Category Archives: Books & Reading

Recently on the NCompass Podcast

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

 

 

Episode 296: #SVYALit Project: Using Young Adult Literature to Talk with Teens About Sexual Violence and Consent

Episode 297: Harlequin Take Me Away: the NLC Booktalks Romance

Episode 298: What You Need to Know to Apply for a Youth Grant

Episode 299: Tech Talk with Michael Sauers: RFID, Checkout Kiosks, Security Gates, and … a New Way to Check Out

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Nebraska Learns 2.0: PowToons and We Are Anonymous

The Nebraska Learns 2.0 Thing for September is Create Animated Videos with PowToon

For this month’s Thing, we will learn how to use PowToon to create an online animated movie or presentation to promote your library and its services.

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 September is We are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson.

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!

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Friday Reads: Stubby the War Dog

Stubby the War DogI have been reading books for preschool through high school ages preparing for next year’s summer reading program “Every Hero Has a Story.”  Among my favorites so far is a nonfiction title: Stubby the War Dog by Ann Bausum, written for grades 4-7.   Stubby was a stray who connected with J. Robert Conroy, an enlisted man among many who were training on Yale’s athletic grounds in 1917.  When the time came to ship out, Stubby was smuggled on board and soon was considered by all to be a part of the unit.

He brought companionship and relieved tedium, but also helped his fellow soldiers by killing rats in the trenches, warning them of imminent gas attacks, and even captured a German soldier on his own.

Period photographs of Stubby and of the countryside at that time help to bring his story to life.  And just so you know, Stubby made it back home, and so did his best buddy Conroy.

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Team to lead NEH-funded project to digitize Cather letters

“Willa Cather ca. 1912 wearing necklace from Sarah Orne Jewett” by Photographer: Aime Dupont Studio, New York – Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Last year, the private musings of Willa Cather were made available to the masses for the first time in a book co-edited by UNL’s Andrew Jewell.

About 550 of the famous author’s letters were published in “The Selected Letters of Willa Cather.” Scholars and fans greeted the book with excitement, but the volume contained only a fraction of the more than 3,000 pieces of correspondence that Jewell and co-editor Janis Stout had uncovered from various archives and collections around the world.

Thanks to a three-year, $271,980 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, many more will be digitized and put online by the end of the decade.

A new digital scholarly edition titled “The Complete Letters of Willa Cather” will be published online as part of the Willa Cather Archive, a venture of UNL’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. The digital edition of Cather letters is expected to launch in January 2018, when the letters are scheduled to enter the public domain.

Read the full article @ UNL Today.

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Friday Reads: Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo

johhnygothisgunAt the risk of appearing like military-themed books are the only books that Nebraska Library Commission staff read during the summer, I’ve chosen a book that epitomizes this 100th anniversary of the start of World War I—for me. We always talk about books that change our lives and we know that different books can have a huge impact on our lives, sometimes depending on our life-stage and the environment. This is a book that stopped me in my tracks, and continues to this day to influence my ethical perspective and world view.

Written in 1938 by Dalton Trumbo, I came across Johnny Got His Gun as a student in a UNL English Literature class in the winter of 1970. It was among dozens of books we were assigned to read, but it is the only one I remember. This book sparked some of the liveliest discussions of my educational career, outside of discussing our original poetry in Ted Kooser’s Poetry Writing class—nothing gets the conversation heated up more than criticizing a classmate’s heartfelt, original works of poetry.

The book begins as a stream-of-consciousness, first-person narration by a severely wounded American soldier, Joe Bonham. Joe slowly comes to realize the extent of his injuries, as the reader gets to know Joe through his richly detailed memories of life before and during the war. The reader shares Joe’s growing horror as he begins to comprehend the loss of his senses one-by-one, interspersed with memories of how those senses gave him a rich full life and made him the man he was: touching, hearing, tasting, seeing, smelling (“There was a smell about the fair grounds you never forgot. A smell you never ceased dreaming of. He would always smell it somewhere back in his mind as long as he lived.”). Joe’s mind is still sharp as he struggles with existential issues: Is he awake or asleep? Is he dreaming or day-dreaming? Can he think his way out of this mess his life has become? What is the “future” for him?

The reader comes to realize the brutal horrors of war as they impact a very real person. Besides being a skillfully crafted story, the characters are so engaging and the depiction of time and place so perfect that reading this book really is like watching a movie. And no matter how badly I wanted to turn my eyes away, it was impossible to stop reading because Joe’s personality and predicament just got under my skin.

