Author Archives: Holli Duggan

Friday Reads: The Country Club Murders by Julie Mulhern

I’ve been trying to read more mysteries lately and it seems as though I’ve really been missing out on some things. The Deep End was one of those books that I saw on Amazon for $2, bought on a whim, and got hooked.  This is the first book in The Country Club Murders series by Julie Mulhern. The sixth book in the series, Cold as Ice, was just published October 17th.

Set in 1974 Kansas City, MO, the book begins with Ellison Russell, a rather successful artist, who goes out for an early morning swim at the local country club, only to bump into the dead body of Madeline Harper (who happens to be her husband’s mistress). She would be the prime suspect for Madeline’s murder except that Ellison’s husband, Henry, has disappeared. Murder, blackmail, an overbearing mother, and country club secrets all surround Ellison as she tries to discover who the killer is while protecting her teenage daughter, Grace.

Mulhern does a good job at developing the mystery and the characters. In the beginning, Ellison seems like a fairly defeated character. She has her art, but is just waiting for Grace to graduate high school so she can divorce Henry. Throughout the book though, she starts to stand up and stop caring what her mother (or fellow country club members) think. Funny. Easy to read. Not quite a cozy mystery, there’s a bit of an edge to it with the slight references to Henry’s affairs. Borderline cozy?

 

 

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Friday Reads: You Gotta BE the Book by Jeffrey Wilhelm

You Gotta BE the Book“…engaged reading — beyond involving cognitive processes (as the Core and next-generation standards emphasize) — is a deeply emotional, participatory, dramatic, embodied, visual, artistic, psychological, and potentially transformational pursuit. This we must not forget as teachers or as readers, or we will not tap into the immense power of reading, and thus we limit our capacity to be effective teachers or readers.”

Why do some students struggle with reading? Why can’t they “see” the story in their mind or connect with text?  What are highly engaged readers doing or thinking when they read? How is this different from struggling readers and how can they be helped?

While this book isn’t exactly an exciting summer beach read, it’s always interesting to read about reading, I think. First published in 1996, with a third edition published in 2016, You Gotta BE the Book examines Jeffrey Wilhelm’s research in his middle school classrooms teaching his own experiences and through student stories from both engaged and struggling readers.

Wilhelm describes his difficulties trying to teach students who continually insist that they hate reading. They don’t enjoy reading and it’s difficult for them. Working with individual readers at all levels allowed Wilhelm to develop different interventions/strategies which then helped his students practice visualizing the text, creating the opportunities necessary for struggling readers to finally connect with literature in meaningful ways. The book is an interesting mix between Wilhelm’s early reflections as a teacher, the feedback of his students, and reading theory. The visualization strategies and activity ideas, including drama and art, that Wilhelm describes could also be adapted outside of the classroom.

“You Gotta BE the Book”: Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading with Adolescents, Third Edition by Jeffrey Wilhelm (2016)

Also, if you want to read more about literacy theories, this is a good introduction:

Lenses on Reading: An Introduction to Theories and Models by Diane Tracey and Lesley Morrow (2012)

And another related book to add to your list, just because it’s interesting:

Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men by Michael Smith and Jeffrey Wilhelm (2002)

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Friday Reads: The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue

A newly married couple move to Quebec for the summer where Kay works as an acrobat while Theo translates a French biography on Eadweard Muybridge (famous for his photographs of galloping horses and movement).

As the couple explores the city, they find an old toy shop with a wooden puppet under a glass jar that can be seen from the dusty window. Kay falls in love with the puppet and returns often to look at it, although the shop remains closed.

On her way home late one night, Kay hears footsteps behind her. Looking for shelter, she sees a light on in the toy shop and rushes inside without a thought.

The next morning, when Theo realizes that Kay never made it home, he starts contacting the police and the other members of Kay’s group of performers. Only Egon believes that something terrible has happened and together they search the city for any trace of Kay.

In alternating chapters with Theo’s desperate search, the point of view switches back to Kay. She’s been transformed into a puppet and now resides in the back room of the toy shop which is run by the “giants” who decide which puppets get to leave and perform. Kay and the other puppets, who have all been magically transformed over the years, can only wake between midnight and dawn. With her human memories fading more each day, Kay must learn to adapt to her new surroundings unless she can somehow escape with the one puppet, Noe, who still clearly remembers her past life or be rescued.

Based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, this story is more odd/magical than creepy/horror. Slower paced, but well written and still a fairly short read.

 

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Trustee Academy: Updated Courses

Through a statewide partnership between the Nebraska Library Commission and United for Libraries, all Trustees, Friends groups, and library directors in Nebraska have access to online United for Libraries resources. The Trustee Academy is a series of webinars to help Trustees learn about their roles in libraries.

Recently, these Trustee Academy resources have been updated. The old courses will only be available until June 30, 2017.

New/Updated Courses:

  • Trustee Competencies
  • Working Effectively with the Library Director
  • The Library’s Budget for Trustees
  • Standing Up for Intellectual Freedom
  • Everyday Advocacy – Why the Library Matters!

