Category Archives: Books & Reading

Friday Reads: The Great Mistake, by Mary Roberts Rinehart

The Great Mistake

In the mystery series, “Death on Demand”, by Carolyn Hart, several women authors of the golden age are mentioned, Agatha Christy, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, and our own Mignon Eberhart. But one author I’d never heard of was Mary Roberts Rinehart. So when an e-book edition of The Great Mistake, one of her titles popped up on BookBub,  I bought it.

And I wasn’t disappointed. Set in a small town called Beverly set near Town, it is large enough to have a hunt club, and Society. After some digging online, I discovered the book was published in 1940, but nothing of World War II, politics, or international tensions shadow this book. I was a third of the way through before I could clearly say, “well, we don’t do that anymore”.  The characters are from all sections of society, and for the most part are treated very fairly. If anyone comes off looking churlish, it’s the homicide officer from Town, and of course, it’s part of his job, as the outsider. The main characters are all definitely rounded. There is a love story, but surprisingly enough for the time, it is low-key.  The foundation of the mystery is built skillfully, adding to the suspense.

The main character, Pat, comes into “the big house on the Hill,” to be a secretary to the widow of the billionaire who built the house for her and her son.  Maude, the widow, is a vibrant, attractive personality, and busy hostess in need of help for her parties and social responsibilities. And Pat is fond of her.  Tony is the son,  who runs the family firm in Town  and at first they merely get on each others nerves.  Pat never sets out to be a detective of any type, unlike many other main characters of mystery fiction, particularly cosy mysteries. She is meant to be more of a way for us to be a part of the mystery. The events of the story tell on her, as her employer falls mysteriously ill. Then a dear friend’s runaway & divorced husbanded returns for nursing for a terminal illness, (he says.)  A mysterious figure is seen peering in a window, and a night watchman is mugged, stripped of trousers (& keys).  The entire mystery is framed by remarks about writing about the entire story down for everyone, which serves as a fine way to find out how the dangling threads are tied up. It all flows so well, the language enhances the story and never shouts out the time period. A smoother read in that regard than Christie.

Mary Roberts Rinehart, (August 12, 1876-September 22, 1958) was often called the American Agatha Christie. While she is considered the source of the phrase, “the butler did it”, from her novel, The Door, 1930, the writer never used that phrase in the book. She is also considered to have invented the “Had-I-But-Known” school of mystery writing in her book The Circular Staircase, 1908. She wrote novels, plays, short stories, travelogues, and was a war correspondent. With her sons she founded the publishing house Farrer & Rinehart, and served as director.

More about Mary Roberts Rinehart and lists of her titles from Wikipedia

 

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NCompass Live: Small and Rural Libraries Leading with TV Whitespace

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Small and Rural Libraries Leading with TV Whitespace’, on Wednesday, March 22, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

This presentation provides an opportunity for librarians working in small and rural library contexts to learn about the innovative applications of TV White Space (TVWS) technology in their communities. Join us to find out how small and rural libraries can implement this emerging technology and use it to collaborate with other community anchor institutions to advance access, inclusion, and crisis planning.

TVWS is an extremely valuable license-exempt radio spectrum located in the bands for traditional TV broadcast. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently made a portion of these TVWS bands of spectrum available for free, open, and shared public use (similar to WiFi). TVWS, in conjunction with WiFi, allows libraries to extend their networks of internet access strategically across their communities.

Among our objectives are to build awareness of TVWS technology, describe how TVWS wireless networks operate, and help participants develop familiarity with several library TVWS case studies. We anticipate sharing how to plan for a new TVWS network and next steps participants might take. Also discussed will be a recent project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which will give small and rural libraries the opportunity to apply to become a pilot site/early adopter of TVWS.

