Monthly Archives: January 2012

We Really are Living Longer

You may have seen recent  news reports about the drop in fatal automobile accidents in Nebraska to the lowest level since 1944.   Other causes of death, including homicide,  have dropped too.  The latest mortality report from the National Center for Health Statistics,  Deaths, Preliminary Data for 2010   provides a wealth of information about what we are dying of and how long we live.  Life expectancy increased from 78.6 in 2009 to 78.7 in 2010.   Interestingly, Hispanics live the longest (83.8 years for females, 78.8 for males).   The CDC/NCHS site is a wonderful source of informaton that even has a for librarians  section.  The leading causes of death are

Diseases of the heart
Malignant neoplasms
Chronic lower respiratory diseases
Cerebrovascular diseases
Accidents (unintentional injuries)
Alzheimer’s disease
Diabetes mellitus

Looking at this list reminds me that although death comes to all of us, lifestyle can affect the length and quality of life.   I’m planning to eat more fish, exercise more, and buckle up every time I get into the car.





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New Books on Grants And Grant Writing

They say current economic trends are improving, however, grants are always a welcome addition to a library budget, and we’ve just received The ALA Book of Library Grant Money, 2012, the latest edition of the Big Book of Library Grant Money.

You’ll also find the following new titles in our catalog helpful:

There is also a free webinar, from the Foundation Center, entitled Grantseeking Basics that was shown 1/11/12, the page linked to here has this one and other recorded webinars you may be interested in.

As always, –please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

Posted in Books & Reading | 1 Comment

Walter Dean Myers is the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Walter Dean Myers was sworn in on Monday, January 10, for his two-year appointment as the country’s next National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.  He was interviewed Monday on National Public Radio and said his theme will be: Reading is Not Optional.  He hopes to encourage parents, relatives, friends to read aloud to very young children to help them get a good start in life.   To listen to the interview or read a transcript of it, go to this site.

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Digital Encyclopedia of the Great Plains is Online

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has launched an incredible resource online: the  Digital Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. We have it linked from this part of our NebraskAccess website.

With 1,316 entries contributed by more than one thousand scholars, this groundbreaking reference work captures what is vital and interesting about the Great Plains—from its temperamental climate to its images and icons, its historical character, its folklore, and its politics.

The Great Plains is a vast expanse of glasslands stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Missouri River and from the Rio Grande to the coniferous forests of Canada—an area more than eighteen hundred miles from north to south and more than five hundred miles from east to west. The Great Plains region includes all or parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The region, once labeled “the Great American Desert,” is now more often called the “heartland,” or, sometimes, “the breadbasket of the world.” Its immense distances, flowing grasslands, sparse population, enveloping horizons, and dominating sky convey a sense of expansiveness, even emptiness or loneliness, a reaction to too much space and one’s own meager presence in it.

The Plains region is the home of the Dust Bowl, the massacre at Wounded Knee, the North-West Rebellion, the Tulsa race riot, the Lincoln County War, the purported Roswell alien landing, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Its products have included furs, cattle, corn, wheat, oil, gas, and coal as well as jazz, literature, and political reform. It has been inhabited for more than twelve thousand years, since Paleo-Indians hunted mammoth and bison. More recent emigrants came from eastern North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia, resulting in a complex and distinctive ethnic mosaic.


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What’s Sally Reading?

Graphic Novel collections in libraries, a nonscientific survey.

Last month Robin Brenner, creator and editor of No Flying, No Tights web page, posted a survey to learn more about what type of graphic novel collections public libraries currently have.  Responses came from libraries in the U.S. and Canada.  Visit her report on this survey here.  She does mention that other types of libraries also responded and she will post again about those, so you may want to keep an eye on her site.

Today I read a library copy of Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Wendell Minor.  It looks like a picture book, but School Library Journal and I agree that it is aimed at about grades two to four or five.  It is a lyrical look at the determination and courage Amelia Earhart demonstrated during the first flight across the Atlantic by a woman (and only the second nonstop flight at that time!)  Illustrations dominate the pages with text in black or white, as needed.  A quote from the book, encasing a quote from Amelia Earhart, “And now she must cross this dark and seething ocean.  Why? Because ‘women must try to do things men have tried.'”

(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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Friday Video: Authors@Google: Cathy Davidson

When Cathy Davidson and Duke University advocated giving free iPods to the freshman class in 2003, critics said the university was wasting their money. Yet when students in practically every discipline invented academic uses for the music players, suddenly the idea could be seen in a new light—as an innovative way to turn learning on its head.

This radical experiment is at the heart of Davidson’s inspiring new book. Using cutting-edge research on the brain, she shows how “attention blindness” has produced one of our society’s greatest challenges: while we’ve all acknowledged the great changes of the digital age, most of us still toil in schools and workplaces designed for the last century. Davidson introduces us to visionaries whose groundbreaking ideas—from schools with curriculums built around video games to companies that train workers using virtual environments—will open the doors to new ways of working and learning. A lively hybrid of Thomas Friedman and Normal Doidge, Now You See It is a refreshingly optimistic argument for a bold embrace of our connected, collaborative future.

