Category Archives: General

Nebraska Library Commission Announces New Library Innovation Studios Partners


FOR IMMEDIATE Nebraska Library Innovation Studios LogoRELEASE:
10:15 AM CT on February 5, 2019

Media Contacts:
Eric Maher, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1974
Tessa Terry, Nebraska Library Commission, 402-471-3434


Gov. Ricketts, Nebraska Library Commission Announce New Library Makerspaces

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Library Commission announced that nine new Nebraska libraries have been selected to host Nebraska’s Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities makerspaces. They join 18 libraries previously chosen in 2017.

“This partnership demonstrates how our Nebraska communities can use technology and education to empower community residents to create, learn, and invent,” said Governor Ricketts. “By expanding the skills of the workforce in our communities, supporting entrepreneurs, and encouraging lifelong learning, this partnership reinforces our vibrant business climate and supports community development.”

The Nebraska Library Commission was awarded a National Leadership Grant of $530,732 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for this partnership project with the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL), Nebraska Innovation Studio, Nebraska Extension, Regional Library Systems, and local public libraries.

The project uses Library Innovation Studios makerspaces hosted by public libraries to support community engagement and participatory learning experiences by providing access to technology and innovative learning tools not readily accessible locally. This is expected to stimulate creativity, innovation, and the exchange of ideas to facilitate entrepreneurship, skills development, and local economic development.

The newly selected library partners that will host one of the four rotating makerspaces are:

• Kimball Public Library
• Beatrice Public Library
• Hastings Public Library
• Chadron Public Library
• Blue Hill Public Library
• Hastings Memorial Library, Grant, Nebraska
• Plainview Public Library
• Verdigre Public Library
• Laurel Community Learning Center

They join those selected in October 2017:

• Plattsmouth Public Library
• Ainsworth Public Library
• Ashland Public Library
• Crete Public Library
• Loup City Public Library
• South Sioux City Public Library
• Neligh Public Library
• Broken Bow Public Library
• Bridgeport Public Library
• Norfolk Public Library
• North Platte Public Library
• Ravenna Public Library
• Lied Scottsbluff Public Library
• Sidney Public Library, Special Model Program Partner
• Wayne Public Library
• Geneva Public Library
• Central City Public Library
• Nebraska City Public Library

Five more libraries will be selected through a final application opportunity with a March 29th deadline. All Accredited Public Libraries in communities of populations of less than 25,000 population are eligible.

This project began July 1, 2017 and will conclude June 30, 2020. For more information about the project or equipment that will be featured in the rotating makerspaces, see

“Nebraska’s public libraries are the natural gathering points for people to come together to share materials, knowledge, and experiences,” said Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner. “Whether the materials and tools are high tech or low tech, digital or analog, art or science, the focus is to create, invent, tinker, explore, and discover using the tools, materials, and knowledge available. Libraries have always been dedicated to community partnership, collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas—makerspaces are the next step in that progression.”

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.

Nebraska’s Regional Library Systems are four non-profit corporations governed by boards representative of libraries and citizens in the region. Systems provide access to improved library services by facilitating cooperation among all types of libraries and media centers within the counties included in each System area.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, their grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Nebraska Innovation Studio—the UNL makerspace—is the creative and collaborative hub of UNL’s Nebraska Innovation Campus, where makers and builders team up to conceptualize, prototype, and iterate projects that solve problems and influence change. The primary focus is on creativity, interdisciplinary collaboration, entrepreneurship, and education.

Nebraska Extension is one of three components of UNL’s land-grant mission. It is a dynamic educational organization that puts research to work in local communities, businesses, and individuals’ lives. Extension professionals are recognized for subject matter competence, excellent teaching skills, and community presence. They live and work in Nebraska communities across the state and engage with local and state partners in educational program delivery to address critical issues identified by constituents.


The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website,

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Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Beginning today, and each month as we receive them, we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse receives.  The UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians in Nebraska.

Here are UNP books the Clearinghouse received in January:

Citizen Akoy: Basketball and the Making of a South Sudanese American

Akoy Agau led Omaha Central High School to four straight high school basketball state championships (2010–13) and was a three‑time All‑State player. One of the most successful high school athletes in Nebraska’s history, he’s also a South Sudanese refugee. At age four, Akoy and his family fled Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War, and after three years in Cairo, they came to Maryland as refugees. They arrived in Omaha in 2003 in search of a better future.  In a fluid, intimate, and joyful narrative, Steve Marantz relates Akoy’s refugee journey of basketball, family, romance, social media, and coming of age at Nebraska’s oldest and most diverse high school. Set against a backdrop of the South Sudanese refugee community in Omaha, Marantz provides a compelling account of the power of sports to blend cultures in the unlikeliest of places.


