Category Archives: General

Talking Book and Braille Service Open by Appointment Monday July 6th

Long-time no see!  Starting July 6th, Nebraska Talking Book and Braille Service will begin allowing patrons entrance to our library by appointment.  Since the pandemic is still very much a reality, our staff is still socially distancing and we are therefore continuing to have only one Readers Advisor at the desk at a time. 

If you are going to be in downtown Lincoln and would like to come pick-up your books in person, give us a call ahead of time and we will get your order ready to go.  When you come in at your appointed time, we will have a table to the left of the main doors for pick-ups and drop-offs so that we can all social distance, and so that our staff can sanitize the space for everyone’s safety!

Additionally, we would all appreciate the use of masks and hand sanitizer when you come in and that you remain six feet apart from your friendly librarian!  Bathrooms and drinking fountains will not be open to our guests at this time, so please plan accordingly.  We ask that you not loiter after your order pick-up to provide the space we need to sanitize after your visit. Lastly, please be aware that if you are more than fifteen-minutes late for your scheduled appointment, you will have to reschedule. 

We look forward to seeing your friendly faces and providing you with books.  Thank you for your patience as we get through this difficult time. 

Readers Services Division, Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service

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Open by Appointment beginning Monday July 6th

Beginning Monday July 6th, the Nebraska Library Commission will be open by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling 402/471-2045,  800/307-2665, or emailing nlc.ask@nebraska.gov.  Staff will be wearing masks to protect you, and we ask that you wear a mask to protect staff. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided.  Use of hand sanitizer is required of all visitors upon entry.  Public restrooms and water fountains will be unavailable to visitors so please plan accordingly.  All pickups and drop offs can be transacted at a designated table near the front door.

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Friday Reads: The Bartender’s Tale by Ivan Doig

I read this novel for my book club and was grateful to have discovered the Montana author, Ivan Doig, who unfortunately died in 2015. The Bartender’s Tale is a slow and pleasant read. It has the pace of a nice morning walk through a small rural Montana community where everyone knows your business.

The book takes place in 1960 and begins with Tom Harry, the owner of a well-worn bar called The Medicine Lodge as he drives to his sister’s home in Arizona to reclaim his 12-year-old son Rusty.  The atypical single father and son forge a new life together based largely in and around the bar. At The Medicine Lodge, life-long lessons in treating people right are more than just good business practice. Tom is something of a local ombudsman in every way but by election. 


Rusty knows that his mother and father split the blanket shortly after he was born but nothing much beyond that.  Rusty befriends Zoe, the daughter of the couple who own The Spot – an average eatery down the street – who is also new to town. Their jokes, laughs, and shtick are typical of kids coming of age. Their favorite thing to do is to listen to conversations through the vent in the back room of the bar; an activity that provides a curriculum of adult vocabulary and sex education.


When Del Robertson shows up with a grant-funded project through the Library of Congress to record people’s stories, there is a shift of focus for Tom and Rusty. They assist Del in helping persuade often-unwilling volunteers agree to participate. Then, another disruption named Proxy (a nickname for her hair color) arrives in a red Cadillac with her moody 21-year-old daughter in tow. Proxy has a past with Tom, from another bar named The Blue Eagle, and everyone seems to know that these still waters run deep. 

This was a book I was sad to finish. Despite Doig’s death, I’m grateful to know that he completed 12 books in this series. Even though this book is 10th in the series, this book worked quite well on its own.

Doig, Ivan. The Bartender’s Tale. Riverhead Books, 2012

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#BookFaceFriday “Gardening in Miniature” by Janit Calvo

Enjoy the little things with #BookFaceFriday!

Get your green thumbs ready for this week’s #BookFace. Check out “Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World” by Janit Calvo (Timber Press, 2013) it’s available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in eBook format. 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time due to the pandemic or Black Lives Matter.

If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

Miniature Gardening is a magical option for the gardener with limited yard space. This book will position well anyone who wants to begin creating a little world filled with happy growing things.” —Publishers Weekly

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

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Throwback Thursday: Baton Twirlers

All smiles for this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

This 3-5/8″ x 4-3/4″ black and white acetate negative shows five baton twirlers leading a parade in Columbus, Nebraska in 1939. This image is published and owned by The Durham Museum.

If you like history, check out the Nebraska Memories archive. It 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. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission.

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#BookFace & Friday Reads: “Lovely War” by Julie Berry

I first picked up this book because I was drawn to the cover art and soft, muted color scheme, but also because I’m a sucker for historical fiction. I expected a straight forward period romance, boy meets girl, boy goes to war, there’s pining, an injury, and a happily ever after. Don’t get me wrong, there is some of the expected, but let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised by this novel’s unexpected plot and characters.

