What’s Up Doc? New State Agency Publications at the Nebraska Library Commission

New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for July and August 2022.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, the Nebraska Board of Examiners, the Nebraska Department of Education, the Nebraska Department Transportation, and new books from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

Most items, except the books from the University of Nebraska Press, are available for immediate viewing and printing by clicking on the highlighted link above, or directly in the .pdf below.  You can read synopses of the books received from the University of Nebraska Press in the Book Briefs blogposts.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse in 1972 as a service of the Nebraska Library Commission. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, and provide access to all public information published by Nebraska state agencies.  By law (State Statutes 51-411 to 51-413) all Nebraska state agencies are required to submit their published documents to the Clearinghouse.  For more information, visit the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse page, contact Mary Sauers, Government Information Services Librarian; or contact Bonnie Henzel, State Documents Staff Assistant.

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, General, Information Resources, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Leave a comment

Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in July and August, 2022:

Journey into Christmas, and, Star Across the Tracks, by Bess Streeter Aldrich.

The true meaning of Christmas emerges in Bess Streeter Aldrich’s two enchanting stories about reunited families, good fellowship, and restored faith. The head may tell the heart all sorts of things, but at Christmastime the heart is stronger, so take a journey back through Christmases when something quite ordinary turns out to be miraculous. Both heartfelt and genuine, the stories “Journey into Christmas” and “Star across the Tracks” remind us to cherish the holidays with those we love, the ways we grow, and the memories we make throughout life.

Mummy Eaters, by Sherry Shenoda ; Series: African Poetry Book

Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, Sherry Shenoda’s collection Mummy Eaters follows in the footsteps of an imagined ancestor, one of the daughters of the house of Akhenaten in the Eighteenth Dynasty, Egypt. Shenoda forges an imagined path through her ancestor’s mummification and journey to the afterlife. Parallel to this exploration run the implications of colonialism on her passage.

The mythology of the ancient Egyptians was oriented toward resurrection through the preservation of the human body in mummification. Shenoda juxtaposes this reverence for the human body as sacred matter and a pathway to eternal life with the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European fascination with ingesting Egyptian human remains as medicine and using exhumed Egyptian mummies as paper, paint, and fertilizer. Today Egyptian human remains are displayed in museums. Much of Mummy Eaters is written as a call and response, in the Coptic tradition, between the imagined ancestor and the author as descendant.

If This Were Fiction : A Love Story in Essays, by Jill Christman ; Series: American Lives

If This Were Fiction is a love story—for Jill Christman’s long-ago fiancé, who died young in a car accident; for her children; for her husband, Mark; and ultimately, for herself. In this collection, Christman takes on the wide range of situations and landscapes she encountered on her journey from wild child through wounded teen to mother, teacher, writer, and wife. In these pages there are fatal accidents and miraculous births; a grief pilgrimage that takes Christman to jungles, volcanoes, and caves in Central America; and meditations on everything from sexual trauma and the more benign accidents of childhood to gun violence, indoor cycling, unlikely romance, and even a ghost or two.

Playing like a lively mixtape in both subject and style, If This Were Fiction focuses an open-hearted, frequently funny, clear-eyed feminist lens on Christman’s first fifty years and sends out a message of love, power, and hope.

Vanished : Stories, by Karin Lin-Greenberg ; Series: The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction

Winner of the Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Vanished tells the stories of women and girls in upstate New York who are often overlooked or unseen by the people around them. The characters range from an aging art professor whose students are uninterested in learning what she has to teach, to a young girl who becomes the victim of a cruel prank in a swimming pool, to a television producer who regrets allowing her coworkers into her mother’s bird-filled house to film a show about animal hoarding because it will reveal too much about her family and past.

Humorous and empathetic, the collection exposes the adversity in each character’s life; each deals with something or someone who has vanished—a person close to her, a friendship, a relationship—as she seeks to make sense of the world around her in the wake of that loss.

Under My Bed and Other Essays, by Jody Keisner ; Series: American Lives

Jody Keisner was raised in rural Nebraska towns by a volatile father and kind but passive mother. As a young adult living alone for the first time, she began a nighttime ritual of checking under her bed each night, not sure who she was afraid of finding. An intruder? A monster? Her father? Keisner’s fears mature as she becomes a wife and mother, and the boogeyman under the bed shape-shifts, though its shapes are no less frightening—a young aunt’s drowning, the “chest chomp” in the classic horror movie The Thing, a diagnosis of a chronic autoimmune disease, the murder of a young college student, an eccentric grandmother’s belief in reincarnation and her dying advice: “Don’t be afraid.”