“And we won’t be back ‘till it’s over, over there,” went the words to a popular song used to recruit so many young people. But the reality is—it’s never over, over there—or over here. If the past one hundred years haven’t proved that, I don’t know what will. This war was romanticized beyond belief. The propaganda posters that drew so many to their death illustrate that target marketing was used to convince young people that their way of life depended on their participation in this “war to end all wars.” It’s a real education to take a look at examples of WW I posters at www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/wwipos/ and then contrast them to those of the Vietnam War era at http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/08/protest-posters-from-the-vietnam-era/243029/#slide2. wwIposter

For many of us in that English class in 1970, the comparison of the Vietnam War to WWI seemed inevitable. As we discussed this book we railed against the war that was killing our friends and former classmates—sitting in our comfortable seats in Andrews Hall, smoking cigarettes, and arguing about making the world safe for democracy. Even though the reality is that these two wars were very different—WWI was the war that introduced us to modern, efficient killing machines and chemicals—there were enough similarities to feed the dissidence that was already growing. Even the author Dalton Trumbo agrees that not all wars should be lumped together when he says, “World War II was not a romantic war… Johnny was exactly the sort of book that shouldn’t be reprinted until the war (WW II) was at an end…Johnny held a different meaning for three different wars. Its present meaning is what each reader conceives it to be, and each reader is gloriously different from every other reader, and each is also changing.”

In May 1970, the semester ended prematurely for many of us that took part in the nationwide student strike. We left the classrooms for informal seminars and teach-ins on the floor in the student union. My grade for that English class was “Incomplete,” but I learned more in that class than I did in most other ones—and this book was a big part of my education.

“Woodstock,” by Joni Mitchell

… And I dreamed I saw the bombers

Riding shotgun in the sky

And they were turning into butterflies

Above our nation

 

 

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First Nebraska-Produced Talking Book Now Downloadable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 19, 2014

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

When the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service (TBBS) recorded I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice, it enabled Nebraskans with a print-related disability to participate in the 2012 One Book One Nebraska statewide reading program. Now Nebraska’s recording is available for direct download to any qualifying U.S. resident through the Library of Congress’ Braille and Audio Reading Download service (BARD).

Written by Nebraska author Joe Starita and narrated by Alice Timm, this book is the first Nebraska Library Commission studio production to be offered through BARD online downloading. The book chronicles what happened when Chief Standing Bear undertook a 600-mile trek to return the body of his only son to their ancestral burial ground.

In recognition of Nebraska’s efforts, Library of Congress National Library Service Director Karen Keninger offered her congratulations, “Thank you for participating in the network-produced audiobooks on BARD pilot. I am pleased to inform you that your book . . . is now available on BARD. The posting of your book to BARD marks an important milestone in our efforts to increase the quantity of materials available on BARD.”

Launched in 2009 by the Library of Congress, BARD allows qualifying U.S. residents to download encrypted files of audio books and magazines, Braille, and music instruction materials. Materials can be accessed through home computers or through a mobile app for use with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch device. Currently 354 Nebraskans participate in BARD—9% of TBBS borrowers—many more could be eligible (see application instructions at https://nlsbard.loc.gov/NLS/ApplicationInstructions.html). For more information see https://nlsbard.loc.gov/login/NE1A or contact nlc.talkingbook@nebraska.gov, 402-471-4038, 800-742-7691.

As Nebraska’s state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services-“bringing together people and information.”

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

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2014 Hugo Award Winners Announced

EquoidAncillary JusticeBest Novel
Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie (Orbit US / Orbit UK)

Best Novella
“Equoid” by Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)

Best Novelette
“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com/Tor.com, 09-2013)

The Water That Falls on You from NowhereThe Lady Astronaut of MarsBest Short Story
“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)

Best Related Work
“We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)

Best Graphic Story
“Time” by Randall Munroe (xkcd)

lightspeed_49_june_2014 We Have Always Fought Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves NarrativeBest Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Gravity written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films;Warner Bros.)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
Game of Thrones “The Rains of Castamere” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)

Game of ThronesGravityBest Editor, Short Form
Ellen Datlow

Best Editor, Long Form
Ginjer Buchanan

Best Professional Artist
Julie Dillon

Best Semiprozine
Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton,
and Stefan Rudnicki

Best Fanzine
A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher

Best Fancast
SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester

Best Fan Writer
Kameron Hurley

Best Fan Artist
Sarah Webb

Full details including nominees and vote totals can be found on the Hugo Awards site.

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Friday Reads: Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon, by Steve Sheinkin

book cover imageAt the end of summer, my 12-year-old son and I road tripped to South Texas to visit friends. This involved a two-day drive down and a two-day drive back. To me, road trips mean audiobooks. Although my son is the stereotypical boy who doesn’t read, he has enjoyed audiobooks in the past; therefore I came prepared with three young adult possibilities, checked out from OverDrive and downloaded to my Kindle Fire: a dystopian thriller, a baseball mystery, and a nonfiction history book.

