Category Archives: Books & Reading

Friday Reads: The Mark of the Assassin, by Daniel Silva

bookMarkoftheAssassinThis is one of those authors I wish would write faster. I recently discovered Daniel Silva’s thrillers about Gabriel Allon, Israeli spy/assassin and restorer of great masters.  I’m a little late to the party–Silva has made the bestseller lists for years now–but I’ve made up for lost time and binged.  Read–or mostly, listened to–all 14 books in the series (so far.)  Now I’m going back to read one of Silva’s earlier titles, The Mark of the Assassin.  It’s been fun, partly because it contains a number of precursors to the Allon books, and partly because, as with Silva’s other books, the writing is good, the plotting is fast-paced and twisty, the characters are interesting, and the issues and events in the book seem so dreadfully plausible.  There’s plenty of action, but I think The Mark of the Assassin contains a little less gadgetry and hardware and a little more thinking than many spy thrillers.  Silva, Daniel. The mark of the assassin. New York: Villard, 1998.

 

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged | Leave a comment

IMLS and Dept. of Ed. hosts free digital strategy webinar

IMLS LogoTomorrow, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education will host “Reboot your Digital Strategy,” a webinar that will explore national initiatives, resources, and tools that public and school librarians can use to enhance their digital literacy programming and services.

IMLS and OCTAE are working together to encourage effective collaborations between libraries and federally funded adult education programs. The issue is of national importance. The Survey of Adult Skills estimates that one in six adults, or about 36 million Americans, have low literacy. The goal of this joint effort is to enhance skills, employability, and quality of life for youths and adults with low literacy and digital literacy skills.

The “Reboot your Digital Strategy” webinar supports state and local level efforts to cross-train staff on digital literacy and builds awareness about national and regional Internet access expansion efforts. We encourage librarians to invite local partners, or potential partners, to participate in the webinar.

Webinar Details
Date: December 18, 2014
Time: 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET
Register for the Webinar

Presenters:

  • Susan H. Hildreth, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, Team Leader, Applied Innovation and Improvement Division of Adult Education and Literacy, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education
  • Sandra Toro, Senior Library Program Officer, Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Amber Petty, Program Associate, Everyone On

Librarians interested in more information about digital literacy resources can visit the Department of Education website.

Reprinted by District Dispatch–the ALA Washington Office Newsletter, December 11, 2014.

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, General, Information Resources, Library Management, Programming, Technology, Uncategorized, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Leave a comment

Doc Spot: Senate Report on CIA Detension and Interrogation now available online

GPO LogoThe U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has made available the official and authentic digital and print versions of the Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, together with a forward by Chairman Feinstein and Additional and Minority Views (Senate Report 113-288).

This document comprises the declassified Executive Summary and Findings and Conclusions, including declassified additional and minority views. The full classified report will be maintained by the Committee and has been provided to the Executive Branch for dissemination to all relevant agencies.

The digital version is available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys).

The print version is available for purchase at GPO’s retail and online bookstore for $29.

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, General, Information Resources, Library Management, Programming, Technology, Uncategorized, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Leave a comment

Friday Reads: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

The Miseducation of Cameron PostThe small town of Miles City, Montana, serves as the setting for this coming-of-age novel. It takes place in the early 1990s and follows its protagonist, Cameron from age 12 to age 16, so it definitely has nostalgic appeal for someone like me, who was also in junior high and high school in the early 90s.

The book revolves around two major occurrences in Cameron’s life: the death of both of her parents in a car accident and her growing awareness of the fact that she is gay.

This is a well-written book that vividly creates the setting of rural Montana. The author holds a Ph. D. from UNL, though I was unaware of that Nebraska connection when I started the book. I am about halfway finished listening to the audiobook version of this title, and I’m looking forward to the rest.

Danforth, Emily M. The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Newark, NJ: Audible Studios, 2013.

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged | Leave a comment

Best Books Lists Listed

It’s that time of year when the “best” lists of 2014 are coming thick and fast (although, as Michael points out, the year isn’t over yet.)  In case you’d like to investigate some of these lists, Largehearted Boy has kindly compiled a list of the lists on his blog–577 of them to date!  He’s updating the list daily, and no doubt checking it twice.

