Category Archives: General

Friday Reads: A Year in Review

The NLC staff have done a lot of reading this year! We wanted to take a look at all the great books we’ve reviewed in 2017.

2017 Friday Reads CollageYou might be familiar with our weekly blog series Friday Reads; every Friday, a  staff member at the Nebraska Library Commission posts a review of a book. From memoirs to science fiction, murder mysteries to home organization, we’ve shared what we’ve read and why we’ve read it.

Former NLC staffer Laura Johnson created this series to model the idea of talking about books and to help readers get to know our staff a little better. Readers advisory and book-talking are valuable skills for librarians to develop, but they are ones that take practice. We hope that our book reviews will start a conversation about books among our readers and encourage others to share their own reviews and recommendations.

The series has been going strong for 3 1/2 years and has produced over 150 reviews, which are archived on the NCompass blog (http://nlcblogs.nebraska.gov/nlcblog/tag/friday-reads/,) or you can browse a list of reviews here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/BookReviews.aspx.

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#BookFaceFriday “Holidays on Ice”

Happy #BookFaceFriday from the Nebraska Library Commission & have a Happy New Years!

#Bookface "Holidays On Ice"

When a novel just sounds like too much commitment, the perfect solution is David Sedaris’s collection of short stories! “Holidays on Ice” (Back Bay Books, 2010) covers all our favorite holidays with this great collection of witty stories. Check it out for your book club today!

This week’s #BookFace took a trip to Omaha to visit Aimee Owen’s Christmas Village!

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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What’s Sally Reading?

School Library Journal’s Best Books 2017

Once again it is time for journals to print (or post) their choices for “Best Books of…” lists. School Library Journal recently posted their choices and the lists can be found here.

A total of 71 titles have been honored this year, divided into the following categories: Picture Books (14 titles), Chapter Books (1 title), Middle Grade (13 titles), Young Adult (18 titles) and Nonfiction (25 titles). I enjoy learning about excellent titles I did not encounter earlier, and also finding some agreement with some I have read and put on my lists. Now here is the chance for you to do the same.

On the main page, scroll down to find a form to fill out in order to download, at no charge, a printable PDF version of the full list.  There is also an “Other Bests” link on the right side of the screen which contains a print list of six additional categories, such as “Top 10 Graphic Novels,” “Top 10 Audiobooks,” and “Top 10 Apps.”  I hope you can find some time to explore these pages.  For the Best Books of 2017, once you click on one of the categories you will see a slide show of the titles.

One of the selected picture books from 2017 is The Three Billy Goats Gruff, adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, gives readers another wonderful retelling of a popular folktale with outstanding artwork.  The author notes at the back of the book that this story gave him trouble because in many versions the Troll does not have the opportunity to learn his lesson.  Mr. Pinkney found a satisfying way for this to happen in his version.  I will say it again: It is great that Pinkney is retelling both folktales and fables so children today can continue to hear them.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers. After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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#BookFaceFriday “The Myth of You & Me”

It’s #BookFaceFriday at the Nebraska Library Commission!

#BookFace "The Myth of You and Me"

We’re feeling all the warm-and-fuzzies with this week’s #BookFace. Settle in and get comfy with this book club selection. A story about friendship, loss, and love, with a little mystery thrown in, “The Myth of You & Me” by Leah Stewart (Three Rivers Press, 2006) has it all. “The novel unfolds at an unhurried, graceful pace, moving through flashbacks and memories.” – School Library Journal.

This week’s #BookFace models are NLC’s Government Information Services Librarian, Mary Sauers and her hubby Michael Sauers (Michael used to be NLC’s Technology Librarian, and is now Director of Technology at Do Space!) Talk about a library power couple!