“Starts where Malcolm Gladwell leaves off, showing how digital information will change our brains. We need this book.”—Daniel Levitin, author of the New York Times bestseller This Is Your Brain On Music.

Bio: Cathy N. Davidson served from 1998 until 2006 as the first Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University, where she worked with faculty to help create many programs, including the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the program in Information Science + Information Studies (ISIS). She is the co-founder of Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, HASTAC (“haystack”), a network of innovators dedicated to new forms of learning for the digital age. She is also co-director of the $2 million annual HASTAC/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition.

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E-rate Update: Form 471 Application Filing Window and Online Session Recording Now Available

Just a reminder…the Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2012 will open at noon on Monday, January 9, 2012.

E-rate Application Filing Window Dates:

The Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2012 will open at noon EST on Monday, January 9, 2012 and will close at 11:59 pm EDT on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. The filing window will be open for 72 days. This makes February 21, 2012 the last POSSIBLE date to post a Form 470 on USAC’s website, meet the 28-day posting requirement for the competitive bidding process, and submit a Form 471 by the filing window closing date.

So, do you need help completing your forms? Do you have questions about E-rate? You’re in luck! The recording of December’s “E-rate: Basic Training” online session is now available.

Description: What is E-rate? How can my library benefit from E-rate? How do I apply for E-rate? E-rate is a federal program that provides discounts to assist schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. Christa Burns, State E-rate Coordinator for Libraries, will cover the basics of E-rate and any changes that have been made to the program this year. This session will be useful to libraries who have never applied for E-rate, libraries who are new to E-rate and current E-rate libraries who just want a refresher on what E-rate is all about.

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

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Want a C.E. project for 2012? How about learning to program?

Wouldn’t you like to know how to get from “Wouldn’t it be great if…” or “Our Website could really use…” to “Here’s our new library app?”   Codecademy is offering some digital empowerment in the form of a year’s worth of lessons in computer programming–free!  When you sign up for the Code Year program, you’ll get an interactive programming lesson sent to you each week.  The first lesson will be emailed next Monday, January 9.  The developers of the program make a pretty good case that knowing how to program (digital literacy) is becoming an important skill that will make you more employable, and just better at navigating this increasingly technological world.

If you’re enrolled in the Nebraska Librarian Certification program, this would be a great way to earn C.E. credit–complete the code year and earn 15 c.e. credits–a year’s worth!   If you’d like to do this, drop me a line.  Then sign up at Code Year, do the lessons–share your progress with friends, if you like.  I’ve signed up; Michael Sauers is signed up–maybe we’ll all become programming ninjas!

Here’s an article from Slate with some more info.  There’s a time commitment involved, but acquiring digital literacy could really be worth it.

Posted in Education & Training, Technology | 4 Comments

Four-Star Accommodations

If you traveled during the holiday season this year, perhaps your home-away-from-home was a hotel. Compare your experiences to these images of hotels from Nebraska Memories.

Hotels in Nebraska have ranged from imposing structures, like the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha or the Ruwe Hotel in Fremont, to smaller establishments, like Wilcox House in Papillion or the Talbot Hotel in Brainard.

Nebraska Memories features views of the interiors of hotels as well. Take a glimpse inside some hotel lobbies, like those at the Hotel Loyal in Omaha or the Perkins Hotel in David City.  Some hotels had places to eat inside, like the Vineyard Cafe at the Rome Hotel in Omaha, or the dining room at the Zeeck Hotel in Papillion.

If motels and motor courts are more your style, check out the Lone Pine Court and Filling Station or Sunnyside Cottages, both located in Sidney.

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, or contact Beth Goble, Government Information Services Director, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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NCompass Live: New Opportunities to Retain Wealth in Nebraska Communities: Transfer of Wealth Study – Recorded Online Session

In 2002, the Nebraska Community Foundation published the first statewide, county-by-county Transfer of Wealth study in the nation. Now, that pioneering study has been refreshed with 2010 Census data and updated methodology. According to the new study, about $230 billion will pass from one generation to the next in rural Nebraska over the next 50 years. Retaining even a small portion of that wealth for philanthropic purposes close to home is an historic opportunity for our state and for people who care deeply about the places they call home. Jeff Yost, President and CEO of the Nebraska Community Foundation, will address the new study and the massive opportunity it presents for building strong communities across Nebraska.

Download audio (MP3)
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Video (YouTube)
Presentation Slides (SlideShare)
Links (Delicious)

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21st Century Librarian Scholarship Applications Due Mar. 1, 2012

The Nebraska Library Commission announces the fourth cycle of its 21st Century Librarian Scholarship program ( Legal residents of the state of Nebraska are eligible to apply. In this fourth cycle, online applications are due March 1, 2012; transcripts (as required) are due Feb. 18, 2012; and letters of recommendation, if mailed, are due Feb. 18, 2012. The amount of the scholarship award varies by the degree or certificate the applicant is pursuing and the applicant’s course plan.

