Category Archives: General

Throwback Thursday: Capital Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska

Picture postcard of Capital Avenue, West from 17th Street, Omaha, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900s.

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Throwback Thursday: O Street, Lincoln, Nebraska

Postcard photo of O Street East from 10th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900s.

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Throwback Thursday: H. Herpolshiemer Company

Postcard photo of H. Herpolsheimer Company store, located on 12th and N Streets, Lincoln, Nebraska, approximate date early 1900s.

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Talking Book and Braille Service Celebrates Volunteers

The Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service celebrated the work of our volunteers at a luncheon on April 6, 2017. Pamela Davenport, a consultant from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in The Library of Congress, thanked the volunteers for their contributions. NLS administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail through a national network of cooperating libraries, including the Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service.

Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner presented a special recognition to three volunteers:

  • Marjory Gloe, who has narrated books and magazines for twenty-five years and is known for her infectious enthusiasm.
  • John Sposato, who sorts new books into sets and has volunteered for twenty years, starting in audio duplication.
  • Jerry Hall, who has volunteered for fifteen years and does a variety of tasks in readers services.

Retiring volunteer narrators Cherie Frederick and Karen Boyer, who are two of the voices behind the talking books recorded here at the Nebraska Library Commission, were also recognized.

The Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service thanks all the volunteers who play an integral part in serving Nebraskans with disabilities. We provide free audiobooks and audio magazines and braille through the mail and through digital download to individuals with a visual or physical condition, or a reading disability, which limits the use of regular print. For more information see To volunteer, contact Annette Hall, Volunteer Services Coordinator, 402-471-4033, 800-742-7691, email.

TBBS Volunteer Recognition LunchTBBS Volunteer Recognition 2017NLC Logo

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Register Now for Library and Information Services Classes

Library and Information Services (LIS) class registration is now open at Central Community College for Summer and Fall 2017 classes,  see

Classes include:

Summer 2017 – May 22 to July 27

  • Reference Resources and Services, with Marty Magee, Instructor.  This course provides a background on professional competencies, ethical responsibilities, and the reference interview as well as effective use of print and digital resources including databases and websites.


Fall 2017 – August 21 to December 15

Foundations of Library and Information Services, with Marty Magee, Instructor. This course provides introductory information in multiple areas including the history of libraries, foundational principles, databases and websites, library technology use, programming, and changing library roles.

Leadership and Management in Library and Information Agencies, with Michael Straatmann, Instructor. This course includes the theories, concepts, and activities integral to leading and managing 21st Century libraries and information agencies.

Library and Information Services Capstone Practicum, with Erica Rose, Instructor. This course is the capstone course, the last in the Library and Information Services curriculum, and includes a review of principle pieces of learning from the LIS program. Students will complete 40 hours of service learning in a host library.

For information concerning Admissions or Registration, contact: Dee Johnson, 402-562-1418 or Toll Free: 877-222-0780.

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Throwback Thursday: Lagoon at Antelope Park

Postcard photo of the Lagoon at Antelope Park, Lincoln, Nebraska from the early 1900s.

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Young Nebraskans Win Writing Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                  
April 5, 2017

Mary Jo Ryan

Young Nebraskans Win Writing Competition

Do young people still write letters? They do if they want to tell an author about how books can make a difference in a young person’s life. Young Nebraska writers who wrote winning letters in the Letters About Literature competition will receive award certificates from Gov. Pete Ricketts on April 12, 2017 at a proclamation-signing ceremony celebrating National Library Week, April 9-15, 2017. Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing promotion program. Nearly 50,000 adolescent and young readers nationwide, in grades four through twelve, participated in this year’s Letters About Literature program—hundreds of them from Nebraska. The competition encourages young people to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) who had an impact on their lives.

This annual contest is sponsored nationally by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, with funding from Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The Center for the Book was established in 1977 as a public-private partnership to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading. The Nebraska competition is coordinated and sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, Houchen Bindery Ltd., and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.

Young Nebraska writers to be honored are:

Caleb Hamilton, Falls City, for a letter to John David Anderson
Ethan Morrow, Omaha, for a letter to Andy Weir
Matthew Heaney, Omaha, for a letter to Theodore Gray

Alternate Winners
Lexi Miller, Falls City, for a letter to R. J.  Palacio
Madelyn Stoffel, Omaha, for a letter R. J.  Palacio
Jack Slagle, Omaha, for a letter to John L. Parker Jr.

The students wrote personal letters to authors explaining how his or her work changed their view of themselves or the world. They selected authors from any genre, fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic. Winners were chosen from three competition levels: upper elementary, middle, and secondary school.

The Nebraska winners will be honored at a luncheon and receive cash prizes and gift certificates. Their winning letters will be placed in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln. They will advance to the national competition, with a chance to win a trip to Washington, D.C. for themselves and their parents. For more information see

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.


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


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Christa Porter: Director of Library Development

Christa PorterWe are reintroducing our staff member Christa Porter, who changed both her name and her job title since joining the Library Commission staff in 2000.

