Author Archives: Tessa Terry

NLC Staff: Meet Jan Jolliffe

Jan Jolliffe photoMeet Jan Jolliffe who is the new System Director for the Western Library System.

Jan was born in Corsicana, Texas and is a graduate of Corsicana High School. Jan then attended the University of Houston in London, study abroad program, and was able to travel throughout Europe and Great Britain studying French, Literature, and Architecture.  After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, she was en route to Peru to become an archaeologist but she opted for marriage and children instead. In 1990 she began working towards her MLS Degree at Texas Woman’s University in Denton while she was expecting her first child. She still has the signed poetry book given to her by one of her first children’s literature professors.  She completed her degree in 1993. She found her way to librarianship by applying the same principle that brought her to anthropology, a desire to work in the community with cultural groups; a librarian could offer a great deal to all age groups and sectors.

As a young girl, Jan attended James L. Collins Catholic School in Corsicana which had its own thriving library. She read the Little House books and all the classic children’s titles. One of the first books that captured her heart was Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Her teacher read this book aloud to the class and from that time on, Jan was a captive library user. As a librarian, Jan has read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory many times and has used it for several book club discussions. As an adult reader, she lists the authors Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, and Diana Gabaldon as some of her favorite authors. Because she shares a birthday (June 6th) with Cynthia Rylant, and YA Authors Sara Dessen and V.C. Andrews, those are also favorites.  Her favorite genre is historical fiction and will read anything history related regarding London and Europe.  Jan describes a perfect day as one that is stormy outside while she reads inside next to a fireplace in a comfortable chair.

Jan has worked in various jobs from the library at Frito Lay to small publics and very large school districts in the states of Texas and Washington. Jan credits her director at Ennis, Texas Independent School District, Kay Weathers, for teaching her the nuts and bolts of librarianship. In 2010, Jan moved back to Texas and was contemplating Law School. She took paralegal courses for 2 years and volunteered for an Immigration and Bankruptcy Attorney at El Centro Community College in Dallas. This got her a position at L.G. Pinkston High School, a school with a Law Magnet Program, and later transferred to Skyline High School with 4,500 students.

Book Face Friday - Jan Jolliffe

Book Face Friday photo – Jan Jolliffe

How did Jan get to Nebraska? When she was 17 years old, she visited Scottsbluff with Pat Jolliffe, a dashing young pilot from Scottsbluff that she met at age 16, when he had attended flight school in Corsicana where his uncle was an aeronautics instructor. She knew that Scottsbluff was where she wanted to live when she saw the Wildcat Hills. Thirty-two years after their first meeting they reconnected, Jan and Pat were married this past December. She says she knows this is where she was always meant to be. As she says: “this area called my name.” Of course, she misses her family and friends who are still in Texas and also misses the euphemisms, most especially y’all which is properly, all y’all.

When Jan isn’t working in a library she enjoys tennis and is learning to play golf. She has 2 grandchildren and they are a big part of her life. She describes herself as an artsy-crafty person and loves to create photography books because they document history. She enjoys traveling and looks forward to someday returning to that Edwardian era home that doubled as her college/dorm in Maida Vale, west London.

Jan says the best thing about working in in a library is the relationships that you make with the people, not just the ones you work with but also with the patrons you serve. It can be babies through the older generation, and when you make connections, they’re for life. When you work in a library it’s always a new day, no two days are the same.  It’s amazing you get paid to do this, it’s not a real job, it’s more of a lifestyle, it’s who you are. Welcome to Nebraska Jan!NLC Logo

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Talking Book and Braille Service Celebrates Volunteers

The Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service celebrated the work of our volunteers at a luncheon on April 6, 2017. Pamela Davenport, a consultant from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in The Library of Congress, thanked the volunteers for their contributions. NLS administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail through a national network of cooperating libraries, including the Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service.

Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner presented a special recognition to three volunteers:

  • Marjory Gloe, who has narrated books and magazines for twenty-five years and is known for her infectious enthusiasm.
  • John Sposato, who sorts new books into sets and has volunteered for twenty years, starting in audio duplication.
  • Jerry Hall, who has volunteered for fifteen years and does a variety of tasks in readers services.

Retiring volunteer narrators Cherie Frederick and Karen Boyer, who are two of the voices behind the talking books recorded here at the Nebraska Library Commission, were also recognized.

The Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service thanks all the volunteers who play an integral part in serving Nebraskans with disabilities. We provide free audiobooks and audio magazines and braille through the mail and through digital download to individuals with a visual or physical condition, or a reading disability, which limits the use of regular print. For more information see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/tbbs/. To volunteer, contact Annette Hall, Volunteer Services Coordinator, 402-471-4033, 800-742-7691, email.

TBBS Volunteer Recognition LunchTBBS Volunteer Recognition 2017NLC Logo

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Christa Porter: Director of Library Development

Christa PorterWe are reintroducing our staff member Christa Porter, who changed both her name and her job title since joining the Library Commission staff in 2000.

Last September, Christa (Burns) married John Porter and effective April 4th, Christa also will become the new Director of Library Development. So many congratulations are in order. Christa was born in Albany, New York. She earned her BA in English with a Specialty in Literature and Irish Folklore, from SUNY Binghamton and her MLS from SUNY Albany. As a young girl, her dad would take Christa and her sister Sarah to the Saratoga Springs Public Library every Saturday and she read her way through the Black Beauty and Narnia Series as well as many other science fiction and fantasy novels.  She found her way to a career in libraries in a rather serendipitous route as her dad found a work study position for her where he worked at SUNY Central Administration in Albany – specifically the OCLC offices of Nylink. This led her to enroll in Library School where she was fortunate to be assigned Bill Katz as her work study professor who was a helpful and considerable influence on her career.

Christa’s job at Nylink would prove an interesting segue for her first position at the Library Commission as NEBASE Member Services Coordinator. Most recently her role as Library Development Consultant involved speaking to many of you about E-rate among other topics. Christa is also the host of the Commission’s weekly NCompass Live online program and she assists organizations in the state to hold virtual meetings with GoToWebinar. In her opinion, the best thing about working in libraries is solving problems and finding answers to questions. “It’s always a treasure hunt. The best skill a librarian can have is the ability to say I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

When Christa isn’t working, she enjoys being at home with John, spending time with family, relaxing, playing video games, or reading. Without hesitation, her all-time favorite author is Isaac Asimov. If Christa could switch careers, she would love to own a book or comic store combination coffee shop that served pastries and food, provided someone else was doing the books. Christa and John share their home with three cats: Logan, Luna, and Nushi. Despite being far from home, Christa says Nebraska offers friendly people, open spaces, and friends and family.

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Scott Scholz: Director of the Talking Book and Braille Service

Scott ScholzCongratulations to Scott Scholz, who recently completed his MLS degree from the University of Missouri. Scott joined the Library Commission in 2005 to take what might be described as the perfect job for someone with his interest in reading and qualifications for recording. We are fortunate his wife Heidi found the original job posting for circulation manager that led him to us. In recent years, he has taken a leadership role on a number of NLC projects, including moving lower level operations to a new space on the first floor of the Atrium Building in 2014, helping Nebraska become the first state to convert its magazine recording program to digital format in 2010, and implementing assembly and review procedures in the TBBS studios. Currently, Scott is performing the work of two staff, as both the Acting Director of the Talking Book and Braille Service and the Circulation and Audio Production Coordinator.

Scott’s commitment to books, culture, and community makes the Talking Book and Braille Service hum, and he is a devoted advocate for Nebraskans who are unable to use traditional print. This interest started early, in Columbus, NE, where Scott was raised only two blocks from the Columbus Public Library and served as a volunteer for summer reading programs. As a young reader, he was interested in all kinds of fiction and nonfiction, from Encyclopedia Brown to science books. While working at a bookstore in high school, Scott developed an interest in music and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in music composition from the University of Denver. Scott lists authors David Foster Wallace, William S. Burroughs, and Miranda July among his current favorites, along with interests in Surrealist and Dada literature and history.

Outside of library work, Scott hosts a podcast called Words on Sounds, writes for several online publications, and runs a boutique experimental music label. Scott writes about and reviews experimental music to promote artists and connect with others who share the same passion for the underground music scene.

Scott credits Glee Nelson (the former children’s librarian at Columbus Public Library), and Kurt Cylke (former director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) as influences on his career path.

On the home front, Scott has been married to Heidi Uhing for 13 years and they share their residence with two dogs, Olive and Izzy, as well as some backyard chickens. As a Lincolnite, Scott appreciates what is happening in the local arts and culture community, and the ease and beauty of life in Nebraska. As a staff member of the Library Commission, we hope he stays for a very long time, because nobody could ever replace him and what he offers to our staff and to our patrons.

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Teachers and Librarians Invited to Host Letter Writing Clinics

LAL Letter Writing ClinicsTeachers 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 March 30), see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/lalwritingclinics or contact JoAnn McManus, 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.

