 2015

art quiltsAccording to Wikipedia, Art Quilts are an art form that uses both modern and traditional quilting techniques to create art objects.

Local author, magazine writer, blogger, and quilter Linzee Kull McCray’s new book “Art Quilts of the Midwest” showcases the work of 20 artists whose works were inspired by life in the Midwest.

Tuesday evening, April 13th, Linzee will be here at ICPL to discuss the research and creation of her book.  Astrid Hilger Bennet, who wrote the forward, will talk about art quilts and the fabrics used in them. Erick Wolfmeyer, the only Iowa artists included in the book, will show a 10 minute film about his work.   Both Astrid and Erick will have quilts on display at the event.    This event begins at 7:00 pm in Meeting Room A and is cosponsored by ICPL and Prairie Lights Books.




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