Category Archives: General

Friday Reads: “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudofo Anaya

I became motivated to reread this book when I looked at the booklist for The Great American Read program and realized that it had been about forty years since I first encountered this classic “Coming of Age” story.

With Bless Me, Ultima (1972), the first in a trilogy (followed by the publication of Heart of Aztlan in 1976 and Tortuga in 1979), Anaya follows six-year-old Antonio on his growing-up journey and spins the story by revealing dreams and reality—and blurring the fine line between them from time to time. Anaya says he does not seek characters—they just come to him. So it is with Ultima. Anaya says she appeared in the doorway while he was writing and assured him that the story will not work unless he put her in it. Ultima is a pivotal character in the story. She is a curandera—a healer and teacher, and she guides Antonio gently without prescribing exact choices to make or solutions to problems.

From the first dream sequence to the last (you’ll recognize them, they are in italics), it is clear that Antonio was born to struggle and that his path is marked by having his feet in two different worlds. Throughout the book, he is faced with tests. Some are common tests of childhood, like how to overcome the loneliness of feeling different. Others are extremely unusual and painful tests for a young person to endure and learn from. I feel like this book has resonated with so many readers because even though we may live in different worlds, many of us can really relate to his experience. Are we all on the same journey as Antonio? Struggling to understand good and evil around (and within) us? But are some of us especially lost with no guides or curanderas to show us the way?

The setting and characters ring true to me. The book mirrors my experience in small towns in New Mexico right down to my best friend Lenora’s grandmother—who might very well be the model for Antonio’s mother—speaking only Spanish, warning us against straying to the city (too late—we were already on our way to LA), and feeding us the most heavenly comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The story is told in flat-out beautiful writing, and unless you read the book, you’ll just have to take my word for it that this book has one of the best first paragraphs ever! So I’d suggest you (and your book group) find out for yourselves. This #FridayReads feature is available as a Book Club kit from the Nebraska Library Commission at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

The Great American Read is an eight-part PBS series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, in the context of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen through a national survey). It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience. Voting for America’s favorite book opened with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode on May 22 and continues throughout the summer, leading up to the grand finale “favorite” announcement in October 2018. Viewers can vote at pbs.org/greatamericanread and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter using #GreatReadPBS. I think I might be voting for Bless Me Ultima. Which book will you vote for?

Review by Mary Jo Ryan.

#fridayreads

#GreatReadPBS

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Nebraska Librarians Urged to Explore 2018: Libraries Ready to Code Materials

The American Library Association’s Libraries Ready to Code initiative, sponsored by Google, released the beta version of the Ready to Code Collection at the 2018 Annual Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, today, June 22.

The Libraries Ready to Code Collection is a cache of resources developed, tested, and curated by libraries, for libraries to create, implement, and enhance their computer science (CS) programming for youth. In the nine months since Libraries Ready to Code announced the 28 grantee libraries participating in the project, the cohort has piloted a range of programs:

  • Middle school library and technology staff working with local nonprofits to identify needs of local businesses and nonprofits and enabling young library users to fill those needs through applied coding projects.
  • A high school librarian collaborating with a local music mentorship program to teach youth in special education classes how to code music with assistive technology.
  • Public librarians in a rural community teaching coding languages to help youth engineer and operate a FarmBot robotic gardener.
  • Elementary school librarians leading 4th–8th-grade students through an interest-based coding club and helping students to develop their own workshops showcasing their skills as coding mentors to K–3rd graders.

Learning from these programs are presented in a comprehensive guide to enable library professionals to cultivate their young patrons’ computational thinking (CT) literacies—their ability to solve complex problems through a step-by-step analytical process. Everything on the Libraries #ReadytoCode site is a test run and feedback from librarians will ensure that when the full site is launched in fall 2018 it will meet the needs of library staff working for and with youth and families.

#ReadyToCode

 

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#BookFaceFriday “Unbridled Dreams”

This #BookFace isn’t our first rodeo!

Unbridled Dreams BookFaceFridaySet in Nebraska against the background of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Exhibition, and written by a Nebraska author “Unbridled Dreams” by Stephanie Grace Whitson (Bethany House, 2008) is one of our most popular book club kits. We’ve been wanting to use this book for a while now, but it is almost always checked out. Take a wild west adventure with seventeen year old Irma, as she pursues her dreams even if they go against her mother’s wishes. If I were you, I’d add this Nebraska title to your book club list today!

