Blog Entries

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Staff Member

Star Wars: The Fan Awakens

by Jillian Ocken

Hello there! It’s Star Wars day, and what a day for a Star Wars fan to be alive! With a new Star Wars series launching and many more projects already announced, it looks like the galaxy far, far away is getting bigger every day.

Before we continue, I have a confession to make; until recently, I had only really watched the Star Wars movies. I knew there were animated TV shows, books, and games out there, but I didn’t pay too much attention to them.

Like many casual Star Wars fans, “The Mandalorian” opened my eyes to some of the stories happening off th... Read Full Blog

Departing from the Canon

by Brianne Anderson

How many of you have heard a version of the phrase, “The world is a different place than it used to be”? I can hear my grandparents saying this to me as I was growing up and learning to drive and navigate adolescence. My parents have spoken thus numerous times while discussing my parenting choices as they babysit their grandchildren. And last week, I used a similar phrase to explain life before the internet to my own young children.

Change happens and the world evolves with it. Change can be good, but it also brings struggles to adapt and adjust. Our wo... Read Full Blog

Move over, Nancy Drew!

by Anastasia Tuckness

One day last fall, I came to work and noticed a stack of books on my desk. Hmm, I thought, those are those dusty teen detective novels I never got around to reading. Why the sudden interest? Turns out a new show on Netflix featuring Enola Holmes was prompting lots of holds. One of my coworkers surveyed the books and determined—they need to be moved from teen to juvenile! And they need to be catalogued as a series! And we need a whole bunch of new copies! And thus began a flurry of activity to meet the demand.

Enola Holmes herself was an original creat... Read Full Blog

Iowa Climate Action Planning

by Ellen Wanamaker

Ames Public Library invites you to attend an Iowa Climate Action Planning meeting on Wednesday, April 14th at 7:00 pm via Zoom. To join the meeting, go to the calendar on the Ames Public Library website.

The meeting seeks to educate the public on what a climate action plan is, why a community needs one, and what goals might be included in Ames’ specific plan. You’ll have a chance to learn from climate action experts from neighboring cities. The moderator for the event is Vivian M. Cook, ISU graduate student in Community Development and Sustainable Agricu... Read Full Blog

Better Together

by Jill Philby

When kids ask for help finding books here at the library, it seems as if they fall into one of two camps.  They like either fiction or non-fiction, and there isn’t much overlap.  Once in a while someone will ask for non-fiction books about dragons or some other magical creature—which always makes me chuckle—but in general, it’s a definite one or the other. 

But the few kids who ask for both are on to something.

When you pair fiction with nonfiction, you learn better.

Reading fiction works on your emotional brain.  Fict... Read Full Blog

Twenty Twenty-One

by Max Gulden

If someone were to ask you to pick out a single notable thing about the year 2021, what would you say? I’m going to go out on a limb and choose something a bit controversial: it ends in a one. As a nod to this endearing attribute of this most endearing year, let’s look back to some memorable films set in years that also end in a one that are—or will soon be—available through your Ames Public Library.

2011. “Nomadland.” This critically-acclaimed film follows the experiences of Fern (Frances McDormand) as she turns to the road following the death of her spouse ... Read Full Blog

Facing Our Truth

by Susan Gent


We’ve faced a lot of truths about ourselves, about technology, and about our communities over the past year. 

Iowa State University (ISU) Department of Music and Theatre invites us to continue this self-exploration as they present “Facing Our Truth: Ten Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege.”  The show streams March 25-27 at 7:30pm and on Sunday, March 28 at 2pm. The link can be found at their website:  Those attending the Thursday performance are invited to ask the cast and director questions in a post-... Read Full Blog

Cookbooks from Your Favorite Worlds

by Alissa Lee Dornink Hawes

I have two hobbies—baking and watching superhero/fantasy/sci-fi movies—and during the last year have found myself with even more time for those. I would pick a type of dessert and make variations on that for a month or until I ran out of recipes that looked interesting in a particular cookbook. I baked my way through America’s Test Kitchen’s ‘The Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies, and Bars’ looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie and moved on to making pies from scratch using their ‘The Perfect Pie: Your Ultimate Gui... Read Full Blog

A Year of Pandemic at the Library

by Jillian Ocken


As Ames Public Library prepares to reopen “the stacks” to the public, I can’t help but think about how much a visit to Ames Public Library has changed over the past year.

I was home with my children over spring break when the news of COVID-19 in the U.S. hit. While they enjoyed their time away from school, I was swept up in a flurry of emails and changes at the Library. There were new cleaning protocols, toys were stored away, and events were being cancelled. And then, on March 16, everyone rushed into the Library to stock up on books and movie... Read Full Blog

Reading Aloud Can Be a Bridge to Reading Independently

by Danielle Ziegler


Every year here in Iowa, after other big children’s book awards are finished, it is time for the Bridge to Reading Book Awards. This award, sponsored by the Youth Services Subdivision of the Iowa Library Association, is definitely one of my favorites. The Bridge to Reading finalists are all chosen by Iowa librarians from amazing picture books that are perfect for reading aloud. And then, children and families get the chance to vote on what books they loved best! 

The Bridge to Reading Award has a lot more purpose than just honoring a gr... Read Full Blog

Reading with a Vengeance

by Seth Warburton


I thought I knew myself as a reader.  Then 2020 happened.  Books I’d looked forward to reading fell flat.  I brought home new books from authors I loved and never even cracked the covers.  The shelves here at the Ames Public Library are full of good books, but I was having trouble finding one that fit my mood.  Books had been my gateway to adventure, my method of experiencing all the exciting lives I would never live, in interesting places and times I could never visit.  But when merely listening to the news could set ... Read Full Blog

Full STEAM Ahead

by Jerri Heid


Everyone’s talking about STEM and STEAM lately; what are they and why do we care?

STEAM Education is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. We definitely see this approach in K-12 school classrooms, but did you know that even younger children are capable of using it in their learning through play?

You may have heard the saying that play is a child’s work, and it is true! During play, children learn to... Read Full Blog


by Ashley Wilson


In either movies or books, a well-presented monster will always win me over. Dragons are my favorite, vampires next, followed by any manifestation of a creature of the deep, then aliens. In my opinion ghosts and paranormal activity do not really count as monsters, and werewolves are just okay; You can try to change my mind on this one, but I have yet to encounter a truly convincing werewolf shapeshifter narrative. Plus, I’m not too keen on the howling.

Dragons take the top prize for me because regardless of their assumed or presented size, they... Read Full Blog

Loving Your Library

by Jillian Ocken


February is National Library Lovers’ Month, for people who pay attention to library-specific “holidays.” People share their love of libraries in many different ways, especially through stories, appropriately. At the Library, on the phone, in the checkout line at the grocery store, we hear so many stories: How a small town library inspired a lifelong reading habit. How a librarian helped find the resources that transformed a life. How the perfect book recommendation unlocked a child’s desire to learn to read. How a library felt like the last connection to... Read Full Blog

Play Together: A New Program

by Ben Shrag


On the last day of 2020, Ames Public Library rang in the new year with our annual family-friendly Noon Year’s Eve celebration. With a countdown ending at noon instead of midnight, families can get all the fun of a New Year’s Eve countdown and still get a good night’s sleep.

Unlike previous Noon Year’s Eve celebrations, however, this year we met online. We fired up the cameras in our Storytime Room (which has been temporarily converted into a make-shift sound stage and filming studio) and greeted each other through screens.

We weren’t sure... Read Full Blog