Author Archives: Mary Jo Ryan

2014 Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest Now Open

HispComLogoLibrarians across Nebraska are encouraged to share the information below with the youth of Nebraska and to inspire them to enter the 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest. Each year Nebraskans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30-day period. Please consider setting up a materials display in your library and/or other promotional activities to help you engage with your community.

2014 Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest

For our theme, we have chosen quotes from two influential Hispanic leaders: Jaime Escalante and Frida Kahlo. Please choose one of the quotes below and tell us what their words mean to you:

Jaime Escalante: Educator – “One of the greatest things you have in life is that no one has the authority to tell you what you want to be. You’re the one who’ll decide what you want to be. Respect yourself and respect the integrity of others as well. The greatest thing you have is your self-image, a positive opinion of yourself. You must never let anyone take it from you.”
Frida Kahlo: Artist – “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”

ESSAY: When writing your essay, please answer one or more of these questions: Both quotes deal with self-reflection. How does your heritage and culture reflect who you are as a person? How has society or current events impacted your self-image as an ethnically diverse individual? What do Frida’s or Jaime’s words mean to you and have they influenced your opinion of Hispanic Heritage Month?

ELIGIBILITY: The contest is open to Nebraska students of all ethnicities and backgrounds currently enrolled in a Nebraska public, private or magnet school (grades 6 – 12). Entries are welcome in English or Spanish and must be submitted with an entry form (see attachment)

RULES: Essay content must be original, typed or legibly handwritten, and double spaced. The word length is 250 – 400 words for middle school students and 500 – 700 words for high school students. The Hispanic Heritage Month State Planning Committee reserves the right to disqualify submitted essays that contain offensive language, political messages, and derogatory statements. A blind jury will judge the essays based on writing style, grammar, content and cohesion to the theme.

AWARDS: Cash prizes, certificates, Kindle Nooks, and McDonald’s gift cards will be given to six winners. Winning students will be recognized at the Hispanic Heritage Month State Commemoration, scheduled for October 10, 2014 at the Nebraska State Capitol Building in Lincoln. First place winners will be asked to read their essay at the Commemoration and McDonald’s will publish first place winning essays on their tray liners. The Commission reserves the right to edit essays for fitting purposes.

SUBMISSION: All essays due by Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Essays and entry forms may be submitted by email, preferably as a PDF, to, via fax at 402-471-4381 or mailed to:

Nebraska Latino American Commission

Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest

P.O. Box 94965

Lincoln, NE 68509-4965

EDUCATORS/LIBRARIANS: For background information and teaching tools on Hispanic Heritage Month, Jaime Escalante and Frida Kahlo, visit the links below:

Hispanic Heritage Month: For teaching materials on Hispanic Heritage Month with links to the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and more, click here.

Jaime Escalante (1930-2010) was a high school math educator from Bolivia of Aymara ancestry. He achieved fame after introducing and teaching AP Calculus at Garfield High School in Los Angeles, CA in 1978. His students would go on to ace AP Calculus and helped build an exceptional Advanced Placement program in the school. At the height of his influence, Garfield High School graduates would go on to attend the University of Southern California in more numbers than all graduates from the working-class East Los Angeles area combined.

For library and classroom-friendly teaching material, educational videos with interviews, and background information on educator Jaime Escalante, click here. Recommended 1988 film “Stand and Deliver” on Jaime Escalante starring Edward James Olmos, family friendly, rated PG. View trailer.

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) was a Mexican artist of German and Indigenous ancestry from Mexico City. Her artwork was among the first to include Mexican and Indigenous culture, tradition, and religion. She is also known as the wife of painter Diego Rivera and was influential in his art as well. She is the first contemporary Mexican artist to have artwork displayed at the Louvre in Paris. Her artwork would come to influence modern art and bring attention to the culture and art of Mexico.

For classroom-friendly teaching material, lesson guides, suggested class activities, and background information, click here. Recommended PBS Documentary: “The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo” is also available for free viewing online. NOTE: It is recommended that librarians and educators view the film and observe Kahlo’s paintings first and decide which elements to present in class as a conflicting yet contiguous mix of politics, social unrest, and cross-cultural elements influenced her art and life. For recommended sections of the film with corresponding classroom lessons, click here. A Parent’s Guide and Teacher’s Guide are available for the film from NET and PBS.

