Category Archives: General

For the Maker in You

The maker movement has seen some amazing things in recent past. But what exactly does it take to become successful as a budding maker? There are many answers to this question, but one overarching theme across the board is this: learn from failure. Failure is a fact of life. It can lead to growth. It can lead do finding a new passion.

As libraries set up more and more maker stations, start teaching failure in your training classes. If a patron walks in and gets frustrated because they didn’t succeed right away, encourage them to keep trying. Remind them that Rome wasn’t built in a day. True artistry takes years of practice.

If somebody experimented with a new design on a new machine that didn’t turn out quite the way they wanted, take a look at it. Find where they went right and provide constructive criticism on where they went wrong.

For those librarians with new and unfamiliar technology, encourage the patron to take a second look at their own work. Ask them what they see now that they didn’t see when they first made the design. Ask the patron what they would do to change the design to improve it. Get them thinking. Wait for them to have that “eureka!” moment.

As librarians, there are lots of things we can do to empower our patrons to try new and different things. One of the most powerful things we can do is encourage failure.

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Friday Reads: Chief inspector Armand Gamache Series by Louise Penny

I’ve been working my way through this series for that last year or so, and I’ve yet to be disappointed by one of these books. There were several reasons that drew me to the first book; I was deep into a crime/mystery reading phase, but was feeling burnt out on over-the-top violence and gore. I wanted something still in that genre that wouldn’t keep me up at night, and I found it in Louise Penny’s cozy mysteries. Set in Canada, the series follows aging Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec as he thoughtfully solves murders for their famed homicide division.

Still Life (2005), the first in a what is now a series of 14 (I’m only up to #9 myself) introduces you  to a collection of characters that continue to evolve throughout the series. I especially appreciate the main character, Armand Gamache. he’s not your standard police detective, he’s not the bitter and cynical trope that we see so often in this genre. I’ve also discovered that the audio versions are delightful. The narrator, Ralph Cosham, is exactly what I imagined Armand’s voice to sound like, and the smattering of French through out the books is done equally as well.

These books are the perfect winter read. They’re the kind of books I want to hole up with, wrapped in my favorite cozy blanket an mug of hot cocoa.

 

Still Life by Louise Penny (Blackstone Audio, Inc., 2006)

#fridayreads

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#BookFaceFriday: NLC Annual Book Drive

We’re on the edge of our seats for NLC’s annual book drive!!

Every year, for the last thirty years, Nebraska Library Commission staff collect new or gently used books for children and teens to be donated to the People’s City Mission and the Salvation Army for their Christmas giveaway for youth in need. The books come from all over. Brought from homes, bought new in stores, or purchased at thrifting excursions, Lincoln City Library’s book sale, or the Scholastic Book Sale.

If you’d like to pitch in, anyone is welcome to drop off donated books. We need them by the end of the day on Dec. 14th, so we can deliver them to the Salvation Army that evening.

We’re having some fun with a few donated books that were just perfect for #BookFaceFriday. Like “Girl, Stolen: A Novel” by April Henry (Henry Holt and Co., 2010). It’s a YA thriller, full of nail-biting suspense.

“Henry spins a captivating tale that shifts between Cheyenne’s and Griffin’s thoughts. Both are well-built, complex characters, trapped in their own ways by life’s circumstances, which–paired with a relentlessly fast pace–ensures a tense read.” ―Publishers Weekly

This week’s #BookFace model is Tan Ngo, NLC’s Accountant for the next few days at least. She’s being stolen away by another state agency, and we can’t believe how much we’re going to miss her!

Love this #bookface & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

Check out our past #BookFace photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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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 October and November, 2018.  Included are reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies: Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Service,  Nebraska Legislative Research Office, Nebraska Department of Insurance, University of Nebraska State Museum, 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.

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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State Offices to Close December 5th

Media Release:

State Offices to Close December 5th to Observe National Day of Mourning for Former President George H.W. Bush

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts, in accordance with an executive order from President Donald J. Trump, announced that state buildings will be closed and teammates will be granted a day of leave on Wednesday, December 5.

