Throwback Thursday: Easter Egg Hunt

This Sunday is Easter and for a lot of people that means celebrating with an Easter egg hunt!

This black and white photo shows about a dozen children and several adult volunteers standing in a park near the Nebraska Children’s Home Society located in Omaha.

This photograph is from Nebraska Children’s Home Society collection on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Interested in Nebraska history? Visit the Nebraska Memories archive to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

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 for more information.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Flame Wars and Trolls, Oh My!

The other day I came across a forum called “How to Deal With Flaming Trolls”. I won’t link to it here because the content took a turn about halfway through. But it is an important topic.

Lifewire defines ‘flaming‘ as a “means to attack someone verbally online…flaming is about hurling insults, transmitting bigotry, name-calling, or any outright verbal hostility”. The meaning of ‘trolling‘ seems similar, but “an internet troll is an abusive or obnoxious person who purposely seeks to get a rise out of others, either online or in real life”. Basically, a troll is a habitual flamer. You can see how the forum took a turn halfway through.

Anyway, different online platforms will deal with flaming and trolling in different ways. Many private, moderated forums will have a written policy for this situation. A good example is Mozilla’s Forum Etiquette ground rules. Their number one rule is to “Be Civil: No personal attacks. Do not feel compelled to defend your honor in public. Posts containing personal attacks may be removed from the news server”.

I like this example because Mozilla didn’t use any special jargon to remind people to be a good person. They also firmly reminded users not to rise to the bait to try to “defend their honor in public”. Being unjustly defamed in public is a big cause for flame wars. For bonus points, read the “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” section. Wise words Mozilla. Wise words.

Mozilla’s Etiquette guide also does a great job of reminding people to ignore trolls and flamers. It does more harm than good to engage in cyclical discussions. But there is one thing I would like to point out: this forum is mostly used by adults.

Many libraries deal with teaching children and teens online etiquette and cyber bullying prevention techniques. Much of this behavior occurs on social media or on forums that are not closely monitored. Many of us also know that impulse control is not always well-honed at this age.

Etiquette rules are more important and need to be monitored and enforced more closely at this age. Practice, repetition, and positive reinforcement is also helpful. We also can’t focus solely on our younger patrons. People of all ages could use a reminder of how to treat others respectfully, especially when we can hide behind a digital avatar.

Here are a few resources to learn about cyber bullying, flaming, and digital etiquette: cyberbullying, signs of cyberbullying, and prevention tactics.

Very Well Family has an article about 5 Things to Teach Your Kids About Digital Etiquette

BrainPop has a combination of free and paid Digital Etiquette resources for educators. These are nice to have because they are animated and gamified for younger learners.


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NCompass Live: An Inside Look at the National Rural Transit Assistance Program Resource Library

Take a tour with us on the next FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘An Inside Look at the National Rural Transit Assistance Program Resource Library’, on Wednesday, April 17, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Learn about the National Rural Transit Assistance Program’s (National RTAP) wide array of rural and tribal transit resources and join us for a behind-the-scenes look at our Resource Library and ways to connect with us for training and technical assistance. Our free training resources include print and DVD training modules, eLearning courses, topic guides, webinars, technical briefs and more.

Presenter: Cara Marcus, Resource Center Manager, National Rural Transit Assistance Program.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • April 24 – Connect to Meetings, and more…Experts, Virtual Field Trips with Zoom
  • May 1 – The Golden Sower Award: Nebraska’s Children’s Choice Literary Award
  • May 8 – Small Libraries Can Run Code Clubs for Kids
  • May 15 – A Conversation with Nebraska’s New State Poet, Matt Mason
  • May 22 – Picture Book City: Reorganizing Our Storybooks by Subject
  • May 29 – Let’s Get Real About Virtual Reality

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 “Public Library and Other Stories”

O magic place it was — still open thank God.

-Alexandra Harris

Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith Book Face photo

What could be more appropriate than this week’s #BookFaceFriday highlighting National Library Week! Celebrate with “Public Library and Other Stories” by Ali Smith (Anchor, 2016). Libraries = Strong Communities is this year’s theme and nothing could be truer. What can you do to help your community celebrate? Get out to your library, sign up for a library card, tell someone what you love about your library, and tell your local library staff how much you appreciate them! It’s that easy. This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and is a great read!

Why are books so very powerful? What do the books we’ve read over our lives—our own personal libraries—make of us? What does the unraveling of our tradition of public libraries, so hard-won but now in jeopardy, say about us?