LAL Grant Sponsors Logos

 

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Governor Ricketts Proclaims 2017 One Book One Nebraska: Black Elk Speaks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 11, 2017

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Rod Wagner
402-471-4001
800-307-2665

Governor Ricketts Proclaims 2017 One Book One Nebraska: Black Elk Speaks

On Jan. 9, 2017 Governor Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation honoring 2017 One Book One Nebraska: Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt. In this year people across Nebraska are encouraged to read this novel. The story of the Oglala Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950) and his people, offers readers much more than a glimpse of a vanished time. Black Elk’s searing visions of the unity of Humanity and Earth, conveyed by John G. Neihardt, have made this book a classic that crosses multiple genres and generations. The 2017 One Book One Nebraska selection is among 150 books chosen to highlight the 150th year celebration of Nebraska’s statehood. Rod Wagner, Director of the Nebraska Library Commission, presented the governor with a copy of the book. “The John G. Neihardt Foundation and State Historic Site in Bancroft is honored to take part in sharing this story, as well as our heritage and history, together with Nebraskan readers and beyond,” said Amy Kucera, Executive Director at the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site. “This transcendent tale is a true gift – created from a remarkable past so we might better understand the present, it continues to inform and inspire the future as each generation takes its turn through the pages.”

Photos of the proclamation-signing ceremony are available online.

The One Book One Nebraska reading program is entering its thirteenth year and is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, John G. Neihardt Foundation & Nebraska State Historical Society, University of Nebraska Press, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska libraries and regional library systems. 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 on the 2017 One Book One Nebraska web page. Updates and activity listings will be posted there and on the NCB Facebook page.

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 Nebraska’s 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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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

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Holli Duggan: Continuing Education Coordinator

holliduggan_3320_smMeet Holli Duggan (pronounced: DUG in) who joined the Library Commission earlier this year as our Continuing Education Coordinator.

Holli was born and raised in North Platte and attended UNK where she received degrees in English and Spanish. She received her MLS from the University of Missouri in addition to an MA in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education from UNL. She is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Educational Studies at UNL.

Growing up, Holli was always at the library and a favorite childhood author was R.L. Stine. She aspired to be a librarian at a young age and has a resume that includes working at Waldenbooks, the UNK and UNL libraries, the Gere branch library in Lincoln, and Concordia. The most satisfying thing about her current position is helping people find resources to assist them to perform their job better and in turn, help their patrons more efficiently. When I asked Holli what she thinks of when I ask her about the Library Commission, she says it is awesome. She enjoys working together with others to better libraries in Nebraska. If she could switch jobs, she would be a Spanish translator or something science-y. If she won the lottery, the first thing she would do is go to Costa Rica.

During non-work hours, Holli is most likely doing classwork for her Ed.D. In the rare free hours, she enjoys reading, watching shows on Netflix, or doing Crossfit. If she could have dinner with anyone she would pick the author Lin-Manuel Miranda because it would be so much fun to talk to him. She fondly remembers that Stephen King’s Pet Sematary was the very first book she checked out of her library from the adult section.

Holli shares her home with her husband Zac, a chocolate lab mix named Kyrie, and three cats named, Loki, Beowulf, and Mei Mei. If she could choose two words to describe herself they would be driven and patient. It’s wonderful to have Holli on our team!
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Sam Shaw: Planning and Data Services Coordinator

Meet Sam Shaw who serves as our Planning and Data Services Coordinator.Sam Shaw

Sam collects and gathers statistical data about public libraries and produces a variety of products. A large portion of the data collected is from the annual IMLS Public Library Survey. Sam was born and raised in Northeast Lincoln and is a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University where he received a BA in Philosophy. Since philosophical jobs were in short supply, Sam worked at a law firm in Lincoln and discovered that he would rather devote his time to public service as opposed to private practice. Sam then became the public services librarian at the Nebraska State Library, better known as the Nebraska Supreme Court Law Library in the capitol building. After staff elimination from budget cuts (Sam got RIF’d), he became the librarian at the Nebraska State Penitentiary and later the Library Coordinator for the Nebraska Correctional Libraries. He obtained his MLS from the University of Missouri. Sam says the most satisfying thing about working in libraries is finding information, helping people with projects, and serving the public

