Using Block-Based Computer Programming

If you’re looking for ways to introduce beginners to computer programming, block-based programming is a great place to start. These programming languages use graphical, drag-and-drop interfaces that make it easier to understand, develop, test, and tweak programs. In the case of Lego Mindstorms EV3 software, this program can control a robot made of Lego pieces that look similar to Knex pieces. Users just drag blocks into the programming area and change the settings to make the robot move, interact with sensors, display text or images on the screen, and more. This video made by Lego Discover will show you how to build your first program.

Lego Mindstorms is a more expensive option that the Library Commission uses through the Library Innovation Studios project. If your library wants to test out a powerful, free block-based programming interface, check out Scratch, made by MIT Media Lab. Scratch will let you program online stories, games, and animations. For free.

When learners want to expand their coding capabilities, they can transition over to text-based coding. Some good beginner options to look into are HTML and CSS coding to make a standard website from scratch. Add in Javascript to add more interactive features to the website. These links will send you to a YouTube video for freeCodeCamp.org, each video has a link to a written curriculum option as well.  There are a lot of other coding languages out there, but it’s difficult to choose a language until you know what you want to do with it.

Rather than get bogged down in which language to learn, libraries can focus on how to learn. The best thing we can all learn is how to break complex information into smaller, more manageable steps to learn from the ground up. After people learn how to think like a programmer, they can decide what they want to learn more about.  When people know where their interests lie, they can choose a program to suit their needs. Choosing a language without a purpose is a great way to quit before you start.

To encourage people to learn to code, try to connect them with good reasons to code. Technology is being used in multiple industries right now. People of any age or subject interest have a reason to learn programming. I will talk about more motivations to learn coding in future posts. Stay tuned.

 

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NCompass Live: Crafting Relevant Community Partnerships Using Archives

Hear about the oral history projects of the Queer Omaha Archives and Latin@ Stories on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘Crafting Relevant Community Partnerships Using Archives’ on Wednesday, February 20, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Historically, archives have told the stories of the dominant society. Increasingly, archives are exploring and filling some of the silences left by the exclusion of many voices. Oral history is a way of actively collecting stories which may not exist in written form. Both the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s LGBTQ+ Voices: The Queer Omaha Archives Oral History Project and the University of Nebraska at Kearney Archives and Special Collections’ Coming to the Plains: Latin@ Stories in Central Nebraska project engage members of diverse communities in telling their own stories. This session will talk about the origins of each project, the challenges faced, the evolution of the projects, and future pathways. Specific issues discussed will include planning oral history projects, collaborating with communities, faculty, and students on all stages of an oral history project, gaining grant funding to scale up projects, and publicizing and sharing the products of oral histories.

Presenters: Amy Schindler, Director of Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska Omaha Libraries, Criss Library; Laurinda Weisse, University Archivist, Archives and Special Collections, Calvin T. Ryan Library, University of Nebraska Kearney.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Feb. 27 – Future Ready Nebraska and the Digital Learning and Ed Tech Plan
  • March 6 – Improving Internet Access In US Libraries: the Toward Gigabit Libraries Project
  • March 13 – Ethics Behind Emerging Technology
  • March 20 – Reading Diversely
  • March 27 – Health Education Resources with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine
  • April 10 – What is OER? Outstanding, Extraordinary Raw materials?
  • April 24 – Connect to Meetings, and more…Experts, Virtual Field Trips with Zoom

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: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book has been sitting on my bookshelf, unread, for about a decade. I bought it because a few friends had raved about the life-altering, mind-bending power of this book. Needless to say, I was skeptical.

I didn’t say anything back them, but I suspected the only reason my friends enjoyed the book is because they were already in the middle of changing their own lives when they happen to stumble upon the book. The Alchemist has the ability to pour gas on a lit fire to make the flames explode upward. But it cannot apply spark to the flint over dead leaves.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is the story of a young man named Santiago who wants to see the world. He starts out as a shepherd who quietly enjoys what he does. But the endless horizon calls out to him. Thus his journey begins. Along the way, he meets a variety of mystically inclined individual(s) who provide him with endless philosophical advice to drive him towards his own Personal Legend.

He winds up in pursuit of treasure near the pyramids in Egypt. It’s a wild ride. When I tried to read this book the first time, I was turned off by phrases like ‘Personal Legend’, ‘Soul of the World’, and other over-the-top phrases. Ten years later, when the book called to me again, I realized that these are just phrases.  Depending on your own personal beliefs, you can mentally exchange these phrases for words that speak to you. The book was already translated once from the Brazilian author’s native Portuguese.

