Paul VanDerWerf / Flickr

The idea was deceptively simple: create a small structure where people could leave books they were okay parting with and find new literature, like a take-a-penny-leave-a-penny jar, just with books. Less than a decade after the first was erected, 20,000 have sprung up in 75 countries. Margret Aldrich, a little free library devotee, says the concept feels weird at first blush.

The mission of Iowa's university libraries hasn't changed, but how they fulfill that mission has.

Clay Masters / IPR

Despite changes in how Americans are listening to music, think Pandora or Spotify, people are still checking out physical CDs from libraries. A recent PEW report found that half of Americans visited a library last year, and 16 percent of them checked out music.

But just as libraries are introducing eBooks to readers – librarians are also trying to figure out how to get digital music to library goers. Iowa City has launched a digital music library that focuses on its local music scene.

Going Local Online

Institute of Museum and Library Services

The National Medal for Museum and Library service is the nation’s highest honor given to museums or libraries for service to the community.  This year there were two winners in Iowa. Both the Marshalltown Public Library and the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids have connected with their communities in some innovative ways.  

Little Free Libraries

Little Free Libraries is a movement to bring communities together through donating and sharing books. In response, people across the globe have built little repositories to house the books to share with their neighbors.

Charity Nebbe talks with the program’s founder Todd Bol and co-founder Rick Brooks about the growth of the program and the effort being made to establish Little Free Libraries throughout Iowa. Then, two Iowans who have already built the little libraries in their own neighborhoods share how the effort has impacted their community.

Iowa Libraries

Mar 4, 2012

Do you need a special cake pan for that birthday that’s coming up? Something to scare the birds out of your cherry trees? Seeds for heirloom tomatoes? You might want to check your local library. Join host Charity Nebbe as we talk about the changing role of libraries in the internet age and some of the more unusual things you can check out from libraries around the state.