When I asked Sam what he thinks of when I mention the Library Commission he responded: Its laid back, there is support for new ideas and ways of doing things, and a great group of people. When Sam isn’t working at the Commission, he enjoys light workouts, chen style tai chi, gardening, fixing things, visiting botanical gardens, and ballroom dancing. He is the father to a daughter (age 9) and a son (age 5). If he could choose any other profession he would like to found and run non-profits supporting the local community. Likely these would be bringing a large scale botanical Garden or an Asian Cultural Center (tai chi and Asian botanical garden or self-realization center) to Lincoln. Sam describes himself as non-fiction reader and a lowbrow fiction reader, with his favorite authors including John Waters, Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, Albert Camus, and Larry Brown. It’s not uncommon for Sam to have 40 or more items borrowed from the Lincoln City Library at one time, including kids’ books and DVDs. A perfect day might include a favorable climate, sleeping late, drinks, napping, dinner, and late night salsa dancing. It’s wonderful to have Sam at the Library Commission after he has served other Nebraska State Agencies so well.
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Nebraska Authors to Speak at October 29 Celebration of Nebraska Books

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NCB logo
October 18, 2016

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mary Jo Ryan
402-471-3434
800-307-2665

Nebraska Authors to Speak at October 29 Celebration of Nebraska Books

Readers are invited to hear presentations by winning Nebraska writers and book designers at the Nebraska Center for the Book’s October 29 Celebration of Nebraska Books in downtown Lincoln. Presenters will include the following 2016 Nebraska Book Award Winners:

Designers: N. Putens, Rodeo Nebraska.

Fiction Writer: Chigozie Obioma, The Fishermen: A Novel.

Illustrator: Justin T. Sipiorski, The Fishes of Nebraska.

Non-fiction Writers: James W. Hewitt, In Cold Storage: Sex and Murder on the Plains; Summer Miller, New Prairie Kitchen: Stories and Seasonal Recipes from Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans of the Great Plains; Nancy Plain, This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon; and Robert A. Hrabik, Steven C. Schainost, Richard H. Stasiak, Edward J. Peters, The Fishes of Nebraska.

Photographer/Writer: Mark Harris, Rodeo Nebraska.

Poets: Lin Brummels, Hard Times, and Charles Peek, Breezes on Their Way to Being Winds.

The celebration, free and open to the public, will also feature presentation of the Nebraska Center for the Book’s 2016 Jane Geske Awards to City Impact (Lincoln), Literacy Center for the Midlands (Omaha), and Platte Valley Literacy Association (Columbus) Community Reading Program for exceptional contributions to literacy in Nebraska. The Nebraska Center for the Book will also present the 2016 Mildred Bennett Awards to Nebraska poets Twyla Hansen and Marjorie Saiser at the Celebration. Hansen and Saiser will be honored for their contributions to Nebraska writing and for their service in support of Nebraska’s writers and readers.

This year the Celebration marks the twelfth year of One Book One Nebraska with a program by Karen Gettert Shoemaker, author of The Meaning of Names, the 2016 One Book One Nebraska book selection

The Nebraska Center for the Book Annual Meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m.—just prior to the 2:30-6:30 p.m. Celebration. An awards reception honoring the winning authors, book signings, and announcement of the 2017 One Book One Nebraska book choice will conclude the festivities. The Celebration of Nebraska Books is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, Nebraska State Historical Society’s Nebraska History Museum, and University of Nebraska Press—with support for the One Book One Nebraska presentation from Humanities Nebraska. Celebration information is available at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/celebration.html.

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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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

 

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Gov. Ricketts Names Appointments to Nebraska Library Commission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2016

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Mary Jo Ryan
402-471-3434
800-307-2665

Gov. Ricketts Names Appointments to Nebraska Library Commission

Gov. Pete Ricketts recently appointed Charles (Chuck) Peek, of Kearney, and Sandra (Sandy) White, of Sidney, to three-year terms on the Nebraska Library Commission. Gov. Ricketts also reappointed Michael LaCroix, of Omaha, to a second three-year term.

A former member of the board for Kearney Public Library, Chuck Peek is an Emeritus Professor of English at University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). He served for some time as a board member and president of the Nebraska Center for the Book, and received its Mildred Bennett Award in 2011. Since retiring in 2008, he has published two books of poetry and one volume of homilies given at Red Cloud’s Grace Church for Cather events—and currently serves on the Willa Cather Foundation Board of Governors. Chuck teaches occasionally for Kearney’s Senior College, Lincoln’s OLLI, and the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry in Topeka.