Posted in Books & Reading | Leave a comment

NCompass Live: Best New Youth Books of 2014

NCompass live smallJoin us for next week’s NCompass Live: “Best New Youth Books of 2014″, on Wednesday, December 10, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services at the NLC, will give brief book talks of new titles that could be good additions to your library’s collection. Titles for preschool through older teens will be highlighted.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • December 17 – Nebraska Memories
  • December 31 – Tech Talk with Michael Sauers

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Youth Services | Leave a comment

Friday Reads: SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper, by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin

sealteamsix_I’ve recently been reading some of Suzanne Brockmann’s romantic suspense novels, which feature Navy SEALS as leading men. This got me wondering about real Navy SEALS—can they truly be as accomplished and multi-talented as Brockmann makes them out to be? My curiosity piqued, I searched Lincoln City Libraries’ OverDrive collection and wound up checking out the audiobook edition of SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper, by Howard Wasdin.

I’m about half-way through at this point, and so far have found it quite interesting. Wasdin begins by recounting his difficult childhood, which he later credits with preparing him to withstand many of the rigors of the SEAL training and selection process. His descriptions of the physical and mental challenges SEAL candidates endure definitely inspire awe and respect. At the same time, it’s easy to see what a toll this career would take on family life. At the point I’m at in the story Wasdin is still married, with two kids, but his allusions to relationship strain make me think the marriage won’t survive.

So far I’d say that Wasdin’s non-fiction account of the numerous and incredibly varied skills and abilities of Navy SEALS is every bit as impressive as Brockmann’s fictional version—meaning maybe she’s not exaggerating. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the path to a happy ending is going to be quite as straight-forward and assured.

Wasdin’s memoir definitely offers a window into a life very different from my own. It’s impossible not to admire and respect the strength, tenacity, and intelligence required to make it as a SEAL, and I’m definitely looking forward to listening to the rest of his story.

Wasdin, Howard E, Stephen Templin, and Ray Porter. Seal Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy Seal Sniper. Ashland, Or.: Blackstone Audio, Inc, 2011. Internet resource. (Listen to excerpt)

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Data Dude – Paper v.s. eBook Smackdown

washingtonThe Dude has recently changed his line of thinking when pondering paper books v.s. eBooks. I must admit part of this realization comes from my frustration with eBook deliverers, odd pricing structures, and technologies that sometimes work less than flawlessly. At any rate, there is an awareness of preferring paper in most circumstances independent of these sorts of on and off again defects. Let’s talk about some of these reasons. Stephanie Castillo describes the different ways we read as individuals, broken down into two different categories: linear and non-linear. As Castillo notes (and you can predict), linear reading is “more thoughtful, deliberate, even meditative.” Meditative? Spectacular! All of us need a little more meditation in our lives and rarely have the time for it or put forth the effort.  Let’s think about it in the sense that paper reading might not replace your daily walks, bike rides, tai chi, or yoga sessions, but rather might supplement them. The notion that we can achieve meditative benefits from reading a book is refreshing, but not necessarily surprising. The digital age has fed this proliferation of non-linear reading. Arguably, non-linear reading is a product of what our culture has become, and overall it ain’t good. We live in short blips, never really taking time for genuine connection, either with ourselves or others. The effects of this often leave us feeling lonely, disconnected, stressed-out, rushed, and un-serene. How many times have we functioned in this way? I’m functioning this way right now when writing this blog post. It’s sad to admit but true. Having tab after tab open, writing one sentence, then moving to another tab (or monitor), then back. This lack of deep understanding in many of our lives is unfortunate, but there’s good news! It can be overcome. The bad news is that it isn’t mystical or magical. It takes work. It takes an effort to see others for who they are and to be vulnerable so they can see us. It takes effort to not only feel respect, humility, and commitment, but to demonstrate it. Recently, NPR’s Shankar Vedantam reported on a study that noted the benefits from talking to strangers while commuting on trains. Just talking to someone. The conclusion was that by overcoming initial fears, the result was that the social connection played an important role in improving our health and ultimately, increased happiness.

