NCompass Live: The Central Nebraska Digital Co-op

NCompass live smallJoin us for next week’s NCompass Live, “The Central Nebraska Digital Co-op”, on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

The Central Nebraska Digital Co-op is composed of libraries from across the state who are working together as a group to purchase products and services. As a group, we subscribe to Zinio Magazines and OneClickDigital downloadable audio books. The group could potentially add more agreed upon services, and already works with vendors to receive “group discounts” without committing all members to a product. This session will provide an overview of the Co-op and information about joining the group.

Presenter: Jake Rundle, Technology Librarian, Hastings (NE) Public Library.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Dec. 16 – Tech Tuesdays: Taking Time to Teach Technology to Technophobes
  • Dec. 23 – Best New Teen Books of 2015
  • Jan. 6, 2016 – Best New Children’s Books of 2015

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

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



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Friday Reads: The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch

FRLiesLockeLamoraI’ve always enjoyed a good adventure tale—swords, boots, sailing ships. These days, many of those are found in the Fantasy genre and often include some magic or monsters as well. Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora fits the bill with the added bonus of a caper. This book is the first in an on-going series, currently three volumes long and looking toward a fourth in 2016. Our protagonist, Locke Lamora, has been raised by a Fagin-esque mentor as a well-educated thief and swindler in a late medieval alternate universe of city states. Much of the action involves Locke and his pals (gang?) cleverly swindling an aristocrat while becoming entangled in lethal underworld wars. Think “Ocean’s Eleven” in tights mixed with a little “Gangs of New York” and a helping of “Game of Thrones.” The twisty fast-moving plot and the charm of the characters carry the book along. Some of the violence is extreme, and the language is salty—although inventive. I listened to the audio version, narrated by Michael Page. The other books in the series are Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves.

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Throwback Thursday: Kearney Carnegie Library


Exterior photo of the Kearney, Nebraska Carnegie Library built in 1905.

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Join the Nebraska Dewey Group Purchase

This is a good time of year to remind Nebraska librarians that they can save money on the web and print versions of the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system by participating in the Nebraska Dewey Group Purchase!

Dewey on the Web

Enjoy web-based access to an enhanced version of the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) database through WebDewey. WebDewey includes all content from the print edition and features:

  • deweywebregular updates (new developments, new built numbers and additional electronic index terms)
  • an easy-to-navigate, simple user interface that is suitable for the novice as well as the power user
  • BISAC-to-DDC mappings

Our next WebDewey Group annual subscription term will begin on January 1, 2016 and run through December 31, 2016. Libraries may join the Group at any time. Mid-term subscriptions will be prorated. Orders must be received by the 15th of the month for a start date of the 1st of the following month.

If your library is interested in subscribing to WebDewey, you will find Pricing information on the online WebDewey Order Form.

To see WebDewey in action, try the WebDewey 2.0: An Overview tutorial.

Dewey in Print

The Nebraska Dewey Group includes the print versions of the Abridged Edition 15 (1 volume) and the 23rd edition of the unabridged Dewey Decimal Classification (4 volumes).

dewey_23OCLC is offering group participants 10% off of the original list price on the DDC in print.

If your library is interested in ordering the DDC in print, you will find pricing information on the online Book Order Form.

For more information about the DDC, please visit Dewey Services.

If you have any questions about these Dewey products or the Nebraska Group, please contact Susan Knisely, 402-471-3849 or 800-307-2665.

NOTE: OCLC Membership is NOT required to purchase Dewey products.

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The Data Dude on Bibliostat Logins and Browsers

SurveyShaka. As some of you are now working on your public library surveys via Bibliostat, you may be experiencing log-in or browser related issues. Nothing is more frustrating than this. Feel free to contact the Dude if you have problems and need some help. First, if you are unable to log in (after double checking your passwords), make sure that the zeros are zeros and not capital O’s. None of the passwords contain capital O’s; what you see are zeros. Another thing to double check is your number and caps locks (although Bibliostat isn’t case sensitive). Finally, you can type your ID/password in a word processor and then copy and paste. Sometimes this exposes the irregularity, which sometimes is due to typing and not being able to see the characters (because you see the *****).