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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Nebraska Library Commission Awards Grants for Youth Library Service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:          
December 20, 2017

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mary Jo Ryan
402-471-3434
800-307-2665 

Nebraska Library Commission Awards Grants for Youth Library Service

The Nebraska Library Commission recently awarded $25,000 in grants for Excellence in Youth service. Of the grants awarded to nineteen Nebraska public libraries, several addressed the need for Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics (STEAM) programming in libraries and some will design programs for specific age groups: babies, toddlers, preschoolers, teens, and tweens. The Nebraska Library Commission congratulates the public libraries listed below as they develop new and innovative programs to ensure excellence in library service for Nebraska young people.

The recipients are:

  • Atkinson Public Library, Music and LEGO®
  • Bennington Public Library, Summer of STEAM
  • Blue Hill Public Library, LEGO® Club
  • Broadwater Public Library, Summer Reading Program
  • Central City Public Library, STEM in Music and Reading
  • Hruska Memorial Public Library, David City, Afterschool Makers Clubs
  • Keene Memorial Library, Fremont, Teen Advisory Board
  • Genoa Public Library, Adventure Club
  • Grand Island Public Library, Teen Program
  • La Vista Public Library, Preschool Musical Movers and Shakers
  • Lincoln City Libraries, Makerspace Kits and Programming
  • Morrill Public Library, Afterschool Programs
  • Norfolk Public Library, Book-to-Film Club
  • Plattsmouth Public Library, STEAM IDEA Boxes
  • Baright Public Library, Ralston, Monthly Mini Makers
  • Ravenna Public Library, Baby and Me
  • South Sioux City Public Library, 1,000 Books before Kindergarten
  • Dvoracek Memorial Library, Wilber, Celebrate Books and Reading
  • Kilgore Memorial Library, York, Starlings for York Encouraging Parents of Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Youth Grants for Excellence are made available by the Nebraska Library Commission with funding from the State of Nebraska. As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, “bringing together people and information.”

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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

 

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#BookFaceFriday “Re-Gifters”

Happy #BookFaceFriday from the Nebraska Library Commission!

"Re-Gifters" by Mike Carey BookFaceI love this week’s #BookFace. It’s fun and festive, and since we don’t have a pile of presents here at the office, Aimee Owen volunteered the use of the pile under her tree. I also love that we get to highlight our amazing collection of Young Adult Book Club Kits. “Re-Gifters” written by Mike Carey,‎  and illustrated by Marc Hempel ‎ and Sonny Liew (Minx Books, 2007) is a great example! This graphic novel follows Korean American teenager Dixie through LA’s Koreatown. It’s a well-developed characters, plot, and setting make it perfect for dedicated comic readers and those new to the genre.

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: The Long Haul

If you are looking for a quick, easy, and entertaining read, The Long Haul might fit the bill. I chose to read it because I was interested in learning more about the life of a long haul trucker, how life on the road is for the drivers, and how they deal with all that traffic. While The Long Haul offers insight into those things, it also is a bit more than that. Author Finn Murphy has an entertaining way of telling stories. Murphy started as a mover, working for a small company in Connecticut. After a few years in college, he dropped out to work full time as a “bedbugger”, a long haul truck driver who moves people. Murphy aptly tells the trucker’s tales, but also describes the unique challenges associated with doing higher profile corporate moves. Some of the stories are comedic, some tragic, and others offer commentary on social classes. In many cases, Murphy describes the typical corporate client (highbrow) often treating the mover (perceived lowbrow) in a crappy way and the mover providing a subtle, but non-harming method of revenge.

I’d say Murphy is a more sophisticated individual (he listens to Fresh Air interviews by Terry Gross while on the road) although he is working in what is generally thought of as a lower brow job (moving home furnishings and driving a truck). But Murphy also describes the importance of manual labor, from both a societal and personal perspective. A relatable quote from The Long Haul: “Many young male neurotics find out early that hard labor is salve for an overactive mind.” I’d argue that this often applies to older individuals also, and not just males. Likewise, on the value of manual labor: “Hard work temporarily shut down the constant movie running in my brain that looped around in an endless cacophony of other people’s expectations, obligation, guilt, anger, and rebellion.” I feel the same way about manual labor, but would add that reading a book or doing something relaxing like having a drink and watching birds, butterflies, or flowers equally works to dampen these things down. But I think I’d say rather simply that those things are just good for the soul.