President Trump appointed Wednesday, December 5, 2018, as a National Day of Mourning to honor former President George H.W. Bush who passed away this past Friday.  In his declaration, President Trump calls on Americans to assemble on that day in their respective places of worship to pay tribute to the memory of President Bush.

“President George H.W. Bush will be remembered as a devoted husband, loving father, committed statesman, and a great man of faith,” said Governor Ricketts.  “From his service in the military to his work promoting volunteerism, Bush 41 dedicated his life to his country.  As President, he carried on Reagan’s legacy in taking on communism as the Berlin Wall fell and helped expand trade with our neighbors, Mexico and Canada.  Susanne and I send our prayers to the Bush family as they celebrate a life well lived in service to his family and to the people of the United States.

State law provides that whenever the President gives federal employees paid time off, the State of Nebraska shall grant the same benefit to state teammates.  Exceptions may include law enforcement, security, military, and teammates engaged in other essential functions.  All teammates should receive official instruction from their agency director or personnel representative.

Because of the difficulties of rescheduling court hearings, the Judicial Branch has determined Courts, County Court Clerk’s Offices, and Probation Offices will remain open on December 5, 2018, and all court services shall be available.

In addition to the National Day of Mourning, all U.S. and Nebraska flags will continue to be flown at half-staff for 30 days following the death of the 41st U.S. President, per Presidential proclamation.  The President’s proclamation can be found here and executive order can be found here.

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Friday Reads: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstor is a fun, quick read, perfect for the holiday shopping season. It’s a horror story, set in a big box store, formatted to look like a catalog. Author Grady Hendrix has seen a lot of horror movies, and if you have too, there are references aplenty for you to enjoy. He’s also spent a lot of time in Ikea (and does name-check them, as the superstore Orsk is knockoff of the Swedish retail giant) and has a lot of fun with the names of products accordingly. The book has just enough digs about consumer capitalism to make you feel smart, and enough broadly-drawn but relatable characters to make you not dwell on anything too downbeat.

The book would make a good gift, for the reader with a sense of humor on your list. (Or a library book to check out and have in the house, for the family introvert during a holiday gathering.) Are there plot holes? Yes! Is it a masterpiece? No! Is it enjoyable? Definitely. Can you read it surrounded by family being loud, with every TV and speaker in the house on a different channel, while full of sugar? Yes. You’ll still be able to follow the story. You’ll root for the employee character of your choice to make it through the single overnight shift in the possibly haunted, definitely scary Orsk location in Cuyahoga, Ohio, built on the site of an abandoned experimental prison, the Cuyahoga Panopticon. The narrative design is a lot more straightforward than any big box store design. The author is having a good time, and he wants the reader to have one, too.

Hendrix, Grady. Horrorstör: A Novel. Philadelphia, Pa: Quirk, 2014. Print.
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#BookFaceFriday “Homesteading the Plains”

O give me a home where the buffaloes roam!
This week’s #BookFace is about that home on the range
!

#BookFaceFriday is celebrating the Nebraska Book Award winning nonfiction history book “Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History” by Richard Edwards, Jacob K. Friefeld, and Rebecca S. Wingo (University of Nebraska Press, 2017). Richard Edwards and Jacob K. Friefeld, will be at the 2018 Celebration of Nebraska Books on December 1st to accept their award and sign books! You don’t want to miss it! The Celebration, free and open to the public, will feature presentations of the Nebraska Center for the Book’s Mildred Bennett Award, and Jane Geske Award, along with the 2018 Nebraska Book Award winners. There will also be a special presentation by the editors of 2018 One Book One Nebraska selection, “Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry.”

“Homesteading the Plains offers a bold new look at the history of homesteading, overturning what for decades has been the orthodox scholarly view. The authors begin by noting the striking disparity between the public’s perception of homesteading as a cherished part of our national narrative and most scholars’ harshly negative and dismissive treatment.”—from the book jacket

This week’s #BookFace model is very appropriately, the plains of Nebraska, more accurately a farm on the outskirts of Aimee’s hometown of Elwood!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “What Is Gone”

This week’s Bookface is a smash hit!

