Listened to a good book lately?

Narrator Lois Crandall prepares to narrate a magazine.

This article was originally published in the Lincoln Journal Star.

Nebraska Talking Book and Braille Service uses newly developed technology to supply audio books to individuals with print disabilities. As books are requested, they are duplicated and mailed to the borrower’s home. Duplication-on-demand has eliminated waiting lists for popular books. Borrowers are also able to download reading materials and listen to them on their phone.

Talking Book and Braille Service is available to Nebraskans with print disabilities. These include visual impairments, dyslexia, and disabilities that make holding a book difficult. Talking Books is part of the Nebraska Library Commission and works in collaboration with the National Library Service.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled works with Talking Book libraries across the nation to provide audio books, magazines, and special book players. The National Library Service has also paid for mailing the materials back and forth to homes, so that there is no cost at all to borrowers to use the service.

To supplement the bestsellers and national books and magazines, the Talking Books audio studio records 21 magazines of specific interest to Nebraskans. Volunteers narrate the text as a second person follows along and handles the recording equipment. The team’s goal is to make a recording that is word perfect. Experienced volunteers might also narrate books about Nebraska or by Nebraska authors. To audition to be a narrator, or if you or someone you know would like to sign up to use the service, please contact the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service at 402-471-4038 or 800-742-7691.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Which Coding Language Should I Learn?

Which Coding Language Should I Learn? Find out on this week’s Pretty Sweet Tech FREE NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, February 26 at 10am Central Time.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

My brother is a software engineer. About four years ago, I asked him which coding language people should learn in the library. He looked at me blankly and asked “well, what do they want to do?”. Honestly, lots of things. Building websites, programming robots, learning the internet of things, building video games, designing virtual reality, learning the basics of artificial intelligence. You know. Coding.

I thought his head was going to explode, there were just so many variables and approaches to each one of these concepts. I had overloaded his processor! Over the past few years, I narrowed down this question of “which coding language should we learn?” and approached everything from an absolute beginner level perspective. I organized the information into buckets based on what people want to learn.

This session is all about where to get started with the most popular technology skills in industry right now. Want to learn websites? Easy: HTML, CSS and Javascript will get you started. Want to learn robotics? Try Python, then work your way into C++. Augmented and Virtual Reality? Start with HTML, CSS and Javacript, or launch right into C#. What about artificial intelligence? Start with Python in Tensorflow. This session will be jam-packed with tools and resources to ease learners into complex technology from an absolute beginner’s standpoint. Some of these tools can be used in library programming, while others are geared towards the self-directed learner who wants to know how to take the next steps on their own.

Who is this session geared towards? Makerspace librarians, children’s and teens librarians, and anyone interested in connecting library patrons with resources to learn technology concepts.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • March 4 – The Healing Library: Responding to Trauma in Your Community Through Nontraditional Lending
  • April 1 – Beta Testing for Social Wellbeing
  • April 15 – Amplified Advisory with Video Book Talks

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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Only One Week Until Big Talk From Small Libraries 2020!

Small libraries! Awesome ideas! FREE Online Conference!

There’s only one week until Big Talk From Small Libraries 2020!

Check out the full schedule and register to join us next Friday, February 28.

Sponsored by the Nebraska Library Commission and the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL), 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 serving fewer than 10,000 people. This event is a great opportunity to learn about the innovative things your colleagues are doing in their 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!

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Friday Reads: The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home

In addition to the history of the Biltmore estate, this book also covers the Vanderbilt family. After a bit of background into the wealth inherited by George Washington Vanderbilt, the youngest son of William Henry “Billy” Vanderbit, the book focuses its attention mostly on the life of George, the building of the Biltmore estate, his wife, Edith Dresser, and the chronology of their lives and the evolution of the Biltmore estate. The Vanderbilt wealth was expanded through railroads and shipping and increased through inheritances. In 1877, Billy inherited nearly $100 million from his father, and when he died in 1885, his wealth had doubled to over $200 million. George was the youngest son of Billy, with seven siblings. Being the youngest, his inheritance was less than his siblings, although still in the millions of dollars. George was an eccentric cat, introverted with interests in art and books. Longtime bachelor until his marriage to Edith at age 37. In many ways, the book is also about Edith and her relationship with the Biltmore, especially since George died at the age of 51.