The stories in Ali Smith’s new collection are about what we do with books and what they do with us: how they travel with us; how they shock us, change us, challenge us, banish time while making us older, wiser and ageless all at once; how they remind us to pay attention to the world we make.  — book jacket

This week’s #BookFace model is NLC’s Talking Book & Braille Service Audio Production Studio Manager, Gabe Kramer! He is the only one we could talk into laying on the sidewalk outside the office, so he deserves an extra high-five this week.

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

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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Keiko Furukura realized as a child that she was different from everyone else. Her classmates and teachers were increasingly dismayed by her behavior and her family desperately wanted her to be “cured” and become “normal.” Until Keiko found her job at the Smile Mart convenience store during university, she felt doomed to be the odd one out.

But at Smile Mart, the world makes perfect sense. She can follow the employee behavior manual, mimic the speech and dress of her co-workers, and everyone seems happy with her. Flash-forward 18 years; working part-time at a convenience store is no longer enough to keep her friends and family satisfied, and Keiko finds that it is time for a change.

This story gives some insight into the importance of conformity in Japanese culture; it is more important to Keiko’s friends and family that she meet societal expectations, to get married or find a real career path, than to live a content life as a misfit…even if that marriage is dysfunctional or the career makes her unhappy. Keiko must decide if she will do as others think she should… or be true to herself. A short read, this humorous yet heart-breaking tale may have you wondering who the misfits really are.

Murata, Sayaka. Convenience Store Woman. Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori, Grove Press, 2018.

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Young Nebraskans Win Writing Competition

April 10, 2019

Tessa Terry

Young Nebraskans Win Writing Competition

Nebraska students competed for the twentieth year in the annual Letters About Literature competition. They wrote to tell an author about how books can make a difference in a young person’s life. Young Nebraska writers who wrote winning letters in the Letters About Literature competition received award certificates from Gov. Pete Ricketts at a proclamation-signing ceremony celebrating National Library Week, April 7-13, 2019. Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing promotion program. Nearly 28,000 adolescent and young readers nationwide, in grades four through twelve, participated in this year’s Letters About Literature program-hundreds of them from Nebraska. The competition encourages young people to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) who had an impact on their lives.

This annual contest is sponsored nationally by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, with funding from Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The Center for the Book was established in 1977 as a public-private partnership to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading. The Nebraska competition is coordinated and sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, Houchen Bindery Ltd., Humanities Nebraska, and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.

Young Nebraska writers to be honored are:

Payton Boyer, Alliance, for a letter to M. Ruben
Ruby Cunningham, Omaha, for a letter to Ishmael Beah
Gage Boardman, Valley, writing to Becky Albertalli

Alternate Winners
Maren Steinke, Lincoln, for a letter to Paul Griffin
Makenna Miller, Elkhorn, for a letter to J.D. Salinger
Kelsee Moffat, Oshkosh, writing to Nicholas Sparks

The students wrote personal letters to authors explaining how his or her work changed their view of themselves or the world. They selected authors from any genre, fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic. Winners were chosen from three competition levels: upper elementary, middle, and secondary school.

The Nebraska winners are honored at a luncheon and receive cash prizes and gift certificates. Their winning letters are placed in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln. They will advance to the national competition, with a chance to win a trip to Washington, D.C. for themselves and their parents. For more information about the competition see

The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the Nebraska Library Commission.

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,

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Finding Free Images Online

Libraries the world over are using images from the web to build websites and other cool projects. It’s easy to do a quick Google search, find some cool stuff, copy, and paste. This is not always exactly legal though. This post will give you the briefest of brief overviews of image copyright, then dive into how to find copyright free images on the web.

What is Image Copyright?

First of all, image copyright can get complicated. Only a copyright lawyer will be able to give you sound legal advice about images. That being said, MIT put together a useful slide set about what copyright is and a Fair Use Quiz. Here’s a helpful rule of thumb from their slides: “if you are not the creator of the work, you don’t have the legal right to copy, share, or display a photo, figure, music, video or a piece of text that you did not create, and you could face penalties if you do so”.

The exception to the rule is the somewhat murky fair use of copyrighted material. The Fair Use Quiz also has a handy table describing the factors that go into determining fair use. also has a lot more information about copyright law and application.

What are Free-to-Use Images?

Here’s some good news! There are some images where the author automatically made their stuff free for commercial and public use! You’ll know you found one because it will say “Free for Commercial Use, No Attribution Required”. Some may be free with attribution, meaning you need to add a small caption with the creator’s name, and possibly the original website from which the image came.

