Category Archives: General

Throwback Thursday

It’s off to the races with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

This 3″ x 5″ acetate negative photograph is owned by the Thorpe Opera House Foundation. It is part of the Boston Studio Project collection.

Want to see more of Nebraska’s history? Check out the Nebraska Memories archive!

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see for more information.

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#BookFaceFriday “Under the Harrow”

New Books = New #BookFaceFridays!

"Under the Harrow" by Flynn Berry BookFace PhotoHas your book club been on the hunt for new reads? The NLC Book Club Kit collection is here to help! We’ve recently added several new titles to the collection, one of which is   “Under the Harrow” by Flynn Berry (Penguin Books, 2016). For those of you who devoured “Gone Girl” and “Girl on a Train,” this psychological thriller is sure to get your blood pumping. Browse all the new additions at today!

“A thrilling novel of psychological suspense…Under the Harrow contains similarities [to The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl]that will undoubtedly attract readers – but underneath its hard-driving, page-turning, compulsively readable narrative is a striking, original voice all Berry’s own…[Her] precise sentences call to mind Hitchcock’s meticulous storyboards and enrich the work with a cinematic scope.”—Elizabeth Brundage, The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

This week’s #BookFace photo is Cathy Hatterman, our Acquisitions Librarian! We added a large number of titles to our book club kit collection in the past 2 months! Cathy has been hard at work tracking down all our requests, as well as adding quite a few books to our library science collection.

Love this #BookFace & reading?  Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Throwback Thursday: Fire Escape

Check out what we found on the Nebraska Memories archive!

This week’s #ThrowbackThursday features a 4-1/2″ x 3″ black and white photograph of Havelock Central Elementary School during the 1950’s. Pictured is a large tubular structure attached to the building that was used as a fire escape.

This picture is provided and owned by Lincoln Public Schools. Historical materials related to the Lincoln Public Schools have been collected and saved in some form and in various offices, library sites and schools since the inception of the first school in the county. Over the past 15 years, the Library Media Services Department has made a deliberate attempt to collect, preserve and archive the history of LPS and make various items available to the staff and also the public. This collection of school building photographs is the beginning of what hopes to be a growing and evolving digital collection.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see for more information.

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#BookFaceFriday “Prodigal Summer”

It’s a jungle out there, #BookFaceFriday fans!

Can’t you just feel the heat radiating from this rain forest setting? Oh, wait, that’s just the local weather! Set over the course of a particularly humid summer, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper Perennial, 2000) “weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia.” This title is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, along with several other titles by Kingsolver. It seemed like a perfect choice for this week’s bookface, as our local flora and fauna thrive (while the rest of us wilt) in the current heat and humidity!

A “blend of breathtaking artistry, encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world, attention to detail, and ardent commitment to the supremacy of nature.” San Francisco Chronicle

This week’s #BookFace photo was taken on location in Costa Rica by our staff assistant, Kayla Henzel. Thank you Kayla, for your dedication to the #BookFace cause, even while off the clock!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Throwback Thursday: Fourth of July on Adams Ranch

Happy 4th of July! Let’s celebrate with a #ThrowbackThursday!

This 9-1/2″ x 3-3/4″ panoramic black and white photo shows a large group of men, women and children gathered together at Adams Ranch in Brownson to celebrate the 4th of July in 1904.

This photo is part of the Cheyenne County Historical Society and Museum collection on the Nebraska Memories archive. Cheyenne County Historical Society and Museum, located in Sidney, worked with the Nebraska Library Commission to digitize items from their collection of historical photographs representing people and places of Sidney, Fort Sidney, Potter, Dalton and other communities and sites in the county. Images in this collection include photographs showing business districts in the heart of these towns, troops stationed at the fort, and William Jennings Bryan speaking at Cheyenne County Court House.

Interested in Nebraska History? Explore this collection and many more on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see for more information.

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July 4th Fun Facts–Celebrating 243 Years of Independence!

As the nation celebrates this Independence Day, it’s a good time to reflect on how our Founding Fathers enshrined in our Constitution the importance of statistics as a vital tool for measuring people, places and economy.

Who was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence?

Is there a U.S. county named Independence?

What was the nation’s population in 1776?


