Category Archives: Books & Reading

Friday Reads: The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

allgirlfillingstationslastreunionI grew up knowing Fannie Flagg from the ‘70s game show Match Game. Knowing of my love for books and movies, my Southern Uncle took me to visit Juliette, Georgia the actual film location of Fried Green Tomatoes (based on the book of the same name by Fannie Flagg) where a Whistle Stop Café actually exists and operates.  I have thought of Fannie as a comedic personality but having read nearly all of her books, she has a knack for balancing humor with poignant story lines and creating very memorable, sometimes outrageous characters and plots.

Fannie weaves two stories from different families together in this novel. In the first chapter we are introduced to Mrs. Earle Pool Jr., better known to her friends and family as Sookie. Sookie is happily married with four children and a loving husband but unfortunately is burdened with an extraordinarily difficult, high-maintenance mother named Lenore, all living in Alabama in 2005. We are taken back to 1909 Pulaski, Wisconsin and the Jurdabralinsky family. The patriarch, Stanislaw Ludic Jurdabralinsky, emigrated from Poland and he struggles to make a new home for his wife and children by opening a Filling Station that operates with roller skating daughters during WWII. Meanwhile back in 2005, Sookie receives a mysterious registered letter from the Texas Board of Health that puts her identity and her mostly quiet life into a tailspin. The collision of the two stories makes for a delightful read, ending with a twist upon a twist.

The great takeaway of this book for me was learning about the daughters from the Jurdabralinsky family who served in World War II as Women Airforce Service Pilots – WASP for short.

“During the existence of the WASP— 38 women lost their lives while serving their country.  Their bodies were sent home in poorly crafted pine boxes.  Their burial was at the expense of their families or classmates. In fact, there were no gold stars allowed in their parents’ windows; and because they were not considered military, no American flags were allowed on their coffins.  In 1944, General Arnold made a personal request to Congress to militarize the WASP, and it was denied.  Then, on December 7, 1944, in a speech to the last graduating class of WASP, General Arnold said, “You and more than 900 of your sisters have shown you can fly wingtip to wingtip with your brothers. I salute you … We of the Army Air Force are proud of you. We will never forget our debt to you.” With victory in WWII almost certain, on December 20, 1944, the WASP were quietly and unceremoniously disbanded.  What is amazing is that there were no honors, no benefits, and very few “thank you’s”.  In fact, just as they had paid their own way to enter training, they had to pay their own way back home after their honorable service to the military.  The WASP military records were immediately sealed, stamped “classified” or “secret”, and filed away in Government archives, unavailable to the historians who wrote the history of WWII or the scholars who compiled the history text books used today, with many of the records not declassified until the 1980s.” taken from: http://www.birdaviationmuseum.com/WASPS.html

This year I read books by Gloria Steinem and Ruth Bader Ginsberg – both advocates for women’s rights; and while Fannie Flagg writes another kind of book, this title fit in nicely and was a great selection for my book club with many things to discuss. If you enjoy audio books, please consider listening to this book as Fannie Flagg is the narrator. I think you’ll enjoy her comic southern accent and stereotypical Wisconsin accent both of which made me laugh many times.

 

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Friday Reads: The Secret History of Wonder Woman

wonder-womanIn late October the United Nations celebrated Wonder Woman’s 75th birthday by making her an Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Woman and Girls.  You may be wondering how a character, known as much for her “pin-up girl” looks as her crime-fighting skills, achieved such an honor.  According to Jill Lepore, author of The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2015), Wonder Woman stands “at the very center of the histories of science, law, and politics.” Lepore argues that the man who conceived of Wonder Woman not only drew from the early-twentieth suffrage and feminist movements, but from his life and “the lives of the women he loved.”

Yep, that’s right.  Wonder Woman was created by a man.  Not just any man, but William Moulton Marston, the inventor of the lie detector test.  Marston was a man of many abilities. In addition to inventing components of the modern polygraph, he also worked as a lawyer, filmmaker and taught psychology prior to becoming a comic book writer. His experiments with lie detection and psychology, in conjunction with a belief in women’s superiority, heavily influenced Wonder Woman’s character.  While some of the more suggestive elements later vanished from the strip, Wonder Woman’s feminist message persists.

