Author Archives: Holli Duggan

Friday Reads: Podcasts as Books

I’m rather late to the world of podcasts, but I’ve been finding more and more really good ones. Even better, I’ve been finding related books for when I just want more of the story or just need a break from listening. Here’s a list of a few I’ve recently gathered:

Limetown. “What happened to the people of Limetown?” Three hundred people living in a small town in Tennessee seemingly disappeared overnight, including Lia Haddock’s uncle Emile. Lia, a journalist, investigates the mysterious research facility and the surrounding town looking for answers as to what really happened that night. The book goes back to seventeen-year old Lia’s, looking for answers about her family who all refuse to talk about the incident, alternating with Emile’s story leading up to the project in Limetown.

Smith, Cote. Limetown: The Prequel to the #1 Podcast. 2018. Print.

Welcome to Night Vale. Presented as a community radio show, the podcast follows Cecil as he updates residents of this small desert town of all the everyday sorts of activities and events, including the dog park, the ghosts, angels, government conspiracies, and such. While I’m still making my way through the podcast archives, I’m sure I’m missing some of the references throughout the book, but it’s still wonderfully weird. The book follows two residents, Diane with her shape-shifting son, and Jackie who owns the pawn shop, and their search for the meaning of “King City.”

Fink, Joseph & Cranor, Jeffrey. Welcome to Night Vale. 2015. Print.

Sawbones. Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband explore how modern medicine has evolved and “all the dumb, bad, gross, weird and wrong ways we’ve tried to fix people.” Think eating powdered mummies, using opium or radium as a cure-all, and drilling holes in your head. Although an entertaining introduction to medical history, the book does seem to have a number of editing issues that can be distracting.

McElroy, Justin & McElroy, Sydnee. The Sawbones Book: The Hilarious, Horrifying Road to Modern Medicine. 2018. Print.

Lore. Each chapter examines a different “creature” (ghosts, vampires, werewolves, goblins…) and the legends, folklore, or history surrounding them and how they relate to human nature. Great for anyone interested in supernatural/urban legends kinds of things. Though, if you’ve listened to the podcast, the illustrations may be new to you, but the stories are more transcripts.

Mahnke, Aaron. The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures. 2017. Print.

The Moth. True stories told live in front of crowds worldwide, diverse storytellers share their experiences which can be anywhere from dumb things they’ve done to joyful to heartbreaking. The book contains fifty stories from The Moth’s archives. Good if you just want to read some interesting life stories.

Burns, Catherine (editor). The Moth. 2013. Print.

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Submitting NLA/NSLA Conference CE Hours

Back from this year’s NLA/NSLA Conference? Remember to submit your hours for CE!

For those in the Public Librarian Certification program and Library Board Members, use the NLA/NSLA Conference Continuing Education Report Form here:

The preconferences and all sessions are listed already. Just go through and click on the ones that you attended then hit submit. We’ll get these added to your (or your library’s) CE record.

If you have any questions, please let me know!

-Holli Duggan, Continuing Education Coordinator

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Applications for CE/Training Grants are Open!

The Continuing Education/Training Grants are back this year and the applications are now open!

The purpose of these grants is to assist Nebraska libraries to improve the library services provided to their communities through continuing education and training for their library personnel and supporters. Successful applications will show how the continuing education and/or training proposed will support the library’s mission.

This year we are offering grants in three different areas: attending an out-of-state professional conference, taking an online CE course, and other larger CE group/staff projects.

Applications are due December 7, 2018

Applications will be evaluated and applicants notified by January 11, 2019

For more details about filling out the applications, the archived session “NCompass Live: 2018 Continuing Education/Training and Internship Grants” is now available.

Grant information and Application Forms

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Holli Duggan.

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Friday Reads: A Study in Emerald

A Study in Emerald by Neil GaimanSherlock Holmes & Lovecraftian Mysteries

A Study in Emerald” was a short story that appeared in the 2003 Shadows Over Baker Street anthology (also a good book). Now this story appears as its own new shiny graphic novel.

An ex-military man and his new detective friend must solve a baffling murder with a few clever twists (especially with the ending) and some cosmic horror. Without giving too much away, it’s a fascinating blend of these two universes and characters. Quick read. Wonderful artwork.

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Basic Skills: Introduction to Cataloging Self-Paced Module

Did you miss out on the Organization of Materials Basic Skills class in April? Do you still need this class to complete your Basic Skills requirement? Here’s another chance!

Due to the number of students interested in this class and the Nebraska Library Commission’s ongoing evaluation of the Basic Skills classes as a whole, we have decided to open a second self-paced section of the course with a shiny new name. Introduction to Cataloging!

As this is a new self-paced format, we are limiting enrollment to 35 students. The content of the class will not be greatly different from previous Organization of Materials classes, but this new module will be self-paced, instead of the instructor-led format that you may be familiar with from other Basic Skills classes.

Registration and more details can be found on the NLC Library Training & Events Calendar:

If you have any questions, please contact Holli Duggan, Continuing Education Coordinator.

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Friday Reads: Moon by Alison Oliver

Moon is overwhelmed with homework, music lessons, soccer practice, chores, and stuff. Every single day is the same.

But she wonders how it could be if she just didn’t have to do these things.

Following a shooting star and some paw prints into the forest, Moon meets a wolf who, along with his pack, shows her their “wolfy ways” – how to play, how to be still, and how to be wild.

Moon, written and illustrated by Alison Oliver (2018), is a sweet story with beautiful, expressive pictures about balancing the day-to-day busy schedules with time spent outside, playing and connecting.

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Friday Reads: The Great British Baking Show

If you need any sort of pure happiness today or any day, watch The Great British Baking Show. Amateur bakers compete each week in various challenges from technical skill-basked tasks to creating towering “showstopper” cakes (like a shortbread clock tower). I started watching this last year or so on PBS and got hooked. It’s funny, full of beautiful pastries, and lovely people. Netflix has a few seasons now plus Masterclass (which is the two judges teaching you how to bake amazing things from the show).

So for this Friday Reads, I thought I would round up a few of the Great British Baking Show related books that I’ve started reading or adding to my bookshelf. Easy-to-follow, step-by-step recipes with lots of pictures in the cookbooks. A Baker’s Life by Paul Hollywood is more memoir/cookbook, telling his story through nostalgic recipes. Sue Perkins narrates her memoir, Spectacles, in the audio version which I’ve heard is great. Plus a coloring book!



The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking – Linda Collister




Mary Berry’s Baking Bible: Over 250 Classic Recipes – Mary Berry





How to Bake – Paul Hollywood






A Baker’s Life: 100 Fantastic Recipes, from Childhood Bakes to Five-Star Excellence – Paul Hollywood




Spectacles – Sue Perkins





Recipe for Life – Mary Berry





The Great British Bake Off Colouring Book – Tom Hovey (who also does all the illustrations on the show)


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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:

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:

66 Free November Webinars for Library Staff

NCompass Live:


Assessment & Planning:


Children & Teens:

Collection Development & Management:


Databases & eResources:

Development & Managing Change:




Outreach & Partnerships:


Readers’ Advisory:


School Libraries:


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

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