Author Archives: Mary Jo Ryan

Nominations Accepted Until August 15 for Literary/Literacy Awards

Nebraskans are urged to nominate literary/literacy champions. The Nebraska Center for the Book is accepting nominations to honor Nebraska’s champions of literature and literacy. Awards will be presented at the Celebration of Nebraska Books on October 27. The Mildred Bennett Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to fostering the literary tradition in Nebraska. Its purpose is to remind us of the literary and intellectual traditions that enrich our lives and mold our world. The award recognizes inspired leadership and service on behalf of Nebraska literature, highlighting how the recipient follows the example of Mildred Bennett, the charismatic founder and long-time president of the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation.

The Jane Geske Award is presented annually to a Nebraska organization for exceptional contribution to literacy, books, reading, libraries, or literature in Nebraska. It commemorates Geske’s passion for books, and was established in recognition of her contributions to the well-being of Nebraska libraries. Jane Pope Geske was a founding member of the Nebraska Center for the Book, former director of the Nebraska Library Commission, and a long-time leader in Nebraska library and literary activities.

For more information see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards.html. Nomination forms are available at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/nominationforms.html or contact Rod Wagner, Nebraska Library Commission Director, 402-471-4001, 800-307-2665.

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Nebraska Libraries Invited to Join “Libraries = Strong Communities” Advocacy Effort

ALA recently introduced “Libraries = Strong Communities,” a national advocacy effort aimed at highlighting the value of academic, public and school libraries. This initiative is uniquely positioned to ignite public awareness of the value of libraries and library staff and create a groundswell of support at the local, state, national and global level.

“Libraries = Strong Communities” will include messaging used in conjunction with ALA’s Libraries Transform public awareness campaign. Publicity tools, including a press release template, flyer, Because Statements, and Facebook frame, will be available for participating libraries as well as advocates at large. Additional information regarding the tour will be available within the next few weeks, and those interested in following tour activities in real time may follow the hashtag #LibrariesStrong.

For more information see http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2018/06/ala-president-loida-garcia-febo-announces-libraries-strong-communities

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Friday Reads: “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya

I became motivated to reread this book when I looked at the booklist for The Great American Read program and realized that it had been about forty years since I first encountered this classic “Coming of Age” story.

With Bless Me, Ultima (1972), the first in a trilogy (followed by the publication of Heart of Aztlan in 1976 and Tortuga in 1979), Anaya follows six-year-old Antonio on his growing-up journey and spins the story by revealing dreams and reality—and blurring the fine line between them from time to time. Anaya says he does not seek characters—they just come to him. So it is with Ultima. Anaya says she appeared in the doorway while he was writing and assured him that the story will not work unless he put her in it. Ultima is a pivotal character in the story. She is a curandera—a healer and teacher, and she guides Antonio gently without prescribing exact choices to make or solutions to problems.

From the first dream sequence to the last (you’ll recognize them, they are in italics), it is clear that Antonio was born to struggle and that his path is marked by having his feet in two different worlds. Throughout the book, he is faced with tests. Some are common tests of childhood, like how to overcome the loneliness of feeling different. Others are extremely unusual and painful tests for a young person to endure and learn from. I feel like this book has resonated with so many readers because even though we may live in different worlds, many of us can really relate to his experience. Are we all on the same journey as Antonio? Struggling to understand good and evil around (and within) us? But are some of us especially lost with no guides or curanderas to show us the way?

The setting and characters ring true to me. The book mirrors my experience in small towns in New Mexico right down to my best friend Lenora’s grandmother—who might very well be the model for Antonio’s mother—speaking only Spanish, warning us against straying to the city (too late—we were already on our way to LA), and feeding us the most heavenly comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The story is told in flat-out beautiful writing, and unless you read the book, you’ll just have to take my word for it that this book has one of the best first paragraphs ever! So I’d suggest you (and your book group) find out for yourselves. This #FridayReads feature is available as a Book Club kit from the Nebraska Library Commission at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

The Great American Read is an eight-part PBS series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, in the context of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen through a national survey). It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience. Voting for America’s favorite book opened with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode on May 22 and continues throughout the summer, leading up to the grand finale “favorite” announcement in October 2018. Viewers can vote at pbs.org/greatamericanread and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter using #GreatReadPBS. I think I might be voting for Bless Me Ultima. Which book will you vote for?

Review by Mary Jo Ryan.

#fridayreads

#GreatReadPBS

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Nebraska Librarians Urged to Explore 2018: Libraries Ready to Code Materials

The American Library Association’s Libraries Ready to Code initiative, sponsored by Google, released the beta version of the Ready to Code Collection at the 2018 Annual Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, today, June 22.

