Marieta's Retirement Ramblings

My Free Learning Opportunities This Week


at State Library of Iowa during National Library Week

This week I attended eleven educational sessions sponsored by the State Library of Iowa. Barb Corson, Program Director for Information Services, assembled a varied program of classes for the week. The library offers a year-round program for state employees to earn Continuing Education credit. Since the library is tax-supported, the classes are also offered free to Iowa residents. In fact, Iowa residents can attend any classes that the library offers, not just the ones offered during this special week.

These classes range from accessing and using current census statistical information, to tips for Google searches and using EBSCO Host for research, from heritage document digital availability to surfing the Iowa Library Services website and the Iowa legislative website, and much more.

A highlight was the enthusiastic presentation by Cory Quist, Librarian for the Iowa Law Library. We saw a book written in Latin of Roman law published in 1539 by “the first college professor.” This book was written during the beginning of the Renaissance as people emerged from using ecclesiastical law to using the more secular Roman law to guide their lives. Cory described the purchase process for the original 300 books costing $500 for the foundation of the library. He even passed around one of the original books for everyone to touch and see. He recommended Johnson Brigham’s book “Pioneer History of the Territorial and State Library of Iowa.” (I found a digital copy of this book on WorldVitalRecords, a subscription website to which I have a subscription.) Cory also explained the transition of the law library to the “.com generation.”

An aid from the Ombudsman’s office described the Iowa Open Records law and the Iowa Open meetings law. Another presenter demonstrated how to surf the Iowa Legislative website and how to check the status of current legislation. Sad to say, I concluded I need to pay closer attention to Iowa Government.

I especially enjoyed the class about all the projects to digitize historical documents by various state agencies and universities and URLs for finding them. I was amazed at all of the information that can be found on or linked to the Iowa Library Services website.

This week’s classes were a “golden” (pun intended) opportunity for this newly retired person. All it cost was my time and gas and the effort to fix a brown-bag lunch. And, I even spent a couple hours on Monday at the State Historical Museum, concluding that Dave and I must return soon (usually I only focus on doing research at the historical library and tend to forget about the other part of the building). I enjoyed a walk around the capitol complex on Tuesday, the nicest day of the week. On Wednesday I was thrilled to find and purchase a yogurt maker at Kitchen Collection, an East Village store. (After class on Tuesday I had driven all the way out to Jordan Creek Mall to go to the Williams Sonoma store to find one and the only version they had cost way too much.) I ate some of my delicious homemade yogurt this morning for breakfast.

It was a very good week!