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Throwback Thursday: Santa Claus distributing presents to children

Happy Holidays from #ThrowbackThursday!


This week we get to highlight a man who did so much for a community they named a library after him. In our humble opinion that’s quite the honor. This week’s #ThrowbackThursday post is a 10″x8″ black and white photograph showing Charles B. Washington (left) with another man, both dressed as Santa Claus. Seated back-to-back, the men reach into black bags, distributing presents to a crowd of children. Charles B. Washington was a American civil rights activist, and journalist from Omaha. On September 14, 1986, the North Branch of the Omaha Public Library was renamed after Washington. This photo is a part of the Charles B. Washington Collection in Nebraska Memories Archive.

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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Congratulations to our Star Libraries!

Library Journal released its annual list of Star Libraries and the following 11 Nebraska libraries made the list:

  • 5-Star
    •  Atkinson Public Library (Director — Judy Hagan)
    • Hartington Public Library (Director — Tami Anderson)
    • Neligh Public Library (Director — Jennifer Norton)
  • 4-Star
    • Central City Public Library (Director — Sara Lee)
    • Hastings Memorial Library (Director — Robin Quinn)
    • Saint Paul Public Library (Director — Angela Blankenship)
  • 3-Star
    • Creighton Public Library (Director — Lisa Macke)
    • Louisville Public Library (Director — Darla McDonald)
    • Gardner Public Library (Director — Elizabeth Carlson)
    • Weeping Water Public Library (Director — Aimee Morlan)
    • John A. Stahl Library (Director — Mary Jo Mack)

Congratulations to the directors and teams whose hard work is responsible for this great achievement!

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Youth Grants for Excellence Awarded

Nineteen public libraries were awarded Youth Grants for Excellence on December 1, 2017, for a total of $25,000. The recipients are:

Atkinson Public Library, $750 – for a Musical Lego workshop

Bennington Public Library, $2,132 – “Summer of STEAM”

Blue Hill Public Library, $1,620 – LEGO Club

Broadwater Public Library, $250 – to restart the Summer Reading Program

Central City Public Library, $1,600 – to reinforce STEM concepts in music and celebrate reading

Hruska Memorial Public Library, David City, $740 – to hold afterschool programs: a K-2 Makers Club and a 3-7 Makers Club

Keene Memorial Library, Fremont, $750 – to establish a Teen/YA Advisory Board and develop programming for teens

Genoa Public Library, $450 – to start an Adventure Club for children ages 9-14

Grand Island Public Library, $1,000 – to draw teens to the library

La Vista Public Library, $995  – “Movers and Shakers”  to provide age appropriate musical instruments and manipulatives for programming for ages birth to five

Lincoln City Libraries, $2,638 – encouraging youth to become Makers through Makerspace Kits and programming

Morrill Public Library, $1,000 – Afterschool programs

Norfolk Public Library, $1,000 – “Book-to-Film Club”

Plattsmouth Public Library, $2,000 – “IDEA Boxes” relating to STEAM subjects

Baright Public Library, Ralston, $550 – “Monthly Mini Makers”

Ravenna Public Library, $3,000 – “Baby and Me: Bringing in the Children’s Museum Feel”

South Sioux City Public Library, $1,250 – “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten”

Dvoracek Memorial Library, Wilber, $1,000 – programs to celebrate books and reading

Kilgore Memorial Library, York, $2,250 – “Starlings for York” for encouraging parents to read to and talk with their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers

Congratulations! We look forward to hearing more about your projects and how they are helping your communities.