The Libraries Ready to Code Collection is a cache of resources developed, tested, and curated by libraries, for libraries to create, implement, and enhance their computer science (CS) programming for youth. In the nine months since Libraries Ready to Code announced the 28 grantee libraries participating in the project, the cohort has piloted a range of programs:

  • Middle school library and technology staff working with local nonprofits to identify needs of local businesses and nonprofits and enabling young library users to fill those needs through applied coding projects.
  • A high school librarian collaborating with a local music mentorship program to teach youth in special education classes how to code music with assistive technology.
  • Public librarians in a rural community teaching coding languages to help youth engineer and operate a FarmBot robotic gardener.
  • Elementary school librarians leading 4th–8th-grade students through an interest-based coding club and helping students to develop their own workshops showcasing their skills as coding mentors to K–3rd graders.

Learning from these programs are presented in a comprehensive guide to enable library professionals to cultivate their young patrons’ computational thinking (CT) literacies—their ability to solve complex problems through a step-by-step analytical process. Everything on the Libraries #ReadytoCode site is a test run and feedback from librarians will ensure that when the full site is launched in fall 2018 it will meet the needs of library staff working for and with youth and families.

#ReadyToCode

 

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Nominate Books Before June 30 for the 2018 Nebraska Book Awards

There’s still time to nominate the next Nebraska Book Award winner! Have you read any good Nebraska books lately? If you have, you can nominate them for a book award. The 2018 Nebraska Book Awards program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB) and Nebraska Library Commission, will recognize and honor books that are written by Nebraska authors, published by Nebraska publishers, set in Nebraska, or relate to Nebraska.

Books published in 2017, as indicated by the copyright date, are eligible for nomination. They must be professionally published, have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), and be bound. Books may be entered in one or more of the following categories: Nonfiction, Fiction, Children/Young Adult, Cover/Design/Illustration,  and Poetry. Certificates will be awarded to the winners in each category. Award winners will be presented at the Fall 2018 Nebraska Center for the Book’s Celebration of Nebraska Books and Annual Meeting in Lincoln.

The entry fee is $40 per book and per category entered. Deadline for entries is June 30, 2018. For more information, including entry forms, see http://www.centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards/nebookawards.html or contact Mary Jo Ryan, 402-471-2045, 800-307-2665, for print information. Enter by sending the entry form (http://www.centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/docs/BookAwardsEntry2018.pdf), three copies of the book, and the entry fee to NCB Book Awards Competition, Nebraska Library Commission, The Atrium, 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023.

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.

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Save the Date for Fall Book Celebrations

Nebraska books and writers will be featured and celebrated at two events in Lincoln, so save the dates for the Nebraska Book Festival on August 25, 2018 and Celebration of Nebraska Books on October 27, 2018. These two events will highlight work by Nebraska writers and publishers, featuring stories and poetry set in Nebraska.

The August 25 Nebraska Book Festival will be held at the University of Nebraska City Campus Union from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. It will feature author appearances, book signings, exhibitors, booksellers, poetry readings, and hands-on family activities. Authors include Janice Harrington, Stew Magnuson, Brandon Vogel, Melissa Fraterrigo, Jeff Kurrus, and Michael Forsberg. An opening reception on Friday evening and a closing reception on Sunday afternoon will be held at the Center for Great Plains Studies to highlight new Nebraska books. The Festival is sponsored by University of Nebraska Press, Nebraska Library Commission, Nebraska Center for the Book, Lincoln City Libraries, Humanities Nebraska, Union Bank, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism & Mass Communications, Friends of University of Nebraska Press, Nebraska Writers Guild, and Concierge Marketing and Publishing Services. More information about the Festival is available at http://bookfestival.nebraska.gov/2018/index.aspx.

The October 27 Celebration of Nebraska Books will be held at the Nebraska History Museum, 131 Centennial Mall North. The winners of the 2018 Nebraska Book Awards—Nebraska’s prestigious awards for literacy, writing, and publishing—will read from their winning books and sign copies of the books. Nominate books for the Nebraska Book Awards at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards/nebookawards.html. The Celebration will also feature poetry readings in honor of the 2018 One Book One Nebraska book selection, Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry (The Backwaters Press, 2007) edited by Greg Kosmicki and Mary K. Stillwell.