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Small Libraries Urged to Apply for Grant from NE Community Foundation

nebcommfound_20th_logoThe Summer 2014 issue of the NE Community Foundation newsletter, Connections, has a nice piece on the library projects funded through the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund (see page 5:

This spring more than $80,000 was awarded to libraries in Culbertson, David City, Deshler, Elgin, Exeter, Minden, Red Cloud and Walthill. Recently, the Hildreth Public Library completed its yearlong renovation project which doubled the size of the library, improved the interior, and added an accessible restroom.

This newsletter article is a great reminder to Nebraska public libraries located in communities of fewer than 3,000 residents that now is a good time to begin thinking about appying for a grant for 2015. Grants will be made in three areas: Planning Grants (leading to accreditation); Enhancement Grants (leading to improvement of library services and/or programs); and Facilities Grants (contributing toward new facilities or the renovation, restoration or rehabilitation of current libraries). Community leadership must be exhibited in grant applications indicating the likelihood of  sustainability of improvements.

Short applications received on or before October 1, 2014 will be considered for the grant cycle awarded in March 2015. If approved, the full application is due 5:00 p.m. on January 5, 2015.

More information is available at or contact Reggi Carlson, 402-323-7331 or

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Book Clubs and Government Improvement

Baltimorebook-club1When you think of a book club, does your mind go to a circle of friends, great food and beverages, and a rousing discussion of the best new fiction? Mine did. Until I read a recent article in Governing magazine entitled, “Can a Book Club Improve Government?” A group of Baltimore city employees started spending their lunch breaks at book club meetings and the lessons they are learning are being applied to the challenges the city faces. Government book clubs are open to all employees and are attended by staff at all levels, from agency heads to mid-level managers, to front-line employees. And talking about the ideas in books is giving employees strategies that can be implemented at every level.

Some successful titles for government-based book clubs include:

  • If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government, a collection of success stories by William D. Eggers and John O’Leary
  • Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government, by Gavin Newsom, with Lisa Dickey, provides ideas for community digital communication and engagement
  • The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization, a guidebook for designing the workplace to encourage creativity and teamwork by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman

See for a complete list of books and more about the Baltimore city government book club. How about it, Nebraska librarians: would you like to host a book club for your city employees?


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Nebraska Libraries Urged to Participate in September: Library Card Sign-up Month

Stan_Lee_PSA_728x90This September, Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, X-Men, Iron Man and the Fantastic Four, will encourage children to get the most important school supply of all: a library card.

As the Honorary Chair of Library Card Sign-up Month, Lee has donated his image to a print and digital public service announcement (PSA). ALA will place the PSA in magazines and on websites to remind parents and educators that a library card is a key tool in achieving academic success.

Lee’s latest creation is Zodiac, an action-packed illustrated novel written by Lee and Stuart Moore and illustrated by Andie Tong. In the first story, we follow Steven Lee, a young Chinese-American teen who is drawn into a mysterious conspiracy surrounding 12 mystical pools of energy and a power-hungry secret organization.

Librarians looking to promote Library Card Sign-up Month locally can download the print and digital PSAs featuring Lee at Free customization is available.

In addition to the PSA, sample media tools are now available to remind the public of all the resources available for free with a library card. Tools include a sample press release, op-ed, proclamation and PSA scripts.

To download free promotional materials, visit

Library Card Sign-up Month is a time when libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all. Thousands of public and school libraries join together each fall in a national effort to ensure every child signs up for their own library card.

The Campaign for America’s is Libraries is the ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe – use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible in part by ALA’s Library Champions.

Please comment below to share your plans for participation in Library Card Sign-up Month.

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Register Now for June 4 Webinar for New Professionals

ala_newsNew or aspiring library professionals facing the challenges of finishing school, looking for a job, or working hard to succeed in a first position are invited to a free webinar, presented by  LLAMA’s New Professionals Section (NPS).

The Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) will present “NPS 101: An Introduction to LLAMA’s New Professionals Section” from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Central time on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. This free webinar will introduce participants to NPS, which launched at the American Library Association’s 2014 Midwinter Meeting.