However, Lepore contends there was more to Marston than met the eye.  Unknown except to a few, Marston shared a home with two women: his legal wife and his mistress.  Marston married Elizabeth Holloway in 1916. Like Marston, Holloway also held degrees in psychology and the law.  Holloway gave birth to two of Marston’s children and worked as an editor and lecturer at American and New York Universities before becoming the assistant to the chief executive at Metropolitan Life Insurance. In the mid-nineteen twenties, Marston became involved with one of his psychology students, Olive Byrne, who also happened to be Margaret Sanger’s niece. Lepore suggests that Holloway allowed Byrne to become Marston’s mistress if Byrne raised Holloway and Marston’s children; permitting Holloway to continue with her career.  In time, Marston was the father of Byrne’s two children.  The entire family shared a home, with each woman fulfilling her designated role in Marston’s life.

Jill Lepore deftly weaves women’s history through Marston’s biography to create a well-rounded biography of Wonder Woman. A close reading of Wonder Woman comic books reveals many of Marston’s beliefs regarding free love, his complex family life (Wonder Woman’s bracelets are said to honor Byrne who wore a similar pair), patterns of deception and feminist and suffrage themes such as enslavement and bondage.  In fact, Lepore argues that “the philosophy of Margaret Sanger’s Woman and the New Race would turn out to be the philosophy of Wonder Woman.” Secret History demonstrates that Wonder Woman is more than skimpy attire and stunning looks, but a pillar of strength and equality – a woman worthy of the title Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Woman and Girls.

 

Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman. New York:  Vintage Books, 2015.

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

Nebraska-150-logoNew state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for October 2016.  Included are titles from the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, the Nebraska Department of Labor, and the Nebraska Real Estate Commission, to name a few.

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Black Elk Speaks Chosen as 2017 One Book One Nebraska

NCB logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 1, 2016

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

 

Black Elk Speaks Chosen as 2017 One Book One Nebraska

Wouldn’t it be great if people across Nebraska read an inspirational, redemptive story in 2017—and then talk about it with their friends and neighbors? That is exactly what will be happening throughout the state, with Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt (1881-1973) selected as the 2017 One Book One Nebraska. Black Elk Speaks, 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. Black Elk met the distinguished Nebraska poet, writer, and critic John G. Neihardt in 1930 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and he asked Neihardt to share his story with the world.

John G. Neihardt was named Nebraska’s first Poet Laureate in 1921 by the Nebraska legislature. He was the author of more than twenty-five volumes of poetry, fiction, and philosophy. He also co-owned and edited the Bancroft Blade newspaper in Bancroft, NE. Neihardt served as a professor of poetry at the University of Nebraska and a literary editor in St. Louis, MO. He was a poet-in-residence and lecturer at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. Neihardt was inducted posthumously into the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 1974. His house has been preserved as the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, also known as the Neihardt Center in Bancroft, NE. The house museum site includes a prayer garden, Neihardt’s study, and a library.

Black Elk Speaks, originally published in 1932, is available in several editions. The newest was published in 2014 by University of Nebraska Press. It features a new introduction by historian Philip J. Deloria and annotations of Black Elk’s story by renowned Lakota scholar Raymond J. DeMallie. Three essays by John G. Neihardt provide background on this landmark work along with pieces by Vine Deloria Jr., Raymond J. DeMallie, Alexis Petri, and Lori Utecht. Maps, original illustrations by Standing Bear, and a set of appendixes round out the edition.

Libraries across Nebraska will join the John G. Neihardt Foundation (http://neihardtcenter.org/foundation) and other literary and cultural organizations in planning book discussions, activities, and events that will encourage Nebraskans to read and discuss this book. Support materials to assist with local reading/discussion activities will be available after January 1, 2017 at http://onebook.nebraska.gov. Updates and activity listings will be posted on the One Book One Nebraska Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/onebookonenebraska.

