Posts Tagged ‘online resources’

Academic Research @ICPL

by Melody Dworak on November 19th, 2018

History by TNS from the Noun Project

Whenever I get a question at the Info Desk that requires digging deep into a research topic, I get a little excited (#NerdAlert). We may not carry textbooks in our collection, but if we can’t find a book that meets the needs of a research topic, we still can look to our Online Resources database collection to dig into the issue.  Read the rest of this entry »

Free access to the New York Times!

by Melody Dworak on March 16th, 2018

New York Times Digital AccessNever hit a paywall again with your Iowa City Public Library card! We are pleased to announce that residents now have free access to the New York Times website anywhere, anytime. From quick news updates to deep dives into a topic, The New York Times keeps you up-to-date on what you need to know.

You will need an access code to use this resource. You must also live in Iowa City, Hills, Lone Tree, University Heights, or rural Johnson County. Further details can be found on the New York Times resource page on the ICPL website. Happy reading!

Edit: This access is available through the Digital Johnson County collections we share with the Coralville Public Library and the North Liberty Community Library. That means that Coralville residents can get free access through the CPL website, using their CPL card, and North Liberty residents use the NLCL website with their NLCL card.

How to find the value of a used car.

by Beth Fisher on October 28th, 2015

Nada2At the Information Desk we are often asked to help people find the value of a used car – either one they own and are thinking of selling/trading-in or a used car they’re thinking about buying.

Two of the most commonly used sources of used car information are the Kelley Blue Book and the NADA Guides, both of which are available on the ICPL website at  Choose Reference and Research from the far left column, then Online Databases. On the Online Database page choose the category Business & Consumer Information, and scroll down the list.   Or click HERE and scroll down.

The NADA Guidebook and Kelley Blue Books are very similar – based on research, they provide suggested values for vehicles. Both have been around since before 1940.  And while they are similar, their intended audience is actually quite different.  Kelley Blue Books are geared toward consumers.  Their values are determined by considering mileage, condition, features and local demand.   The NADA Guide books are designed primarily for the members of the National Automotive Dealers Association.  Their prices are determined based on automotive sales, and show what dealers expect to sell a vehicle for.   Because these two purposes are different, the values they give for the same vehicle will almost always be different.

KBB2The Kelly Blue Book website can be used to find the price of a new or used car,  check the value of your own car,  or see reviews and ratings.   The information you provide when finding your car’s value includes the year, make, model, mileage, trim package, and options that were available when your car was made (engine size and type, transmission, entertainment, comfort and convenience options) and color. You also have to provide your zip code, as they use regional demand as a factor as well.  You are then given an option to find the Trade In or Sell To Private Party value.  But you’re not done yet – you still have to add in the condition of your car. You’re given four choices: Excellent, Very Good, Good, and Fair, with a description of what each of those categories represents.  Then you are given a page of information with a value for your car and graphic you can adjust to see how the price would vary  if your car’s physical condition were better or worse.  Unfortunately you also see adds for brand new cars you might like on this page, but advertising pays the bills.

Kelly Blue Book also provides value information for Motorcycles, Personal Watercraft and Snowmobies.


Nada4The NADA Guides website can be used to find values for new or used cars and trucks, motorcycles, RVS, boats, Classic Cars and Manufactured Homes.  According to their website their data is based on “over one million sales transactions per month” and the prices given in their guides are based on “the overall condition, mileage, history and local supply and demand.”

You fill in the same basic details here – year, make, model, mileage.  The results you see will have suggested Trade In values for cars in Rough, Average and Clean condition as well as an expected Retail Price.  Values for selling or buying a vehicle privately are not provided.

Print copies of the NADA Guides are also available at the Information Desk for use in the Library.


Edmunds1Another popular source for automotive values is  The web site has a wide variety of automotive information, but no motorcycles, snowmobiles, RVs etc.  You can find prices for new and used cars, information on national and regional incentives or rebates, dealer and inventory listings, vehicle reviews.   They have a section called Appraise Your Car which functions like Kelley and NADA websites.   Edmunds also devotes a large part of its website to reviews, research, tips and advice and a very handy section called Maintenance – which is where you can find Maintenance Schedules, Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins just by entering your cars year, make and model.   Very handy source for some times hard-to-find information.

All three of these websites- either separately or together- can help you determine a fair value for your own car or get information on a vehicle you are considering buying.


Get access to Consumer Reports online!

by Candice Smith on July 15th, 2015

CRThe Library has recently subscribed to what I think is one of the most useful online resources out there–Consumer Reports. We’ve had the actual magazine for years, as well as access to the print articles in digital format through our magazine database EbscoHost (if you actually jumped through the hoops required to do that, you’ll love this!).  Consumer Reports online has all of the ratings and reviews that you see in the magazine, plus video content. It’s easy to use, very up-to-date, and looks great.

You can get access to it from the Library’s Online Resources page; scroll down the list until you find Consumer Reports, then enter your library card number and password (if you need help with your password, contact the Information Desk). Once you’ve accessed the site, you can use the search bar to search for items, or you can browse categories in the grey ‘Find Ratings’ box on the left side of the page.

Note: to access this resource from outside the Library, you must be a library card holder who lives in Iowa City, rural Johnson county, Hills, or University Heights. If you live outside these areas, contact your local public library to see if they subscribe to the site.

Anyone can access Consumer Reports online if you’re actually at the Iowa City Public Library; we have four database computers on the second floor that do not require signing in and have no time-limit, so you can read product reviews to your heart’s content!