Sandy White was a Nebraska educator for more than forty years. Before retiring, she served panhandle schools for several years as the Library-Media Services Director for Educational Service Units 13 and 14. She served on the board of the Western Library System (formerly known as the Panhandle Library System). She also served on the board, including a term as president, of the Nebraska School Library Association (formerly known as the Nebraska Educational Media Association). She currently serves on the board of the Sidney Public Library.

Michael LaCroix served as Director of the Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library at Creighton University and as interim dean of the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library. He formerly served as library director at Greensboro College and Wingate University in North Carolina, and at Albright College in Pennsylvania. He is a member of the board of directors for United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and previously served on the Nebraska State Advisory Council on Libraries—including a term as chair—and on the North Carolina State Advisory Council on Libraries. LaCroix was elected to the board of directors of ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries and served as Nebraska’s representative to the Online Computer Library Center Member’s Council. Formerly the treasurer of the Nebraska Library Association (NLA), he chaired the NLA College and University section.

They join current Commissioners Molly Fisher (Lincoln), Susan Warneke (Norfolk), and Debby Whitehill Bloom (Omaha) serving on the Nebraska Library Commission—the policy-making body ensuring that the agency is fully responsible for the statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library programs and services.

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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 The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases

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NLC Staff: Meet Amanda Sweet

Amanda SweetMeet Amanda Sweet who joined our staff in August as a Library Reader’s Advisor for our Talking Book and Braille service.

Amanda was born in Milwaukee, WI and was raised in the small town of St. Francis, near Lake Michigan. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English with an Emphasis in Publishing from Carleton College. After a brief stint with a literary agency in New York City, she decided to veer away from the making of books and shifted to the circulation of books in the library. As long as she is near a book, she is happy.

It was while working for Beyond Vision, a nonprofit that employs 85% blind and visually impaired individuals, that she began her Masters in Library and Information Science at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. At Beyond Vision she heard tell of some difficulties in raising awareness for TBBS services and she decided it was time to get more involved with the service as a whole. Here at the Commission, she loves the personal interaction she gets with patrons and will be completing her degree in December. If all else fails with the library career, she will content herself as a professional Dorito taster.

Amanda is a lifelong user of libraries and generally has at least one book in her oversized purse at all times. Some of her favorite authors include Sherman Alexie, Patricia Briggs, Dean Koontz, Richelle Mead, and many others. In her spare time she makes jewelry for the Etsy site she shares with her father- Sweetwater Creations. She lives with her boyfriend Sean and, since their move, they both have a craving for Oakland Gyros Greek Restaurant back in Milwaukee. The silver lining is that Amanda loves the people here in Lincoln as well as the new bead store/ art gallery she stumbled upon. Ideally, she would spend her entire weekend holed up with a gyro while reading, watching movies, making jewelry, and mindlessly surfing the web. We are grateful Amanda has joined us.
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Nebraska’s Champions of Literature and Literacy to Be Honored

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 3, 2016

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mary Jo Ryan
402-471-3434
800-307-2665

Nebraska’s Champions of Literature and Literacy to Be Honored

The Nebraska Center for the Book will present the 2016 Jane Geske Award to City Impact (Lincoln), Literacy Center for the Midlands (Omaha), and Platte Valley Literacy Association (Columbus) at the October 29 Celebration of Nebraska Books in downtown Lincoln. These organizations exemplify effectiveness and dedication to the cause of literacy in Nebraska. These three organizations are empowering Nebraskans through education, mentorship, and increased access to books and reading.

The Nebraska Center for the Book annually presents the Jane Geske Award to organizations, businesses, libraries, schools, associations, or other groups that have made an exceptional contribution to literacy, books, reading, bookselling, libraries, or Nebraska literature. The Jane Geske Award commemorates Geske’s passion for books, and was established in recognition of her contributions to the well-being of the libraries of Nebraska. Jane Geske was the director of the Nebraska Library Commission, a founding member of the Nebraska Center for the Book, a Lincoln bookseller, and a long-time leader in Nebraska library and literary activities. The award is supported by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The Nebraska Center for the Book will also present the 2016 Mildred Bennett Award to Nebraska poets Twyla Hansen and Marjorie Saiser at the Celebration. Hansen and Saiser will be honored for their contributions to Nebraska writing and for their service in support of Nebraska’s writers and readers.

The Mildred Bennett Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to fostering the literary tradition in Nebraska, reminding us of the literary and intellectual heritage that enriches our lives and molds our world. The award recognized inspired leadership and service on behalf of Nebraska literature, highlighting how the recipients follow the example of Mildred Bennett, the charismatic founder and long-time President of the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation. The award seeks to heighten awareness and interest in Nebraska’s literary heritage and to enrich the lives of Nebraskans and readers everywhere.