Come Fly with Us: NASA’s Payload Specialist Program (Series: Outward Odyssey: A People’s History of Spaceflight 

Come Fly with Us is the story of an elite group of space travelers who flew as members of many space shuttle crews from pre-Challenger days to Columbia in 2003. Not part of the regular NASA astronaut corps, these professionals known as “payload specialists” came from a wide variety of backgrounds and were chosen for an equally wide variety of scientific, political, and national security reasons. Melvin Croft and John Youskauskas focus on this special fraternity of spacefarers and their individual reflections on living and working in space. Relatively unknown to the public and often flying only single missions, these payload specialists give the reader an unusual perspective on the experience of human spaceflight. The authors also bring to light NASA’s struggle to integrate the wide-ranging personalities and professions of these men and women into the professional astronaut ranks.


Echo of Its Time: The History of the Federal District Court of Nebraska, 1867-1933

Throughout its existence the Federal District Court of Nebraska has echoed the dynamics of its time, reflecting the concerns, interests, and passions of the people who have made this state their home. Echo of Its Time explores the court’s development, from its inception in 1867 through 1933, tracing the careers of its first four judges: Elmer Dundy, William Munger, Thomas Munger (no relation), and Joseph Woodrough, whose rulings addressed an array of issues and controversies echoing macro-level developments within the state, nation, and world. Echo of Its Time both informs and entertains while using the court’s operations as a unique and accessible prism through which to explore broader themes in the history of the state and the nation. The book explores the inner workings of the court through Thomas Munger’s personal correspondence, as well as the court’s origins and growing influence under the direction of its legendary first judge, Elmer Dundy. Dundy handled many notable and controversial matters and made significant decisions in the field of Native American law, including Standing Bear v. Crook and Elk v. Wilkins. From the turn of the century through 1933 the court’s docket reflected the dramatic and rapid changes in state, regional, and national dynamics, including labor disputes and violence, political corruption and Progressive Era reform efforts, conflicts between cattle ranchers and homesteaders, wartime sedition and “slacker” prosecutions, criminal enterprises, and the endless battles between government agents and bootleggers during Prohibition.

Hearing Voices: Aurality and New Spanish Sound Culture in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz                                  (Series: New Hispanisms)

Hearing Voices takes a fresh look at sound in the poetry and prose of colonial Latin American poet and nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648/51–95). A voracious autodidact, Sor Juana engaged with early modern music culture in a way that resonates deeply in her writing. Despite the privileging of harmony within Sor Juana’s work, however, links between the poet’s musical inheritance and subjects such as acoustics, cognition, writing, and visual art have remained unexplored. These lacunae have marginalized nonmusical aurality and contributed to the persistence of both ocularcentrism and a corresponding visual dominance in scholarship on Sor Juana—and indeed in early modern cultural production in general.  Hearing Voices focuses on these aural conceits in highlighting the importance of sound and—in most cases—its relationship with gender in Sor Juana’s work and early modern culture. Sarah Finley explores attitudes toward women’s voices and music making; intersections of music, rhetoric, and painting; aurality in Baroque visual art; sound and ritual; and the connections between optics and acoustics.  Finley demonstrates how Sor Juana’s striking aurality challenges ocularcentric interpretations and problematizes paradigms that pin vision to logos, writing, and other empirical models that traditionally favor men’s voices. Sound becomes a vehicle for women’s agency and responds to anxiety about the female voice, particularly in early modern convent culture.

Of One Mind and Of One Government: The Rise and Fall of the Creek Nation in the Early Republic (Series:  Early American Places, and, New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies)

In Of One Mind and Of One Government Kevin Kokomoor examines the formation of Creek politics and nationalism from the 1770s through the Red Stick War, when the aftermath of the American Revolution and the beginnings of American expansionism precipitated a crisis in Creek country. The state of Georgia insisted that the Creeks sign three treaties to cede tribal lands. The Creeks objected vigorously, igniting a series of border conflicts that escalated throughout the late eighteenth century and hardened partisan lines between pro-American, pro-Spanish, and pro-British Creeks and their leaders. Creek politics shifted several times through historical contingencies, self-interests, changing leadership, and debate about how to best preserve sovereignty, a process that generated national sentiment within the nascent and imperfect Creek Nation.
Based on original archival research and a revisionist interpretation, Kokomoor explores how the state of Georgia’s increasingly belligerent and often fraudulent land acquisitions forced the Creeks into framing a centralized government, appointing heads of state, and assuming the political and administrative functions of a nation-state. Prior interpretations have viewed the Creeks as a loose confederation of towns, but the formation of the Creek Nation brought predictability, stability, and reduced military violence in its domain during the era.