#BookFaceFriday is celebrating the Nebraska Book Award winning memoir “What Is Gone” by Amy Knox Brown (Texas Tech University Press, 2017). The author, Amy Knox Brown, will be at the 2018 Celebration of Nebraska Books on December 1st to accept her award and sign books! You don’t want to miss it! The Celebration, free and open to the public, will feature presentations of the Nebraska Center for the Book’s Mildred Bennett Award, and Jane Geske Award, along with the 2018 Nebraska Book Award winners. There will also be a special presentation by the editors of 2018 One Book One Nebraska selection, “Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry.”

“This book speaks to a current tragedy that will bring up what is yet to be dealt with from the author’s past. The back and forth writing works well in this text and references to life in Lincoln and Omaha are numerous for readers who can easily imagine exactly where events took place. The abduction and murder of Candice Harms is described in gruesome detail beyond what those of us who lived through it remember, and violence against women needs to be highlighted again and again as an ill we have not yet solved in our society. An important read for all.”—from the Nebraska Book Award Judges.

This week’s #BookFace model is the beautiful and historic Nebraska Telephone Company Building in downtown Lincoln, it also houses one of our favorite local bookstores, Francie and Finch!! Don’t worry, no vandalism was committed in the creation of this #bookface.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Virtual Reality in the Library

Virtual reality is huge in the library world right now. The trick to making this technology popular in your library is to tie virtual reality (VR) into your community. Show how VR contributes to a greater good. The key is to find out what your patrons are passionate about and get creative about the industries to which VR is applied.

For example, did you know VR and augmented reality (AR) has been applied to the agricultural industry? An article in Future Farming describes a VR/ augmented reality app that helps drivers learn the control functions of a Claas tractor. The app uses augmented reality to digitally project and describe any feature on the control panel. This speeds the learning process and decreases user error on the job.

This is a great example to use when teaching library patrons about the possibilities for VR and AR across multiple industries. Similar apps have been made for tractor and machinery manufacturers. There are even Farming apps to give potential farmers a taste of the good life.

As a librarian, you can do great things by helping library patrons relate current technology to industries and hobbies for which they have a passion. Then everybody will want to learn more about how to use VR and how it works. Food for thought.

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#BookFaceFriday “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine”

Socially awkward never looked so good…

"Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman BookFace

Calling all book clubs! Check out “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeyman (Penguin Books, 2018). If it’s good enough for Reece Witherspoon, it’s probably good enough for me. As a  NEW YORK TIMES bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick, this is the perfect choice for your next read. I found Eleanor the perfect antiheroine, hilarious and awkward with a heartbreaking past. This novel is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and can be reserved for your book club to read today!

“Eleanor Oliphant is a quirky loner and a model of efficiency with her routine of frozen pizza, vodka and weekly phone calls with Mummy. [She’s] a woman beginning to heal from unimaginable tragedy, with a voice that is deadpan, heartbreaking and humorous all at once.” –NPR.org

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is NLC’s Interlibrary Loan Staff Assistant, Lynda Clause!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda

I recently stumbled across a movie called Love, Simon. It’s a young adult romance about a kid who is learning to accept who he is and who he loves. The heart of the story is how one person is learning how to be gay. One person’s story is one person’s story.

If you take a closer look, this story is about learning to embrace who you are as a person. It’s about finding the people who accept you for all that you are.  That’s easier said than done, no matter your sexual orientation. Who wouldn’t enjoy a story like that?

When I found out the movie was based on a book called Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I immediately went to the library. As is usually the case, I liked the book more than the movie. It went into more gritty detail and told me everything I wanted to know.

Simon’s story is universally applicable in many ways. We’re all afraid to show people who we really are as people. Simon is learning through the safely of email correspondence. Then life is complicated by an email falling into the wrong hands followed by a bit of blackmail.

I’m not going to tell you if Simon and his mystery email partner wind up together in the end. That’s not how life works. Life is about the journey. Read to find out how Simon finds his way in the world.

Who knows, you might learn a few new things about yourself along the way. That’s the mark of a truly great book. But maybe that’s just me.

Albertalli, Becky. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. New York: Balzer & Bray, 2015.

