Friends of the Ravenna Library Receive United for Libraries’ Baker & Taylor Awards

The Friends of the Ravenna (Nebraska) Library, along with the Friends of the Shelby (Michigan) Area District Library,  have been recognized with United for Libraries’ Baker & Taylor Awards for outstanding efforts to support their libraries. Each group receives $1,000 and a plaque from Baker & Taylor to honor their achievements.

The Friends of the Ravenna Library held 19 programs to benefit its community in 2017, many of which contributed to funds raised for the city of Ravenna’s project to build a brand-new library facility. The new facility will be three times the size of the previous one at 7,600 sq. ft., providing ample space for the library’s annual programs and activities.

Given annually since 2000, the Baker & Taylor Awards have recognized more than 45 groups for outstanding efforts to support their library. United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. United for Libraries supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library Trustees, advocates, Friends, and Foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. The Nebraska Library Commission supports membership to United for Libraries for all of the state’s public libraries
to ensure that Nebraska library staff, friends, trustees, and foundations can take advantage of services to enhance fund raising, advocacy, and public awareness.

Nebraska libraries are encouraged to use a special website (www.ala.org/united/Nebraska) to access resources, webinars, online training, and publications for Nebraska library trustees, library directors, and library staff at no charge to the participating library.

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NCompass Live: Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books’, on Wednesday, August 15, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

The directors of the Nebraska Regional Library Systems – Denise, Eric, Kathy, and Scott – get together to do one of their favorite things: talk about the books they’ve been reading. The hour is sure to include some great suggestions – and maybe some surprises!

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Aug. 22 – Excel for Librarians
  • Aug. 29 – We Find and We Fix: Connecting a Community at the Library

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Homework Hotspot Installation Complete in Genoa

 

Genoa NE, an IMLS Sparks Grant community, completed installation of the Homework Hotspot at the Genoa Public Library on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. The IMLS Sparks Grant, Nebraska Schools and Libraries – Breaking the Ice and Igniting Internet Relationships, is designed to kindle partnerships between schools and libraries and to help narrow the Homework Gap for public K-12 students through Internet bandwidth sharing. Hamilton Information Technology of Aurora, NE installed antennas on the Genoa Public Library and Genoa’s Twin River Fitness Center to add a network connection between the library and the Twin River School District. This new library Homework Hotspot is available for Twin River School District students and staff to use outside of school district buildings. (Hamilton Information Technology Wireless Coordinator Aaron McKillip completes installation on roof in photo above).

The library offers a location for school district students to access the school district network to complete homework assignments or work on school projects. Two desktop computers connected to the school network are also available for use at the library’s Homework Hotspot. The school network’s Internet speed averages 70 Mbps at the library. For students that do not have Internet at home or have a slower Internet speed at home, the Homework Hotspot offers an alternate location for completing homework assignments. Genoa Public Library Director Tammi Thiem commented, “The digital divide is a real problem for rural communities. The IMLS Sparks grant provides Twin River students and staff with high-speed Internet at the library to help bridge that gap.”

The Nebraska Library Commission, in partnership with the Nebraska Office of the Chief Information Officer, was awarded a $25,000 Sparks National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Six Nebraska communities were selected to participate in the grant project: Bancroft, Bayard, Genoa, Imperial, Verdigre, and Wymore. Using fixed wireless technology, the public libraries will offer the school districts’ students and staff the ability to access the school district network within the public library. The project began June 1, 2018 and will conclude on May 31, 2019. For more information contact Holly Woldt, Nebraska Library Commission Library Technology Support Specialist, holly.woldt@nebraska.gov, 402-471-4871, 800-307-2665.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [IMLS grant: LG-99-18-0018-18]. #IMLSGrant

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Friday Reads: Wired by Julie Garwood

Di"Wired" by Julie Garwood BookFacesclaimer: I finished reading this book a week or two ago. Then I found out it was this week’s #BookFaceFriday. I couldn’t resist the temptation.

“A beautiful computer hacker and a bad-boy FBI agent must collaborate…in more ways than one…” Sometimes Goodreads just has the perfect descriptions. I can’t describe Wired by Julie Garwood any better than that. In this book, Allison Trent is a freakishly brilliant computer hacker who has a day job as a supermodel. Yes, you heard me.

Liam Scott is an FBI agent with a prickly exterior who is in a bind and needs a freakishly brilliant computer hacker to casually break into the FBI servers. He is ready and willing to break every rule in the book to complete his mission. But, don’t worry, he has a heart of gold.

