Category Archives: General

#BookFaceFriday “A Lost Lady”

It’s the end of an era with this week’s #BookFace!

"A Lost Lady" by Willa Cather BookFaceWe chose, renowned Nebraska author, Willa Cather’s novel “A Lost Lady” (Virago UK, 2006) as this week’s #BookFaceFriday selection. Published in 1923 and set against the background of the west, it’s a third person account of a small town aristocrat’s social decline, and the symbolic end of the idealized pioneer and old west. The heroine, Marian Forrester, has been coined a “symbolic flower of the Old American West,” and is rumored to have been an inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan. This short novel is a quick and engaging read for any book club!

Her finest novel… Unforgettable…This wonderful performance displays Cather’s narrative technique at its sharpest, as well as her understanding of the eloquence of the slightest gesture, the simplest statement … A masterpiece.” –Irish Times

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Cataloging Librarian, Allison Badger! If you get a chance, wish her a happy birthday, because it’s today!

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 “Let Your Voice Be Heard”

 Let the good times roll with this week’s #BookFaceFriday!

"Let Your Voice be Heard: the Life and Times of Pete Seeger" BookFace Photo

Summer Reading Programs are happening all across Nebraska right now. This week’s #BookFace selection, “Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger” by Anita Silvey (Clarion Books, 2016) is the perfect fit since the Summer 2018 Reading Program motto is “Libraries Rock!” and the theme is music. Almost all public libraries, and a few school libraries, offer summer reading programs in Nebraska. It’s offered to the children, teens, and sometimes adults, of various communities across the state.  Every year, the Library Commission provides a manual to public libraries in Nebraska, as well as a booklist of titles that relate to the theme.

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.

“With the engaging, well-illustrated biography Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger, author Anita Silvey explains how this unlikely folk-music hero turned singalongs into social change.”  –The Washington Post

This week’s #BookFace model is Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book & Braille Service Circulation Clerk, Nicholas Westra!

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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Nominations Accepted Until August 15 for Literary/Literacy Awards

Nebraskans are urged to nominate literary/literacy champions. The Nebraska Center for the Book is accepting nominations to honor Nebraska’s champions of literature and literacy. Awards will be presented at the Celebration of Nebraska Books on October 27. The Mildred Bennett Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to fostering the literary tradition in Nebraska. Its purpose is to remind us of the literary and intellectual traditions that enrich our lives and mold our world. The award recognizes inspired leadership and service on behalf of Nebraska literature, highlighting how the recipient follows the example of Mildred Bennett, the charismatic founder and long-time president of the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation.

The Jane Geske Award is presented annually 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. Jane Pope Geske was a founding member of the Nebraska Center for the Book, former director of the Nebraska Library Commission, and a long-time leader in Nebraska library and literary activities.

For more information see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards.html. Nomination forms are available at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/nominationforms.html or contact Rod Wagner, Nebraska Library Commission Director, 402-471-4001, 800-307-2665.

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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 June 2018.  Included are reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies: Nebraska State College System, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency,  Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Public Power District, Nebraska Foster Care Review Board, 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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Nebraska State Poet Nominations Due August 1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NLC Logo
June 29, 2018

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Tessa Terry
402-471-4002
800-307-2665

Nebraska State Poet Nominations Due August 1

The Nebraska Library Commission, the Nebraska Arts Council, and Humanities Nebraska are seeking nominations for the next Nebraska State Poet. This designation recognizes and honors a Nebraska poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment. Nominations must be submitted no later than midnight, CST, on August 1, 2018.

Nominations may be made by any organization or individual in the state of Nebraska. To be considered, nominees must consent to the nomination. All nominations will be reviewed by the State Poet Selection Committee, which is made up of five individuals who are established members of Nebraska’s literary, cultural, and academic communities. After the committee selects finalists, the governor will make the final selection.

State Poet nominations will be collected and reviewed online only. The first step is to contact Humanities Nebraska at info@humanitiesnebraska.org to verify the poet in question has not been nominated already. The remainder of the application is completed using the Nebraska Arts Council’s SlideRoom online application site. The site includes complete instructions for submitting application materials.

The Nebraska State Poet will be chosen based on artistic excellence, exemplary professionalism demonstrated by significant publications and special honors, an established history of community service in the advancement of poetry in Nebraska, and the ability to present poetry and interact effectively with a public audience. In addition, the State Poet must be a legal, full-time resident for at least three years prior to the application deadline and must maintain Nebraska residence during his or her full term of office.

Once selected, the Nebraska State Poet will serve a five-year renewable term as an advocate for poetry, literacy, and literature in Nebraska. Duties include giving public presentations and readings, leading workshops and discussions, and providing other outreach in schools, libraries, literary festivals, and various venues in rural and urban communities throughout the state. To accomplish this, the State Poet will join the Nebraska Arts Council’s Nebraska Touring Program and the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau.