Added Webinar (not a part of the Trustee Academy):

  • Merging a Friends and Foundation – “In the library world today, there is a huge need for support organizations – Friends & Foundations – but often the lines between these two groups are blurred and their work counter-productive. In this webinar, presenters Peter Pearson and Sue Hall discuss the difference in the roles of Friends and Foundations and identify areas where there can be conflict – and present strategies for minimizing conflict. They also address the question, “When is it time for the two organizations to merge?” and share solutions for engaging in a merger process that minimizes pain and maximizes potential. Pearson and Hall also talk about national challenges and trends for Friends and Foundations.”

The old (soon-to-be-retired) courses are still available until June 30, 2017:

  • Trustee Basics – Part I
  • Trustee Basics – Part II
  • Working Effectively with the Library Director
  • The Library’s Budget
  • Advocating for Your Library
  • Evaluating the Library Director

For more information: http://www.ala.org/united/nebraska

Admission to the Trustee Academy courses has been prepaid by the Nebraska Library Commission for Nebraska Library Trustees and Directors. Contact Holli Duggan for the username and password.

 

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Friday Reads – Alton Brown: EveryDayCook

EveryDayCook cover

Cold Brew Coffee! Fish Sticks and Custard! Midnight Mug Cake!

I’ve loved Alton Brown since watching his show Good Eats on Food Network (as well as Iron Chef America and Cutthroat Kitchen). His cookbooks are always fun to read as he offers commentary on the science behind the ingredients, humorous insight on why he likes a particular recipe, or some history of each dish.

These 101 recipes include his personal favorites or things he eats on a daily basis “from morning to late and night and everywhere in-between.” Recipes are arranged by the time of day: Breakfast, Coffee Break, Noon, Afternoon, Evening, Anytime, and Later. Recipes range from classics, such as meatloaf or peanut butter cookies, to new twists with EnchiLasagna (enchilada + lasagna).

Separate sections are included that focus on pantry basics and kitchen tools. He explains his methodology within these sections and throughout the different recipes which I thought was fascinating. One note to point out, if you don’t have a kitchen scale, is that he does use both cups and grams in different recipes. For the few specialized kitchen tools, he does offer explanations and alternatives which is always helpful.  If nothing else, check it out for the pictures (which were all taken on his iPhone). The food looks gorgeous.

Brown, A. (2016). Alton Brown: EveryDayCook. New York: Ballantine Books.

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November Monthly Webinar List

Happy November!

The free November 2016 webinar list from the Wyoming State Library presents a chronological list of webinars with program descriptions and links to registrations. Below is just a sampling of some upcoming webinars.

For those in the Public Librarian certification program, if you attended the 2016 NLA Conference and need to submit sessions for CE credit, please use this form: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/CE/nlaform.asp

66 Free November Webinars for Library Staff

NCompass Live:

Advocacy:

Assessment & Planning:

Careers:

Children & Teens:

Collection Development & Management:

Communication:

Databases & eResources:

Development & Managing Change:

Fundraising:

Legal:

Management:

Outreach & Partnerships:

Programming:

Readers’ Advisory:

Reference:

School Libraries:

Technology:

Training & Instruction:

Many webinars are archived, so you can view them later if you didn’t catch the initial broadcast.

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Friday Reads: Bellweather Rhapsody

Bellweather RhapsodyMusic, murder, mystery!

Fifteen years after a murder/suicide in room 712, hundreds of talented high school musicians gather for an annual festival at the Bellweather Hotel  (which is described as something between the Overlook and the Grand Budapest Hotel).

Twins, Alice and Rabbit, try to imagine life post-high school, a witness to the 1982 tragedy returns to face her fears, the grumpy conductor is missing a few fingers, and the director is disliked by everyone, including the elderly and deeply loyal concierge. Everything goes as well as competitive musical festivals usually go, until a blizzard threatens to trap them inside and Alice’s roommate goes missing. Alice swears it was murder, others believe it’s the ghosts in room 712, or it could all be just a terrible prank.

 

 

 

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Continuing Education Grants – ARSL 2016 Conference

Continuing Education Grants are now available! These grants are available for Nebraska public librarians to attend the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) annual conference in Fargo, ND (October 27th-29th).

Applications must be submitted electronically by September 6th!

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Friday Reads: The Reckoners (series)

Action! Adventure! Supervillains!

An unknown Calamity has caused certain people to develop all sorts of extraordinary superpowers. With their new abilities, these Epics have also become quite corrupted and seemingly invincible. Using their powers for destruction and control, the world has become fractured with people living under the Epics’ rule. The good guys are a small band of ordinary people called the Reckoners who are fighting back against the Epics with the help of Prof and his fantastic technology.

The series begins with our scrappy (and sometimes awkward) protagonist, David, in his obsessive quest to join the Reckoners and take down one of the most powerful Epics, Steelheart, who killed his father ten years earlier. Twists and turns move the story along very quickly as David and the Reckoners face the war that they’re about to start.

In all of his writing, Brandon Sanderson’s world-building and magic (or superpower) systems are incredible. He’s a favorite. I haven’t listened to any of the audiobook versions, but according to other reviews, MacLeod Andrews does a wonderful job with narration.

Random House Kids. (2013, September 5). Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/6sC9NtpXLH4

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