Finding Free-To-Use Images

  1. Google has an advanced search tutorial to filter results to free to use images
  2. Pixabay has a wide variety of free images. There is an optional donation to the author and to keep the site running. It’s also free to set up an account!
  3. Search Engine Journal put together a list of 41 Places to Find Free Images Online That You Will Actually Want to Use. Some sources also have video clips.

That list should keep you busy searching for a while. I hope you all have a fun, safe search!

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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 March 2019.  Included are reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies:  Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska Public Power District, University of Nebraska-Omaha Center for Applied Urban Research, 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.

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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NCompass Live: What is OER? Outstanding, Extraordinary Raw materials?

Join us for the next FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘What is OER? Outstanding, Extraordinary Raw materials?’, on Wednesday, April 10, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

The #GoOpen movement has impacted many conversations relating to digital resources for schools and public libraries. What is this OER phenomenon? How can a teacher/student/patron access these items and how can they be added to coursework or a collection ? This webinar will focus on the premise of OER (Open Educational Resources) and provide an opportunity to discuss with other participants how an OER can benefit and enhance a course or collection. Users will be provided with a “starting” point of OER references that can be used for education.

Presenter: Beth Kabes, Director of Blended and Distance Learning, Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • April 17 – An Inside Look at the National Rural Transit Assistance Program Resource Library
  • April 24 – Connect to Meetings, and more…Experts, Virtual Field Trips with Zoom
  • May 8 – Small Libraries Can Run Code Clubs for Kids
  • May 15 – A Conversation with Nebraska’s New State Poet, Matt Mason
  • May 22 – Picture Book City: Reorganizing Our Storybooks by Subject
  • May 29 – Let’s Get Real About Virtual Reality

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: ‘Tales from the Perilous Realm’ by J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien is best known as the creator of Middle-earth, the setting of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. But, did you know that he wrote other stories that don’t take place in Middle-earth?

In addition to being a fantasy author, Tolkien was an academic. He wrote modern translations of Sir Gawain & The Green Knight and Beowulf as well as the narrative poems The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, based on Norse mythology, and The Fall of Arthur, inspired by the legend of King Arthur.

Those longer works can be a bit hard to get through. Personally, I prefer his shorter original fairie tale novellas. Some of them are collected in Tales from the Perilous Realm:

Roverandom is the story of a dog who is turned into a toy by an angry wizard and recounts his adventures as he searches for a way to undo the spell.

Farmer Giles of Ham is an accidental hero, who must deal with a dragon who has invaded his village.

Smith of Wootton Major is the tale of a blacksmith who, after eating a magical cake, is able to enter the Land of Faery.

Leaf by Niggle is a short story about a painter struggling to finish his greatest work.

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is the only selection in this book related to Middle-earth. It is a collection of poems written by Hobbits, such as Bilbo Baggins and Sam Gamgee.

I have discovered that Tolkien is a fun and creative storyteller, in all forms. If you’ve only read his books based in Middle-earth, I highly recommend checking out his other stories.

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#BookFaceFriday “Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper”

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
― Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen really knows how to tell it like it is. This week’s #BookFaceFriday is a tribute to this favorite author and all her works. “Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper” by Manuela Santoni (Graphic Universe TM, 2018) is a unique graphic novel for kids and teens introducing them to the life of the author.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman in possession of a keen mind must be in want of a husband . . . This graphic work of historical fiction, translated from the Italian, examines the life of beloved author Jane Austen. The story begins with spreads from the end of Jane’s life as she writes to her sister, Cassandra, remembering their time together as children, progressing into womanhood, and recounting how she cultivated, with the support of her father, her love of reading and writing.  The author shows faith in younger readers by including some challenging vocabulary that may have them reaching for dictionaries. However, the illustrations and context clues make the work accessible. A lovely, quick read.”―Kirkus Reviews

This title comes from our large collection of children’s and young adult books sent to us as review copies from book publishers. When our Children and Young Adult Library Services Coordinator, Sally Snyder, is done with them, the review copies are available for the Library System Directors to distribute to school and public libraries in their systems. Public and school library staff are also welcome to stop by and select some titles for their library collections. Contact Sally Snyder for more information.

This week’s #BookFace model is Aimee Owen, NLC’s Information Services Librarian!

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

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Scholarships Available to Attend the 2019 ARSL Annual Conference

The Association for Rural & Small Libraries is now accepting applications for scholarships to attend the 2019 ARSL Annual Conference to be held in Burlington, Vermont on September 4-7, 2019.