The One Book One Nebraska reading program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, is entering its thirteenth year. It encourages Nebraskans across the state to read and discuss one book, chosen from books written by Nebraska authors or that have a Nebraska theme or setting. Black Elk Speaks was announced as the 2017 selection at the Celebration of Nebraska Books on October 29 in Lincoln.

One Book One Nebraska is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission. The Nebraska Center for the Book 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 housed at and 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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Friday Reads: Manhood for Amateurs, by Michael Chabon

manhoodforamateursMichael Chabon is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. He’s been on my radar for years, but I only recently sought out his work after running across a GQ article he wrote about attending Paris Fashion Week with his 13-year-old son. Because his account of the trip—a bar mitzvah present for his fashion-loving son, Abe—was so loving and insightful, I gravitated immediately to Chabon’s collection of personal essays, Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father and Son, rather than his fiction.

In Manhood for Amateurs, as the subtitle suggests, Chabon writes about the relationships he’s experienced and the roles he’s played as a boy and a man—son, brother, husband, son-in-law, father.  The essays that resonate most with me are those in which he contemplates fatherhood, a role he clearly cherishes. I think I find them so touching because they echo back to me experiences and feelings I’ve had as a parent.

In “William and I” he laments how little it takes to be considered a good father today (still apparently not much more than taking your 20-month-old grocery shopping with you), compared to what it takes to be considered a good mother (“[p]erhaps performing an emergency tracheotomy with a bic pen on her eldest child while simultaneously nursing her infant and buying two weeks’ worth of healthy but appealing break-time snacks for the entire cast of Lion King, Jr.”). He clearly expects more from himself and expresses reverence at the intimacy you develop with your children as a result of the mundane, day-to-day tedium of raising them, especially through “your contact with their bodies, with their shit and piss, sweat and vomit, . . . with their hair against your lips as you kiss the tops of their heads, with the bones of their shoulders and with the horror of their breath in the morning as they pursue the ancient art of forgetting to brush.”

I think what I appreciate most about Chabon’s essays is their honesty, which is both humorous and poignant. In “The Memory Hole,” Chabon begins with an admission that he and his wife regularly throw away a large percentage of the flood of artwork his four children bring home from school. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to hear another parent admit to this. However, what begins as a self-deprecating account of how they try to manage the influx (“We don’t toss all of it. We keep the good stuff—or what strikes us, in the Zen of that instant between scraping out the lunch box and sorting the mail, as good.”), skillfully transitions into a meditation on how quickly childhood passes, how many moments we squander, and how few clear memories we carry forward with us into the future.

In “The Losers’ Club,” the introductory essay in Manhood, Chabon writes about his failed attempt, as a lonely boy in suburban Maryland, to convene a fellowship of likeminded individuals by founding the Columbia Comic Book Club. (No one attends the inaugural meeting, which results in it also being the final meeting.) It feels like a vindication, therefore, when in “The Amateur Family,” one of the last essays in the book, he describes himself as “the geek matrix of four bright geek spawn.” While this essay revolves around the family’s collective love of the Doctor Who television show, what it really celebrates is the fellowship Chabon shares with his children, and that they share with each other: “In the hands, minds, and geekish chatter of my children, I have found again that long-lost, long-desired connection. Each of us stands ready, at any moment, to talk Who, to riff and spin and sketch out new contours for the world we collectively inhabit, creating and endlessly re-creating the fandom that is our family.”

What I love most about “The Amateur Family” is Chabon’s understanding of the innate human drive to connect with others in “a shared universe of enthusiasm”; the fact that he ultimately finds this connection within his own family just makes the account that much more wonderful. Not surprisingly, his respect for and recognition of this impulse also featured prominently in the GQ article on taking his son to Fashion Week—which is what turned me on to this book of essays in the first place. In the GQ article, it’s Chabon’s appreciation of his son’s need to connect with people who share his love of fashion, an interest that Chabon doesn’t share, that I found so moving. He obviously respected his son’s obsession before the trip, or he wouldn’t have taken him on it; but by the end of the trip he gets it—and his son—in a whole new way.