Now for the browser blues. Rule #1: Don’t use Chrome. It won’t work. Rule #2: Firefox good. In fact, probably the best choice. Rule #3: Internet Explorer (IE) is OK, but you must use at least version 6.0 or higher, and if you use version 10 or higher, you need to turn compatibility view on. Here’s the instructions to do that. For those users of the Edge browser in Windows 10, I had one library report some difficulties with it, but after testing here, noticed no problems with Edge. Rule #4: Use Edge at your own risk.

Bibliostat apparently is working on a new interface that will most likely address these browser issues. However, since we are mid-survey cycle, look for this change next year.

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NCompass Live: Life After MARC: Cataloging Tools of the Future

NCompass live smallJoin us for next week’s NCompass Live, “Life After MARC: Cataloging Tools of the Future”, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

Are you curious about the brave new world of post-MARC cataloging? Are you wondering what this BIBFRAME, Linked Data mumbo-jumbo you keep hearing about is, anyway? Attend this session to see demonstrations of a variety of tools to see how they each do their best to answer the question of what cataloging without MARC will be like, and what they can do in terms of transforming our catalogs’ legacy MARC data. Tools covered will include: RDA in Many Metadata Formats (RIMMF), BIBFRAME Editors (from the Library of Congress and Zepheira), and OpenRefine.

Presenter: Emily Nimsakont, Head of Cataloging & Resource Management, Schmid Law Library, University of Nebraska College of Law.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Dec. 2 – The Central Nebraska Digital Co-op
  • Dec. 16 – Tech Tuesdays: Taking Time to Teach Technology to Technophobes
  • Dec. 23 – Best New Teen Books of 2015
  • Jan. 6, 2016 – Best New Children’s Books of 2015

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

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


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Friday Reads: The Whites

whites“When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap – people shouldn’t read that stuff.”

–Mike Tyson

The Whites, by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt (more on that later) tells the familiar story of police detectives chasing criminals. The story mostly follows main character detective Billy Graves (still on the force but relegated to the night shift after some mishaps) and his cop friends (who have all left the force). Each of them has their own “white”, which is a reference to the white whale or Moby Dick. In this case the white is the one person that they believe got away with a brutal crime, but whose guilt cannot concretely be proved. Thus, their white roams free, escaping any societal punishment. Instead of tracking them down, injecting them with M99, encasing them in plastic, giving them their just desserts in a way not suitable for the squeamish (think power tools) and then dumping them into the ocean ala Dexter Morgan, the detectives just remain haunted by the open cases and continue to work the system to try and develop a new lead or evidence to connect the dots. Ho-hum. At least until the whites start turning up dead; certainly not in Dexter Morgan fashion, but dead nonetheless. And Price navigates the moral waters of such a course in a more typical way, at least compared to the morality of Dexter Morgan.

The thing about Price is that there is nothing new in the story or the formula (including a thrilling side story), but where Price excels is in the way he describes the ordinary dialogue and events of these somewhat (at least for cops) ordinary people. It’s what made his previous novels and his writing on The Wire so raw, real, engaging, and so darkly humorous.

Finally, why do we have “Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt”? Here’s Price’s explanation:

“I wrote it under a pseudonym because I intended to write a straight-up urban thriller — which I’ve never done before — and I wanted to have a separate persona for it. However, the book kept expanding and became like any other book I’ve written, so looking back, I wish I hadn’t used a pen name.”

Long story short: Nothing new here, but if you liked his other stuff you’ll like this one. Price also mentioned other writers who adopted pen names and who seemed to morph into those roles with distinction. Although this apparently was his idea from the start (to morph into a literary alter ego), he mentioned that he never really felt that way. Call him what you want (Harry, Richard, Guy, or Fella), but if you go into it knowing that The Whites isn’t any of that “Tolstoy crap” (and not expecting it), you might enjoy it just a little bit.


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Boost Local Communities on Small Business Saturday

shop smallSmall businesses have the power to propel local economies and uplift communities. When we shop small we’re supporting small businesses that create two out of three net new jobs and employ more than half of the country’s private workforce.

As the holiday shopping season begins, let’s recommit to honoring our neighborhood champions, America’s small businesses. Saturday, November 28, 2015 is Small Business Saturday® – a day to celebrate and support small businesses for all they contribute to our communities.

On that Saturday, let’s support jobs and economic growth in our own backyards. Visit your Main Street merchants to find unique, handmade gifts that you won’t find at a big-box retailer. Afterwards, dine small at your local restaurant to usher in the new tradition of supporting local eateries too. The restaurant industry employs 14 million Americans and generates $709.2 billion in sales, equal to 4 percent of the gross domestic product.

