Laptop computerBoth Davenport library buildings – Main and Fairmount Street – offer free internet access via our wireless network. All you need is your library card number and a laptop.

Don’t have a library card yet? Stop by the Customer Service desk and sign up for one today.

Don’t have a laptop? Sorry, can’t help you with that one! But we do have PCs with internet access available in both buildings. Internet surfing for everyone!

Your Brain on CubsDon’t look now, folks but the Cubs are at the top of their division! There seems to be a good mix of hitting, fielding and pitching…..but can it last? Or is a June Swoon on the way?

Cub fans have been waiting 100 years for a World Series crown. What keeps them hanging on and coming back? It certainly can’t be the imaginative and forward-thinking ownership, or the flawless management (on field or corporate). And while we’ve seen some greats – Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg – we’ve also suffered through years of mediocrity. Your Brain on Cubs explains the role the brain plays, not just with the swing of emotions, but with many parts of watching and playing sports. And although these findings apply to fans and players of all teams not just Cubs fans, we do offer a unique look at loyalty and “just wait till next year” attitude.

One day our loyalty will be rewarded, might as well be this year!

National Safe Boating Week, May 17-23

Time to get that boat out of dry dock? When you do, take some time to make certain it’s safe to operate. Also, educate all potential pilots as to standard safety procedures. Sometimes, in all the excitement of getting into the water, these can easily be overlooked. Let’s make the Mississippi and other area waterways safer for all boaters. Then, have some fun out there!

Looking for ways to economize? FIrst, check out magazines instead of buying them. Second, find out how to save money when investing, traveling, sewing, and working on do-it-yourself projects.

Smart Money and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

These magazines cover retirement, college planning, taxes, health and consumer issues. The current issue lists the ways you can lower you car insurance premium.

Sew News

Learn tips and techniques to sew clothes, gifts and home decorating projects. Learn how to sew the latest fashions, bath mats, totes, raincoats, and how to start a business

Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel

Find out about travel deals and tips for families and singles. Get an evaluation of a hotels, tourist destinations and airlines before it’s too late.

Threads:For People Who Love to Sew

Learn “quick to make” summer projects including how to make purses for yourself or as gifts (an online special).

Make:Technology on Your Time

Make “unites, inspires and informs …people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages.” In the current issue, learn about the stars of “The Junk Brothers”

Other magazines with lots of good money saving tips: Parents, Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day and Cookies. All magazines check out from the library for one week.

On Monday, May 12th, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), raided Agriprocessors Inc., a slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa. This was not only the largest ICE raid in Iowa, but in fact the largest single-site enforcement operation of it’s kind in the country. The over 300 detainees include Guatemalans, Mexicans, Israelis and Ukrainians. While this story has been widely reported in the local media, little has been said about Agriprocessors Inc., other than that it’s the largest kosher meat packing plant in the country.

Although not a new book, Stephen Bloom’s, Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, is an especially timely read that explains much about what is occurring in the small northeastern Iowa town. In 1987 a Brooklyn butcher purchased an abandoned slaughterhouse just outside the city limits of Postville. The town of about 1500 people had become economically stagnant so they welcomed the opportunity for new business growth, and saw little concern that the new operators of this plant were Lubavitchers, ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews. By 1996, Postville, which had hardly ever had any Jews, now had more rabbis per capita than any other city in the U.S. The success of the plant also brought an onslaught of immigrant workers to the area. Relations between the the Midwestern Lutherans, who dominated Postville, and the Lubavitchers, who traditionally live and work within their own closely knit community, soon broke down.

Bloom, a University of Iowa journalism professor weaves the story of this small divided town into his own search for cultural and religious identity. He does an excellent job of exploring what it means to be an American, the limits of diversity and community, and the nature of community. In light of Monday’s raid, Bloom’s work provides an insightful history of Postville and Agriprocessors Inc.

Chris FarleyFans of comedy can probably look back and wonder where they were when they found out that comedian Chris Farley had passed away at the age of 33. If they read the papers at that time, they can also recall not being shocked.

The hot nonfiction title The Chris Farley Show, cowritten by his brother Tom, is an illuminating character study broken into 3 acts. Act I paints the portrait of a deeply religious and well-intentioned boy from Madison, Wisconsin with a Midwestern innocence that he never lost even at the darkest hour. Act II shows a fireball ascent through the ranks of Second City, Saturday Night Live , and motion pictures by a natural talent with spot-on instincts in terms of timing, physicality, and energy. Unfortunately, Act Three ends like it does in the real world, as the professional parallels between himself and idol John Belushi materialize in an all-too real fashion. The conclusion is painful, as the book shows us a kinder man than the one John Q. Public merely saw take pratfalls for the amusement of unseen millions.