Listening to an audiobook held no appeal for him on the way down to Texas, but on the way back, the novelty of road tripping having completely worn off, he gave in to my suggestion that he select a title for us to listen to. Scanning the three I’d downloaded, it was really no contest: he immediately picked the nonfiction history book, Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon, by Steve Sheinkin.

This is a great example of a nonfiction title that reads like fiction, and my son was rapt throughout the seven hour narration. The story jumps back and forth between Soviet agents recruiting young, initially unemployed U.S. chemist Harry Gold as a spy, Robert Oppenheimer’s efforts to assemble a team of scientists to build an atomic bomb at Los Alamos, and Norwegian resistance fighters’ intricate and ultimately successful plan to sabotage a heavy water plant in Norway in order to disrupt Nazi development of nuclear weapons.

The plot involving the Norwegian commandos was like something out of a James Bond or Mission Impossible movie, and my son sat bolt upright in his seat, the Kindle held to his ear so he wouldn’t miss a word. At one point he exclaimed “I could listen to this book forever!” Talk about music to a librarian mother’s ears! And when the team succeeded in infiltrating and blowing up the plant, he reacted with a fist pump and a “Yes!”

Learning about the espionage networks at work at the time was also fascinating. One of my favorite scenes involved two spies meeting up. Their handlers had given each spy half a Jell-O box cover. At first contact each man produced his half of the Jell-O box cover; when placed next to one another they matched up perfectly, letting each spy know that the other was legitimate.

Upon returning home I looked up author Steve Sheinkin and discovered that he’s penned additional nonfiction history books for young adults. And what do you know! My son had previously read and enjoyed two of them: The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery and King George: What Was His Problem?: The Whole Hilarious Story of the American Revolution. Given his 100% satisfaction rating to date, Steve Sheinkin is definitely an author who’ll stay on my radar as I continue to search for the right books for my particular reluctant reader!

Sheinkin, Steve. Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon. Listening Library, 2013. (Listen to excerpt)

 

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This day in history…

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal.  Below is a poster sent out by the U.S. Census Bureau to commemorate this remarkable feat of engineering.

Panama Canal

 

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NCompass Live: Harlequin Take Me Away: the NLC Booktalks Romance

NCompass live smallJoin us for next week’s NCompass Live: “Harlequin Take Me Away: the NLC Booktalks Romance”, on Wednesday, August 13, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

Is a life spent reading a life well-spent? Devra Dragos and Laura Johnson, from the Nebraska Library Commission, think so. They’d like to share some of the great Romances they’ve read lately and to hear about the Romances you and your library users are reading. Join us for our second look at what the folks from the Nebraska Library Commission are reading and suggesting to others. Everyone can benefit from a happy ending!

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • August 20 – What You Need to Know to Apply for a Youth Grant
  • August 27 – Tech Talk with Michael Sauers: RFID, Checkout Kiosks, Security Gates, and … a New Way to Check Out

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: Redeployment by Phil Klay

Redeployment coverPhil Klay served in the Iraq War as a United States Marine and then earned his MFA degree. In this book, Klay’s short stories reflect the experiences of those who served in Iraq, both during deployments and upon returning home. He explores the harsh realities of war, but the sadness is tempered with humor, and I’m finding it very engrossing so far.

Klay, Phil. Redeployment. Penguin Press, 2014.

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Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival Scheduled for Sept. 25-27, 2014

plumcreeklitfestlogoNebraska library staff are invited to attend the Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival. Originating in 1996 at Concordia University in Seward, NE, the festival is a three-day literacy event for school age children and adults. Participants are provided with an opportunity to interact with nationally acclaimed authors and illustrators. The festival has grown from a one-day, one-author event to a three-day nine-author event. Over 10,000 school-age children and their teachers attend two Children’s Days of the festival at no charge. An adult conference is held the third day, with nine authors and seven literacy experts speaking to approximately 600 attendees. For a short video about the festival and registration links, see www.cune.edu/plumcreek.

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Nebraska Learns 2.0: Crowdfunding & dot complicated

CarhengeCrop5The Nebraska Learns 2.0 Thing for August is Crowdfunding.

In these days of tight library budgets, sometimes you have a great idea but you don’t have the funds to implement it. If you find yourself in this situation, have you considered trying to crowdfund your idea?

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 August is dot complicated by Randi Zuckerberg.

Nebraska Learns 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!