Last September, Christa (Burns) married John Porter and effective April 4th, Christa also will become the new Director of Library Development. So many congratulations are in order. Christa was born in Albany, New York. She earned her BA in English with a Specialty in Literature and Irish Folklore, from SUNY Binghamton and her MLS from SUNY Albany. As a young girl, her dad would take Christa and her sister Sarah to the Saratoga Springs Public Library every Saturday and she read her way through the Black Beauty and Narnia Series as well as many other science fiction and fantasy novels.  She found her way to a career in libraries in a rather serendipitous route as her dad found a work study position for her where he worked at SUNY Central Administration in Albany – specifically the OCLC offices of Nylink. This led her to enroll in Library School where she was fortunate to be assigned Bill Katz as her work study professor who was a helpful and considerable influence on her career.

Christa’s job at Nylink would prove an interesting segue for her first position at the Library Commission as NEBASE Member Services Coordinator. Most recently her role as Library Development Consultant involved speaking to many of you about E-rate among other topics. Christa is also the host of the Commission’s weekly NCompass Live online program and she assists organizations in the state to hold virtual meetings with GoToWebinar. In her opinion, the best thing about working in libraries is solving problems and finding answers to questions. “It’s always a treasure hunt. The best skill a librarian can have is the ability to say I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

When Christa isn’t working, she enjoys being at home with John, spending time with family, relaxing, playing video games, or reading. Without hesitation, her all-time favorite author is Isaac Asimov. If Christa could switch careers, she would love to own a book or comic store combination coffee shop that served pastries and food, provided someone else was doing the books. Christa and John share their home with three cats: Logan, Luna, and Nushi. Despite being far from home, Christa says Nebraska offers friendly people, open spaces, and friends and family.

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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 March 2017.  Included are titles from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, the Nebraska Legislature, and the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System, to name a few.

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It’s #bookfacefriday!

Tom Osborne "More Than Winning" BookFaceIf you’re on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) and interested in libraries, you may have come across the hashtags #bookface or #bookfacefriday.

According to the New York Times “bookface involves strategically lining up your face or another body part alongside a book cover that features a matching body part so that there appears a melding of life and art.”

Mayor Helen Boosalis BookFaceTo highlight some of the Nebraska 150 books, we’ve been posing Library Commission staff (and sometimes their kids!) for our own Bookface Fridays. It’s trickier than you’d think! Fortunately we have a photographer with a great eye, and some good-natured staff!

You can see past bookface photos on the Center for the Book’s Facebook page, or check in every Friday to see the latest shot!

Has anyone at your library posted a #bookfacefriday?

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Throwback Thursday: Terrace Garden, Arbor Lodge State Park

Postcard of Terrace Garden, Arbor Lodge State Park, Nebraska City, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Throwback Thursday: Scribner High School

Postcard of Scribner High School, Scribner, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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NASA@My Library

NASA@ My Library is a national Earth and Space Science initiative that connects NASA, public libraries, and their communities.

Applications are due today, Wednesday, March 22nd.

Public libraries are invited to apply for NASA@ My Library, a STEM education initiative that will increase and enhance STEM learning opportunities for library patrons throughout the nation, including geographic areas and populations currently underserved in STEM education.

Seventy-five U.S. public libraries will be selected through a competitive application process to become NASA@ My Library Partners and participate in the 18-month project (Phase 1), with the opportunity to extend for an additional two-year period (Phase 2). Applications will be accepted from Feb. 1 to March 22, 2017. For more information or to apply online, visit

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National Network of Libraries of Medicine April Webinars : Disasters, Data Science, and HealthReach

Crisis in the Library: Are You Prepared?

Friday, April 14, 2017, 1 pm MT/ 2 pm CT

This webinar is for the library workforce with ten simple steps to take to be aware of potential hazards and serve as a guide to actions needed to be ready for any disaster affecting the library! The session is based on the 10-Step Approach to Service Continuity Planning developed by Dan Wilson at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia Health System. Participants will be shown the tools to assess risk, identify core services and resources at the library and what can be included in a one page disaster plan. Although the webinar is a good overview for those in health sciences libraries, all kinds of libraries can benefit from and adapt the information to their needs. For more information and to register:

Librarianship and Data Science

Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 10 am MT/ 11 am CT

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from a panel of professionals who are working in the widening world of health data. Our panel presentation will consist of a data analyst, an information specialist, an academic health sciences data librarian, and a finance data librarian. The panelists will be discussing their interest in data as a career focus, the required skills needed to practice their profession, and the services they would like to see offered by librarians to support the work they do. For more information and to register:

HealthReach: Health Information in Many Languages

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 1 pm MT/ 2 pm CT

Join us for a one-hour webinar on HealthReach, a quality multilingual, multicultural public health resource developed by the National Library of Medicine. HealthReach provides patient education materials in a number of languages and formats, a collection of tools for healthcare providers, and a collection of information on special topics, such as Emergency and Disaster, Women’s Health and Mental Health. This session will be presented by two members of the HealthReach team from the Division of Specialized Information Services at the National Library of Medicine, Laura Bartlett and Michael Honch. For more information and to register:


Annette Parde-Maass

Nebraska Outreach Coordinator

National Network of Libraries of Medicine | MidContinental Region

Creighton University Health Sciences Litrary


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Nebraska Public Libraries Participate in IMLS Internet2® Pilot Program to Assess Rural Library Broadband

During the first week of March, three Nebraska Public Libraries had a unique  experience, participating in  kick-off site visits for a pilot program funded by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant was awarded to Internet2®, a member-owned advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2® provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve common technology challenges and to develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research, and community service missions.