This brings me to my second point: Reading insecurity. Many of us have suffered from this, even though we might not have heard the term before. The notion of reading insecurity is aptly summed up by Katy Waldman, noting that a person “will tell you about how, when she was small, she could lose herself in a novel for hours, and now, all she can do is watch the tweets swim by like glittery fish in the river of time-she-will-never-get-back.” Sad, isn’t it? For the handful that have stayed with me this far, read that quote again. I recall as a youngster the nostalgic feeling she describes many times. One particular incident that sticks in my head was my first reading of Stephen King’s The Shining. I was so wrapped up in that book that I would read it late into the night, frequently looking over my shoulder because I experienced moments of sheer terror. As many of you can relate, the impact was that strong. Now, the Dude isn’t arguing that eBooks are all bad, but rather, that he has a newly acknowledged appreciation for paper. Thomas Moore summarizes this when he writes that paper books are “like pianos and oil paintings — superseded in some ways by new technologies, but not obliterated.” I think I’d agree with that assessment. In searching for a photo to correlate with this post, I found the photo above of Charles B. Washington and Nikki Giovanni examining a paper book. If you want more information about the photo, check it out on the Nebraska Memories page. Shaka.

Posted in Books & Reading, General, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nebraska Learns 2.0: Google Keep & Hieroglyph

The Nebraska Learns 2.0 Thing for December is Google Keep

With all of the holidays at this time of year, one thing that many people need is a way to take notes and make lists. While paper is reliable, it’s easy to forget and not all that easy to share unless all the involved parties are in the same room. So, in the spirit of not giving you too much extra to do at this time of the year, yet also showing you something that you might fine immediately useful, I present to you Google Keep.

Another facet of Nebraska Learns 2.0 is BookThing. Each month we pick a single title that we feel has relevance to librarianship and/or information theory. Some of the titles will be very obviously related; while others may not seem so on the surface but there is a connection. Your assignment will be to read the book and create a blog post answering some questions about the title.

The BookThing for December is Hieroglyph: Stories & Visions for a Better Future.

Nebraska LearnCarhengeCrop5s 2.0 is the Nebraska Library Commission’s ongoing online learning program. It is a self-discovery program which encourages participants to take control of their own learning and to utilize their lifelong learning skills through exploration and PLAY.

Each month, we offer you an opportunity to learn a new Thing (or lesson). You have all month to complete that Thing and receive one CE credit. You may choose which Things to do based on personal interest and time availability If the Thing of the month doesn’t interest you or if you are particularly busy that month, you can skip it.

If you are new to Nebraska Learns 2.0, your first assignment is to sign up to participate. This program is open to ALL Nebraska librarians, library staff, library friends, library board members and school media specialists.

We hope you’ll join your library colleagues in the fun as you learn about new and exciting technologies!

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Technology | Leave a comment

Recently on the NCompass Podcast

Podcast IconHave you listened to the NCompass Podcast lately? Here are the episodes from November 2014. To get all of the episodes delivered to you automatically be sure to subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

 

 

Episode 308: STEM Programs for All Ages

Episode 309: Cool Tools for You and Your Library

Episode 310: Books and Water Don’t Mix or How We Survived the Water Disaster

Episode 311: Tech Talk with Michael Sauers: Using the Arduino to Develop Coding Literacy in Libraries

 

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Technology | Leave a comment

What’s Sally Reading?

School Library Journal Announces Their Choices for the Best Books of 2014

School Library Journal has placed their current list on the Internet, take a look here and see what title or titles you may want to add to your library’s collection.  I just put one title on reserve at the library, El Deafo by Cece Bell.  Cannot wait to read it!  Hope you find something wonderful too!

Another title on my 2015 Summer Reading Program booklist is Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers.  After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

Posted in Books & Reading, General, Youth Services | Leave a comment

Overdrive for ChromeOS

Overdrive ChromeOS appIn several of our recent eReader workshops Susan and I have been asked about accessing and reading/listing to Overdrive content on laptops running ChromeOS, a.k.a. Chromebooks. Up until yesterday our recommendation was to use the OverDrive Read feature for ebook content, and a “sorry” for audiobook content. But yesterday that changed with the release of the OverDrive App for Chrome OS.

Borrow eBooks and audiobooks from your library using OverDrive. More than 30,000 libraries worldwide offer titles from OverDrive, so download the app and find your next book today!

  • Available 24/7, now the library comes to you.
  • No more late fees. Titles are automatically returned.
  • Place holds, create wish lists, and return titles easily.
    Sync libraries, bookmarks, and recent positions across mobile devices.
  • A valid account with a participating library, school, or other institution is required.
  • Each library builds its own collection of titles. Contact them directly to let them know that you’re using OverDrive and to share any suggestions for books you would like to see them carry.