Shopping small packs a big punch to the U.S. economy. Last year, there were 88 million consumers “Shopping Small” on Saturday. 77% of consumers said Small Business Saturday® inspires them to “Shop Small” throughout the year and not just for the holidays. In addition, 66% of consumers state the main reason they support small businesses is because of their contributions to the community.

Main street businesses are critical to our nation’s success and supporting them during Small Business Saturday is an act of economic patriotism. To support the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses, please join me and the U.S. Small Business Administration in shopping and dining small on Saturday – November 28.

For more information, check out:

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Throwback Thursday: Holdrege Carnegie Library


Exterior photo of Holdrege, Nebraska Carnegie Library built in 1907.

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The Data Dude – Wednesday Watch: Love & Mercy

love&Mercy1 love&mercy2Up until now, most (if not all) of the Wednesday Watch topics have been about series works. Today will be the first (if memory serves accurately) feature film. For those of you who might be new, the Wednesday Watch column is the Dude’s alternative or to let’s say compliment to the Friday Reads column. The Dude watches it instead of reads it. At least in most cases. In very limited circumstances, he watches and reads, but always at least watches. But don’t let that stop you from reading, if you like. And if you want to be a guest columnist in this charade, please e-mail your submission. Anyway, today’s contribution is Love & Mercy, the biographical drama about the life of Brian Wilson, co-founder of The Beach Boys. The Dude enjoyed the film overall. There obviously was some editorial license taken, but real life Brian Wilson (who is now 73) called the film “very factual”, so that probably accounts for something. Eight Nebraska libraries have Love & Mercy (DVD) according to WorldCat. It would make a nice addition to your collection if you aren’t one of those eight.

The film goes back and forth between two time periods: The 1960’s (Wilson played by Paul Dano, photo top right courtesy of Lionsgate); and the 1980’s (Wilson played by John Cusack, photo bottom right courtesy of Lionsgate). Apart from the fact that these two cats don’t really look anything alike, the juxtaposition and flashback/flashforward works with the story line. Both of these guys do an excellent job of playing Wilson at very different times in his life. The Dude (being one for nostalgia in this sort of way) especially liked the look of the 1960’s parts – the clothes, the décor, the houses, haircuts, and constitution of the characters (that’s a nice way of saying the women look like real women and the men act like real men, without the “nostalgic” sexism of course). Refreshing looking time period nonetheless, just before the carpet hit the walls on stairways and ceilings. And while the Dude has nothing against carpeted walls and ceilings (and personally digs Graceland’s Jungle Room), the look of the time period represented in the 60’s parts of Love & Mercy is outta sight. For the record, the Dude could find no verification of when exactly the ceilings of the Jungle Room and the hallway leading to it were actually carpeted (the room was created in the mid-60’s); he’s basically judging the time period from the shade of green.

Beach Boys singer (and Brian Wilson’s cousin) Mike Love is portrayed as a rigid clod (which is probably an understatement) who didn’t recognize or appreciate Wilson’s genius, being content with the status quo of manufacturing formulistic California Girls and Surfin’ Safari clones. Whether or not one gets into the business of arguing about a departure from their roots, man (as film version Mike puts it) was a good or bad thing, one can’t help but be moved by Mike’s apparent lack of empathy. Either he had no idea or was, as the film portrays him, an insensitive, self-centered clod.

OK, the film is about Wilson’s mental challenges (he suffers from auditory hallucinations, mostly abusive in nature, subsequent to his taking LSD, and continuing after he stopped taking it), his developing relationship with future wife Melinda Ledbetter, and his overbearing, manipulative, and terrifying psychologist (played brilliantly by high strung Paul Giamatti). The film also works by offering insight into the genius of Wilson’s making of music (e.g. the arranging, writing, and recording). The film aptly offers us a snapshot into Wilson’s head, not only when his creativity shined (and it should be noted still does today) by making music, but when he suffered (not only from lack of treatment for his illness, but worse yet, from exponential mistreatment). All in all, a worthwhile journey to experience by the viewer. So, if you are old enough (the Dude missed it by a few years) you might be inspired to get out your Pet Sounds album (and perhaps shake up an old school cocktail while listening to track #12). If you aren’t (old enough, that is), check out the CD from your local library. You probably won’t be disappointed. And while you’re at it, check out Love & Mercy. You probably won’t be disappointed with that either. Shaka.