Set against the backdrop of the Wild West Exhibition, Unbridled Dreams is an unusual novel whose characters stayed with me long after I closed the book.” –Historical Novel Society

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Library Technology Specialist, Holly Woldt!

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 “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”

“Deep in the heart of Summer, sweet is life to me still,
But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.”

"The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers

I just love the title of this week’s #BookFace! Before I had even known what it was about, that title made me want to read it. It shouldn’t surprise you that it was taken from a poem: “The Lonely Hunter” by William Sharp. “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers (Demco Media, 2004) First published in 1940, McCullers loosely based the young heroine, “Mick”, off of herself and her childhood in the south. With descriptions like “Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition,” and “spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated… to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty ” how can you not want to read it? As a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection this is a must read for any book club!

When one puts [this book] down, it is with . . . a feeling of having been nourished by the truth.” –May Sarton

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our new Government Information Services intern, Samantha Alvarez. She’s a recent graduate from Lincoln Southeast High School with plans to attend Hastings College this fall. Samantha’s choice to major in Library Science is based on her love of reading and desire to be surrounded by books. Here at the Commission she’ll be scanning and shelving our collection of federal and state documents.

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: Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

All 5-year-old Mike wanted from life was to go to Disney World. One day, his dad packed him in the car, drove him to an abandoned shipyard, and told him that The Happiest Place on Earth must have closed. That was the day that ol’ Mike Muñoz realizes that life will be a constant disappointment, and just when you think you’re going to get what you want, it will all be taken away.

Today, Mike is a 22-year-old landscaper (although he prefers the title “topiary artist” for his skills with the hedge-trimmers). He still lives with his mom and his developmentally disabled brother, their dad long gone to parts unknown. He drives a junky car, always one step away from engine failure, and still hangs out with his high school buddy, neither of them with any romantic prospects on the horizon.

When Mike loses his landscaping job for refusing to pick up dog poo, he is determined to do whatever it takes to break free of his hand-to-mouth existence and chase the American Dream, perhaps writing “the great American landscaping novel” along the way. And so begins a series of unfortunate events that will be all too familiar to anyone who has ever tried to escape from the cycle of poverty that holds down a good portion of our society. Though angry and resentful about his lot in life, Mike keeps his sense of humor, even as “The Man” takes everything else away.

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Nominate Books Before June 30 for the 2018 Nebraska Book Awards

There’s still time to nominate the next Nebraska Book Award winner! Have you read any good Nebraska books lately? If you have, you can nominate them for a book award. The 2018 Nebraska Book Awards program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB) and Nebraska Library Commission, will recognize and honor books that are written by Nebraska authors, published by Nebraska publishers, set in Nebraska, or relate to Nebraska.

Books published in 2017, as indicated by the copyright date, are eligible for nomination. They must be professionally published, have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), and be bound. Books may be entered in one or more of the following categories: Nonfiction, Fiction, Children/Young Adult, Cover/Design/Illustration,  and Poetry. Certificates will be awarded to the winners in each category. Award winners will be presented at the Fall 2018 Nebraska Center for the Book’s Celebration of Nebraska Books and Annual Meeting in Lincoln.

The entry fee is $40 per book and per category entered. Deadline for entries is June 30, 2018. For more information, including entry forms, see http://www.centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards/nebookawards.html or contact Mary Jo Ryan, 402-471-2045, 800-307-2665, for print information. Enter by sending the entry form (http://www.centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/docs/BookAwardsEntry2018.pdf), three copies of the book, and the entry fee to NCB Book Awards Competition, Nebraska Library Commission, The Atrium, 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023.

The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the Nebraska Library Commission. As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, bringing together people and information.

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NLC Staff: Jerry Breazile

Meet NLC’s Business Manager, Jerry Breazile

(pronounced Brazil), he joined the Nebraska Jerry Breazile Library Commission staff as the Business Manager in 2014. Jerry was born in Nebraska City and raised in Auburn, Nebraska. As a young boy, Jerry built his own Newtonian reflector telescope and once thought of majoring in astronomy until he learned there would be a dearth of jobs in that field. After graduating from Auburn High School, Jerry attended one year of college at Peru State and worked at Hinky Dinky to pay for tuition. However, as a newly married person the need to a be a provider outweighed the need for school, so Jerry began working full time at the grocery store and ceased his student life.