In Under My Bed and Other Essays, Jody Keisner searches for the roots of the violence and fear that afflict women, starting with the working-class midwestern family she was adopted into and ending with her own experience of mothering daughters. In essays both literary and experimental, Keisner illustrates the tension between the illusion of safety, our desire for control, and our struggle to keep the things we fear from reaching out and pulling us under.

Cotton Candy : Poems Dipped Out of the Air, by Ted Kooser

“Poems dipped out of the air” describes the manner in which Ted Kooser composed the poems in Cotton Candy, the result of his daily routine of getting up long before dawn, sitting with coffee, pen, and notebook, and writing whatever drifts into his mind. Whether those words and images are serious or just plain silly, Kooser tries not to censor himself. His objective is to catch whatever comes to him, to snatch it out of the air in words, rhythms, and cadences, the way a cotton candy vendor dips an airy puff out of a cloud of spun sugar and hands it to his customer. Poems written in fun and now shared with the reader, Kooser’s playful and magical confections charm and delight.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, General, Information Resources, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday: Fort Sidney Soldiers

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week, we have a black and white photo from 1890. It features a group of soldiers at a temporary camp cooking over an open fire and chopping wood.

This week’s photo was donated by Marcia Tedy. It is owned and published by the Cheyenne County Historical Society and Museum. Located in Sidney, the Cheyenne County Historical Society and Museum worked with the Nebraska Library Commission to digitize items from their collection of historical photographs. Images in this collection feature business districts in the heart of these towns, troops stationed at the fort, and William Jennings Bryan speaking at the Cheyenne County Court House.

Check out this collection and many more on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information

Posted in General, Nebraska Memories, Preservation | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘E-rate: What’s New for 2023?’ Online Workshops Scheduled

‘E-rate: What’s New for 2023?’ workshops are now open for registration! All workshops will be held online only, via GoTo Webinar.

NOTE: This online workshop is being offered on multiple days and at varied times. The same information will be provided at each workshop, so you only need to attend one session. A recorded version will also be made available after all of the live sessions have been held.

What is E-rate? How can my library benefit from E-rate? How do I apply for E-rate?

E-rate is a federal program that provides discounts to schools and public libraries on the cost of their Internet Access and Connections to make these services more affordable. This includes Broadband, Fiber, and Wi-Fi Internet access as well as Internal Connections, such as wiring, routers, switches, and other network equipment.

The E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) is your online portal for all E-rate interactions. With your organizational account you can use EPC to file forms, track your application status, communicate with USAC, and more.

In this workshop, Christa Porter, Nebraska’s State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, will explain the E-rate program and show you how to access and use your account in EPC to submit your Funding Year 2023 E-rate application. Dates and times:

  • November 15 – 1:00-4:00pm Central / 12:00noon-3pm Mountain
  • November 17 – 9:30am-12:30pm Central / 8:30-11:30am Mountain
  • November 21 – 1:00-4:00pm Central / 12:00noon-3pm Mountain
  • November 22 – 9:30am-12:30pm Central / 8:30-11:30am Mountain

To register for any of these sessions, go to the Nebraska Library Commission’s Training & Events Calendar and search for ‘e-rate 2023’.

Posted in Education & Training, Library Management, Technology | Tagged | Leave a comment

Book Club Spotlight – One Hundred Years of Solitude

Cover of One Hundred Years of Solitude. A painting of a sleeping person next to oranges and an ant. There are mountain and a crescent moon in the background.

For Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), I wanted to spotlight a particular writing style popularized and, in my opinion, perfected in Latin America. I became interested in Magical Realism through an article on Book Riot about Disney’s Encanto. The article explains Magical Realism as: “having magical/supernatural elements presented in an otherwise mundane setting…Magical Realism does not rely on heavy exposition or narration. Everything, according to the reticent narrator, is as it should be.” And today’s book One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez is one of the most famous examples of Magical Realism. Being the second most translated literary work in Spanish after Don Quixote, One Hundred Years is brimming with magic;  Flowers raining from the sky, insomnia plagues, and beautiful women simply floating away. Yet, while the characters go about their lives, they don’t seem to realize that the world around them is magical. Everything is as it should be.

The 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude begins with the first of its seven generations of the Buendía family. José Arcadio Buendía, with his wife/cousin Úrsula Iguarán, established an isolated village named Macondo and began to raise their family in that small community. And as the years go by, the family (all named after each other) grows and faces hardships, usually stemming from their ambitions to reach higher and go farther than they are able to. After being visited by the worldly Romani people and wanting to explore what the world has to offer, Macondo eventually grows into a thriving city with a train station and a banana plantation. However, when civil war begins to tear the country apart, and the plantation turns against its workers, the Buendía men and women live and die by their beliefs, and the family name lives on for better or worse. Through a cyclical repetition of misfortunes, battles, and incest, the house of the Buendía stands through the long years with Úrsula as their matriarch. But the family’s fate is controlled by the ceaseless march of time, and ghosts of their past (real and imagined) are waiting at the end of those 100 years.