NPS seeks to empower new professionals to lead from where they are, while also looking forward to what they hope to accomplish in the future. Through a variety of programs and initiatives, NPS aims to help LIS students and new professionals gain leadership and management skills so they can become leaders in their LIS programs, in their libraries and in the profession.

By the end of this webinar participants will:

  • Understand the mission and goals of both NPS and LLAMA
  • Learn about current and future NPS opportunities and initiatives
  • Find out how to become involved in NPS and LLAMA
  • Contribute to an ongoing conversation on new professional issues

Participants will also be encouraged to share ideas and offer their own visions of a successful New Professionals Section.

Presenters: Bethany Tschaepe, reference and instruction librarian, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas; Zara Wilkinson, reference and instruction librarian, Rutgers University-Camden, Camden, N.J.

Target audience: Current LIS students, recent graduates, new professionals and new or potential LLAMA members.

Register for “NPS 101: An Introduction to LLAMA’s New Professionals Section.”

About the Library Leadership and Management Association
The Library Leadership and Management Association ( advances outstanding leadership and management practices in library and information services by encouraging and nurturing individual excellence in current and aspiring library leaders. LLAMA is a division of the American Library Association.

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Attend Free Webinar, Declaration for the Right to Libraries, on June 9

declaration-for-right-to-libraries200_0Nebraska library staff and supporters are invited to a webinar featuring a panel including Nebraska’s Mary Reiman, director of Library Media Services at Lincoln Public Schools. Learn more about how the Declaration for the Right to Libraries initiative has flourished as a successful public awareness, advocacy and community engagement tool since its launch last year. This final, free webinar in ALA President Barbara Stripling’s Libraries Change Lives series will feature case studies of how this initiative is being used to create positive change in libraries. The webinar takes place from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CT on Monday, June 9, 2014.

Libraries of all types from coast to coast have hosted Declaration signings, and speakers for this session will discuss their approach and share examples of how they used the Declaration as a means to engage their communities in discussions about their needs, as well as the value of the library. Presenters include Hadi Dudley, library director of the Bentonville Public Library (Ark.), Jeff Simpson of Troy University and the Alabama Library Association, Mary Reiman, director of Library Media Services at Lincoln Public Schools (Neb.) and Lisa Hoenig, library director of the Redford Township District Library (Mich.). ALA President Barbara Stripling will moderate the webinar and discuss her vision for the Declaration during her presidential year and beyond.

Registration is mandatory and limited to the first 100 participants who arrive in the virtual room. Visit the Adobe Connect event page to sign up today.

This webinar is presented by the ALA Office for Library Advocacy and co-sponsored by Stripling’s Presidential Advisory Committee. For more information about this series or for questions about registration, please contact the ALA Office for Library Advocacy at

These webinars will be archived and accessible to ALA members, and are part of Stripling’s Libraries Change Lives 2013- 2014 Webinar Series.

These informative, timely sessions are intended to showcase best practices, successes, and to transfer knowledge among ALA members.

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Nebraska Library Friends Groups and Foundations Invited to IRS Webinar

This Thursday, May 29 at 1:00 p.m. CT, the IRS will host a free Webinar on Form 990-N and 990-EZ Filing Tips.  Topics include:

  • Tips to help you save time preparing the forms
  • Steps to avoid penalties
  • Discussion of automatic revocation
  • New reinstatement procedures under Rev. Proc. 2014-11
  • Online resources that will help your library Friends Group and/or Foundation

To receive CE credit (and a certificate of completion) you must view the presentation for a minimum of 50 minutes. Register for this presentation.

If you have a technical or procedural question relating to Exempt Organizations, visit the Charities and Nonprofits homepage on the Web site.

If you have a specific question about exempt organizations, call EO Customer Account Services at 877-829-5500.

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Nebraska Librarians Invited to Celebrate Children’s Book Week May 12-18

CBW_Poster-smallChildren’s Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year, commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes — wherever young readers and books connect! May 12-18, 2014 is the 95th anniversary of this nationwide celebration. For more information, see Order free posters at


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Join Us Online April 30 for Smart Investing: Reference Strategies and Resources

Learn how librarians can take advantage of “Smart Investing: Reference Strategies and Resources,” a self-paced course to promote confidence and competence in responding to library customers’ questions on personal finance and investments. The April 30 edition of NCompass Live: Smart Investing: Reference Strategies and Resources will give you a guided tour to the resources that can help you direct your library customers to the best in money management resources.