Allison would love to help, but she has a super secret double life she doesn’t want anyone to know about! Fear not, I didn’t give any spoilers here. The reader knows about her double life nearly from page one. She is casually breaking a few rules of her own to use her super secret computer powers for good.

You may have noticed this, but Wired is a romantic suspense novel. This book is probably not going to radically change the way you see the world. But it sure is entertaining. Every page you turn reveals a new plot line fresh out of the Romantic Suspense Book of Clichés. It was deliciously predictable in all the right ways and was the perfect way to relax on a lazy weekend.

Read it to find out if two prickly people with a secret heart of gold can collaborate…in more ways than one.

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#BookFaceFriday “Wired”

This week’s #BookFace is practically electric!

"Wired" by Julie Garwood BookFaceWired” by Julie Garwood (Berkley, 2017) is this week’s #BookFaceFriday and seemed like the perfect way to kick off the next round of our Nebraska Library Innovation Studios (LIS) project! NLC staff members will be traveling around Nebraska over the next few months, maybe even visiting your library. They will be installing makerspaces, training librarians/community members in the different types of technology, and showing them how to share it with their communities. This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is Max Wheeler, Instructional Designer on the LIS project! He may not be an FBI agent or a model/hacker but he sure knows a lot about all of our the different machines in our makerspaces.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Looking for Nation’s Favorite Librarians for I Love My Librarian Award

The American Library Association (ALA) is seeking nominations for the coveted 2018 I Love My Librarian Award, which recognizes librarians for transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. The national award invites library users to nominate their favorite librarians working in public, school, college, community college or university libraries. Nominations are being accepted now through Oct. 1, 2018 at www.ilovelibraries.org/lovemylibrarian.

Last year’s award winners were honored for making a difference in their communities, schools and campuses through the work they do every day. They included an academic librarian who preserves the stories and histories of the LGBTQ community, a public librarian who helps economically disadvantaged families connect with social services and a school librarian who inspires a love of reading in students who are new to the United States or speak English as a second language.
The ALA will select up to 10 award recipients. Each winner will receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the I Love My Librarian Award ceremony and reception in New York City on Dec. 4 hosted by the award co-sponsor, the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York.
http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2018/08/looking-nation-s-favorite-librarians-i-love-my-librarian-award

#ILoveMyLibrarian

 

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Friday Reads: Murphy’s Law, by Rhys Bowen

I have my mother-in-law to thank for introducing me to a new-to-me mystery series: The Molly Murphy Mysteries.  So far, I’ve read and listened to Book 1: Murphy’s Law, and am halfway through Book 2: Death of Riley.  This series is Mrs. Bowen’s third historical mysteries venture, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Here’s a synopsis of Murphy’s Law:

Murphy’s Law introduces us to the spunky, 19th-century Irish heroine: Molly Murphy. Defending herself from the unwelcome advances of a landowner’s son in Ireland, Molly accidentally kills him and flees to London to escape hanging.  A split second decision introduces Molly to Kathleen O’Connor, who, with her two small children, has tickets on a ship to America, where she plans to join her husband. But after discovering she has  tuberculosis, Kathleen persuades the desperate Molly to take her children to America. On board the ship, Molly attracts the loud attentions of a crude, boisterous type named O’Malley. Her public argument with him comes back to haunt her when he is found murdered on Ellis Island; Molly and a young man she befriended become prime suspects. Although the handsome young detective investigating the case, Daniel Sullivan, appears to believe Molly is innocent, Molly decides she’d better investigate on her own behalf and that of her friend. Wending her way through a gritty, pulsating underworld of recently arrived immigrants in Tammany Hall-era New York, Molly struggles to prove her innocence by any means necessary.

Complete list of the Molly Murphy series titles:

  1. Murphy’s Law (2001)
  2. Death of Riley (2002)
  3. For the Love of Mike (2003)
  4. In Like Flynn (2005)
  5. Oh Danny Boy (2006)
  6. In Dublin’s Fair City (2007)
  7. Tell Me, Pretty Maiden (2008)
  8. In a Gilded Cage (2009)
  9. The Last Illusion (2010)
  10. Bless the Bride (2011)
  11. Hush Now, Don’t You Cry (2012)
  12. The Family Way (2013)
  13. City of Darkness and Light (2014)
  14. The Edge of Dreams (2015)
  15. Away in a Manger (2015)
  16. Time of Fog and Fire (2016)
  17. The Ghost of Christmas Past (2017)
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NCompass Live: Ditching Dewey: How we converted from Dewey to BISAC and lived to tell about it

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Ditching Dewey: How we converted from Dewey to BISAC and lived to tell about it’, on Wednesday, August 8, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Parchment Community Library was encountering more and more adults who had never been taught the Dewey Decimal Classification system in school. They wanted their collection to be easily browsed, so in about 18 months, they converted from DDC to BISAC call numbers. Learn how their staff completed this challenging task – “at times we felt that we were trying to draw a map while driving full-speed down the road” – and hear how their patrons have reacted to the new system.