Presenters: Kristen Rebmann, Associate Professor, School of Information, San José (CA) State University, and Don Means, Gigabit Libraries Network.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • March 29 – Conversation Circles: A Simple ESL Program
  • April 19 – LMNOP: The Evolution of Engagement
  • April 26 – Collecting Library User Feedback: Free! high tech and low tech options that will meet your needs

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, 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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Friday Reads: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Far away from bike paths that lead to grocery stores that sell kale is Appalachia.  It runs through West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, and some parts of Tennessee and the Carolinas, too.  It’s mostly dirt-poor and the things for which it’s known—family feuds, coal mining, moonshine—seem to have little connection with modern life in other parts of America.  These days, unless Appalachia is being mocked, it’s generally ignored.

Which is why it’s strange that this memoir has struck such a chord.  It has been sitting atop the bestseller lists for months and has received coverage in tons of major media outlets.  On its face, the story doesn’t seem to be widely relatable.  J.D. Vance’s family originated in the hills and hollers of rural eastern Kentucky.  He experienced the traumas that often shadow poor communities: drug abuse, outbursts of violence, and other self-defeating behaviors.  But, unlike many, Vance escaped and prospered, eventually attending Yale and joining a San Francisco investment firm.  Hillbilly Elegy reads like a gateway into the world of “Bloody Breathitt” County, Kentucky.  But it also details the process through which Vance found a better life outside the region.  The book is interesting as a depiction of an overlooked place, but it also works as a coming-of-age story.

And it’s getting talked up as a kind of Rosetta Stone that explains election results.  The Times calls it “a civilized reference guide for an uncivilized election”.  I’m not sure that I totally buy that.  Appalachia is a pretty unique place.  I don’t know how much you can port over its attributes to cities in the Rust Belt and so on.  It’s worthwhile to examine a culture and community for its own sake, but if you’re just looking for national power brokers or explanations for electoral trends, Hazard, Kentucky might not be where you want to start.

Even if Hillbilly Elegy can’t provide pat answers to complex political questions, it’s still a good book that’s very affecting and ultimately inspiring.  If you would like to learn more about the region, I’d recommend this book, as well as two documentaries.  American Hollow focuses on the same area and lifestyle described in Hillbilly Elegy and Oxyana viciously captures the prevalence of drug addiction in Appalachian communities.   It’s great that attention is being drawn to a part of our country that’s often been forgotten—hopefully, it will lead to some real change for the region.

Vance, J. D. (2016). Hillbilly elegy: a memoir of a family and culture in crisis. New York: Harper.

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Friday Reads: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Somewhere in Chicago right now there is a wizard named Harry Dresden.  You might know him because he is the only professional wizard listed in the phone book: “Lost items found.  Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment”.  If you ever run into a werewolf, vampire, demon or other nasty creature of the night he is your man!  Just don’t ask him to perform at your son’s birthday party because he is not a magician.  That you would think that is just offensive.

Jim Butcher knows Harry the best.  There is rumor that Harry is merely a product of Butcher’s imagination, but I refuse to believe that bit of blasphemy.  I also believe in fairies and nothing you say or do will ever erase the twinkle from my eye.

In any case, Jim Butcher has written a series of books called The Dresden Files detailing some of the more notable events from Harry’s life.  The first book in the series is Storm Front where we learn that “just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t an invisible demon about to eat your face”.  Sage advice.  I must take moment here to point out that I have grown rather fond of my face and must thank Mr. Dresden for taking on said demon.  My face thanks him.

I also highly recommend listening to the audiobook version of The Dresden Files because James Marsters is magical.  Just in case you didn’t know this bit of trivia, James Marsters played Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  When I heard Mr. Marsters as Harry I am pretty sure I swooned and melted. In that order.  I was a full on puddle by the middle of the first book.

You may not be aware, but this review is in real danger of turning into a fangirl rave.  But I am a professional so I will just say that Harry Dresden is a clever private investigator who likes to break tension with a perfectly timed one-liner that will have you tittering into your morning latte.  If you like fantasy, P.I. stories, or have grown accustomed to your face, you will love Harry Dresden. Happy reading!