This online training course was originally developed for Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) reference staff. It is available to all Nebraska librarians who would like to improve their reference strategies and knowledge of financial literacy concepts and resources.

This online curriculum is being offered as part of the Nebraska Library Commission and Northeast Library System’s “Smart Investing @ your library® Builds Nebraska Communities” project funded by a $100,000 FINRA Investor Education Foundation grant. Although the 22 public libraries participating in that project will benefit by receiving Financial Literacy Resource Kits and  customer financial literacy training in their libraries later this year, all of Nebraska’s libraries are welcome to participate in the online librarian  training.

This program is made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through Smart investing@your library®, a partnership with the American Library Association. The project is coordinated in Nebraska by the Nebraska Library Commission.




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Registration now open for Choose Privacy Week 2014 webinar,’Defense Against the Digital Dark Arts’

Dark forces conspire online to undermine privacy, compromise accounts, stalk, troll and just plain creep us out. Libraries have a longstanding tradition of protecting their users’ privacy and confidentiality, but often fail to take basic steps to protect patrons’ use of their public access computers and digital resources.

Registration is now open for “Defense Against the Digital Dark Arts,” the 2014 Choose Privacy Week webinar. Presenter Eric Stroshane, field services librarian for the North Dakota State Library, will discuss how online surveillance works, give practical tips on improving privacy on public computers and provide a better understanding of current legal threats to digital privacy and online anonymity.

Ann Crewdson and Helen Adams, co-chairs of the ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee, will provide a brief introduction to the newly revised ALA Privacy Tool Kit that includes new sections on the impact of emerging technologies on library users’ privacy.

The free, hour-long online webinar will take place from 2 – 3 p.m. Central time on Monday, May 5, 2014. Register for this free webinar: Space is limited, and registration is first come, first serve. Registrants will be able to access the recorded and archived webinar after May 5. For questions about registration or using the webinar platform, contact Deborah Caldwell-Stone at

Choose Privacy Week 2014 takes place May 1-7 and asks librarians and library users to engage in a conversation about protecting privacy rights all year long, both inside and outside the library.

Sponsored annually by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), Choose Privacy Week provides individuals with resources to think critically and make more informed choices about their privacy.

For information about Choose Privacy Week 2014, visit or email Deborah Caldwell-Stone at


Deborah Caldwell-Stone
Deputy Director
Office for Intellectual Freedom
800-545-2433 ext.4224
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Nebraska Libraries Urged to Apply for Citizens Save Libraries Grant by May 5

powerguide united image

Applications for cycle two of the Citizens-Save-Libraries grants from United for Libraries, made possible by a grant from the Neal-Schuman Foundation, are due May 5.

The 10 libraries that are selected will receive two days of onsite consultation by advocacy experts, who will help friends of the library groups, library directors and trustees develop individual blueprints for advocacy campaigns to restore, increase or save threatened library budgets.

Among the criteria to apply is a willingness to “pay it forward” by sharing what is learned with others in their states through presentations at local conferences, articles written for the state library association journal and a willingness to answer questions and support other advocacy campaigns via digital media and Skype. The first 10 libraries were selected in 2013.

As part of the grant, a Citizens-Save-Libraries Power Guide that lays out a step-by-step blueprint for libraries to follow in generating advocacy campaigns is available to all libraries at no cost. The Power Guide is available at

To apply for the grants, visit

The Neal-Schuman Foundation, established in 2000 by Neal-Schuman Publishers‘ founders Patricia Glass Schuman and John Vincent Neal, strives to aid and promote charitable research and education for the improvement of libraries. An active American Library Association member and past president (1991-92), Schuman founded the Library Advocacy Now program and co-founded the Library Champions program.

United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association that supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries. United for Libraries brings together library Trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information or to join United for Libraries, visit the United for Libraries website or contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or

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Join us April 22 for a Webinar Discussion on the Regional Library Systems Configuration Task Force Preliminary Report

NLClogo4PCjan03-webRod Wagner, Nebraska Library Commission Director, and Richard Miller, Nebraska Library Commission Library Development Director, will summarize the report of recent Regional Library Systems Configuration Task Force discussions and will solicit questions and comments from Nebraska library staff and board members.