For me, this book was a way to see myself from a more global perspective. We will all travel through life, meeting different people who will teach us different things. As I learn more about how people in other parts of the world live, I find my own Personal Legend shifting. The small irritations in life don’t seem to matter quite as much. I have food, clean water, access to learning tools, plenty of books, all things necessary to a good life. Why not help those who don’t have access to that already?

If you’re ready to change your life, or are open to seeing other ways of life, this could be a good book. It’s a quick read, and can be a great catalyst for change. As you’re reading your own meaning into the book, keep in mind that sometimes the journey is vastly more important than the end goal.

Maybe I will pick up this book in another ten years and see a completely different story.

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What is Digital Literacy?

Digital literacy has taken the library world by storm! What is digital literacy, you may ask. You will likely get a slightly different answer from every person you ask. The concept has also been called multiple literacies, technology literacy, 21st Century Skills, and similar.

What it all boils down to is that we are all trying to prepare students and all library patrons for the rapidly evolving digital world. There are 81 years left of the 21st Century. Nobody knows what the future will hold. But experts in digital and technology literacy have an educated guess as to the skills people will need going forward.

Here’s what the International Society for Technology in Education has come up with after working with a variety of leaders in education (excerpted from this table):

  1. Empowered Learner
  2. Digital Citizen
  3. Knowledge Constructor
  4. Innovative Designer
  5. Computational Thinker
  6. Creative Communicator
  7. Global Collaborator

For a description of what all of those mean, check out the ISTE Standard’s website. This will provide information for what students should know, how educators can prepare, and how coaches/ professional development assistants can prepare for the future. There is also information about Computer Science Standards on this website for those who want to dive a little deeper into the wonderful world of coding and the process of creating or adapting technology. Be forewarned, it’s a lot. And it won’t all happen overnight.

We all have a long way to go before we’re all ready for the rest of the 21st Century, but we’ll get there eventually. As we move forward into the technology revolution, take a moment to think about how much technology is too much technology. Be selective about what is probably just a fad and which tools might gain momentum and be worth your time and effort. Do the best you can, mistakes will happen, and the world will keep on turning. Keep in mind that just because a new technology exists, doesn’t mean we have to use it.

Students will still need to know how to use a paper and pen by the end of all this.  Soft skills and social skills will be more important than ever as people become tempted to isolate themselves in a digital world. It’s time to find a happy medium between digital and physical tools. We’re only human.

 

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#BookFaceFriday “Very Valentine”

If the shoe fits…

Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani is the first book in the Valentine trilogy, and was an obvious choice for the week of Valentine’s Day! Love, travel, and shoes… what more could a girl ask for?

“With its vibrant cast of characters, its magical settings, and handmade shoes to die for Very Valentine is a sumptuous feast, a celebration of love and loss filled with Adriana Trigiani’s trademark heart and humour.” – from the back cover.

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is Administrative and Communications Staff Assistant Kayla Henzel.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available at Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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E-rate: Form 470 Deadline and Online Resources

Just a reminder …. Wednesday, February 27 is the deadline to submit the first form in the E-rate process, Form 470, for the upcoming 2019 Funding Year.

The filing window for submitting the second form in the process, Form 471, opened on Wednesday, January 16, and will close at 11:59 PM EDT on Wednesday, March 27. This makes February 27 the deadline to post your Form 470 to the USAC website, meet the 28-day posting requirement for the competitive bidding process, and submit a Form 471 by the filing window closing date.

However, we do not recommend waiting until the last day to submit your Form 470! If there are any issues that day, like the E-rate servers are slowed down because it is the last day to submit, or you can’t submit the form due to reasons on your end, such as illness, weather, power outage, etc., then you would miss the deadline and lose out on E-rate altogether. So, get your E-rate process started and submit your Form 470 as soon as possible!

Do you need help completing your forms? Do you have questions about E-rate? You’re in luck!

USAC has Form 470 resources on their website:

And more recorded webinars, demos, and training materials are available on the NLC E-rate webpage.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, please contact Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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Nebraska Library Commission Announces Public Library Accreditation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 12, 2019NLClogo

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Christa Porter
402-471-3107
800-307-2665

Nebraska Library Commission Announces Public Library Accreditation

Nebraska Library Commission Library Development Director Christa Porter recently announced the accreditation of Sixty-three public libraries across Nebraska. Porter stated, “We are dedicated to helping Nebraska libraries meet Nebraskans’ information needs, opening up the world of information for citizens of all ages. The Library Commission continues to work in partnership with Nebraska libraries and the regional library systems, using the Public Library Accreditation program to help public libraries grow and develop.”

Public libraries in Nebraska are accredited for a three-year period. To learn more about this process and to see a complete list of all accredited Nebraska public libraries, go to http://nlc.nebraska.gov/LibAccred/Standings.asp.

