Category Archives: General

Throwback Thursday: Nebraska City Bridge

Postcard of the Nebraska City Bridge, Nebraska City, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Doc Spot: Unicameral Update

The Unicameral Update is a newsletter produced during each legislative session by the Clerk of the Legislature’s Unicameral Information Office since 1977. The Update covers legislative activity, including floor action and committee hearings, and is available daily online and weekly in print.

To see the Update online, click on any of the highlighted links above.

To receive a free print subscription to the Unicameral Update, call (402)-471-2788, or send an email to Clerk of the Legislature.

The Unicameral Update is also available in audio to Talking Book and Braille (TBBS) patrons. For more information, contact TBBS at (800) 742-7691.

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Throwback Thursday: Morton Monument State Park

Postcard of the Morton Monument State Park, Nebraska City, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Eclipse Glasses and Eclipse Education Kit

On August 21, 2017, a spectacular total eclipse of the Sun will be visible across the width of the continental U.S. for the first time since 1918.  Every state will have at least 60% of the Sun covered by the Moon, and lucky people on a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will see the stunning beauty of totality. STAR_Net’s NASA@ My Library initiative with support from NASA, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Research Corporation, and Google, is distributing over 2 million solar viewing glasses and an Eclipse Education Kit to public libraries.

Apply for Eclipse Glasses & Education Kit!

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Free Educational Resources at Census.gov

Census.gov Can Help You!
Let Census.gov show you how to find and use Census data for your everyday uses, including informing your business planning, supporting grant proposals and research projects, planning of local schools and hospitals, and much more! Whether you’re looking for economic or demographic data, we can teach you how to get what you need for your various projects.

 

 

Options for Learning
There are three main ways that you can learn to find Census data. And all of it is free!

  • Webinars – see the list below for our upcoming webinars. No registration is needed.
    We also have a network of Data Specialists who can provide training throughout the nation – these webinars require registration.
  • Video Tutorials – We have a growing number in our Training Resources Library.
  • Classroom Training – We do this when distance and staff resources allow.  Often, as an alternative to a classroom training, we can schedule a webinar for you on the topic you’re interested in!

Take Advantage of the Data Today!

Upcoming Trainings:

Feb 22, 2017    Where to Find Business & Economic Data on census.gov

Feb 22, 2017    Statistics in Schools: Resources for Teaching and Learning

Feb 22, 2017    Introduction to the American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Files

Feb 22, 2017    Statistics for Reporters: Find the Stories that Matter in Your Community and Get them Right

Feb 23, 2017    Census Reporter

Feb 23, 2017    OnTheMap: Where are the Jobs?

Feb 23, 2017    Understanding the American Community Survey

Feb 23, 2017    Measuring and Mapping Diversity and Emerging Communities

Feb 27, 2017    Navigating the American FactFinder

Feb 28, 2017    Income & Poverty Related Statistics

Feb 28, 2017    Creating Custom Tables and Colorful Maps Using American FactFinder

Feb 28, 2017    Your Neighborhood by the Numbers: Advanced American FactFinder (Tracts, Block Groups, and Blocks)

Feb 28, 2017    Measuring America Series: Accessing County Business Patterns Data

Mar 01, 2017    Your Business by The Numbers: Census Business Builder App

Mar 02, 2017    The American Community Survey (ACS) & Your Community by the Numbers

Mar 02, 2017    Data on a Deadline: Quick Data Tools & Interactive Maps

Mar 02, 2017    Quick Data Tools

Mar 02, 2017    What’s With that Pop Clock?— and Other Insights of the Population Estimates Program

Mar 03, 2017    Map It!

