Internet Scout Remarks on Biographical Dictionary of Iowa

The Internet Scout Report also recognized The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa. This digitization project was a collaboration between the UI Libraries and the University of Iowa Press and was released this summer at the Iowa City Book Festival.

The online version of the University of Iowa Press’ Biographical Dictionary is a website that just feels welcoming. The colorful 1934 Cesco mural, “Agriculture,” featured on its homepage, and portions of it on other sections of the website remind visitors of Iowa’s farming roots. In the “Introduction” tab, one of the editors makes the argument that “Iowa’s cultural climate, at least in the last half of the nineteenth century, might have made it more than coincidental that ‘a disproportionate share of the influential people of the 1930s came from Iowa.'” Some of these influential people include Herbert Hoover, John L. Lewis, Henry A. Wallace, and Harry Hopkins. Visitors who want to learn more about these famous figures and their Iowa roots can click on the “Browse by Name” tab at the top of the page, choose a link to the first letter of their last name, and read more about them. The “Browse by Topic” tab has over two dozen topics to choose from, including “Ornithology”, “Mining”, and “Invention”.

The Scout Report is the flagship publication of the Internet Scout Project. Published every Friday both on the web and by email, it provides a fast, convenient way to stay informed of valuable resources on the Internet. Our team of professional librarians and subject matter experts select, research, and annotate each resource.

Published continuously since 1994, the Scout Report is one of the Internet’s oldest and most respected publications. Organizations are encouraged to link to this page from their own Web pages, or to receive the HTML version of the Report each week via email for local posting at their site.

Share Your Thoughts about Iowa City Book Festival

Saturday proved to be a great day to host the Iowa City Book Festival at the UI Main Library and Gibson Square park. The weather was cool and the attendees were enthusiastic.

As we review the successes and the areas to improve this year’s festival, we would love to hear from you. What did you think about the festival? How can we improve this event in the years to come?

Just click to our online evaluation form – – to share your thoughts.

Welcome to the Iowa City Book Festival

Writing and reading are at the center of what we do at the University of Iowa and an essential component of Iowa City’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature, yet a book festival has been missing from our cultural landscape. The University of Iowa Libraries, in partnership with the University of Iowa Press, is very pleased to launch a campus and community event that will fill the void — The Iowa City Book Festival.

The Iowa City Book Festival is a day-long celebration of books, reading and writing. We envision it as an event that could become an annual tradition in our city. This first year will commemorate of the acquisition of the University of Iowa Libraries’ 5 millionth volume and the 40th anniversary of the University of Iowa Press.

Please spend the day visiting the local and regional booksellers, who have set up shop in Gibson Square Park. You may want to sit in the shade and peruse your purchases and enjoy some live music. We also have a full schedule of readings, discussions and workshops that I’m sure you’ll find informative and entertaining.

Before you leave, please tell us what you think. You can find surveys in all of the sessions, at the Information Booth in Gibson Square and on the Festival website (

Storytime at Book Festival – 10:15 a.m.

The Iowa City Public Library’s Saturday morning storytime will be held on the Gibson Square Stage at the Iowa City Book Festival this week. It will start at 10:15 a.m. (which is earlier than it’s usual start time).

Join Debbie D and percussionist Sonny Lott for “Whoppers from Around the World” at the Iowa City Book Festival.

Storytime includes both shorter and longer stories combined with action games and activities.

Family Storytime is recommended for all ages, but parents are asked to sit with their younger children.

Corridor is Buzzing about the Miller Brothers

Identical twin brothers Logan and Noah Miller are part of the Shambaugh Author Series for the Iowa City Book Festival. They recently talked with Loren Keller at the Corridor Buzz. 

Logan and Noah will be presenting their film Touching Home  starring Ed Harris on Friday, July 17 at 10 p.m. and Saturday, July 18 at 4 p.m. in the Shambaugh Auditorium in the UI Main Library.

Both screenings are FREE and Open to the Public.

Five Million Volumes and Counting

The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa

The University of Iowa Libraries has reached 5 million volumes. It has been cataloged and shelved and is ready for eager minds to use. To wrap your brain around what 5 million books really represent, let’s think about them in concrete terms. If placed end to end, 5 million books could reach between Iowa City and San Francisco. Five million books translate to 1.67 books for each person in the state of Iowa (but only 1 book for every 3 hogs). In economic terms, at an average price of $60 per book, the UI Libraries’ collection has an estimated value of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.

So what is the 5 millionth book, you may be wondering. To recognize the UI Libraries partnership with the University of Iowa Press and the anniversary of their 40th year, we’ve selected one of their recent publications: The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa, edited by David Hudson, Marvin Bergman and Loren Horton.

Written by an impressive team of more than 150 scholars and writers, the readable narratives include each subject’s name, birth and death dates, place of birth, education, career and contributions. Many of the names will be instantly recognizable to most Iowans; others are largely forgotten but deserve to be remembered. Beyond the distinctive lives and times captured in the individual biographies, readers of the dictionary will gain an appreciation for how the character of the state has been shaped by the character of the individuals who have inhabited it.

The UI Libraries has taken The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa digital – creating a fully searchable, easy-to-navigate interface you can access from anywhere (

Iowa City Book Festival Receives Humanities Iowa Grant

The University of Iowa Libraries was awarded $5,000 for the Iowa City Book Festival by Humanities Iowa, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities

The grant was one of 17 totaling more than $160,000 awarded at the recent HI board meeting in Ames.

The Iowa City Book Festival will be a daylong celebration of books, reading and writing. The festival also is a celebration of the five millionth volume purchased by the UI Libraries as well as the 40th anniversary of the UI Press. Kristi Bontrager, the library’s public relations coordinator, said it also is a way to thank the public for their help moving books during last summer’s flood.

“It brought back the idea that books are an important part of people’s lives,” Bontrager said. “We saw this as a way to create a dialogue between writers and readers.”

The festival will include workshops on starting a writer’s group, and finding book discussion groups.  There will also be food and music and activities for children.

“The Iowa City Book Festival brings together everything that makes our community so refreshing in summertime: books, reading, writing and sweet corn,” said Holly Carver, the editor at UI Press. “As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the University of Iowa Press, we are delighted to be part of this first-but-not-last annual festival.”

The festival will also include book vendors and book arts demonstrations as well a program by Iowa’s poet laureates, Mary Swander, Robert Dana and Marvin Bell. There also will be a presentation by the editors of “The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa,” David Hudson, Marvin Bergman and Loren Horton; and a keynote address by “The Oxford Project” creators Peter Feldstein and Steven Bloom.

Other programs to promote literacy include workshops on adult literacy, starting up a writer’s group, finding a book discussion group, library research for writers and writing a literary blog among others.

“Books are one of the things that makes Iowa City a special place,” said HI executive director Christopher Rossi. “The Iowa City Book Festival is a great way to celebrate that heritage while also promoting the literary arts.”

Nancy Baker, university librarian for the University of Iowa Libraries, said the book festival should help fill a “cultural gap” in the community.

“We noticed that a book festival was missing from the landscape of our City of Literature,” Baker said. “The Iowa City Book Festival will be a place that brings all kinds of writers, readers and book-lovers together in conversation. With the help of Humanities Iowa and our other partners, we hope to make the Iowa City Book Festival an annual tradition.”

To learn more about the Iowa City Book Festival, check the website