Presenter: Teresa Stannard, Library Director, Parchment (MI) Community Library.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Aug. 15 – Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books
  • Aug. 22 – Excel for Librarians
  • Aug. 29 – We Find and We Fix: Connecting a Community at the Library

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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September is Library Card Sign-up Month

The Incredibles are Honorary Chairs for Library Card Sign-up Month 2018! September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide join together to remind parents, caregivers, and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.

This September Disney Pixar’s superhero family, the Incredibles, will team up with the ALA to promote the value of a library card. As honorary chairs, the Incredibles will remind families, students, and people of all ages that signing up for a library card is a great step toward a truly super lifestyle: libraries offer fun and informative resources to help you pursue your passions and succeed in school. For more information and resources for programming,  see http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks/card and http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/library-card-sign-up-month-tools. Use the hashtag #LibraryCardSignUp to join the celebration on social media.

 

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#BookFaceFriday “The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God”

This week’s #BookFace had us at “seriocomic love story,” and yes, seriocomic is a real word."The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God" BookFace Image

The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God” by Timothy Schaffert (Unbridled Books, 2005) is this week’s #BookFaceFriday selection. Written by a Nebraska author, and set in our very own state, this novel is all about the twisting turns of the “Good Life.”  This novel a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and it’s the perfect choice for your next book club read!

“Laced with hope and an aching sweetness, it is as whimsical and smile-inducing as its title. Readers will fall for Hud, his family, and the one-off inhabitants of the quirky little town from page one owing to Schaffert’s homey yet elegant and precise prose. The only reason to put the book down is to make it last.” —Library Journal, starred

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Information Services Librarian, Aimee Owen!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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NCompass Live: Engaging Your Community

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Engaging Your Community’, on Wednesday, August 1, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Participants will hear how the Rochester Public Library District has engaged its community with patron-driven programs. Our outreach has included creating a donation center, summer recreation, farmers market and a seed library. Participants will learn best practices and how to replicate similar programs in their community. We will share our secret to success: you must leave your physical building to reach your entire community!

Presenter: Janet McAllister, Director, Rochester (IL) Public Library District.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Aug. 8 – Ditching Dewey: How we converted from Dewey to BISAC and lived to tell about it
  • Aug. 15 – Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books
  • Aug. 22 – Excel for Librarians
  • Aug. 29 – We Find and We Fix: Connecting a Community at the Library

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Friday Reads: Canada by Mike Myers

Canada by Mike Myers
Publisher: Doubleday Canada (October 22, 2016)

This title came to my attention on July 1st aka Canada Day as the daily special from Audible. I was intrigued, downloaded the title, and eagerly began listening. It helps that the author of whom I have long been a fan reads this title.

Myers begins with the premise that Canada lacks a mission statement. The country promises to provide good government and a safe place to live but is that enough? The inevitable comparisons to life in the United States make up a great deal of content. He compares regional colloquialisms, health care, the love of hockey, and the government supported CBC to their American counterparts. The United States does not propagate information about Canada so there may be many episodes in Canadian history that will be new information. To drive this point home, when my curiosity was piqued for the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, father of the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I looked for books to read more about him from my local library, but there were none.

Mike Myers was born to two Liverpudlian parents who immigrated to Canada for better employment opportunities. English parents making a life in Canada caused a clash of culture. Mike shares how the values of his parents and the humor of his brothers Peter and Paul shaped his worldview and brand of comedy. One of the attributes of his father in often-difficult situations was a non-rhetorical question of “how can we make this funny?”

Mike shares how his character Wayne Campbell (Wayne’s World) is a quintessential Canadian creation, specifically from the Scarborough district of Montreal, dissecting everything from his language to his name. Other Saturday Night Live characters also owe their origin to Mike’s Canadian and British upbringing.  With Canadian, British, and United States Citizenship, it’s clear that Mike Myers is a very proud Canadian patriot despite being an expatriate.

Myers, Mike (2016) Canada. Doubleday Canada

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#BookFaceFriday “Harry Potter” 20th Anniversary

You’re a #BookFaceFriday Harry!Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since I first started reading Harry Potter! We’re celebrating the iconic series with this week’s #BookFace! Featuring two of the series novels, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009) and “Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix” (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003). As an added bonus July 31st is both J. K. Rowling and Harry’s birthday! It also marks the day Harry found out he was a wizard. NLC has the entire series in our Book Club Kit collection, and they can all be reserved for your book club to read today!

