About Amber

Public Information Officer and Adult Programming Coordinator

Enjoy the Holiday Season With Help from Your Library

snowman-red-hat-scarf-glovesThe holiday season is a time of family, fun, and the highly anticipated winter break for school-age kids and families! The Cedar Rapids Public Library wants to help you make the most of this holiday season with fun programs, good company, and great reads!

Kick off the holidays right with the festivities on December 6! Join us at 2 pm for Merry TubaChristmas, a holiday concert featuring dozens of tuba players from all over the region. This performance will fill our downtown library from 2-3 pm with the sounds of the season. Stick around for the Fire & Ice Festival, which begins at 4 pm and includes activities like face painting and balloon animals, special visitors, and music. Then head outside at 6 pm for the 31st Annual Holiday deLight Parade! More info on the festival can be found here: Fire and Ice Festival

Families are invited to the White Lights Holiday Music Series throughout the month of December. Beginning with Merry TubaChristmas on December 6 at 2 pm, the series continues December 13 with Harmonize the Holidays–Cedar Sounds Sweet Adelines at 2 pm singing the songs of the season; and culminates December 20 at with Young at Harp at 2 pm, performing holiday music for all to enjoy. All events are free and open to the public.

In addition to these musical performances, enjoy a special Handbell Concert by the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church on Sunday, December 7, at 3 pm in Whipple Auditorium.

Kids can enjoy special activities every Saturday morning at 10:30 am and a 30-minute movie matinee each afternoon at 1 pm. Saturday Specials include visits from Pizzicato Penguin and Karen Liegl of Orchestra Iowa on December 6 and Holidays at Grandma’s House on December 13. Enjoy a real-life version of Candyland on December 29 at 10 am, followed by Merry Marshmallows on December 30. And celebrate the end of 2014 and the beginning of the new year with us on December 31 with a special Noon Year’s Eve Party beginning at 10 am.

We hope you will visit us all month long and take part in the celebration of the season with the Cedar Rapids Public Library. Don’t forget to grab a few good books, movies or some holiday music to take home with you!

On With the Show

The Cedar Rapids Public Library is always excited to share our space with entertaining music and theatre performances, especially when they are brought to us by local partners. This month we have several opportunities to check out the amazing performances happening in Cedar Rapids.

Join us Saturday, November 8, for two fun-filled opportunities:

  • 10:30 am–Playtime Poppy Presents: “Honk Jr” in Whipple Auditorium
  • 2:00 pm–Washington High School will do teaser performance of their upcoming musical “West Side Story” at the downtown library

Sunday, November 23, from 2 – 3:30 pm, join us for a special performance by the Funky Renegades Dance Team in Whipple Auditorium. See the latest hip-hop line dances with this fun dance group from Marion. Then learn them! Audience participation is part of the program.

Monday, November 24, join us at 1 pm for a one-time performance of “Romeo and Juliet” by WCP’s Black Hawk Children’s Theatre in Whipple Auditorium. In this play: Romeo and his crew are up to no good when they crash the party of their rivals, the Capulets. Little does young Montague know that one escapade leads to love with Juliet. This encounter sets up a series of events spiraling to a tragic ending for this star-crossed pair. With passion and poetry, we share Shakespeare’s timeless tale of young love that brings unity to fighting factions. Recommended for upper elementary and middle school students and their families.

#battleofthebanned

battle of the bannedDid you know that there are hundreds of attempts to ban books each year in the United States? The Cedar Rapids Public Library is proud to participate in Banned Books Week, September 21 – 27, a national movement to remind Americans of the importance of preventing censorship and ensuring the freedom to read.

This year, the CRPL is challenging you to a #battleofthebanned in honor of Banned Books Week. Pick up a #battleofthebanned button at one of our two libraries and check out the display of just a few of the books that have been challenged. Take a photo of your favorite banned book, get creative, and share it on Instagram using the hashtags #notyouraveragelibrary and #battleofthebanned and be entered to win prizes.

Prizes will be given in the following categories: Best Overall Photo, Best Photo with a #battleofthebanned Button, and Best Photo with a Banned Book.

According to the American Library Association, the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2013 reflects a range of themes and consists of the following titles:

  1. “Captain Underpants” (series), by Dav Pilkey.
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie.
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. “A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl,” by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green.
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. “Bless Me Ultima,” by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. “Bone” (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Show off your support of the freedom to read during Banned Books Week with the #battleofthebanned.