The position of Nebraska Poet Laureate was established in 1921 when John G. Neihardt was appointed by the Legislature. In 1982, William Kloefkorn was appointed Nebraska State Poet by Governor Charles Thone. Kloefkorn served as State Poet for more than 25 years, until his death in May 2011. In January 2013, Governor Dave Heineman installed Twyla M. Hansen as Nebraska State Poet. Her service to the state concludes at the end of 2018.

For more information about the Nebraska State Poet selection process, visit the Humanities Nebraska website at www.humanitiesnebraska.org and click on the rotating banner marked Nebraska State Poet.

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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#BookFaceFriday “The Life of Kit Carson”

 This #BookFaceFriday might not be the king of the wild frontier… but it’s close.

"The Life of Kit Carson" by Alan E. Grey BookFaceFriday Image

The Life of Kit Carson” by Alan E. Grey (Bison Books, 2014) is a great reference for young readers exploring the old west. As part of our permanent collection it’s available for check out to anyone. Just ask our amazing Information Services staff! This title is published by the Bison Books, and imprint of University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state document program.

“Composed of stories discovered through years of research, this book is an exciting and easy-to-read, action-packed tale. Young readers and adults alike will find both education and entertainment in this masterfully presented life story.”

This week’s #BookFace model is Nebraska Library Commission’s Business Manager, Jerry Breazile!

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: Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes

For years, I overlooked the simplicity and beauty of Tom Petty’s music. Some points of clarification at the outset: I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Heartbreakers to Tom Petty, and it should be noted that the band (both collectively and individually) did a fair amount of side work, including backing Johnny Cash and the Travelling Wilburys (among other things). I owe it to my daughter (11-year old astrology expert and member of the counterculture) for my renewed interest in Petty, and the Heartbreakers. As a youngster, I never really listened to him much. Not that I had anything against him or his music, but I guess I just did not have the appreciation at that time. At any rate, the daughter, oddly and I’m not sure how, became a huge Petty fan. She likely was drawn to his simplicity, musical genius, and willingness to tell it like it is. Speaking of how Tom and the Heartbreakers got hooked up with Johnny Cash, Tom mentions that the band was interested in all forms of American music, pure forms that is, “not what they would call country today. What they would call country today is sort of like bad rock groups with a fiddle.” Tom and the Heartbreakers backed Cash on American II: Unchained. As much as I could go on about Cash, this little review today is about Petty, so let us steer back in that direction.

Petty, written by former Del Fuegos guitarist Warren Zanes, chronicles Tom’s upbringing, complete with an abusive alcoholic father in 1950’s working class Gainesville, FL.  Arguably, the most difficult obstacle in Petty’s childhood was his lack of familial support for his interests and passion (music), but some might argue that being severely beaten around age 5 would be just as bad or worse. At any rate, Tom did not have an easy childhood, and while struggling through the monotony and boredom of school, he did get hooked up with other musicians, notably taking guitar lessons from Don Felder (the Eagles), forming various cover bands, and then the assembly of Mudcrutch. Most of the members of Mudcrutch subsequently became members of the Heartbreakers.

The account provided by Zanes relies on interviews from various people around the band and Petty himself. I think Tom wanted to tell his story, but felt the need to have it done independently, so that it seemed more credible. I can’t say I blame him, as I’ve often read autobiographies (especially by musicians) that come across as braggadocios, even if not intended. This one doesn’t play that way. Petty is such a likeable figure because of his honesty and humility. That is not to say that the duration of the Heartbreakers was without conflict, because it certainly was not. In addition to the Heartbreakers and various producers (notably Jimmy Iovine and Rick Rubin), numerous other prominent figures played a role in his life, such as (to name just a few) close friends Stevie Nicks, Jeff Lynne, Bruce Springsteen, and George Harrison. One of the reasons Petty has appeal (aside from his work with the Heartbreakers) is his work and friendship with these other musicians. For a nice little example of this, check out the performance at George Harrison’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2004), and a cat named Prince who makes an appearance around 3:29.

Zanes of course also covers personal aspects of Petty’s life, including his relationship with his first wife, Jane Benyo, his kids, and his second wife, Dana York. Zanes also chronicles Tom’s depression and heroin use, and while that certainly is a large part of his story, it does not overwhelm the reader. It just seems to be an honest depiction and part of his story. As far as biographies go, this is one of the better ones.

Zanes, Warren. Petty: The Biography. 2016. Print.

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Treasurer Stenberg Encourages Young Readers, Nebraska Libraries To Participate in NEST Read to Win $529 Drawing

Lincoln, Neb. (June 27, 2018) – Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg is encouraging  Nebraska youth ages 3 to 18 to take part in the summer reading programs at their local libraries for an opportunity to win a $529 NEST college savings account. He also is encouraging all Nebraska libraries to make the NEST Read to Win $529 Drawing available to their patrons.