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#BookFaceFriday “Short Hair Detention”

And the Book Award goes too…

#BookFaceFriday is celebrating the Nebraska Book Award winning memoir “Short Hair Detention: Memoir of a Thirteen-Year-Old Girl Surviving the Cambodian Genocide” by Channy Chhi Laux (Archway publishing, 2017). The author, Channy Chhi Laux, will be at the 2018 Celebration of Nebraska Books on December 1st to accept her award for and sign books! You don’t want to miss it! The Celebration, free and open to the public, will feature presentations of the Nebraska Center for the Book’s Mildred Bennett Award, and Jane Geske Award, along with the 2018 Nebraska Book Award winners. There will also be a special presentation by the editors of 2018 One Book One Nebraska selection, “Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry.”

“In a moving narrative, Channy recounts the intimate details of her journey through four devastating years of the Cambodian genocide that killed more than two million of her people. From the first six months of starvation to the agonizing moments when the Khmer Rouge separated her from her parents, Channy details how she found friendship despite dire circumstances, learned to rely on her animal instincts, endured emotional pain, and found the courage to look past her misery and persevere for the sake of her mother. Through it all, Channy reminds all of us that it is possible to survive unforgiving conditions through faith in God, a fierce determination, and unwavering inner strength..”—from the book jacket

This week’s #BookFace model is the completely adorable Kayleigh Nguyen!!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Google Maps Timeline: Friend or Foe?

An app on my phone will tell me exactly what I did on February 23, 2014. Apparently I went to a restaurant from 6:05PM to 7:23PM. It took me 23 minutes to drive back home. I was home the rest of the night.

That was almost five years ago, so how do I know all this? Easy! The first app I ever downloaded was Google Maps. It has a little known feature called “Google Maps Timeline”. I never read the full terms of agreement before I hit download. I just wanted to know how to get to the restaurant.

Even when I don’t actively use the app, it still tracks my every move with decent accuracy. The history can only be accessed through the app or your Google account. But what if you lose your phone or your account gets hacked somehow?

Yet, I chose to keep the app. Let me tell you why. Google is very transparent about how to access, delete or edit history, disable the feature, and outlines their privacy policy. It’s all right here. If the phone gets lost, I can log in through my PC and disable access.

I find it useful when I’m filling out timesheets. If you’re into scrapbooking and you use Google Photos, you can set your timeline to display photos you took that day. It’s great for timestamping memories.

Long story short, every piece of technology has pros and cons. Take a good look at what you’re actually downloading when you add a new app to your phone. Just because an app has a feature available, it doesn’t mean you are required to use it. If Google Timeline makes you uncomfortable, you are free to turn it off at any time.

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Public Library Survey is Now Available

While it doesn’t seem like it should be time yet, the public library survey is now available on Bibliostat. The survey runs from today (November 5, 2018) thru February 15, 2019, and covers the 2017-2018 fiscal year (typically either July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 or October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018).

A few things of note: We are now using a new version of Bibliostat. Multiple browsers are now supported, including Chrome. This also means we have a new link to the survey. There is a training guide for the new format on our website. If you need your password, or have questions about the survey, feel free to contact me. You can also enter your e-mail in the lost password part of our website.

For those of you who may be new to the survey, or if you want a refresher, check out the upcoming NCompass Live: Public Library Survey Using Bibliostat on November 28, 2018.

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#BookFaceFriday “Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide…”

Holy Wisdom, Batman! Check out this week’s #BookFace!

Do you struggle with purchasing graphic novels for the library, or recommending them to readers? Luckily for you this week’s #BookFace has you covered with everything from super-heroes to horror. Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More” by Michael Pawuk (Libraries Unlimited, 2007) is the perfect fit for understanding all of the diverse genres. This title is part of our Library Science Collection, the collection provides professional and reference materials for Nebraska librarians and library science programs! You can check this out yourself by searching the Online Catalog,

Adding graphic novels to your library collection is a surefire way to boost circulation and build customer loyalty. But with thousands of graphic novels being published annually and no sign of a slowdown, how do you determine which graphic novels to purchase, and which to recommend to teen and adult readers? This guide is intended to help you start, update, or maintain a graphic novel collection and advise readers about the genre.

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is NLC’s Technology Librarian, Amanda Sweet  Since she was the face behind the book this week, it was only fitting to let you in a couple of her favorite graphic novel series:

Scott Pilgrim series written and illustrated by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
This six-book series is quirky and fun. Scott Pilgrim is perpetually unemployed and in a band. The characters are wonderfully drawn, in more ways than one.