If you like reading meditations on parenthood, I’d definitely recommend this collection of essays. And if you don’t have time to read whole book, at least check out the GQ article!

Chabon, Michael. Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.

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Friday Reads: Books: a Memoir, by Larry McMurtry

booksI’ve been a Larry McMurtry fan since reading Lonesome Dove (1986 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Fiction), the only book I recall reading twice. Most likely, I’ll read it again someday. Since then I’ve read many of McMurtry’s books: The Last Picture Show, Comanche Moon, Dead Man’s Walk, Streets of Laredo, and more. Well known as a prolific novelist, McMurtry also has credits as an Academy Award winning screenwriter (Terms of Endearment, Brokeback Mountain and The Last Picture Show to name some), and has added nonfiction writings including Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen – a wonderful autobiographical reflection on many things – and particularly those things from his home state Texas.

McMurtry self describes as a reader, writer, and bookseller. Add teacher, book scout, dealer, business owner to those descriptors. It is his passion for books, book scouting, and book dealing that many might not know of and that is the subject of Books: A Memoir. In Books, McMurtry reflects on his life-long affinity to all things books. The reader will discover that McMurtry knows books, really knows books – all kinds of books.

It’s curious that McMurtry tells of growing up in a house without books and musing that it is perhaps his discovery of books that led to his lifelong passion for them. The absence of books in his home ended when a relative gave him a box of nineteen books, a small batch that the young McMurtry read and re-read many times. When his family moved from their Texas ranch home to Archer City he had opportunities to explore many other books, including those in the local public library.

McMurtry’s book scouting, buying and selling happened in many places, emphasis on many. And those pursuits resulted in acquaintanceships with many book stores and book dealers – a good number colorfully described in Books. I took special notice when he mentions searching, in San Francisco, for a Weldon Kees’ book, and for Wright Morris’s The Home Place.

McMurtry estimates he’s handled over a million books during his lifetime. His own collection, at the time his book was published, numbered nearly 30,000, including a few thousand reference titles.

For over 30 years McMurtry co-owned, with long-time partner Marcia Carter, the legendary Booked Up book store in Georgetown (Washington DC). Booked Up was moved in the mid ‘90s to McMurtry’s Texas hometown in Archer City, eventually growing to several stores housing some 450,000 books (a true book town somewhat on the order of the notable Welsh village of Hay-on-Wye). Sadly, several years ago, McMurtry sold many of the books in these stores – described by McMurtry as “The Last Book Sale.” Fortunately, it wasn’t and he kept Booked Up No. 1, the original store.

For those who love books and fine writing, McMurtry’s Books will be an enjoyable read. And for those who enjoy book stores there is a great adventure ahead in traveling to Archer City, Texas, to visit McMurtry’s remaining store.

McMurtry, Larry. Books: A Memoir. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008. Print.

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NCompass Live: Organizing a Successful Comic/Maker Con at Your Library

NCompass live small

Join us for next week’s NCompass Live, “Organizing a Successful Comic/Maker Con at Your Library”, on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

pinellaslComic Cons are organized conventions for fans of comic books, anime, manga, science fiction, cosplay, and more. Maker Cons showcase the maker movement to include 3D printers, robotics, virtual reality, drones, and other emerging technologies that creative people use as tools to innovate. The first annual Mid-Pinellas Comic and Maker Con was organized in less than 6 weeks and with very little money. This event had 3,500 people attend, which was second only to a visit to the St. Petersburg College Seminole campus by President Barack Obama in September 2012! The second year, even with a name change to Pinellas Comic and Maker Con, attendance went up to over 4,000 participants! And, the third year over 5,000! Learn the ins-and-outs including legal, sponsorship, security issues, and much more of organizing a Comic and Maker Con to help highlight your library’s unique collections/services and to have a lot of fun doing it!