The Nebraska Library Commission congratulates the public libraries listed below as they move forward toward the realization of this vision for the future: “All Nebraskans will have improved access to enhanced library and information services, provided and facilitated by qualified library personnel, boards, and supporters with the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes necessary to provide excellent library and information services.”

Nebraska Public Libraries Accredited through December 31, 2021

Ainsworth Public Library
Arlington Public Library
Auburn Memorial Library
Alice M Farr Library (Aurora)
Bayard Public Library
Beatrice Public Library
Karlen Memorial Library (Beemer)
Bennington Public Library
Broadwater Public Library
Broken Bow Public Library
Central City Public Library
Clarkson Public Library
Clearwater Public Library
Crawford Public Library
Culbertson Public Library
Bob and Wauneta Burkley Library (DeWitt)
Elmwood Public Library
Emerson Public Library
Fairbury Public Library
Genoa Public Library
Gibbon Public Library
Gothenburg Public Library
Grand Island Public Library
Sioux County Public Library (Harrison)
Hartington Public Library
Hastings Public Library
Hildreth Public Library
Holdrege Area Public Library
Hooper Public Library
Lied Imperial Public Library
Kimball Public Library
Lincoln City Libraries
Loup City Public Library
Madison Public Library
Jensen Memorial Library (Minden)
Mitchell Public Library
Morton-James Public Library (Nebraska City)
Newman Grove Public Library
Norfolk Public Library
O’Neill Public Library
Oshkosh Public Library
Palisade Public Library
Sump Memorial Library (Papillion)
Pilger Public Library
Plainview Public Library
Ponca Carnegie Library
Schuyler Public Library
Scotia Public Library & Heritage Center
Lied Scottsbluff Public Library
Scribner Public Library
South Sioux City Public Library
Stromsburg Public Library
Superior Public Library
Raymond A Whitwer Tilden Public Library
Valentine Public Library
Gardner Public Library (Wakefield)
Weeping Water Public Library
John A Stahl Library (West Point)
Struckman-Baatz Public Library (Western)
Dvoracek Memorial Library (Wilber)
Lied Winside Public Library
Maltman Memorial Public Library (Wood River)
Yutan Public Library

The Nebraska Library Commission would also like to congratulate six of these libraries on earning accreditation for the very first time. Those libraries are:

Arlington Public Library
Bayard Public Library
Sioux County Public Library (Harrison)
Scotia Public Library & Heritage Center
Maltman Memorial Public Library (Wood River)
Lied Winside Public Library

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.”

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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.

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Public Library Survey Deadline Friday February 15, 2019

The deadline for the annual (2017-2018 fiscal year) IMLS public library survey (submitted via Bibliostat) is Friday, February 15, 2019. Completion of the survey is required for your library to receive state aid if you are accredited. If you aren’t accredited, you still have an incentive to complete the survey ($200), called Dollar$ for Data.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions throughout the process. Thank you in advance for your participation.

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NCompass Live: What in the World Is Emerging Technology?

Join us for the next FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘What in the World is Emerging Technology?’ on Wednesday, February 13, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

We all know that technology trends are moving at light speed. The truth is that many of these trends are here one day and gone the next. Most of this technology also isn’t particularly relevant to the library world. This presentation will dive into how to identify emerging technology that might make an impact on libraries, now or in the future. Tune in if you want to learn more about the following topics:

  • What is Emerging Technology?
  • What are some examples of emerging tech?
  • How is this tech applicable to libraries?
  • What might library patrons want to know about emerging tech?
  • What can we tell interested patrons about these tech trends?

We will dive deeper into this topic on March 13 during a presentation about the Ethics Behind Emerging Technology.

Presenter: Amanda Sweet, Technology Innovation Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Feb. 20 – Crafting Relevant Community Partnerships Using Archives
  • Feb. 27 – Future Ready Nebraska and the Digital Learning and Ed Tech Plan
  • March 6 – Improving Internet Access In US Libraries: the Toward Gigabit Libraries Project
  • March 13 – Ethics Behind Emerging Technology
  • March 20 – Reading Diversely
  • March 27 – Health Education Resources with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

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 “Louisiana’s Way Home”

There’s no place like home for this week’s #BookFaceFriday!