State and federal budget cuts over several years and flat funding in recent years prompted discussions among regional library system directors, system board members, and Nebraska Library Commission staff to address funding constraints and regional organization. Those discussions resulted in formation of the Regional Library Systems Configuration Task Force. The Task Force recommended options for reducing the number of regional systems from the current six to five or four regions. The March 14, 2014 report of this task force can be accessed at:

Participants in this Webinar discussion will be encouraged to provide input via live chat or microphone connection. For more information contact Richard Miller, Nebraska Library Commission Library Development Director,, 800-307-2665, or 402-471-3175.

This Webinar will be broadcast live on April 22, 2014 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website or use the World Clock Time Zone Converter. In the Time Zone Converter, NCompass Live is broadcast from U.S.A – Nebraska – Lincoln.

This webinar will be presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. It will be recorded and archived. Registration is not required to view the archived recording, but GoToWebinar login instructions are sent to registered attendees after registration for the session closes on April 20, 2014. Please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.



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Nebraska Librarians Invited to Free Webinar: The Copyright Conundrum

Tune in Thursday, April 10 at 1 p.m. Central, Noon, Mountain time for this free, streaming video broadcast that you can view from your home, library or on-the-go. Copyright issues pose many challenges for librarians. In  an era when we rely increasingly on electronic materials while still making use  of traditional resources, our picture of rights and responsibilities can get  cloudy. In “Copyright  Conundrum” a panel of experts will discuss the challenges we face and strategies  you can use to help navigate copyright in this rapidly evolving area. Speakeers include:
  • Rebecca Butler, Professor in the Department of  Educational Technology, Research, and Assessment, College of Education, at  Northern Illinois University, author of Copyright for Teachers  and Librarians in the 21st Century
  • Sandra Aya Enimil, Head of the Copyright  Resources Center at The Ohio State University Library
  • Carrie Russell, Director,  Program on Public Access to Information, Office for Information  Technology Policy (OITP) of the American Library Association
  • Laura Quilter, Copyright and  Information Policy Librarian at the UMass Amherst Librarie

AL Live is an immediate and  effective way to get to the heart of the real issues in libraries. With the  help of real-time technology, it’s like having your own expert on-hand. We look forward to your joining us. To receive e-mail reminders, register at, or go to at the time of the event. If you’re unable to attend live, this event will be  recorded and available at shortly after it concludes. Please comment below to share a receint copyright question that you dealt with.

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Nebraska Librarians Encouraged to help Library Customers Access Financial Aid Toolkit

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid recently launched a new website called the Financial Aid Toolkit :A One-Stop Shop for Financial Aid Resources

Who is the Financial Aid Toolkit for?

The toolkit is for

  • librarians;
  • staff or volunteers at community based organizations;
  • guidance counselors;
  • college access advisers; and
  • anyone who assists students through the process of learning about, receiving, and repaying financial aid for their higher education.

What information is in the Financial Aid Toolkit?

The toolkit consolidates financial aid resources into a searchable online library, making it easy for users to quickly access the information they need to support their students. The searchable library provides resources covering the entire financial aid lifecycle from applying for financial aid to repaying loans and includes items such as

  • “financial aid night” materials and presentations,
  • brochures,
  • videos, and
  • sample tweets and Facebook posts.

The toolkit also offers professional development information such as training opportunities and resources for self-instruction.

Where can a student find other financial aid resources?

Students should visit for financial aid information and can find a library of resources designed for them at

How can library or museum professionals spread the word to colleagues about the toolkit?

You can share information about the site by distributing the Financial Aid Toolkit fact sheet.

– See more at:

Please comment below to share information about whether you are seeing more students and their families seeking financial aid information in your library.

From: James Lonergan, Senior Library Program Officer, IMLS

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Nebraska Libraries: What are you doing for National Library Week, April 13-19

The Campaign for America’s Libraries would like to hear about any plans your library is making for National Library Week 2014 around the theme Lives change @ your library. Nebraska libraries are asked to email their National Library Week plans to to be shared on the National Library Week tools page. In addition to these tools, a downloadable PSA featuring author and intellectual freedom advocate Judy Blume as the Honorary Chair of National Library Week is also available. Instructions on how to request a customized PSA are also available on the website. See this press release for details. Please be sure to share any ideas about ways to enhance this year’s collaborative social media efforts.