It all starts with a torrid affair between gods, Aphrodite and Ares to be exact. Then turns into two love stories the goddess orchestrated during the last World War. The author introduces us to interesting characters from different walks of life, weaving their stories together for the reader. Berry dives in to overlooked parts of World War I history like the roles of black American soldiers, James Reese Europe’s introduction of Jazz to France, and YMCA volunteer work to name a few. I really appreciated the appendix and bibliography included at the end of the book. They let the reader know which parts of the story are factual and expand on those issues. Berry also includes references to nonfiction works that she used, so the reader can keep learning.

This title comes from our large collection of children’s and young adult books sent to us as review copies from book publishers. When our Children and Young Adult Library Services Coordinator, Sally Snyder, is done with them, the review copies are available for the Library System Directors to distribute to school and public libraries in their systems. Public and school library staff are also welcome to stop by and select some titles for their library collections. We think this one would be a great addition to any library. Contact Sally Snyder for more information.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available in our Book Club collection, permanent collection, and Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

Berry, Julie. Lovely War. Viking Books for Young Readers, 2019.

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Throwback Thursday: Brewery

It’s a brew-tiful day for a #throwback!

This 8″x10″ black and white acetate negative was created by William Wentworth. It is published and owned by the Durham Museum. The William Wentworth collection consists of over 4,000 negatives of images that document life in Omaha, Nebraska from 1934 to 1950. He worked as a freelance and commercial photographer, providing a unique view of architecture, businesses, and community life.

See all the materials from this collection and more on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. It 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. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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Reading For Change: Anti-Racism Titles in Our Book Club Kit Collection

Earlier this week, the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture posted their Black Liberation Reading List. This is among many anti-racism reading lists publicized in recent days (here, here, and here) but I’m choosing to highlight this list because the Schomburg Center has focused on the Black experience, history, and culture for 95 years. Their list of 95 books includes both fiction and nonfiction.

If your patrons or book club groups are interested in these titles, we have a selection of them in our Book Club Kit collection:

You can find these books and similar titles for all ages on our Book Club Kit page: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/, by choosing “Black lives” in the Genre drop down menu.

We have also gathered a number of resources for library patrons and the general public to learn about social issues on NebraskAccess.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Clutter Corpse” by Simon Brett

We are sparking joy with this #BookFaceFriday!

It’s Marie Kondo meets Agatha Christie in this week’s #BookFace. Check out “Clutter Corpse: The Decluttering Mystery” by Simon Brett (Severn House Publishers, 2020) it’s available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in eBook format. 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 16,670 audiobooks and 28,473 eBooks. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use.

If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

Watching Ellen investigate… on her own is thoroughly fascinating. Brett fans, along with readers who liked Richard Roper’s How Not to Die Alone (2019), will love this quirky, warmhearted mystery’Booklist Starred Review

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

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Throwback Thursday: Queen of the College World Series

It’s another #Throwback from Nebraska Memories!

This black and white photograph shows Dorothy Gredstrom being crowned the School of Nursing Seniors Queen of the College World Series in June of 1959.

This week’s #throwbackthursday is provided and owned by the Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center. The rich and well documented history of Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha is shown in the images of early buildings, people and artifacts. An archive of thousands of photos, papers and items has been maintained for over 120 years, carefully stored and currently housed at the Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center campus.

Look through this collection and many more on the Nebraska Memories archive!

Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. It 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. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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2019 Public Library Survey Data is Now Available

The 2019 FY public library survey data is now available on the NLC website. This is preliminary data (meaning that it has not yet been certified by IMLS) so keep in mind that it is subject to change. Thanks to all of you who submitted your statistics. Historical data (back to 1999) is also available on our website. The next survey cycle begins in November, but you should be collecting those statistics now. If you are a new library director, check out the Bibliostat guide.

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#BookFaceFriday “Blue Hole Back Home” by Joy Jordan-Lake

It’s sweet summertime for this #BookFaceFriday!

Jump in feet first this summer into Nebraska OverDrive Libraries! New titles are added almost daily, like this week’s #BookFaceFriday! “Blue Hole Back Home” by Joy Jordan-Lake (Triple Falls Press, 2017) is available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in both eBook and Audiobook format. 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 16,670 audiobooks and 28,473 eBooks. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use.

If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

“Sacred’s not a word I’ve ever much liked. But maybe some things, and some places, just are. And maybe the Blue Hole was one of those things. Shelby (nicknamed Turtle) never had any female friends. But when a mysterious girl from Sri Lanka moved to town in the summer of 1979, Turtle invited her to a secret haven: the Blue Hole. Turtle had no idea how much that simple gesture would affect the rest of her life, or the lives of those she loved. In a time when America was technically well beyond the Civil Rights era, there were those in Turtle’s small Appalachian town who rejected the presence of someone different. And in just one summer-in a collision of love, hate, jealousy, beauty, and a sacred, muddy swimming hole-nothing and everything changed. ” — Book Jacket

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

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Friday Reads: The Beautiful Ones

Intro: With all the unrest in the nation that started in the Minneapolis area, I thought it appropriate to post this FR. Years ago, I had a high school friend who moved to Chanhassen, Minnesota (just south of the Twin Cities), where Paisley Park is. I visited my friend a few times in Chanhassen, and quickly realized January was not a good time. Summers were nice, though. Sadly, my friend has passed away (cancer). He never saw his 26th birthday.