One Size Fits None: A Farm Girl’s Search for the Promise of Regenerative Agriculture 

“Sustainable” has long been the rallying cry of agricultural progressives; given that much of our nation’s farm and ranch land is already degraded, however, sustainable agriculture often means maintaining a less-than-ideal status quo. Industrial agriculture has also co-opted the term for marketing purposes without implementing better practices. Stephanie Anderson argues that in order to provide nutrient-rich food and fight climate change, we need to move beyond sustainable to regenerative agriculture, a practice that is highly tailored to local environments and renews resources.  In One Size Fits None Anderson follows diverse farmers across the United States: a South Dakota bison rancher who provides an alternative to the industrial feedlot; an organic vegetable farmer in Florida who harvests microgreens; a New Mexico super-small farmer who revitalizes communities; and a North Dakota midsize farmer who combines livestock and grain farming to convert expensive farmland back to native prairie. The use of these nontraditional agricultural techniques show how varied operations can give back to the earth rather than degrade it. This book will resonate with anyone concerned about the future of food in America, providing guidance for creating a better, regenerative agricultural future.

Standing Up to Colonial Power: The Lives of Henry Roe and Elizabeth Bender Cloud (Series:  New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies)

Standing Up to Colonial Power focuses on the lives, activism, and intellectual contributions of Henry Cloud (1884–1950), a Ho-Chunk, and Elizabeth Bender Cloud (1887–1965), an Ojibwe, both of whom grew up amid settler colonialism that attempted to break their connection to Native land, treaty rights, and tribal identities. Mastering ways of behaving and speaking in different social settings and to divergent audiences, including other Natives, white missionaries, and Bureau of Indian Affairs officials, Elizabeth and Henry relied on flexible and fluid notions of gender, identity, culture, community, and belonging as they traveled Indian Country and within white environments to fight for Native rights.  Elizabeth fought against termination as part of her role in the National Congress of American Indians and General Federation of Women’s Clubs, while Henry was one of the most important Native policy makers of the early twentieth century. He documented the horrible abuse within the federal boarding schools and co-wrote the Meriam Report of 1928, which laid the foundation for the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Together they ran an early college preparatory Christian high school, the American Indian Institute.  Standing Up to Colonial Power shows how the Clouds combined Native warrior and modern identities as a creative strategy to challenge settler colonialism, to become full members of the U.S. nation-state, and to fight for tribal sovereignty. Renya K. Ramirez uses her dual position as a scholar and as the granddaughter of Elizabeth and Henry Cloud to weave together this ethnography and family-tribal history.

Words Like Birds: Sakha Language Discourses and Practices in the City                                                   (Series: Borderlands and Transcultural Studies)

What does it mean to speak Sakha in the city? Words Like Birds, a linguistic ethnography of Sakha discourses and practices in urban far eastern Russia, examines the factors that have aided speakers in maintaining—and adapting—their minority language over the course of four hundred years of contact with Russian speakers and the federal power apparatus.  Words Like Birds analyzes modern Sakha linguistic sensibilities and practices in the urban space of Yakutsk. Sakha is a north Siberian Turkic language spoken primarily in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in the northeastern Russian Federation. For Sakha speakers, Russian colonization in the region inaugurated a tumultuous history in which their language was at times officially supported and promoted and at other times repressed and discouraged.  Jenanne Ferguson explores the communicative norms that arose in response to the top-down promotion of the Russian language in the public sphere and reveals how Sakha ways of speaking became emplaced in villages and the city’s private spheres. Focusing on the language ideologies and practices of urban bilingual Sakha-Russian speakers, Ferguson illuminates the changes that have taken place in the first two post-Soviet decades, in contexts where Russian speech and communicative norms dominated during the Soviet era.  Weaving together three major themes—language ideologies and ontologies, language trajectories, and linguistic syncretism—this study reveals how Sakha speakers transform and adapt their beliefs, evaluations, and practices to revalorize a language, maintain and create a sense of belonging, and make their words heard in Sakha again in many domains of city life. Like the moveable spirited words, the focus of Words Like Birds is mobility, change, and flow, the tracing of the situation of bilinguals in Yakutsk.

Pictures and synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.


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Gov. Ricketts Announces Matt Mason as New State Poet




10:15 AM CT on January 30, 2019

Media Contacts:
Taylor Gage, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1970
Hannah Gill, Arts Council, 402-595-2122


Gov. Ricketts Announces Matt Mason as New State Poet

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that Matt Mason of Omaha has been designated as Nebraska’s next State Poet. The selection process was led by the Nebraska Arts Council, Humanities Nebraska, and the Nebraska Library Commission, a group of state agencies and organizations that together presented finalists to the Governor for consideration. Mason will be installed as Nebraska State Poet 2019-2023 during a ceremony that will be announced at a later date.