“Lost in the solitude of his immense power, he began to lose direction”

Gabriel García Márquez

As José Arcadio Buendía built Macondo by following a dream of building a beautiful city of mirrors, Márquez created Macondo to mirror our own world, especially that of Columbia and its imperialists. One Hundred Years of Solitude, while representing many aspects of Columbian life, is also a socio-political critique of Western Imperialism’s effect on Columbia. The banana plantation that overruns the town and its subsequent destruction is based on the Banana Massacre that Márquez experienced as a child. And the long war that takes Colonel Aureliano Buendía away from home is Columbia’s brutal Thousand Days’ War. For a book group, there is no shortage of ways to move your discussion. Topics can range from how Márquez shows the cyclical nature of history. Or how the Buendía family affected each other, all living under one roof for so long. And, of course, how the symbolism of Magical Realism drives the story. You also might need to consult a family tree to reference as you read along. 

If you’re interested in requesting this book for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. (Items must be requested by a librarian)

To see more our our Hispanic/Latino book club titles, visit the link here.

Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Harper Collins. 1967.

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Reads: While My Pretty One Knits by Anne Canadeo

There is nothing like a good mystery. 

While My Pretty One Knits is not exactly what I would call a good mystery. The murderer’s identity was obvious before the close of the first chapter. The village of Plum Harbor unequivocally fails to process – or even react much to — the brutal murder of one of their fellow villagers (it was brutal! And, as the book itself repeatedly reminds us, it was bloody!). There are enough knitting inaccuracies that unravel long enough to purl a swoncho. The knitting group doesn’t so much solve a murder so much as they stumble around talking about the murder, and incidentally and coincidentally facilitate the solving of the crime. And, as my fiancée put it with nothing but fondness, our dear anxious protagonist Lucy is “a bit touched in the head.”   

Yet I finished the book feeling…well, cozy.  

There were no high stakes (ignoring the fact that, had the murder gone unsolved, a cold-blooded killer would have gotten off scot-free). There was a dog (who did more work to solve the case than her human caretaker). There was knitting and humor. It was the cross between Hallmark and Lifetime that I’ve been seeking, even if the needles pointed more towards Hallmark. And it was, simply, fun.

Our core cast of characters include Maggie, the shop owner; Lucy, the newly divorced graphic designer; Dana, the psychologist; Suzanne, the real estate agent and mother; and Phoebe, the college student. There are many more characters, which helps the village feel populated, although in audiobook format it was difficult to keep everyone straight, and I eventually stopped trying. Familiarity will hopefully come with time.

I don’t hold out much hope that, as I continue the series, the ridiculously high statistics for murder per capita in Plum Harbor will be cause for concern. Luckily, the group has Suzanne. When the population dips down too low to support the village economy, they’ll have a head start on packing up and moving out.

I am, however, optimistic that the knitters of The Black Sheep will learn and change and grow. That’s what I’m interested in. And, I realize, as I frog back my snobbery; that’s what all cozy mystery aficionados are interested in. That’s what the writer is interested in. It was never about the mystery — it was about the characters.

And isn’t that warmer than a wool sweater?

Canadeo, Anne. While My Pretty One Knits. Pocket Books, 2009.

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged | Leave a comment

#BookFaceFriday “New Kid” by Jerry Craft

We’re united in our love for this #BookFaceFriday!

Books unite us. Censorship divides us. That’s the theme of this year’s #BannedBooksWeek. We are celebrating with banned #BookFace! The Nebraska Library Commission supports readers and the freedom to read so we make sure our various collections reflect that. “New Kid” by Jerry Craft (Quill Tree Books, 2019) has been banned or challenged in the US, cited for “Critical Race Theory and Marxism.” New Kid is the winner of the Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Kirkus Prize for Young Reader’s Literature. It’s available as a book club kit, or as an eBook and Audiobook on Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. A book is considered challenged when calls are made for it to be banned or removed from the public’s access. This is one of many banned or challenged titles NLC has available in our Book Club Kit Collection, titles like A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Beloved by Toni Morrison, the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, just to name a few.  This week’s #BookFace and other banned books can be found on the NLC Book Club Kit webpage. This service allows libraries and school librarians to “check out” multiple copies of a book without adding to their permanent collections, or budgets. NLC also has several banned or challenged titles available to our Nebraska OverDrive Libraries.