After ten years at Hinky Dinky, the union was “busted” and Jerry lost his job. He subsequently went to work driving a forklift at a metal fabrication plant to make ends meet. While Jerry was reconsidering his life choices, his sister-in-law encouraged him to return to school and fund his education using something called “student loans.” He re-enrolled at Peru State College and, during this course of study, worked towards degrees in Economic Development and Business Management; at the time, PSC was one of only three schools in the country that offered a bachelor’s degree in E.D.  An influential professor (and retired business developer) named Robert Shively helped Jerry apply for and receive scholarships and introduced him to faculty. In his senior year, Jerry was hired as a Staff Assistant to the V.P. of Administration and Finance for Peru State College.

Jerry graduated with his degrees and was promoted to Assistant to the President under Dr. Robert Burns. He later became the Director of the Nebraska Business Development Center at PSC, helping over 200 companies apply for business loans in the seven years of his tenure. Federal funding for SBA was discontinued so Jerry next worked as Assistant Materiel Manager for Armstrong Cabinets in Auburn.

Jerry left Armstrong after a few months to work a grant funded position as an economic developer at ESU 5 in Beatrice for a year until the funding source ended. During his subsequent six or seven months of unemployment, Jerry wrote two novels and signed with a literary agency in New York; unfortunately, his agent insisted that he reduce his first novel from 200,000 words to 80,000, and Jerry had a snit and ended his contract with the agency. The novels remain on a flash drive, waiting to be properly edited. Jerry eventually found employment at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution and was there for three months as a unit case worker before becoming Business Manager at the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center in Lincoln. During his time at DEC, Jerry received his Master’s Degree in Organizational Management through tuition assistance from the state of Nebraska. Jerry’s next position was at the Nebraska Library Commission.

Jerry has eclectic reading tastes but enjoys the classics and history. He says he wishes he had more time to read fiction. If Jerry were to switch jobs, he would be interested in returning to a career in college administration. If he won the lottery and no longer needed to work, he would travel extensively– first to Ireland.  Jerry is married to Teresa and together they have four children: Melissa, Trent, Charlotte, and Nicole. The best things about living in Nebraska are the four seasons, the tradition of firing college football coaches, and the equal distance to both coasts.

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#BookFaceFriday “Last Night in the OR”

I need a 100 cc’s of teddy bear stuffing, STAT!

Just kidding. Unlike this week’s #BookFace author, we didn’t actually need to do any doctoring for this week’s photo. “Last Night in the OR: A Transplant Surgeon’s Odyssey” by Bud Shaw, MD (Plume, 2015) is the fascinating memoir of retired surgeon, Bud Shaw. It follows his journey in medicine, more specifically, the revolution in the field of liver transplantation.  This Nebraska author tells us stories from his days in medical school to opening a world renowned transplant center in Omaha. As a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection this memoir is a perfect non-fiction choice for your book club’s next read!

Shaw’s lean prose offers insights into medical professionals’ private perspectives as well as a sobering sense of human fragility and the scientific strides taken to counter it. A bracing, unusual personal narrative that should appeal to aspiring physicians as well as to those considering the “big questions” around high-risk surgery.”—Kirkus

This week’s #BookFace model is our Computer Services Director, Vern Buis. He may not perform surgery on humans or teddy bears, but he always diagnoses and cures our sick computers.

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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Is Your Library the Best Small Library in America?

Calling all libraries serving communities of 25,000 or less! Library Journal is now accepting applications for the Best Small Library in America Award, made possible by sustaining sponsor Baker & Taylor. The deadline to nominate your library is July 2.

This is an amazing opportunity to show off your great rural or small library. Anyone can nominate a library – the library administration itself, patrons, members of the community, library peers, etc.

The winning library will receive a $5,000 cash award, and two finalist libraries will be awarded $1,000 each – thanks to Baker & Taylor. All three will be featured in the September 15, 2018 issue of Library Journal and online.

The winner will also be highlighted at the 2018 Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference, Sept. 13-15 in Springfield, IL, and, thanks to support from ARSL, will receive a scholarship to attend and the opportunity to speak there.

Nominate your favorite Nebraska library today! Learn more about the guidelines and submit your nomination on the Best Small Library in America Award website.

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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 May 2018.  Included are reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies: Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Board of Barber Examiners,  Nebraska Department of Education, Nebraska Public Power District, Nebraska State Electrical Division, and new books from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

All 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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#BookFaceFriday “Big Girl Panties”

#BookFaceFriday is in full bloom this week!