“From Willa Cather to Ted Kooser, Nebraska has been home to many talented authors, artists, and poets,” said Governor Ricketts. “As our next State Poet, Matt will help celebrate Nebraska and bring our state together around our shared love of the Good Life.”

The Nebraska State Poet is selected based on artistic excellence and 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.

Mason is executive director of the Nebraska Writers Collective, through which he has run the Louder Than a Bomb: Great Plains youth poetry festival each year since 2011. He is a former board president of the Nebraska Center for the Book and has served as the Nebraska State Coordinator for Poetry Out Loud, a Poetry Foundation/National Education Association program. He also edits, a listing of every poetry event in the state of Nebraska.

Additionally, Mason has won a Pushcart Prize and two Nebraska Book Awards (for Poetry in 2007 and Anthology in 2006) for his own work. He represented Nebraska as a member of six teams at the National Poetry Slam, and he represented the United States as an organizer of the U.S. Department of State poetry programing in Romania, Nepal, Botswana, and Belarus.

“Poetry and poetry advocacy have been my life’s real project, so being honored like this is amazing and humbling,” Mason said. “I hope to get into communities around the state to do readings with authors there. I want to get to the different counties, to the Air Force Base, to different crowds and bring entertaining poetry as well as remind everyone of the poets already there in their communities.”

As Nebraska State Poet, Mason will serve a five-year renewable term as an advocate for poetry, literacy, and literature in Nebraska. His duties will 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.

The position of Nebraska Poet Laureate was established in 1921 when John G. Neihardt, whose most famous work includes “Black Elk Speaks” and “Cycle of the West,” was appointed by the Legislature. In 1982, William Kloefkorn was appointed as Nebraska State Poet by Governor Charles Thone. Kloefkorn served as State Poet for 29 years until his death in May 2011. Twyla M. Hansen, winner of two Nebraska Book Awards and co-director of the website, “Poetry from the Plains: A Nebraska Perspective,” served from 2013-2018.

To learn more about Matt Mason, visit his website at or his official page at the Humanities Nebraska website by clicking here. For information about hosting the state poet with the Nebraska Arts Council’s “Presenting the State Poet” grants, visit or contact the office at (402) 595-2122.



The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website,


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$44,800 in Internship Grants Awarded to Nebraska Public Libraries

January 24, 2019NLClogo

Christa Porter

$44,800 in Internship Grants Awarded to Nebraska Public Libraries

Nebraskans will once again reap the benefits of the energy and creativity of Nebraska young people as they serve as interns in their local public libraries. The Nebraska Library Commission recently awarded Nebraska Library Internship Grants totaling $44,800 to forty-six Nebraska public libraries. These internship grants will support public library interns, who will contribute to the scope and value of the diverse programs and activities in Nebraska’s public libraries.

“The internships are a great opportunity for students to get involved in library work. Beyond earning money and gaining valuable work experience, the student is exposed to the broad range of library services and programming. Internships provide an opportunity for the student to view the library as a viable and satisfying career choice. In addition, interns bring a fresh perspective and their own unique talents to the library,” said Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner.

Student interns will learn about library work as they shadow staff, assist with day-to-day library operations, and implement special projects. Some of the activities that students will participate in include:
• plan and implement programs such as summer reading programs for all ages, storytime sessions, book discussions, and teen/tween activities;
• facilitate partnerships with the Neihardt State Historic Site, Mid-Plains Community College, and YMCA;
• organize Makerspaces and Maker Clubs, as well as other STEAM learning activities;
• create book displays, bulletin boards, and craft activities;
• assist with outreach events outside the library;
• update the library’s website and social media sites (Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, etc.);
• assist with circulation activities, book selection, and collection management;
• teach technology classes and assist library customers with electronic devices, research, and Coding Clubs;
• create flyers, newsletters, newspaper articles, and other promotional materials; and
• assist with verbal and written Spanish⁄English communication.

The following Nebraska public libraries were awarded 2019 internship grant funding:
Alma, Hoesch Memorial Library
Arlington Public Library
Atkinson Public Library
Bancroft Public Library
Bayard Public Library
Central City Public Library
Clarkson Public Library
Columbus Public Library
Cozad, Wilson Public Library
Franklin Public Library
Fremont, Keene Memorial Library
Grant, Hastings Memorial Library
Kimball Public Library
Laurel Public Library
Leigh Public Library
Lincoln City Libraries (6 branches)
Madison Public Library
McCook Public Library
Minden, Jensen Memorial Library
Morrill Public Library
Norfolk Public Library
Oakdale Public Library
Papillion, Sump Memorial Library
Ponca Carnegie Library
Shelby Community Library
Sidney Public Library
Raymond A Whitwer Tilden Public Library
Valley Public Library
Verdigre Public Library

Additionally, twelve public libraries participating in the Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities” (LIS) project have also received 2019 internship grant funding. The interns hired in these libraries will primarily be working with this LIS makerspace grant. These libraries include:
Beatrice Public Library
Blue Hill Public Library
Central City Public Library
Chadron Public Library
Geneva Public Library
Grant, Hastings Memorial Library
Hastings Public Library
Kimball Public Library
Laurel Community Learning Center
Nebraska City, Morton-James Public Library
Plainview Public Library
Verdigre Public Library

Funding for the project is supported and administered by the Nebraska Library Commission, in partnership with the Nebraska Library Systems.