Opening: Yep, it is another music biography. I have a sort of love and hate relationship with music biographies, but this one is well done and I recommend it. A few years ago, I was in the Minneapolis area (after the death of Prince) and thought of touring Paisley Park. I decided against it because I did not think that Prince would have wanted visitors that way. However, I completely understand the estate’s decision to do so. By not opening it up, there’s no way it would sustainable. Musical biographies can be quite a hit or miss, but often are a miss due to the fact they come across as braggadocios. Prince certainly seemed like the antithesis of that.

Background Info: Before he died, Prince was working on this book, with the help of Dan Piepenbring. The intro was written by Dan, summarizing his first meetings with Prince, and Prince’s vision for the completed work (he intended for it to cover his childhood up to his performance at Super Bowl XLI (in 2007). Dan’s anecdotes provide an interesting segue into the actual writing of Prince, and the numerous photos published in this book. The stories, including Dan staying at the local Country Inn and Suites (the place closest to Paisley Park in Chanhassen, MN), Prince driving him around in his Lincoln MKT, and live performances at Paisley Park.  

Filler Material: The bulk of the middle part consists of Prince’s actual writings, and then the translations. His writings are hard to read, given his affinity for code (e.g. eye symbol for I) and handwriting.  The gist of the book, and hats off to the publishers, was not to fill in the chronology after where Prince was at with his writing. Therefore, there is no speculation about his thoughts, as the material is published just as he wrote it, and stops at the point where he was at when he passed (before the Super Bowl XLI performance). As a companion piece, Originals (on CD, vinyl, MP3, take your pick) published after his death, is highly recommended. Toss it on the old (dust off the console stereo) or new hi-fi and turn up the volume.

Killer Ending: “So much has been written about me, and people don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. I’d rather let them stay confused.” – Prince

Prince. The Beautiful Ones. Spiegel & Grau, 2019.

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Throwback Thursday: Stratospheric Balloon Crash

Happy #Throwback Thursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week, we have a 10″x8″ black and white photograph of a stratospheric balloon crash. The crash happened fifteen miles northwest of Holdrege, Nebraska and briefly held the interest of the whole country. Captain Albert W. Stevens, Captain Orvil A. Anderson, and Major Kepner all parachuted to safety. The flight, sponsored in part by the National Geographic Society, was made for high altitude exploration and originated in Rapid City, South Dakota, reaching heights of 60,000 feet over Gothenberg, Nebraska. At least 5,000 spectators were held back by ropes.

This image is published by the Holdrege Area Public Library and is owned by the Phelps County Historical Society. The Holdrege Area Public Library partnered with the Phelps County Historical Society to digitize a collection of images portraying the history of Phelps County since the mid 1800’s. A 2008 LSTA grant funded the project. Check out the whole collection on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. It 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. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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What’s Sally Reading?

More Book Awards Announced!

The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature announced, on May 6, 2020, the winners and honor books for two prestigious awards.  The Irma Simonton and James H. Black Award  went to The Crayon Man: The Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons written by Natascha Biebow and illustrated by Steven Salerno. This award is for “an outstanding book for young children,” with text and illustrations working together, and is selected by children.  Given since 1973 (where have I been?  I just now heard about this award!) the award also has three honor books.

The Cook Prize has been awarded since 2012, and acknowledges excellence in picture books addressing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in its content.  Also selected by children, the 2020 winner is Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Teresa Martinez.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry is one of the Honor Books for the Irma Simonton and James H. Black Award.  Zuri’s hair is hard to control. Since today is a special day, Daddy is up to the task.  They try several hairstyles with poor results.  Then, just the right approach works for them. Everything is ready when Mommy gets home! There is a welcome banner up for her, but we do not know where she has been.  A wonderful story of family care and love.

(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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#BookFaceFriday – “The Silence of the Library” by Miranda James

Hey, all you cats and kittens out there! Is your formerly silent library thinking about opening it’s doors again? The Nebraska Library Commission has resources available to make the process as purrfect as possible. Check out our Pandemic Resources page for recommendations and guidance from local and national organizations, as well as examples of policies and procedures being used by other Nebraska libraries.

If you’ve not yet told us that your library is reopening or modifying services for the pandemic, please fill out our Nebraska Library Services Form. The information you submit helps us keep our Nebraska Libraries Spreadsheet on closings, reopenings, and modifying services up to date in these rapidly changing times.