  • John Hancock, a merchant by trade, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence.
  • The only county named Independence is in Arkansas.
  • The U.S. population was 2.5 million in 1776. It is more than 130 times larger today at 330 million

The following statistics — historical and whimsical — come from responses to U.S. Census Bureau surveys:



More Fun Facts  

The Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools program has created this Fun Facts & Teaching Guide for the Fourth of July.

Teachers can interact with students by using fun but real-life data related to the holiday. The teaching guide offers ideas on how to use these facts as an activity.


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2019 E-rate Funding Awarded to Nebraska Schools and Libraries

USAC has released Waves 1-10 of Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) for E-rate Funding Year 2019. Congratulations to all Nebraska schools and libraries who have been funded!

Your FCDL will be attached as a printable PDF to the email notifying you that your FCDL has been issued. It will also be available in the Notifications section of your EPC account, but you are no longer required to log into your EPC account to view it.

As soon as you receive your FCDL, you can go on to the next step in the E-rate process, filing your Form 486. This form is submitted in your EPC account. Information and instructions on how to do that can be found in this USAC News Brief.

If you haven’t received your FCDL yet, don’t panic! There are many more weekly Waves to come as USAC processes more applications. This is just the start of Funding Year 2019, more approvals are coming. A list of libraries who have received E-rate funding is on the NLC E-rate webpage. The 2019 list will be updated as new funding waves are announced.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, visit the NLC E-rate webpage or contact Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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

New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for June 2019.  Included are Annual Reports from the Nebraska Water Center, reports from the Nebraska Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, WellCare of Nebraska, Nebraska Environmental Trust Board, Nebraska Department of Education, and new books from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

Most items, except the books from the University of Nebraska Press, are available for immediate viewing and printing by clicking on the highlighted link above, or directly in the .pdf below.  You can read synopses of the books received from the University of Nebraska Press books in the June blogpost.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse in 1972, a service of the Nebraska Library Commission. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, and provide access to all public information published by Nebraska state agencies.  By law (State Statutes 51-411 to 51-413) all Nebraska state agencies are required to submit their published documents to the Clearinghouse.  For more information, visit the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse page, contact Mary Sauers, Government Information Services Librarian; or contact Bonnie Henzel, State Documents Staff Assistant.

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Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse receives.                UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians, for their patrons, in Nebraska.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in June:

Abuses of the Erotic : Militarizing Sexuality in the Post-Cold War United States                                                                                         Josh Cerretti (Series: Expanding Frontiers–Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality)

Events ranging from sexual abuse at Abu Ghraib to the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” hint that important issues surrounding gender and sexuality remain at the core of political and cultural problems. Nonetheless, intersectional analyses of militarism that account for questions of race, class, and gender remain exceedingly rare. Abuses of the Erotic fills this gap by offering a comprehensive picture of how military values have permeated the civilian cultural sphere and by investigating connections between sexuality and militarism in the United States since the late 1980s.

Josh Cerretti takes up the urgent task of applying an interdisciplinary, transnational framework to the role of sexuality in promoting, expanding, and sustaining the war on terror to understand the links between what Cerretti calls “domestic militarism” and later projects of state-backed violence and intervention. This work brings together scholarship on domestic and international militarization in relation to both homosexuality and heterosexuality to demonstrate how sexual and gender politics have been deployed to bolster U.S. military policies and, by tracking over a decade of militarized sexuality, how these instances have foundationally changed how we think of sexual and gender politics today.

Apostles of Empire : The Jesuits and New France                                Bronwen McShea (Series: France Overseas–Studies in Empre and Decolonization)

Apostles of Empire is a revisionist history of the French Jesuit mission to indigenous North Americans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, offering a comprehensive view of a transatlantic enterprise in which secular concerns were integral. Between 1611 and 1764, 320 Jesuits were sent from France to North America to serve as missionaries. Most labored in colonial New France, a vast territory comprising eastern Canada and the Great Lakes region that was inhabited by diverse Native American populations. Although committed to spreading Catholic doctrines and rituals and adapting them to diverse indigenous cultures, these missionaries also devoted significant energy to more-worldly concerns, particularly the transatlantic expansion of the absolutist-era Bourbon state and the importation of the culture of elite, urban French society.

