COVID-19 and Pandemic Resources for Libraries

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Concerned about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in your library or wondering what to tell your patrons? We’ve put together some guidance and resources for libraries.

If your library is looking for information on pandemic preparedness, including the current COVID-19 outbreak, check out our page of resources: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx.

If your library is closing due to local outbreaks (or has reopened since) please let us know by filling out this form. If you need help with due dates of book club kits or ILL items due to patron illness, please contact us.

Here is a list of libraries we know are closed, have reopened, or are offering modified services: http://bit.ly/NebraskaLibraryClosuresCOVID-19. We will update this list as we hear of changes.

We have also assembled an interactive map of Nebraska libraries offering modified services during the pandemic: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/stats/covid19map.aspx.  A map of libraries offering external WiFi is here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/stats/covid19mapwifi.aspx.

We are always updating our pages, so if you notice that we are missing a crucial resource, please reach out to us.

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Nebraska 1K Reading Challenge

In this difficult year, librarians learned about using technology to do a wide variety of tasks. One example is using Reader Zone to keep track of Summer Reading Goals instead of collecting that information on paper reading logs. Some found it difficult to manage. Others liked the way it was set up. Some patrons struggled to record their minutes and others loved using the app. Just like any other bit of new technology, Reader Zone takes some time to master.

Reader Zone has given us the chance to collect some pretty amazing statistics. As of the end of July, Nebraska readers have read 244,781 pages; plus 11,206 chapters; plus 19,085 books; plus 1,553,361 minutes!! Readers have also completed more than 2,500 literary activities. Reader Zone allows each library to designate what type of goal their patrons should work towards (i.e. pages, chapters, books, or minutes read). So, it is not just about the minutes…there is a LOT of reading going on!

Now we have another great opportunity and all you need to do is advertise it. The Nebraska Library Commission, the Nebraska Regional Library Systems, and Reader Zone are joining forces to offer the Nebraska 1K Reading Challenge for all ages.

Every Nebraskan that reads 1,000 minutes in August and records it in Reader Zone will receive an exclusive vinyl sticker and be entered into a drawing for a new waterproof, 32 GB Kindle Paperwhite. Two Kindles will be given away to Challenge Winners and their libraries will also receive a matching Kindle.

Click on this link, print the poster of your choice, and put it up in your library. It features the five-digit code (NEB1K) that will get your patrons started on the challenge. The first time a person logs in to Reader Zone with this code, he or she will be asked for an address. That is so we can mail the sticker to everyone that completes the challenge and the Kindles to the drawing winners. We will be able to sort the data and provide each library with the number of their patrons that participate (and win!).

Please help promote this terrific program to keep Nebraskans of all ages reading through the month of August!

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NCompass Live: The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries

Is your library in a community with a population under 3,000? ‘The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries’ is for you! Join us to learn how to apply for this funding opportunity on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, August 5 at 10:00am CT.

Since 2012, the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund has granted over $570,000 to Nebraska’s small-town public libraries through a term endowment established by the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett, a lifelong educator originally from Harvard, Nebraska. Thanks to this generous support, dozens of libraries have launched projects to repair, renovate, or replace existing facilities, create programs that enhance library services, and importantly, prepare libraries, boards and directors to become accredited, which opens the door to increased state funding.

A Fund Advisory Committee composed of Ms. Kreutz Bennett’s nieces and nephews recommends matching grants each year to libraries serving communities with populations under 3,000. Join us to learn how your library can apply for this annual grant opportunity.

Presenters: Kristine Gale, Community Impact Coordinator, Nebraska Community Foundation; Christa Porter, Library Development Director, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Aug. 19 – Drive-Thru User Testing
  • Aug. 26 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Sept. 9 – Discount Shopping with the NLC

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: Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky

The Wikipedia entry for Barbara Delinsky states that “she is an American writer of romance novels, including 19 New York Times bestsellers.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Delinsky) While every point of this is true it misses the vast number of her books that I would say fall under “stories of intrigue”, though not mysteries, as within the first chapter or two you are told what has happened and at times even by whom. What Delinsky does masterfully is get into why the event happened and why the people involved act the way they do, spinning a wonderful web of intrigue throughout.

“Before and Again” follows the story of Maggie Reid as she makes a new life for herself in a small town Vermont after her daughter dies. Almost immediately you find out that a 15 year old boy has been picked up by the FBI for hacking. That someone had been hacking grades at the high school had been no secret in the town but everyone is sent reeling when he’s also charged with hacking into some very prominent twitter accounts. Maggie considers the boy’s mother a good friend so she can’t help but get involved but that means dealing with her own past and helping a lot of others deal with theirs as well.