Awards will be presented to supporters of Nebraska writing. The Mildred Bennett Award will recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to fostering the literary tradition in Nebraska, reminding us of the literary and intellectual traditions that enrich our lives and mold our world. The Jane Geske Award will be presented to a Nebraska organization for exceptional contribution to literacy, books, reading, libraries, or literature in Nebraska. It commemorates Geske’s passion for books, and was established in recognition of her contributions to the well-being of Nebraska libraries. Nomination forms are available at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/nominationforms.html.

The Nebraska Cen­ter for the Book An­nual Meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m.—just prior to the Celebration of Nebraska Books. An Awards Reception honoring the winners, book signings, and announcement of the 2019 One Book One Nebraska book choice will conclude the festivities. The 2018 Celebration of Nebraska Books is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB), Nebraska Library Commis­sion, and History Nebraska—with Humanities Nebraska supporting the One Book One Nebraska presentation. For more information see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/celebration.html and https://www.facebook.com/NebraskaCenterfortheBook.

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Great Stories Club Grant Applications Due July 9

The American Library Association asks Nebraska librarians, “Do you love books and want to instill a love of reading in others? Learn how ALA’s Great Stories Club grants can help you connect with underserved youth in your community.”

This grant opportunity is open to all library types who are interested in working with (or located within) organizations that serve under-resourced youth, such as alternative high schools, juvenile justice organizations, or foster care agencies.

ALA is now accepting applications for the Great Stories Club, a grant program in which library workers lead reading and discussion programs with underserved teens in their communities. Read the project guidelines and apply online. Applications are due July 9. Up to 150 grants will be awarded.

Program details and eligibility: Working with small groups of approximately 10 teens, grantees will host reading and discussion programs for up to four thematically related books. The titles — selected in consultation with librarian advisors and humanities scholars — are chosen to resonate with reluctant readers struggling with complex issues like academic probation, detention, incarceration, violence, and poverty. All types of libraries are eligible, as long as they work in partnership with, or are located within, organizations that serve under-resourced youth, such as alternative high schools, juvenile justice organizations, homeless shelters, foster care agencies, teen parenting programs, residential treatment facilities, and other nonprofit and community agencies. (Read an account of a former Great Stories Club grantee about her partnership with a juvenile detention center.) Libraries located in high-poverty communities are also eligible to apply, though outreach partnerships with youth-focused organizations are still encouraged.

Themes and titles: Participating libraries may choose to work with one or both of the following themes during a 12-month programming period (September 2018 – August 2019): “Empathy: The Cost of Switching Sides” and “What Makes a Hero? Self, Society and Rising to the Occasion.”

Grantees will receive: 11 paperback copies of up to four book selections (10 to gift to participants and 1 for discussion leader/library collection), travel and accommodation expenses paid for one staff member to attend a 1 ½-day project orientation workshop in Chicago (libraries selected to implement both Great Stories Club series will be assigned to attend only one workshop), and programming materials, including discussion guides, related reading lists and promotional resources,

For more information: See http://www.programminglibrarian.org/articles/apply-now-great-stories-club-book-club-underserved-youth. Potential applicants may sign up for a free webinar to learn more about this opportunity. The webinar will be held at 1 p.m. Central Time on Monday, May 21. Reserve a spot for the webinar. 

Sarah Ostman, American Library Association
Public Programs Office Communications Manager
312-280-5061

 

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Register Now for Summer and Fall LIS Classes at Central Community College

Library and Information Services (LIS) class registration is now open at Central Community College for Summer 2018: May 21, 2018 – July 26, 2018 and August 20, 2018 – December 14, 2018.

Classes include:

Summer 2018

  • Reference Resources and Services, with Marty Magee, Instructor. This course covers use of print and digital resources, professional competencies, and the reference interview.

Fall 2018

  • Foundations of Library and Information Services, with Marty Magee, Instructor. This course provides introductory information in multiple areas including the history of libraries, foundational principles, databases and websites, library technology use, programming, and changing library roles.
  • Leadership and Management in Library and Information Agencies, with Michael Straatmann, Instructor. This course includes the theories, concepts and activities integral to leading and managing 21st Century libraries and information agencies.
  • Library and Information Services Capstone Practicum, with Patty Birch, Instructor. In this  final course in the LIS program, students complete 40 hours of service learning in a host library and review learning from the LIS program.