Criteria for these scholarships has changed slightly so be sure to read and apply for the one(s) that fit you!

These scholarships are for first time attendees so anyone who has NOT previously attended an ARSL conference is invited to apply.

This year, four scholarships will be awarded by ARSL:

  • The Dr. Bernard Vavrek Scholarship is for current library school students. It includes conference registration, hotel, a $500 stipend, and a free one-year membership in ARSL.
  • The Founders Scholarship is for current ARSL members who have been working in in the library profession for 5 years or less. It includes conference registration, hotel, and a $500 stipend.
  • The Ken Davenport Scholarship is for current ARSL members who have been working in the library profession for 6 to 10 years. It includes conference registration and hotel.
  • The Angel Scholarship is open to current ARSL members who have been working in the library profession for any length of time. It includes conference registration and hotel.

Applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm Central Time on May 24, 2019 to be considered.

Visit the ARSL Scholarship webpage for more information and the scholarship applications. If you have any questions about the process or have any trouble with the application forms, please contact

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Win $1,000 for Your Library! Apply for a Baker & Taylor Award for Friends Groups and Library Foundations

From United for Libraries:

Two Friends groups and/or library Foundations will be recognized with Baker & Taylor Awards for their outstanding efforts to support their library during the year 2018.

Given annually since 2000, the Baker & Taylor Awards have recognized more than 42 groups around the country. Winning groups receive $1,000. Applications must be submitted by May 1, 2019, so now is the time to think about your group’s activities in 2018 with an eye on winning $1,000.

The awards will be given based on a specific project that took place or culminated during the 2018 calendar year. Applicants must be Friends or Foundation group members of United for Libraries through June 2018. Please contact United for Libraries to verify eligibility prior to preparing an entry.

Groups may apply in any of the following categories:

  • Public Library Friends Group or Library Foundation with assistance from paid staff (employed by library or Friends group).
  • Public Library Friends Group or Library Foundation without paid staff.
  • Academic Friends Group; School Library, Media Center, or Special Library Friends Group; State Friends Group.

Groups can apply at Entries should include a two-page summary, any additional background information, and a signed copy of the official release form (available online with the application). Entries must be submitted no later than May 1, 2019.

Supporting materials (press releases, photographs, clippings, promotional materials, etc.) may be submitted. Entries will be evaluated with these areas taken into consideration:

  1. Planning: Friends/Foundation, library, and community involvement, use of resources, appropriateness of the activity, and measurable goals and objectives.
  2. Implementation: Use of resources, public relations, task monitoring, and broad membership involvement.
  3. Evaluation: Assessment of activity or program, measurable results.
  4. Innovation: New idea or implementation, creative involvement of people, fresh use of public relations.
  5. Community Involvement: Broad support by the community in planning and implementation.

To learn more about past award-winning projects, visit

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Do Libraries Need Their Own App?

Recently I was asked an age old question: do libraries need their own app? To answer that, let’s take a look at how apps are made:

The Life Cycle of an App:

  1. An Idea is Born: Your library has identified a need in the community. You have explored different technology options to solve this need and discovered an app will reach the most people since more patrons own smartphones than computers.
  2. Designing the App: You put your dream team together and brainstorm how this app will work. What are your main goals? What do you want people to get out of this app? How will the user interface look so it is easily navigated? There are many questions here. A simple navigation prototype in PowerPoint or on paper will work for getting ideas on paper.
  3. Getting User Feedback: Describe your app idea to your target audience. Is there interest in the app? Would people use it? Which devices do users have? Which platform should the app be built upon? iOS? Android? Both?
  4. Fundraising: Apps are not cheap to build. They take time to design, build and maintain over time. App development is a marathon, not a sprint. Depending on complexity, apps can take between $10,000 and over $200,000 for the initial build. Then $1,000 or more for monthly updates to keep the app working. More if you want a native built app across multiple platforms. Plus consulting fees.
  5. Development: If you’re developing in-house, you need to identify existing staff, or bring on new staff to complete the project. If you’re using an outside company, you’ll probably need to use a bidding process, then communicate clearly with the company to let them know what you want. This process takes time and effort.
  6. User Testing: It’s time to test your first build to see if it meets the need you intended. It may take time to raise awareness that the app exists and get people using it. User feedback can be tricky.
  7. Updates/ Maintenance: A good developer can translate user feedback into workable updates for product improvement, without losing (m)any features.