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.”

Nebraska’s Regional Library Systems consist of four non-profit corporations governed by boards representative of libraries and citizens in the region. The four systems were established to provide access to improved library services through the cooperation of all types of libraries and media centers within the counties included in each System area.


The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website,

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To Sync or Not to Sync?

Have you ever opened Google Chrome on your smartphone and filled out a form online? Then when you got home, did you try to fill out another form and have the blanks automatically fill in? That wasn’t an accident. When you sync your devices or accounts together, Google is able to share information between those devices. Sometimes this is helpful. Other times, not so much.

Google is very transparent about which types of data it collects: This site will give you a rundown of the types of data that are stored and how Google says they use the information. There are just a couple points I want to touch on here.

1. When you download Google Chrome, it will ask if you want to sync your Google account to this particular browser. When you’re on a home or personal computer, this can be helpful. But if you’re loading Chrome on a work or shared computer, you don’t necessary want everyone using that computer to have access to your Google search history, photos, personal information, and anything stored in Google’s information banks.

If you’ve already synced Google Chrome at work with your Google accounts at home, fear not! Here are instructions to unsync your accounts. With just a few clicks, you can make your forms stop autofilling your home address.

2. The other quick tidbit is about using Google Docs at home and at work. Feel free to make two separate accounts through Google docs. Then you can remove your home account from your work account. Here’s how to delete your Google Account Information from a device.

Protecting patron search and material use history is important in libraries. Librarians should have the same protections! Remember, your privacy is your own.



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Facebook Login on Third-Party Sites

Facebook for Developers imageHave you ever been on a website that asks you to login using Facebook? This usually appears as a quick one-click button that lets you link this app to Facebook so you don’t have to manually enter a lot of your own information into the new website. So how do websites get this button on their website?

It’s surprisingly easy. Take a look at the Facebook Login Overview on Facebook for Developers. Any website can use the Login if they only need access to a user’s public profile and email address. The overview states that “to ask for any other permission, your app will need to be reviewed by Facebook before these permission become visible in the Login Dialog to the public who’re logging into your app with Facebook”.

Looking at their App Review process, apps have to submit a request on a feature by feature basis and match that request to the product offered on their site. Businesses also need to verify their business identity. Businesses also have to sign a usage agreement.

That is somewhat reassuring, but let’s rewind a bit here. Any business, verified or unverified can use this Login feature to gain access to the public profile. Think about what’s on your public profile: a cover photo, gender, networks, schools attended, age range, language, country, and any information that appears on public searches. Imagine what companies can do with some of this information.

Some of these third-party websites may also sync up with Facebook to post some of the information from their app on your profile’s timeline. For example, Goodreads is a very popular website among librarians. Depending on how you set up your Goodreads account, you may have given Goodreads permission to automatically post your completed books to your timeline. Do you want all of your Facebook friends to know everything you read?

If you’ve already accidentally synced an app with your Facebook profile, there are usually ways to undo or change the settings. Here’s Goodread’s Help page if you want to take a look at the permission shared between Goodreads and Facebook. They also provide information about how to adjust the settings.

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Friday Reads: The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret

A little while ago, I had just finished reading The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret and I was listening to a story on NPR about music students attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Ironically, the story highlighted current student musicians that were contributing to the music world in a way quite similar to the wrecking crew of the 1960’s and 1970’s. You see, the original wrecking crew was a collection of backup (or maybe background would be a more appropriate word) musicians that played on numerous studio recordings. Like the Berklee music students, the wrecking crew played on jingles, theme songs, film scores, and commercials (the Berklee students have expanded to playing music for podcasts, video games, and other things).

So The Wrecking Crew documents the lives of these studio musicians, how they started and expanded in the business, and their interactions with some of the writers, producers, arrangers, and other notable artists. These include, among others, Brian Wilson, Sonny and Cher, Simon and Garfunkel, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, and the Mamas and the Papas. While one of the more well-known members of the crew was Glen Campbell (who also toured as one of the Beach Boys), the book also focuses on drummer Hal Blaine and guitarist Carol Kaye (shown here hilariously giving Gene Simmons a lesson on bass). Incidentally, the name wrecking crew, penned by Hal Blaine, is disputed by Carol Kaye, who mentions that the group of musicians weren’t generally known as such (but sometimes called “the Clique”). Call them whatever you choose, but this set of musicians were the go-to’s when it came to studio recording, and the point is that the work was good enough for them to earn a living doing it. Most of the recorded music you hear from this time has these musicians playing on it instead of the actual bands that toured. And the kicker is that you would never know it; most of the time (if not all of the time) they weren’t credited.