Presenter: Chad Mairn is a librarian, teacher, author, and self-described geek who frequently shares his enthusiasm for ‘all-things technology’ as a speaker at library and technology conferences. He is an Information Services Librarian, Assistant Professor, and manages the Innovation Lab at St. Petersburg College (FL).

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Oct. 19 – NO NCOMPASS LIVE THIS WEEK – Enjoy the 2016 NLA/NSLA Annual Conference!
  • Oct. 26 – Organizing a Successful Comic/Maker Con at Your Library
  • Nov. 2 – 2017 Nebraska Library Internship Grant Program

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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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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Free Government e-Resources for Youth

free-government-e-resources-for-youthWe have a new book in our collection here at the Nebraska Library Commission:  Free Government e-Resources for Youth, by Dorothy Ormes.  146 p. Z688.G6 O76 2016

Specifically focusing on federal government resources available online, this book supports the education of young citizens and points to ideas for conducting programs for youth about the government.

Government documents offer a wealth of useful information that is often ignored or misinterpreted—even by librarians. And while improved search engines have improved access to online documents in recent years, patrons—especially young people—typically need help navigating and understanding the sites. Free Government e-Resources for Youth helps librarians promote online government information to youth and to assist youth in using it to become informed and educated about our federal government and how it works.

Author Dorothy Ormes—a Federal Depository Library Program librarian at Southern Oregon University—has created a guide to government resources that public and school librarians can use to support the education of young citizens. The book covers various areas of K–12 curriculum, highlighting activities and lesson plans based on national and state standards, and gives helpful directions for creating displays and conducting programs for youth on the government. The book also provides a brief explanation of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and describes how a public library can work with FDLP librarians or take advantage of an unprecedented opportunity to join the FDLP as active participants and benefit the community.

Features:

  • Introduces librarians to a vast range of no-cost resources that can be added to their list of youth services, including reference, programming, and displays
  • Helps librarians educate young people about their government and how it works
  • Supports teachers and homeschoolers in K–12 education with a breadth of government resources available on a variety of subjects that are linked to national standards

If you would like to check out  or reserve this book from our collection, please send us an email!

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Friday Reads: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein is a remarkably modern book that’s just shy of its bicentennial birthday. Often called the first science fiction novel, it’s a parable for how mastering technology (and the pursuit of knowledge and success that comes along with that) can ruin us if we don’t keep our goals in perspective. Mary Shelley manages to warn us to remember to keep things in balance—without ever coming across as anti-modern or anti-technology. (And she wrote this when she was a teenager—there’s your real Halloween scare.)

Sure, you may have been required to read Frankenstein in high school. You’ll get a lot more out of it when you read it as an adult, trust me. First of all, the structure of the narrative is totally bonkers—it should not work, but it does. I can tell you this without giving away any spoilers: One character is telling his story and another character’s story (and that second character is telling the story of some other characters) and it’s all wrapped up in the narration of yet another character, who is in the middle of writing letters about the whole story he’s hearing—along with his own story. It’s a nesting doll structure that any writer would be wary to imitate. The heavily mediated structure helps illustrate the isolation being experienced by most of the main characters, and at the same time, lends the story an authenticity—a feeling that this may really have happened.

Reading Frankenstein as an adult also allows the reader a lot more insight into what motivates the characters… as well as some skepticism about whether they’re really coming clean with each other. You’ll enjoy giving it a second (or a first) chance.

Frankenstein is available to you in many editions and from many avenues. (Here at the Nebraska Library Commission we even have it as one of our book club kits.) Two common editions are from 1818 and 1831—I’d recommend the 1818 edition myself. Because of the age of the text, it’s available in the public domain, and the Internet Archive has a few editions to choose from. You can also listen to a free audiobook from Librivox here and here, and those are only a couple of the audio versions they have available.

Happy Halloween… and remember, don’t go out there and create your own worst nightmare!

Shelley, Mary W, and Marilyn Butler. Frankenstein, Or, the Modern Prometheus: The 1818 Text. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

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Celebrate National Book Club Month by sharing your book club collection!