For information concerning Admissions or Registration, contact: Dee Johnson djohnson@cccneb.edu, 402-562-1418 or Toll Free at 877-222-0780

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NLA Spring Meetings Across Nebraska

Today I attended the Nebraska Library Association (NLA) Public Library and Trustee Section (PLTS), School Children’s and Young People’s Section (SCYP), and Paraprofessional Section Spring Meeting in Seward. And I’m learning so much from David Drozd, University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) Center for Public Affairs Research, about how to use the census data website. I can really see how this would be very useful for lots of libraries across the state. NOTE: there’s still time to catch his workshop at the remaining Spring Meeting sessions tomorrow and next week. See http://nlc.nebraska.gov/scripts/calendar/eventlist.asp?mode=search&search=NLA%20Spring%20Meeting for locations. If you can’t attend one of the workshops, the slides will be posted on the NLA PLTS website: http://www.nebraskalibraries.org/group/PLTS .

As PLTS Vice-Chair Francine Canfield pointed out, census data is very useful for public libraries as they facilitate their community planning process—fulfilling the requirements for Public Library Accreditation and ensuring that the library continues to build collections and offer programs that respond to the changing needs of communities. For example with five times the level of growth in seniors expected in the next ten years, we can think about working with senior citizens in our communities to plan programs that appeal to them and meet their needs. With demographic trends showing that although Nebraska communities used to see lots more older women than older men, men are now catching up and we can expect to see eight older men for every ten older women in the near future.

Census data can also be very powerful in communicating with decision makers, community residents, and the media, etc. (See http://nlc.nebraska.gov/stats/2018AdvocacyFlyer.pdf for an example of a recent flyer staff at the Nebraska Library Commission developed using data from the public library survey and the census.) One workshop participant pointed out how useful this demographic information is for grant writing. Since library staff are often asked to help library customers access demographic data, the information in this workshop is presented in a modified Train the Trainer format to help library staff feel more comfortable pointing customers to helpful resources.

In addition to the census information that can be accessed from American Fact Finder (a series of filters that allows us to drill down to specific data sets by community), the UNO Center for Public Affairs Research has developed Nebraska Quick Facts on the UNO website (https://www.unomaha.edu/college-of-public-affairs-and-community-service/center-for-public-affairs-research/programs/nebraska-quick-facts.php ) with quick reference tables showing population loss/gain between 2000 and 2010—some of these tables go back to 1880 for certain communities—and other quick facts including population estimates.

Looking at the wealth of information we can access from census data has left me looking forward to 2020 and hoping Nebraska librarians will encourage our community residents to participate in the census: Take 10 minutes for 10 questions every 10 years.

Thanks for sharing all this great information, Mary Jo Ryan

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Kreutz Bennett Grants Awarded to Small-Town Public Libraries

Six Nebraska public libraries recently received project funding, thanks to the generosity of a lifelong educator, the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett of Lincoln. Each year, the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF), accepts proposals for matching grants for public libraries in communities with populations under 3,000.

Following Ms. Kreutz Bennett’s wishes, a Fund Advisory Committee composed of her nieces and nephews recommends grants in three areas: planning grants leading to accreditation; enhancement grants to improve library services; and facilities grants for new construction or the renovation, restoration or rehabilitation of current libraries.

All grants require a one-to-one match in local funding and evidence that the project has broad community support. Approximately $80,000 in grant funding is available each year. Grant seekers are encouraged to review the guidelines and application procedures at NebraskaHometown.org/give/kreutz-bennett-donor-advised-fund.

“I would definitely recommend that library directors in eligible Nebraska communities take the time to apply for grants through the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund,” said Dawnn Tucker, director of Lied Pierce Public Library. “The grant funding that we received in Pierce has made a tremendous impact on the children’s programming in our library. We were able to purchase new books, movies, crafts, games and musical instruments to add to our children’s activities. These items have added new excitement, which in turn has increased the number of children involved. We are very thankful for this grant opportunity!” For more information, contact Reggi Carlson, NCF communications specialist, 402-323-7338 or rcarlson@nebcommfound.org.

The following libraries received grants in 2018:

Dundy County Library. A grant of $12,000 will help complete renovation of a building, which will serve as a new library facility and nearly double the space of the former building.

Dvoracek Memorial Library in Wilber. This library is located on a highway where parking is not permitted. The library received a grant of $6,250 to match funds for construction of additional parking spaces close to the main entrance for increased accessibility for library patrons.

Genoa Public Library. This library applied for and received two separate grants. The first grant in the amount of $1,000 will be used to purchase materials and supplies needed to incorporate a STREAM focus (science, technology, reading, arts, math) into children’s library programs. A second grant for $5,000 will help with repairs to the library’s exterior brick mortar, and to complete additional façade renovation on the historic building that houses the library.