From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are—and deciding who you want to be. Louisiana’s Way Home” by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, 2018) is available in audiobook and Ebook to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries! 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 12,407 audiobooks and 24,143 eBooks, with new titles added weekly. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this brand new title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

“For readers who relish thoughtfully constructed plots, well-developed characters, and carefully crafted language, this will be a special treat.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is full of sugar and spice, and hates sitting still! So we’re lucky her mom was able to get this mover and shaker to pause for a second. Ms. Margot is the daughter of our Information Services Librarian, Aimee Owen! She and her family get all the credit for this week’s #BookFace photo!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available at Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

 

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Friday Reads: The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession, by Charlie Lovett

Mystery fiction has many subgenres: hard-boiled, cozy, police procedural, etc. One particular subgenre of interest to lovers of books is that of the bibliomystery, and in recent years, I’ve found that I love to read, or listen to, books that fall in this bibliomystery category.  If you do an online search you will find many authors that write bibliomysteries.  My favorites are John Dunning’s Cliff Janeway series, John Grisham’s Camino Island, Bradford Morrow’s Prague Sonata and bibliomysteries by Charlie Lovett, which leads me to today’s Friday Reads post:  The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession, by Charlie Lovett.

Hay-on-Wye, every bibliophile’s dream destination in England, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop.  Nine months after the death of his beloved wife Amanda left him shattered, Peter, a young antiquarian bookseller, relocates from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to outrun his grief and rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, he discovers a Victorian watercolor of a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Amanda.  Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins and braves a host of dangers to follow a trail of clues back across the centuries—all the way to Shakespeare’s time and a priceless literary artifact that could prove, once and for all, the truth about the Bard’s real identity, and definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.

 

 

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Nebraska Library Commission Announces New Library Innovation Studios Partners

 

FOR IMMEDIATE Nebraska Library Innovation Studios LogoRELEASE:
10:15 AM CT on February 5, 2019

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Media Contacts:
Eric Maher, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1974
Tessa Terry, Nebraska Library Commission, 402-471-3434

 

Gov. Ricketts, Nebraska Library Commission Announce New Library Makerspaces

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Library Commission announced that nine new Nebraska libraries have been selected to host Nebraska’s Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities makerspaces. They join 18 libraries previously chosen in 2017.

“This partnership demonstrates how our Nebraska communities can use technology and education to empower community residents to create, learn, and invent,” said Governor Ricketts. “By expanding the skills of the workforce in our communities, supporting entrepreneurs, and encouraging lifelong learning, this partnership reinforces our vibrant business climate and supports community development.”

The Nebraska Library Commission was awarded a National Leadership Grant of $530,732 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for this partnership project with the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL), Nebraska Innovation Studio, Nebraska Extension, Regional Library Systems, and local public libraries.

The project uses Library Innovation Studios makerspaces hosted by public libraries to support community engagement and participatory learning experiences by providing access to technology and innovative learning tools not readily accessible locally. This is expected to stimulate creativity, innovation, and the exchange of ideas to facilitate entrepreneurship, skills development, and local economic development.

The newly selected library partners that will host one of the four rotating makerspaces are:

• Kimball Public Library
• Beatrice Public Library
• Hastings Public Library
• Chadron Public Library
• Blue Hill Public Library
• Hastings Memorial Library, Grant, Nebraska
• Plainview Public Library
• Verdigre Public Library
• Laurel Community Learning Center

They join those selected in October 2017:

• Plattsmouth Public Library
• Ainsworth Public Library
• Ashland Public Library
• Crete Public Library
• Loup City Public Library
• South Sioux City Public Library
• Neligh Public Library
• Broken Bow Public Library
• Bridgeport Public Library
• Norfolk Public Library
• North Platte Public Library
• Ravenna Public Library
• Lied Scottsbluff Public Library
• Sidney Public Library, Special Model Program Partner
• Wayne Public Library
• Geneva Public Library
• Central City Public Library
• Nebraska City Public Library

Five more libraries will be selected through a final application opportunity with a March 29th deadline. All Accredited Public Libraries in communities of populations of less than 25,000 population are eligible.

This project began July 1, 2017 and will conclude June 30, 2020. For more information about the project or equipment that will be featured in the rotating makerspaces, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/grants/InnovationStudios.

“Nebraska’s public libraries are the natural gathering points for people to come together to share materials, knowledge, and experiences,” said Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner. “Whether the materials and tools are high tech or low tech, digital or analog, art or science, the focus is to create, invent, tinker, explore, and discover using the tools, materials, and knowledge available. Libraries have always been dedicated to community partnership, collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas—makerspaces are the next step in that progression.”

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.

Nebraska’s Regional Library Systems are 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.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, their grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Nebraska Innovation Studio—the UNL makerspace—is the creative and collaborative hub of UNL’s Nebraska Innovation Campus, where makers and builders team up to conceptualize, prototype, and iterate projects that solve problems and influence change. The primary focus is on creativity, interdisciplinary collaboration, entrepreneurship, and education.

Nebraska Extension is one of three components of UNL’s land-grant mission. It is a dynamic educational organization that puts research to work in local communities, businesses, and individuals’ lives. Extension professionals are recognized for subject matter competence, excellent teaching skills, and community presence. They live and work in Nebraska communities across the state and engage with local and state partners in educational program delivery to address critical issues identified by constituents.