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Nebraska Writer’s Novel Chosen for 2016 One Book One Nebraska

November 16, 2015onebooklogo163pxw

Mary Jo Ryan

Nebraska Writer’s Novel Chosen for 2016 One Book One Nebraska

The Meaning of NamesKaren Gettert Shoemaker’s The Meaning of Names, a Nebraska-set novel with a World War I backdrop, is Nebraska’s reading choice for the 2016 One Book One Nebraska statewide reading program. The Meaning of Names follows a German-American woman trying to raise a family in the heartland and keep them safe from the effects of war and the influenza panic, as well as from violence and prejudice.

The One Book One Nebraska reading program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, is entering its twelfth year. It encourages Nebraskans across the state to read and discuss one book, chosen from books written by Nebraska authors or that have a Nebraska theme or setting. A committee of the Nebraska Center for the Book selected this book from a list of twenty-seven titles nominated by Nebraskans from across the state. The book was published in 2014 and was announced as the 2016 selection at the Celebration of Nebraska Books on November 14 in Lincoln.

Libraries across Nebraska will join other literary and cultural organizations in planning book discussions, activities, and events that will encourage Nebraskans to read and discuss this book. Support materials to assist with local reading/discussion activities will be available after January 1, 2016 at Updates and activity listings will be posted on the One Book One Nebraska Facebook page at

One Book One Nebraska is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission. 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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Call for Speakers for the 2016 Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference

The Call for Speakers for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2016 is now open! This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better. Small libraries of all types – public, academic, school, museum, special, etc. – are encouraged to submit a proposal.

Do you offer a service or program at your small library that other librarians might like to hear about? Have you implemented a new (or old) technology, hosted an event, partnered with others in your community, or just done something really cool? The Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference gives you the opportunity to share what you’ve done, while learning what your colleagues in other small libraries are doing. Here are some possible topics to get you thinking:

  • Unique Libraries
  • Special Collections
  • New buildings
  • Fundraising
  • Improved Workflows
  • Staff Development
  • Advocacy Efforts
  • Community Partnerships
  • That great thing you’re doing at your library!

For Big Talk From Small Libraries 2016, we’re looking for seven 50-minute presentations and five 10-minute “lightning round” presentations.

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2016 will be held on Friday, February 26, 2016 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Speakers will be able to present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

If you are interested in presenting, please submit your proposal by Friday, January 8, 2016. Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered.

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NCompass Live: Inspire Your Community with an Innovation Lab

NCompass live smallJoin us for next week’s NCompass Live, “Inspire Your Community with an Innovation Lab”, on Thursday, Nov. 18, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

Find out how a midsized county library turned a staff training area into a digital creativity space in 75 days with some money and a lot of ingenuity.

The Harford County (MD) Public Library Innovation Lab at the Abingdon Library is a digital media lab that provides sixth grade through adult community members opportunities to be creators of electronic video, audio, publishing, and 3D designs. The lab features 3 Macs, 3 PCs, 3 3D printers, and a green screen among the many pieces of equipment used to keep the lab relevant and useful. The Lab is open to the public and can be reserved for special projects. Hands-on training is offered to help maximize the use of the equipment and software. Through creative experiences in the Innovation Lab, our customers develop new skills, resources, and products that help to drive Harford County’s economy forward.

Join the Project Manager and Former Lab Manager Maurice Coleman with a practical discussion about how HCPL turned an underused space into a magnet for public creativity.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Nov. 25 – Life After MARC: Cataloging Tools of the Future
  • Dec. 2 – The Central Nebraska Digital Co-op
  • Dec. 16 – Tech Tuesdays: Taking Time to Teach Technology to Technophobes
  • Dec. 23 – Best New Teen Books of 2015
  • Jan. 6, 2016 – Best New Children’s Books of 2015

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: Ghost Train to New Orleans

Zombies, vampires, ghosts, demons, and other undead citizens like to go on vacation, just like you and me. And, when they visit a new city, they also use travel guides to find the best activities and locations to check out. But, they can’t use just any travel guide. There are certain things that nonhumans need to know about the cities they visit – there are resources and establishments that cater specifically to them. Zoe Norris edits those kinds of travel guides for Underground Publications, a company that specializes in producing travel guides for the coterie, as the nonhumans prefer to be called. GhostTraintoNewOrleans

Ghost Train to New Orleans is the second book in The Shambling Guides series written by Mur Lefferty. In what I know will upset many other readers, I read this book first. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities to visit, so I jumped on it first. The first book is The Shambling Guide to New York City. There are many references to the first volume throughout Ghost Train to New Orleans, and some of them could be considered spoilers, but they didn’t have a detrimental effect on my reading of this book. They just made me want to read the first one even more!