October is National Reading Group Month so I am inviting you to mark the occasion by sharing your book club kits on our Book Club Wiki. Nebraska Book Clubs are very active and eagerly work to locate multiple copies of their selections each month.  For the libraries that chose to share, this requires paying postage or arranging delivery of the books when they are requested. If you have a book club collection and would be willing to share with others in the state we can provide the password to you and we’ve included instructions on the book club wiki page to assist you . If you would prefer, we can list your books for you! If you are ready to get rid of any books club selections, we’d be happy to add them to our collection. We are grateful for the libraries that share their book club kits and have gifted extra copies to us; you have helped to grow our collection to well over 1,100 titles for all levels of readers. If you are interested and would like to request the password, please contact us at 800/307-2665 or nlc.ask@nebraska.gov

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Friday Reads: Altamont

altamont-coverIt would be a gross understatement to say that Joel Selvin’s Altamont provides a mere description of the events leading up to and during the Altamont music festival (December 6, 1969). The San Francisco music critic provides much deeper coverage, including the overall music culture at the time, the Woodstock festival, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, and the lives of musicians and managers that were involved in these and other music events in the late 1960’s. And the other major player at Altamont, the Hells Angels.

The organizers of the Altamont festival, which was plugged as “Woodstock West”, unfortunately learned very few of the lessons that came from Woodstock. Altamont was largely a project put together by the Rolling Stones and other assorted handlers that included the Grateful Dead, and was in the end a semi-functional disaster. The Rolling Stones hadn’t toured since 1966, partly due to travel restrictions because of drug charges, and were in a financial crisis so to speak. So in November of 1969 the Stones began touring the U.S., playing large sold-out arenas with ticket prices outside of the norm (and also subsequently skipping from town to town without paying their hotel and travel bills). Altamont was supposed to be the answer to media and fan criticism of the Stones’ high ticket prices, but there were a few other factors at play in their decision to engage in a large scale concert. For one, the Stones weren’t at Woodstock, so there was perhaps an effort for something similar to make their mark (think grand scale). Secondly, the concert, although free to those attending, was always about the money. Perhaps not for a band like the Grateful Dead, but definitely for the Stones. For instance, Selvin describes one of the contributors to the chaos of the event being the multiple changes of venue. At one point, the Sears Point Raceway (now Sonoma Raceway) was selected and theoretically would have been a much better choice for the event than Altamont (after the organizers failed to obtain a permit to hold the event at Golden Gate Park). However, the Sears Point owners requested cash up front and film distribution rights, and the Stones weren’t willing to give that up. In the long run, it would have been well worth it.

In addition to the Stones, the lineup for the Altamont concert included Santana, Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and the Grateful Dead (although due to increased violence throughout the day of the event, the Dead decided not to play). With the last minute change in venue, one of the problems with the event was the fact that the stage could not be properly erected (and therefore lacked a natural barrier between the musicians and the mixture of LSD, amphetamines, and cheap wine that laced the crowd). The stage stood less than four feet high (compared with 15 feet at Woodstock). Added to the logistical difficulties were huge amount of traffic, inadequate roads, and the lack of other essentials such as food, water, and facilities (yes, those kinds of facilities). Finally (and perhaps most importantly), due to a distrust of the cops, at the suggestion of Jefferson Airplane, the Stones hired no security for the event other than paying the Hells Angels $500 worth of beer (on a truck with ice) in exchange for the Angels agreement to hang out in front and keep the spectators off the stage. And as we all know, the Hells Angels ain’t no cops (especially when they are spending the entire day and night drinking free ice cold beer). The scene at Altamont reeked of trouble from the start, as Selvin offers this depiction of Santana (the first band of the day) beginning to play:

“Santana drummer Michael Shrieve sensed the fog of evil as soon as he settled behind his kit and looked around. The stage felt claustrophobic and the audience packed up against it as tightly as they could. He saw one particularly menacing Hells Angel called Animal, who was wearing a coyote skin as a headdress—the flattened, dried-out head of the long-dead animal hanging grotesquely over his forehead. Something felt wrong from the start. … The Angels waded into the crowd flailing pool cues another half dozen times during the band’s forth-five-minute set, chasing down a hippie photographer who refused to give up his film, smacking around some freaked-out kid trying to escape by climbing onto the stage.”