Mar 06, 2017    On the Map – Employment Dynamics

Mar 07, 2017    Quarterly Workforce Indicators @ Your Fingertips: QWI Explorer

Mar 07, 2017    Where to Find Business & Economic Data on census.gov

Mar 07, 2017    Census Data Prep for Tableau Public

Mar 08, 2017    LED OnTheMap: The Road to Local Employment Dynamics

Mar 08, 2017    Measuring America Series: Accessing Public School System Finances Data

Mar 09, 2017    Your Community by the Numbers: Race, Ethnicity, Foreign Born, and Ancestry

Mar 09, 2017    Census Data Prep for Tableau Public – Repeated

Mar 13, 2017    Veterans by the Numbers

Mar 14, 2017    Census Data Prep for Tableau Public – Repeated

Mar 14, 2017    Race, Ethnicity, Foreign Born and Ancestry by the Numbers

Mar 28, 2017    Making Sense of the American Community Survey

Mar 29, 2017    MAPLAB: Advanced American FactFinder for Tracts and Block Groups

Mar 30, 2017    Data on a Deadline: A Data Access Workshop for Journalists

Apr 06, 2017    Measuring America Series: Accessing Labor Force and Related Statistics

Apr 13, 2017    Measuring America Series: Accessing Work From Home Data

Apr 19, 2017    Using American Community Survey Estimates and Margins of Error

May 04, 2017    Measuring America Series: Accessing Industry, Occupation and Class of Worker Statistics

May 11, 2017    Emergency Planning and Response with Census Bureau Data

May 17, 2017    How to Use American Community Survey Geodatabase Files and ArcMap

Jun 21, 2017    Using the Census API with the American Community Survey

Jul 06, 2017     Accessing TIGERweb

Aug 03, 2017    Measuring America Series: Locating Data on Entrepreneurs and Related Statistics

Aug 30, 2017    Introduction to the American Community Survey

Nov 08, 2017    Accessing American Community Survey Data for Detailed Population Group

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Talking Book Advisory Committee Seeks Nominees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 17, 2016

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Scott Scholz
402-471-6553
800-742-7691

Talking Book Advisory Committee Seeks Nominees

Two vacancies currently exist on the Advisory Committee to the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service. The purpose of the committee is to represent the needs of talking book and Braille borrowers and to make recommendations concerning library policies, services, and programs. Membership consists primarily of library users but may include librarians, educators, health care providers, and others who understand the needs of individuals with disabilities. The committee normally meets twice a year.

The Talking Book and Braille Service provides free talking books, magazines, playback equipment, and Braille to any resident of Nebraska who cannot see regular print, or hold a book, or turn its pages. Books and magazines are received and returned through the mail postage-free or downloaded directly from the Internet. Persons interested in serving on the committee should contact Scott Scholz, Talking Book and Braille Service Director, 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023. Phone: 402-471-6553 or 800-742-7691, fax: 402-471-6244, email: nlc.talkingbook@nebraska.gov. Deadline: March 20, 2017.
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.”

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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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Free Webinars from National Network of Libraries of Medicine/MidContinental Region

Tomorrow!  Discover NLM Resources and More: Resources for K-12 Health & Science Education

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 1pm MT / 2pm CT

Register: https://nnlm.gov/class/resources-k-12-health-science-education/6792

Did you know that the National Library of Medicine has K-12 lesson plans, a resource page and twitter feed for K-12 educators, and sites designed specifically for children and teens? If you would like to learn more about these health and science resources, join us for our webinar on Wednesday, February 22. Annette Parde-Maass, MCR Education and Nebraska Outreach Coordinator, will walk through the resources, give examples on how they could be used, and ask participants to brainstorm and share additional purposes applicable to their own settings.

 

Breezing Along with the RML  

Topic: Instructional Design

Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 10 am MT/ 11 am CT

Register: https://nnlm.gov/class/instructional-design/7089

Do you want to make your classes and presentations more effective and engaging? Do you want to offer learning experiences that really matter? If so, then the NNLM MCR has a great session on instructional design (ID) to get you started with not one, not two, but three experts. ID is a model to help you determine why the training is needed, design your instructional strategy, develop materials, decide how the content will be delivered to learners, and determine if you met your expected results.  Participants will receive instruction on key elements that comprise the ID framework, practice those elements in problem-based virtual breakout groups, and then share the results with fellow virtual attendees.

Presenters: Lisha Bustos, Lead Instructional Designer, University of Colorado; Christine Mousavi Cook, eLearning & Instructional Design Professional, University of Colorado; Michael Kanzanjian, Instructional Design Professional, ECHO Colorado

 

NNLM Resource Picks: How to Make the Most of Your National Library of Medicine Traveling Banner Exhibition! 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 1 pm MT/ 2 pm CT

Register: https://nnlm.gov/class/how-make-most-your-national-library-medicine-traveling-banner-exhibition/277

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides traveling exhibitions about the social and cultural history of medicine.  In 2016, the Pacific Northwest Regional Medical Library hosted a national questionnaire asking librarians what they would like to learn about hosting one of these exhibitions. Over 250 librarians responded with questions and ideas. This webinar is shaped by their responses. Join us to learn what your colleagues are doing to reach new audiences using NLM traveling exhibitions.

