Blog Entries

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Staff Member

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

Libraries in Cahoots

by Anessa Olson

The Ames Public Library has almost 400,000 items in a variety of formats.  That’s a lot.  But no library can contain everything, so odds are good that sometime in your life you’ll want something that we don’t have. Fortunately, we aren’t limited to our own resources.  Libraries all across the country work together, lending and borrowing materials from each other on behalf of their patrons in a process called inter-library loan, or ILL. 

For you, the ILL process is very simple.  Just fill out our request form, available on our websit... Read Full Blog

Digital Resources for Learning

by Megan Klein-Hewett

As students of all ages return to school, those of us at the Library are winding down from the hustle and bustle of the Summer Reading Challenge and are looking toward the many tools we offer to students returning to their studies. APL offers a robust selection of online resources to help learners of all ages connect to the world of ideas.

For young learners, the Library subscribes to Bookflix and Tumblebooks. Bookflix is perfect for our youngest learners—pre-k through grade 3—and helps early readers practice important literacy skills by pairing ficti... 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

Summer Discoveries

by Anastasia Tuckness

Summertime as an 11- or 12-year-old can be very unpredictable. The rhythms of the school year are thrown off. You meet new people, unearth deep family secrets, or simply learn more about yourself. For this column, I’ve selected some of my very favorite summer stories about kids and young teens. They  tell stories about summertime experiences that, while sometimes surprising and unpredictable, really could have happened, either now or in the past. Their characters are dear to my hearts and their settings are vivid in my imagination—I truly, truly love each ... Read Full Blog

A Good Book

by Jill Philby

When I was in elementary school, I remember thinking to myself, “I will always read chapter books that have pictures. They are so much better than books without!”  In my mind, if a book had wonderful illustrations, then the story was probably wonderful, too.

To my sister at that age, a good book meant a horse book.  To one daughter, it meant a book in which everyone was nice to everyone else.  To another, it meant a funny book. To my best friend, it meant a teen romance. 

No matter what the story is about, though, good books hav... Read Full Blog

Summer Fun for Teens!

by Ethan Atwell

We are now over a month into summer vacation and maybe you’ve run out of things to do with your teen. Not to worry; Ames Public Library is here for you and your teen!

The summer months are actually the busiest time of year for the Library. We offer Terrific Tuesday performers, storytime in the parks, library camp, free meals for 0-18 year olds, and much more. The above mentioned programs are mostly geared towards our younger patrons. But what does the Library have to offer for teens this summer?

There are loads of things for teens to do! This summ... Read Full Blog

Read Beyond: E-content

by Max Gulden

The Fourth of July has rolled around once again, and there is no denying that we are in the midst of a full-blown Iowa summer! As you may know, we are also in the midst of a full-blown Ames Public Library (APL) Summer Reading Challenge! If you have been participating all along, you know that the Summer Reading Challenge is a blast, with various ways to track your progress, fun prizes to earn as you read, and a grand prize drawing at the end. For those who missed the start of the Summer Reading Challenge, have no fear, as there is still plenty of time to catch up and co... Read Full Blog

A Library Exhibit on Black Freedom

by Sheila Schofer

The Library has a beautiful entryway with a striking charcoal gray wall that provides a perfect backdrop for exhibits.

The exhibit on display currently is by artist Jordan Brooks and ties in to Juneteenth programming and events happening in the library and the broader community.

The white lettering pops against orange, yellow, green, blue and black backgrounds creating an eye-catching contrast. The words themselves make a statement, too, as they urge viewers of all backgrounds to reflect on the statements and explore their personal reactions.Read Full Blog

Climbing Mango Trees and Other Summer Pursuits

by Rosie Francis

Summer. Growing up in India, this was my favorite season. The days were long and filled with food, friends, and books. It was a special time for another reason also: summer was mango season. In our home, this meant a ready and steady supply of fresh mangoes straight from the tree. My childhood home was located in what was formerly a mango grove, and every house in our neighborhood had at least one mango tree; our home was supremely fortunate to have not one but four full-grown mature trees. Much of my summer was spent climbing these trees with my siblings and our fr... Read Full Blog

Why Travel?

by Seth Warburton

Travel exists, for me, in about the same space as dancing. I figure some people must be telling the truth when they say they enjoy those activities, but I can’t really relate. What fun you achieve with either activity seems to me to come with too high a price in cash, time, discomfort or perhaps all three. I know that my Ames Public Library colleagues have even written several of these columns extolling the virtue of travel and pointing you to books and other library resources to dream up and plan your ideal trip. In the interest of balance, I’d like to encourage y... Read Full Blog