In Apostles of Empire Bronwen McShea accounts for these secular dimensions of the mission’s history through candid portraits of Jesuits engaged in a range of secular activities. We see them not only preaching and catechizing in terms that borrowed from indigenous idioms but also cultivating trade and military partnerships between the French and various Indian tribes. Apostles of Empire contributes to ongoing research on the Jesuits, New France, and Atlantic World encounters, as well as on early modern French society, print culture, Catholicism, and imperialism. McShea shows how the Jesuits’ robust conceptions of secular spheres of Christian action informed their efforts from both sides of the Atlantic to build up a French and Catholic empire in North America through significant indigenous cooperation.

Contra Instrumentalism : a Translation Polemic                                      Lawrence Venuti (Series: Provocations)

Contra Instrumentalism questions the long-accepted notion that translation reproduces or transfers an invariant contained in or caused by the source text. This “instrumental” model of translation has dominated translation theory and commentary for more than two millennia, and its influence can be seen today in elite and popular cultures, in academic institutions and in publishing, in scholarly monographs and in literary journalism, in the most rarefied theoretical discourses and in the most commonly used clichés.

Contra Instrumentalism aims to end the dominance of instrumentalism by showing how it grossly oversimplifies translation practice and fosters an illusion of immediate access to source texts. Lawrence Venuti asserts that all translation is an interpretive act that necessarily entails ethical responsibilities and political commitments. Venuti argues that a hermeneutic model offers a more comprehensive and incisive understanding of translation that enables an appreciation of not only the creative and scholarly aspects of what a translator does but also the crucial role translation plays in the cultural and social institutions that shape human life.

In Defense of Farmers : The Future of Agriculture in the Shadow of  Corporate Power                                   Jane W. Gibson and Sara E. Alexander, editors (Series: Our Sustainable Future)      

Industrial agriculture is generally characterized as either the salvation of a growing, hungry, global population or as socially and environmentally irresponsible. Despite elements of truth in this polarization, it fails to focus on the particular vulnerabilities and potentials of industrial agriculture. Both representations obscure individual farmers, their families, their communities, and the risks they face from unpredictable local, national, and global conditions: fluctuating and often volatile production costs and crop prices; extreme weather exacerbated by climate change; complicated and changing farm policies; new production technologies and practices; water availability; inflation and debt; and rural community decline. Yet the future of industrial agriculture depends fundamentally on farmers’ decisions.

In Defense of Farmers illuminates anew the critical role that farmers play in the future of agriculture and examines the social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities of industrial agriculture, as well as its adaptations and evolution. Contextualizing the conversations about agriculture and rural societies within the disciplines of sociology, geography, economics, and anthropology, this volume addresses specific challenges farmers face in four countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.

By concentrating on countries with the most sophisticated production technologies capable of producing the largest quantities of grains, soybeans, and animal proteins in the world, this volume focuses attention on the farmers whose labors, decision-making, and risk-taking throw into relief the implications and limitations of our global industrial food system. The case studies here acknowledge the agency of farmers and offer ways forward in the direction of sustainable agriculture.

Power Lined : Electricity, Landscape, and the American Mind      Daniel L. Wuebben

The proliferation of electric communication and power networks have drawn wires through American landscapes like vines through untended gardens since 1844. But these wire networks are more than merely the tools and infrastructure required to send electric messages and power between distinct places; the iconic lines themselves send powerful messages. The wiry webs above our heads and the towers rhythmically striding along the horizon symbolize the ambiguous effects of widespread industrialization and the shifting values of electricity and landscape in the American mind.

In Power-Lined Daniel L. Wuebben weaves together personal narrative, historical research, cultural analysis, and social science to provide a sweeping investigation of the varied influence of overhead wires on the American landscape and the American mind. Wuebben shows that overhead wires—from Morse’s telegraph to our high-voltage grid—not only carry electricity between American places but also create electrified spaces that signify and complicate notions of technology, nature, progress, and, most recently, renewable energy infrastructure. Power-Lined exposes the subtle influences wrought by the wiring of the nation and shows that, even in this age of wireless devices, perceptions of overhead lines may be key in progressing toward a more sustainable energy future.

The Supernatural Sublime : The Wondrous Ineffability of the Everyday in Films from Mexico and Spain    Raul Rodriguez-Hernandez and Claudia Schaefer (Series: New Hispanisms)

The Supernatural Sublime explores the long-neglected element of the supernatural in films from Spain and Mexico by focusing on the social and cultural contexts of their production and reception, their adaptations of codes and conventions for characters and plot, and their use of cinematic techniques to create the experience of emotion without explanation. Deploying the overarching concepts of the supernatural and the sublime, Raúl Rodríguez-Hernández and Claudia Schaefer detail the dovetailing of the unnatural and the experience of limitlessness associated with the sublime.