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Nebraska Library Foundations Invited to Participate in New Discussion List

Library Foundation staff, board members, volunteers, etc. are invited to participate in the United for Libraries electronic discussion group focused on topics of interest to library Foundations. To join the electronic discussion group, visit Both those with expertise in library Foundations as well as those in the beginning stages of creating a Foundation are encouraged to participate in the free form discussion. Discussion topics might include fundraising, event planning, capital campaigns, planned giving, effective meetings, board recruitment, etc. Among the United for Libraries board members offering their expertise on the discussion group are Jeffrey Smith, president of the Foundation for Baltimore County (Md.) Public Library.

Like United for Libraries on Facebook:

Follow United for Libraries on Twitter:

Manage your electronic discussion group subscription at

Contact: Jillian Kalonick, Marketing/Public Relations Specialist, United for Libraries, A division of the American Library Association,, 109 S. 13th St., Suite 117B, Philadelphia, PA 19107, (800) 545-2433, ext. 2161, fax (215) 545-3821,


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Nebraska Libraries to Celebrate National Library Week April 13-19, 2014

Judy Blume has been named the 2014 Honorary Chair of National Library Week (April 13-19, 2014). This year, National Library Week will be celebrated with the theme Lives change @ your library. As Honorary Chair, Blume will appear in print public service announcements (PSAs) promoting National Library Week. The PSAs, developed by the American Library Association’s Campaign for America’s Libraries, will be placed in magazines and online throughout the spring. ALA will also offer free customization of the PSAs for libraries. Visit to learn more.

Adults as well as children will recognize such Judy Blume titles as: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We’re Together; and the five book series about the irrepressible Fudge. She has also written three novels for adults, Summer Sisters, Smart Women and Wifey, all of them New York Times best-sellers. More than 80 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into thirty-one languages.

Blume is a longtime advocate of intellectual freedom. Finding herself at the center of an organized book banning campaign in the 1980’s she began to reach out to other writers, as well as teachers and librarians, who were under fire. Since then, she has worked tirelessly with the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom to protect the freedom to read. She is the editor of “Places I Never Meant To Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers,” and is currently writing a novel.

Additional promotional materials include a sample op-ed, proclamation, press release and scripts for use in radio ads. All incorporate the 2014 National Library Week theme, Lives change @ your library. Tools are available at ALA Graphics products supporting National Library Week are also available and can be purchased through the ALA Store.

National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use.

The American Library Association’s Campaign for America’s Libraries ( is a public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe – participate. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s Library Champions.

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Nebraska Librarians Invited to Broadband Technology Fairs

A series of Broadband Technology Fairs is scheduled across the state in March and early April. The theme highlights “The Power of Business – What’s Next” as experts will focus on how businesses can adapt and use online applications successfully in their operations. The events are part of the Broadband Initiative that is expanding efforts to help businesses across the state harness the power of broadband technology for successful operations. “We need to focus on the Power of Business – entrepreneurs everywhere need to understand how broadband and technology applications can help them be more efficient and potentially reach a new audience,” said Connie Hancock, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator. “These technology fairs are a hands-on approach to learning about online tools and how to protect our business information as well as our customers.

The sessions will offer the latest information on broadband technology tools and techniques with experts from UNL and the Nebraska Public Service Commission. Featured presenters will discuss remote video for security and monitoring, cloud technology, information security and mobile technology. Attendance is free and the approximately three-hour fairs are open to all. “We are focusing on providing information that will be valuable and immediately useful to small businesses and entrepreneurs,” Hancock said.

This is an excellent opportunity for Nebraska libraries to position themselves as resources for communty business development. Details on times and locations will be posted at “The Power of Business – What’s Next” Broadband Technology Fairs are set for:

– March 11, Atkinson

– March 12, North Platte

– March 13, McCook

– March 25, Norfolk

– March 26, Seward

– March 27, Grand Island

– April 2, Sidney

– April 3, Alliance

These events are part of the Nebraska Broadband Initiative. This Broadband Mapping and Planning Initiative is funded through a grant to the Nebraska Public Service Commission by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and aims to increase broadband adoption and use. Project partners include the University of Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Information Technology Commission, Nebraska Public Service Commission, and the AIM Institute.