Barbara Delinsky’s books are like curling up with a cup of tea in an oversized comfy chair, even if you happen to be reading on the bus or over your lunch hour in the break room, so easy to get into with beautiful imagery that’s not hard to conjure. While “Before and Again” is probably one of my least favorite of Delinsky’s books that I’ve read sometimes, especially in times like these, it’s more about how the reading experience makes us feel rather than what we’re actually reading.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Bookshop at Water’s End” by Patti Callahan Henry

Take a dip with #BookFaceFriday!

Life’s a balancing act just like this week’s #BookFace. Check out “The Bookshop at Water’s End: A Novel” by Patti Callahan Henry (Penguin Publishing Group, 2017) it’s available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in eBook format. 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time due to the pandemic or Black Lives Matter.

If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

“The Bookshop at Water’s End carries us along the graceful curves and outwardly serene story line of two childhood friends returning to their summer riverside home. But like the river she writes about, Patti’s plot roils with strong undercurrents of murky secrets, tragedy and the pulsing tides of self-discovery. No one writes about the power of family and friends like Patti Callahan Henry. The Bookshop at Water’s End is a must-read for your summer!”Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Beach House for Rent

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

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Throwback Thursday: Automobile Testing Station

It’s another #throwback from Nebraska Memories!

This 8″x10″ black and white photograph from 1937 was taken in Omaha, Nebraska. It is part of the William Wentworth Collection at the Durham Museum. That collection consists of 4663 negatives of images documenting life in Omaha, Nebraska from 1934 through 1950. William Wentworth worked a freelancer and commercial photographer.

Are you a history buff? If so, check out all the materials 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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E-rate Adding Multifactor Authentication to Login Process

From the weekly USAC Schools & Libraries Program News Brief:

MFA for EPC Users and BEAR Form Filers Is Coming on July 27

USAC is adding multifactor authentication (MFA) to increase the security of Universal Service Fund (USF) IT applications. MFA is a method of authenticating a computer user during the login process by requiring the user to enter two or more separate pieces of information, such as a password known to the user and a code we generate and send to the user to enter in order to gain access.

Tonight (July 24) starting at 9:00 pm EDT, we will be uploading the necessary software, creating accounts for EPC users and BEAR Form filers in One Portal (our MFA security system), and then testing everything. This work will continue through the weekend. We plan to send out emails notifying you that you can log in to your new One Portal accounts starting on Monday, July 27.

After you log in to One Portal, you will see a dashboard with links to the application(s) you can access (your “entitlements”). For example, if your username in EPC is also the email address you use to file BEAR Forms, you will see links to EPC and the BEAR Form after you log in to One Portal.

Please keep the following in mind:

  • Add noreply@usac.org to your safe senders list so that you can receive your verification code.
  • We are creating a One Portal account for each unique EPC username or BEAR Form email address. If you use the same email address for both applications, we will create a single One Portal account that will provide access to both.
  • For the near term, BEAR Form filers will need to retain their BEAR login information – Billed Entity Number (BEN), Personal Identification Number (PIN), email address, and last name. Your One Portal username will not carry over into the BEAR Form, and you do not need multiple One Portal accounts if you file BEAR Forms for more than one billed entity.

You can refer to previous editions of the SL News Brief for information about MFA: June 26, July 10, and July 17. USAC will send an email on July 27 to all program participants who have new One Portal accounts with information on how to log in to One Portal for the first time.

If you need assistance, you can call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Technology vs. Human Values: How To Take Control

Explore ‘Technology vs. Human Values: How To Take Control’ on next week’s Pretty Sweet Tech FREE NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, July 29 at 10:00am CT.

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.

Have you ever felt a knot of fear and uncertainty in the pit of your stomach while using certain technology? I do. The first companies that come to mind are always Facebook, Google, and Amazon. These companies set the gold standard for technology, then teach others to do as they do, using free or low-cost tools. You may have heard the phrase: “if a tool is free, it means that you are the product”.

In this session, we will explore what it means to be the product of the tech generation. Is this really such a bad thing? Do the actions of technology companies reflect their values? Do these companies reflect our own personal values, and the desired values of our community? Or is the world being re-shaped by technology tools? To find out, we will explore major tech companies, dive into our own personal values, and see how it all stacks up.