All said and done, the casualties at Altamont included four deaths, numerous beatings at the hands of the Angels, and general bad vibes. Selvin paints an intriguing and engaging portrait of the events leading up to and during Altamont, as well as the major players. If you have any interest in the historical events of the late 1960’s, the Rolling Stones, or the rock musicians from San Francisco scene during that time, this is an easy and interesting read.

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Free Webinar! Teen Programming: A Mover & Shaker’s Recipe for Impact and Success

WebJunction LogoWhen “Change Agent” Courtney Saldana was featured as a 2016 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, we were treated to a sampling of her outstanding work with teens, and knew that all libraries could benefit from hearing more. Learn about her teen programming basics along with practical and actionable steps for doing a teen needs assessment, creating a teen space and hosting a teen book fest. Courtney will also introduce us to Skills for Teen Parenting (STeP), a program connecting teens with what they need to succeed as adults and parents: how to interview successfully, dress professionally, deal with conflict and time management, care for their child, postpone or prevent a second pregnancy, and more. Expanding from local success to state-wide implementation, the STeP program embodies a wonderful example of the replicable innovation brought to the field by Movers & Shakers.

This webinar is part of a series highlighting the work of recent LJ Movers & Shakers and is hosted in collaboration with Library Journal.

Presented by: Courtney Saldana, Youth Services Supervising Librarian, Ontario City Library (CA)

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

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

Nebraska-150-logoNew state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for September 2016.  Included are titles from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, the Nebraska Department of Roads, and the Nebraska Supreme Court, to name a few.

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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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Friday Reads: “Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life,” by Tom Robbins

In Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, Tom Robbins assures us that we are not getting his autobiography or his memoir. What we are getting is a delightful collection of stories, vignettes, memories, and strange—but charming—non-sequiturs from a writer that can just flat-out write. If you grew up in the sixties, you know Tom Robbins from the irreverent, witty, wacky, bestselling novels that he wrote and that readers (me included) devoured the week they were released. With Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume, Skinny Legs and All, Still Life with Woodpecker (to list a few), Robbins showed a whole generation of counterculture youth the power of words when the writer has the skill to mix sharp wit with dramatic tales.

The stories in Tibetan Peach Pie are presented more or less chronologically, starting from accounts of Robbins’ exploits as a little tyke (nicknamed Tommy Rotten by his mom) in rural Appalachia during the Depression, and moving through a series of careers and numerous marriages that took him on a journey from U.S. Air Force recruit to beatnik, to hippie, to world traveler—all the time observing and writing about his observations. Especially entertaining for me was the section on his stint in Omaha while working for Strategic Air Command and discovering the art scene at the Joselyn Museum and the jazz scene at the Red Lion Inn.

If you read his novels, knowing more about his life at the time the books were written is a bonus. If you’ve not read his novels, just enjoy the ride.

#FridayREADS Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life by Tom Robbins ( Ecco Reprint Edition, 2015)

 

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What’s Sally Reading?

Some Favorite Web Sites Shared at the Youth Services Retreat at Camp Carol Joy Holling.

One of the things participants could bring to the retreat in August, if they chose, was a handout of some web sites they found useful.  I was one of a number of people who shared favorite sites and it seems reasonable to share them again here with all of you.  These have all been mentioned here before so I have included the date of the original posting.