Keep an eye out next week for information on applying for CARES Act funding.

“The Silence of the Library” by Miranda James (Berkley, 2014) is a part of the Cat in the Stacks mystery series.

“Combines a kindhearted librarian hero, family secrets in a sleepy Southern town, and a gentle giant of a cat that will steal your heart.”—Lorna Barrett, New York Times bestselling author of the Booktown Mysteries

Our models this week are our tireless Computer Services Director, Vern Buis, and his lovely cat Bernie. A former stray, Bernie decided to move into Vern’s place about a year ago, and that was that. Now he’s living the good life and modeling for bookface photos on the side.

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

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Friday Reads: The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young

I don’t know about you, but reading during this pandemic has been a challenge. Between working from home, keeping a school-age kid on track with his lessons and a preschooler out of the cookie jar, not to mention feeding everyone 3-5 times a day (why are we so hungry?!?), and the constant blare of the news, I just don’t have the time or attention span to concentrate on a book. Is it just me? (Apparently not).

Fortunately, my public library recently started contact-less pickup and I got a load of middle-grade novels and picture books for the aforementioned children. The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young was at the top of the pile.

Set on Madeline Island in Lake Superior, this is the story of a half-Irish, half-Ojibwe girl named Billie who is determined to win her town’s annual pumpkin race and get revenge on her former best friend for sabotaging her attempt the previous summer. It is also the tale of how every story has two sides, growing pumpkins is a full-time job, and sometimes winning isn’t something we do on our own. It was the perfect book to kick off my summer reading and yours too!

Young, Cathleen. The Pumpkin War. Random House, 2019.

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NLC Staff: Meet Holly Atterbury

Questions and Answers with NLC Reader’s Advisor, Holly Atterbury. She started working with the NLC in our Talking Book & Braille Department in August 2018. Take a few minutes and get to know her better with a few fun questions!

Last thing you googled?   
Nebraska Primary

What’s your ideal vacation? 
Driving up the Pacific West Coast Highway in Oregon, staying in cabins in state parks.

What do you do to relax?  
Embroidery – right now working on something my grandmother started to give to my mom for her upcoming birthday.

If I weren’t working in a library, I’d be …  
in school to become a professor teaching Creative Writing

What movie you can watch over and over again?
Mad Max: Fury Road

What was the last book you read? 
Underland by Robert Macfarlane

What was the last movie you watched?
The Half of It

Three words that describe you? 
Funny, charismatic, and interesting

What smell brings back great memories?
An early summer morning with dew on the grass and a cool breeze – this reminds me of my childhood

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Shapeshifting

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Pet my cats

If you had a warning label, what would it say?
Caution – may contain many tangents

Do you have any tattoos?
Not yet

What is your favorite comfort food when you’re sick?
Chicken noodle soup

What’s your most treasured possession?
I love my 1988 Ford Ranger truck with almost 400,000 miles on it (the engine was rebuilt!).

What posters did you have on your wall as a kid?
Art posters of dragons, dolphins, and wolves

Do you love or hate rollercoasters?
I have a love/hate relationship with roller coasters – because I almost passed out on a roller coaster once

Do you have any pets?
Two cats – Bourbon and Edgar

What is your guilty pleasure?
Reality TV dating shows

Favorite technology you could not live without?
My cell phone

If you could get rid of one holiday, which one would you abolish? 
Arbor Day and Columbus Day

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oreo Milkshakes

What do you get every time you go to the grocery store?
Cheese

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Throwback Thursday: Aerial View of Omaha

Take a look at this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

This black and white lantern slide shows an aerial view of Omaha, Nebraska, taken from the Omaha National Bank building, located on the corner of 17th and Farnam streets.

This image is owned and published by Omaha Public Library. Items in this collection include early Omaha-related maps, as well as over 1,100 postcards and photographs of the Omaha area. Check out the whole collection and more on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. It 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. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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Reopening Your Library During the Pandemic

Is your library reopening to the public, or looking for guidance on reopening?

We’ve compiled recommendations and guidance from local and national organization, as well as example of policies and procedures being used by other Nebraska libraries here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic4libraries.aspx

If you’ve not yet told us that your library is reopening or modifying services for the pandemic, please fill out our form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe5AurxbSHsu5gy5sig7uHWkkQYeRG3EfT7l2ArfmbPTtlx-A/viewform.

A spreadsheet of Nebraska libraries closing, reopening, and modifying services can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vQhzPpcpf_BAB_7wbDegLdjvfFX84AbGgRVAcIzrp-DYBIJUnKIaake5d1jKIRcFVW4qTPVwchtK5SV/pubhtml

And don’t forget our other resources for libraries and their patrons during this time: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx
The Central Plains Libray System (CPLS) has resources too!
http://libraries.ne.gov/cpls/

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