Scholarships may be used for tuition (for coursework contributing toward a certificate or degree), course-required materials, and school-assessed fees at the following levels:

  • Library and Information Science (LIS) Professional Certificate
  • Associate of Arts or Science Degree in Library and Information Science (LIS)
  • Bachelor of Arts or Science Degree with a major in Library and Information Science or Library Media

Scholarship recipients will be eligible to apply for stipends for such things as laptop computers, professional association dues, and regional or national conference attendance.

This dynamic program includes enhanced learning opportunities such as the 21st Century Skills Seminar, webinars, face-to-face training, and online social networking, such as the Nebraska Librarians Learning Together Facebook page,

To date, forty-seven scholarships have been awarded to forty-five students. Current scholarship recipients are participating and reporting on trainings that range from a hands-on introduction to eBooks and eReaders to live and recorded webinars about the latest Internet tools. Participants are networking with Nebraska librarians on the Nebraska Librarians Learning Together Facebook page, And, through the associated stipends program, students have purchased laptop computers to use with their online classes, joined professional library associations, and attended regional and national conferences.

The scholarships, stipends, and value-added training are offered through the Nebraska Library Commission’s Cultivating Rural Librarians’ 21st Century Skills program, which is funded through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. For more information, contact Kathryn Brockmeier, Grant Program Manager, by e-mail, or by phone 402-471-4002 or 800-307-2665.

NOTE: Due to the fantastic response to the Nebraska Library Commission’s Librarians for the 21st Century master’s-level scholarships, we cannot accept additional master’s-level scholarship applications until after March 1, 2012. Students who wish to apply for scholarships for a Master of Arts or Science Degree in Library and Information Science (MLS/MLIS), Master of Arts or Science Degree in Education (MEd) with a School Library Media endorsement, or Graduate-level School Library Media Endorsement should submit all application materials by June 1, 2012. Master’s-level scholarship application forms will be available after March 1, 2012.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

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New Government Publications Received at the Library Commission

Click here to see a list of publications received 11/09/11 – 12/30/11.

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Nebraska Learns 2.0 has moved!

With the new year comes changes, and in this case the change is that we’ve moved the Nebraska Learns 2.0 blog in-house and onto the Commission’s WordPress installation. The URL for this program going forward is Please update your bookmarks and RSS subscriptions accordingly.

For continuity’s sake, all of the content and comments from the original blog has been copied over to the new site. The original site will continue as is, so as to continue to support any links from other sites that have been created.

Nebraska Learns 2.0 is the Nebraska Library Commission’s ongoing online learning program. The goal of our program is to encourage participants to experiment with and learn about the new and emerging technologies that are reshaping the way people, society and libraries access information and communicate with each other. Nebraska Learns 2.0 is a self-discovery program which encourages participants to take control of their own learning and to utilize their lifelong learning skills through exploration and PLAY.

Each month, we offer you an opportunity to learn a new Thing (or lesson). You have all month to complete that Thing and receive one CE credit. You may choose which Things to do based on personal interest and time availability. If the Thing of the month doesn’t interest you or if you are particularly busy that month, you can skip it.

The Thing for January is: Keeping up with RSS.

To start out the new year on Nebraska Learns 2.0, we’re going to revisit a topic that we’ve mentioned previously, but want to remind you about again – RSS. You may already know about RSS and be using it every day. And that’s great! If you are a current RSS user, jump down to the Assignment and share how you’re using it with your colleagues. If you’re new to RSS, you’ll learn how you can benefit from this technology.

If you are new to Nebraska Learns 2.0, your first assignment is to sign up to participate. This program is open to ALL Nebraska librarians, library staff, library friends, library board members and school media specialists.

We hope you’ll join your library colleagues in the fun as you learn about new and exciting technologies!

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A Julie of all Trades

The month of December can be difficult with long to do lists and sentimental hurdles.  I spent this December considering the loss of a very fine colleague – Julie Pinnell – who will leave the Library Commission on January 3rd after nearly 17 years of service to become the Director of the Doane College Library. For me, this will be a difficult transition as Julie knows a little bit about all things library – from technical to public services and a little bit of everything in between. In addition, she has been the person with whom I have considered ideas and enjoyed many a cup of coffee with in every kind of weather and budgetary season. I will miss Julie more than I can convey, but as a Doane College graduate, I know she will do great things for Perkins Library and take very good care of the staff there, including my own beloved niece who is a student worker. I know many of you will miss hearing Julie’s voice on the phone and her wonderful workshops. There isn’t any way to replace her skills and knowledge, but at least she remains in the state of Nebraska where we’ll see her from time to time. The reference staff will forge along and keep in touch with Julie. I know those of you who will miss her will find a way to keep her in your lives as well.

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