Author Archives: Aimee Owen

Reading For Change: Anti-Racism Titles in Our Book Club Kit Collection

Earlier this week, the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture posted their Black Liberation Reading List. This is among many anti-racism reading lists publicized in recent days (here, here, and here) but I’m choosing to highlight this list because the Schomburg Center has focused on the Black experience, history, and culture for 95 years. Their list of 95 books includes both fiction and nonfiction.

If your patrons or book club groups are interested in these titles, we have a selection of them in our Book Club Kit collection:

You can find these books and similar titles for all ages on our Book Club Kit page: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/, by choosing “Black lives” in the Genre drop down menu.

We have also gathered a number of resources for library patrons and the general public to learn about social issues on NebraskAccess.

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Friday Reads: The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young

I don’t know about you, but reading during this pandemic has been a challenge. Between working from home, keeping a school-age kid on track with his lessons and a preschooler out of the cookie jar, not to mention feeding everyone 3-5 times a day (why are we so hungry?!?), and the constant blare of the news, I just don’t have the time or attention span to concentrate on a book. Is it just me? (Apparently not).

Fortunately, my public library recently started contact-less pickup and I got a load of middle-grade novels and picture books for the aforementioned children. The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young was at the top of the pile.

Set on Madeline Island in Lake Superior, this is the story of a half-Irish, half-Ojibwe girl named Billie who is determined to win her town’s annual pumpkin race and get revenge on her former best friend for sabotaging her attempt the previous summer. It is also the tale of how every story has two sides, growing pumpkins is a full-time job, and sometimes winning isn’t something we do on our own. It was the perfect book to kick off my summer reading and yours too!

Young, Cathleen. The Pumpkin War. Random House, 2019.

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Reopening Your Library During the Pandemic

Is your library reopening to the public, or looking for guidance on reopening?

We’ve compiled recommendations and guidance from local and national organization, as well as example of policies and procedures being used by other Nebraska libraries here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic4libraries.aspx

If you’ve not yet told us that your library is reopening or modifying services for the pandemic, please fill out our form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe5AurxbSHsu5gy5sig7uHWkkQYeRG3EfT7l2ArfmbPTtlx-A/viewform.

A spreadsheet of Nebraska libraries closing, reopening, and modifying services can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vQhzPpcpf_BAB_7wbDegLdjvfFX84AbGgRVAcIzrp-DYBIJUnKIaake5d1jKIRcFVW4qTPVwchtK5SV/pubhtml

And don’t forget our other resources for libraries and their patrons during this time: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx
The Central Plains Libray System (CPLS) has resources too!
http://libraries.ne.gov/cpls/

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A Phased Library Reopening Plan

Many Nebraska libraries have closed their buildings to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic; some stopped all physical services completely, and others developed alternative services. The Nebraska Library Commission has put together some guidance of how libraries can begin to reopen their buildings and restore services.

Phased Plan for Reopening Nebraska Libraries

This plan will provide a phased outline of how full services could be restored as the health crisis eases and social distancing measures end. It can be used as a starting point for library directors and their boards to determine the specific course of action their library will take to serve their community during and after the pandemic.

Disclaimer: This document is intended as guidance only. The Nebraska Library Commission does not have the authority to mandate that libraries close or open in any capacity. Library directors should work with their library boards, local government, and local health departments to determine their course of action. Libraries may modify this plan to suit their needs.

We will continue to update this plan as new information is available. See all of our COVID-19 resources for libraries and Nebraskans here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx

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Online Storytimes To Share With Your Littlest Patrons

Storytime is a beloved library tradition for many of our youngest patrons and their parents. With libraries closing their doors to in-person gatherings, many storytimes are going online. We are rounding up resources to help you find online storytimes or create your own.

Many publishers are relaxing their permissions during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow books to be read aloud online, in addition to the numerous authors and celebreties sharing videos of themselves reading.

Please visit our new page for links to read-alouds and publisher information, plus sources of free ebooks and audiobooks for all ages. If you have additional resources we should list, please let us know!

Read Online: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/readonline.aspx

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash.

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COVID-19 and Pandemic Resources for Libraries

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#BookFaceFriday – Comedy & the Woman Writer: Woolf, Spark, & Feminism

Who’s afraid of #BookFaceFriday?

March is Women’s History Month, and we’re kicking things off with “Comedy & the Woman Writer: Woolf, Spark, & Feminism” (University of Nebraska Press, 1983) by Judy Little. This title is published by the University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state document program.

“This attractive and engaging work begins with a consideration of the sometimes dark, but profound comedy of Virginia Woolf, proceeds to an appreciation of the neglected humorous fiction of Muriel Spark, and concludes with a final chapter on that kind of “Feminist Comedy” that celebrates a ‘radically overturned world, a world in which Orlando shrugs off civilization after civilization.'”—Journal of Modern Literature

This week’s #BookFace model is Lynda Clause, our Interlibrary Loan Staff Assistant!