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NCompass Live: #SVYALit Project: Using Young Adult Literature to Talk with Teens About Sexual Violence and Consent

NCompass live smallJoin us for next week’s NCompass Live: “#SVYALit Project: Using Young Adult Literature to Talk with Teens About Sexual Violence and Consent”, on Wednesday, August 6, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

NLA YART presents Karen Jensen from Teen Librarian Toolbox and her guest, YA author Christa Desir, to discuss using young adult literature to talk with teens about sexual violence and consent.

Project goals:

  • To discuss sexual violence in the lives of teens and in ya literature on an ongoing basis;
  • To raise awareness of the issues and titles that can be used to discuss the topics with teens;
  • To give librarians, educators and parents the tools to evaluate and discuss these topics in the lives of teens;
  • To promote teen reading and literature.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • August 13 – Harlequin Take Me Away: the NLC Booktalks Romance
  • August 20 – What You Need to Know to Apply for a Youth Grant
  • August 27 – Tech Talk with Michael Sauers: RFID, Checkout Kiosks, Security Gates, and … a New Way to Check Out

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: We are Anonymous by Parmy Olson

We are Anonymous by Parmy OlsonEver wonder about the people and the technology behind such groups as Anonymous and LulzSec? Are these folks in it for the fun, or are they in it to change the world? Find out in the wonderfully entertaining book by Parmy Olson.

And, if you’re interested in earning CE credit for reading this title, be sure to check out Nebraska Learns 2.0 on September 1st as this title will be that month’s BookThing.

Olson, Parmy. We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous and the Global Cyber Insurgency. Little Brown & Company, 2012

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What’s Sally Reading?

Book Club for Kids…

If you have thought about starting a book club for kids, or want to rethink your current program design, take a look at this librarian’s approach outlined on her blog Thrive After Three.  Lisa Shaia has found something that works well for her community.  She shares her weekly time break down and also lists some titles that have worked well for middle grade readers and some titles for tweens/early teen readers.  Hope you find something helpful.

The 2014 One Book for Nebraska Teens is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransome Riggs.  The Library Commission has a book club kit librarians can borrow.  If it is out when you would like it, we have plenty of other book club kits of previous One Book for Nebraska Kids and One Book for Nebraska Teens.  Take a look at the web page for book club kits, or this web page to look at previous One Book for Nebraska Kids or Teens titles.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransome Riggs:

(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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New Government Publications Received at the Library Commission

Nebraska-State-SealState government publications ranging from Administrative Services to Nebraska Press, received May and June, 2014.

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RITA Awards Presented

The 2014 Romance Writers of America’s RITARitastatuette Awards for best romances of 2013 were presented Saturday night at the RWA Annual Conference. The winners are:

The 2014 RWA Librarian of the Year was Sean Gilmartin, The Anythink Library, Thornton, Colorado.

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Friday Reads: Eat Pray, Love: one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia, by Elizabeth Gilbert

eatprayloveaudiocoverGilbert’s story of her travels in Italy, India, and Indonesia searching for renewal and enlightenment originally came out in 2006 to acclaim (it was the New York Times Notable Book of the Year). Generally, tales of other people’s spiritual quests set my skepticism meter aquiver, and I didn’t read the book, or see the movie back when. But I’m an audiobook buff, and I was looking for something a little different, so I decided to try it. Gilbert reads the book herself, a real asset for such a personal, first person story. Her unaffected enthusiasm and her way with words are winning me over.

Gilbert, Elizabeth. Eat Pray, Love: one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia. Penguin Audio, 2006. CD.

 

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Doc Spot: Lincoln and His Printers : GPO in the Civil War

GPOintheCivilWarThe U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) first began operations on March 4, 1861, the same day as President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration. The GPO set up shop in a printing plant originally built by Cornelius Wendell, a longtime contract printer for Congress. Located at the corner of North Capitol and H Streets NW, the facility was the largest printing plant in Washington and one of the largest in the U.S. at that time.

The first head of the GPO was John D. Defrees, an Illinois newspaper publisher, politician, and friend of President Lincoln. With the outbreak of the Civil War, the GPO grew rapidly to keep pace with military and civilian printing needs. In 1864, GPO employees participated more directly in the war when Company F of the Interior Department Regiment, comprised of GPO printers and pressmen, marched into Northwest Washington to help repel Confederate forces under General Jubal Early.

Lincoln and His Printers : GPO in the Civil War is a brochure published by the GPO to accompany an exhibit of the same name. It is a short history of the GPO during the Civil War years, and includes pictures of some of the people, buildings, and documents (including the Emancipation Proclamation) that were most important during the early years of the GPO.  Click on the title above to view the full-text online, or visit the Nebraska Library Commission to find this and many other state and federal documents.

 

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