Butcher, Jim. Storm Front. Penguin, 2000.

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NCompass Live: Build a Better World: Summer Reading Program 2017

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Build a Better World: Summer Reading Program 2017’, on Wednesday, March 15, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services at the Nebraska Library Commission, will give brief book talks of new titles pertaining to the 2017 Summer Reading Program theme: Build a Better World.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • March 22 –  Small and Rural Libraries Leading with TV Whitespace
  • March 29 – Conversation Circles: A Simple ESL Program
  • April 19 – LMNOP: The Evolution of Engagement

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, 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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Friday Reads: The Sari Shop Widow

Anjali Kapadia is in a bit of trouble. Her family’s business, a chic sari boutique named Silk & Sapphires in the heart of New Jersey’s Little India, is in financial trouble. In an effort to save the business from bankruptcy, her father has called on his entrepreneur brother, Jeevan Kapadia, to come and help. However, Jeevan has a reputation for being a bit of a dictator; he likes things done his way, or not at all. The idea fills Anjali with dread, but she will do just about anything for this business, which she helped build after the death of her husband ten years earlier.

When Jeevan arrives, though, he is not what Anjali was expecting, and he brings along a visitor he treats like a son. Rishi Shan is Jeevan’s partner in business, and has brought along some ideas that will radically change the small boutique Anjali has put her heart and soul into. What’s more, he imposes on Anjali’s life in a way that makes her wonder if she’ll lose her heart to him in the process.

The Sari Shop Widow is a lovely story that gives readers an insight into Indian culture and values. The need for Anjali to remarry is the underlying current throughout the novel, and the traditional values of her uncle and parents war with her mainstream American views of the world. Yet the relationships Anjali deals with are universal, so anyone, whether familiar with Indian culture or not, will enjoy the story.

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What’s Up Doc? New State Agency Publications at the Nebraska Library Commission

New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for February 2017.  Included are titles from the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the Nebraska Department of Roads, and the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

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Friday Reads: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

At the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Viola Davis said the following upon accepting her award for Outstanding Performance by a Female for the movie Fences: “What August (Wilson) did so beautifully is he honored the average man …and sometimes we don’t have to shake the world and move the world and create anything that is going to be in the history book. The fact that we breathed and lived a life … means that we have a story and it deserves to be told.”  I think writers who choose ordinary subjects can tell amazing stories. I think this is Kent Haruf’s talent–to tell everyman’s story, the story of those people we all know and recognize, who live next door if not in our own home.

Our Souls at Night was Haruf’s last novel before his death in 2014, and it takes place in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado, a small town created for three of his other novels. Addie Moore and Louis Waters have both lost their partners and have lived a long time in Holt knowing of each other rather than being well acquainted. One day, Addie pays a visit to Lois and asks: “I’m wondering if you would consider coming to my house sometimes to sleep with me … I mean we’re both alone. We’ve been by ourselves for too long. For years. I’m lonely. I think you might be too. I wonder if you could sleep in the night with me. And talk … I’m not talking about sex, I’m talking about getting through the night … the nights are the worst don’t you think?” And this is where their story begins as this invitation turns into many evening conversations and the revelations of life, regrets, and love lost. It confirms how grief needs to be shared with others especially those for whom the loss is similar. When two people form a bond, onlookers will have opinions and often, not so quietly. I could relate to the gossipy town conversations that made me forever choose to live in a city with a population of at least 100,000 or more.

This is a spare read with uncomplicated and honest characters. There is a cadence to Haruf’s books – small town living and the daily minutia that are both familiar and regular. The conversations are ones you’ve had yourself. Spending time in Holt is downshifting to rural America; slowing down and looking people in the eye when you walk past them on the street.

A movie adapted from this book will be released sometime this year, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, who first appeared together in 1967’s Barefoot in the Park. This will be quite a contrast.

