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How to Find Something Fun to Read: Nearby Non-University Literary Resources

You do a LOT of studying. You deserve a break once in a while! Come learn about how to find interesting books here in the library when you're not exactly sure what you're looking for.

Iowa City Public Library

The Iowa City Public Library is just a 10-minute walk from the University's Main Library, which you can see on the map below! Because it is a public library, it has many popular resources that might not be available here. To use their services, all you need is a free library card, which you can get by filling out their form and showing them a photo ID or an official letter/utility bill with your Iowa address on it. For more information on their library card policies, click here.

One of their most important services for people who want to find good books is NoveList Plus, a book recommendation search engine. You type in the name of a book you like, or whatever type of book you're looking for, and NoveList Plus will find you similar books to check out. To try it out (you need a library card beforehand to log in) click here!

If you like videogames, the Iowa City Public Library also lends out PlayStation 3 and 4, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii and Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games for a week at a time.

You can also borrow pieces of art to hang in your room! Click here to look through their Art-To-Go collection!

Prairie Lights

Prairie Lights is one of the most famous bookstores in Iowa! A 7-minute walk from the Main Library (as seen on the map below), it is a great place to wander and find something fun to read.

They also host many writers throughout the year for readings. Some of those readings have been preserved online, both by the University of Iowa and by other organizations.

The Haunted Bookshop

The Haunted Bookshop is another cornerstone of Iowa City literary culture. It is a used bookstore inside an old house packed to the gills with a wonderfully-curated collection. It's a bit farther afield than the other places on this page (a 15-minute walk as seen on the map below), but it's one of the best places in town to find something fun to read! They are also open from 10 AM to 8 PM every day except Sunday, when they close at 7 PM, so you can always visit if the need for a book strikes at night.

You can search their collection here! There are also subject headings on the left side of the search site to browse that way as well.

They have store cats too!