Howells Public Library. The entrance to this library was damaged by flooding several years ago. A grant of $6,000 will match funds to replace the front doors with automated doors, which will increase accessibility for library patrons.

Ravenna Public Library. A grant of $20,000 will help support the fundraising campaign for construction of a new library in Ravenna.

Scribner Public Library. This library is using its $1,500 grant to incorporate a makerspace in the library and provide science-based kits, mechanical sets and sewing machines for its after-school and summer programs.

The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund has provided 45 grants to Nebraska libraries since it began annual grantmaking in 2012. Christa Porter, Nebraska Library Commission Director of Library Development, said this grant program is perfect for libraries that are not yet accredited. “Libraries can use grant funding to gather information for their Community Needs Response Plan. This might include paying for a professional to facilitate focus groups or to conduct personal interviews or surveys,” Porter said. Other possibilities for non-accredited libraries may include one-time, or first time, costs that will help libraries earn points on the Accreditation Application. For example, help with purchasing an Integrated Library System, subscribing to online library databases, joining regional or statewide consortia, and expenditures for start-up technology purchases and services.

“Gaining accreditation is critical to our libraries. It opens the door to other outside funding,” said Jeff Yost, NCF president and CEO.  “In many small towns, the library may be the only place where some people have access to the internet.  Shirley’s legacy gift shows that she had great vision and commitment to people in our small communities. We are honored to help the family of Shirley Kreutz Bennett develop a strategy to share her passion for learning,” said Yost.

Nebraska Community Foundation is a statewide organization using charitable giving to mobilize communities across the state. NCF unleashes abundant local assets, inspires charitable giving and connects ambitious people to build stronger communities and a Greater Nebraska. NCF works with volunteer leaders serving more 250 than communities by providing training, strategic development, gift planning assistance and financial management for its affiliated funds located throughout the state. In the last five years, more than 39,000 contributions have been made to NCF affiliated funds, and more than $128 million has been reinvested to benefit Nebraska communities. For more information visit NebraskaHometown.org.

 

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Nebraska Libraries Invited to Celebrate Money Smart Week®, April 21 – 28, 2018

Libraries across the country will offer a wealth of personal finance programs during Money Smart Week® and Nebraska libraries will join them in sponsoring educational and entertaining programs. From April 21-28, 2018, more than 1,000 of our nation’s libraries will be participating in Money Smart Week®. Library events will focus on such diverse financial issues as first-time home buying, obtaining renovation loans, preparing a personal spending plan, the property tax appeal process, evaluating financial aid packages, choosing the proper Medicare plan, and the basics of wills and trusts. Libraries are also offering programs that week on options for tax-free savings and charitable tax strategies.

Please comment below about how your Nebraska library will provide programs and resources to celebrate Money Smart Week® April 21-28, 2018. Created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002, Money Smart Week® is a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. This is achieved through the collaboration and coordinated effort of hundreds of organizations across the country. Classes, activities, events, and programming will be offered to all demographics and income levels and will cover all facets of personal finance. Resources for local events are available at http://www.moneysmartweek.org.

For more information, see http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2018/03/libraries-offer-wealth-personal-finance-programs-during-money-smart-week.

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Nominate Books Now for the 2018 Nebraska Book Awards

Have you read any good Nebraska books lately? If you have, you can nominate them for a book award. The 2018 Nebraska Book Awards program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB) and Nebraska Library Commission, will recognize and honor books that are written by Nebraska authors, published by Nebraska publishers, set in Nebraska, or relate to Nebraska.

Books published in 2017, as indicated by the copyright date, are eligible for nomination. They must be professionally published, have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), and be bound. Books may be entered in one or more of the following categories: Nonfiction, Fiction, Children/Young Adult, Cover/Design/Illustration,  and Poetry. Certificates will be awarded to the winners in each category. Award winners will be presented at the Fall 2018 Nebraska Center for the Book’s Celebration of Nebraska Books and Annual Meeting in Lincoln.

The entry fee is $40 per book and per category entered. Deadline for entries is June 30, 2018. For more information, including entry forms, see http://www.centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards/nebookawards.html or contact Mary Jo Ryan, 402-471-2045, 800-307-2665, for print information. Enter by sending the entry form (http://www.centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/docs/BookAwardsEntry2018.pdf), three copies of the book, and the entry fee to NCB Book Awards Competition, Nebraska Library Commission, The Atrium, 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023.

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.

