E-rate Form 471 Application Filing Window Now Open

The Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2019 opened today at noon EST and will close on Wednesday, March 27 at 11:59 pm EDT. You may now log on to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and file your FCC Form 471 for FY2019.

This makes Wednesday, February 27, the deadline to post your Form 470 to the USAC website, meet the 28-day posting requirement for the competitive bidding process, and submit a Form 471 by the filing window closing date.

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

IMPORTANT: Before you file your Form 471, check your Form 470 Receipt Notification for your Allowable Contract Date – the first date you are allowed to submit your 471. Do not submit your 471 before that date! Remember, after you submit your Form 470, you must wait 28 days to submit your Form 471. Note: This Notice is now emailed directly to you. You can also find it within the EPC portal in your News feed.

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

USAC has Form 471 resources on their website:

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

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

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Facebook Login on Third-Party Sites

Facebook for Developers imageHave you ever been on a website that asks you to login using Facebook? This usually appears as a quick one-click button that lets you link this app to Facebook so you don’t have to manually enter a lot of your own information into the new website. So how do websites get this button on their website?

It’s surprisingly easy. Take a look at the Facebook Login Overview on Facebook for Developers. Any website can use the Login if they only need access to a user’s public profile and email address. The overview states that “to ask for any other permission, your app will need to be reviewed by Facebook before these permission become visible in the Login Dialog to the public who’re logging into your app with Facebook”.

Looking at their App Review process, apps have to submit a request on a feature by feature basis and match that request to the product offered on their site. Businesses also need to verify their business identity. Businesses also have to sign a usage agreement.

That is somewhat reassuring, but let’s rewind a bit here. Any business, verified or unverified can use this Login feature to gain access to the public profile. Think about what’s on your public profile: a cover photo, gender, networks, schools attended, age range, language, country, and any information that appears on public searches. Imagine what companies can do with some of this information.

Some of these third-party websites may also sync up with Facebook to post some of the information from their app on your profile’s timeline. For example, Goodreads is a very popular website among librarians. Depending on how you set up your Goodreads account, you may have given Goodreads permission to automatically post your completed books to your timeline. Do you want all of your Facebook friends to know everything you read?

If you’ve already accidentally synced an app with your Facebook profile, there are usually ways to undo or change the settings. Here’s Goodread’s Help page if you want to take a look at the permission shared between Goodreads and Facebook. They also provide information about how to adjust the settings.

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NCompass Live: 2019 One Book One Nebraska: ‘This Blessed Earth’

Celebrate the joint 2019 One Book One Nebraska and All Iowa Reads selection, This Blessed Earth with Ted Genoways on the next FREE NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, January 16, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

In this fifteenth year of One Book One Nebraska, we’re partnering with All Iowa Reads to inspire libraries and other literary and cultural organizations to plan activities and events to encourage all Nebraskans and Iowans to read and discuss the same book. Join us to hear more about this dual state reading promotion activity, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, Iowa Center for the Book, State Library of Iowa, and the Nebraska Library Commission.

We are very pleased to announce that our featured guest will be Ted Genoways, author of the 2019 selection, This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm.

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

  • Learn about how to create a successful local reading promotion using Nebraska’s year-long, statewide celebration featuring This Blessed Earth, by Ted Genoways.
  • Brainstorm strategies to read and discuss This Blessed Earth.
  • 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 2019 Celebration of Nebraska Books, which will celebrate this book, along with the winners of the 2019 Nebraska Book Awards.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Feb. 6 – You Make Me Want To Break Out
  • Feb. 20 – Crafting Relevant Community Partnerships Using Archives
  • Feb. 27 – Future Ready Nebraska and the Digital Learning and Ed Tech Plan
  • March 20 – Reading Diversely

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 “The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist”

To #BookFace, perchance to dream…

“Poetry is all I have to give. I don’t know any other way to help.” Based on real-life abolitionist Gertrudis Gomez de Avellanda (Tula), Margarita Engle’s book of verse tells the story of a brave young woman who fought against her family’s expectations and spoke out against her country’s treatment of women and the practice of slavery. The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionistis a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and is one of many YA selections that we have available. Reserve it for your book club today!

“An inspiring fictionalized verse biography of one of Cuba’s most influential writers… Fiery and engaging, a powerful portrait of the liberating power of art.” – Kirkus Reviews

Today’s #BookFace model is one of our Talking Book & Braille Service reader advisors, Holly!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret

A little while ago, I had just finished reading The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret and I was listening to a story on NPR about music students attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Ironically, the story highlighted current student musicians that were contributing to the music world in a way quite similar to the wrecking crew of the 1960’s and 1970’s. You see, the original wrecking crew was a collection of backup (or maybe background would be a more appropriate word) musicians that played on numerous studio recordings. Like the Berklee music students, the wrecking crew played on jingles, theme songs, film scores, and commercials (the Berklee students have expanded to playing music for podcasts, video games, and other things).