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Doc Spot: Unicameral Update

The Unicameral Update is a newsletter produced during each legislative session by the Clerk of the Legislature’s Unicameral Information Office since 1977. The Update covers legislative activity, including floor action and committee hearings, and is available daily online and weekly in print.

To see the Update online, click on any of the highlighted links above.

To receive a free print subscription to the Unicameral Update, call (402)-471-2788, or send an email to Clerk of the Legislature.

The Unicameral Update is also available in audio to Talking Book and Braille (TBBS) patrons. For more information, contact TBBS at (800) 742-7691.

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Big Talk From Small Libraries is tomorrow!

Small libraries! Awesome ideas! FREE!

Join us tomorrow for the Big Talk From Small Libraries 2017 online conference. Registration is still open, so head over to the website and sign up.

This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries, but regardless of how big or small your library is, you are welcome and encouraged to come learn about the innovative things your colleagues are doing in their small libraries.

We have a great agenda for the day, with seven 50 minute sessions plus five 10 minute lightning round sessions. You can log in and out of the conference as you like throughout the day, based on your interest and availability.

And, Nebraska library staff can earn 1 hour of CE Credit for each hour of the conference you attend:  http://nlc.nebraska.gov/CE/bigtalkform.asp

So, come join us for a day of big ideas from small libraries!

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Friday Reads: The House of the Spirits

I first read Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits my junior year of high school.  At the time, I was taken with the elements of magical realism that permeated the story. In the twenty years since, I have lost track of the number of times I have read this book.  Each time, I gain new insight into this complex, multi-generational novel.

Set in Chile, against the backdrop of social and political upheaval, Allende focuses on the ever-changing fortunes of Esteban Trueba, his wife, Clara del Valle and their children: Blanca, Jaime and Nicolas. While Esteban concentrates on accumulating wealth and power, Clara endeavors to strengthen her clairvoyant talents.  Since childhood, Clara has been able to move objects and predict future events, such as the deaths of her older sister and parents. Although Clara cares for her husband, she leads an independent life because she abhors his conservative values.  Following their mother’s lead, the children, and later Esteban’s green-haired granddaughter, become swept of up in the socialist revolution and  subsequent military coup.

Despite its dark themes, The House of the Spirit is a story of hope and survival.  Allende’s characters often experience the worst, but retain an innate sense of right and wrong.  Until the bitter end, they continue to believe in the basic goodness of mankind.  The last time I read The House of the Spirits, I realized that despite the horrors she had just experienced, Esteban’s granddaughter continues to hope for a better tomorrow. Following her imprisonment, she encounters a woman whose spirit remains strong regardless of efforts to destroy it. Alba, whose name is Spanish for dawn, knows the conservative regime will end and life in Chile will improve for everyone.

Allende, Isabel. The House of the Spirits. Translated by Magda Bogin. New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1985.

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Celebrating Romance and Love in the Library

Recently the Library Commission purchased the following DVD: Love Between the Covers.

“Romance fiction is the behemoth of the publishing industry; it outsells mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy combined. Yet no filmmaker has ever taken an honest look at the global community romance writers and readers have built – until now. This funny and inspiring look into a billion-dollar industry turns up trailblazers who’ve found fortunes and fulfillment in romance, who are on the front lines of a revolutionary power shift in publishing. Creating online empires and inventing new markets are authors like pioneer of African American romance Beverly Jenkins, Shakespeare professor and romance rockstar Eloisa James, surgeon and lesbian romance legend Len Barot, and the incomparable Nora Roberts. For three years, we follow the lives of five published romance authors and one unpublished newbie as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with upheaval, and earn a living doing what they love. In the process, we discover a global storytelling sisterhood. Love Between the Covers takes us into one of the few spaces where strong female characters are always center stage, where justice prevails in every book, and the broad spectrum of desires of women from all backgrounds are not feared, but explored unapologetically.” — amazon.com

Please feel free to contact us to borrow this DVD.  In the spirit of celebrating romance, here are some lists of librarian romances that I think are worth highlighting – happy love in the library!