Please note that this is not a Chrome app, but a ChromeOS app, and can not be installed in the Google Chrome browser.

Posted in Books & Reading, Technology | Leave a comment

Friday Reads: Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free by Cory Doctorow

Information doesn't want to be free by cory doctorowDoctorow’s First Law:
Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and won’t give you the key, that lock isn’t for your benefit.

Doctorow’s Second Law:
Fame won’t make you rich, but you can’t get paid without it.

Doctorow’s Third Law:
Information doesn’t want to be free, people do.

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age by Cory Doctorow. McSweeney’s, 2014.

Posted in Books & Reading | Leave a comment

Only Two More Days Until Health Insurance Open Enrollment: November 15th-February 15, 2015

health-insurance-marketplace-670x250

A one-page guide to the Health Insurance Marketplace

Here’s a quick rundown on the most important things to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace, sometimes known as the health insurance “exchange.” Follow the links for more information on each topic.

Important. 2014 Marketplace Open Enrollment ended March 31. You can still buy a Marketplace health plan only if you qualify for a special enrollment period. You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP any time. Find out if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or Medicaid and CHIP. Open Enrollment for 2015 coverage starts November 15, 2014.

The Health Insurance Marketplace helps uninsured people find health coverage. Fill out a Marketplace application and we’ll tell you if you qualify for:

Most people are eligible to use the Marketplace. Learn more about immigration status and eligibility.

Most people must have health coverage or pay a penalty. If you don’t have coverage in 2014, you’ll pay a fee of either 1% of your income, or $95 per adult ($47.50 per child), whichever is higher. You’ll pay the fee on your 2015 income taxes.

Some people qualify for an exemption from the fee, based on income or other factors.

You’re considered covered if you have Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, any job-based plan, any plan you bought yourself, COBRA, retiree coverage, TRICARE, VA health coverage, or some other kinds of health coverage.

You can also buy a plan outside the Marketplace and still be considered covered. If you buy outside the Marketplace, you won’t be eligible for premium tax credits or lower out-of-pocket costs based on your income.

If you’re eligible for job-based insurance, you can consider switching to a Marketplace plan. But you won’t qualify for lower costs based on your income unless the job-based insurance isn’t considered affordable or doesn’t meet minimum requirements.

If you have Medicare, you’re considered covered and don’t have to make any changes. If you have Medicare, you can’t use the Marketplace to buy a supplemental plan or dental plan.

Learn how to apply through the Marketplace—online, by phone, or with a paper application..

Start your application now.

Questions? Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, General, Information Resources, Library Management, Programming, Uncategorized, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Leave a comment

2015 One Book One Nebraska Book Selected

University of NE Press logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ATTENTION:
News, Books, Arts & Culture

CONTACT:
Rosemary Vestal
Publicity Manager
402-472-7710
rvestal2@unl.edu

Nebraska Native’s Vietnam memoir chosen for 2015 One Book One Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb.

(Nov. 10, 2014)— Nebraskans have new required reading material. The 2015 One Book One Nebraska selection is Death Zones and Darling Spies: Seven Years of Vietnam War Reporting (University of Nebraska Press, May 2013) by Beverly Deepe Keever, who was born and raised in Hebron, Neb.

Keever was the longest-serving American correspondent covering the Vietnam War and earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for reporting.

In Death Zones and Darling Spies, Keever describes what it was like for a farm girl from Nebraska to find herself halfway around the world, trying to make sense of one of the nation’s bloodiest and bitterest wars.

“Keever is an excellent storyteller. . . .

Death Zones & Darling Spies adds a woman’s view to the many retrospectives on the Vietnam War—a war covered and perpetrated mostly by men,” said Carolyn Johnsen in the Lincoln Journal Star.

Keever received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her doctorate from the University of Hawaii, where she is currently professor emerita.

“It was an honor to work with Bev Keever on Death Zones and Darling Spies, and I’m pleased this fine book will reach new audiences around the state,” said Bridget Barry, UNP acquisitions editor. “The University of Nebraska Press is proud of Bev and her accomplishments.”

The One Book One Nebraska program promotes a culture of reading and discussion in Nebraska by bringing the state together around one great book by a Nebraska author. This year marks ten years of the program. It is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission.