This week’s #BookFace was almost serendipitous. It all came together when one of our staff members received flowers for her birthday. We snagged her, and the beautiful bouquet for “Big Girl Panties” by Stephanie Evanovich (Avon, 2014). A quirky, romantic story of finding love and oneself again after loss. This perfect summer beach read is part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection! Make it your next book club selection today!

“Evanovich’s incredibly entertaining debut mesmerizes with wit, heart, and intelligence . . . Quality writing, memorable characters, and an emotionally satisfying story add up to a marvelous gem.” –Publishers Weekly 

This week’s #BookFace model is Linda Babcock, our Library Development Services Staff Assistant. P.S. Happy Birthday, Linda!

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: I Am Gandhi: A Graphic Biography of a Hero by Brad Meltzer

As graphic novels have gained popularity and recognition as legitimate reading, authors and illustrators continue to expand into other areas.  Although nonfiction told in graphic novel format has been around for quite some time, it seems in recent years more opportunities have been taken.  Well-known nonfiction writer, Brad Meltzer, has created a slim volume the publisher is calling a graphic biography.

I Am Gandhi is illustrated by 25 artists, with the variety of art strengthening this excellent biography of an outstanding man.  Meltzer tells of his childhood in India, his time spent in London and South Africa, and mentions a particular picture book that influenced his life.  It is written as if Gandhi himself is telling of his life to a small group of children.  How he developed his non-violent approach, what existing ideas influenced him in its development, and how he and others put it into practice are all included.

This title is a good introduction to Gandhi, his life and beliefs.  It may guide readers to look for more in-depth information about him.  The timeline, quotes, and photos at the back of the book add to his story.

Librarians may see the title and author and think of his series of biographies for much younger readers, also titled “Ordinary People Change the World.”  This younger series is aimed at kindergarten through grade 3 and gives a much briefer look at a number of amazing people.

Meltzer, Brad. I Am Gandhi: A Graphic Biography of a Hero. , 2018. Print.
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Treasurer Stenberg, Library Commission Announce 5th annual Read to Win $529 Drawing in Nebraska Libraries

Fifteen Readers to Each Receive $529 NEST Accounts in Random Drawing

Kearney, Neb. (May 24, 2018) – Summer readers at participating Nebraska libraries will have an opportunity to win a $529 college savings account from the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST 529) in the Read to Win $529 Drawing, Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg said today.

Stenberg, who is Trustee of NEST, announced the fifth annual Read to Win $529 drawing at a news conference at the Kearney Public Library during the library’s summer reading kickoff. With Stenberg to announce the drawing was Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services at the Nebraska Library Commission.

Stenberg encouraged all Nebraska libraries to participate. Information is available on the Nebraska Library Commission website at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/youth/summerreading/scholarshipdrawing.aspx.

Matthew Williams, Director of the Kearney library, and Shawntel Daniell, Universal Banker with First National Bank, Main Bank, Kearney, also spoke.

Fifteen summer readers between the ages of 3 and 18 will be selected in a random drawing to win a $529 contribution each to a NEST 529 College Savings account. Five winners will be selected from each of Nebraska’s three congressional districts. Children and teens may participate in the Read to Win $529 drawing, provided they have completed their local libraries’ requirements for the summer reading program and have registered through their local libraries before August 22.

Winners will be announced in late September and recognized in a ceremony at the Capitol in October. More than 13,000 were entered in last year’s drawing. Each winner’s library branch will receive $250 from NEST.

“We are happy to announce the fifth annual NEST Read to Win $529 drawing, and we want to encourage children and teens to participate. It’s easy to sign up, and you might just be one of the lucky winners,” Stenberg said.

“We know children and teens have enjoyed summer reading programs at their local libraries for years without monetary incentives. The NEST 529 Read to Win drawing is an ideal opportunity to emphasize the connection between reading and learning and to help young readers plan for higher education. Maybe we will plant a seed for their future educational endeavors and a greater awareness of the benefits of saving through our Nebraska Educational Savings Trust,” Stenberg said.

“Reading is a passion of mine; every chance I get, I am reading a book,” said Shawntel Daniell from First National. “The ability to help students and their families save for their educational futures with opportunities such as the NEST Read to Win scholarship is something all of us at First National Bank are passionate about.”

Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner, who could not attend the news conference, issued the following statement: “NEST Read to Win $529 is an excellent incentive for Nebraska Summer Reading Program participants and a great way to bring awareness to Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans. Young readers become lifelong learners and will benefit from college savings plans when they advance to higher education.

“Nebraska public libraries’ summer reading programs are great opportunities for children and teens to take time to enjoy reading while maintaining and improving reading skills. They can also enjoy the activities that are part of this summer’s Libraries Rock program. We thank State Treasurer Stenberg and First National Bank for the college savings drawing for Nebraska Summer Reading Program participants.”

For scholarship contest rules, visit www.NEST529.com and click on Grow. Select Scholarships & Rewards. Contest rules also are available at https://treasurer.nebraska.gov/csp/scholarships.

For more information on the Nebraska Summer Reading Program visit the Nebraska Library Commission’s website at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/youth/summerreading/ or contact a local library.

To find out more about NEST College Savings Plans, visit www.NEST529.com or treasurer.nebraska.gov.

About Nebraska Library Commission

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

About NEST

NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 254,000 accounts, including 80,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.

About First National Bank of Omaha

First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska and its affiliates have more than $21 billion in assets and 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.

Investments Are Not FDIC Insured* · No Bank, State or Federal Guarantee · May Lose Value
*Except the Bank Savings Individual Investment Option

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speakers at the news conference gather after the event. From left, Shawntel Daniell, First National Bank; Sally Snyder, Nebraska Library Commission; Treasurer Stenberg; and Matthew Williams, Kearney Public Library Director.

 

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Friday Reads: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Sometimes a book in your read-me-next list jumps to the front of the pack. I read the news reports like everyone else, a month ago, April 25, 2018—the Golden State Killer had finally been arrested. Over thirty years since his last likely murder, authorities arrested a suspect, 72-year-old Sacramento resident Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer, based on DNA evidence. I thought to myself: it’s time to read that book by Michelle McNamara, before I read anything else.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer chronicles McNamara’s tireless research into the then-cold case of the serial killer (and rapist and burglar) that she dubbed the Golden State Killer, a moniker now solidified by recent media attention. While I’m not a true-crime buff, I am a lover of research and storytelling and problem-solving, and McNamara’s journey is thoughtfully told, somehow incredibly informative without ever being lurid or sensational. She never exploits or re-victimizes the people who had the misfortune to experience the mystifying, seemingly random violence of the Golden State Killer. The events in the book are not detailed chronologically from the Killer’s perspective, either, which would be more expected. This structure of the presentation of events seems to de-center and deflate the Killer, which is poetic, considering his need for control. Truly, this book is not really about him.

We read about his crimes in different geographic areas of law enforcement, between 1974 and 1986, and how different agencies put together that the crimes in their area might be committed by one offender. And then, occurring much later, we read how investigators realized how all these offenders (the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, the Visalia Ransacker, etc.) might be one extremely prolific criminal, that we now know as the Golden State Killer. McNamara details the protocols of investigations, and how they were changing, especially related to DNA collection and testing. She also did copious research herself, and interviews other researchers, amateur and professional, for a fascinating look into the minds of those who try to solve crimes.

McNamara died before she could complete the book. I didn’t know much about her or her writing career before she died. I was familiar with the work of her husband, Patton Oswalt, having enjoyed reading his books and watching his stand-up routines. McNamara was well-known in true crime circles for her blog TrueCrimeDiary, which focused on—you guessed it—true crime and cold cases, an interest she had ever since the unsolved murder of a teenager in her neighborhood as a child. When she died unexpectedly in 2016, McNamara had mostly completed the book, and had written many articles about the case and made extensive notes. The book was completed, faithful to its original intent, by a true crime writer she had worked with previously (Paul Haynes) and Oswalt. The editors have made it very clear what was written by her, what was transcribed from her notes and recordings, what was adapted from her published articles, and so on.

The book was released in February 2018, and it was the story of its posthumous publication that attracted me to it at first. Then HBO purchased the rights, and I was even more interested. And you already know what happened on April 25, 2018.

The title sounds like an odd choice, but when you read the chapter it comes from—a letter McNamara wrote to the Killer, about his eventual capture that she was certain would occur, written long before April 25,, 2018—you’ll understand why it was chosen for the title.

Of interest to library workers: using WorldCat as a research tool, on p 269, in a chapter called “The One.” In this engrossing chapter, we read about the “one” suspect on which various investigators each fixated, how they were each sure they had finally figured out who their suspect was, and then how all the different “ones” were ruled out. (Sidney, Nebraska is also mentioned on p 269—but don’t worry, just read the chapter.)