30 Tales of Librarians in Love
http://www.booklistreader.com/2016/09/01/romance/30-tales-of-librarians-in-love/

Bookshelf Babes and Hardcover Heroes: Favorite Librarians in Romance
http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2012/09/bookshelf-babes-and-hardcover-heroes-favorite-librarians-in-romance

Librarian Romance:
http://wendythesuperlibrarian.blogspot.com/p/librarians-in-romance-novels.html

Love in the Library – Reader Roundup with Amy Alessio
http://romanceuniversity.org/2014/02/22/love-in-the-library-reader-roundup-with-amy-alessio/

A Mega-List of Lovely, Lusty Librarian Romance
http://www.booklistreader.com/2016/09/30/romance/a-mega-list-of-lovely-lusty-librarian-romance/

Romance Books about Librarians and Archivists:
http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/31771.Romance_Books_about_Librarians_and_Archivists

 

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Friday Reads: How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS, by David France

After watching Dallas Buyers Club several years ago, I wanted to learn more about the early treatment challenges that caused people with AIDS to criticize and bypass the FDA’s slow-moving and bureaucratic drug approval process. This led me to a copy of Randy Shilts’ classic 1987 book, And the Band Played On, which covered the AIDS epidemic through 1985. I hesitated to start it, however, because of the 25+ years of subsequent developments that wouldn’t be covered, including significant advances in treatment options in the mid-90s. So when David France’s How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS showed up on the New York Times “100 Notable Books of 2016” list, I jumped on it!

David France is an investigative reporter who has been covering AIDS since the early 1980s. He moved to New York City in June 1981, immediately after graduating from college and just weeks before a headline in the July 3 New York Times proclaimed “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.” This put France at a major epicenter of the epidemic from its opening days—and from the very outset of his adult life. It is this embedded perspective that gives an intense intimacy to what is also a thoroughly researched and gripping account of the gay community’s mobilization to political and scientific activism and advocacy.

Although death and dying pervade France’s narrative, there is hope and inspiration in the formation of groups like Gay Men’s Health Crisis, ACT UP, with its rallying cry of “Drugs into bodies,” and TAG (Treatment Action Group). Members with an affinity for research, though lacking scientific background and in some cases without college degrees, educated themselves on the inner workings of government health agencies like the FDA, CDC, and NIH, and became experts on immunology and virology. This allowed them to challenge and ultimately collaborate as partners with a medical establishment used to patients passively accepting whatever treatment options were prescribed. They were able to press for an accelerated drug approval process, modifications in clinical trial protocol, reductions in drug costs, and more.

France’s account traces drug development through the January 1996 annual Conference for Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, where breakthrough results of two clinical drug trials were reported, heralding the arrival of new treatment options supporting long term survival of people with AIDS. Finally, AIDS no longer equaled death! While this is a victorious point at which to conclude his story, a happily-ever-after ending would have been inappropriate, and France avoids one with the final words of his final chapter: “It was not over. It would never be over. But it was over.” His epilogue also bears witness to the toll the plague took on surviving activists, often in the form of depression, drug addiction, underemployment and unemployment. Not only had they lost so many friends and lovers, they were now set adrift without purpose in a life they hadn’t prepared for, because they never expect to live to see it.

Although I still plan to read Shilts’ And the Band Played On, I’m glad I started with David France’s book; it provided me with the education I was looking for, in a compelling and thorough manner. If you’re interested in this topic but don’t want to tackle a 600+ page book (either Shilts’ or France’s), you may want to consider watching the 2012 documentary written and directed by France, also titled How to Survive a Plague. It is currently available to stream on Netflix.

France, David. How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS. New York: Knopf, 2016.