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Friday Reads: “The Nightingale: A Novel” by Kristin Hannah

This is a story of two sisters at the beginning of World War II, who each try to find their own way of responding to the horror that is war lived up close and personal on your own turf. The question is posed: “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Isabelle. Paris is overrun. The Nazis control the city. What is an eighteen-year-old girl to do about all of that?” The answer is very different for the two sisters (and for all the characters in the book), but the story that unfolds of their struggle for survival under Nazi rule answers that question with a moving and fascinating tale.

The Amazon.com book blurb begins with: “With courage, grace, and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war.” I loved this book, but I’m not sure I agree with the previous statement. It seems to me that the women’s war has been featured recently in a number of excellent books, AND I have to say I do appreciate that. So I wondered what this book would bring to the narrative that hasn’t already been exposed in one of those books. One thing I discovered is that this book is based on a true story. One of the sisters is based on a real-life war hero of the French Resistance, a French woman who led Allied flyers to safety on foot over the Pyrenees Mountains.

The relationship between the sisters is far from perfect and that tension helps the reader understand that one casualty of war can be the time and space to work things out with the ones we love. The author says, “The characters in The Nightingale are each confronted with incredible, terrifying choices. In love and in war, each character will find out who they really are.” A challenge that I experienced in reading this book is that the reader is called to evaluate the results of these choices and to examine choices that we might make under the same circumstances—maybe to find out who we really are.

Read this award-winning book now before it shows up in the movie theatres. The Internet is abuzz with speculation about who will star in the upcoming film. The picture, directed by Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad), is set for release August 10, 2018. The film adaptation of the novel is written by Ann Peacock (Chronicle of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe), with MacLaren and John Sayles on board to polish the draft.

The Nightingale: A Novel by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2017)

Review by Mary Jo Ryan

#FridayReads

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APPLY NOW: ‘The Great American Read’ Grants for Public Libraries

Nebraska public libraries are invited to apply for grants to host public programs around the PBS series “The Great American Read,” an eight-part television and online series designed to spark a national conversation about reading and the books that have inspired, moved, and shaped us, the ALA Public Programs Office announced. “The Great American Read” will engage audiences with a list of 100 diverse books, encouraging audiences to read the books, vote from the list of 100, and share their personal connections to the titles.

 Fifty U.S. public libraries will be selected through a competitive application process to receive a cash grant to support programs and events related to “The Great American Read.” Selected libraries will also receive a programming kit, developed by ALA and PBS, that will help public libraries participate in a national conversation about reading and books, including those featured in the series that highlight themes of love, heroes, villains, other worlds and self-discovery.

Selected libraries will be required to hold at least three public programs related to “The Great American Read” series May and November 2018. Collaboration with local PBS member stations is strongly encouraged.

Read the full project guidelines and apply online by April 17.

“The Great American Read” will premiere May 22 on PBS stations with a two-hour launch, kicking off a summer of reading and voting. In fall 2018, seven new episodes will air, featuring appearances by celebrities, athletes, experts, authors and everyday Americans advocating for their favorite book, culminating with a finale that reveals America’s best-loved novel as chosen by the American public. Selected libraries will receive a DVD collection of the eight-part series with public performance rights; a hardcover copy of the companion book, “The Great American Read: The Book of Books” by PBS (Black Dog & Leventhal, August 21, 2018); print materials for local program promotion and publicity; a programming guide developed by ALA, PBS and a panel of librarian advisors; and more. The libraries will also have the opportunity to host private screenings of the series premiere and six fall episodes before they broadcast to the public.

“The Great American Read” is a production of Nutopia for PBS. PBS Funding for “The Great American Read” is provided by The Anne Ray Foundation and PBS. For more information contact Sarah Ostman, Communications Manager, Public Programs Office, American Library Association, 312-280-5061, sostman@ala.org.

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Apply Now for Funding to Host Letter Writing Clinics

 

Funding is available to support Letters About Literature Letter Writing Clinics in Nebraska libraries and schools. Teachers and Librarians can apply now at: http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/LAL_Grant/2018/howtoapply.aspx

Books make a difference in the lives of Nebraska young people. We know this because they say so in the letters they write to authors for the Letters About Literature competition. In her 2014 winning letter to Gary Soto, Sydney Kohl says, “The work inspired me to be true to myself, and also taught me the importance of each and every small perk in life. Our time on Earth is short, and might not be perfect, but as long as we take advantage of the opportunities given to us, maybe that’s okay.” *

Nebraska teachers and librarians are invited to apply for $300 grants to conduct Letters About Literature Letter Writing Clinics. Funding will be provided to introduce students to the Letters about Literature (LAL) contest and letter writing techniques, and to work with them to select books and craft letters to the authors. Grant funds can be used for items such as instructor honorariums, supplies, marketing, small participation prizes, etc. Applicants will target their efforts to specific age groups: grades 4-6, grades 7-8, or grades 9-12

For more information about the LAL Letter Writing Clinic grant (due April 15), see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/LAL_Grant/2018/index.aspx or contact Mary Jo Ryan, Nebraska Library Commission, 402-471-4870, 800-307-2665. This grant opportunity is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book and Nebraska Library Commission and supported by Humanities Nebraska. More about how the LAL national reading and writing promotion program encourages young readers in grades 4-12 to explore what books mean to them by writing a personal letter to an author is available at centerforthebook.nebraska.gov.