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Friday Reads: “Moonglow: A Novel” by Michael Chabon

I had almost finished this book when I came to the realization that it was a novel. I knew that Chabon had visited his grandfather in the last weeks of his life. And as I read the book, the tale unfolded like a series of revelations about his grandfather and his family, with rich details that made me believe that at least some of this story must be true. I’ve been a fan of Chabon ever since I devoured his book “Telegraph Avenue” a few years ago, and I looked forward to learning more about him and his life through this “memoir.” How did I not notice that the book is titled “Moonglow: A Novel?” It doesn’t really matter. I think I did actually learn a lot about him.

The obvious love and admiration for his grandparents shone through. They were definitely “characters,” and I loved them for their passion and quirkiness from the very beginning. His grandfather’s life (as he relates it to Chabon) is fascinating and unpredictable. Bouncing from his time in Europe during WWII to life in mid-century America, this story helps illuminate the experiences of the Grand Generation. Although most people would agree that the story he tells is far from typical—he was actually involved in rocketry and the space program, while most people of his day just watched from afar.

Throughout the book I kept thinking of this book as an episode of the PBS show, “Finding Your Roots”—one of the episodes where the subjects start out with a pretty good idea of what their family and ancestral history might be and then finds out that there are surprises in the family tree. Like the searcher in those TV shows, the reader is compelled to revise their thinking about the characters in this book several times and one can see Chabon the grandson revising his family narrative in his own head as “the plot thickens.”

I credit Chabon with first-class beautiful writing, as well as telling a first-class compelling story. His reflections on himself as a young (ish) storyteller and his grandfather as an older storyteller are very revealing: “…it seemed to be in the nature of human beings to spend the first part of their lives mocking the clichés and conventions of their elders and the final part mocking the clichés and conventions of the young.” The publisher describes this book as, “A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir.” I encourage you to read it and see what you think.

“Moonglow: A Novel” (Harper, 2017) by Michael Chabon

Review by Mary Jo Ryan.

#FridayReads

 

 

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#BookFaceFriday “Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances”

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Nebraska Library Commission!

"Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances" BookFaceGet your book club in the holiday spirit with this fun #BookFaceFriday read! Join three bestselling authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle, as they weave an interconnected holiday story in “Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances” (Speak, 2008.) “Tender without being mushy, these carefully crafted stories of believable teen love will leave readers warm inside for the holidays.”—School Library Journal

Love this #bookface & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

This week’s #BookFace model is Janet Greser, NLC’s Computer Help Desk Support. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

P.S. Aimee Owen is a top notch paper snowflake maker!

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Throwback Thursday: Frazier Cycle Company, Christmas Window Display

A #ThrowbackThursday all dressed up for the holidays!


Who doesn’t love a good window display, especially around the holidays? This week’s #ThrowbackThursday post pays homage to just that. In the winter of 1922 the Frazier Cycle Company in Lincoln, NE put together a display for it’s Christmas shoppers. Flanked by Christmas trees, Santa Claus rides a bicycle under paper streamers. Filled with bicycles, tricycles, a scooter, wagon, bicycle seats, and flashlights, that would hopefully find their way under trees come Christmas Eve. The Frazier Cycle Company was located at 231 S. 11th Street in downtown Lincoln, and according to the Lincoln City Directory, 1918, the owners of Frazier Cycle Co. were Willis A., William B., and Clifford Frazier.

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 Library Friends Encouraged to Apply for United for Libraries Friend Conference Grant due Jan. 15

United for Libraries is accepting applications for the United for Libraries Friend Conference Grant through Jan. 15, 2018.

The United for Libraries Friend Conference Grant enables one member of a Friends of the Library group at a public library to attend the ALA Annual Conference. Applicants must be first-time attendees, and must be active in their public library Friends group. The winner will receive a grant of $850, plus full ALA Annual Conference registration. The applicant must be a member of a Friends of the Library group in a public library, and a first-time attendee of any ALA conference (Midwinter or Annual).

For more information and to apply, visit www.ala.org/united/grants_awards/friends/united.

