Blog Entries

Blog Type
Staff Member

Quick Picks

by Ellen Wanamaker

On the second floor at Ames Public Library, next to the new books, is a shelf of books and movies called “Quick Picks.” Some libraries call these “skip the line” or “lucky day” items. If you’re currently 36-deep in the hold queue for Colleen Hoover’s “It Starts With Us” or Michelle Obama’s “The Light We Carry,” then you’ll want to learn about Quick Picks.

Our librarians pay attention to the books and movies with the greatest demand, and buy additional copies for this special collection. Books designated as Quick Picks have a 7-day checkout with no renewa... Read Full Blog

Embracing Graphic Novels!

by Ethan Atwell

As a librarian, I frequently have caregivers come in with a child asking to help them find a “real” book, because the child primarily reads graphic novels. Graphic novels are one of the most amazing formats to enjoy reading. Below are benefits of reading graphic novels.

Graphic novels are accessible. According to Louise Baigelman (2022) at, the blend of images and words allows struggling readers to have more context while reading and not be overwhelmed by text. They also feel accomplished because they are able to finish a book. Graphic nove... Read Full Blog

Pride and Prejudice: Never Leave!

by Anastasia Tuckness

As a seventh-grader, I had pretty much exhausted our school’s library and was wandering aimlessly with no good book prospects in sight when my friend’s mom gave me a slim red volume and said, “Try this.” It turned out to be Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” the first adult book I ever read and one that became a lifelong favorite. Once I’d entered that world of country lanes, drawing rooms, and witty banter, I never wanted to leave. Recently I discovered some new portals into that world! Shannon Hale’s hilarious “Austenland”, both the book and DVD, feature a ... Read Full Blog

The Perfect Holiday Gifts Exist!

by Brianne Anderson

I don’t know about you, but every year around this time my mind mentally freezes. The holiday season is coming and all of a sudden, I have no idea what my nieces or nephews are into right now, and do my in-laws really need/want another gift card? Gift giving around the holidays is our chance to show those we love how much we appreciate them and value them in our lives, but that also comes with the stress of trying to please everyone.

Although it might not be the first place that comes to mind, your local library is an amazing resource when those ... Read Full Blog

Watch Around the World

by Anessa Olson

We have come a long way from the time when the entire country watched the same three channels. Every year, there are more and more television shows about a staggering array of topics and characters. Additionally, more shows are becoming available from around the world.  Ames Public Library staff is happy to help you find shows or movies that suit your taste. In addition to popular Hollywood shows and films, our world language DVD section has films, shows, and documentaries from all over the world, in dozens of languages. And now, watching shows from our world la... Read Full Blog

Get Cozy with NextReads This Winter

by Rebecca Honeycutt (NoveList Readers’ Advisory Librarian) and Jillian Ocken (Ames Public Library)

Looking for a good book to get you through some cold days? Ames Public Library is here to help! One of the ways we connect you with books you may be interested in is NextReads e-mail newsletters. Sign up for any that interest you at, and enjoy booklist in your inbox curated by NoveList and Ames Public Library’s experts.

Here are some upcoming NextReads highlights:

This December, you'll find "2022 Debuts" theme lists in Teen Scene... Read Full Blog

A Marvelous Universe

by Jillian Ocken

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a busy place. We’ve already had two feature films this year, three series introducing new characters, plus the odd special, and there’s still more to come. The internet is buzzing with theories, casting news, and announcements of projects into 2025 and beyond.

Whether you’re trying to figure out what all the super-fans are talking about or your filling some time until “Wakanda Forever” comes out, this is a good time to check out some Marvel graphic novels. Ames Public Library has a large selection of comics in physical form... Read Full Blog

Spooky Cinema Season

by Max Gulden

Over the years, it has become something of a tradition for me to watch and rewatch horror films throughout October in anticipation of Halloween. Fortunately, Ames Public Library’s collections of DVDs and Blu Rays include a cornucopia of frightful films suited to the season. In recent years, I have also turned to the library’s extensive online film resources, including Hoopla and Kanopy, to further this spooky tradition. If you too feel a brisk October day (or better yet, night!) lends itself to a good horror film or two, here are a few choice options to consider that a... Read Full Blog

Whale Encounters

by Seth Warburton

We could afford one night in the most ideal bed and breakfast either of us could imagine.  Just off the northern coast of Newfoundland is Quirpon Island.  A building that once housed lighthouse keepers now plays host to wide-eyed tourists like my wife and I.  The boat we boarded for the ride to the island seemed large and sturdy tied to the pier, then small and flimsy as we left the harbor and felt the effects of wind and wave, and then entirely insignificant when a humpback whale glided just under the keel and surfaced to breathe twenty feet away.&n... Read Full Blog

Earn Your High School Equivalency with Library Resources

by Clelia Sweeney

As someone with a GED, I feel very strongly about the importance of helping people earn their high school equivalency. It opens doors for employment, training programs, military careers, and applying to college. Through a conversation with a patron last week, I learned that Iowa does not use the GED test but the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test, a much more straightforward acronym!) I hadn’t heard of the HiSET, but 23 out of 50 states currently offer it instead of the GED. It was developed in 2014 to better suit the needs of adult students, be more affordable, a... Read Full Blog

Great Reads for Hispanic Heritage Month

by Cathy Cooney

In order to include the celebrations of as many Central American, South American and Caribbean independence days as possible, Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15. Celebrate this year by picking up a great book by a Hispanic or Latinx author!

 For the horror fans among us, try Mexican-American author Isabel Cañas. Her debut novel, “The Hacienda,” blends Gothic suspense and horror. After her father’s execution during the Mexican War of Independence, Beatriz chooses to marry for safety and convenience. She ends up at her husband’s... Read Full Blog

Voting for all Ages at the Ames Public Library

September is the month of school, apples, and even the start of pumpkin spice. But it also has National Voter Registration Day on September 20th.  The League of Women Voters will be here at the Ames Public Library from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm to register people to vote.

Adults may know what voting is and why we should do it. But how do we teach kids and young people? The best way is for you to vote yourself and talk about how and why you vote. But another great way is to read books about voting and government with them!

Even babies can get started on the road to voting ... Read Full Blog


by Brianne Anderson

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read." — Abraham Lincoln

By far one of the best parts of our job as librarians is getting to recommend books. Don’t get us wrong, we love the satisfaction of helping someone discover a link to an ancestor, or helping kids find just the right source for their school paper, but the absolute best feeling is when we get to walk the shelves, pulling out our favorite titles and describing them to patrons. Our goal at APL is to be just like Abraham Lincoln’s bes... Read Full Blog

Family History

by Tracy Briseño

Recently my grandmas both shared some family pictures. I’ve never been very interested before. I know the basics of my family history, but hadn’t really gotten into many stories about folks I’ve never met.

Seeing photos of them changed that for me. I started listening more to the stories and asking more questions. Once I jumped in, I realized I needed a way to understand who my grandmas were talking about. Was Aunt Pat their Aunt, their Great Aunt, my grandpa’s aunt, or a close family friend not even related to us? I tried out Ancestry to map out my... Read Full Blog

Dog Days of Summer

By Alissa Dornink

In a couple weeks, I will join the almost 70 million households in the US that have a dog, specifically a golden retriever puppy tentatively named Sylvie. Or possibly Poe. Or maybe Din Djarin. I’m still working on the perfect name. I have been watching updates of her with her littermates online and I am pretty sure she’s the most adorable dog ever, although I may be slightly biased.

It’s been a little while since I have had a dog so I am taking time to bone up (the only dog-related pun I will make here, I promise) on all things pertaining to dogs. I have gone ... Read Full Blog