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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.

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E-rate Office Hour Webinars

During the FY2019 application filing window, USAC is conducting a series of office hour webinars which will focus on specific E-rate topics covered in the online E-rate Program Training Series, a self-paced set of courses covering the content delivered in the 2018 in-person Fall Applicant Training workshops.

Registration is now open for the following E-rate office hour webinars. More events will be added, so keep checking the Webinars page for the current schedule and to register:

  • February 5
    • 1:00 p.m. CST             Eligible Services for Beginners
  • February 6
    • 1:00 p.m. CST             Starting Funding Year (FY) 2019
    • 2:00 p.m. CST             Competitive Bidding for Beginners
  • February 14
    • 1:00 p.m. CST             Advanced Eligible Services (rescheduled from Feb. 5)

More recorded webinars, demos, and training materials are available on the NLC E-rate webpage.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, please contact Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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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).  Beginning today, and each month as we receive them, we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse receives.  The UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians in Nebraska.

Here are UNP books the Clearinghouse received in January:

Citizen Akoy: Basketball and the Making of a South Sudanese American

Akoy Agau led Omaha Central High School to four straight high school basketball state championships (2010–13) and was a three‑time All‑State player. One of the most successful high school athletes in Nebraska’s history, he’s also a South Sudanese refugee. At age four, Akoy and his family fled Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War, and after three years in Cairo, they came to Maryland as refugees. They arrived in Omaha in 2003 in search of a better future.  In a fluid, intimate, and joyful narrative, Steve Marantz relates Akoy’s refugee journey of basketball, family, romance, social media, and coming of age at Nebraska’s oldest and most diverse high school. Set against a backdrop of the South Sudanese refugee community in Omaha, Marantz provides a compelling account of the power of sports to blend cultures in the unlikeliest of places.

 

Come Fly with Us: NASA’s Payload Specialist Program (Series: Outward Odyssey: A People’s History of Spaceflight 

Come Fly with Us is the story of an elite group of space travelers who flew as members of many space shuttle crews from pre-Challenger days to Columbia in 2003. Not part of the regular NASA astronaut corps, these professionals known as “payload specialists” came from a wide variety of backgrounds and were chosen for an equally wide variety of scientific, political, and national security reasons. Melvin Croft and John Youskauskas focus on this special fraternity of spacefarers and their individual reflections on living and working in space. Relatively unknown to the public and often flying only single missions, these payload specialists give the reader an unusual perspective on the experience of human spaceflight. The authors also bring to light NASA’s struggle to integrate the wide-ranging personalities and professions of these men and women into the professional astronaut ranks.

 

Echo of Its Time: The History of the Federal District Court of Nebraska, 1867-1933

Throughout its existence the Federal District Court of Nebraska has echoed the dynamics of its time, reflecting the concerns, interests, and passions of the people who have made this state their home. Echo of Its Time explores the court’s development, from its inception in 1867 through 1933, tracing the careers of its first four judges: Elmer Dundy, William Munger, Thomas Munger (no relation), and Joseph Woodrough, whose rulings addressed an array of issues and controversies echoing macro-level developments within the state, nation, and world. Echo of Its Time both informs and entertains while using the court’s operations as a unique and accessible prism through which to explore broader themes in the history of the state and the nation. The book explores the inner workings of the court through Thomas Munger’s personal correspondence, as well as the court’s origins and growing influence under the direction of its legendary first judge, Elmer Dundy. Dundy handled many notable and controversial matters and made significant decisions in the field of Native American law, including Standing Bear v. Crook and Elk v. Wilkins. From the turn of the century through 1933 the court’s docket reflected the dramatic and rapid changes in state, regional, and national dynamics, including labor disputes and violence, political corruption and Progressive Era reform efforts, conflicts between cattle ranchers and homesteaders, wartime sedition and “slacker” prosecutions, criminal enterprises, and the endless battles between government agents and bootleggers during Prohibition.

Hearing Voices: Aurality and New Spanish Sound Culture in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz                                  (Series: New Hispanisms)

Hearing Voices takes a fresh look at sound in the poetry and prose of colonial Latin American poet and nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648/51–95). A voracious autodidact, Sor Juana engaged with early modern music culture in a way that resonates deeply in her writing. Despite the privileging of harmony within Sor Juana’s work, however, links between the poet’s musical inheritance and subjects such as acoustics, cognition, writing, and visual art have remained unexplored. These lacunae have marginalized nonmusical aurality and contributed to the persistence of both ocularcentrism and a corresponding visual dominance in scholarship on Sor Juana—and indeed in early modern cultural production in general.  Hearing Voices focuses on these aural conceits in highlighting the importance of sound and—in most cases—its relationship with gender in Sor Juana’s work and early modern culture. Sarah Finley explores attitudes toward women’s voices and music making; intersections of music, rhetoric, and painting; aurality in Baroque visual art; sound and ritual; and the connections between optics and acoustics.  Finley demonstrates how Sor Juana’s striking aurality challenges ocularcentric interpretations and problematizes paradigms that pin vision to logos, writing, and other empirical models that traditionally favor men’s voices. Sound becomes a vehicle for women’s agency and responds to anxiety about the female voice, particularly in early modern convent culture.