All in all, a good app should suit a specific need, be well-designed for user navigation, and be updated regularly to retain users. Think about the apps on your phone. How many apps do you download and use consistently? What is the shelf-life of your apps? Which apps are competing for your attention? Think about what makes you repeatedly click an icon.

Can your library design an app that will stand the test of time for your patrons? You won’t know until you try.


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Public Library Accreditation and Community Needs Workshops Scheduled

Public Library Accreditation and Community Needs Workshops have been scheduled in locations across the state and online.

What is Nebraska Public Library Accreditation? What are the benefits of accreditation? How does my library become accredited? What’s a Community Needs Response Plan? Why does my library need one?

The purpose of Nebraska Public Library Accreditation is to encourage excellent library service in Nebraska communities. The guidelines used to evaluate libraries and their services are community-based, so libraries need to know their communities’ needs in order to provide appropriate library services that meet those unique needs. That’s where Community Needs Response Planning comes in!

In this workshop, Christa Porter, NLC’s Library Development Director, will guide you through Community Needs Response Planning and applying for Public Library Accreditation. Public Library Directors, Staff, and Library Board Members are encouraged to attend.

Dates and locations:

  • May 13 – Wayne
  • May 22 – Scottsbluff
  • May 23 – Elwood
  • May 28 – David City
  • May 30 – Online, GoToWebinar

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


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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).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse receives.                UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians, for their patrons, in Nebraska.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in March:

Caught Between the Lines                                                                          Carlos Riobo (Series: New Hispanisms)

Caught between the Lines examines how the figure of the captive and the notion of borders have been used in Argentine literature and painting to reflect competing notions of national identity from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Challenging the conventional approach to the nineteenth-century trope of “civilization versus barbary,” which was intended to criticize the social and ethnic divisions within Argentina in order to create a homogenous society, Carlos Riobó traces the various versions of colonial captivity legends. He argues convincingly that the historical conditions of the colonial period created an ethnic hybridity—a mestizo or culturally mixed identity—that went against the state compulsion for a racially pure identity. This mestizaje was signified not only in Argentina’s literature but also in its art, and Riobó thus analyzes colonial paintings as well as texts.

Caught between the Lines focuses on borders and mestizaje (both biological and cultural) as they relate to captives: specifically, how captives have been used to create a national image of Argentina that relies on a logic of separation to justify concepts of national purity and to deny transculturation.

Death is All Around Us : Corpses, Chaos, and Public Health in Porfirian Mexico City                                                                    Jonathan M. Weber  (Series: The Mexican Experience)

Late nineteenth-century Mexico was a country rife with health problems. In 1876, one out of every nineteen people died prematurely in Mexico City, a staggeringly high rate when compared to other major Western world capitals at the time, which saw more modest premature death rates of one out of fifty-two (London), one out of forty-four (Paris), and one out of thirty-five (Madrid). It is not an exaggeration to maintain that each day dozens of bodies could be found scattered throughout the streets of Mexico City, making the capital city one of the most unsanitary places in the Western Hemisphere.

In light of such startling scenes, in Death Is All around Us Jonathan M. Weber examines how Mexican state officials, including President Porfirio Díaz, tried to resolve the public health dilemmas facing the city. By reducing the high mortality rate, state officials believed that Mexico City would be seen as a more modern and viable capital in North America. To this end the government used new forms of technology and scientific knowledge to deal with the thousands of unidentified and unburied corpses found in hospital morgues and cemeteries and on the streets. Tackling the central question of how the government used the latest technological and scientific advancements to persuade citizens and foreigners alike that the capital city—and thus Mexico as a whole—was capable of resolving the hygienic issues plaguing the city, Weber explores how the state’s attempts to exert control over procedures of death and burial became a powerful weapon for controlling the behavior of its citizens.

Ecology and Ethnogenesis : An Environmental History of the Wind River Shoshones, 1000-1868          Adam R. Hodge (Series: New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies)

In Ecology and Ethnogenesis Adam R. Hodge argues that the Eastern Shoshone tribe, now located on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, underwent a process of ethnogenesis through cultural attachment to its physical environment that proved integral to its survival and existence. He explores the intersection of environmental, indigenous, and gender history to illuminate the historic roots of the Eastern Shoshone bands that inhabited the intermountain West during the nineteenth century.