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Start Planning for April: School Library Month

Jeff Kinney, New York Times bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, has been named the national spokesperson for the 2014 observance of School Library Month. Celebrated in April and sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), School Library Month honors the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student’s educational career.

“I don’t know where I’d be without my school library,” said Kinney. “Our librarians were passionate about putting great books in the hands of kids, and making us into lifelong readers. School libraries introduce kids to whole new worlds and new perspectives and are so important in broadening kids’ minds. It’s crucial that we support our school libraries, especially in times of tightening budgets. I’m so grateful for the well-stocked libraries and knowledgeable, dedicated school librarians that were a part of my childhood.”

Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the story of middle-school underdog Greg Heffley who shares his life in a journal filled with cartoons and text. The first book in the series was released in April 2007 and was an instant bestseller, capturing the attention of reluctant readers, their parents and librarians everywhere. There are now eight books in the series, the most recent, “Hard Luck”, released on Nov. 5, 2013. It was the No. 1 bestselling book of 2013, adult or children’s.

“In creating such widely appealing characters, Jeff has enriched the lives of both students and school librarians,” said Susan Hess, School Library Month committee chair. “As such a popular author and illustrator, AASL is extremely fortunate to have Jeff Kinney as the School Library Month 2014 spokesperson.”

More information on the 2014 School Library Month celebration can be found on the AASL website at

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has been a fixture on the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. The series has remained consistently on the New York Times lists since the publication of the first book. The books have been sold in more than 44 territories in 42 languages. Published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, Kinney’s work has been widely praised for its ability to turn reluctant readers on to books. Jeff Kinney was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world. Three movies based on the book series have grossed more than $250 million internationally. The book series won Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and Jeff Kinney won a Children’s Choice Book Award in 2012 and 2013. Books in the series have won numerous awards voted on by students and teachers around the globe. The Wimpy Kid Island (Wimpy Wonderland) on, a virtual world for kids, remains one of the most visited on the site.

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Nebraska Libraries Invited to Apply for Grant

Nebraska Public libraries are invited to apply by March 6 to receive $8,000 Libraries Transforming Communities grant and 18 months of professional development in community engagement. The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is accepting applications for the Libraries Transforming Communities Public Innovators Cohort, an 18-month, team-based professional development opportunity for public libraries, developed by ALA and the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation.

The Libraries Transforming Communities project, made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, addresses a critical need of the field by developing and distributing new tools, resources and support for librarians to engage with their communities in new ways; strengthens librarians as community leaders and change agents, and strengthens ALA’s capacity as a lead library support entity.

In April, up to 50 individuals representing teams from 10 public libraries nationally will be selected to participate in the Public Innovators Cohort. Selected libraries will receive:

•           An $8,000 grant to support Cohort expenses.

•           An intensive 18-month Public Innovators Cohort experience, including training and team coaching to develop and implement a community engagement plan.

•           Cohort training at the intensive three-day Public Innovators Lab, May 20-22, 2014.

•           Virtual and in-person “innovation space” meetings.

•           Access to six in-depth distance learning session.

•           Monthly coaching and peer dialogue calls with a Harwood Institute coach and cohort peers to support implementation work.

•           Access to publicity and marketing resources to support local-level communications.

The Public Innovators Cohort is grounded in the Harwood Institute‘s approach of “turning outward,” which emphasizes shifting the institutional and professional orientation of libraries and librarians from internal to external. Participants will develop and implement a plan for community engagement and learn how to:

•           Identify community issues rooted in people’s shared aspirations;

•           Strategically share this knowledge with your community to build public will for action;

•           Develop strategies that align with local context;

•           Create community conditions that enable change;

•           Identify the right community partners to work with; and

•           Develop networks for innovation and learning.

Complete guidelines and application instructions can be found at: A conference call for interested applicants will be held at 1:00 p.m. central time on February 12, 2014.

For more information contact:

Mary Davis Fournier

Deputy Director, ALA Public Programs Office



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