“This is more than a story about being the new kid—it’s a complex examination of the micro- and macroaggressions that Jordan endures from classmates and teachers. Highly recommended for all middle grade shelves.”

— School Library Journal (starred review)

You can find more information about Banned Books Week and the fight against censorship at ALA.org/advocacy/bbooks! What are you doing to celebrate Banned Books Week? Let us know!

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

  1. These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and media centers.
  2. Circulation times are flexible and will be based upon availability. There is no standard check-out time for book club kits.
  3. Please search the collection to select items you wish to borrow and use the REQUEST THIS KIT icon to borrow items.
  4. Contact the Information Desk at the Library Commission if you have any questions: by phone: 800/307-2665, or by email: Information Services Team

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday: Print Shop, Fort Street Special School for Boys

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week’s image features several boys performing different tasks using print shop machinery at the Fort Street Special School for Boys.

In 1914, a new school was opened to accommodate boys who “had no interest in school at all” or were considered to be “mischief makers”, according to OPS documents. This new school provided manual training in printing and agriculture as well as metal and wood working shops. A few boys were selected to attend the new school, located at 30th and Brown Streets. The group then grew to 50 within a short time. This school encouraged the boys to use their creativity. What started as a somewhat punitive program became a sought- after assignment by students in other schools. The program was later moved to the campus of the High School of Commerce.

This image is published and owned by Omaha Public Schools and the Educational Research Library. Historical materials have been located in various departments and school buildings. Many schools still maintain their own collections. In 2003, staff from the Educational Research Library began collecting and organizing these materials in a central location. This collection is a small part of the District’s long history.

If you like history, check out the Nebraska Memories archive!

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information

Posted in General, Nebraska Memories, Preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NCompass Live: Letters About Literature 2022

Learn about Nebraska’s state reading and writing contest for youth, Letters About Literature, on this week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, September 21 at 10am CT.

The Nebraska Center for the Book is a statewide organization dedicated to the promotion of reading in all its forms. Its annual Nebraska Letters About Literature contest allows students in 4th through 12th grade to write to authors (living or deceased) about their favorite book or poem about how his or her book affected their lives. This session will provide helpful information for teachers and librarians interested in the competition. It will also cover the submission process and be an excellent opportunity to ask questions about the entire competition process. Teachers will be interested in this program that will help enhance and extend their classroom instruction.

Presenters: Tessa Terry – Communications Coordinator, Nebraska Library Commission; Richard Miller – Nebraska Center for the Book Board Member; Laurie Yocom, Director, Wilson Public Library; and Sally Snyder, Childrens’ Judge, Letters About Literature, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Sept. 28 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Programming a Robot Using Voice Commands
  • Oct. 5 – NO NCOMPASS LIVE THIS WEEK – ENJOY NLA!
  • Oct. 12 – Navigating the New NebraskAccess
  • Oct. 19 – NLC Grants for 2023

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.

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Nebraska Center for the Book, Youth Services | Tagged | Leave a comment

2023 NLC Grants are Open for Applications

Do you have an idea for a program or project you would like to see funded?

The Nebraska Library Commission has made funding available for four grants for 2023: Continuing Education & Training, Internship, Library Improvement, and Youth Grants for Excellence.

Applications are being accepted for all NLC grants right now! Don’t let your library miss out on these opportunities!

Grant applications for all 2023 NLC grants are due November 18, 2022.

For more information about these grants, register for the October 19 NCompass Live webinar, NLC Grants for 2023.

Continuing Education & Training grants help assist Nebraska libraries to improve the library services provided to their communities through continuing education and training for their library personnel and supporters. Successful applications will show how the continuing education and/or training proposed will support the library’s mission. There will be two rounds of CE Grants. The first fall grants will open in September and applications will be accepted for events/projects/classes that must be completed before June 30, 2023. The second spring round will open in March and applications will be accepted for events/projects/classes that begin after July 1, 2023.

Internship grants work to introduce high school and college students to the varied and exciting work of Nebraska libraries. The internships are intended to function as a recruitment tool, helping the student to view the library as a viable career opportunity while providing the public library with the finances to provide stipends to the student interns.

Library Improvement grants facilitate growth and development of library programs and services in Nebraska public and institutional libraries, by supplementing local funding with federal funds designated for these purposes.

Youth Grants for Excellence makes funding available specifically for innovative projects for children and young adults in accredited public libraries and state-run institutional libraries in Nebraska. The program is designed to encourage creative thinking, risk-taking, and new approaches to address problems and needs of children and young adults in your community.