Death Zones & Darling Spies: Seven Years of Vietnam War Reporting by Beverly Deepe Keever was the committee’s choice based on Keever’s compelling prose and ability to analyze complex historical/political contexts to provide insight into America’s military and financial involvement in Vietnam,” said Rebecca Faber, chair of the One Book One Nebraska Selection Committee. “Her Nebraska background provided a tie to the response of Americans at home who were trying to comprehend a war like no other in which the United States had been involved.”

Get your copy of Death Zones and Darling Spies from the University of Nebraska Press or wherever books are sold.

For more information about UNP, visit nebraskapress.unl.edu. For more information about One Book One Nebraska, visit onebook.nebraska.gov.

About the University of Nebraska Press:

Founded in 1941, the University of Nebraska Press is a nonprofit scholarly and general interest press that publishes 170 new and reprint titles annually under the Nebraska, Bison Books, and Potomac Books imprints, and in partnership with the Jewish Publication Society, along with 30 journals. As the largest and most diversified university press between Chicago and California, with 3,000 books in print, the University of Nebraska Press is best known for publishing works in Native studies, history, sports, anthropology and geography, American studies and cultural criticism, and creative works. For more information, visit nebraskapress.unl.edu.

###

 

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Leave a comment

What’s Sally Reading?

The 2014 Teens’ Top Ten titles were announced!

Take a look at the results of voting by teens for the best titles of 2014.  Visit here for both the video of the announcement and, just below it, the list itself.  You can also click on a link to the list with descriptions.  Nebraskan Rainbow Rowell tops the list this year with Eleanor & Park so teens across the country chose it as their favorite book!

One of many titles on my 2015 Summer Reading Program booklist is How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers.  After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

Posted in Books & Reading, General, Youth Services | Leave a comment

New Government Publications Received at the Library Commission

NEState SealState government publications ranging from Administrative Services to Nebraska Press, received September and October, 2014.

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, General, Information Resources, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Leave a comment

Friday Reads: National Novel Writing Month

NationalNovelWritingMonthCrestIf we talk about books and reading books, at some point writing books is going to come up.   National Novel Writing Month is a challenge and a community and a place to support writing and reading.  If you or any of your library users have ever  thought about writing a novel, November is a great time to start.  And maybe we’ll be reading some of the novels by Nebraska authors that are posted on the site at the end of the month.

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged | Leave a comment

Recently on the NCompass Podcast

Have you listened to the NCompass Podcast lately? Here are the episodes from October 2014. To get all of the episodes delivered to you automatically be sure to subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

 

 

Episode 304: How to Lead a Book Group With No Discussion Questions Provided

Episode 305: Tech Talk with Michael Sauers: Windows 10 Technical Preview

Episode 306: Teen Theater Groups: Creating Communities of Empowered Teens

Episode 307: 2014 One Book One Nebraska: Once Upon a Town

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Technology | Leave a comment

Nebraska Learns 2.0: Digital Storytelling and No Place to Hide

The Nebraska Learns 2.0 Thing for November is Digital Storytelling

For this month’s Thing, we’re going to share our library stories with digital storytelling, a form of storytelling that uses computer based tools to create a story that is then shared online.

Another facet of Nebraska Learns 2.0 is BookThing. Each month we pick a single title that we feel has relevance to librarianship and/or information theory. Some of the titles will be very obviously related, while others may not seem so on the surface but there is a connection. Your assignment will be to read the book and create a blog post answering some questions about the title.

The BookThing for November is No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald.

Nebraska Learns 2.0 is the Nebraska Library Commission’s ongoing online learning CarhengeCrop5program. It is a self-discovery program which encourages participants to take control of their own learning and to utilize their lifelong learning skills through exploration and PLAY.

Each month, we offer you an opportunity to learn a new Thing (or lesson). You have all month to complete that Thing and receive one CE credit. You may choose which Things to do based on personal interest and time availability If the Thing of the month doesn’t interest you or if you are particularly busy that month, you can skip it.

If you are new to Nebraska Learns 2.0, your first assignment is to sign up to participate. This program is open to ALL Nebraska librarians, library staff, library friends, library board members and school media specialists.

We hope you’ll join your library colleagues in the fun as you learn about new and exciting technologies!

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Technology | 1 Comment