The Supernatural Sublime embeds the films in the social histories of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Mexico and Spain, both of which made a forced leap into modernity after historical periods founded on official ideologies and circumscribed visions of the nation. Evoking Kant’s definition of the experience of the sublime, Rodríguez-Hernández and Schaefer concentrate on the unrepresentable and the contradictory that oppose purported universal truths and instead offer up illusion, deception, and imagination through cinema, itself a type of illusion: writing with light.

Unfair Labor? : American Indians and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago                                                                        David R. M. Beck

Unfair Labor? is the first book to explore the economic impact of Native Americans who participated in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago. By the late nineteenth century, tribal economic systems across the Americas were decimated, and tribal members were desperate to find ways to support their families and control their own labor. As U.S. federal policies stymied economic development in tribal communities, individual Indians found creative new ways to make a living by participating in the cash economy. Before and during the exposition, American Indians played an astonishingly broad role in both the creation and the collection of materials for the fair, and in a variety of jobs on and off the fairgrounds.

While anthropologists portrayed Indians as a remembrance of the past, the hundreds of Native Americans who participated were carving out new economic pathways. Once the fair opened, Indians from tribes across the United States, as well as other indigenous people, flocked to Chicago. Although they were brought in to serve as displays to fairgoers, they had other motives as well. Once in Chicago they worked to exploit circumstances to their best advantage. Some succeeded; others did not.

Unfair Labor? breaks new ground by telling the stories of individual laborers at the fair, uncovering the roles that Indians played in the changing economic conditions of tribal peoples, and redefining their place in the American socioeconomic landscape.

We Average Unbeautiful Watchers : Fan Narratives and the Reading of                                                           American Sports                                                                                        Noah Cohan (Series: Sports, Media, and Society)

Sports fandom—often more than religious, political, or regional affiliation—determines how millions of Americans define themselves. In We Average Unbeautiful Watchers, Noah Cohan examines contemporary sports culture to show how mass-mediated athletics are in fact richly textured narrative entertainments rather than merely competitive displays. While it may seem that sports narratives are “written” by athletes and journalists, Cohan demonstrates that fans are not passive consumers but rather function as readers and writers who appropriate those narratives and generate their own stories in building their sense of identity.

Critically reading stories of sports fans’ self-definition across genres, from the novel and the memoir to the film and the blog post, We Average Unbeautiful Watchers recovers sports games as sites where fan-authors theorize interpretation, historicity, and narrative itself. Fan stories demonstrate how unscripted sporting entertainments function as identity-building narratives—which, in turn, enhances our understanding of the way we incorporate a broad range of texts into our own life stories.

Building on the work of sports historians, theorists of fan behavior, and critics of American literature, Cohan shows that humanistic methods are urgently needed for developing nuanced critical conversations about athletics. Sports take shape as stories, and it is scholars in the humanities who can best identify how they do so—and why that matters for American culture more broadly.

Women in the Writings of Mari Sandoz                                                    Edited and with an introduction by Renee M. Laegreid and Shannon D. Smith, Foreword by John Wunder (Series: Sandoz Studies, Volume 1)

Mari Sandoz, born on Mirage Flats, south of Hay Springs, Nebraska, on May 11, 1896, was the eldest daughter of Swiss immigrants. She experienced firsthand the difficulties and pleasures of the family’s remote plains existence and early on developed a strong desire to write. Her keen eye for detail combined with meticulous research enabled her to become one of the most valued authorities of her time on the history of the plains and the culture of Native Americans.

Women in the Writings of Mari Sandoz is the first volume of the Sandoz Studies series, a collection of thematically grouped essays that feature writing by and about Mari Sandoz and her work. When Sandoz wrote about the women she knew and studied, she did not shy away from drawing attention to the sacrifices, hardships, and disappointments they endured to forge a life in the harsh plains environment. But she also wrote about moments of joy, friendship, and—for some—a connection to the land that encouraged them to carry on.

The scholarly essays and writings of Sandoz contained in this book help place her work into broader contexts, enriching our understanding of her as an author and as a woman deeply connected to the Sandhills of Nebraska.


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#BookFaceFriday “The Night Circus”

Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth! #BookFaceFriday!