For more information on this and the Cedar Rapids Public Library, visit www.crlibrary.org or call 319.261.READ.

Learn a New Language Anywhere

The Cedar Rapids Public Library has a wonderful program called “Pronunciator” that provides card holders with instant access to the world’s largest language-learning service. Choose from over 80 languages and learn from your computer, tablet or even your smart phone!

Pronunciator features speech recognition, so you can test your pronunciation in real time; scored quizzes so that you can track your progress and measure results; and even a virtual coach to give you real-time, real-life instruction.

Downloadable audio lessons allow you to continue your study even off-line, which can be great for traveling.

Click here try Pronunciator for yourself!

Out Loud! Author Series Concludes July 18 with Elizabeth Berg

elizabethberg-authorOut Loud! The Metro Library Network Author Series will conclude this Friday night at 7 pm with bestselling author Elizabeth Berg presented at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center. The collaborative program of the Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, and Marion Public Libraries previously presented Sarah Vowell and Wally Berg to capacity audiences.

Elizabeth Berg, one of America’s most beloved chroniclers of female friendship, has been on the New York Times Bestseller list multiple times. Her latest book, the New York Times bestselling Tapestry of Fortunes is about a motivational speaker who isn’t great about taking her own advice finally does.

Durable Goods and Joy School were both selected as one of the American Library Association’s Best Books of the Year. Talk Before Sleep was shortlisted for the Abby (American Bookseller’s Book of the Year). Open House was an Oprah’s Book Club Selection. In 1997, Elizabeth won the New England Booksellers Award for her body of work. She has been translated into 27 languages.

Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook, and the New York Times Magazine. She has also taught a writing workshop at Radcliffe College. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts. For more information on Elizabeth Berg, visit www.elizabeth-berg.net.

While no tickets are required, series organizers are requesting preregistration in order to gauge audience size—seating is general admission and not guaranteed. To register, visit http://bit.ly/OutLoud and navigate to the event date. Alternately, patrons may contact any of the Metro Libraries or send an email to events@crlibrary.org.

All Out Loud! authors will take questions from the audience and sign books following their presentations.

More information about the Out Loud! Author Series is available at www.metrolibrarynetwork.org/outloud.elizabethberg-author

Out Loud! The Metro Library Network Author Series is supported by the Giacoletto Foundation with media support from the Gazette and event book sales provided by Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Additional support comes from Hills Bank and Trust, the University of Iowa Community Credit Union, the Friends of the Hiawatha Public Library, the Friends of the Marion Public Library, OPN Architects, and Nancy and Stephen Miller.

Out Loud! Author Series Continues July 11 with Wally Lamb

Lamb, Wally by Elena Seibert_Color

Credit: Elena Seibert

Out Loud! The Metro Library Network Author Series will continue this Friday night at 7 pm with bestselling author Wally Lamb presented at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center. The collaborative program of the Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, and Marion Public Libraries will also present Elizabeth Berg in a free event July 18.

Wally Lamb is the author of four New York Times best-selling novels: Wishin’ and Hopin’, The Hour I First Believed, I Know This Much is True, and She’s Come Undone and was twice selected for Oprah’s Book Club. His fifth novel is We Are Water. Lamb also edited Couldn’t Keep It to Myself and I’ll Fly Away, two volumes of essays from students in his writing workshop at York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in Connecticut, where he has been a volunteer facilitator for the past 14 years.

Lamb’s first two novels, She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, were # 1 New York Times bestsellers, New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and featured titles of Oprah’s Book Club. I Know This Much Is True was a Book of the Month Club main selection and the June 1999 featured selection of the Bertelsman Book Club, the national book club of Germany. Between them, She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True have been translated into 18 languages.

Lamb’s third novel, The Hour I First Believed, explores chaos theory by interfacing several generations of a fictional Connecticut family with such nonfictional American events as the Civil War, the Columbine High School shootings, the Iraq War, and Hurricane Katrina. The book reached #4 on the New York Times bestseller list. In 2009, Lamb published Wishin’ and Hopin’, a comedic look at the year 1964 through the eyes of Felix Funicello, a parochial school fifth grader and a distant cousin of the iconic Annette. Wishin’ and Hopin’, too, was a New York Times bestseller. Lamb’s fifth novel, We Are Water, is an intricate, multi-voiced account of a New England family coming to terms with the past and one another during the first years of the Obama presidency.