Hodge presents an impressive longue durée narrative of Eastern Shoshone history from roughly 1000 CE to 1868, analyzing the major developments that influenced Shoshone culture and identity. Geographically spanning the Great Basin, Rocky Mountain, Columbia Plateau, and Great Plains regions, Ecology and Ethnogenesis engages environmental history to explore the synergistic relationship between the subsistence methods of indigenous people and the lands that they inhabited prior to the reservation era. In examining that history, Hodge treats Shoshones, other Native peoples, and Euroamericans as agents who, through their use of the environment, were major components of much broader ecosystems. The story of the Eastern Shoshones over eight hundred years is an epic story of ecological transformation, human agency, and cultural adaptation.

Ecology and Ethnogenesis is a major contribution to environmental history, ethnohistory, and Native American history. It explores Eastern Shoshone ethnogenesis based on interdisciplinary research in history, archaeology, anthropology, and the natural sciences in devoting more attention to the dynamic and often traumatic history of “precontact” Native America and to how the deeper past profoundly influenced the “postcontact” era.

Queer Embodiment : Monstrosity, Medical Violence, and Intersex Experience                                                                                              Hilary Malatino (Series: Expanding Frontiers: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality)

Merging critical theory, autobiography, and sexological archival research, Queer Embodiment provides insight into what it means, and has meant, to have a legible body in the West. Hilary Malatino explores how and why intersexuality became an anomalous embodiment requiring correction and how contesting this pathologization can promote medical reform and human rights for intersex and trans persons.

Malatino traces both institutional and interpersonal failures to dignify non–sexually dimorphic bodies and examines the ways in which the ontology of gender difference developed by modern sexologists conflicts with embodied experience. Malatino comprehensively shows how gender-normalizing practices begin at the clinic but are then amplified over time at both intimate and systemic levels, through mechanisms of institutional exclusion and through contemporary Eurocentric cultures’ cis-centric and bio-normative understanding of sexuality, reproductive capacity, romantic partnership, and kinship.

Combining personal accounts with archival evidence, Malatino presents intersexuality as the conceptual shibboleth of queerness, the figure through which nonnormative genders and desires are, and have been historically, understood. The medical, scientific, and philosophical discourse on intersexuality underlying our contemporary understanding of sexed selfhood requires theoretical and ethical reconsideration in order to facilitate understanding gender anew as an intra-active and continually differentiating process of becoming that exceeds and undoes restrictive binary logic.

Walking to Magdalena : Personhood and Place in Tohono O’odham Songs, Sticks, and Stories
Seth Schermerhorn   (Series: New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies)

In Walking to Magdalena, Seth Schermerhorn explores a question that is central to the interface of religious studies and Native American and indigenous studies: What have Native peoples made of Christianity? By focusing on the annual pilgrimage of the Tohono O’odham to Magdalena in Sonora, Mexico, Schermerhorn examines how these indigenous people of southern Arizona have made Christianity their own. This walk serves as the entry point for larger questions about what the Tohono O’odham have made of Christianity.

With scholarly rigor and passionate empathy, Schermerhorn offers a deep understanding of Tohono O’odham Christian traditions as practiced in everyday life and in the words of the O’odham themselves. The author’s rich ethnographic description and analyses are also drawn from his experiences accompanying a group of O’odham walkers on their pilgrimage to Saint Francis in Magdalena. For many years scholars have agreed that the journey to Magdalena is the largest and most significant event in the annual cycle of Tohono O’odham Christianity. Never before, however, has it been the subject of sustained scholarly inquiry.

Walking to Magdalena offers insight into religious life and expressive culture, relying on extensive field study, videotaped and transcribed oral histories of the O’odham, and archival research. The book illuminates indigenous theories of personhood and place in the everyday life, narratives, songs, and material culture of the Tohono O’odham.
Pictures and synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

Women Made Visible : Feminist Art and Media in Post-1968 Mexico City                                                           Gabriela Aceves Sepulveda (Series: The Mexican Experience)

In post-1968 Mexico a group of artists and feminist activists began to question how feminine bodies were visually constructed and politicized across media. Participation of women was increasing in the public sphere, and the exclusive emphasis on written culture was giving way to audio-visual communications. Motivated by a desire for self-representation both visually and in politics, female artists and activists transformed existing regimes of media and visuality.

Women Made Visible by Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda uses a transnational and interdisciplinary lens to analyze the fundamental and overlooked role played by artists and feminist activists in changing the ways female bodies were viewed and appropriated. Through their concern for self-representation (both visually and in formal politics), these women played a crucial role in transforming existing regimes of media and visuality—increasingly important intellectual spheres of action. Foregrounding the work of female artists and their performative and visual, rather than written, interventions in urban space in Mexico City, Aceves Sepúlveda demonstrates that these women feminized Mexico’s mediascapes and shaped the debates over the female body, gender difference, and sexual violence during the last decades of the twentieth century.