Mercy Thompson series, written by Patricia Briggs & David Lawrence, illustrated by Francis Tsai. This graphic novel series is a prequel to the book series about shapeshifter coyote Mercy Thompson. This series is great whether or not you’ve read the books. She’s a strong character.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

 

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Friday Reads: The Prague Sonata, by Bradford Morrow

As a librarian and pianist, the minute I read the synopsis below for this book, I knew I had to read and listen to it.  It is both a music mystery and literary mystery rolled into one.  Bradford Morrow has done a masterful job of telling the story of not only the sonata, but of Prague’s tragic and triumphant history.  I was hooked from beginning to end, and I think you will be too!

In the early days of the 21st century, pages of a worn and weathered original sonata manuscript – the gift of a Czech immigrant living out her final days in Queens – come into the hands of Meta Taverner, a young musicologist whose concert piano career was cut short by an injury. To Meta’s eye, it appears to be an authentic 18th-century work; to her discerning ear, the music rendered there is commanding, hauntingly beautiful, clearly the undiscovered composition of a master. But there is no indication of who the composer might be. The gift comes with the caveat that Meta attempts to find the manuscript’s true owner – a Prague friend the old woman has not heard from since the Second World War forced them apart – and to make the three-part sonata whole again. Leaving New York behind for the land of Dvorák and Kafka, Meta sets out on an unforgettable search to locate the remaining movements of the sonata and uncover a story that has influenced the course of many lives, even as it becomes clear that she isn’t the only one after the music’s secrets. (Audible.com)

 

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Young Readers Invited to Write to Favorite Authors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 31, 2018

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Tessa Terry
402-471-3434
800-307-2665

Young Readers Invited to Write to Favorite Authors

Young readers in grades 4-12 are invited to write a personal letter to an author for the Letters about Literature (LAL) contest, a national reading and writing promotion program. The letter can be to any author (living or dead) from any genre-fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic-explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s view of the world. The 26th annual reflective writing competition is sponsored by the Library of Congress Center for the Book and presented in association with affiliate State Centers for the Book with funding provided by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Letters About Literature is coordinated and sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Library Commission, with support from Houchen Bindery, Ltd., Humanities Nebraska, and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.

Prizes will be awarded on both the state and national levels. The Nebraska Center for the Book’s panel of judges will select the top letter writers in the state, to be honored in a proclamation-signing ceremony at the state capitol during National Library Week in April 2019. Their winning letters will be placed in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln. Nebraska winners will receive state prizes, and then advance to the national judging.

A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one National Winner per competition level (Level I for grades 4-6, Level II for grades 7-8, and Level III for grades 9-12) to receive a $2,000 cash award, to be announced in May 2019. The judges will also select one National Honor winner on each competition level to receive a $500 cash award.

Teachers, librarians, and parents can download free teaching materials on reader response and reflective writing, along with contest details and information on the new online entry system, at www.read.gov/letters. Nebraska-specific information (including lists of Nebraska winners of past competitions) is available on the Nebraska Center for the Book website or watch the upcoming NCompass Live session on November 7, 2018. Get inspired by listening to Nebraska winners, Ashley Xiques and Sydney Kohl, read and talk about their winning letters to authors that meant something to them in their own lives, on NET Radio’s All About Books (netnebraska.org/basic-page/radio/all-about-books). Submissions must be completed online by December 14, 2018. For more information contact Tessa Terry, 402-471-3434 or 800-307-2665.

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, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases .

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What’s Sally Reading?

Teens Top Ten

Recently the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a section of the American Library Association (ALA) announced this year’s Teens Top Ten.  The titles are voted on by teens across the country from a list created by 15 designated teen groups in the U.S.  The 2018 Teens’ Top Ten PDF with annotations.

The list of 25 titles the teens chose from is also available.  Additionally, any reader from age 12 to 18 can nominate a title to be considered for the list by going to the nomination form.

You can learn more about the Teens Top Ten by visiting YALSA’s website for it.