Presenters: Patricia Touhy, National Library of Medicine; Jennifer Butler Keeton, Florence-Lauderdale Public Library; Eva Sclipa, Alfred University; Thomas Lawrence Long, University of Connecticut; Donna Smith, Palm Beach County Library System; Nicole Hughes, Palm Beach County Library System

 

Courses for the Consumer Health Information Specialization:

The Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) provides additional expertise in the area of consumer health and keeps you current on relevant issues in the field. NNLM provides free classes for CE credit towards this specialization. Here are a few upcoming online courses:

For more information on CHIS CE requirements: http://www.mlanet.org/p/cm/ld/fid=329

For information on MCR funding to cover CHIS certificate application: https://nnlm.gov/mcr/funding/consumer-health-information-specialization-chis-certification-funding

Annette Parde-Maass
Nebraska Outreach Coordinator
National Network of Libraries of Medicine/MidContinental Region
AnnetteParde-Maass@creighton.edu
402.280.4156

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Throwback Thursday: Masonic Temple, Broken Bow, Nebraska.

Postcard of Masonic Temple, Broken Bow, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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The Public Library Survey is due Friday, Feb. 17, 2017

SurveyIt’s crunch time for the annual IMLS public library survey (submitted via Bibliostat). The survey deadline is February 17, 2017. Completion of the survey is required for your library to receive state aid if you are accredited. If you aren’t accredited, you still have an incentive to complete the survey ($200), called Dollar$ for Data.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and thank you in advance for your participation.

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Celebrating Romance and Love in the Library

Recently the Library Commission purchased the following DVD: Love Between the Covers.

“Romance fiction is the behemoth of the publishing industry; it outsells mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy combined. Yet no filmmaker has ever taken an honest look at the global community romance writers and readers have built – until now. This funny and inspiring look into a billion-dollar industry turns up trailblazers who’ve found fortunes and fulfillment in romance, who are on the front lines of a revolutionary power shift in publishing. Creating online empires and inventing new markets are authors like pioneer of African American romance Beverly Jenkins, Shakespeare professor and romance rockstar Eloisa James, surgeon and lesbian romance legend Len Barot, and the incomparable Nora Roberts. For three years, we follow the lives of five published romance authors and one unpublished newbie as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with upheaval, and earn a living doing what they love. In the process, we discover a global storytelling sisterhood. Love Between the Covers takes us into one of the few spaces where strong female characters are always center stage, where justice prevails in every book, and the broad spectrum of desires of women from all backgrounds are not feared, but explored unapologetically.” — amazon.com

Please feel free to contact us to borrow this DVD.  In the spirit of celebrating romance, here are some lists of librarian romances that I think are worth highlighting – happy love in the library!

30 Tales of Librarians in Love
http://www.booklistreader.com/2016/09/01/romance/30-tales-of-librarians-in-love/

Bookshelf Babes and Hardcover Heroes: Favorite Librarians in Romance
http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2012/09/bookshelf-babes-and-hardcover-heroes-favorite-librarians-in-romance

Librarian Romance:
http://wendythesuperlibrarian.blogspot.com/p/librarians-in-romance-novels.html

Love in the Library – Reader Roundup with Amy Alessio
http://romanceuniversity.org/2014/02/22/love-in-the-library-reader-roundup-with-amy-alessio/

A Mega-List of Lovely, Lusty Librarian Romance
http://www.booklistreader.com/2016/09/30/romance/a-mega-list-of-lovely-lusty-librarian-romance/

Romance Books about Librarians and Archivists:
http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/31771.Romance_Books_about_Librarians_and_Archivists

 

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NE 150 Book Display

“The Nebraska 150 Book Selection Committee chose 150 notable Nebraska books to highlight for the Nebraska 150 Celebration.  These books represent the best literature produced from Nebraska during the past 150 years.  The books highlight the varied cultures, diverse experiences and the shared history of Nebraskans.”
http://nebraska150books.org/nebraska-books/ne-150-sesquicentennial-book-list.html

The Library Commission owns many titles from the 150 list and has displayed them in our reception area. They will be featured throughout 2017 as Nebraska celebrates its Sesquicentennial. Come take a look and check them out!