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

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#BookFaceFriday: Bivouac

Don’t just stand there, it’s #BookFaceFriday!

Another #BookFace throwback as we celebrate Black History Month. Bivouac, by Nebraska author Kwame Dawes, was originally posted as a dual #BookFaceFriday and Friday Reads review by NLC staff assistant Lynda Clause, and was featured at the 2019 Nebraska Book Festival.

“With expressive description and languid cadence, Dawes deftly constructs a background that serves as an amorphous setting for the complicated experience of a grieving son…With subtle yet lyrical description of internal struggles set against a foreign background, Bivouac serves as a deceptively symbolic read about the bleak and mirthless aspects of life and, subsequently, death.”
The Daily Nebraskan

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

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Friday Reads: The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander

I’ll be the first to admit that you can put the word “library” in any book title, and I’ll read it without hesitation. But I am sure glad I picked up The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander, because it was delightful. I read a handful of middle-grade books around this time each year, and this has been my favorite selection so far of 2020.

Trying to abscond from her nanny at the library and get some quality reading time in, Lenora stumbles into the “staff only” section. Recognizing her potential, the head librarian offers her a job as “Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian”, tasking her to use her wits and valor to serve her patrons. Lenora embarks on a series of adventures, some comical, some harrowing, in her quest to answer patron inquiries. If only my days on the reference desk were this exciting!

This book clocks in at 208 pages, so it’s a fairly quick read, making it ideal for read-alouds. The fast-pace and fun facts will keep middle grade readers engaged. I have a certain niece named Lenora that will be getting a copy soon for sure!

Alexander, Zeno. The Library of Ever. Imprint, 2019.

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#BookFaceFriday – “The Unbearable Lightness Of Being” by Milan Kundera

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

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera (Harper & Row, 1984) is one of many classic titles your book club can reserve from our collection! You can browse our classics by using the “Search by Genre” drop-down list in our book club kit search options: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/.

“Kundera is a virtuoso . . . A work of the boldest mastery, originality, and richness.”– Elizabeth Hardwick, (Vanity Fair)

This week’s #BookFace model is Allana Novotny, our Technology & Access Services Librarian!

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

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#BookFaceFriday – “Curmudgeons, Drunkards, & Outright Fools by Thomas P. Lowry

As you prepare to ring in the new year, don’t get caught in a compromising position like those in our #BookFaceFriday, Thomas P. Lowry’s “Curmudgeons, Drunkards, & Outright Fools: Courts-Martial of Civil War Union Colonels” (Bison Books, 2003). Lowry details the misdeeds and misfortunes of fifty colonels and lieutenant colonels during the war between the North and South. This title is published by Bison Books, an imprint of University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state documents program.

Lowry has taken the genre of the historical underside to its proper scholarly limits; he has coupled the lurid and the weird with excellent research and analysis. – Civil War Times

This week’s #BookFace model is neither curmudgeon, nor drunkard, nor fool. It’s Matt Hier, our new Audio Production Studio Manager!

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

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#BookFaceFriday – “Cold Shot” by Dani Pettrey

After this week’s chilly temps, we’re ready for a smokin’ hot #BookFaceFriday!

This #BookFaceFriday is the first installment of the Chesapeake Valor series by romantic suspense author Dani Pettrey. Is your book group in the mood for a suspenseful thriller or fast-paced mystery? You can search our book club kit by genre: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/.

“An intricate plot, a reunion of friends and an appealing lead couple make this a standout.”–Booklist

This week’s #BookFace model is Lowell Owen, spouse of Information Services Librarian, Aimee Owen. He will probably hesitate to visit her at work in the future.

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

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#BookFaceFriday – “Komi Can’t Communicate” by Tomohito Oda

Is our quiet #BookFaceFriday coolly aloof…or just super awkward?

This #BookFaceFriday is also this week’s Friday Read’s post by our Youth Services Coordinator Sally Snyder! Read all about the first volume in this Manga series in her review.

“The journey to 100 friends begins with a single conversation.” book cover

This week’s #BookFace model is Library Development Staff Assistant, Linda Babcock!

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

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#BookFaceFriday – “Dracula” by Bram Stoker

Velcome to #BookFaceFriday!

Grab your garlic and wooden stakes, we’re wrapping up October with this classic tale of horror (Puffin Classics, 1994, first published 1897). Written as a series of journal entries and letters, it tells the story of the quest to destroy the evil Count Dracula and end his reign of terror.

“Those who cannot find their own reflection in Bram Stoker’s still-living creation are surely the undead .” New York Times Review of Books

This week’s #BookFace model is our new TBBS Circulation Technician, Amy Irons!