The October 29 Celebration, free and open to the public, will also feature presentation of the 2016 Nebraska Book Awards, and some of the winning authors will read from their work. A list of winners is posted at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards.html. The Celebration will open with a program by Karen Gettert Shoemaker, author of The Meaning of Names, the 2016 One Book One Nebraska book selection, and the 2017 One Book One Nebraska selection will be announced. The Celebration of Nebraska Books is scheduled for 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Nebraska History Museum, 131 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln NE, with the Nebraska Center for the Book Annual Meeting to be held prior to the Celebration at 1:30 p.m.

The 2016 Celebration of Nebraska Books is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, and the Nebraska State Historical Society Nebraska History Museum—with support from University of Nebraska Press and Humanities Nebraska. For more information see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/celebration.html and www.facebook.com/NebraskaCenterfortheBook.

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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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

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Celebrate with Nebraska’s 2016 Book Award Winners at October 29 Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NCB logo
September 20, 2016

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mary Jo Ryan
402-471-3434
800-307-2665

Celebrate with Nebraska’s 2016 Book Award Winners at October 29 Festival

Author readings and an awards presentation ceremony will highlight the Nebraska Center for the Book’s Celebration of Nebraska Books on October 29 at the Nebraska State Historical Society’s Nebraska History Museum at 131 Centennial Mall North, in downtown Lincoln. Winners of the 2016 Nebraska Book Awards will be honored and the celebration will include readings by some of the winning authors, designers and illustrators of books with a Nebraska connection published in 2016. And the winners are:

Anthology: A Sandhills Reader: Thirty Years of Great Writing from the Great Plains by Mark Sanders. Publisher: Stephen F. Austin State University Press

Chapbook: Hard Times by Lin Brummels. Publisher: Finishing Line Press

Children/Young Adult: This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Cover/Design/Illustration: Rodeo Nebraska by Mark Harris. Design by N. Putens. Publisher: Nebraska State Historical Society

Illustration Honor: The Fishes of Nebraska by Robert A. Hrabik, Steven C. Schainost, Richard H. Stasiak, Edward J. Peters. Illustrated by Justin T. Sipiorski. Design by Jim L. Friesen. Publisher: Conservation and Survey Division of University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Creative Nonfiction: The Ordinary Spaceman: from Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut by Clayton C. Anderson. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Fiction: The Fishermen: A Novel by Chigozie Obioma. Publisher: Back Bay Books

Fiction Short Story Honor: A Man in Trouble: Stories by Lon Otto. Publisher: Brighthorse Books

Nonfiction Current Biography: Nebrasketball: Coach Tim Miles and a Big Ten Team on the Rise by Scott Winter. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Nonfiction Historical Biography: A Sister’s Memories: The Life and Work of Grace Abbott from the Writings of Her Sister, Edith Abbott by Edith Abbott and John Sorensen. Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Nonfiction Nebraska as Place: New Prairie Kitchen: Stories and Seasonal Recipes from Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans of the Great Plains by Summer Miller. Publisher: Midway

Nonfiction Reference: The Fishes of Nebraska by Robert A. Hrabik, Steven C. Schainost, Richard H. Stasiak, Edward J. Peters. Illustrated by Justin T. Sipiorski. Design by Jim L. Friesen. Publisher: Conservation and Survey Division of University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nonfiction True Crime: In Cold Storage: Sex and Murder on the Plains by James W. Hewitt. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Nonfiction Wildlife: A Chorus of Cranes: The Cranes of North America and the World by Paul A. Johnsgard and Thomas D. Mangelsen. Publisher: University Press of Colorado

Nonfiction Wildlife Honor: Hunting for Food: Guide to Harvesting, Field Dressing and Cooking Wild Game by Jenny Nguyen and Rick Wheatley. Publisher: Living Ready

Poetry: Breezes on Their Way to Being Winds by Charles Peek. Publisher: Finishing Line Press.

Poetry Honor: Quiet City by Susan Aizenberg. Publisher: BkMk Press

The celebration, free and open to the public, will also honor winners of the 2016 Jane Geske and Mildred Bennett awards. The Mildred Bennett Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to fostering the literary tradition in Nebraska, reminding us of the literary and intellectual heritage that enriches our lives and molds our world. The Jane Geske Award is presented to Nebraska organizations 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 the libraries of Nebraska.