The book also offers an interesting insight into many of the colorful (both in a healthy creative way and sometimes controlling and abrasive) characters in the music world at the time. For the creative but meticulous, think Brian Wilson. For the controlling and abrasive (and sometimes downright crazy), think Phil Spector. The Wrecking Crew offers access into not only these major artists but also those behind the scenes. A documentary film about the Crew, based on the book, may also be of interest (some of the original footage illustrates things in a worthwhile way).

Hartman, Kent (2013). The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret. St. Martin’s Griffin.


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Drones in the Library!

One day, drones may deliver library books to home bound library patrons. That day may come sooner than you’d think.

Drones are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and can be controlled remotely or fly autonomously through the use of a pre-programmed flight plan. These drones use sensors to control their flight path and to collect various types of data. This data can range from weather information to chemical emissions to a collection of photographs.

Today, drones are being used in the military, by landscapers, construction workers, farmers, artists, researchers, and just about every industry known to man. So how are they being used in the library? Here are a few examples:

Drones on Loan: People want to learn about drones and take them for a test drive. The Arapaho Library has 4 copies of a Hover Camera Passport Drone available in their regular catalog. Georgia Highlands College has a similar system in place. If you would like to replicate this in your library, try testing out demonstrations with one drone and gather patron interest. If there’s interest, it might be time to update your loan policy to cover damage and incidentals on a drone for loan!

Delivery Drones: Right now, Amazon is pilot testing a delivery drone. Their website says their drones are “designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles” using Prime Air. It’s not hard to imagine how these could come in handy for libraries one day.

Drone Demonstrations: You can also do some drone demonstrations in the library. This might take a bit of practice to get the controls down, but it’s definitely possible! It’s quite probably you could find an enthusiastic patron who has experience that might want to teach a few classes in the library.

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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 December 2018.  Included are reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies:  Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy, Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Service,  University of Nebraska-Omaha Center for Applied Urban Research, and new books from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

Most items, except the books from the University of Nebraska Press, are available for immediate viewing and printing by clicking on the highlighted link above, or directly in the .pdf below.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse in 1972, a service of the Nebraska Library Commission. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, and provide access to all public information published by Nebraska state agencies.  By law (State Statutes 51-411 to 51-413) all Nebraska state agencies are required to submit their published documents to the Clearinghouse.  For more information, visit the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse page, contact Mary Sauers, Government Information Services Librarian, or contact Bonnie Henzel, State Documents Staff Assistant.

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#BookFaceFriday “Songs of the Humpback Whale”

Today we’re giving it our best shot at speaking whale… HhhAaapEEE BooookffAaace FrrrriiiidAAaayyy!

While we didn’t see any whales off the coast of Puerto Rico, we did take advantage of the beach for this week’s #BookFaceFriday “Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices” by Jodi Picoult (Washington Square Press, 1992).  This familial drama between a disgruntled wife and her renowned oceanographer husband plays out in a cross country road trip.  This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection; get it reserved for your book club today!

“Picoult has become a master almost a clairvoyant — at targeting hot issues and writing highly readable page-turners about them . . . It is impossible not to be held spell bound by the way she forces us to think, hard, about right and wrong.” ―Carolyn See, The Washington Post

Today’s #BookFace model is my very accommodating sister, who stared into the ocean for a good long time so I could get this shot.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Augmented Reality in the Library

The best way to learn about augmented reality is to use it. The easiest and most cost-effective way to experiment with augmented reality (AR) is with an app. AR uses the camera from a smartphone or tablet to take in information from your surroundings.

The information is fed into an app and that app can be programmed to superimpose images, audio, or other computer generated media when a trigger point is reached. That trigger point can take the form of a specific object, a longitude and latitude registered via GPS, or a person’s face. Here are a few examples you might want to try in your library:

Pokemon Go: This one is incredibly popular across multiple age groups. It uses GPS on your phone to pinpoint location, your smartphone camera takes in images, and the app superimposes Pokemon at specific GPS location. So if you see someone walk into a tree with their phone held out in front of them, it’s possible they were trying to catch Pokemon.

BBC Civilisations AR: This app was made by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). They selected 40 different historical objects from famous museums and developed this app to allow people from around the world to project and explore there objects in their own home. They hope to gain user feedback to improve their project, so feel free to let them know what you’d like to see from an app like this in the future.