At any rate, the book covers interesting background information about the Vanderbilts, their fortune, philanthropy, and super-rich lifestyles. The book details George’s vision for the Biltmore, and its construction and maintenance. The estate was built from 1889 to 1895. Some of the statistics are staggering; especially considering this was pre-1900:

  • A woodworking factory and brick kiln was produced on site, generating 32,000 bricks per day;
  • 175,000 total square feet, with more than 4 acres of floor space;
  • 250 rooms in the house, including 35 guest rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, and 3 kitchens;
  • Over 100,000 acres of surrounding area, including a robust forestry program (after George’s death Edith sold over 85,000 acres back to the federal government); and
  • A library with over 10,000 volumes, many rare and collectible.

The Biltmore has been open to the public since 1930, with a brief hiatus during World War II, when various paintings and sculptures were moved there from the National Gallery of Art to protect them in the event of an attack on the U.S. The home continues to be owned by a private company ran by the Vanderbilt heirs. The Last Castle is overall an interesting read, not only pertaining to the construction and maintenance of the Biltmore estate, but also the Vanderbilt family and surrounding Asheville community.

Kiernan, Denise. The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s largest Home. Atria Books, 2017.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Boy in the Black Suit”

Everybody’s crazy for a sharp-dressed #BookFace!

We’re throwing back to this #BookFace as we celebrate Black History Month. The author, Jason Reynolds, was recently selected as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress! We highly recommend “The Boy in the Black Suit” by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015.) Not only was it the 2019 One Book for Nebraska Teens selection it’s also available as a part of the NLC Book Club collection. This excellent YA novel is also a 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book. You can reserve this kit today for your youth book club!

“Matt is a wonderfully sympathetic, multidimensional character whose voice is a perfect match for the material and whose relationships with Love and Mr. Ray—also a fascinating character—are beautifully realized. This quiet story is clearly a winner.” -Booklist

This week’s #BookFace model is one of our Commissioners, Vernon J. Davis! He began his three-year term as Commissioner this past July after his appointment by Governor Pete Ricketts.

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

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Throwback Thursday: Charles B. Washington with Jackie Robinson and Bob Boozer

We’re celebrating another week of Black History month with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

From Omaha, Nebraska, Charles B. Washington was a journalist, mentor, and activist. He is known for his work in the North Omaha area. On September 14, 1986, the North Branch of the Omaha Public Library was renamed after him.

Jackie Robinson, from Cairo, Georgia, broke racial barriers in professional athletics when he became the first African American to play Major League Baseball.

Bob Boozer was an Omaha native who played for Tech High. He went on to play for Kansas State University and became the number one draft pick of the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals in 1959.

This 10″x8″ black and white photograph is published and owned by Omaha Public Library. The items published by Omaha Public Library in Nebraska Memories include early Omaha-related maps dating from 1825 to 1922, as well as over 1,100 postcards and photographs of the Omaha area.

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. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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NCompass Live: 2020 One Book One Nebraska: ‘All the Gallant Men’

Celebrate the 2020 One Book One Nebraska selection, All the Gallant Men, with us on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, February 19, 10:00am-11:00am CT.

In this sixteenth year of One Book One Nebraska, Nebraska libraries and other literary and cultural organizations continue to plan activities and events to encourage all Nebraskans to read and discuss the same book. Join us to hear more about this state reading promotion activity, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and the Nebraska Library Commission.

We are very pleased to announce that our 2020 selection is, All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor (William Morrow, 2016) by Donald Stratton, with Ken Gire.

Join Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner, Nebraska Library Commission Communication Coordinator Tessa Terry, Nebraska Center for the Book President Christine Walsh, and Nebraska Center for the Book Board Member Becky Faber to:

  • Learn about how to create a successful local reading promotion using Nebraska’s year-long, statewide celebration featuring All the Gallant Men, by Donald Stratton.
  • Brainstorm strategies to read and discuss All the Gallant Men.
  • Find tools to help engage your community in local activities to encourage them to come together through literature to explore this work in community-wide reading programs.
  • Learn about the 2020 Celebration of Nebraska Books, which will celebrate this book, along with the winners of the 2020 Nebraska Book Awards.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Feb. 26 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Which Coding Language Should I Learn?
  • March 4 – The Healing Library: Responding to Trauma in Your Community Through Nontraditional Lending
  • March 11- Holiday Break at the Library!

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

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

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Nebraska Center for the Book | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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 January 2020.  Included are Annual Reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies, Rules and Regulations from the Nebraska Jail Standards Board, economic development reports from the Nebraska Public Power District, new Fishing and Boating Guides from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, reports from the Nebraska Department of 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, 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.