So The Wrecking Crew documents the lives of these studio musicians, how they started and expanded in the business, and their interactions with some of the writers, producers, arrangers, and other notable artists. These include, among others, Brian Wilson, Sonny and Cher, Simon and Garfunkel, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, and the Mamas and the Papas. While one of the more well-known members of the crew was Glen Campbell (who also toured as one of the Beach Boys), the book also focuses on drummer Hal Blaine and guitarist Carol Kaye (shown here hilariously giving Gene Simmons a lesson on bass). Incidentally, the name wrecking crew, penned by Hal Blaine, is disputed by Carol Kaye, who mentions that the group of musicians weren’t generally known as such (but sometimes called “the Clique”). Call them whatever you choose, but this set of musicians were the go-to’s when it came to studio recording, and the point is that the work was good enough for them to earn a living doing it. Most of the recorded music you hear from this time has these musicians playing on it instead of the actual bands that toured. And the kicker is that you would never know it; most of the time (if not all of the time) they weren’t credited.

The book also offers an interesting insight into many of the colorful (both in a healthy creative way and sometimes controlling and abrasive) characters in the music world at the time. For the creative but meticulous, think Brian Wilson. For the controlling and abrasive (and sometimes downright crazy), think Phil Spector. The Wrecking Crew offers access into not only these major artists but also those behind the scenes. A documentary film about the Crew, based on the book, may also be of interest (some of the original footage illustrates things in a worthwhile way).

Hartman, Kent (2013). The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret. St. Martin’s Griffin.

 

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Summer 2018 State Publications List Available

For those wanting to add records to their catalogs for Nebraska state documents, the Summer 2018 list of Nebraska E-Docs is now available at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/govDocs/shippinglists/edocsalerts.aspx

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Drones in the Library!

One day, drones may deliver library books to home bound library patrons. That day may come sooner than you’d think.

Drones are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and can be controlled remotely or fly autonomously through the use of a pre-programmed flight plan. These drones use sensors to control their flight path and to collect various types of data. This data can range from weather information to chemical emissions to a collection of photographs.

Today, drones are being used in the military, by landscapers, construction workers, farmers, artists, researchers, and just about every industry known to man. So how are they being used in the library? Here are a few examples:

Drones on Loan: People want to learn about drones and take them for a test drive. The Arapaho Library has 4 copies of a Hover Camera Passport Drone available in their regular catalog. Georgia Highlands College has a similar system in place. If you would like to replicate this in your library, try testing out demonstrations with one drone and gather patron interest. If there’s interest, it might be time to update your loan policy to cover damage and incidentals on a drone for loan!

Delivery Drones: Right now, Amazon is pilot testing a delivery drone. Their website says their drones are “designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles” using Prime Air. It’s not hard to imagine how these could come in handy for libraries one day.

Drone Demonstrations: You can also do some drone demonstrations in the library. This might take a bit of practice to get the controls down, but it’s definitely possible! It’s quite probably you could find an enthusiastic patron who has experience that might want to teach a few classes in the library.

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NCompass Live: Graphic Novel Collection and Programming

Join us for the next FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘Graphic Novel Collection and Programming’ on Wednesday, January 9, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Learn new resources to find widely-appealing graphic novel selections for all age groups, toddler through teen. Join Russ Harper, Youth Services Specialist at Omaha Public Library, as he makes core collection recommendations, discusses top sellers, and how to find the hot new thing. Includes programming tips for both American comics and manga fans!.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Jan. 16, 2018 – 2019 One Book One Nebraska: This Blessed Earth
  • Feb. 6, 2019 – You Make Me Want To Break Out
  • Feb. 20 – Crafting Relevant Community Partnerships Using Archives
  • Feb. 27 – Future Ready Nebraska and the Digital Learning and Ed Tech Plan
  • March 20 – Reading Diversely

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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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 December 2018.  Included are reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies:  Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy, Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Service,  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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#BookFaceFriday “Songs of the Humpback Whale”

Today we’re giving it our best shot at speaking whale… HhhAaapEEE BooookffAaace FrrrriiiidAAaayyy!

While we didn’t see any whales off the coast of Puerto Rico, we did take advantage of the beach for this week’s #BookFaceFriday “Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices” by Jodi Picoult (Washington Square Press, 1992).  This familial drama between a disgruntled wife and her renowned oceanographer husband plays out in a cross country road trip.  This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection; get it reserved for your book club today!