Join us under the big top for the magic, mystery, and romance that is “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern (Random House Audio, 2011). Braver than a lion, more beautiful than a bearded lady, as nail-biting as the flying trapeze! Morgenstern’s debut novel is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection. This book kit includes a magical Audiobook version, available upon request! Narrated by Jim Dale, who also narrated all of the Harry Potter books.

“Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, The Night Circus, is quietly, enchantingly perfect…reading this novel is like having a marvelous dream, in which you are asleep enough to believe everything that is happening, but awake enough to relish the experience and understand that it is magical.”

This week’s #BookFace model is NLC’s Technology & Access Services Librarian, Allana Novotny! Unfortunately, we were not able to coax a rabbit out of the hat.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Throwback Thursday: Prince Wilhelm of Sweden

We’ve got a royal #ThrowbackThursday for you!

This black and white photo was taken on May 12, 1927. It shows Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (front left) during his visit to the Immanuel Deaconess Institute. Those pictured with him are other Swedish dignitaries, people connected with the institute, and detectives.

This photo is part of the Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center collection on the Nebraska Memories archive. The rich and well documented history of Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska is shown in these images of the early buildings, people and artifacts.

Interested in Nebraska history? Check out this collection and more on the Nebraska Memories archive!

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see for more information.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Podcasting Basics

Have you ever considered a library-hosted podcast? With the right equipment, you could help patrons record and edit local podcasts and link them to your library’s website! Topics could range anywhere from book and movie reviews to local/ state history, and anything in between! Read on to learn how you can make this happen in your library:

What is a Podcast?

Podcasts are audio recordings that are geared towards providing new information, entertainment, or asking listeners to look at topics from a different point of view. Podcasts can have a single host/narrator, have a more conversational format between multiple hosts, or be an interview between host and guest. There’s no one right way to podcast!

How Can We Plan a Podcast?

There are a ton of resources out there for how to plan and record your own podcast. I’ll put a few pointers that have worked for some other libraries here, then add some additional resources at the end of the list:

  1. Target Audience: Try to anticipate who your target audience is. You don’t want to use teen slang for a podcast about retirement getaways!
  2. Length: Start asking potential listeners how long they like their podcasts. If your listeners only have time for 15 minutes, don’t record an hour long podcast!
  3. Topic: Start listening around. Find out which podcasts exist about your preferred topic. Listen for what works and what doesn’t work for you.
  4. How to Record: Some hosts record all in one, long segment. Others record in short bursts and stitch the sections together. Short bursts leave room for error.
  5. Ad Lib or Script? Some hosts plan their show down to the last word. Others wing it. It’s really up to your comfort level. Kids and teens might need structure.
  6. Where to Host? Think about what you need to be able to do with your recordings when you’re done. Some hosting options like Lisbyn have editing features and will help you sync the podcast to your website. But it can cost a bit. Podbean is an option if you want to start with free and grow. Free doesn’t have as much functionality, but everybody starts somewhere!

Here are some start to finish guides for planning a podcast:

As you can see, pretty much everything you need is on The Podcast Host. They know all, and I’ve used a lot of their stuff when learning how to use our makerspace audio kit stuff. Happy podcasting everyone!

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Census Bureau Announces 2019 Census Test to Begin

The U.S. Census Bureau has announced that the 2019 Census Test has begun, as approximately 480,000 housing units across the country receive a questionnaire testing the operational effects of including a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The 2019 Census Test will randomly assign households to two panels and ask them to respond to the 2020 Census questions. Panel A will include the question on citizenship, Panel B will not.   Findings from the nationwide test will assist in determining updates to 2020 Census operations, such as how many census takers are needed to follow up with nonresponding households and how to better communicate with households about the 2020 Census.


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Friday Reads: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

“Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea?
Oh no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.
Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep?
Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!”

I recently finished Shirley Jackson’s 1962 work “We Have Always Lived in the Castle.” There’s definitely something lyrical in Jackson’s writing, that perfectly mirrors the narrator, Mary Katherine or “Merricat’s,” sing-song thought process. The children’s rhyme above is repeated throughout the novel underlining the story’s natural rhythm. Merricat lives an isolated existence with her older sister Constance and their invalid Uncle Julien. While Merricat is in her late teens, she still has a childlike existence, playing in the woods, burying treasure, her sole companion (outside her family) a cat named Jonas. Through her, we learn the backstory of a dark family tragedy, the death of her parents, brother, and aunt by poison six years earlier. The authorities charged Constance with murder and she’s acquitted of the crime but it leaves her agoraphobic, unwilling to leave the family’s large estate. The sisters are taunted and ostracized by the small local village, by the children and adults alike. And just as you are settling into this family’s strange routine, a long-lost family member shows up on their doorstep and turns their little world on its head.