At the end of the session you will have access to a variety of activities, discussions, and book group options designed to help you and your community align big tech with your own values. Keep in mind that these tools are experimental. As tech grows, we must all experiment with how to best deal with this changing landscape. Attend this session if you want to try something new and take control of how technology is shaping the world.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Aug. 5 – The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries
  • Aug. 19 – Drive-Thru User Testing

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: Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In, by Phuc Tran

I love memoirs. Not only do they offer readers insight into what it’s like to live lives different from their own, they also remind us of how much we humans have in common. That’s definitely the case with Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In, by Vietnamese American teacher, writer, and tattoo artist Phuc Tran.

In 1975, when Tran was one, his family fled the fall of Saigon and wound up resettled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In Sigh Gone, Tran describes what it was like growing up as a member of “the token refugee family” (2) in town. As one can imagine, it included schoolyard taunts and name-calling, and, when out in public with his family, the discomfort of always sticking out.

Tran also describes the resentment he felt toward his parents over what he saw, at the time, as their cultural and English language failings: “I needed to trust in my dad’s ability to navigate the world at large, and I was already doubting him. . . . Five-year-olds were supposed to believe what their parents said. Maybe some kids’ parents still had the golden nimbus of infallibility, but not my parents and not for me” (16).

Going forward, Tran chronicles his relentless efforts to assimilate. By high school, his two-pronged strategy included pursuit of academic excellence and successful integration into the punk/skater subculture. Of the later, he writes, “[b]eing a freak because of my weird clothes and hair was a respite. These were things that I had chosen . . . Fighting rednecks because you were a punk was far better than fighting because you were Asian, and fighting with allies was far better than fighting alone” (6).

So why did this book resonate with me? For one, Tran’s depiction of high school, with its cliques and angst—a “cultural cul-de-sac built with the craftsman blueprint of John Hughes, the Frank Lloyd Wright of teen malaise” (2)—is viscerally familiar. His description of his job as a library page also warmed my librarian’s heart, as did his discovery and adoption of Clifton Fadiman’s The Lifetime Reading Plan, which he stumbled on while prepping for the library’s used book sale.

Though the Plan, was “unapologetically American, classist, and white” (4), Tran could not have cared less at the time; it served as a catalyst for his burgeoning love of literature–which the English major in me appreciated. He also viewed the Plan as his entrée to the world of big ideas that can connect people across time, geography, and culture—which is what Tran, himself, has accomplished with this memoir. Sigh, Gone concludes right after Tran graduates from high school, just as he’s poised to head off to Bard College, which had described itself to him in its admissions literature as “A Place to Think” (267). So fitting!

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#BookFaceFriday – “Crooked Little Heart” by Anne Lamott

Game, Set, BookFace!

All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Leo Tolstoy said it best, dysfunctional families make for the best reads. Set your book club up for some great discussion with “Crooked Little Heart: A Novel” (Pantheon Books, 1997) by Anne Lamott. This national bestseller is a part of our book club kit collection and available for your next read!

“Lamott is at the top of her form in this complex coming-of-age novel in which tennis becomes the metaphor for life’s toughest lessons.”—Sue Grafton

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

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

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

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Throwback Thursday: Students Playing Baseball

Sports are making a comeback and we’re celebrating with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

This black and white photograph is published and owned by the Ella Johnson Crandall Memorial Library at Union College. The library at Union College is home to an archival collection of books, periodicals, audiovisual materials, photographs, artifacts, and manuscript collections related to the history of Union College and the College View community. The photographs selected for the inclusion in Nebraska Memories include early scenes of the Union College campus and downtown College View.

Want to see more Nebraska history? Check out this and all the other 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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Understanding MARC21 class

This class is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification ProgramCourses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.

Why would you use a 651 MARC tag instead of a 610 tag? What is the difference between a 260 tag and a 264 tag? Where do you put the note about large print?

If you have questions about MARC catalog records or would like to learn more about entering records into your local system, join us for this seven-session asynchronous online workshop.

Topics will include:

  • Fixed & variable fields, subfields, tags
  • Title and statement of responsibility
  • Edition
  • Publication
  • Physical description
  • Notes
  • Subject headings
  • Series
  • Main and added entries

This class will be held online from August 3rd to September 18th.

Class participants will access the course website in order to read materials, discuss questions/issues in discussion boards, and post assignments. The instructor will interact with participants through discussion boards and optional web chats in order to offer feedback and provide explanations of material.

To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments.

Prerequisite: Basic skills “Organization of Materials” or some library automation experience.

To register: Go to Understanding MARC 21 Bibliographic Records in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes JULY 26th.