 

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Throwback Thursday: Original main building, Nebraska State University

Postcard of original main building, Nebraska State University, Lincoln, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Scott Scholz: Director of the Talking Book and Braille Service

Scott ScholzCongratulations to Scott Scholz, who recently completed his MLS degree from the University of Missouri. Scott joined the Library Commission in 2005 to take what might be described as the perfect job for someone with his interest in reading and qualifications for recording. We are fortunate his wife Heidi found the original job posting for circulation manager that led him to us. In recent years, he has taken a leadership role on a number of NLC projects, including moving lower level operations to a new space on the first floor of the Atrium Building in 2014, helping Nebraska become the first state to convert its magazine recording program to digital format in 2010, and implementing assembly and review procedures in the TBBS studios. Currently, Scott is performing the work of two staff, as both the Acting Director of the Talking Book and Braille Service and the Circulation and Audio Production Coordinator.

Scott’s commitment to books, culture, and community makes the Talking Book and Braille Service hum, and he is a devoted advocate for Nebraskans who are unable to use traditional print. This interest started early, in Columbus, NE, where Scott was raised only two blocks from the Columbus Public Library and served as a volunteer for summer reading programs. As a young reader, he was interested in all kinds of fiction and nonfiction, from Encyclopedia Brown to science books. While working at a bookstore in high school, Scott developed an interest in music and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in music composition from the University of Denver. Scott lists authors David Foster Wallace, William S. Burroughs, and Miranda July among his current favorites, along with interests in Surrealist and Dada literature and history.

Outside of library work, Scott hosts a podcast called Words on Sounds, writes for several online publications, and runs a boutique experimental music label. Scott writes about and reviews experimental music to promote artists and connect with others who share the same passion for the underground music scene.

Scott credits Glee Nelson (the former children’s librarian at Columbus Public Library), and Kurt Cylke (former director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) as influences on his career path.

On the home front, Scott has been married to Heidi Uhing for 13 years and they share their residence with two dogs, Olive and Izzy, as well as some backyard chickens. As a Lincolnite, Scott appreciates what is happening in the local arts and culture community, and the ease and beauty of life in Nebraska. As a staff member of the Library Commission, we hope he stays for a very long time, because nobody could ever replace him and what he offers to our staff and to our patrons.

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Health Information Resources for the 65 and Older Population

The 65 and older population will grow in the U.S. from 46 million in 2014 to 88 million in 2050 (Colby & Ortman, 2014, p. 5). During those decades, the percentage of 65-and-older population compared to the total population of the U.S. and World will also increase.

This growth will likely result in an increased need for treatment, management, prevention, and wellness resources specifically for older adults as well as their caregivers. There are already a number of sites created for older adults by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and other Health and Human Services agencies.

NIHSeniorHealth, https://nihseniorhealth.gov/, is a portal for older adults to search many government sites at once for health topics pertinent to them and caregivers. They can also browse topics and categories such as Bladder Health, Creating a Family Health History, and Talking with Your Doctor.

NIHSeniorHealth also has a Toolkit for Trainers for those that help older adults find reliable information. The toolkit includes lesson plans, promotional flyers for students and trainers, and a tip sheet on creating a “senior friendly computer classroom.”

Go4Life®, https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/, from the National Institute on Aging at NIH focuses on fitting in exercise and physical activity into older adults’ daily lives. There are resources for various activity levels and abilities including videos, exercise guides, tips, and success stories.

MedlinePlus, https://medlineplus.gov/, has a great deal of health information for all ages. Seniors may be most interested in Health Topics such as Health Aging or Seniors’ Health. If print information is preferred, sign up for a free subscription to NIH MedlinePlus Magazine. Librarians can even order the magazine in bulk. If Spanish is the primary language, try https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/.