This week’s #BookFaceFriday models are some very special magicians we’ve had at the Commission lately, NLC has been getting a bit of a facelift with new paint and carpeting! It’s like having our very own house elves. We asked a few of the Brown Brothers Construction crew to step in as this week’s models!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Save the Date for Fall Book Festival

2018 Nebraska Book Festival LogoNebraska books and writers will be featured and celebrated at the Nebraska Book Festival on August 25, 2018. This event will highlight work by Nebraska writers and publishers, with a focus on stories and poetry set in Nebraska.

The August 25 Nebraska Book Festival will be held at the University of Nebraska City Campus Union from 9:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m. It will feature author appearances, book signings, exhibitors, booksellers, poetry readings, and hands-on family activities. Authors include Janice Harrington, Stew Magnuson, Brandon Vogel, Melissa Fraterrigo, Jeff Kurrus and Michael Forsberg, along with Nebraska poets from the 2018 One Book One Nebraska selection Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry. The Nebraska Writers Guild will feature readings, discussions, and workshops for writers. Concierge Marketing will host Maker activities to celebrate books, including family activities  to encourage book lovers of all ages to craft, draw, imagine, and create.

An opening reception on Friday evening and a closing reception on Sunday afternoon will be held at the Center for Great Plains Studies to highlight new Nebraska books. The Festival is sponsored by University of Nebraska Press, Nebraska Library Commission, Nebraska Center for the Book, Lincoln City Libraries, Humanities Nebraska, Union Bank and Trust, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism & Mass Communications, Friends of University of Nebraska Press, Nebraska Writers Guild, and Concierge Marketing and Publishing Services. More information about the Festival is available at http://bookfestival.nebraska.gov/2018/index.aspx.

 

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NCompass Live: Emergency and Disaster Response Planning for Libraries

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Emergency and Disaster Response Planning for Libraries’, on Wednesday, July 25, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Is your library prepared for disaster? Find out what you need to know at this introduction to disaster planning. During this session, we will discuss the following:

  • Identify, anticipate and avoid preventable emergencies
  • Plan for emergency response for staff and patrons
  • Suggest ways to prevent destruction and protect collections
  • Consider mitigating damage when an emergency occurs so that disaster is avoided or minimized
  • Establish guidelines for managing disaster salvage and recovery

Presenter: Michael Straatmann, Access Services Coordinator, Love Library, University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Aug. 1 – Engaging Your Community
  • Aug. 8 – Ditching Dewey: How we converted from Dewey to BISAC and lived to tell about it
  • Aug. 15 – Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books
  • Aug. 22 – Excel for Librarians
  • Aug. 29 – We Find and We Fix: Connecting a Community at the Library

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Castaways”

This #BookFaceFriday we’re featuring the perfect summer beach read!

"The Castaways" BookFace

Calling all book clubs! “The Castaways” by Elin Hilderbrand (Back Bay Books, 2010) has something for everyone, full of complex relationships, intrigue, lies, and redemption. Sit back, relax, and dive into this book. This novel is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and can be reserved for your book club to read today!

“Hilderbrand provides the perfect summer read as she explores love, loss, and, ultimately, absolution.”
                                               –Booklist

This week’s #BookFaceFriday models are Interlibrary Loan Staff Assistant, Lynda Clause, and TBBS Audio Production Studio Manager, Gabe Kramer!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Set during the Civil War and following years, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women tells the story of four remarkable sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. When we first meet them, they, and their mother, struggle to make ends meet while their father serves as a minster in the Union army. Despite their lack of material wealth, the Marches share what little they have with their poorer neighbors. This charitable act catches the eye of their wealthy neighbor James Laurence and his grandson, Laurie. Over the course of the novel, Laurie grows close to the sisters, particularly Jo.

In writing Little Women, Alcott drew heavily from her childhood in Concord, Massachusetts, the book’s principal setting. Like the Marches, the Alcott family struggled financially at times. The Alcott family also followed American transcendentalism or the belief that people and nature are inherently good. On numerous occasions, Alcott’s characters express a belief in transcendentalism. Even when they’re at their lowest, they choose to see the good in others. Additionally, the character of Jo is said to be drawn from Alcott. They not only shared numerous personality traits, but both chose to pursue literary careers at a time when middle class women did not work outside of the home.