Metaverse: This augmented reality platform will let you try building your own AR app for free! They have plenty of walk-through tutorials to get you started with programming different images, animations, and interactive library games to pop up throughout your library building and surrounding area. Have fun exploring!

Google Expeditions: Of course Google has some AR apps. They also dove into AR platforms. Google Expeditions is designed to allow users to explore and learn more about different world landmarks, weather phenomenon, hard-to-reach locations, get up close and personal with animals, and digitally explore the world. Just a heads up that this app has VR and AR options. The VR side has had mixed reviews with compatibility issues for different headsets. The AR has better reviews, but takes a bit of practice to implement.



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Discounts on Books & Supplies for Nebraska Libraries

This message is a reminder that various library vendors offer Nebraska libraries discounts on books and supplies via the Nebraska Library Commission. You can see a list of these vendors on the Discounts on Books & Supplies page of the Nebraska Library Commission website.

While some of these discounts are ongoing, others are offered for specific terms that are renewable. We are pleased to report that the following vendors have recently renewed their discount terms through at least the end of 2019:

  • Brodart
  • Demco
  • Ingram Library Services, Inc.
  • Midwest Library Service
  • The Library Store
  • Vernon Library Supplies

Please see the Discounts on Books & Supplies page for a complete list of participating vendors, and also to see the discount terms and the steps required to obtain the discounts.

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#BookFaceFriday “Running With Scissors”

I’d hate to have a Freudian slip with this #BookFace

Get off your therapist’s couch and check out “Running with Scissors: A Memoir” by Augusten Burroughs (Picador, 2003). This New York Times Bestseller is one of those instances where real life is more outlandish than any fictional story.  This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and is the perfect selection to get your book club through the winter doldrums!

“I just finished reading the most amazing book. Running with Scissors is hilarious, freaky-deaky, berserk, controlled, transcendent, touching, affectionate, vengeful, all-embracing….It makes a good run at blowing every other [memoir] out of the water.” ―Carolyn See, The Washington Post

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model apparently has a love for running around with boxes on his head. I’m so glad his mother knew how to take advantage of it! Mr. Asher is the son of our Information Services Librarian, Aimee Owen! She and her family get all the credit for this week’s #BookFace photo!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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What’s Sally Reading?

School Library Journal Announces 2018 Best Books

Recently, in their December 2018 issue, School Library Journal listed 17 picture books, 21 Chapter Books & Middle Grade titles, 17 YA titles, 12 Nonfiction choices, four Poetry titles, and nine Graphic Novels & Nonfiction choices.  You can visit their web page for a look at the titles they chose to see what you might already have on your shelves, and what you may want to consider adding.  Underneath the slideshow of the titles is an opportunity to download the lists.

As usual, I have read and reviewed some of the titles on their lists, but not had a chance to see and read all of them. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi is one of the Middle Grade titles they selected. It is the first of “Rick Riordan Presents,” an imprint of Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Aru (12) lives with her mother at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta, Georgia. Her mother is often gone on trips to research and discover artifacts for the Museum. At the beginning of winter break, three schoolmates stop by to challenge Aru to prove one of her stories is true (Aru has a good imagination), thus prompting her to light the lamp that could end the world. This freezes her mother and her schoolmates so Aru appears to be on her own to rectify her mistake. Fortunately, she is teamed up with another girl, Mini.  Soon Aru and her fellow heroine, Mini, are traveling to mystical places to try and save the world. Wonderful action, working through a possible friendship with Mini, and dealing with the guilt she feels keeps Aru on her toes. I am looking forward to the next book, Aru Shah and the Song of Death, which will be published on April 30, 2019.

(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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What Robots Can’t Do

Nowadays, many robots are infused with artificial intelligence (AI). It may seem like robots can do anything, but they really can’t.

As librarians, this is good information to have. Some libraries help patrons with professional development. Help steer them towards  jobs that robots will not likely be able to do in the near future, if ever. To do this, it helps to first know what AI is and how it works.

AI is basically software that writes itself and can perform particular tasks. AI has a learning curve. Quite literally. The new machine must be trained by a large amount of data so it can detect the correct patterns and replicate the correct action(s). In the beginning, a human operator might supervise this machine and take note of any mistakes made. These mistakes will be logged and a new set of data will be fed to the AI software to correct the mistakes. This process is repeated until the machine is operating correctly in an unsupervised setting.

Let’s use the example of self-driving cars. There are several variables that go into driving. The car would have to be fed lots of information, including how to detect a stop sign. But if the car was only fed images of stop signs during the day, it might miss stop signs at night.

Needless to say, AI has a long way to go. It is powerful and has great potential, but it can’t do everything. Bernard Marr estimates that AI will take over “receptionists, telemarketers, bookkeeping clerks, proofreaders, delivery couriers, and even retail salespeople” (7 Job Skills of the Future (That AIs and Robots Can’t Do Better Than Humans).

