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University of Iowa News Release

April 3, 2006

Iowa's First Lady Joins Iowa Public Radio To Celebrate New Des Moines Library

WSUI/KSUI and Iowa Public Radio (IPR) will help celebrate the grand opening of the new Central Des Moines Public Library with a special edition of "Talk of Iowa" to be broadcast live from the $32 million dollar facility at 1000 Grand Avenue on April 11 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The event is part of a series of grand opening events in April and May at the library, following its dedication ceremony 10 a.m. April 8. Hosted and produced by Ben Kieffer, the statewide broadcast will feature Iowa's First Lady Christie Vilsack and live acoustic music by Jason Walsmith and Mike Butterworth, members of Iowa's popular rock quartet The Nadas. The public is invited to be part of the audience for the show. 

The opening of the new facility will also provide an ideal opportunity to discuss the evolution of libraries with Des Moines Public Library Director Kay Runge. Des Moines Register music critic Kyle Munson will also be on hand to discuss the latest trends in information and entertainment technology

"We are thrilled to be part of the new Des Moines Central Library grand opening. Public libraries and public radio go together so well. The overlap in terms of the people we both serve and their belief in a community-based mission is nearly total," Kieffer said.

During the second hour of the two-hour broadcast, Vilsack will be asked to put her unresolved ponderings on "Big Brain," IPR's monthly show that challenges listeners to put their heads together to answer questions that never seem to get asked. In the past the "Big Brain," which is normally broadcast from the Iowa City Public Library, has tackled such imponderables as: What's the origin of the term dead ringer? Why are there 60 seconds in a minute? Cow tipping: fact or fiction? Why are clowns scary?

Runge says she is excited to have The Big Brain program as part of the opening "so that folks in Des Moines and Central Iowa can come see the program they have been listening to on public radio for years!"

Audience members and callers will also be invited to join in the fun by offering their thoughts and questions during the show. Listeners can email their queries for upcoming Big Brain programs to:  

Talk of Iowa is broadcast live statewide on Iowa Public Radio over public radio WSUI AM 910 Iowa City/Cedar Rapids, WOI AM 640 Ames/Des Moines, KTPR-FM 91.1 Fort Dodge, KOWI - FM 97.9 Lamoni, and KWOI- FM 90.7 Carroll. The broadcast can also be heard via web streaming at by clicking on "Listen to WSUI".  

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,; Program: Ben Kieffer, WSUI, 319-335-5730,; Jan Kaiser Des Moines Public Library, 515-283-4152,