While Little Women takes place during the late-nineteenth century, the story continues to strike a chord with today’s readers. Like modern girls, the March sisters fall in love, encounter envy, struggle to fit in with wealthy friends, fight with siblings, and find their way in the world. We rejoice at Meg’s marriage, laugh at Jo’s antics, and weep when they lose loved ones because these are universal experiences we all go through at some point. In other words, we see ourselves in the Marches.

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. New York: Signet Classics, 2004. Originally published 1868.

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NCompass Live: Many Languages, Many Cultures: Responding to Diverse Health Information Needs

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Many Languages, Many Cultures: Responding to Diverse Health Information Needs’, on Wednesday, July 18, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Nebraska’s minority population continues to grow rapidly. From 2000 to 2010 the number of minorities in the state increased by 50.7%. In the past 15 years, Nebraska has resettled over 11,000 refugees from 35 countries, and currently leads the nation in resettling the most refugees per capita. This increasing diversity in our communities leads to a greater need for culturally relevant and multilingual health information resources. This includes materials to improve cultural awareness and communication skills of health providers and librarians, and resources created in a way that those from diverse backgrounds can understand and identify with the information provided. In this presentation, the presenter will share where to find appropriate information resources and how you and your patrons can use them.

Presenter: Christian Minter, Community Engagement and Health Literacy Librarian, McGoogan Library of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • July 25 – Emergency and Disaster Response Planning for Libraries
  • Aug. 1 – Engaging Your Community
  • Aug. 8 – Ditching Dewey: How we converted from Dewey to BISAC and lived to tell about it
  • Aug. 15 – Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books
  • Aug. 22 – Excel for Librarians
  • Aug. 29 – We Find and We Fix: Connecting a Community at the Library

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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#BookFaceFriday “A Lost Lady”

It’s the end of an era with this week’s #BookFace!

"A Lost Lady" by Willa Cather BookFaceWe chose, renowned Nebraska author, Willa Cather’s novel “A Lost Lady” (Virago UK, 2006) as this week’s #BookFaceFriday selection. Published in 1923 and set against the background of the west, it’s a third person account of a small town aristocrat’s social decline, and the symbolic end of the idealized pioneer and old west. The heroine, Marian Forrester, has been coined a “symbolic flower of the Old American West,” and is rumored to have been an inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan. This short novel is a quick and engaging read for any book club!

Her finest novel… Unforgettable…This wonderful performance displays Cather’s narrative technique at its sharpest, as well as her understanding of the eloquence of the slightest gesture, the simplest statement … A masterpiece.” –Irish Times

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Cataloging Librarian, Allison Badger! If you get a chance, wish her a happy birthday, because it’s today!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Calypso, by David Sedaris

CalypsoThis spring, I consumed a lot of depressing nonfiction. As summer approached, I was ready for a change. I wanted to read something funny, with the power to transport me out of my own head. Luckily, David Sedaris’s new book, Calypso, hit the shelves on May 29, 2018. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Like Sedaris’s previous books, Calypso is a collection of personal stories (Sedaris refers to them as “realish”) told for maximum comedic effect. As his readers have come to expect, many of these tales feature family: his four living siblings; his nonagenarian father, Lou; and his long-term and long-suffering boyfriend, Hugh. His mother, who died during cancer treatment in 1991, and his sister, Tiffany, who committed suicide in 2013, are also present, even in their absence.

What’s different about this current book is that everyone is older; themes of middle age and the passage of time run throughout. This doesn’t make the book a downer though, just relatable, as I too have aged. And never fear–Sedaris’s talent for treating sober and mundane topics poignantly, while at the same time triggering barks of laughter with his irreverent, sometimes shocking humor, remains intact.

In some of my favorite passages in the book, Sedaris muses on his twenty-plus-year relationship with Hugh. For instance, in “Company Man” Sedaris writes:

We’re not a horrible couple, but we have our share of fights, the type that can start with a misplaced sock and suddenly be about everything. “I haven’t liked you since 2002,” [Hugh] hissed during a recent argument over which airport security line was moving the fastest.

This didn’t hurt me so much as confuse me. “What happened in 2002?” I asked.

Hugh’s line about not liking David since 2002 cracks me up, but I think the fact that the insult merely piques David’s curiosity about what happened in 2002 brilliantly conveys the security and familiarity of the couple’s bond, despite squabbles.

Other stories in the collection deal with, among other things, a fatty tumor Sedaris wants to have removed so he can feed it to a snapping turtle; his mother’s never addressed alcoholism; a psychic-mediated conversation between his sister Amy and their deceased mother and sister; and their father’s refusal to move out of his house despite regular falls. Depressing, yes, but hilariously so! I promise!

Sedaris, David. Calypso. New York: Little, Brown, & Co., 2018.

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