Weaving together the practices of activists, filmmakers, visual artists, videographers, and photographers, Women Made Visible questions the disciplinary boundaries that have historically undermined the practices of female artists and activists and locates the development of Mexican second-wave feminism as a meaningful actor in the contested political spaces of the era, both in Mexico City and internationally.

Pictures and Synopses from the University of Nebraska Press website:


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#BookFaceFriday “I Am Malala”

#BookFace and Women’s History,  it doesn’t get much better than that!

#BookFaceFriday this week is definitely a double threat as a part of both our “Who Runs the World?: Women’s History” collection on Nebraska OverDrive Libraries and in our NLC Book Club Kit collection! I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the Worldby Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016) is an Audiobook available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries! Explore this title and the 142 in the collection as you celebrate Women’s History Month! 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! As a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, this memoir by the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize is a great way to round out your book club reads!

“Although her efforts to attend school, and the subsequent attack she endured, make for a powerful story, Yousafzai writes just as vividly about her daily life as a child in Pakistan…. Yousafzai’s fresh, straightforward voice creates an easily read narrative that will introduce a slew of younger readers to both her story and her mission.”Booklist

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is NLC’s Talking Book & Braille Service Library Readers Advisor, Anna Walter!

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 Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Coyote (12) travels with Rodeo (her father, but don’t call him that) in a refitted old school bus.  They go where any whim takes them and only think of the future.  One day when Coyote talks to her grandma, she learns the park in their old neighborhood is going to be leveled to become housing.  Now Coyote must get home, somewhere Rodeo will not go, so she will trick him into it.  She must retrieve the memory box she, her sisters and her mom buried in the park five years ago.  They are in Florida and need to get to Washington state in four days, without Rodeo realizing where they are going.

Along the way they give some other travelers a lift and an interesting fellowship develops. First, she finds a kitten who is unusually quiet and seemingly knowing about what humans need, a bit like Coyote herself.  She invites Lester to ride with them to Montana to reunite with his former girl.  Salvador and his mom help Coyote out of a tough spot right when their car dies, so they join the group.  A couple of others join for a spell, including a considerate goat named Gladys.   Heartfelt and full of fun too, this book is able to move from silly to touching and bring a tear to your eye.  It is aimed at upper elementary to early middle school readers, or for anyone who enjoys a good road trip book about family.

Other books by the author include Good Dog, Scar Island and The Honest Truth.

Gemeinhart, Dan. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise. Henry Holt and Co., 2019.

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Kreutz Bennett Grants Awarded to Small-Town Public Libraries

Seven Nebraska public libraries recently received project funding, thanks to the generosity of a lifelong educator, the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett of Lincoln. Each year, the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF), accepts proposals for matching grants for public libraries in communities with populations under 3,000.

This year grants were awarded to libraries in Axtell, Crawford, Genoa, Randolph, Paxton, Sutton, and Yutan.

Following Ms. Kreutz Bennett’s wishes, a Fund Advisory Committee composed of her nieces and nephews recommends grants in three areas: planning for accreditation grants to support steps taken toward gaining accreditation; enhancement grants to improve library services; and facilities grants for new construction or the renovation, restoration, or rehabilitation of current libraries.

All grants require a one-to-one match in local funding and evidence that the project has broad community support. Approximately $80,000 in grant funding is available each year. Grant seekers are encouraged to review the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund guidelines and application procedures.

The Fund Advisory Committee encourages all eligible, unaccredited libraries to view the recently updated grant guidelines. A number of additional activities and expenses are now eligible for funding through a “Planning for Accreditation Grant.” Libraries working toward accreditation may apply for grants over the course of multiple grant cycles. For instance, Walthill Public Library received two grants in two separate years to help with salary support for the director to spend additional hours working on the accreditation requirements. Once accredited, the library was eligible for larger grants from a variety of sources, including the state of Nebraska.

Grant applications are simple to complete. A short-form proposal is due October 1, 2019, and a full proposal is due in January 2020.

For more information, contact Kristine Gale, affiliated fund development coordinator, 402.822.0466 or

The following libraries received grants in 2019:

Axtell Public Library

This library is raising local funds to update its library which is located in the heart of downtown. Planned improvements include installation of more effective lighting and renovating the restrooms to be accessible to all library patrons. The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund awarded a $20,000 grant, contingent on the library’s success in raising matching funds within one year.