One of the Top Ten I have read that is intriguing and complicated (in a good way) is Warcross by Marie Lu.  Emika Chen (18) is one of the millions of players who log into Warcross every day. The virtual reality game began 10 years ago, and now it has become a way of life. Emika, a top coder and bounty hunter, is not your average Warcross player. Desperate for money to pay her bills, she risks everything by hacking into the Warcross championships, but instead she glitches herself into the game and everyone sees her true identity. Emika believes she will be arrested, but instead the game’s creator has other plans. Billionaire Hideo Tanaka decides to pay off Emika’s debt and offer her a job. Will Emika accept the bounty job and help uncover a sinister plot against the Warcross game and its players? Action-packed science fiction novel that will keep you guessing until the very end!  Plus the sequel, Wildcard, came out in September (I haven’t read it yet).

(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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“This Blessed Earth” Chosen as 2019 One Book One Nebraska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 29, 2018

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Tessa Terry
402-471-3434
800-307-2665

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm
Chosen as 2019 One Book One Nebraska

People across Nebraska are encouraged to read the work of a fourth-generation Nebraskan —and then talk about it with their friends and neighbors. This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm (W. W. Norton & Company, 2017) by Ted Genoways is the joint 2019 One Book One Nebraska and All Iowa Reads selection.

This Blessed Earth asks the question, is there still a place for the farm in today’s America? The family farm lies at the heart of our national identity, yet its future is in peril. Far from an isolated refuge beyond the reach of global events, the family farm is increasingly at the crossroads of emerging technologies and international detente. Ted Genoways explores this rapidly changing landscape of small, traditional farming operations, mapping as it unfolds day to day.

For forty years, Rick Hammond has raised cattle and crops on his wife’s fifth-generation farm. But as he prepares to hand off the operation to his daughter Meghan and her husband Kyle, their entire way of life is under siege. Confronted by rising corporate ownership, encroaching pipelines, groundwater depletion, climate change, and shifting trade policies, small farmers are often caught in the middle and fighting just to preserve their way of life. Following the Hammonds from harvest to harvest, This Blessed Earth is both a history of American agriculture and a portrait of one family’s struggle to hold on to their legacy.

Libraries across Nebraska will join other literary and cultural organizations in planning book discussions, activities, and events that will encourage Nebraskans to read and discuss this book. Support materials to assist with local reading/discussion activities will be available after January 1, 2019 at http://onebook.nebraska.gov. Updates and activity listings will be posted on the One Book One Nebraska Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/onebookonenebraska.

2019 will mark the fifteenth year of the One Book One Nebraska reading program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book. It encourages Nebraskans across the state to read and discuss one book, chosen from books written by Nebraska authors or that have a Nebraska theme or setting.

One Book One Nebraska is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission. The Nebraska Center for the Book brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at and supported by the Nebraska Library Commission.

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

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

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Friday Reads: Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

Who knew Tom Hanks was an author? Even though his writing has appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, my introduction came through his book entitled Uncommon Type: Some Stories – a collection of seventeen short stories written (and read in the audio form) by Tom Hanks. This review is specific to the audio version and each short story revealed itself to me as a brief movie performed by Hanks. Tom’s narrative is visual and I saw characters and entire sets because his voice is so closely associated to the medium of film. Interestingly, when one of his stories intersected with subject matter Hanks had previously portrayed in a movie (space travel for example), I could not help but think of that particular corresponding movie and this was not an interrupter, but an enhancement. This book was enjoyable if only for the sake of having Tom’s voice in my ear. Just like listening to Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Tina Fey, or Carol Burnett read their own work, it is the quality, comfort, and familiarity of the voice that adds pleasure to the text.

Some stories were more enjoyable than others were and the ones that I really enjoyed have stayed with me. Hank’s first story is about two best friends from elementary school who turn their life-long friendship into a romance against their friend’s advice. The second is about a WWII veteran who makes an annual Christmas Eve call to his friend who saved his life in battle on Christmas Eve not so many years ago. Another story is about a newly divorced  woman with clairvoyant skills who moves with her three children to Green Street. The acceptance she feels from her new neighbors helps her embrace her new life. I am typically not very excited about a collection of short stories, but I very much enjoyed my time with these.

Hanks, Tom. Uncommon Type: Some Stories. New York: Knopf. 2017

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