Of One Mind and Of One Government: The Rise and Fall of the Creek Nation in the Early Republic (Series:  Early American Places, and, New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies)

In Of One Mind and Of One Government Kevin Kokomoor examines the formation of Creek politics and nationalism from the 1770s through the Red Stick War, when the aftermath of the American Revolution and the beginnings of American expansionism precipitated a crisis in Creek country. The state of Georgia insisted that the Creeks sign three treaties to cede tribal lands. The Creeks objected vigorously, igniting a series of border conflicts that escalated throughout the late eighteenth century and hardened partisan lines between pro-American, pro-Spanish, and pro-British Creeks and their leaders. Creek politics shifted several times through historical contingencies, self-interests, changing leadership, and debate about how to best preserve sovereignty, a process that generated national sentiment within the nascent and imperfect Creek Nation.
Based on original archival research and a revisionist interpretation, Kokomoor explores how the state of Georgia’s increasingly belligerent and often fraudulent land acquisitions forced the Creeks into framing a centralized government, appointing heads of state, and assuming the political and administrative functions of a nation-state. Prior interpretations have viewed the Creeks as a loose confederation of towns, but the formation of the Creek Nation brought predictability, stability, and reduced military violence in its domain during the era.

One Size Fits None: A Farm Girl’s Search for the Promise of Regenerative Agriculture 

“Sustainable” has long been the rallying cry of agricultural progressives; given that much of our nation’s farm and ranch land is already degraded, however, sustainable agriculture often means maintaining a less-than-ideal status quo. Industrial agriculture has also co-opted the term for marketing purposes without implementing better practices. Stephanie Anderson argues that in order to provide nutrient-rich food and fight climate change, we need to move beyond sustainable to regenerative agriculture, a practice that is highly tailored to local environments and renews resources.  In One Size Fits None Anderson follows diverse farmers across the United States: a South Dakota bison rancher who provides an alternative to the industrial feedlot; an organic vegetable farmer in Florida who harvests microgreens; a New Mexico super-small farmer who revitalizes communities; and a North Dakota midsize farmer who combines livestock and grain farming to convert expensive farmland back to native prairie. The use of these nontraditional agricultural techniques show how varied operations can give back to the earth rather than degrade it. This book will resonate with anyone concerned about the future of food in America, providing guidance for creating a better, regenerative agricultural future.

Standing Up to Colonial Power: The Lives of Henry Roe and Elizabeth Bender Cloud (Series:  New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies)

Standing Up to Colonial Power focuses on the lives, activism, and intellectual contributions of Henry Cloud (1884–1950), a Ho-Chunk, and Elizabeth Bender Cloud (1887–1965), an Ojibwe, both of whom grew up amid settler colonialism that attempted to break their connection to Native land, treaty rights, and tribal identities. Mastering ways of behaving and speaking in different social settings and to divergent audiences, including other Natives, white missionaries, and Bureau of Indian Affairs officials, Elizabeth and Henry relied on flexible and fluid notions of gender, identity, culture, community, and belonging as they traveled Indian Country and within white environments to fight for Native rights.  Elizabeth fought against termination as part of her role in the National Congress of American Indians and General Federation of Women’s Clubs, while Henry was one of the most important Native policy makers of the early twentieth century. He documented the horrible abuse within the federal boarding schools and co-wrote the Meriam Report of 1928, which laid the foundation for the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Together they ran an early college preparatory Christian high school, the American Indian Institute.  Standing Up to Colonial Power shows how the Clouds combined Native warrior and modern identities as a creative strategy to challenge settler colonialism, to become full members of the U.S. nation-state, and to fight for tribal sovereignty. Renya K. Ramirez uses her dual position as a scholar and as the granddaughter of Elizabeth and Henry Cloud to weave together this ethnography and family-tribal history.