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#BookFaceFriday – “Crushed”

It’s just ahh little crush on #BookFaceFriday!

Happy Valentine’s Day readers! Don’t let the lack of the perfect book club read get you down. We promise there’s a book out there for everyone, like “Crushed” by Laura and Tom McNeal (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2006) This YA novel is written by a husband and wife duo from Nebraska and can be reserved for your book club!

“A sympathetic documentary of human interrelationships and the consequences of choices, with an underlying emphasis on the value of real connection. McNeal fans and other young believers in human possibility will find food for thoughtful hope here.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

This week’s #BookFace model is our new Library Innovation Studios Staff Assistant Chelsea Lemburg! She started just a few weeks ago and will be assisting all of our LIS makerspace libraries!

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

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Friday Reads: The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander

I’ll be the first to admit that you can put the word “library” in any book title, and I’ll read it without hesitation. But I am sure glad I picked up The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander, because it was delightful. I read a handful of middle-grade books around this time each year, and this has been my favorite selection so far of 2020.

Trying to abscond from her nanny at the library and get some quality reading time in, Lenora stumbles into the “staff only” section. Recognizing her potential, the head librarian offers her a job as “Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian”, tasking her to use her wits and valor to serve her patrons. Lenora embarks on a series of adventures, some comical, some harrowing, in her quest to answer patron inquiries. If only my days on the reference desk were this exciting!

This book clocks in at 208 pages, so it’s a fairly quick read, making it ideal for read-alouds. The fast-pace and fun facts will keep middle grade readers engaged. I have a certain niece named Lenora that will be getting a copy soon for sure!

Alexander, Zeno. The Library of Ever. Imprint, 2019.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Auto Complete Lesson Plan

Not my hands

I was typing an email on my phone last night and Google kept trying to put words in my mouth. Some of them were things no human being would ever say, others were eerily close to what I was planning to say. I have a Google Pixel smartphone and I recently found out this feature is called Smart Compose. Instead of only recommending the end of a word I’m typing, the system might recommend a full sentence.

I decided to try an experiment. Every time those light grey recommended words popped in, I tapped on them to accept the recommendation. I got some interesting results. Some were way off, others were eerily accurate. I tried it with responses to emails, and fresh email drafts with no recipient. Here’s what I started to notice:

  • Responses to emails resulted in longer recommended phrases
  • Initial email drafts with no recipient resulted in small, one-word recommendations to the end of sentences.
  • Business formatted emails resulted in long recommendations of formal sentences
  • Casual emails resulted in off-the-wall recommendations of things I would never say.

Good times were had by all. Anyway, the lesson plan idea is pretty simple here. Have learners observe their auto-response texts and emails for a while. If the person has auto-response deactivated on their device, temporarily reactive the service. It can be turned off later.

This observation can be done over the course of a brief lesson, or observed over the span of a week. Just ask people to write an email or text, then choose the autocomplete option. Highlight or mark out the autocomplete section so it can be identified later. This activity can only be done with Gmail or another Google service that has Smart Compose enabled.

Ask people to consider these questions:

  1. Would you ever say any of the things Google recommends?
  2. Did Google’s recommendation change what you were originally going to type?
  3. Was the recommendation better or worse than what you had planned (consider phrasing, politeness, grammar, etc.)?
  4. Do you like the Auto Complete option?
  5. What do you think Google is looking at to make these recommendations?
  6. How will this change the way we communicate?

Additional Resources

Gmail Autocomplete Feature Unveiled (YouTube): See Smart Compose in action and hear from the team that made the feature.

Here’s How to Use Gmail’s Smart Compose: The Verge shows you how to enable Smart Compose if you haven’t upgraded to the new Gmail yet.

Google’s AI-powered Smart Compose feature is coming to Google Docs: The Verge describes in more detail how the system works and how to use the beta in Google Docs.

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Throwback Thursday: Sweet Lips

We’ve got a sweet Valentine’s Day themed #throwback for you!

This piece of music was written by Jess Williams, a long-time resident of Lincoln, Nebraska and a nationally famous ragtime pianist.

This content is provided and owned by the Polley Music Library of Lincoln City Libraries. Just over 250 pieces of Nebraska sheet music are available through the Nebraska Memories databases, as well as concert programs, manuscripts, theatre programs, photographs, and other Nebraska memorabilia which features an element of music. Searchers can also listen to a dozen performances of selections performed by local musicians.