Stenberg, who is Trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, announced the Read to Win $529 Drawing in May at the Kearney Public Library. With him were Sally Snyder of the Nebraska Library Commission and Shawntel Daniell of First National Bank, Kearney.

“The Read to Win $529 Drawing is an exciting opportunity for parents to learn more about our excellent state-sponsored college savings program and for young readers to start or add to their college savings accounts. If you haven’t heard about the Read to Win $529 Drawing at your local library, ask your librarian more about it,” Stenberg said.

Children and teens may participate in the Read to Win $529 drawing by completing their local libraries’ requirements for the summer reading program and registering through their local libraries before August 22. 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. The library of each winner also will receive a $250 contribution from NEST.

Winners will be invited to a recognition event this fall in the Capitol. Money for the Read to Win $529 Drawing is provided by First National Bank of Omaha, Program Manager for NEST.

Stenberg said 13,960 children, who were summer readers at 53 libraries, participated in the NEST drawing last year. He would like to see an increase in both the number of children entering the drawing and the number of libraries participating.

“Libraries large and small can offer this drawing at little extra effort on their part. We would particularly like to see libraries in mid-size cities that did not participate last year sign up this year,” Stenberg said. Details are available on the Nebraska Library Commission website at nlc.nebraska.gov.

“At NEST, we recognize the role that reading plays in a child’s educational success and life-long love of learning. We are committed to helping families prepare financially for their children’s educational futures through our tax-advantaged NEST 529 college savings plans and the multiple scholarship opportunities we offer,” Stenberg said.

“Read to Win is an easy contest to enter. While children are having fun choosing books to read by themselves or in family groups and completing their libraries’ summer reading requirements, they also can be entered in the Read to Win $529 Drawing. Only a parent’s signature is required. Nothing more,” he said.

Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner said, “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 we anticipate that this summer more Nebraska libraries will encourage their summer readers to participate in this opportunity to benefit from college savings plans when they advance to higher education.”

Read to Win contest rules are available at www.NEST529.com. Click on “Grow” and select “Scholarships & Rewards.” Rules also are available at https://treasurer.nebraska.gov/csp/scholarships/.

Information on the Nebraska Summer Reading Program is available at local libraries or at the Nebraska Library Commission’s website at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/youth/summerreading/.

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. Visit nlc.nebraska.gov.

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 251,000 accounts, including 76,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529Advisor.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.

About First National Bank of Omaha
First National Bank is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska is the largest privately owned banking company in the United States. First National 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

 

 

 Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg at the Kearney Public Library to announce the Read to Win $529 Drawing. With him, from left, are Shawntel Daniell, First National Bank, Kearney; Sally Snyder, Nebraska Library Commission; and Matthew Williams, Director, Kearney Public Library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg reads to three of his grandchildren at the Kearney Public Library.

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Throwback Thursday: Queen of the College World Series

Check out this week’s #ThrowbackThursday from the Nebraska Memories Archive.

Crowning of Dorothy Gredstrom as School of Nursing Seniors Queen of the College World Series

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. From 1950 through 1991, the College World Series included CWS “Sweethearts.” Nine young women were selected to represent area service clubs, colleges, universities, etc. Omaha sports writers and sportscasters then picked one to be the CWS Queen. In this photo we see Edward F. Pettis, a man instrumental in the early development of the College World Series, crowning Dorothy with a crown of flowers. 1959 was the thirteenth year of the CWS, the tournament’s champion was Oklahoma State, coached by Toby Greene.

This photograph was provided and is owned by the Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center. 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. With the assistance of the Nebraska Library Commission, this sampling of items from the Immanuel collection has been made available through the efforts of the Fall 2008 and Fall 2010 Advanced Cataloging class at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, under the guidance and direction of the instructor, Corinne Jacox, and Karen Hein of the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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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Nebraska Libraries Invited to Join “Libraries = Strong Communities” Advocacy Effort

ALA recently introduced “Libraries = Strong Communities,” a national advocacy effort aimed at highlighting the value of academic, public and school libraries. This initiative is uniquely positioned to ignite public awareness of the value of libraries and library staff and create a groundswell of support at the local, state, national and global level.

“Libraries = Strong Communities” will include messaging used in conjunction with ALA’s Libraries Transform public awareness campaign. Publicity tools, including a press release template, flyer, Because Statements, and Facebook frame, will be available for participating libraries as well as advocates at large. Additional information regarding the tour will be available within the next few weeks, and those interested in following tour activities in real time may follow the hashtag #LibrariesStrong.

For more information see http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2018/06/ala-president-loida-garcia-febo-announces-libraries-strong-communities

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Friday Reads: “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo 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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