The 2016 One Book One Nebraska selection, The Meaning of Names (Red Hen Press) by Karen Gettert Shoemaker, will be featured in a presentation by Shoemaker about this Nebraska-set novel with a World War I backdrop, keynoting the Celebration at 2:45 p.m.

The Nebraska Center for the Book Annual Meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m.—just prior to the 2:30-6:30 p.m. Celebration. An awards reception honoring the winning authors, book signings, and the announcement of the 2017 One Book One Nebraska book choice will conclude the festivities.

The Celebration of Nebraska Books is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book and Nebraska Library Commission, with support from the Friends of the University of Nebraska Press and Nebraska State Historical Society’s Nebraska History Museum. Humanities Nebraska provides support for One Book One Nebraska. 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 national Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and 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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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

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Young Readers Invited to Write to Favorite Authors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ne-affiliate
September 12, 2016

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mary Jo Ryan
402-471-3434
800-307-2665

 

Young Readers Invited to Write to Favorite Authors

Young readers in grades 4-12 are invited to write a personal letter to an author for the Letters about Literature (LAL) contest, a national reading and writing promotion program. The letter can be to any author (living or dead) from any genre—fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic—explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s view of the world. The 24th annual writing contest for young readers 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. This reading and writing promotion is sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Center for the Book and Nebraska Library Commission, and supported by Houchen Bindery Ltd. and Chapters Books in Seward.

Prizes will be awarded on both the state and national levels. The Nebraska Center for the Book’s panel of judges will select the top letter writers in the state, to be honored in a proclamation-signing ceremony at the state capitol during National Library Week in April 2017. Their winning letters will be placed in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln. Nebraska winners will receive state prizes, and then advance to the national judging.

A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one National Winner per competition level (Level I for grades 4-6, Level II for grades 7-8, and Level III for grades 9-12) to receive a $1,000 cash award, to be announced in May 2017. The judges will also select one National Honor winner on each competition level to receive a $200 cash award.

Teachers, librarians, and parents can download free teaching materials on reader response and reflective writing, along with contest details and entry forms, at www.read.gov/letters. Nebraska-specific information (including lists of Nebraska winners of past competitions) is available at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/LAL.html. Get inspired by listening to Nebraska winners, Ashley Xiques and Sydney Kohl, read and talk about and their winning letters to authors that meant something to them in their own lives, see NET Radio’s All About Books (http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/radio/all-about-books). Submissions from Grades 9-12 must be postmarked by December 2, 2016. Submissions from Grades 4-8 must be postmarked by January 9, 2017. For more information contact Mary Jo Ryan, MaryJo.Ryan@nebraska.com, 402-471-3434 or 800-307-2665.
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

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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

LAL16-17graphic

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NLC Staff: Meet Craig Lefteroff

Craig LefteroffMeet Craig Lefteroff, who joined the Nebraska Library Commission as our Technology Innovation Librarian a year ago this month. Craig was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi and attended college at Delta State University, in Cleveland, Mississippi, graduating with a BA in English. After graduation, Craig taught English and speech for one year in a Mississippi Delta town with one store and a prison. This experience encouraged Craig to seek new employment, so he moved to Versailles (pronounced ver-say-elles), Kentucky, where he cleaned computers for Walmart. Next up was a job as an accountant for a Holiday Inn in Lexington, Kentucky. This job afforded him some flexibility so, affirming his love for books and literature, he enrolled in library school at the University of Kentucky.

Craig’s first professional library job was as a reference librarian at St. Tammany Parish Library north of Lake Pontchartrain   after Hurricane Katrina.  A tipping point occurred during this chapter of Craig’s life and it was time to try living closer if not north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  To fill a job title of Reference and Electronics Librarian, Craig moved to West Virginia to work for the Kanawha City Public Library where he lived at the top of a hill. When Craig was selected by the Nebraska Library Commission, it was a priority to be able to walk to work as this was never a possibility in Elkview.

It is typical for librarians to have eclectic interests and Craig fits this description. He surrounds himself with a variety of people and enjoys movies, music, and reading. Some of Craig’s favorite authors are Thomas Hardy, George Elliot, Herman Melville, Cormac McCarthy, and Mary Roach. A book that Craig has read at least five times is Stoner by John Williams owing to the theme of a young man growing up in the south who falls in love with literature. If money were no issue, he would spend his time reading and traveling first to Italy. When asked what other profession he would like to practice, Craig would be a writer and when I asked him to comment on his associations about his workplace, he responded: food day.