Posted in Education & Training, Grants, Library Management, Now hiring @ your library, Programming, Technology, Youth Services | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

USAC’s E-Rate 2022 Fall Training Schedule Announced

USAC has confirmed the E-Rate Fall 2022 Training dates for applicants and service providers that wish to learn more about the program and how to participate.

The training sessions will once again be virtual, and registration for each session is now available on the Webinars page. You can also click on the links below for each session to register for that specific training.

The sessions are for E-Rate program participants at all levels and will include opportunities to ask questions. Eligible Services training will be scheduled once the FY2023 Eligible Services List is released.

  • E-Rate Program Overview: October 18, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT
    • USAC will provide a high-level overview of the E-Rate application process from beginning to end, and explain basic program concepts for applicants and service providers. After the presentation, we will conduct a Q&A session.
  • E-Rate Pre-Commitment Process: October 20, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT
    • USAC will discuss the E-Rate Pre-Commitment process. This includes how to get started, competitive bidding, applying for discounts, and Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review. After the presentation, we will conduct a Q&A session.
  • Category Two Budgets: October 25, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT
    • USAC will discuss Category Two (C2) budgets. We will provide an overview of C2 budgets and C2 budget guidance for FY2023. After the presentation, we will conduct a Q&A session.
  • EPC Administrative Window: October 27, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT
    • USAC will discuss the EPC Administrative Window, the period during which applicants can make updates to their profile information in the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC), to prepare for the upcoming FCC Form 471 application filing window. After the presentation, we will conduct a Q&A session.
  • E-Rate Post-Commitment Process: November 3, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT
    • USAC will discuss the E-Rate Post-Commitment Process and other post-commitment activities. Topics include starting services, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), service substitutions, appeals, and more. After the presentation, we will conduct a Q&A session.
  • Eligible Services 101: To be announced

The NLC will also be doing our regular fall E-rate workshops, also online, after USAC’s sessions. Those dates will be announced soon.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your public library’s E-rate forms, visit the NLC E-rate webpage or contact Christa Porter, State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

Posted in Education & Training, Library Management, Technology | Tagged | Leave a comment

Friday Reads: Shards of Earth, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Shards of Earth, by Adrian Tchaikovsky, is science fiction, by a British science fiction and fantasy master. The characters are engaging, human, (and intriguing when not human.) The idea of an alien which is moon sized that can travel faster than light, each a single being, called the Architects, is remarkable. That it’s an absolute killing machine pointed at all inhabited worlds pulls the fractured colonies of Earth and all the known aliens into war against it. The story is not about the war as much as about the final secret weapon that made victory possible. And what happens to that weapon after the war. This only makes sense in that the weapons that win the war are called Intermediaries (Ints), and are humans, medically and chemically modified to be able to mentally contact the Architects. Idris Telemmier is one of the few remaining original class of Intermediaries. He is a war hero. Due to his modifications, he hasn’t aged since the end of the war fifty years ago. Intermediaries can contact Architects, and they can pilot deep space craft through unspace, without having to sleep during the process.


Unspace, unlike some forms of faster than light travel, must be experienced by most sentient beings asleep. If they are awake, they are immediately isolated from other travelers on the ship in unspace. Not only of being alone, but also of being alone with a hostile, unspeakable being that they can’t see, only sense. Most ships travel old routes mechanically, with the pilot being the first to wake, but Intermediary pilots go through unspace awake. They can plot new paths to objects, making Idris especially valuable to his crew on the Vulture God, a salvage ship.

An old war acquaintance of his, Myrmidon Solace, is tasked with contacting Idris on the ship he currently pilots. Solace is from a genetically engineered, and vat grown race of human women warriors who live on their ships, and they are known as the Parthenon. They do not have Intermediaries. Hugh (Council of Human Interests), the governing body of the colonies controls the program, and licenses them. Hugh won’t license any to the Parthenon in the post war era.

Making Intermediaries is an uncertain business. Idris, being first generation, is even more unusual, since he hasn’t aged, and can’t sleep. He’s one of two or three surviving from that first generation. He’s content to work on the salvage ship. The trouble starts with a shore leave where a rich man decides to confiscate him, since later Ints are licensed and conditioned with a “leash” contract (making them more like property.). That doesn’t pertain to Idris. His crew, with Solace, manage to get him off planet, but the job they pick up next only multiplies their troubles—it’s a modern salvage that has the distinctive, destructive design of an Architect kill. Except the war ended fifty years ago, with the disappearance of the Architects, and no one has seen one since.