Words Like Birds: Sakha Language Discourses and Practices in the City                                                   (Series: Borderlands and Transcultural Studies)

What does it mean to speak Sakha in the city? Words Like Birds, a linguistic ethnography of Sakha discourses and practices in urban far eastern Russia, examines the factors that have aided speakers in maintaining—and adapting—their minority language over the course of four hundred years of contact with Russian speakers and the federal power apparatus.  Words Like Birds analyzes modern Sakha linguistic sensibilities and practices in the urban space of Yakutsk. Sakha is a north Siberian Turkic language spoken primarily in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in the northeastern Russian Federation. For Sakha speakers, Russian colonization in the region inaugurated a tumultuous history in which their language was at times officially supported and promoted and at other times repressed and discouraged.  Jenanne Ferguson explores the communicative norms that arose in response to the top-down promotion of the Russian language in the public sphere and reveals how Sakha ways of speaking became emplaced in villages and the city’s private spheres. Focusing on the language ideologies and practices of urban bilingual Sakha-Russian speakers, Ferguson illuminates the changes that have taken place in the first two post-Soviet decades, in contexts where Russian speech and communicative norms dominated during the Soviet era.  Weaving together three major themes—language ideologies and ontologies, language trajectories, and linguistic syncretism—this study reveals how Sakha speakers transform and adapt their beliefs, evaluations, and practices to revalorize a language, maintain and create a sense of belonging, and make their words heard in Sakha again in many domains of city life. Like the moveable spirited words, the focus of Words Like Birds is mobility, change, and flow, the tracing of the situation of bilinguals in Yakutsk.

Pictures and synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

 

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Best Small Library in America at Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019

Technology instructor Shawna Bryce leads an adult tech class at the Mars Hill Library. Photo by Jack Flame Sorokin

Register today for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019 and hear how the Madison County Public Libraries in Mars Hill, NC earned the Library Journal 2018 Best Small Library in America award!

Technology Instructor Shawna Bryce will be joining us to share the story of how the library engaged its community with partnerships, outreach, relationships, and top-notch professional service.

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019 will be held on Friday, February 22, 2019 via the GoToWebinar online meeting service.

This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better! Each of our speakers is from a small library or directly works with small libraries. Everyone is welcome to register and attend, regardless of how big or small your library. But, if your library serves a few hundred to a few thousand people, this is the day for you!

Check out the full schedule!

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NCompass Live: You Make Me Want To Break Out

Join us for the next FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘You Make Me Want To Break Out’ on Wednesday, February 6, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Escape rooms are popping up all over the country as groups go in and test their logic and problem solving in order to escape a locked, themed room. Breakouts take the idea of escape rooms and bring them into the classroom. Breakouts are a great way to engage your students and teachers back into the library. Breakouts can be used to introduce curriculum, review curriculum, or just work on team building skills. Students and teachers of all ages can participate and all students are engaged in the lesson. After running and writing many breakouts for the past 2 years, Meredith Fickes, School Librarian at Mickle Middle School in Lincoln, will be sharing tips, tricks, and knowledge for both running and writing breakouts.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Feb. 13 – What in the World is Emerging Technology?
  • Feb. 20 – Crafting Relevant Community Partnerships Using Archives
  • Feb. 27 – Future Ready Nebraska and the Digital Learning and Ed Tech Plan
  • March 6 – Improving Internet Access In US Libraries: the Toward Gigabit Libraries Project
  • March 13 – Ethics Behind Emerging Technology
  • March 20 – Reading Diversely
  • March 27 – Health Education Resources with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

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: The Keeper of Lost Causes: The First Department Q Novel by Jussi Adler-Olsen

This book came to me by way of a recommendation from a book club member who also reads mysteries and series. I have read Nordic Noir authors Jo Nesbo, Steig Larsson, and Henning Mankell, but I had not read any books from the Department Q Series by the Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen. All of the authors have a reputation for their dark descriptions of crime, twisted plots, and grizzled detectives. This book follows a popular recipe for sleuths: troubled personal relationships, inability to get along with co-workers, abuser of substances, and a brilliant deductive mind. The plot goes back and forth between the last week Detective Carl Mørck was a homicide detective and the present, when he is assigned to lead a newly created Department Q – a literal closet in the basement of the police department where the most difficult cold cases reside.

Thinking this is a promotion, Carl soon realizes this position will take him out of action. The first case he selects from boxes and boxes of cold cases involves trying to find a missing politician captured five years ago and assumed by many to be dead. Carl is assigned a staff of one – a man with a mysterious past named Hafez el-Assad. Initially Carl views Assad as not much more than a driver and personal assistant, but Assad makes himself a real partner in solving cases and becomes invaluable to the department.  At home, Carl is separated from his wife Vigga, is a sometimes guardian to his stepson, and is in need of the rent that is paid by his opera-loving lodger to make ends meet. This book will take you on a ride that is sinister and horrifying. Expect that with Nordic Noir.

For those who have Amazon Prime, the first three books in the Department Q series are also films in Danish with subtitles. I found the casting to be spot on and the Danish countryside both beautiful and foreboding.