“Picoult has become a master almost a clairvoyant — at targeting hot issues and writing highly readable page-turners about them . . . It is impossible not to be held spell bound by the way she forces us to think, hard, about right and wrong.” ―Carolyn See, The Washington Post

Today’s #BookFace model is my very accommodating sister, who stared into the ocean for a good long time so I could get this shot.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of ’80s and ’90s Teen Fiction by Gabrielle Moss

My most vivid memory of second grade was trying to read a Sweet Valley Twins book under my desk during class, only to get caught and kept in from recess. This may have happened multiple times (sorry, Mrs. Wade). From the ages 8 to 12, I heavily favored the sort of books that Gabrielle Moss revisits in her new history of tween and teen fiction from the 1980s and ’90s, Paperback Crush.

Flipping through this book was a fun trip down memory lane, with stops along the way in Stoneybrook, CT, Sweet Valley, CA, and Shadyside, OH. Was it classic literature? Not in the slightest. But I would stalk the shelves of my local library or mall bookstore, just waiting for the latest installment of my series-du-jour.

I was surprised at how many titles/series I had forgotten about over the years. Sleepover Friends and Girl Talk, The Face on the Milk Carton, 2 Young 2 Go 4 Boys; their plots had obviously wormed their way into my subconscious, judging by how many clubs I convinced friends to form and how fascinating the idea of having a twin was to tween-age me.

Moss has broken down the 80s/90s teen fiction genre into 7 broad themes (love, friends, family, school, jobs, danger, and terror) and covers the most popular books for each theme, and the knockoffs they inspired. Teen fiction during this time period certainly had its flaws: lack of diversity, corny plot-lines and cheesy cover art, neatly wrapped up endings, but it also fueled the girl-power movement and sparked a lifelong love of reading for many of us. These girls could do anything – take on the school bully, run for class president, deal with an annoying brother or divorcing parents, fight vampires… Interspersed throughout are interviews with authors such as Rhys Bowen, Caroline Cooney, and Christoper Pike, as well as a timeline of teen lit from the turn of the 20th century until more modern times.

If you ever started your own babysitter’s club, or asked yourself if you were an Elizabeth or a Jessica, I would recommend spending a couple of nostalgia-filled hours with this “totally radical” history book.

Moss, Gabrielle. Paperback Crush. Philadelphia, PA : Quirk Books. 2018.

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Augmented Reality in the Library

The best way to learn about augmented reality is to use it. The easiest and most cost-effective way to experiment with augmented reality (AR) is with an app. AR uses the camera from a smartphone or tablet to take in information from your surroundings.

The information is fed into an app and that app can be programmed to superimpose images, audio, or other computer generated media when a trigger point is reached. That trigger point can take the form of a specific object, a longitude and latitude registered via GPS, or a person’s face. Here are a few examples you might want to try in your library:

Pokemon Go: This one is incredibly popular across multiple age groups. It uses GPS on your phone to pinpoint location, your smartphone camera takes in images, and the app superimposes Pokemon at specific GPS location. So if you see someone walk into a tree with their phone held out in front of them, it’s possible they were trying to catch Pokemon.

BBC Civilisations AR: This app was made by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). They selected 40 different historical objects from famous museums and developed this app to allow people from around the world to project and explore there objects in their own home. They hope to gain user feedback to improve their project, so feel free to let them know what you’d like to see from an app like this in the future.

Metaverse: This augmented reality platform will let you try building your own AR app for free! They have plenty of walk-through tutorials to get you started with programming different images, animations, and interactive library games to pop up throughout your library building and surrounding area. Have fun exploring!

Google Expeditions: Of course Google has some AR apps. They also dove into AR platforms. Google Expeditions is designed to allow users to explore and learn more about different world landmarks, weather phenomenon, hard-to-reach locations, get up close and personal with animals, and digitally explore the world. Just a heads up that this app has VR and AR options. The VR side has had mixed reviews with compatibility issues for different headsets. The AR has better reviews, but takes a bit of practice to implement.

 

 

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Friday Reads: (Another) Year in Review

As we begin the countdown to 2019, the Nebraska Library Commission is looking back at all the great books we’ve reviewed in 2018!

In our weekly blog series Friday Reads, a staff member at the Nebraska Library Commission posts a review of a book every Friday. Spanning all genres, from short stories to celebrity memoirs, young adult to crime fiction, we’ve shared what we’ve read and why we’ve read it.

