Blog Entries

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Eclipse Time!

by Ellen Wanamaker

In a few days, millions of Americans will see a total solar eclipse. The path of totality will cross 15 states on April 8th. To see the spectacle in totality, Iowans will have to travel a few hours, but if you stay in Ames, you’ll still witness about 85% of the sun eclipsed by the moon’s shadow.

There are many ways to learn about eclipses prior to the big day. The “New York Times” website has an interactive map-filled article, published by Jonathan Corum on March 25, 2024. Ames Public Library cardholders have free access to the NYT online through our web... Read Full Blog

Parenting Problems and Answers at the Ames Public Library

by Danielle Ziegler

Although the Ames Public Library Youth Services department offers many books, storytimes, and activities for the younger crowd, we don’t want to forget about parents and guardians! Adults are welcome to use the youth department, whether getting great books for the young people in their lives or themselves. (But don’t forget that we also have an amazing Adult Services department!)

Parents and guardians should check out the Parenting Collection, located at the South side of the Library’s youth department. This small collection focuses on books to aide in ... Read Full Blog

Memorable Memoirs of Differently-Abled Experiences

by Cathy Cooney

When you visit the library this month, we hope you’ll stop by our book displays in the youth and adult areas featuring Disability Awareness Month. You’ll find books by, about, and for people who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, or vision impairments. (Pro tip: Some of the featured books are perfect for the 12 to Try reading challenge category of memoirs by someone with neurodiversity or ability diversity. Find out more at Here are just a few of my recommendations!

“The Cou... Read Full Blog

Audiobooks for Everyone!

by Anastasia Tuckness

Driving around with children of varying ages, whether for a carpool or a family vacation, can be a big challenge! If Car Bingo or the License Plate Game aren’t doing the trick, try an audiobook. Finding a book that bridges all the kiddos in your car may be easier than you think—they can listen to and comprehend audiobooks that are significantly above their reading level, and a tween may be more apt to listen to (and secretly enjoy) a book they wouldn’t normally pick up because it seemed “too baby-ish.”

Adventure and humor are generally crowd favorites, and... Read Full Blog

Adventurous Adaptations

by Jillian Ocken

Sometimes it feels like there are no new stories. I complain as much as anyone about the latest remake of a remake, but I have to admit to enjoying a few recently recycled stories. There are even some upcoming adaptations I’m looking forward to.

The biggest recent success story for my family was “One Piece.” As far as manga to anime to live action adaptations go, it was surprisingly good. (I keep my expectations low on these, because they often recreate the source material scene-for-scene without being particularly well done.) It was a fun watch with good pacin... Read Full Blog


by Seth Warburton

Like Katmai’s fat bears searching for salmon, we librarians stand in a river of literature. But catching the right book at the right time, pulling it glistening and shiny and fresh from the stream is more difficult than it seems.

“How hard can it be?” you say, “You just stand there and the books come to you,” and you’re right. But firstly, cracking open a new book is something of a commitment; it takes some trust that what I’m reading will entertain or educate, that it will feel right for my mood, and that it will only bore or shock me as much as I’m willing t... Read Full Blog

Eric Carle’s Caterpillar

by Jill Philby

Just over 50 years ago, a very hungry little caterpillar burst out of an egg and ate his way through all sorts of food on the way to transforming into a beautiful butterfly!  Author/illustrator Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has been a perennial favorite among both children and adults. Now a stage production, the caterpillar and his friend, Brown Bear, will be visiting Ames’ Stephens Auditorium on Monday, February 12, 2024 at 6:30pm.

To celebrate Eric Carle and his caterpillar, Ames Public Library will be giving away one Family Pack of four ... Read Full Blog

To Be or Not to Be…Read

by Tracy Briseño

My TBR (To Be Read) pile is out of control. Somehow, I always have more books that I want to read than time to read them. So, I’m looking for a plan for 2024.