But robots can’t feel. They may appear creative at times, but they are just programmed. Robots will never be the underdog that sees impossible odds and decides to try it anyway. Robots will never truly care about people. If patrons walk in asking which jobs are going to be safe from robots, steer them towards cultural preservation, emotion/ empathy based jobs, and creative problem-solving with human interaction. Humans will also be necessary to build, maintain and improve upon robots and AI.

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#BookFaceFriday “Let’s Be Reasonable”

This is a #BookFaceFriday to make Grant Wood proud.

"Let's Be Reasonable" by Joel Sartore BookFace Photo

Is there anything more iconic Midwestern than American Gothic? We got the chance to create our own with this week’s #BookFace selection “Let’s Be Reasonable” by Joel Sartore (Unversity of Nebraska Press, 2011). That’s the Nebraska photographer/author himself on the book cover with his wife Kathy. If you’re not familiar with this book of short essays and photography, you should really change that. It’s a must read.

“For this collection of essays and images, photojournalist Santore drew on various subjects encountered in his travels on assignment for CBS Sunday Morning and National Geographic magazine. By turns quirky, candid, whimsical and moving, they cover a wide range of topics, including endangered species, the power of laughter, state-fair food, mud, money, conspicuous consumption, and his own life and family at home in Nebraska.”—Neil Pond, American Profile

(Neil Pond American Profile 2011-09-05)

We pulled this from our Talking Book & Braille (TBBS) collection. It was recorded by NLC in 2016, and narrated by Alice Timm. It’s a part of our collection of Nebraska books and publications made available to Nebraska TBBS customers. It was recently added to TBBS’s Duplication on Demand service. You can learn all about the new Duplication on Demand service in next week’s episode of NCompass Live: Talking Books and Duplication on Demand!

Imagine if there were no books on your library shelves, and instead books were custom-made for every patron, printed and conveniently bound together during their visit. Something along those lines is being implemented with the digital talking books circulated at the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service. Tune in to find out about the technology behind this change, and its advantages and disadvantages for patrons and staff as we begin this adventure together!

Join Scott Scholz, Director of our Talking Book and Braille Service, and Christa Porter next Wednesday, Dec. 26th at 10:00 am Central Time. Register here!

Scott also happens to be one of this week’s #BookFace models!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Internet of Things Compatibility

I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) being tossed around recently. Basically, IoT is a network of interconnected devices that can communicate with one another. If a device has WiFi capability and sensors applicable to the device’s purpose, that device is able to be part of IoT.

As you dive deeper into the wonderful world of IoT, you will quickly discover that not all devices that are marketed as “smart devices” will be compatible with one another. Some of you may have discovered this with the Amazon Echo system. The Echo uses Alexa, their natural language processor, to accept spoken commands to control connected devices.

CNET put together a list of devices that are compatible with the Echo. You might notice that many of these devices are either made by Amazon or have “Alexa” in the description. This means the Echo is leaning towards being a proprietary device, it favors items that are made and specifically designed for its own system. Many companies do this, not just Amazon. Hopefully cross-compatibility will be more popular eventually, but not just yet.

Long story short, as you’re incorporating IoT devices into your home or library, choose a reasonably priced brand, then carefully check compatibility with your chosen brand before making any purchases. A little prior planning can go a long way to save time and money!

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#BookFaceFriday: NLC Book Drive 2018

Knock! knock! Who’s there! It’s #BookFaceFriday!!

Today is the last day to deliver your donated books! Anyone and everyone is welcome to drop off donated books. We need them by the end of the day TODAY, so we can deliver them to the Salvation Army tonight.

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

We snatched this one out of the pile of donated books, “Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?” by Jan Brett (Scholastic, 2003). It’s adorable illustrations and unique folklore made it the perfect #BookFace.

“Kindergarten-Grade 2-In this story based on a traditional Norwegian folktale, a boy traveling from Finnmark to Oslo with his pet polar bear stops by Kyri’s hut on Christmas Eve. The guests help to frighten away the trolls who come to wreak havoc and steal all of the holiday treats. The pleasure here lies mostly in the lush, richly textured illustrations, with Brett’s distinctive borders that incorporate Norwegian folk motifs and trolls romping through skies lit by the Northern lights. Scenery aside, the children are rather one-dimensional, but the bear is handsome and heroic and the trolls satisfyingly ugly and naughty.”  -School Library Journal

This week’s #BookFace model is quite the mama bear herself, Mary Geibel is NLC’s Information Services Technician. She was also willing to wear a holiday sweater just for our #BookFace.

Love this #bookface & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at

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

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For the Maker in You

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday Reads: Chief inspector Armand Gamache Series by Louise Penny

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

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

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


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


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