Former NLC staffer Laura Johnson created this series to model the idea of talking about books and to help readers get to know our staff a little better. Readers advisory and book-talking are valuable skills for librarians to develop, but they are ones that take practice. We hope that our book reviews will start a conversation about books among our readers and encourage others to share their own reviews and recommendations.

The series has been going strong for 4 1/2 years and has produced over 200 reviews, which are archived on the NCompass blog, or you can browse a list of reviews here.

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Friday Reads: Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett

If it’s the end of the year, then it must be Hogswatch! But, the Hogfather is missing! How can we have Hogswatch without him? Not to worry, Death is here to save the day, filling in for him so that all the children will still get their gifts. What could possibly go wrong?

Hogfather is the 20th book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. And it’s one of the most entertaining, in my opinion. If you haven’t read any Discworld books yet, that’s OK. This one can be read on its own. There’s enough detail and explanation to understand what’s happening. But, for those of you new to this series, Discworld is a magical world, filled with witches, wizards, dragons, trolls, and dwarfs. Physically, it’s a flat disc, sitting on the backs of four enormous elephants, which are standing on the back of an enormous turtle slowly swimming through space. You will recognize some similarities to our world, but since it does have magic, things are quite different.

It’s almost Hogswatchnight, and while Death is keeping up with some of the Hogfather’s duties, there’s still the problem of what happened to him. Luckily, Death’s granddaughter Susan is also on the case. While Death is trying to ensure that people will keep believing in the Hogfather, she’s trying to find him. It turns out that there will be more serious problems than a lack of gifts without a Hogfather. Belief in him also happens to be important to keep other parts of the world working properly. In order to save the Hogfather and Hogswatch, Susan must deal with the “Oh God” of Hangovers, interfering wizards, the realm of the Tooth Fairy, and Mister Teatime, an assassin who insists that his name is pronounced ‘teh-ah-tim-eh’.

As with all of the Discworld books, Hogfather is both a comic fantasy and a satirical commentary on our world. But, this novel also deals with the nature of belief and how important it can be to us, whether we realize it or not. It’s the kind of book you will need to read more than once to absorb the depth and meaning of the storytelling.

If you’re looking for a really fun seasonal read that will restore your faith in humans, Hogfather is the book for you. HAPPY HOGSWATCH!

Pratchett, Terry. Hogfather. New York: Harper, 1996.

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Discounts on Books & Supplies for Nebraska Libraries

This message is a reminder that various library vendors offer Nebraska libraries discounts on books and supplies via the Nebraska Library Commission. You can see a list of these vendors on the Discounts on Books & Supplies page of the Nebraska Library Commission website.

While some of these discounts are ongoing, others are offered for specific terms that are renewable. We are pleased to report that the following vendors have recently renewed their discount terms through at least the end of 2019:

  • Brodart
  • Demco
  • Ingram Library Services, Inc.
  • Midwest Library Service
  • The Library Store
  • Vernon Library Supplies

Please see the Discounts on Books & Supplies page for a complete list of participating vendors, and also to see the discount terms and the steps required to obtain the discounts.

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NCompass Live: Best New Teen Books of 2018

What are the ‘Best New Teen Books of 2018?’ Find out on the first FREE NCompass Live webinar of 2019! Join us on Wednesday, January 2, 2019, 10:00am – 11:00am CT, for ‘Best New Teen Books of 2018: Popular Teen Novels – New Books They Need to Read’.

Learn about qualities of books that teens are reading, and the titles Nebraska teens are seeking at their libraries. The presenters will discuss new books that are popular with teens in their communities and describe the qualities these titles possess that make them good choices for many libraries.

Presenters: Jill Annis, School Librarian, Elkhorn Grandview Middle School; Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Jan. 9, 2019 – Graphic Novel Collection and Programming
  • Jan. 16, 2018 – 2019 One Book One Nebraska: This Blessed Earth
  • Feb. 6, 2019 – You Make Me Want To Break Out

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 “Running With Scissors”

I’d hate to have a Freudian slip with this #BookFace

Get off your therapist’s couch and check out “Running with Scissors: A Memoir” by Augusten Burroughs (Picador, 2003). This New York Times Bestseller is one of those instances where real life is more outlandish than any fictional story.  This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and is the perfect selection to get your book club through the winter doldrums!

“I just finished reading the most amazing book. Running with Scissors is hilarious, freaky-deaky, berserk, controlled, transcendent, touching, affectionate, vengeful, all-embracing….It makes a good run at blowing every other [memoir] out of the water.” ―Carolyn See, The Washington Post

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model apparently has a love for running around with boxes on his head. I’m so glad his mother knew how to take advantage of it! Mr. Asher is the son of our Information Services Librarian, Aimee Owen! She and her family get all the credit for this week’s #BookFace photo!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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What’s Sally Reading?