Adler-Olsen, Jussi,  The Keeper of Lost Causes: The First Department Q Novel. New York: Dutton, 2011.

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#BookFaceFriday “Miracle on 49th Street”

This week’s bookface was nothing but net!

Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica is the story of professional basketball player Josh Cameron, who is suddenly confronted by 12-year-old Molly, the daughter he never knew he had. Molly has just lost her mother to cancer, and is shocked to discover that her father is none other than her favorite Celtics’ MVP. Now all she has to do is convince Josh that she’s telling him the truth…

“This novel is . . . an enjoyable read with interesting peeks into the world of professional basketball. It will appeal to young teen sports enthusiasts as well as kids just looking for a good story.” –VOYA

Today’s #BookFace model is an “oldie but a goodie!” Sue Biltoft is back with the NLC as our accountant. Sue returned to us in December after a few years off, and we are very happy she did!

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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Gov. Ricketts Announces Matt Mason as New State Poet

NLClogo

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
10:15 AM CT on January 30, 2019

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Media Contacts:
Taylor Gage, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1970
Hannah Gill, Arts Council, 402-595-2122

 

Gov. Ricketts Announces Matt Mason as New State Poet

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that Matt Mason of Omaha has been designated as Nebraska’s next State Poet. The selection process was led by the Nebraska Arts Council, Humanities Nebraska, and the Nebraska Library Commission, a group of state agencies and organizations that together presented finalists to the Governor for consideration. Mason will be installed as Nebraska State Poet 2019-2023 during a ceremony that will be announced at a later date.

“From Willa Cather to Ted Kooser, Nebraska has been home to many talented authors, artists, and poets,” said Governor Ricketts. “As our next State Poet, Matt will help celebrate Nebraska and bring our state together around our shared love of the Good Life.”

The Nebraska State Poet is selected based on artistic excellence and exemplary professionalism demonstrated by significant publications and special honors, an established history of community service in the advancement of poetry in Nebraska, and the ability to present poetry and interact effectively with a public audience.

Mason is executive director of the Nebraska Writers Collective, through which he has run the Louder Than a Bomb: Great Plains youth poetry festival each year since 2011. He is a former board president of the Nebraska Center for the Book and has served as the Nebraska State Coordinator for Poetry Out Loud, a Poetry Foundation/National Education Association program. He also edits PoetryMenu.com, a listing of every poetry event in the state of Nebraska.

Additionally, Mason has won a Pushcart Prize and two Nebraska Book Awards (for Poetry in 2007 and Anthology in 2006) for his own work. He represented Nebraska as a member of six teams at the National Poetry Slam, and he represented the United States as an organizer of the U.S. Department of State poetry programing in Romania, Nepal, Botswana, and Belarus.

“Poetry and poetry advocacy have been my life’s real project, so being honored like this is amazing and humbling,” Mason said. “I hope to get into communities around the state to do readings with authors there. I want to get to the different counties, to the Air Force Base, to different crowds and bring entertaining poetry as well as remind everyone of the poets already there in their communities.”

As Nebraska State Poet, Mason will serve a five-year renewable term as an advocate for poetry, literacy, and literature in Nebraska. His duties will include giving public presentations and readings, leading workshops and discussions, and providing other outreach in schools, libraries, literary festivals, and various venues in rural and urban communities throughout the state.

The position of Nebraska Poet Laureate was established in 1921 when John G. Neihardt, whose most famous work includes “Black Elk Speaks” and “Cycle of the West,” was appointed by the Legislature. In 1982, William Kloefkorn was appointed as Nebraska State Poet by Governor Charles Thone. Kloefkorn served as State Poet for 29 years until his death in May 2011. Twyla M. Hansen, winner of two Nebraska Book Awards and co-director of the website, “Poetry from the Plains: A Nebraska Perspective,” served from 2013-2018.

To learn more about Matt Mason, visit his website at matt.midverse.com or his official page at the Humanities Nebraska website by clicking here. For information about hosting the state poet with the Nebraska Arts Council’s “Presenting the State Poet” grants, visit artscouncil.nebraska.gov or contact the office at (402) 595-2122.

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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.

 

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2019 Big Talk From Small Libraries Schedule Now Available

The full schedule for the 2019 Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference is now available!

You will find it on the Schedule page. Information about our presenters is available on the Speakers page.

If you haven’t registered yet, now is the time to jump over to the Registration page and sign up!

You are welcome to watch as an individual or to host a group viewing of the conference. If several staff members from the same library want to attend, you can just register for one seat and have staff members view/listen together via one workstation.

You can also host a viewing party this same way and invite staff from other libraries. For any group viewings, if you know who will be there, you can list your Additional Attendees on your one registration or you can send us a list after the event.

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