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NCompass Live: The Taming of the Site: Helping Users Find What They Need Where They Expect It

Learn how to design instructional materials for everyone in your diverse community on this week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘Creating Accessible Materials for Library Instruction’ on Wednesday, July 22 at 10:00am CT.

Instruction librarians are often limited to a single one-shot information literacy session for each class they work with. Librarians can expand the impact of their instruction outside of these short workshops by providing students with access to their presentation slides, worksheets, and other supplemental materials after a session. These instructional materials should be designed with accessibility in mind to ensure that they are useful for a diverse group of learners. This presentation will provide attendees with information about why accessibility of instructional materials is important, best practices for creating accessible documents, and freely available tools for accessibility testing. It will include information about choosing an appropriate file format as well as considerations for making common file formats more accessible (MS Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.). While the presenter works in an academic library at a public university, this presentation is suitable for librarians, library staff, and LIS students who work in a variety of library contexts. Anyone who teaches, is interested in teaching, or wants to learn more about creating accessible presentations, documents, and other media will find something useful from this presentation.

Presenter: Elisabeth White, Science, Technology, and Mathematics Librarian, Towson University.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • July 29 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Technology vs. Human Values: How To Take Control
  • Aug. 5 – The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries
  • Aug. 19 – Drive-Thru User Testing

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 “Big Summer” by Jennifer Weiner

Hold on to your hat, it’s #BookFaceFriday!

Get out your sunscreen, put an umbrella in your drink, and make a splash with the perfect beach read! “Big Summer: A Novel” by Jennifer Weiner (Atria Books, 2020) is available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in eBook and Audiobook format. 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time due to the pandemic or Black Lives Matter.

If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

“Big fun, and then some. It’s empowering and surprising—a reminder to put down the phone and enjoy each moment for what it is.”The Washington Post

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 Lending Library, by Aliza Fogelson

What would you do if your town library closed for renovations, and the nearest library is an hour’s drive away? Read The Lending Library, by Aliza Fogelson to find out what one women did in just such a situation…

When the Chatsworth library closes indefinitely, Dodie Fairisle loses her sanctuary. How is a small-town art teacher supposed to cope without the never-ending life advice and enjoyment that books give her? Well, when she’s as resourceful and generous as Dodie, she turns her sunroom into her very own little lending library.

At first just a hobby, this lit lovers’ haven opens up her world in incredible ways. She knows books are powerful, and soon enough they help her forge friendships between her zany neighbors—and attract an exciting new romance.

But when the chance to adopt an orphaned child brings Dodie’s secret dream of motherhood within reach, everything else suddenly seems less important. Finding herself at a crossroads, Dodie must figure out what it means to live a full, happy life. If only there were a book that could tell her what to do…

I read The Lending Library, by Aliza Fogelson, in the Kindle format, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a lovely debut novel that teaches us how important libraries are to individuals, families, friends, and communities. Definitely an excellent read!

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Throwback Thursday: Edwin Lyndon

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

We’ve got a cute #throwback for you this week. Check out this portrait of Edwin Lyndon “Ned” May, Jr. This image is part of the Boston Studio Project and is owned by the Thorpe Opera House Foundation.

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

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ARSL Conference and CE Grants

Registration for the 2020 ARSL virtual conference is opening today! 

Registration will open today at 4:00 p.m. (CST). The updated schedule and speakers can be viewed on the ARSL Conference website.

Even better news — the CE grants are reopening! 

Starting Monday, July 20th, applications for CE grants will be available to submit online until August 31st.

What will be covered by grant funds?

  • Registration for the ARSL 2020 virtual conference
  • Mileage if traveling to a host library

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Librarians and staff members employed in an accredited Nebraska public library 
  • Board members of an accredited Nebraska public library
  • Nebraska students currently enrolled in a Library Science degree program (or will be enrolled in the fall) – will require proof of enrollment

Can library directors apply for a group CE grant?

  • Yes! ARSL is offering group registration rates this year. If libraries wish to take advantage of these group rates, the library director may apply for a CE grant for multiple staff members. Groups are not required to watch the conference together, though you may set up watch parties (following all safety guidelines).

Note: If you’ve already been awarded a CE grant for the ARSL conference, you do not need to reapply. I’ll be reaching out to you all individually.

If you have any questions, please contact Holli Duggan, CE Coordinator.

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United for Libraries Virtual: Trustees – Friends – Foundations

Registration is now LIVE for “United for Libraries Virtual: Trustees – Friends – Foundations,” August 4-6!

Visit www.ala.org/united/virtual to register.

This interactive three-day virtual event, free for United for Libraries members (including Statewide Group Members), will feature expert speakers on current topics facing library Trustees, Friends, Foundations, and staff who work with them.