Public library directors and staff in the Nebraska communities of Valley, Walthill, and Wymore each spent an afternoon with two state employees who are the technical advisors for the site visits to the five Nebraska libraries. Library staff and technical advisors examined the details of each library’s broadband profile. Susannah Spellman from Internet2® participated in site visits to the public libraries in Valley and Wymore. Susannah said, “We are delighted to partner with the Nebraska Library Commission and Network Nebraska to pilot the IMLS-funded Broadband Toolkit. Being able to leverage the library technology expertise of the Nebraska Library Commission, especially from their Library Broadband Builds Nebraska Communities BTOP grant, and the broadband and E-Rate expertise of Network Nebraska delivers an even more powerful learning experience for the library staff involved in the pilot.”

The Toolkit is designed to help library staff assess and evaluate their library’s broadband connection. Topic areas include: how broadband is delivered to the library; the library’s broadband provider; and infrastructure details including inside wiring, types of devices connecting the libraries network, age of wiring and devices, and reliability of the library network (availability and speed). The Toolkit includes links to online resources and a glossary to help guide the staff through the assessment activities. As staff work through the assessment with the technical advisors, they identify quick fixes and long-range plans that are summarized in a customized Broadband Improvement Plan for the library.

All three of the pilot libraries appreciated having an opportunity to learn about the status of the broadband in their libraries and identify improvements that can be made immediately (and in the long term) to better serve the library and their community

“The information in the Toolkit that we received will help us learn and prepare to become a bigger and better community hot spot. We were presented with resources, hands-on demos, suggestions, and best of all—a timeline to accomplish what will help us improve and be a better asset to our community,” said Janet Roberts, Library Director, Wymore Public Library.

Additional site visits are planned for the public libraries in Atkinson and Gering at the end of March.


Internet2® was awarded a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant of $248,725 from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  Internet2® will pilot a project to develop a broadband network assessment Toolkit and training program for rural and tribal libraries in partnership with the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums; the American Library Association; the Association of Rural and Small Libraries; the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies; and Internet2® member research and education networks. The pilot will include more than thirty library practitioners in at least 30 rural public and tribal libraries across five states, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. The Toolkit will provide training for librarians to advance their understanding of and advocacy for broadband infrastructure in their libraries and will be developed to address library-specific broadband technology and infrastructure needs.

(l-r) Tom Rolfes, State of Nebraska Office of the Chief Information Officer; Janet Roberts, Wymore Public Library Director; Susannah Spellman, Internet2®, Holly Woldt, Nebraska Library Commission.

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Throwback Thursday: Promenade Krog Park, Omaha, Nebraska

Postcard of Promenade Krog Park, Omaha’s Polite Resort, Omaha, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Throwback Thursday: O Street East from 10th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska

Postcard of O Street East from 10th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Small Libraries Ready to Create Smart Spaces

Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces is a new project from WebJunction just getting underway. More than 100 libraries applied, and 15 small and rural libraries were chosen to participate in this project, which will support them as they reimagine and reconfigure their libraries into smart spaces. The cohort of 15 libraries formally kicked off their training this month, and while they are focused on learning, let’s learn more about them! Join us on this four-part virtual road trip around the US to meet the 15 libraries and their communities—second stop, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota!

Read the full article here!

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Free Webinar! Privacy Literacy at Your Library

A few keyboard strokes and a click of the mouse and your personal information becomes data stored somewhere. What happens to all that information you enter online? What was in that terms of service statement you accepted? From Google search results to your library borrowing record to online shopping habits, there are real considerations to our online presence and how we share information. How do we make sense of the realities of online privacy both for ourselves and for our library patrons?

Libraries can play a powerful role in guiding patrons to information about how their online information is used and what to be aware of when going online. This month, on March 7, Erin Berman from the San José Public Library (CA) and a Library Journal Mover & Shaker, will present the webinar Privacy Literacy at Your Library . Erin will share the resources developed through her library’s Virtual Privacy Lab that guides users through topics such as social media and security, and provide personalized tips, links and resources that enable them to feel safe and confident online. Register today and join us for this free event that can help you and your patrons!
Title: Privacy Literacy at Your Library, a webinar about the Virtual Privacy Lab, a privacy literacy resource available to all, which helps library patrons feel safe and confident online.

Date: March 7th, 2017

Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time


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Friday Reads: The Sari Shop Widow

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

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

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

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