The writing style takes a while to get used to, as the linear narrative of the author is consistently backed up by quotes from his friends, family and celebrity co-workers. It’s worth it. You’ll wish you could change the ending, though.

Iowa\'s Wild PlacesAt one time, Iowa had more prairie for it’s size than any other state in the union. Within ten years of the arrival of the pioneers (mid-1800s) nearly all of it was gone. Less than one tenth of one percent remains. Fortunately, there has been a movement lately to not only preserve what is left, but to restore unused land to native prairie.

Prairies are a diverse and complex ecosystem, supporting a wide range of birds and wildlife. They are also very beautiful, ranging from spring ephermals to an explosion of summer color to the drama of the tall grasses (growing taller than a man)

One of the best places to see prairie being restored is at the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City, Iowa (just this side of Des Moines) They have an excellent, kid-friendly museum and interpretive center, walking trails, and a driving tour. As well as the amazing number of grasses and wildflowers that are being restored, there is an elk herd and a buffalo herd. Several native birds that were believed shooting star wildflowerto be extinct or rarely seen in Iowa have again been sighted here.

Closer to home, Rochester Cemetery near Tipton, Iowa offers a unique and memorable experience. Tucked between farms on a hilly site, it is considered one of the best examples of Oak Savanna in the Midwest and is known for it’s huge white oaks and it’s wildflowers. Growing on land that has never been disturbed, the variety and sheer quantity of flowers is astounding, especially in the spring. Especially the shooting stars. There are, literally, thousands of them, blanketing the ground in every direction, an amazing sight. (Please note: if you do visit, remember that this is still an active cemetery; please be respectful of the gravesites and stay on the mown paths)

For a beautiful guide to the prairies and wildflowers of Iowa, take a look at Iowa’s Wild Places by Carl Kurtz, or visit the Iowa Prairie Network for a listing of the remaining Iowa prairies, information on prairies, a calendar of events and volunteer opportunities. Help keep Iowa’s wild places wild.

Miles from NowhereGas prices making you cringe? Gained a few pounds over the winter? Try riding your bike to work. It’s a great way to get and stay in shape, requires no expensive trips to the gas station and it’s better for the environment. Plus, biking is fun! We’re lucky to have one of the best recreational trail systems in the country right here in Davenport and the Quad Cities. In addition, all Citibuses have bike racks; there is no extra fee to use them and they can expand your options for getting around on two wheels.

Bike to Work Week is May 10-16 to both encourage people to commute to work and to raise awareness of bicycles on the road. Bike Iowa can give you lots of tips on how to commute and lots of reasons why it’s a good idea.

Need a little inspiration? Miles From Nowhere by Barbara Savage is about the round-the-world bicycle trip Savage and her husband made. This is a great book – funny, exciting, sometimes tense (attacked by rock throwing men in Egypt), always interesting, Savage and her husband quit their jobs and spent two years on their adventure. Their story makes for can’t-put-down reading and may inspire you to dust off your own bike for a trip around the neighborhood.

Some say the holiday we celebrate traces its roots back to the 16th Century British holiday of Mothering Day, the annual custom of visiting one’s mother church annually, which meant that most mothers would be reunited with their children on this day.

In the United States Mother’s Day was first observed in 1907 when Anna Jarvis asked her Philadelphia church to hold a service in memory of all mothers on the anniversary of her mother’s death. Jarvis and friends undertook a letter writing campaign in 1909 lobbying for the creation of a national Mother’s Day. In 1914 Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is celebrated on different days in other world countries. For example, Spain and Germany honor mothers on the first Sunday in May. In Ireland and the United Kingdom it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Little Heathens

Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish

The 80-something Kalish writes with simplicity and directness about growing up on an Iowa farm in the thirties. The details of meal preparation, crops and care of the farm animals are so specific they ring with authenticity.

Daily life is made vivid with the telling detail – the feel of grass on bare feet, a snack of new potatoes with a shaving of butter, or preparing dandelion greens after a long winter. She describes how the kids were assigned tasks such as gathering tomatoes, potatoes fresh from the garden, milk and butter from the cellar for dinner. Yet she doesn’t romanticize the work involved in preparing and cleaning up after three meals a day.

Read this with your mother, grandmother, or any older relative and share their memories of a way of life fast disappearing from our collective memory. Thank goodness for memoirists like Kalish.