Also of interest to Nebraskans: the epigraph is a poem by Weldon Kees, “Crime Club.” It helps set an eerie tone for a book as much about the people solving a crime as it is about crime or a criminal. Sure, after you finish the book, you’ll probably want to dive into the news reports about Joseph James DeAngelo. (There’s plenty to read about him already, and more will come out when we get closer to a trial.)

But you might also take a little time to appreciate Weldon Kees. And look into the mystery of his disappearance, if you choose. Or just enjoy some of his poetry.

McNamara, Michelle. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. , 2018. Print.
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#BookFaceFriday “The Sky Always Hears Me”

This week’s #BookFaceFriday has us dreaming of blue skies, as far as the eye can see.

“The more one knows, the less one believes”- New Chopstix, Lincoln

This week’s #BookFace selection is all about growing up in a small town & fortune cookie wisdom. I like to think it’s about my own small town, where nothing especially exciting ever happens and yet somehow, high school is still full of drama. Just like Central Nowhere, the setting of this week’s selection, by Nebraska author Kirstin Cronn-Mills, “The Sky Always Hears Me: And the Hills Don’t Mind” (Flux, 2009). The perfect coming of age YA novel for a summer book club read. And since this book is in our NLC Book Club Kit collection, it should definitely be on your TBR list!

Written with candor and splashes of humor…this provocative story captures the essence of adolescent ennui and uncertainty through an uncensored first-person narrative. Stubborn, quick-witted and determined to make her dreams come true, Morgan will draw sympathy from readers.“–Publishers Weekly

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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‘Choose Your Days’ by Paula Wallace to Represent Nebraska at National Book Festival

A children’s picture book that encourages us all to remember that we hold the key to our days will represent Nebraska at the 2018 National Book Festival. The Nebraska Center for the Book selected Choose Your Days by Paula Wallace (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016) as the state’s selection for the National Book Festival’s “Discover Great Places through Reading” brochure and map. Each state selects one book about the state, or by an author from the state, that is a good read for children or young adults. The brochure and map will be distributed at the September 1 Festival in Washington DC and will be featured in the “Great Reads about Great Places” links on the websites of both the national and Nebraska centers for the book.

This book, written and illustrated by Omaha artist Paula Wallace, tells an engaging story of a child learning to live her dreams to the fullest. The bright and whimsical illustrations sweep the reader along through the story and help deliver a powerful message about love and loss. Nebraska’s “Great Reads about Great Places” book is chosen from the previous year’s Nebraska Book Award winners and this book was awarded the 2017 Nebraska Book Award in the Children’s Picture Book category. Entries for the 2018 Nebraska Book Awards will be accepted until June 30—see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards/nebookawards.html.

The National Book Festival will feature presentations by award-winning authors, poets, and illustrators at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Festival attendees can meet their favorite authors, get books signed, have photos taken with mascots and storybook characters, and participate in a variety of learning activities. States will staff exhibit booths to promote reading, library programs, and literary events. Find out more about the 2018 National Book Festival (including a list of featured authors) at http://www.loc.gov/bookfest.

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

As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, bringing together people and information.
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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

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Throwback Thursday: United States Liberty Bell Train

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories.

With Memorial Day just around the corner, we thought this photograph would be a good way to start the weekend. This 5 X 7, black and white photograph, is a shot of the Liberty Bell on tour through the United States. The photo depicts the bell on a railroad car flanked by two American flags with several military personnel and officials around it. It also shows the crowd of onlookers that came to see the bell. The train stopped in McCook, in July, 1909. The Liberty Bell crossed the country on a number of train journeys to be displayed at special events. This ended in the 1930s when it was determined to be too unsafe to move the bell from place to place.

This photograph was provided and is owned by the High Plains Historical Society. The High Plains Historical Society and Museum and the McCook Public Library worked in partnership to digitize photographic images from the historical society’s collection. These images document early growth of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in McCook, Nebraska, and the surrounding area. The collection spans a time period from the early 1880s through the 1960s.

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 http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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Save the Date for Fall Book Celebrations

Nebraska books and writers will be featured and celebrated at two events in Lincoln, so save the dates for the Nebraska Book Festival on August 25, 2018 and Celebration of Nebraska Books on October 27, 2018. These two events will highlight work by Nebraska writers and publishers, featuring stories and poetry set in Nebraska.