After the success of her first travel guide to New York City, Zoe and her co-workers are sent to New Orleans to research the sequel. What could be a relaxing trip ends up being anything but. Her boyfriend is slowly turning into a zombie, the city is trying to talk to her about a new threat to Zoe, and her writing team of vampires, death goddess, Valkyrie, and dragon just can’t get along with each other.

I found this urban fantasy to be a really fun read. The supernatural characters are creatively written, not at all what you’d expect. And the descriptions of New Orleans and use of the city in the storyline were perfect. I’m already planning my next trip there, and will definitely be checking out some of the locations that Zoe visited. Maybe I’ll even see some of her readers on holiday.

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Throwback Thursday: Havelock Carnegie Library


Exterior photo of Havelock, Nebraska Carnegie Library built in 1907.

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The Data Dude – Public Library Survey Now Available

IMLSThe annual IMLS Public Library Survey is now available. For those of you who are new directors, it might be helpful to familiarize yourself with the survey and instructions. Take a peek at the Bibliostat Collect portion of the data services section of the NLC website, which has instructions and guides to help you complete the survey, as well as a link to the login screen. Keep in mind that the survey is required for your library to receive state aid if you are accredited. If you aren’t accredited, you still have an incentive to complete the survey ($200), called Dollar$ for Data.

The survey runs until February 19, 2016. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions throughout the process. You can always start the survey, save your submissions, and then resume at a later date. It doesn’t have to all be done at once. Tip: It’s always a good idea to click on the red “save” button in Bibliostat before clicking “next” to the next screen. Thank you in advance for your participation.

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Free Webinar: Using to Enroll in Health Coverage

healthcareA live training webinar, “Using to Enroll in Health Coverage,” will be presented on Wednesday, December 9, 2015.

Register today for “Using to Enroll in Health Coverage

  • Start time: 2:00 p.m. (Eastern), 1:00 (Central)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Speaker: Krista Das, Health Insurance Specialist with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Learning outcomes: If you haven’t applied for insurance on before, this webinar will tell you what you need to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes known as the health insurance “exchange” or “Obamacare exchange”). Topics include:
    • Who is eligible to use the Marketplace
    • What plans cover
    • What savings you qualify for based on your income, household, and state
    • How to pick a plan category and compare plans
    • The fee for not being covered
    • How to apply and enroll in health coverage
  • Expected level of knowledge for participants: No prerequisite knowledge required

The webinar is free, however registration is required. Upon registering, a confirmation email will be sent to you. This registration confirmation email includes the instructions for joining the webinar.

Registration confirmations will be sent from sqldba @ To ensure delivery of registration confirmations, registrants should configure junk mail or spam filter(s) to permit messages from that email address. If you do not receive the confirmation, please notify GPO.

GPO’s eLearning platform presents webinars using WebEx. In order to attend or present at a GPO-hosted webinar, a WebEx plug-in must be installed in your internet browser(s). Download instructions.

Visit FDLP Academy for access to FDLP educational and training resources. All are encouraged to share and re-post information about this free training opportunity with others.

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Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been a hot topic for a long while, but only recently has the technology reached levels of price and accessibility that have made it worth considering for non-gigantic libraries.  The phrase “virtual reality” brings to mind clunky glasses strapped to the face and, make no mistake, fully wearable hardware is still a huge part of the virtual reality landscape.   Microsoft’s upcoming HoloLens and Oculus Rift’s new headset are good examples of fully-prefabricated VR devices that you affix to your head.  They’re also good examples of pretty expensive technology, outside the budget of libraries which are not already committed to large-scale VR projects.  But there are affordable alternatives for those who are interested in trying out VR without breaking the bank.

It doesn’t get much more economical than Google’s Cardboard project.  Google offersGoogle Cardboard downloadable instructions which will allow you to make your own VR viewer using magnets, Velcro, and cardboard from an old cereal or pizza box.  If you’re not inclined to DIY, you can also purchase pre-assembled cardboard or plastic viewers from a vendor.  Once you’ve built or bought your Cardboard set, you’ll insert a fairly new and large smartphone into the viewer.