While some reviewers compare the story to Star Wars and Star Trek, there is a lot more here, and a far more patched up universe. The characters are interesting, the main ones are three-dimensional, and the world building is complex, with more than one political system. One of the characters is Oliana (Olli) Timo, a woman who’s colony found all human life precious, even a child with stunted arms, part of one leg and no sense of her own body—since the age of thee she had become a remote vehicle specialist. And easily one of the strongest, and most physically powerful characters in the story. Which is why she has a very big problem with Solace, a vat grown perfect human. There are more interesting points like these that made the entire story deeper than many of the “space opera” style stories. There’s a colonies’ wide “nationalist” movement to put “humans”, the original type from Earth, first, and that all other types are traitors. Which also has a violent arm. There’s a race no one’s seen, but has lost their planets to the Architects, called Locusts, who use planets to create world ships. There’s an alien mobster and a human aristocrat, who both want to own Idris. And there’s a spy/cop, who is just trying to figure it all out.


With complicated characters, great plotting, and constant action, this is one of the best books I’ve read lately, and I’ve just read the sequel, Eyes of the Void. I’m looking forward to Lords of Uncreation, due out in 2023.


Shards of Earth, The Final Architecture: Book One, by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Orbitbooks.net, Hardback, 2022


British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) award winner for best novel, 2022.

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

#BookFaceFriday “The Windsor Knot” by SJ Bennett

Keep calm and carry on with this #BookFaceFriday!

“Cowards falter, but danger is often overcome by those who nobly dare.” All hail #BookFaceFriday, we are rolling out the red carpet for this week’s book! Brew your self a nice cuppa and sit down with a good book, like “The Windsor Knot: A Novel” by SJ Bennett (William Morrow, 2021.) This title is available as both an eBook and an Audiobook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries, we also have the second book in Bennett’s Her Majesty the Queen Investigates series “All the Queen’s Men” available as well.

“Her Majesty, … unshockable and mystery-savvy, … uses her long but subtle reach, powers of observation, and decades (and decades!) of sizing up people to solve several crimes… Mystery readers—and royalists, of course—will enjoy their audience with QEII.”

Booklist

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

 
 

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nebraska Libraries Report 1,381,624 Minutes of Reading for Summer 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 15, 2022

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Denise Harders
402-462-1975
denise.cpls@gmail.com
Central Plains Library System

Nebraska Libraries Report 1,381,624 Minutes of Reading for Summer, 2022

Summer reading programs are helping students become better readers

Hastings, Nebraska – Since mid-May, more than 100 Nebraska libraries have been carrying out summer reading programs that have allowed patrons of all ages to log their reading progress.

As of August 3, 2022, readers have logged:
1,381,624 minutes read
12,153 books completed
131,179 pages read

The Nebraska Library Commission and the Nebraska Regional Library Systems have worked to engage more than 100 libraries in summer reading programs through an innovative reading app called Reader Zone. These programs consist of participants of all ages with the majority being kindergarten through 6th grade.

Success in 2022 follows similar reading success for Nebraska readers in 2020 and 2021.  Each of those years also saw more than one million minutes of reading logged by Nebraskans in summer reading programs.

“We are excited to have another successful summer reading season in Nebraska libraries and we thank all our hard-working librarians and our wonderful patrons for their dedication to literacy and reading,” said Denise Harders, Director of the Central Plains Library System. “Our libraries will continue to offer Nebraskans quality programs that can build positive reading habits for readers of all ages”.

Nebraska libraries offer ongoing reading programs like “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” for young children and many compelling programs for teens and adults. These programs are free to Nebraskans in every corner of the state.

“Seeing Nebraska readers reach a third summer in a row of more than 1 million minutes demonstrates that there are many dedicated public librarians and engaged families throughout the state. Students will return to school in the fall with their hard-earned reading skills sharpened and ready to learn,” Jake Ball, creator of Reader Zone.

Reader Zone is a web-based reading program and app that helps organizations build and deploy meaningful reading programs. Reader Zone offers a mobile app that makes participation in reading programs simple and rewarding for readers of all ages.

The Nebraska Regional Library Systems consist of four non-profit corporations governed by boards representative of libraries and citizens in the region. Systems provide access to improved library services by facilitating cooperation among all types of libraries and media centers within the counties included in each System area. 

As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, bringing together people and information. The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

# # #

Posted in Books & Reading, General, Public Relations, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

NewsBank Trial Access Through October 22, 2022

NewsBank is a web-based subscription service that offers library access to current and archival content from newspapers, newswires, transcripts, and other publications. They have agreed to offer Nebraska libraries trial access to the following resources through October 22, 2022:

Trial access instructions, including product login URLs and a temporary username and password, were distributed via a September 15, 2022 message to the TRIAL mailing list. Nebraska librarians who didn’t receive this information or who would like to have it sent to them again can email Susan Knisely.