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

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Friday Reads: My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

It’s a well known fact that sisters have complicated relationships, possibly none more so than Korede and her younger sister Ayoola. Nurse Korede is hardworking, practical, and reliable, while her beautiful little sister is anything but. Charming and sweet, but ultimately selfish and unmotivated, Ayoola surrounds herself with those that will take care of her: men, friends, and Korede.

While she resents Ayoola’s easy and fun-filled life, Korede nevertheless continues to bail her sister out of every mess she gets into… including murder. Ayoola has killed the last 3 men she dated, calling her big sister to help her hide the evidence. Now, Ayoola has attracted the attention of Korede’s boss (and crush), head doctor Tade. Korede must decide if blood really is thicker than water (or just harder to clean up).

Braitwaite, Oyinkan. My Sister the Serial Killer. Doubleday, 2018.

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Friday Reads: “Pretend I’m Dead” and “Vacuum in the Dark” by Jen Beagin

I read a review for Vacuum in the Dark and discovered that it was the sequel to Jen Beagin’s 2015 debut novel, Pretend I’m Dead. The latter tells the story of Mona, a 24-year-old cleaning woman in Lowell, Massachusetts, who just can’t seem to find her place in the world. Mona volunteers at a clean-needle exchange, collects vintage vacuum cleaners, and has an inner-dialogue with NPR’s Terry Gross (“This is Fresh Air!”). After a doomed relationship with a junkie, she moves to Taos, New Mexico.

The rest of the novel, and the next book, follow Mona as she builds her house cleaning business in Taos (getting to know her clients in person and through their belongings; if you ever thought your cleaning person didn’t snoop, you’d be wrong). She makes poor decisions and weird friends, follows a man to Bakersfield, California, and confronts her past… and her future.

Each book can be read as a stand-alone, but I’d suggest reading them in order. Neither is terribly long – about 240 pages each. If you enjoy gallows humor, quirky characters, and discussions of cleaning products, Mona is the anti-heroine you’ve been waiting for.

Beagin, Jen. Pretend I’m Dead. Northwestern University Press, 2015.
Beagin, Jen. Vacuum in the Dark. Scribner, 2019.

 

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#BookFaceFriday – The Dewey Decimal System of Love

This #BookFaceFriday has love down to a (library) science…

“For questions about love, and more particularly, inappropriate love, go the 306.7s.” If you’re searching your library’s catalog for a quick, funny, and perhaps slightly naughty, summer beach read, look no further than Josephine Carr’s “The Dewey Decimal System of Love” (New American Library, 2003).

“…a most bizarre, unpredictable and thoroughly delightful mess that keeps the pages turning and the laughs coming.” — Tampa Tribune

This week’s #BookFace model is Mary Sauers, our Government Information Services Librarian. Mary knows all about love in the library – she married another librarian, former NLC Technology Librarian, and current Director of Technology at Do Space, Michael Sauers.

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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#BookFaceFriday “Prodigal Summer”

It’s a jungle out there, #BookFaceFriday fans!

Can’t you just feel the heat radiating from this rain forest setting? Oh, wait, that’s just the local weather! Set over the course of a particularly humid summer, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper Perennial, 2000) “weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia.” This title is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, along with several other titles by Kingsolver. It seemed like a perfect choice for this week’s bookface, as our local flora and fauna thrive (while the rest of us wilt) in the current heat and humidity!

A “blend of breathtaking artistry, encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world, attention to detail, and ardent commitment to the supremacy of nature.” San Francisco Chronicle

This week’s #BookFace photo was taken on location in Costa Rica by our staff assistant, Kayla Henzel. Thank you Kayla, for your dedication to the #BookFace cause, even while off the clock!

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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#BookFaceFriday “Black Cherries”

This #BookFace seemed ripe for the picking…

Black Cherries by Grace Stone Coates (Bison Books, 2003) is a reprint of the original 1931 title. “In this series of linked stories the child narrator, Veve, cannot fathom all the mysteries of her family’s life together, but by watching and listening she pieces together a painful past.” This title is published by Bison Books, an imprint of University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state documents program.

Black Cherries is a work of genius, written in vital fluids, illuminated by lightening, quivering with truth.”—Statesman Journal, Salem, OK

This week’s #BookFace model is Tina Walker, director of the Keene Memorial Library in Fremont. She was visiting the Library Commission to present on our weekly NCompass Live webinar series. Check out her episode, Growing Partnerships Where Least Expected.

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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Beyond To Kill a Mockingbird

PBS recently posted this list of “10 books besides ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ that tackle racial injustice” and I couldn’t help but notice that the Nebraska Library Commission has several of these titles in our book club kit collection.

If your class or book club would like to read any of these, click on the title to request the book set. Of course, we have To Kill a Mockingbird too!

Looking for other great book club reads? Check out our entire collection here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/

 

 

 

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