Other manufacturers offer similar budget-friendly tech.  Oculus is offering a $99 headset which works with 2015 Samsung phones.  Even View-Master has revamped their product into a $30 virtual reality device.  Don’t worry, they still use reels. There are plenty of other companies which provide low-cost VR viewers.  Potential buyers should remember, however, that many of these devices work in tandem with smartphones, so be sure to budget for both the $30 Google Cardboard set and the $600 cell phone.

So what can you do with this technology?  As you might expect, games are a natural fit for virtual reality.  The popular game Minecraft is coming for the Oculus Rift and Google’s Play Store has an entire section devoted to VR-friendly apps for Cardboard.  But the possibilities extend beyond gaming.  The recent Democratic debate on CNN featured a virtual reality broadcast that was apparently rather quirky.   And some hotel chains are experimenting with VR devices that allow viewers to travel to far-flung locations.  Imagine a program on weather that would allow patrons to step into a hurricane through a VR viewer.  Or a program on Italian cooking that ends with a VR tour of Milan.  With costs dropping, it’s becoming affordable to experiment, so you might consider finding a place for virtual reality at your library.

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The Modern Farm Horse

Unloading tractors at Sidney Nebraska Union Pacific freight yards As the harvest season is ending, I thought it would be a great time to look at some of the first tractors Nebraskans used to work the fields. Looking at the photos in Nebraska Memories makes me wonder what people thought of these large metal machines as they started to be delivered to farms across the state. Someone in Sidney cared enough to have a photo taken of a railroad flat car loaded with three International Harvester Mogul steam tractors. You can see how large the tractors are compared to the men standing in front of them.

Man posing on tractorPhotographer John Nelson took a picture of man who I consider to be brave. The man is standing on the back of a tractor that appears to be part way up a ramp with a sharp incline. The tractor must have great breaks since it is not rolling down the incline.

John Nelson also took a picture of a group of six men standing next to a tractor in what appears to be the middle of a field. While we may never know what was really going on at the time of this picture it appears to me that they gotMen with tractor the tractor and the cart they were pulling stuck in the mud. As you can see, the back wheels of the tractor and the wagon wheels are almost axel deep in mud. You have to wonder if the tractor made it out on its own steam or if the men and/or horses in the picture had to help.

If you haven’t noticed, I don’t know much about tractors. When I saw the photo of the Hart-Parr Company, I just assumed it was a local company in Lincoln. I love the sign next to the garage door. It states “The modern farm horse. Does plowing for 40 to 60 cents per acre. eats nothing when idle”. Hart-Parr Company, gas tractors

I originally planned to do a bit of research to see if I could learn something about this local company. I was surprised to learn however that the Hart-Parr Company was actually a tractor company based out of Charles City Iowa. I can only assume that the location in Lincoln was the local dealership. If you are a tractor enthusiast, you may be interested to know that Hart-Parr merged with three other companies in 1929 to form the Oliver Farm Equipment Company. The Oliver Company went through some changes and finally ended up being White Farm Equipment.

The commoner., October 04, 1912, Page 12One of the place I looked for information about the Hart-Parr Company was in the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers collection. While I The commoner., November 15, 1912didn’t find the type of information I was hoping to find I did run across a couple of fun ads that appeared in The Commoner. In 1912 the Hart-Parr Company offered a correspondence course that would teach you how to run a tractor. Participants in the course also got to attend the practice schools where they could “actually run a tractor”. One of these schools was located in Lincoln.

I hoped you enjoyed seeing some of these “Modern Farm Horse”. Visit Nebraska Memories 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. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see for more information, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Friday Reads: How to Babysit a Leopard by Ted & Betsy Lewin

Ted and Betsy Lewin take turns recounting some of the many experiences they had while traveling the globe in order to research different animals and locations for the books they have written for children.  Some events were frightening – somLewin072e humorous, all retold for the reader to share the back seat during their lives on the road in Africa, India, Mongolia and more – covering six continents!

Plenty of their sketches from the trips as well as photographs are included on each two-page spread.  I enjoyed reading about Africa, somewhere I have been, as well as the many places I have not!  This book may inspire future travelers, artists, and writers. What amazing lives they have led!



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