Note: If you are a Nebraska librarian and you’d like to receive future database trial announcements directly in your email inbox, please make sure you are signed up for the Nebraska Library Commission’s TRIAL mailing list.

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday: Crowd at a Football Game 1915

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week, we have a 5 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ black and white photo of a crowd sitting on the bleachers at a football game at the Nebraska Normal School at Kearney.

This picture was created by John A. Stryker. It is published and owned by the Calvin T. Ryan Library at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. UNK was founded in 1905 as the Nebraska State Normal School at Kearney. It became Nebraska State Teachers College in 1921 and renamed as Kearney State College in 1963. In 1991, it joined the Nebraska University system. The images featured in this collection show faculty, students, buildings, and activities during the school’s early existence.

Do you like history? If so, check out all the materials featured on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

Posted in General, Nebraska Memories, Preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call for Speakers: Big Talk From Small Libraries 2023

The Call for Speakers for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2023 is now open!

This free one-day online conference is tailored for librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better!

Small libraries of all types – public, academic, school, museum, special, etc. – are encouraged to submit a proposal. We’re looking for seven 50-minute presentations and four 10-minute “lightning round” presentations.

Do you offer a service or program at your small library that other librarians might like to hear about? Have you implemented a new (or old) technology, hosted an event, partnered with others in your community, or just done something really cool? The Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference gives you the opportunity to share what you’ve done, while learning what your colleagues in other small libraries are doing.

Here are some possible topics to get you thinking:

  • Unique Libraries
  • Special Collections
  • New buildings
  • Fundraising
  • Improved Workflows
  • Staff Development
  • Advocacy Efforts
  • Community Partnerships
  • That great thing you’re doing at your library!

Submit your proposal by Friday, December 16, 2022.

Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered.

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2023 will be held on Friday, February 24, 2023 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Speakers will present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

This conference is organized and hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission and is co-sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Grants, Information Resources, Library Management, Preservation, Programming, Public Relations, Technology, Youth Services | Tagged | Leave a comment

Book Club Spotlight – Pet

Cover for

When asked to write a flagship title for the new Random House imprint “Make Me a World,” author Akwaeke Emezi set out to create a story that they would want to read if they were a teen today. Their final product, Pet, surpasses that goal, having earned a spot in TIME Magazine’s “100 Best YA Books of All Time”. In 2021, Emezi was named a Next Generation Leader by TIME and is a National Book Foundation “5 under 35” honoree, setting the standard (and a high bar) for contemporary childhood reading and authors alike. 

“There shouldn’t be any monsters left in Lucille.” In the utopic town of Lucille, “angels” have defeated and locked away all the “monsters,” creating a small paradise where all are welcome. Unfortunately, these angels, who then took up positions of power, only locked away these monsters, and did not prevent them from being created. Then, one summer night, a horrifying creature emerges from Jam’s mother’s painting and warns her of a monster still in Lucille. And when the adults refuse to believe them, Jam, and the creature, Pet, have no choice but to go on the hunt alone. Finding themselves deep in the local library’s archives, Jam, with her best friend Redemption and Pet, finally learns what monsters are and how to spot them. The trio discover that the horrors the angels claimed to have defeated are still there. But with the world around them in denial, what can they do?

“But forgetting is dangerous. Forgetting is how the monsters come back.”

Akwaeke Emezi

Pet is a perfect jumping-off point for YA (or adult) book groups to explore the world of language and communication. Especially since Jam is selectively verbal, mainly communicating through sign, the language in this book is very specific and resounding. Because language is constantly evolving, Emezi asks the reader what happens when we lose the words that shape our experiences. Does something really go away just because you don’t talk about it? Community is also a strong theme in Pet, which can lead to discussions over how it affects our sense of self. For example, Lucille, an all-Black town, was written to be like the ones found in Toni Morrison’s novels, where they are a whole world unto themselves. What would it be like to live in such a welcoming and insular community like Lucille, where everyone belongs without question, even a Black trans girl like Jam? What does it mean when the characters say, “We are each other’s harvest? We are each other’s business. We are each other’s magnitude and bond”. And do they mean it?

Like our previous spotlight, Melissa, Pet was recently added to our collection thanks to a grant from the Reading Classic Committee. And a prequel, Bitter, was released in February 2022.

If you’re interested in requesting this book for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. (Items must be requested by a librarian)

Emezi, Akwaeke. Pet. Make Me a World. 2019.