Want to see more Nebraska history? Check out all the collections 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. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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NCompass Live: Legal Research for Non-Lawyers and Librarians

Learn how to serve your patrons with legal questions on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘Legal Research for Non-Lawyers and Librarians’, on Wednesday, February 12, 10:00am-11:00am CT.

We will cover three subjects that will help non-law librarians serve patrons with legal questions. First, we will describe resources available through the Schmid Law Library’s website that can help people research their own legal questions. Second, we will cover the Nebraska Online Legal Self-Help Center and other official resources available from the Administrative Office of the Courts. Finally, we will cover the Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) which is housed at the Schmid Law Library and is dedicated to helping inventors and business people explore patents and trademarks.

Presenters: Richard Leiter, Director, University of Nebraska – Schmid Law Library; Keelan Weber, Head of Cataloging and Resources Management, University of Nebraska College of Law, Schmid Law Library; Maureen Eck, Supreme Court Deputy Librarian, Nebraska State Law Library.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Feb. 19 – 2020 One Book One Nebraska: All the Gallant Men
  • Feb. 26 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Which Coding Language Should I Learn?
  • March 4 – The Healing Library: Responding to Trauma in Your Community Through Nontraditional Lending
  • March 11- Holiday Break at the Library!

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

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

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Value Line Library Database Trial (through 2/29/20)

Value Line is offering Nebraska libraries trial access to their online investment research service during the month of February.

Description: Value Line Library Research Center is a single, cost-effective research package covering multiple asset classes, combining the built-in speed, convenience, accuracy, and functionality that can transform an average investor into an extremely profitable one. Contains research on stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, Options, and a special investment portfolio model. Read more about Value Line Library Research Center online, or view a video.

Trial access instructions (URL, username, password) were distributed via a January 31, 2020 message to the TRIAL mailing list. Nebraska librarians who didn’t receive this information or would like to have it sent to them again may contact Susan Knisely.

Note: Not all trial announcements are posted to this blog. If you are a Nebraska librarian and you’d like to receive future database trial announcements directly in your inbox, please make sure you are signed up for the Nebraska Library Commission’s Trial mailing list.

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Friday Reads: A Wrinkle in Time

Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness. The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared. The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure. Then, slowly, the shining dwindled until it, too, was gone, and there was nothing but stars and starlight. No shadows. No fear. Only the stars and the clear darkness of space, quite different from the fearful darkness of the Thing.

“You see!” the Medium cried, smiling happily. “It can be overcome! It is being overcome all the time!”

As this very timely quote illustrates, A Wrinkle in Time still resonates as strongly today as it did when it was first published almost 60 years ago.

This classic battle between good and evil is told through a unique, creative story. With the assistance of various supernatural beings, three children travel through space and time to save the universe from a dark force. It is sometimes depicted as being just a fantastical tale, but there is also hard science in there.

Madeleine L’Engle had a hard time getting it published, one reason being they couldn’t decide if it was for children or adults. I think that just makes it a perfect title for anyone to read.

If you are struggling with difficult events, and worried that nothing can be done to save us, A Wrinkle in Time gives us hope. Light will always triumph over darkness and evil. With the help of family and friends, we can be strong and brave, even when frightening times are upon us. Just have faith that we will battle and beat the demons in the end.

A Wrinkle in Time was also released as a very nice graphic novel in 2012. It’s not written word for word of course, but it is quite faithful to the main plot and themes of the original. I really enjoyed how the illustrations, done in only blue, black, and white, helped to enhance rather than distract from the story.

Posted in Books & Reading, Youth Services | Tagged | 1 Comment

#BookFaceFriday – “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”

#BookFaceFriday celebrates Black History Month!

We’re throwing back to one of our first-ever #BookFace photos with “The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As told to Alex Haley” by Malcolm X (Grove Press, 1963.) We originally featured this title as a Nebraska 150 Books List selection, and it’s available in our book club kit collection. Check out this Nebraska Author of color for your book club!

“Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will.”—Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father

“The most important book I’ll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn’t know I had inside me. I’m one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better.”—Spike Lee

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

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Throwback Thursday: Charles B. Washington and Louis Armstrong

The month of February is Black History Month and we’re celebrating with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

In this 5-3/4″ x 10″ black and white photograph, Nebraska’s own civil rights activist Charles B. Washington is shaking hands with Louis Armstrong, one of the most influential figures in jazz history.