National Institute on Aging (NIA) Publications has resources available in Spanish and a few other languages. Many of these are easy to read online, save, or print. Examples include Menopause: Treatment for Symptoms, Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease, and Online Health Information: Can You Trust It? AgePage. One that seniors and caregivers may find useful in communicating with doctors, surgeons, and other health professionals is Talking with Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People.

A document that seniors may want to have when talking with their doctors is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Pill Card. People can download this document to customize their own card for keeping track of medicines.

In addition to these online resources, don’t forget about area agencies on aging. In Omaha, we have the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, and other Nebraska area agencies can be found at http://nebaaaa.org/locations.html.

If you have questions about these resources, please contact me at AnnetteParde-Maass@creighton.edu or 402-280-4156.

Works Cited

Colby, S. L. & J. M. Ortman. (2014). Projections of the size and composition of the U.S. population: 2014 to 2060. Current Population Reports, P25-1143. Washington, DC:  U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p25-1143.pdf

*Note: 65 and Older Population will also be referred to as “seniors” and “older adults.” These terms can also include a larger age-range and many of the resources listed here are relevant to those ages as well.

**Information provided by:

Annette Parde-Maass
Community and Global Health Librarian
Creighton University Health Sciences Library
National Network of Libraries of Medicine MidContinental Region
AnnetteParde-Maass@creighton.edu
402.280.4156

 

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CIA’s Once-Secret Stash Now Online

The largest collection of declassified CIA records is now accessible online. The documents were previously only available to the public at the National Archives in Maryland. Approximately 930,000 documents, totaling more than 12 million pages, are now available in the CIA’s Electronic Reading Room on CIA’s website.

Since 1999, the CIA has regularly released its historical declassified records to the standalone CIA Records Search Tool (CREST) system that was only accessible in person at the National Archives Records Administration (NARA) in College Park, Maryland. Moving these documents online highlights the CIA’s commitment to increasing the accessibility of declassified records to the public.

“Access to this historically significant collection is no longer limited by geography. The American public can access these documents from the comfort of their homes,” notes Joseph Lambert, the CIA Director of Information Management.

The CREST collection covers a myriad of topics, such as the early CIA history, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Berlin Tunnel project, the Korean War, and the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. The documents also extensively address developments on terrorism, as well as worldwide military and economic issues.

The documents include a wide variety of records, including collections of finished intelligence from the 1940s to the 1990s prepared by the Directorate of Analysis (or its predecessors, such as the Directorate of Intelligence), Directorate of Operations reports from the late 1940s through the early 1960s, Directorate of Science and Technology research and development files, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency policy files and memoranda, National Intelligence Council estimates, National Intelligence Surveys, Office of Strategic Services (OSS) records, Directorate of Support administrative records, and imagery reports from the former National Photographic Interpretation Center (reviewed jointly with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)).

CREST records also include large specialized collections of foreign translations, scientific abstracts, ground photo descriptions, and special collections such as STAR GATE remote viewing program files, Henry Kissinger Library of Congress files, and other miscellaneous CIA records.

The declassification of 25-year-old records is mandated by Executive Order 13526, which requires agencies to review all such records categorized as permanent under the Federal Records Act for declassification. As a result, following CIA’s review, documents are regularly added to this collection.

The CIA’s Electronic Reading room offers a full-text search capability of CREST records, and the collection can be viewed at CREST: 25-Year Program Archive.

Reprinted from CIA Press Release, CIA.gov, January 17, 2017.

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Throwback Thursday: Junior-Senior High School, Fairbury, Nebraska

Postcard of Junior-Senior High School, Fairbury, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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State Agency Publications Received at the Nebraska Library Commission in 2016

Nebraska State Government Publications 2016 is a compilation of the state publications received in 2016 by the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse, a service of the Nebraska Library Commission.  The items are arranged in two separate lists: by broad subject categories and alphabetically by title.

All documents have been cataloged, and the OCLC number is listed.  To make access to the documents as user friendly as possible, you can click on the link above, or scroll through the .pdf below and click on the URL for the item.  Clicking on the URL will take you directly to the item online, where you can read it or print it out.