* Get inspired by listening to Nebraska winners Ashley Xiques and Sydney Kohl read and talk about their winning letters to the authors that meant something to them at NET Radio’s All About Books.

NOTE: The Letters About Literature competition is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations. Letters About Literature is coordinated and sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Library Commission, with support from Houchen Bindery, Ltd. and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.

 

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Digital Preservation Workshop to be Held in Lincoln

A half-day workshop for representatives from libraries, archives, museums, or other cultural heritage institutions will be offered on March 1, 2018, 9:00 a.m.-noon. Workshop participants will gain an understanding of the challenges of digital preservation, the ways that assessment can make those challenges more manageable, the steps in digital preservation assessment, and the tools to perform a basic peer assessment. The workshop will be held at the Nebraska History Museum (Gilmore Room), 131 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln, NE. Workshop fee: $25.

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) received a National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation and Access Education and Training grant to prepare and present a collaborative Digital Preservation Assessment training program. This program approaches digital preservation assessment and training through case-study assessments, shadowing opportunities, workshops, a training institute, and a final symposium. Register for the workshop in Lincoln at https://www.nedcc.org/preservation-training/registration?p=361.

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Teachers and Librarians Invited to Host Letter Writing Clinics

Books make a difference in the lives of Nebraska young people. We know this because they say so in the letters they write to authors for the Letters About Literature competition. In her 2014 winning letter to Gary Soto, Sydney Kohl says, “The work inspired me to be true to myself, and also taught me the importance of each and every small perk in life. Our time on Earth is short, and might not be perfect, but as long as we take advantage of the opportunities given to us, maybe that’s okay.” *

Nebraska teachers and librarians are invited to apply for $300 grants to conduct Letters About Literature Letter Writing Clinics. Funding will be provided to introduce students to the Letters about Literature (LAL) contest and letter writing techniques, and to work with them to select books and craft letters to the authors. Grant funds can be used for items such as instructor honorariums, supplies, marketing, small participation prizes, etc. Applicants will target their efforts to specific age groups: grades 4-6, grades 7-8, or grades 9-12

For more information about the LAL Letter Writing Clinic grant (due April 15), see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/lalwritingclinics or contact Mary Jo Ryan, Nebraska Library Commission, 402-471-4870, 800-307-2665. This grant opportunity is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book and Nebraska Library Commission and supported by Humanities Nebraska. More about how the LAL national reading and writing promotion program encourages young readers in grades 4-12 to explore what books mean to them by writing a personal letter to an author is available at centerforthebook.nebraska.gov.

* Get inspired by listening to Nebraska winners Ashley Xiques and Sydney Kohl read and talk about and their winning letters to the authors that meant something to them at NET Radio’s All About Books.

NOTE: The Letters About Literature competition is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations. Letters About Literature is coordinated and sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Library Commission, with support from Houchen Bindery, Ltd. and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.

 

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Nebraska Librarians Invited to Plan a Program for One Book One Nebraska in April

National Poetry Month each April is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives.

While we celebrate poets and poetry year-round, the Academy of American Poets was inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), and founded National Poetry Month in April 1996 with an aim to:

  • highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets,
  • encourage the reading of poems,
  • assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms,
  • increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media,
  • encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and
  • encourage support for poets and poetry.
2018 One Book One Nebraska Poster

Download customizable posters for your 2018 One Book One Nebraska event. Available on the 2018 OBON website.

This year’s One Book One Nebraska selection offers a great opportunity for participation. The 2018 One Book One Nebraska: Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry (The Backwaters Press, 2007) edited by Greg Kosmicki and Mary K. Stillwell includes poems by more than eighty contemporary Nebraska poets, including Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States Ted Kooser, Nebraska State Poet Twyla Hansen, former State Poet William Kloefkorn, and many others. Nebraska libraries are encouraged to organize groups to read the book in your library (book club kits available at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/index.asp or from your Regional Library System) and to plan programs to celebrate Nebraska poetry (ideas for programs at http://onebook.nebraska.gov/2018/get-involved.aspx).