I chose this book for a couple of reasons, first, I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone and read different genres and authors. I thought I’d dip my toe in horror with this book and move on to Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House” next if it all went well. My second reason is that the movie recently hit theatres and it’s always my goal to read the book first. This was my first Shirley Jackson book, and it will not be my last.

Jackson, Shirley. We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Penguin Classics, 2006.

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Throwback Thursday: Lincoln Statue

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week, we have an 8″x10″ glass plate negative of the bronze statue that sits outside of the Nebraska State Capitol building. Shown in profile, this statue of Abraham Lincoln stands on a granite pedestal and behind it, carved into the granite wall, is the Gettysburg Address.

This statue was dedicated in a ceremony on September 12, 1912 and predates the current capitol building. The statue is located on the west side of the building.

This photo is part of the Townsend Studio collection on the Nebraska Memories archive. The studio holds a collection of glass plate and acetate negatives of early Lincoln and early residents.

Interested in Nebraska history? Find out more about this photo in the Nebraska Memories archive!

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see for more information.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Makerspace Highlights

I’ve been running around creating makerspace goodness this week, so this is going to be a short post. It’s all about makerspaces and some of the cool things you can get for your makerspace. This is great whether you’re just starting out, or want to spice up your existing offerings:

Merge Cube: This looks like a little foam cube, but it is oh, so much more. Paired with a smartphone, you can overlay amazing 3D images onto this magical little cube. Take a look at the video on Merge Cube’s home page to see it in action. There are ways to use pre-made projects, or to create your own using an app!

Dash and Dot Robots: These robots are great for kids of all ages. Dash is geared towards kids 6 and up, while Dot is geared for kids 11 and up. But adults can use them too! I’m a big kid now. These robots have plenty of great pre-made curriculum and project ideas too!

LEGO Mindstorms: This is a robot that will let you build the actual bot, then program it as well! I train this one for the Innovation Studios grant, so I can answer a bunch of questions about this one. It’s geared towards 8 and up, but it has a lot of flexibility to be hacked by adults too. Good times.

Paper Circuits: If you’re looking for low-cost ways to show the basics of circuitry and electronics, this book is a great place to start. also has quite a few other project ideas.

Arduino for Beginners: also has this great book showing you everything you need to know about Arduino for beginners. You’ll learn how the board works, some simple circuits, and to interact with the right software.

There are plenty of other makerspace options out there. But this is a start. I chose mostly all low-cost options. The bigger machines like 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and all that fun stuff are also out there. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions, or would like some recommendations.

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Nebraska Archives Online from the University of Nebraska Consortium of Libraries

“Archivists from the four University of Nebraska institutions have collaborated to launch
Nebraska Archives Online
, a database that provides access to finding-aids and guides for the university system’s archival and manuscript collections.

Through the work of the University of Nebraska Consortium of Libraries, Nebraska Archives Online meets a longstanding need to provide a one-stop portal to these collections. It’s a resource meant to engage the public’s curiosity and improve the research process for students and others with research needs. The materials in each of the NU archives are available for anyone to use.”

Read more about the database here:


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#BookFaceFriday “Sister Noon”

Who’s up for a little #BookFace intrigue?

Take a trip to San Francisco, circa 1890 with this week’s #BookFace title. Get to know Ms. Lizzie Hayes as she navigates upper-class society as a middle-aged spinster in “Sister Noon” by Karen Joy Fowler(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2002). This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and is the perfect selection for your book club!

“A playful, mysterious, highly imaginative narrative set in the San Francisco of the 1890’s…Robust, sly, witty, elegant, unexpected and never, ever, boring.”—Margot Livesey, The New York Times Book Review

This week’s #BookFace model is Susan Knisley, NLC’s Online Services Librarian. She was kind enough to indulge us and played dress up for this week’s photo.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Nebraska Library Innovation Studios Makerspace Partnership

Nebraska Library Innovation Studios Logo

The five final Nebraska libraries have been selected to host Nebraska’s Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities makerspaces. They join the 26 initial libraries chosen in October, 2017 and December, 2018. The Nebraska Library Commission was awarded a National Leadership Grant of $530,732 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for this partnership project with the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL), Nebraska Innovation Studio, Nebraska Extension, Regional Library Systems, and local public libraries.