For more information about the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse and Nebraska state agency publications, please contact Mary Sauers or Bonnie Henzel at the Library Commission:

 

Mary Sauers | Government Information Services Librarian | Nebraska Library Commission | 402-471-4017 | Mary Sauers

Bonnie Henzel | State Documents Staff Assistant | Nebraska Library Commission | 402-471-6285 | Bonnie Henzel

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Teachers and Librarians Invited to Host Letter Writing Clinics

LAL Letter Writing ClinicsTeachers and Librarians Invited to Host Letter Writing Clinics

Books make a difference in the lives of Nebraska young people. We know this because they say so in the letters they write to authors for the Letters About Literature competition. In her 2014 winning letter to Gary Soto, Sydney Kohl says, “The work inspired me to be true to myself, and also taught me the importance of each and every small perk in life. Our time on Earth is short, and might not be perfect, but as long as we take advantage of the opportunities given to us, maybe that’s okay.” *

Nebraska teachers and librarians are invited to apply for $300 grants to conduct Letters About Literature Letter Writing Clinics. Funding will be provided to introduce students to the Letters about Literature (LAL) contest and letter writing techniques, and to work with them to select books and craft letters to the authors. Grant funds can be used for items such as instructor honorariums, supplies, marketing, small participation prizes, etc. Applicants will target their efforts to specific age groups: grades 4-6, grades 7-8, or grades 9-12

For more information about the LAL Letter Writing Clinic grant (due March 30), see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/lalwritingclinics or contact JoAnn McManus, Nebraska Library Commission, 402-471-4870, 800-307-2665. This grant opportunity is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book and Nebraska Library Commission and supported by Humanities Nebraska. More about how the LAL national reading and writing promotion program encourages young readers in grades 4-12 to explore what books mean to them by writing a personal letter to an author is available at centerforthebook.nebraska.gov.

* Get inspired by listening to Nebraska winners Ashley Xiques and Sydney Kohl read and talk about and their winning letters to the authors that meant something to them at NET Radio’s All About Books.

NOTE: The Letters About Literature competition is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations. 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. and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.

LAL Grant Sponsors Logos

 

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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 January 2017.  Included are titles from the Mid-America Transportation Center, the Nebraska Crime Commission, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and the University of Nebraska, to name a few.

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What’s Sally Reading?

School Library Journal’s 9th “Battle of the Kids Books”

This is the ninth year that School Library Journal has invited well-known authors of children and/or teen books to read and judge two titles placed before them. This elimination contest is designed like a “March Madness” for books. Only one book moves ahead to the next round, and favorites could fall.   Read about this year’s event on the School Library Journal blog.

The sixteen titles for the elimination rounds were announced on January 18.  For the first time the contest includes four picture books, so the phrasing “Battle of the Kids Books” is more appropriate this year.  The titles are:

ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN by Gavriel Savit

FREEDOM IN CONGO SQUARE by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie

FREEDOM OVER ME by Ashley Bryan

GHOST by Jason Reynolds

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill

THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge

MAKOONS by Louise Erdrich  — (look, Makoons is here too and I didn’t know it before last Friday)

MARCH BOOK THREE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

THE PASSION OF DOLSSA by Julie Berry

SAMURAI RISING by Pamela Turner and Gareth Hinds

SOME WRITER! by Melissa Sweet

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon

THUNDERBOY JR. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales

WET CEMENT by Bob Raczka

WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES by Julie Fogliano and Julie Morstad

WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER by Grace Lin

The judges for the contest will be named on February 6 and the competition begins on March 13. The victor will be announced on March 31. It is enlightening to read the judges comparisons of very different genres and his or her reasoning for naming the winner of that round. Each year one of my favorites bites the dust. But, last year the final judge, Ann M. Martin, selected The Marvels by Brian Selznick as the winner, a favorite of mine I was hopeful could go the distance.

This is an event you could design and hold in your library at any time of year, for example have kids or teens each read and present their book as if in a debate.  Then the judge (choose them wisely) will make the decision between the two titles.  Or you can encourage your students or patrons to be involved in this year’s event by writing a promotional piece for a favorite contender.

One of the contenders this year is Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka.  It contains a collection of 21 clever and inspiring poems.  Concrete poems are designed so the lines of poetry are laid out to look like the topic of the poem.  My favorite in this collection is entitled “PoeTRY” and says it all in five lines, although this one is a less concrete poem than those in the rest the book.

(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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