Pronunciation:  I would like to mention the place to go to learn how to pronounce an author’s name.  The website (today) notes it has 2,207 author names included. (from 6/4/10)

New Teen Books Coming Out:  Two individuals, librarian Keri Adams and web designer Stefan Hayden, created a convenient way to keep track of upcoming book releases of young adult novels.  They also decided to share it with everyone!  You can go to their web page and find out what’s coming!  The “Upcoming” page lists titles for the current month.  Click “more” at the bottom to go on to the next month(s).  (from 5/14/10)

Refresher for Series Reading:  The Recaptains website reminds you what happened in a book to get you ready to read the next book in a series. It also contains Goodreads summaries and with a click on “read more” you can access more detailed information.  It also includes an “In Short” paragraph, a “What Went Down” bulleted list of actions that occurred in the book, and “How Did It End.”  In 2015 I read through the information on The Diviners by Libba Bray since I planned to read the sequel Lair of Dreams that weekend.  It did a great job of reminding me who the characters are and what events happened in the first book.  It doesn’t cover everything, I just searched for Terry Pratchett and he is not on their author list, still I’m going to be using this site often.  (from 8/25/15)

Spoilers for Award-Winning Books:    One of the founders of the page noted in an email to YALSA-BK that she learned last fall that just in the YA genre alone, 5,000 books are published each year, and no one can read them all before the next year’s titles begin to pile up.  So here is the solution, visit “Spoilers, Sweetie!” a new blog that spills the beans on award-winning titles for children and teens that you may not have time to read.   (from 8/24/16)

I hope you find some of these sites helpful to you.  And if you attended the Youth Services Retreat, I hope you do not mind that I have given the same information here.

winick002HiLo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick is a full-color graphic novel and Book #1 in the HiLo (pronounced High-Low) series.  D.J. Lim believes he is only good at one thing, being friends with his next-door neighbor, Gina.  Then she moved away.  Three years later, (he is now 10) D. J. sees HiLo fall to earth and befriends him.  HiLo has problems with his memory so D.J. helps him with things like he needs to wear more than his silver underwear.  And now, Gina has moved back!  Soon the three of them are fighting monsters from outer space and it turns out HiLo is a robot.  Friendship and saving the world!   Plenty of action, heroism and humor great for grades 2-5.  Oh, and a cliff-hanger ending!

(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.)

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Friday Reads: Ghost by Jason Reynolds

reynolds010Castle Crenshaw, who tells everyone “call me Ghost,” is in 7th grade.  He has been fast ever since he and his mom ran away from his father who was threatening them with a gun. Ghost is often on the edge of trouble, but really doesn’t want any, and doesn’t want to upset his mom. One day he watches a track team practicing, and stands up and races the runner he thinks is too smug. Coach offers him a chance to tryout and be on the team, but he has to keep up his schoolwork and stay out of trouble. He tries, but it is hard for him. Coach knows where Ghost is coming from and has been coaching for years to help kids stay out of trouble.

Ghost is an appealing character and readers will understand why he gets into trouble and how he sometimes reacts the wrong way. Coach is understanding, but also tough and Ghost knows he is serious about his conditions to stay on the team.

This title is Book 1 in a proposed four book series titled “Track” and I am looking forward to the next book.

Reynolds, Jason. Ghost. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016.

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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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NCompass Live: One Book For Nebraska Kids & One Book For Nebraska Teens, with ‘Stick Dog’ author Tom Watson!

NCompass live small

Join us for next week’s NCompass Live, “One Book For Nebraska Kids & One Book For Nebraska Teens, with Stick Dog author Tom Watson!”, on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

stickdog-stickdog_1Wouldn’t it be great if kids all over Nebraska were talking about books? The Nebraska Library Commission & the Regional Library Systems have a program where kids can all girlwhowassupposedtodieread and discuss the same book. Join Sally Snyder, the NLC’s Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, to learn all about the 2016 program: One Book For Nebraska Kids, Stick Dog by Tom Watson, and One Book For Nebraska Teens, The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry.

Sally will also be joined by Stick Dog author, Tom Watson!

 

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Sept. 28 – Pokemon GO @ Your Library
  • Oct. 12 – Circulating the Internet: How to Loan WiFi Hotspots
  • Oct. 19 – NO NCOMPASS LIVE THIS WEEK – ENJOY NLA/NSLA!
  • Oct. 26 – Library ComicCon

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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