Elizabeth Berg, one of America’s most beloved chroniclers of female friendship, will close out the series on Friday, July 18, at 7 p.m. Berg has been on the New York Times Bestseller list multiple times. Durable Goods and Joy School were both selected as one of the American Library Association’s Best Books of the Year. Talk Before Sleep was shortlisted for the Abby (American Bookseller’s Book of the Year). Open House was an Oprah’s Book Club Selection. In 1997, Elizabeth won the New England Booksellers Award for her body of work. She has been translated into 27 languages.

While no tickets are required, series organizers are requesting preregistration in order to gauge audience size—seating is general admission and not guaranteed. To register, visit http://bit.ly/OutLoud and navigate to the event dates. Alternately, patrons may contact any of the Metro Libraries or send an email to events@crlibrary.org.

All Out Loud! authors will take questions from the audience and sign books following their presentations.

More information about the Out Loud! Author Series is available at www.metrolibrarynetwork.org/outloud.

Out Loud! The Metro Library Network Author Series is supported by the Giacoletto Foundation with media support from the Gazette and event book sales provided by Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Additional support comes from Hills Bank and Trust, the University of Iowa Community Credit Union, the Friends of the Hiawatha Public Library, the Friends of the Marion Public Library, OPN Architects, and Nancy and Stephen Miller.

YOU Out Loud!

You-Out-Loud-Broadcast-Your-Fandom-for-webSubmit your video and tell us why  YOU should be the one to introduce one of our Out Loud! Authors this summer: Sarah Vowell, Wally Lamb, or Elizabeth Berg.

Your video should make a compelling case for why you should be the one to introduce one of our three 2014 Out Loud! Series Authors—Sarah Vowell, Wally Lamb, and Elizabeth Berg. The Metro Library Network will select the best videos and post them on our Facebook page, where you can vote for your favorite. The top winner for each author will be invited to introduce their selected author at the Out Loud! Author Series this summer.

Contest Rules

  • You must be a valid library card holder in the Metro Library Network (consisting of Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, and Marion Public Libraries).
  • Videos will be judged according to the following criteria: creativity, persuasiveness, speaking ability, and engagement.
  • Your entry must obey all laws, including all applicable copyright and privacy laws. This also applies to any music samples used in your video.
  • You agree to let the Metro Library Network place your entry on respective YouTube channels and Facebook pages, and use your video in its promotional and educational efforts.
  • Your video should be no longer than three minutes. Videos longer than three minutes will be disqualified.
  • Entries must be submitted by midnight on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, to be eligible. No extensions. Anything submitted after this day will not be considered.
  • Entries may not contain commercial, sexually explicit, disparaging, or libelous content; promote any product or service; or contain any trademarks, copyrighted works (including music that is not within the public domain), or other intellectual property not owned by the submitter(s).
  • The Metro Library Network reserves the right to reject or return for editing any video that doesn’t comply with these guidelines.

How to submit your video

You may submit your video one of two ways:

Online Submissions

1. Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo.

2. Send an email to outloud@metrolibrarynetwork.org, including:

a. A link to your video
b. Your name and contact information (email and phone)

3. We will send you a confirmation email that we received your video within 24 hours.

Snail Mail or In-Person Submissions

1. Save your video to a CD, DVD, or flash drive

2. Put it in an envelope addressed to Cedar Rapids Public Library, ATTN: Out Loud! 450 5th Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 52401. Inside the envelope, please include:

a. Your name
b. Your contact information (email and phone)

3. Submissions must be postmarked on or before June 11, 2014.

4. In-person submissions need to be delivered to the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 5th Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 52401, by 9:00 pm on June 11, 2014.

Contest Timeline

  • Deadline for submitting videos: Midnight, Wednesday, June 11, 2014 (9:00 pm for in-person submissions)
  • Metro Library Network selects finalists: June 12-15, 2014.
  • Videos posted on the Metro Library Network’s Facebook page for popular voting: Monday, June 16, 2014 – Friday, June 20, 2014 at 4 pm.
  • Winners contacted by June 22, 2014.
Sponsored by Hills Bank
Sponsored by Hills Bank

Judging

Entries will be reviewed for eligibility and compliance with the contest rules. A panel of judges drawn from within the Metro Library Network will judge the entries on the following criteria:

  • Creativity: 30%
  • Persuasiveness: 30%
  • Speaking Ability: 30%
  • Engagement: 10%

Questions? For more information, contact: Amber Mussman, Cedar Rapids Public Library, mussmana@crlibrary.org or (319) 261-READ.