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Apply to bring ‘Exploring Human Origins Traveling Exhibition’ to Your Library

The American Library Association (ALA), in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s (NMNH) Human Origins Program, invites applications from public libraries interested in hosting the traveling exhibition Exploring Human Origins: Promoting a National Conversation on Human Evolution.

The exhibition will travel the U.S. from May 2023 through May 2026. Six public libraries will be selected to present the exhibition in their communities for a period of six to nine weeks each, with library host periods available each summer and winter. Experts from the NMNH Human Origins Program will present in-person or virtual programming at the participating libraries.

The goal of this traveling exhibition and public programs is to create an opportunity for audiences across a wide spectrum — from those who do not question the scientific study of human origins to those who are troubled by its findings — to engage the complex field of human evolution research in ways that are understandable, fulfilling, captivating, and relevant. By touring the exhibition and providing public programs to communities across the U.S., the exhibition sponsors endeavor to create a respectful and welcoming atmosphere for public audiences to explore how, when and where human qualities emerged.

Apply online at https://www.ala.org/tools/programming/exploring-human-origins  Applications will be accepted September 12 — November 7, 2022.

Exploring Human Origins: Promoting a National Conversation on Human Evolution is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s (NMNH) Human Origins Program. To be notified about future grants and opportunities from ALA’s Public Programs Office, sign up for ALA’s Programming Librarian newsletter at https://programminglibrarian.org/about/get-our-enewsletter

Posted in General, Programming | Leave a comment

Friday Reads: Accelerated: A Guide to Innovation at the Speed of Change by Brian Ardinger

Not too long ago, I found myself in Chicago, visiting friends on my way to Wisconsin. Chicago fully reflects the speed of change and innovation taking over the world. I went out of my way to wave at the all-robot wait staff at X Pot, the new Asian fusion restaurant in the South Loop. That’s what people expect out of Chicago, New York and those bigger cities.

Brian Ardinger is a local innovator working to transform Nebraska communities into world-class innovation hotspots. I know him from the Open Coffee sessions he started many moons ago to bring innovators, business leaders, and aspiring entrepreneurs together to share ideas, solve tricky problems, and make unexpected connections that lead to the next great idea.

I’m also a fan of his tech and innovation themed Inside Outside newsletter, podcast, and resources. He does too much stuff to list in the innovation/ startup community.

But it wasn’t until I read his new book, Accelerated: A Guide to Innovating at the Speed of Change, that I fully understood what Brian does for a living as a corporate innovator and startup ecosystem builder. The book isn’t all doom and gloom about how tech is taking over the world at the speed of light. He establishes that the world is changing, but then does something peculiar: he makes innovation and change possible. Dare I say, optimistic.

Most innovation books shoot people to the moon and glorify SpaceX. Brian boils innovation down to “transforming an idea into something of value… Find a problem, solve the problem, and create value along the way”. Then he offers an innovation framework the average person can actually use, filled with easily digestible concepts and exercises you can try while reading, then incorporate into everyday life at home, work and everywhere in between.

Look at the world through a lens of possibility and you will find robot servers right here in Nebraska. No, really. X Pot in Chicago used robot servers to make a statement. Jojo’s Gelato and Grill in Aurora, NE hired the Servi robot to solve a real problem. Struggling to get applicants and support an already overworked staff, the owners at Jojo’s innovated at the speed of change and survived to tell the story. Jojo’s may have innovated more easily with access to this book.

While Accelerated is marketed to businesses and startup entrepreneurs, the concepts can be applied anywhere. Even libraries. The books I actively use get color-coded with Post-Its and earn a place on the bookshelf closest to my desk. Here’s what that looks like:

  • Blue: Chapters or sections to refer back to immediately.
  • Pink: Quotes and concepts for future reference.
  • Green: Exercises and frameworks to try or reference immediately.

From experience, I know that innovation often starts with a quiet chaos. When you know what needs to change and why, it’s easier to navigate the winding, bumpy road necessary to make change happen. Whether you’re an innovation beginner or change-making guru, this book will give you the tools you need to reprogram yourself to tackle uncertainty, find your place in the world, and add value anywhere you land.

This book is also a great option for libraries wanting to showcase Nebraska authors that are giving back to the community. Offer it as a resource to drive local innovation, or as a tool to tackle a rapidly changing world. The end of chapter exercises and recaps also make great book club discussion starters. Innovation is what makes the world go round. Give it a try.

Ardinger, Brian. Accelerated: A Guide to Innovating at the Speed of Change. Lioncrest Publishing, 2022.

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Tagged , | Leave a comment