This week’s image is provided and owned by Omaha Public Library. The items on the Nebraska Memories archive include early Omaha-related maps dating from 1925 to 1922, as well as over 1,000 postcards and photographs of the Omaha area.

Are you interested in Nebraska history? If so, check out all the collections 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. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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2020 Census Preparation Manual

The 2020 Census will be conducted primarily online, creating additional obstacles to counting already under-counted populations. With this in mind, communities and organizations are preparing to support enumeration efforts by providing safe internet access points, answering questions from the community, and tracking incidents that arise.

The Digital Equity Laboratory has released a learning guide, Preparing for the First Digital Census, meant for anyone who intends to work with communities towards a complete count during Census 2020. Based on expert risk assessments and a series of pilot workshops across New York State, they have compiled a set of curriculum modules intended to equip organizations with the information and tools they need to play their part.  

The goal is to provide both digital and public-facing tactics and techniques to reduce confusion, find the right path to participation for all, help prevent possible harms, and enable communities to better prepare against the uncertainties of a digital census. The aim has been to address holistic safety concerns, not solely cybersecurity.

Complete manual: “Preparing for the First Digital Census”

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

Free Class: Libraries as Partners in Healthy Communities

WebJunction is collaborating with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) to design a series of courses for public library staff related to health topics. The next course, available in March through WebJunction, is Libraries as Partners in Healthy Communities.

Public libraries around the country are magnifying the role they play as key contributors to community health. By understanding the health needs and challenges specific to our communities, libraries are able to respond with relevant services and programming, often created in collaboration with local agencies and health providers.

Join us this March for Libraries as Partners in Healthy Communities, a free, two-week, instructor-led course, to explore how your library can actively partner to promote the health of your community through responsive programs and services, and learn how to incorporate this focus into your library’s strategic plan.

The course will look at the many ways public libraries are supporting community health, and provide strategies and methods to identify activities that serve the health needs of your community. We will also look for inspiration and support from partnerships, including a library that partnered with the local Parks and Recreation department to host an all-ages Zumba program, and another that worked with the local health department to host a chronic disease self-management workshop for community members without adequate access to traditional healthcare. And Josh Berk, of Bethlehem Area Public Library, will present about Bike Bethlehem, a free bike share program serving community needs through a successful multi-agency partnership.

WebJunction’s Dale Musselman and NNLM’s Darlene Kaskie will present this free course in two live, online sessions, on March 3 and 10, from 2:00-3:00 pm Eastern Time, with two additional hours of readings and assignments for learners to complete on their own. You’ll also be encouraged to share your ideas and learning with others enrolled in the course through active discussion forums. Learn more about the course Libraries as Partners in Healthy Communities, enroll today, and join us in March to take the next steps for your library’s community health partnerships.

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UPDATES: Libraries and the 2020 Census

New webinar recording about responding to the Census
If you missed ALA’s sold-out webinar, “Responding Online to the 2020 Census: What Libraries Need to Know,” the recording is now available. The webinar orients library staff to the 2020 Census questionnaire, the online response system, other options for responding, common questions, and tips for libraries.

New tip sheet on Census programs and partnerships
On January 30, ALA released “Libraries and the 2020 Census: Programming, Outreach, and Partnerships (PDF),” a 2-page tip sheet that describes how libraries can reach hard-to-count populations and build community collaborations around the 2020 Census.

Updated “Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census”
On January 22, ALA released an updated “Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census.” The revised 22-page guide (PDF) includes the latest information about Census operations and tips for libraries. Share it with a colleague who needs to know!

Upcoming events
February 13, 2 pm ET: YALSA webinar: “Engaging Teens in the 2020 Census” (free for YALSA members, paid for others)
February 18, noon ET: ODLOS webinar: “Census 2020 Outreach to Communities of Color
February 28: PLA Conference: “2020 Census Countdown: What You Need to Know Now” (3:30 pm CT, Music City Center, room 103) 

News of note
The Scoop: “Completing the Count” (January 26, 2020) – report of ALA Midwinter program
UPI: “Census Bureau aims to improve response rates” (January 23, 2020) – includes a discussion of libraries’ activities
School Library Journal: “Libraries Are Preparing for the 2020 Census. With Plenty at Stake, There’s Still Work To Be Done” (January 21, 2020)
The Public Libraries Podcast: “The 2020 Census and Public Libraries” (January 21, 2020)
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