I have already joined the 12 to Try Reading Challenge and am enjoying broadening my reading from “Ooh, this looks interesting.” And “I love everything else this author wrote.” to seeking out new perspectives and challenging myself to explore more broadly. I am particularly pleased that the 12 to Try challenge is so flexible and I can try things in any order. If you decide to join the challenge, you m... Read Full Blog

Reading Challenges to Get Through the Winter

by Clelia Sweeney

It’s getting to be that time of year again. Winter holidays are here, the air is cold, night falls fast. People are spending more time inside, and coziness is a must. There is no better season to get some serious reading done.

The Icelanders have Jolabokaflod, a winter holiday tradition where people give books as gifts and spend Christmas Eve reading, hot beverage in hand. This practice originated during World War II because paper was one of the few goods not rationed for the war effort. Books became the default holiday gift and the trend has persisted. A... Read Full Blog

Holiday Gift Ideas from Ames Public Library

by Ellen Wanamaker

Shopping for holiday gifts at the library seems counter-intuitive, since, well… libraries let you borrow things for free! While you can check out armfuls of books, movies, music, magazines, games, puzzles and puppets for free, there are ways to do holiday shopping at Ames Public Library as well.

Literary Grounds is Ames Public Library’s bookstore, located on the first floor. You can shop for gently-used books, puzzles, and more. Most items cost between $1 and $5, and all proceeds benefit the APL Friends Foundation, which serves to enhance APL’s services,... Read Full Blog

Percy Jackson and the Read-Alikes

by Ethan Atwell

I’m not sure how many of you are aware, but on December 20th Disney will release a new TV adaptation for “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”. This has been a popular topic of discussion for the numerous youth and teens that come to the Library. And honestly, I have high hopes for it since the film adaptations were a let down, to say the least.

Anyway, I thought now might be a good idea to spread the word about Percy Jackson read-alikes. There is of course the Rick Riordan Presents series, which focuses on highlighting middle grade authors and their books abou... Read Full Blog

Kids and Cooking

by Danielle Ziegler

Thanksgiving is almost upon us!  If you celebrate, you may be getting ready to prepare a feast later this week. If your kids are anything like mine, they’re excited to help as well.  But why wait for a holiday to cook together? Besides being fun, kids can learn lots from cooking, from reading to science to different cultures.

Reading recipes is a great way to get reading practice. Cookbooks may also help with kids’ vocabulary. Many times, as in “Star Wars: The Padawan Cookbook” by Jenn Fujikawa, there’s a section that explains different cookin... Read Full Blog

Books to Movies

by Grace Hoffhines

When I was in elementary school, the Harry Potter movies were all the rage. My classmates would spend recess discussing potions professors, magical dragons, and a game called Quidditch. Naturally feeling left out, I begged my parents to let me watch the movies so that I too could be a part of the discussion. No matter how bad I wanted it, my dad refused. He told me that he wanted me to read the books before I saw the movies. Of course, eight-year-old me was not thrilled. “The books are always better than the movies,” he would tell me and locked away his Harry Po... Read Full Blog

A Frightfully Good Time

by Max Gulden

It’s that time of year again. As the air becomes crisp, leaves turn color and fall. Sunlight takes on a different hue, and the days grow noticeably shorter, while the nights grow inexorably longer. Around this time every year, my movie viewing takes a predicable turn. A turn to horror!

While horror movies can be enjoyed at any time of year, there is a certain appeal to treating oneself to a horror binge in the lead up to that spookiest of holidays: Halloween. If you too enjoy making a seasonal commitment to ramp up your horror movie viewing, you have a number... Read Full Blog

Spooky Stories at the Library

by Jill Philby

With Halloween just around the corner, Ames Public Library lends more spooky stories than usual.  Older children and teens love a good scare and will read books like Aaron Reynolds’ “Creepy Tales!” series, “The Jumbies” by Tracey Baptiste, or Katherine Arden’s “Small Spaces” series at any time of year. But books like Alvin Schwartz’ “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” are especially popular the closer we get to Halloween. 

Kids and teens love books that are scary, and the thrill in feeling the goosebumps on your arms or the shiver down your spine c... Read Full Blog