  • Participate in live Q&A sessions with presenters.
  • Network with colleagues across the country in roundtable discussions.
  • Enjoy exclusive access to keynote speakers and authors.
  • Receive a certificate of attendance (for live participation or on-demand viewing).
  • Access the recorded programs for 12 months following the virtual event.

Program topics will include:

  • Advocacy and Equity: How Library Boards Can Create Lasting Impact through Compelling Cases and Outreach
  • Understanding Donor Data Analytics: Why it Matters and What You Can Do With It
  • Strategies for Solving Board Problems
  • Great Boards Don’t Happen by Accident: A Proactive Approach to Building an Effective Board
  • Working with Friends and Foundations: Playing for the Same Team
  • Ask, Listen, Plan: Engaged Planning for Trustees, Directors and Other Library Leaders

…and more!

Keynote speakers include:

  • Jim Taylor, Vice President of Leadership Initiatives, BoardSource [Integrating Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity into Your Board Culture]
  • Jan Masaoka, CEO, California Association of Nonprofits

…and more!

Visit www.ala.org/united/events_conferences/virtual for details, registration form, and schedule.

United for Libraries
The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations
A division of hte American Library Association
312-280-2160
www.ala.org/united

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Friday Reads: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

During my recent morning walks, I’ve been trying out more audiobooks instead of the usual podcasts. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor was one that appeared on my recommended list (which then reminded me that I also have the hardback copy sitting on my to-read shelf for a while, oops) and is narrated by Yetide Badaki. I haven’t quite finished it yet, but it’s definitely hard to put down. The world-building and magic, rooted in mythology, is fantastic.

Twelve-year old Sunny feels like she just doesn’t belong anywhere, living between two worlds. She was born in New York City, but moved to Aba, Nigeria with her parents and brothers when she was nine. All Sunny wants to do is to go to school, play soccer (where she would excel on the field if given the chance), and laugh with friends. However, she’s constantly bullied by her classmates, her brothers, and even her father. The boys at school won’t let her play soccer with them. Even if they would, her albinism causes her skin to be far too sensitive to be out in the sun, as well as more bullying. But Sunny never backs down, she’s a strong and intelligent character.

One night, during a blackout, she sees a nightmarish vision in candlelight. Shortly after, she meets Orlu and Chichi, and her odd life starts to make a little more sense. She has strong magical abilities which she begins to study as a new member of the ancient Leopard People society. The wonderful magical world opens up to Sunny, as she learns to turn her weaknesses into her greatest strengths while keeping it all secret from the rest of her family. She and her new friends quickly learn how dangerous this world and their training can be as they’re set to stop a dangerous killer before Sunny’s vision can come true.

Okorafor, Nnedi. Akata Witch. Penguin Group, 2011.

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

NCompass Live: The Taming of the Site: Helping Users Find What They Need Where They Expect It

Learn how to help your users find what they need on your library website on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘The Taming of the Site: Helping Users Find What They Need Where They Expect It’ on Wednesday, July 15 at 10:00am CT.

Helping users find the need-to-know information on a library website can be difficult, especially if the site’s structure itself confuses them or leads them to unexpected places. A library site may start small but grow larger and more unwieldy every year until users are lost in a maze of disconnected, outdated, or even missing pages. In this episode, you’ll find out how to update your site’s information architecture (IA) and simplify your navigational structure. You’ll also learn how identifying content owners makes content clean-up easier to finish and simpler to maintain. We’ll walk through steps to make sure your IA informs site navigation in a way that leads users the way they need to go. We’ll also discuss how to identify important content and distill it in a way that helps users get what they need without becoming frustrated. After this episode, you’ll be able to help users easily find what they need and make sure it’s still relevant when they get there!

Presenter: Jessica D. Gilbert Redman, Online Resources & Services Librarian, School of Medicine & Health Sciences Library Resources, University of North Dakota.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • July 22 – Creating Accessible Materials for Library Instruction
  • July 29 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Technology vs. Human Values: How To Take Control
  • Aug. 5 – The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries
  • Aug. 19 – Drive-Thru User Testing

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 “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume

Are you there Margaret? It’s me, #BookFace!

It’s a coming of age cult classic for this week’s #BookFaceFriday. The 1970’s young adult novel “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume (Random House Children’s Books, 2012) is available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in eBook format. 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time due to the pandemic or Black Lives Matter.

If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

“Generations of teenage girls have grown up reading the tales of teenage angst told by beloved author Judy Blume.” Mashable

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

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