We’re grateful Craig has made the Midwest his home and is willing to share his skills and interests with those of us in Nebraska libraries.

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Tips #4 & #5 for Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Nebraska Libraries on the WebQuick Tip #4: Save space by deleting unused images

Images and graphics can consume a lot of your storage space. WordPress makes it easy to handle these tricky items. You can always edit individual images and scale (shrink) the picture, but you might try removing your unused images first. On your Dashboard, go to Media -> Library, then click the drop-down that reads All Media Items and switch it to Unattached. Now you’ll see only items that are not currently being used on any page on your website. Getting rid of these will, of course, free up a bit more space that you can use for new photos!

Media Library Graphic

Quick Tip #5: Widgets

Your site already includes a ton of features that you’re probably not using. You can find many of them by going to Appearance, then Widgets. This provides a list of available widgets, tools that you can add to your sidebar, header, or footer. You’ll find widgets for Facebook, Goodreads, an event calendar, and more. To activate the widget, just click the widget’s title, then drag it over to the sidebar (or header or footer) section.

widgets graphic

Learn more about Nebraska Libraries on the Web in our previous Blog posts or contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.

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Tip #3 for Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Nebraska Libraries on the WebQuick Tip #3: Publicize with Jetpack

If you’ve been working to add content to both your website and your social networks, there’s an easier way. In your Dashboard, there’s a section for the Jetpack plugin. Among Jetpack’s settings is the Publicize feature. Just click Configure and you’ll be able to connect your website to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. Anything that you add to the site will be automatically pushed out to those social networks, so that your viewers will be able to see all of your announcements and photos, no matter which of your sites they’re using. Jetpack also includes sharing buttons that can be added to your posts, so that your readers can easily share your content on their own social networks.Wordpress Publicize Graphic

Learn more about Nebraska Libraries on the Web in our previous Blog posts or contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.

Improve your site with Jetpack graphic

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Tip #2 for Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Quick Tip #2: Create a page that points directly to another website

When you add a new page to your site (by going to Pages -> Add New), WordPress assumes that you’re creating a new standalone page to add to your site. But you can also create an empty “placeholder” page that will send visitors out to another website—say, your Facebook page or the website for your town or county. To do this, simply scroll down to the bottom of the screen and, in the Page Links To section, choose A Custom URL. Once you have your new “page” created, you can easily add it to your site’s menu!

Learn more about Nebraska Libraries on the Web in our previous Blog posts or contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.

Create a page that points directly to another website.

 

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Tips for Nebraska Libraries on the Web: Create a New Menu

Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Create a MenuQuick Tip #1: Create a new menu

The menu at the top of your WordPress site allows your visitors to easily find particular pages, but occasionally you might want to change it up (perhaps during summer reading). With WordPress, it’s easy to create multiple menus and swap them out at will. On your Dashboard, go to Appearance, then click on Menus. Your default menu will probably display on the screen, but you can click Create a New Menu and add selected pages and resources to it. Once you name it and save it, the menu will be available in the Customizer on your site (Appearance -> Customize). You can then swap out your default menu for the new menu with one click.

Learn more about Nebraska Libraries on the Web in our previous Blog posts or contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.

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Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Imagine that a new resident has just arrived in your town. She’s eager to read the new Ruth Ware novel, but isn’t familiar with your library, so she hits the Internet to search for you. What does she find? What would you like for her to find?

Nebraska Libraries on the Web is a free service open to any public library in Nebraska. We use the WordPress platform to create robust and user-friendly library websites. Our sites are controlled by “themes” that modify the display of your site, meaning that your content will be presented in an appealing fashion automatically. You don’t have to worry about coding, just add text and images that tell the world about your library. For those who wish to alter aspects of their site’s theme, controls are available that allow you to tweak your font, colors, and more. You can even change your entire theme with one click to give your site a brand new appearance.

Because WordPress is so widely used, it’s not surprising that it works well with the biggest names on the Internet. Your site will arrive ready to connect to Facebook, Pinterest, and more. Any content that you add to your website can be automatically posted to your social networks, too. If you use Google Calendar, you can incorporate that directly into your new site, or use add-on tools called plugins to create a new calendar that displays your library’s events. Plugins also allow you to create surveys, contact forms, and forums, and host them all on your site. There’s probably a plugin for anything that you’d like to do with your site and Commission staff are available to assist you in tracking down the right tools. We also take care of software updates and security concerns, so you never have to worry about maintenance.

If this sounds like an approach that might work for your library, please contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.

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