The One Book One Nebraska reading program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, and Humanities Nebraska is entering its fourteenth 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. Libraries across Nebraska will join other literary and cultural organizations in planning book discussions, activities, and events to encourage Nebraskans to read and discuss this book. Support materials to assist with local reading/discussion activities are available at http://onebook.nebraska.gov. Updates and activity listings will be posted there and on http://www.facebook.com/onebookonenebraska.

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.

 

 

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New Year’s Resolution? Try United for Libraries Training Resources!

Nebraska libraries are invited to use the resources and support of United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. The Library Commission supports membership to United for Libraries for all of the state’s public libraries
to ensure that Nebraska library staff, friends, trustees, and foundations can take advantage of services to enhance fund raising, advocacy, and public awareness.

Nebraska libraries are encouraged to use a special website (www.ala.org/united/Nebraska) to access resources, webinars, online training, and publications for Nebraska library trustees, library directors, and library staff at no charge to the participating library, including: Trustee Academy Five online courses; Short Takes for Trustees Ten 10-minute training videos; Engaging Today’s Volunteers for Libraries and Friends Webinar series on volunteer recruitment and retention; Friend Your Library Bookmark and Poster Files Free downloadable promotional items; Recorded Webinars Just-in-time webinar training on topics like Troubled Library Boards and Merging Friends and Foundation; Resource Collection Zones Current and archived newsletters, toolkits, electronic publications, special offers, etc. for Library Boards, Friends, and Foundations; and Power Guide for Successful Advocacy A step-by-step guide to developing an advocacy campaign, with examples of talking points, flyers, petitions, etc. at http://www.ala.org/united/powerguide.

Additionally, United for Libraries is accepting applications for the United for Libraries Friend Conference Grant through Jan. 15, 2018. This grant enables one member of a Friends of the Library group at a public library to attend the ALA Annual Conference. First-time Conference attendees, who are active in their public library Friends group, can receive a grant of $850, plus full ALA Annual Conference registration. For more information and to apply, see www.ala.org/united/grants_awards/friends/united.

United for Libraries brings together library voices to speak out on behalf of library services and free public access to information. This national network of enthusiastic library supporters stresses the importance of libraries as the social and intellectual centers of communities and campuses—educating and organizing the strongest voice for libraries: those who use them, raise money for them, and govern them.

For more information see United for Libraries at http://www.ala.org/united/

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Friday Reads: “Moonglow: A Novel” by Michael Chabon

I had almost finished this book when I came to the realization that it was a novel. I knew that Chabon had visited his grandfather in the last weeks of his life. And as I read the book, the tale unfolded like a series of revelations about his grandfather and his family, with rich details that made me believe that at least some of this story must be true. I’ve been a fan of Chabon ever since I devoured his book “Telegraph Avenue” a few years ago, and I looked forward to learning more about him and his life through this “memoir.” How did I not notice that the book is titled “Moonglow: A Novel?” It doesn’t really matter. I think I did actually learn a lot about him.

The obvious love and admiration for his grandparents shone through. They were definitely “characters,” and I loved them for their passion and quirkiness from the very beginning. His grandfather’s life (as he relates it to Chabon) is fascinating and unpredictable. Bouncing from his time in Europe during WWII to life in mid-century America, this story helps illuminate the experiences of the Grand Generation. Although most people would agree that the story he tells is far from typical—he was actually involved in rocketry and the space program, while most people of his day just watched from afar.

Throughout the book I kept thinking of this book as an episode of the PBS show, “Finding Your Roots”—one of the episodes where the subjects start out with a pretty good idea of what their family and ancestral history might be and then finds out that there are surprises in the family tree. Like the searcher in those TV shows, the reader is compelled to revise their thinking about the characters in this book several times and one can see Chabon the grandson revising his family narrative in his own head as “the plot thickens.”

I credit Chabon with first-class beautiful writing, as well as telling a first-class compelling story. His reflections on himself as a young (ish) storyteller and his grandfather as an older storyteller are very revealing: “…it seemed to be in the nature of human beings to spend the first part of their lives mocking the clichés and conventions of their elders and the final part mocking the clichés and conventions of the young.” The publisher describes this book as, “A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir.” I encourage you to read it and see what you think.

“Moonglow: A Novel” (Harper, 2017) by Michael Chabon

Review by Mary Jo Ryan.

#FridayReads

 

 

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