Crawford Public Library

This newly accredited library received a grant of $700 to continue its efforts in meeting the goals articulated in its Community Needs Response Plan. Activities include website updates, policy planning, and summer programming.

Genoa Public Library

The committee has awarded grants over several years to enhance this library’s services. This summer Genoa Public Library will launch a program that teaches computer coding to elementary students. Eight sessions will be offered, and the program will continue throughout the year to serve additional groups of students and adults. The Fund provided a grant of $1,000 to help with implementation.

Lied Randolph Public Library  

An improved public meeting space is the goal of this project.  A grant of $2,900 will match local funds for the purchase of new audio/visual equipment and chairs. In addition to community meetings, the new space will be used to present movies with quality sound and picture, allowing residents to “stay local.”

Paxton Public Library

Flooding in the summer of 2018 caused extensive damage to this facility. As a result, the library was closed for several months, but continued to offer online services to patrons. A grant of $10,000 will assist with interior and exterior repairs. Additional purchase of tables and chairs for preschool children are also planned. This project receives local support from the Keith County Foundation Fund, another affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation.

Sutton Memorial Library

The computers in this library are over 14 years old, and software programs are outdated and continue to fail as demand increases. The library’s Community Needs Response Plan indicated citizens believed that updates were essential. Many library patrons do not have access to a computer in their homes. Providing free access to the Internet is a core requirement for Nebraska libraries. The Fund awarded a grant of $6,767 for the purchase of seven computers and software.

Yutan Public Library

This library has set a goal to be accredited at the gold (highest) level, which will make it eligible for increased state funding. To do this the library needs to expand its collection by seven percent to be compatible with its peer libraries.  A matching grant of $1,000 will help purchase more materials and books.

The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund has provided over 50 grants to Nebraska libraries since it began annual grantmaking in 2012. Christa Porter, Nebraska Library Commission Director of Library Development, said this grant program is perfect for libraries that are not yet accredited. “Libraries can use grant funding to gather information for their Community Needs Response Plan. This might include providing salary or stipend support for additional staff hours,” Porter said.

Other possibilities for non-accredited libraries may include one-time, or first time, costs that will help libraries earn points on the Accreditation Application. For example, subscriptions to online library databases, joining regional or statewide consortia, and expenditures for start-up technology purchases and services.

“Gaining accreditation is critical to our libraries. It opens the door to other outside funding,” said Jeff Yost, NCF president and CEO.  “In many small towns, the library serves as a public meeting space, a place for students to conduct research and do homework, and it offers Internet access to people who may not have it at home. We are honored to help the family of Shirley Kreutz Bennett carry out her legacy and passion for learning,” said Yost.

About Nebraska Community Foundation

Nebraska Community Foundation unleashes abundant assets, inspires charitable giving and connects ambitious people to build stronger communities and a Greater Nebraska.

Headquartered in Lincoln, the Foundation serves communities, donors and organizations by providing financial management, strategic development, education and training to a statewide network of 1,500 volunteers serving 257 communities.

In the last five years, 41,776 contributions have been made to Nebraska Community Foundation and its affiliated funds. Over the past 25 years, Nebraska Community Foundation has reinvested $323 million in Nebraska’s people and places. For information, visit

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NCompass Live: Health Education Resources with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Join us for the next FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘Health Education Resources with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’, on Wednesday, March 27, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine‘s mission is to advance the progress of medicine and improve public health through access to health information. NNLM Outreach and Technology Coordinator, Alicia Lillich, will present resources on general health, drug information, and environmental health to increase awareness and support outreach in your library.

Presenter: Alicia Lillich, Kansas Outreach and Technology Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), MidContinental Region (MCR), A.R. Dykes Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • April 3 – Nonprofit Basics for Libraries
  • April 10 – What is OER? Outstanding, Extraordinary Raw materials?
  • April 17 – An Inside Look at the National Rural Transit Assistance Program Resource Library
  • April 24 – Connect to Meetings, and more…Experts, Virtual Field Trips with Zoom
  • May 8 – Small Libraries Can Run Code Clubs for Kids
  • May 15 – A Conversation with Nebraska’s New State Poet, Matt Mason
  • May 22 – Picture Book City: Reorganizing Our Storybooks by Subject
  • May 29 – Let’s Get Real About Virtual Reality

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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