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NE 150 Book Display

“The Nebraska 150 Book Selection Committee chose 150 notable Nebraska books to highlight for the Nebraska 150 Celebration.  These books represent the best literature produced from Nebraska during the past 150 years.  The books highlight the varied cultures, diverse experiences and the shared history of Nebraskans.”
http://nebraska150books.org/nebraska-books/ne-150-sesquicentennial-book-list.html

The Library Commission owns many titles from the 150 list and has displayed them in our reception area. They will be featured throughout 2017 as Nebraska celebrates its Sesquicentennial. Come take a look and check them out!

 

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Health Information Resources for the 65 and Older Population

The 65 and older population will grow in the U.S. from 46 million in 2014 to 88 million in 2050 (Colby & Ortman, 2014, p. 5). During those decades, the percentage of 65-and-older population compared to the total population of the U.S. and World will also increase.

This growth will likely result in an increased need for treatment, management, prevention, and wellness resources specifically for older adults as well as their caregivers. There are already a number of sites created for older adults by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and other Health and Human Services agencies.

NIHSeniorHealth, https://nihseniorhealth.gov/, is a portal for older adults to search many government sites at once for health topics pertinent to them and caregivers. They can also browse topics and categories such as Bladder Health, Creating a Family Health History, and Talking with Your Doctor.

NIHSeniorHealth also has a Toolkit for Trainers for those that help older adults find reliable information. The toolkit includes lesson plans, promotional flyers for students and trainers, and a tip sheet on creating a “senior friendly computer classroom.”

Go4Life®, https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/, from the National Institute on Aging at NIH focuses on fitting in exercise and physical activity into older adults’ daily lives. There are resources for various activity levels and abilities including videos, exercise guides, tips, and success stories.

MedlinePlus, https://medlineplus.gov/, has a great deal of health information for all ages. Seniors may be most interested in Health Topics such as Health Aging or Seniors’ Health. If print information is preferred, sign up for a free subscription to NIH MedlinePlus Magazine. Librarians can even order the magazine in bulk. If Spanish is the primary language, try https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/.

National Institute on Aging (NIA) Publications has resources available in Spanish and a few other languages. Many of these are easy to read online, save, or print. Examples include Menopause: Treatment for Symptoms, Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease, and Online Health Information: Can You Trust It? AgePage. One that seniors and caregivers may find useful in communicating with doctors, surgeons, and other health professionals is Talking with Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People.

A document that seniors may want to have when talking with their doctors is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Pill Card. People can download this document to customize their own card for keeping track of medicines.

In addition to these online resources, don’t forget about area agencies on aging. In Omaha, we have the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, and other Nebraska area agencies can be found at http://nebaaaa.org/locations.html.

If you have questions about these resources, please contact me at AnnetteParde-Maass@creighton.edu or 402-280-4156.

Works Cited

Colby, S. L. & J. M. Ortman. (2014). Projections of the size and composition of the U.S. population: 2014 to 2060. Current Population Reports, P25-1143. Washington, DC:  U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p25-1143.pdf

*Note: 65 and Older Population will also be referred to as “seniors” and “older adults.” These terms can also include a larger age-range and many of the resources listed here are relevant to those ages as well.

**Information provided by:

Annette Parde-Maass
Community and Global Health Librarian
Creighton University Health Sciences Library
National Network of Libraries of Medicine MidContinental Region
AnnetteParde-Maass@creighton.edu
402.280.4156

 

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CIA’s Once-Secret Stash Now Online

The largest collection of declassified CIA records is now accessible online. The documents were previously only available to the public at the National Archives in Maryland. Approximately 930,000 documents, totaling more than 12 million pages, are now available in the CIA’s Electronic Reading Room on CIA’s website.

Since 1999, the CIA has regularly released its historical declassified records to the standalone CIA Records Search Tool (CREST) system that was only accessible in person at the National Archives Records Administration (NARA) in College Park, Maryland. Moving these documents online highlights the CIA’s commitment to increasing the accessibility of declassified records to the public.