The project uses Library Innovation Studios makerspaces hosted by public libraries to support community engagement and participatory learning experiences by providing access to technology and innovative learning tools not readily accessible locally. This is expected to stimulate creativity, innovation, and the exchange of ideas to facilitate entrepreneurship, skills development, and local economic development.

The newly selected library partners that will host one of the four rotating makerspaces are:

  • La Vista Public Library
  • McCook Public Library
  • Superior Public Library
  • Nelson Public Library
  • Lied Pierce Public Library

They join those selected over the last two years:

  • Plattsmouth Public Library
  • Ainsworth Public Library
  • Ashland Public Library
  • Crete Public Library
  • Loup City Public Library
  • South Sioux City Public Library
  • Neligh Public Library
  • Broken Bow Public Library
  • Bridgeport Public Library
  • Norfolk Public Library
  • North Platte Public Library
  • Ravenna Public Library
  • Lied Scottsbluff Public Library
  • Wayne Public Library
  • Geneva Public Library
  • Central City Public Library
  • Nebraska City Public Library
  • Kimball Public Library
  • Beatrice Public Library
  • Hastings Public Library
  • Chadron Public Library
  • Blue Hill Public Library
  • Hastings Memorial Library, Grant, Nebraska
  • Plainview Public Library
  • Verdigre Public Library
  • Laurel Community Learning Center

This project began July 1, 2017 and will conclude June 30, 2020. For more information about the project or equipment that will be featured in the rotating makerspaces, see

“Nebraska’s public libraries are the natural gathering points for people to come together to share materials, knowledge, and experiences,” said Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner. “Whether the materials and tools are high tech or low tech, digital or analog, art or science, the focus is to create, invent, tinker, explore, and discover using the tools, materials, and knowledge available. Libraries have always been dedicated to community partnership, collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas—makerspaces are the next step in that progression.”

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. The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission website,

Nebraska’s Regional Library Systems are four non-profit corporations governed by boards representative of libraries and citizens in the region. Systems provide access to improved library services by facilitating cooperation among all types of libraries and media centers within the counties included in each System area.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past twenty-two years, their grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (Grant #LG-95-17-0046-17)

The Nebraska Innovation Studio—the UNL makerspace—is the creative and collaborative hub of UNL’s Nebraska Innovation Campus, where makers and builders team up to conceptualize, prototype, and iterate projects that solve problems and influence change. The primary focus is on creativity, interdisciplinary collaboration, entrepreneurship, and education.

Nebraska Extension is one of three components of UNL’s land-grant mission. It is a dynamic educational organization that puts research to work in local communities, businesses, and individuals’ lives. Extension professionals are recognized for subject matter competence, excellent teaching skills, and community presence. They live and work in Nebraska communities across the state and engage with local and state partners in educational program delivery to address critical issues identified by constituents.


The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website,



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What’s Sally Reading?

Nominees for YALSA’s 2020 Lists Are Updated Weekly

As a follow-up to last month’s “What’s Sally Reading,”  I also want you to know that YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) a section of the American Library Association (ALA) has a schedule of updates of nominees for several of their lists for 2020.  Check their blog, The Hub, each week or month to learn what titles are being considered for their Quick Picks (Tuesdays), Amazing Audiobooks (Wednesday), Great Graphic Novels (Thursday), and Best Fiction for Young Adults (Fridays).  You see a copy of the cover and a review of the book, usually two titles per posting.  At the top of each posting is a place to click to see the complete list (so far) for each topic, with title and author only.   Click on the title in this list to go to the review, no hassle to find them!

I am a giraffe fan, so of course I must highlight the picture book, Just Like My Brother written and illustrated by Gianna Marino.  A young giraffe plays hide and seek with her older brother. When looking for him she asks different animals if they have seen him, giving each animal a different characteristic of her brother.  Each animal replies that she has that characteristic too.  Tall, lots of spots, fast – and she begins to see that she does have those characteristics, just in time to confront a leopard that has been stalking her throughout the story.  Attentive young listeners will see both the leopard hiding and her older brother secretly following her – to be sure she is safe.  Delightful, with beautiful illustrations.

(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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