Annual Reports

FY18 Annual Report


  • Opened Digital Media Lab
  • Protecting Privacy & Confidentiality
  • Full year of Bookmobile service
  • Programming sets records
  • Director announces retirement/search begins

It was another busy year at ICPL. Record numbers of people attended library programs, the bookmobile is now a common sight around Iowa City, and the building and web site have some new looks. Less visible achievements include revamping and improving our privacy and confidentiality policies and procedures, conducting a user survey, and keeping collections current. We are now three years into our strategic plan and staff continue to connect people with information and offer opportunities for enjoyment and personal growth; engage people in discovery, learning and community; and enrich the quality of life in Iowa City through diversity, imagination, and creativity.

The Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation teamed up with Iowa City’s Big Grove Brewery for our first-ever Big Book Bash. Library lovers ate great food and talked about all things books. The Bookmobile was on site for tours, too.
We celebrated the love in February with our annual Blind Date with the Book display. This popular display showcase a selection of books wrapped in paper with only a line or two of text giving a hint about the novel inside. Patrons are encouraged to check out one (or more) and let us know how things go with our Rate Your Date bookmarks. Anyone who turned in a bookmark was entered into a drawing for a gift basket from The Basket Cases featuring local goodies.
The Bookmobile celebrated its first full year of service, with more than 15,000 people visiting the mobile Library, checking out nearly 26,000 items. Oaknoll is just one of the places the Bookmobile visits each week.
One of our busiest Bookmobile stops is Breckenridge Estates in rural Johnson County, where the Bookmobile’s mission is illustrated at each visit. Because the children in this area don’t have access to public transportation, they had little access to the Library until the Bookmobile rolled into their neighborhood. The Bookmobile also visits several local preschools and child care centers as part of the Library’s Outreach Services.
Our Book Drop monsters are a frightful, yet welcome site, during the Halloween season. Library patrons of all ages love feeding the monsters!
The Iowa City Public Library’s Totally Tweens Chess Tournament is an annual program that always draws a crowd. The tournament is held in honor of Steve Young, who was active in the community’s chess population until his death in 2012.
Iowa City served as the host for the 2018 annual meeting of the UNESCO Cities of Literature. The Library welcomed our international delegates with a display celebrating the books and authors from other Cities of Literature.
The Digital Media Lab opened its doors on June 2. Located where the Computer Lab used to be, the renovated Digital Media Lab is an open, flexible workspace with technology for creating digital media projects, giving users access to programs and technology they might not have at home.
The Bookmobile joined the Library’s Book Cart Drill Team at the 2017 University of Iowa Homecoming Parade, garnering cheers from the crowd throughout downtown Iowa City.
The Library kept its doors open for our second annual Late Night at the Library celebration. This after-hours event coincides with the Downtown District Block Party. In addition to being able to check out books and use Library resources until 10 p.m., we also hosted a video game tournament.
Amara was the winner of our 2018 Blind Date with a Book contest, having turned in a Rate Your Date bookmark for Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. We’re happy to report it was a good match – she checked Happily Ever After!
When asked what it’s like to work on the Bookmobile, Children’s Library Mari said this: “Working on the bookmobile is a whirlwind of a day! I typically see dozens of kids and adults, do at least one Storytime for children, and drive all over town. It goes by quickly but we seem to make an impact on a lot of people who have difficulty getting to the Library, which makes each day meaningful.”
Arghh! Even pirates visit the Library to sample pour bounty of books before sailing off on a grand adventure.
Library staff were honored to participate in June’s Pride Parade as part of the annual Pride Festival. The Library also celebrated Pride Month with our first-ever Pride Month Drag Storytime, with local drag kings and queens sharing stories with a packed house.
Ray Anderson, left, of the Cedar Valley Rocks and Minerals Society, gave a brief overview of local geology and the cool rocks to be found in Iowa during Eastern Iowa Rocks: An Introduction to Rockhounding in Iowa.
Food Network meets Comic Con at MCU: Marvel Culinary University, with teens making Marvel-inspired treats while watching Black Panther. It was a sweet way to celebrate summer.
Playing in the first was encouraged at our Terrarium Workshop for Teens and Adults. Initially a tween program, it was so popular among young attendees that their parents and older siblings asked for one, too.
Green thumbs and soiled hands were a familiar sight during our Terrarium Workshop for Teens and Adults. A terrarium is a glass container containing soil and plants, and is often kept as a decorative or ornamental item.
Library patrons on the autism spectrum were greeted by a therapy pony during one of our Special Access Saturdays. During Special Access Saturday, the Library opens an hour early to serve our autistic community and their families in a low key, low light and calming environment. We also have special events, programming and guests. Some guest have four legs.
What better way to celebrate the opening of the new Tween Space than with homemade slime? The Tween Space houses all Totally Tween activities, which are for third through sixth grade students.
Ooey, gooey and so much fun! Those words can be used to describe the slime tweens made during the Tween Space Grand Opening, as well as other fun Totally Tween programs hosted in the area just for students in third through sixth grades.
If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” – Roald Dahl According to FY18 statistics, ICPL had 731,103 visits to the downtown building and 15,256 on the Bookmobile, with patrons checking out and/or downloading 1,266,305 items.
Print, nonprint, edownload

Quick Facts

Population Served

Iowa City 73,415
Rural Johnson County (by contract) 22,523
University Heights (by contract) 1,125
Hills (by contract) 806
Lone Tree (by contract) 1,408


Books/eBooks 193,572
Non-print Materials 67,898
Print and Electronic Reference 4,589
Periodicals, Newspapers & e-subscriptions 392

Annual Usership Figures

Cardholders 57,601
Circulation 1,266,305
Visits to the Library 731,103
Information Requests 44,743
Program Attendance in Meeting Room 49,274
Non-Library Meeting Room Use 1,562