School Library Journal Announces 2018 Best Books

Recently, in their December 2018 issue, School Library Journal listed 17 picture books, 21 Chapter Books & Middle Grade titles, 17 YA titles, 12 Nonfiction choices, four Poetry titles, and nine Graphic Novels & Nonfiction choices.  You can visit their web page for a look at the titles they chose to see what you might already have on your shelves, and what you may want to consider adding.  Underneath the slideshow of the titles is an opportunity to download the lists.

As usual, I have read and reviewed some of the titles on their lists, but not had a chance to see and read all of them. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi is one of the Middle Grade titles they selected. It is the first of “Rick Riordan Presents,” an imprint of Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Aru (12) lives with her mother at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta, Georgia. Her mother is often gone on trips to research and discover artifacts for the Museum. At the beginning of winter break, three schoolmates stop by to challenge Aru to prove one of her stories is true (Aru has a good imagination), thus prompting her to light the lamp that could end the world. This freezes her mother and her schoolmates so Aru appears to be on her own to rectify her mistake. Fortunately, she is teamed up with another girl, Mini.  Soon Aru and her fellow heroine, Mini, are traveling to mystical places to try and save the world. Wonderful action, working through a possible friendship with Mini, and dealing with the guilt she feels keeps Aru on her toes. I am looking forward to the next book, Aru Shah and the Song of Death, which will be published on April 30, 2019.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers. After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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What Robots Can’t Do

Nowadays, many robots are infused with artificial intelligence (AI). It may seem like robots can do anything, but they really can’t.

As librarians, this is good information to have. Some libraries help patrons with professional development. Help steer them towards  jobs that robots will not likely be able to do in the near future, if ever. To do this, it helps to first know what AI is and how it works.

AI is basically software that writes itself and can perform particular tasks. AI has a learning curve. Quite literally. The new machine must be trained by a large amount of data so it can detect the correct patterns and replicate the correct action(s). In the beginning, a human operator might supervise this machine and take note of any mistakes made. These mistakes will be logged and a new set of data will be fed to the AI software to correct the mistakes. This process is repeated until the machine is operating correctly in an unsupervised setting.

Let’s use the example of self-driving cars. There are several variables that go into driving. The car would have to be fed lots of information, including how to detect a stop sign. But if the car was only fed images of stop signs during the day, it might miss stop signs at night.

Needless to say, AI has a long way to go. It is powerful and has great potential, but it can’t do everything. Bernard Marr estimates that AI will take over “receptionists, telemarketers, bookkeeping clerks, proofreaders, delivery couriers, and even retail salespeople” (7 Job Skills of the Future (That AIs and Robots Can’t Do Better Than Humans).

But robots can’t feel. They may appear creative at times, but they are just programmed. Robots will never be the underdog that sees impossible odds and decides to try it anyway. Robots will never truly care about people. If patrons walk in asking which jobs are going to be safe from robots, steer them towards cultural preservation, emotion/ empathy based jobs, and creative problem-solving with human interaction. Humans will also be necessary to build, maintain and improve upon robots and AI.

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E-rate Form 471 Application Filing Window Dates Announced

From the USAC website:

FY2019 Application Filing Window Dates Announced

The FCC Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2019 will open Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at noon EST and close Wednesday, March 27, 2019. You can read the USAC announcement for full details.

To prepare for the window opening:

  • If you haven’t already done so, file your FCC Form 470 now! You don’t need to wait for the window to open.
    • To file your FCC Form 470, log into the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC). You must wait 28 days after your FCC Form 470 is posted to the USAC website before you can close your competitive bidding process, select a service provider, sign a contract (if applicable), and submit an FCC Form 471. If you issue an RFP after the FCC Form 470 is posted, you must wait 28 days from the release of the RFP to select a service provider.
    • Wednesday, February 27 is the deadline to post your FCC Form 470 to the USAC website or issue an RFP and still complete all of these actions before the window closes.
  • Log-in or create your account in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and then review, update or assign user rights for anyone who will need access for FY2019. Review your EPC profile and confirm all of your information is accurate including your organization’s name, address, and other details. Your profile is now unlocked and available for you to insert any further updates but will be locked again on January 15, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST. Libraries should confirm their square footage, main branch, and public school district of the main branch information is correct and that any bookmobiles or kiosks are included.

You can find additional resources and instructions for using the EPC on the USAC website and on the NLC’s E-rate website.

Please contact Christa Porter if you have any questions or need any assistance submitting your E-rate forms.

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