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When it comes to legs, the protagonists of most novels settle for two.  This is a case of chronic underachievement.  More is better.  In E. B. White’s classic “Charlotte’s Web,” even four legs aren’t enough for Wilbur the pig to avoid an impending dinner date.  It takes eight-legged Charlotte the barn spider to find a solution.  Though smart, Charlotte is truly a spider.  She catches, kills, and relishes meals of flies, she has more than four hundred children, and she has only a short life to share with Wilbur and friends.

If you have fond memories of... Read Full Blog

Autism Awareness Month Books

by Ethan Atwell

April is Autism Awareness Month. The annual celebration is not only meant to bring awareness to autism, but also the opportunity to create unity and collaboration by highlighting stories of autistic individuals. I’ve created a list of youth books to read featuring autistic individuals below.

Picture Books:

“My Brother Charlie” by Holly Robinson Peete. Callie is very proud of her brother Charlie. He's good at so many things, but sometimes he is quiet and seems far away. “The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin” by Julia ... Read Full Blog

Trowel and Error

By Alissa Dornink

There are twelve days before the start of spring as I’m writing this, and I’m watching it snow as we’re under another yet another winter weather advisory. The last weekend of milder weather had gotten my hopes up that we had moved on from the snowiest parts of winter, even though I’ve lived through enough seasons to know better. I had even gotten out in my back yard and made progress cleaning up some of the rogue sticks and leaves and filled in some of the holes the dog has dug. I kept staring at my garden while doing that, making and revising plans for when it gets war... Read Full Blog

Quick Kids’ Reads

Spring break will find me winging my way across the country to visit my sister and her kids! Since I only have a few days with them, I’ve been gathering books that are high-interest, yet short enough that we can actually finish them. I learned my lesson on a previous family visit where we had to beg my sister-in-law to let the kids stay up late to finish a book, and another visit where my niece and I barricaded ourselves into a tiny guest room for most of a day to finish another one. You really can’t just leave a giant chicken wandering through the streets, or leave a broccoli-colored boy i... Read Full Blog

Black Future Month

by Seth Warburton

“How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?” asks author N. K. Jemisin with the title of her 2018 short story collection, though it may seem an odd question to pose here at the beginning of Black History Month.  But as Jemisin notes in her introduction, the stories of humankind’s many possible futures are too often written by those with the power in the past.  A science fiction story without black people implies that history’s racism will continue into the future.  During Black History Month, then, it’s entirely appropriate to envision a future that not only inclu... Read Full Blog

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