“Access to this historically significant collection is no longer limited by geography. The American public can access these documents from the comfort of their homes,” notes Joseph Lambert, the CIA Director of Information Management.

The CREST collection covers a myriad of topics, such as the early CIA history, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Berlin Tunnel project, the Korean War, and the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. The documents also extensively address developments on terrorism, as well as worldwide military and economic issues.

The documents include a wide variety of records, including collections of finished intelligence from the 1940s to the 1990s prepared by the Directorate of Analysis (or its predecessors, such as the Directorate of Intelligence), Directorate of Operations reports from the late 1940s through the early 1960s, Directorate of Science and Technology research and development files, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency policy files and memoranda, National Intelligence Council estimates, National Intelligence Surveys, Office of Strategic Services (OSS) records, Directorate of Support administrative records, and imagery reports from the former National Photographic Interpretation Center (reviewed jointly with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)).

CREST records also include large specialized collections of foreign translations, scientific abstracts, ground photo descriptions, and special collections such as STAR GATE remote viewing program files, Henry Kissinger Library of Congress files, and other miscellaneous CIA records.

The declassification of 25-year-old records is mandated by Executive Order 13526, which requires agencies to review all such records categorized as permanent under the Federal Records Act for declassification. As a result, following CIA’s review, documents are regularly added to this collection.

The CIA’s Electronic Reading room offers a full-text search capability of CREST records, and the collection can be viewed at CREST: 25-Year Program Archive.

Reprinted from CIA Press Release, CIA.gov, January 17, 2017.

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Friday Reads: The Goldfinch: A Novel by Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, published in 2013, was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I had read reviews and commentaries about the book, looked it over in a bookstore, and considered borrowing or buying a copy. I resisted because I was daunted by its length – the hardcover edition is 760 pages. I recently found a paperback copy in a Colorado library on the books for sale shelves. For a two dollar contribution to the library’s friends group the book was mine. It’s the second longest book I’ve ever read and it was a long haul, but a good one. During the course of reading it I also borrowed from Lincoln City Libraries the excellent digital audiobook version.

The Goldfinch begins with a terrorist act – a bomb explosion in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – and the resulting tragic destruction and loss. What follows is an evolving mystery about a missing painting – a Dutch masterwork called The Goldfinch. Included are theft, drugs, the art black market, the craft of antique furniture restoration, and the complex relationships among family, friends, friends of friends, swindlers, and much more. Art, in many forms, is central to the book. The characters are vivid, the settings are rich in detail, and the plot pulls the reader along toward a surprising end. For me, it is the kind of book you don’t necessarily want to come to an end.

Stephen King, in a New York Times Book Review commentary, said “The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind…..” Donna Tartt has also written the novels The Secret History and The Little Friend.

Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch: A novel. New York: Little, Brown and Company. 2013.

 

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State Agency Publications Received at the Nebraska Library Commission in 2016

Nebraska State Government Publications 2016 is a compilation of the state publications received in 2016 by the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse, a service of the Nebraska Library Commission.  The items are arranged in two separate lists: by broad subject categories and alphabetically by title.

All documents have been cataloged, and the OCLC number is listed.  To make access to the documents as user friendly as possible, you can click on the link above, or scroll through the .pdf below and click on the URL for the item.  Clicking on the URL will take you directly to the item online, where you can read it or print it out.

For more information about the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse and Nebraska state agency publications, please contact Mary Sauers or Bonnie Henzel at the Library Commission:

 

Mary Sauers | Government Information Services Librarian | Nebraska Library Commission | 402-471-4017 | Mary Sauers

Bonnie Henzel | State Documents Staff Assistant | Nebraska Library Commission | 402-471-6285 | Bonnie Henzel

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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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What’s Up Doc? New State Agency Publications at the Nebraska Library Commission

New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for January 2017.  Included are titles from the Mid-America Transportation Center, the Nebraska Crime Commission, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and the University of Nebraska, to name a few.

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