The August 25 Nebraska Book Festival will be held at the University of Nebraska City Campus Union from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. It will feature author appearances, book signings, exhibitors, booksellers, poetry readings, and hands-on family activities. Authors include Janice Harrington, Stew Magnuson, Brandon Vogel, Melissa Fraterrigo, Jeff Kurrus, and Michael Forsberg. An opening reception on Friday evening and a closing reception on Sunday afternoon will be held at the Center for Great Plains Studies to highlight new Nebraska books. The Festival is sponsored by University of Nebraska Press, Nebraska Library Commission, Nebraska Center for the Book, Lincoln City Libraries, Humanities Nebraska, Union Bank, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism & Mass Communications, Friends of University of Nebraska Press, Nebraska Writers Guild, and Concierge Marketing and Publishing Services. More information about the Festival is available at http://bookfestival.nebraska.gov/2018/index.aspx.

The October 27 Celebration of Nebraska Books will be held at the Nebraska History Museum, 131 Centennial Mall North. The winners of the 2018 Nebraska Book Awards—Nebraska’s prestigious awards for literacy, writing, and publishing—will read from their winning books and sign copies of the books. Nominate books for the Nebraska Book Awards at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards/nebookawards.html. The Celebration will also feature poetry readings in honor of the 2018 One Book One Nebraska book selection, Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry (The Backwaters Press, 2007) edited by Greg Kosmicki and Mary K. Stillwell.

Awards will be presented to supporters of Nebraska writing. The Mildred Bennett Award will recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to fostering the literary tradition in Nebraska, reminding us of the literary and intellectual traditions that enrich our lives and mold our world. The Jane Geske Award will be presented to a Nebraska organization for exceptional contribution to literacy, books, reading, libraries, or literature in Nebraska. It commemorates Geske’s passion for books, and was established in recognition of her contributions to the well-being of Nebraska libraries. Nomination forms are available at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/nominationforms.html.

The Nebraska Cen­ter for the Book An­nual Meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m.—just prior to the Celebration of Nebraska Books. An Awards Reception honoring the winners, book signings, and announcement of the 2019 One Book One Nebraska book choice will conclude the festivities. The 2018 Celebration of Nebraska Books is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB), Nebraska Library Commis­sion, and History Nebraska—with Humanities Nebraska supporting the One Book One Nebraska presentation. For more information see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/celebration.html and https://www.facebook.com/NebraskaCenterfortheBook.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Language of Flowers”

Those April showers have finally brought us some May flowers in this week’s #BookFaceFriday!

We’ve got spring fever this week at the NLC, so we thought this flowery #BookFace would be just perfect. I can practically smell the lilacs in this picture from my desk. This week’s selection isThe Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Ballantine Books, 2012) would be a great choice for your next read. This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, put this New York Times bestseller on your to read list today!

A captivating novel in which a single sprig of rosemary speaks louder than words . . . The Language of Flowers deftly weaves the sweetness of newfound love with the heartache of past mistakes. . . . [It] will certainly change how you choose your next bouquet.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

This week’s #BookFace model is the adorable Margot!

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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Throwback Thursday: Florence School Bus

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories.

As children all over Nebraska are finishing up the school year we thought this throwback to 1931 was perfect. School buses have changed a little in the last 87 years.

This photograph was taken in front of the old Florence Elementary School at 8516 N. 31st Street by Dorothy Edwards, a teacher at the school. The Florence School bus was owned and driven by Sam Smith, shown standing just inside the door at the front of the wagon. The boy in the center carrying a book is Sammy Smith Jr., son of the driver. The tall boy on the far right, also carrying a book, is Billy Gale. His sister, Vivian Gale (Gast) is the curly-haired girl in the back row. Mrs. Gast stated that she and her brother had red hair. Mrs. Gast also stated the bus was painted a dark green with red trim; the door was yellow. The street where this picture was taken is still unpaved. The old Florence school was closed and torn down in the mid 1960s. It was replaced by the current Florence Elementary on N. 36th Street.

Historical materials relating directly to the Omaha Public Schools have been located in various departments and school buildings. Many schools still maintain their own collections. In 2003, staff from the Educational Research Library / Library Services received a small grant to begin collecting and organizing these materials in a central location. This group of pictures and their accompanying stories is but a tiny part of the District’s over 150 year history.

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 http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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