Jillian Wentworth
Manager of Marketing & Membership
United for Libraries
A division of the American Library Association
859 W. Lancaster Ave., Unit 2-1
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
phone (800) 545-2433, ext. 2161
fax (484) 698-7868
www.ala.org/united

like United for Libraries on Facebook: www.facebook.com/unitedforlibraries
follow United for Libraries on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ala_united

 

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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 November 2017.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Administrative Services Division, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the Nebraska Department of Transportation, 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 .pdf 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: NLC Annual Book Drive

Get into the holiday giving spirit with NLC’s annual book drive!!

"Jake" BookFace

“Jake” by Audrey Couloumbis (Yearling, 2011)

Every year, for the last twenty-nine years, Nebraska Library Commission staff collect new or used books for children and teens to be donated to the Salvation Army for their Christmas giveaway for youth in need.

We had some fun with a few donated books that were just perfect for #BookFaceFriday. Even better they had holiday themes! We just couldn’t resist. One of this week’s #BookFace models is Talking Book & Braille Service Director, Scott Scholz, who luckily for us, wears a stocking cap regularly to work.

"Olive the Other Reindeer" BookFace

“Olive, the Other Reindeer” by Vivian Walsh (Author),‎ J. otto Seibold (Author, Illustrator) (Scholastic Inc, 1998)

We also got a little help from the downtown Lincoln skyline. Maybe if you’re lucky this Christmas eve, you’ll spot Olive pulling Santa’s sleigh.

Inside spread of “Olive, the Other Reindeer” by Vivian Walsh (Author),‎ J. otto Seibold (Author, Illustrator) (Scholastic Inc, 1998)

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.

If you’d like to pitch in, anyone is welcome to drop off donated books. We need them by the end of the day on Dec. 14th, so we can deliver them to the Salvation Army on Friday Dec. 15th.

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 #BookFace photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver

Happy #BookFaceFriday from the Nebraska Library Commission!

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Thanksgiving is officially over for another year. We’ve put on our stretchy pants, relaxed to watch some football, and are eyeing the leftover pumpkin pie. Maybe it’s time to indulge in something other than carbs. Get back to the basics with bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” (Harper, 2007). Join Barbra and her family on this food themed adventure as they “vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it”. Reserve this nonfiction narrative for your book club today!

Love this #bookface & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

This week’s #BookFace model is Nebraska Library Innovation Studio’s Staff Assistant, Cynthia Nigh, who also happens to be an avid cook and gardener. Check out our past #BookFace photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Throwback Thursday: Football game near Old Main

Happy Thanksgiving! Let’s celebrate with a 1907 Thanksgiving #ThrowbackThursday!

Football game near Old Main

Back in 1907, fans and spectators gathered to watch Nebraska State Normal School (NSNS) at Kearney play Doane College in a Thanksgiving day football game. In this 5-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ black and white postcard, we can see the two football teams facing off, a group of spectators standing against a tall wooden plank fence, and in the background, the NSNS Administration Building. Written at the bottom of the card is: “Doan Colage and Kearney State Normal, Thanksgiving ’07 By SD Butcher & Son”.

Interested in Nebraska history? Find out more about this photo in the Nebraska Memories archive! Photo provided by the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Archives, Calvin T. Ryan Library located in Nebraska Memories.

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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#BookFaceFriday “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier” by Ann Packer

It’s #BookFaceFriday at the Nebraska Library Commission!

"The Dive From Clausen's Pier" BookFace PhotoHave you ever just packed a bag, and left? For a vacation? A road trip? What about to start a whole new life? In Ann Packer’s debut novel, “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier” (Vintage, 2003), main character, Carrie Bell, does just that. Reserve this intimate and emotionally thrilling novel for your book club today!

Love this #bookface & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

This week’s #BookFace model is Nebraska Library Innovation Studio’s Project Manager, JoAnn McManus. Check out our past #BookFace photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Throwback Thursday: Old Style Threshing Outfit

It’s a tribute to the harvest season with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

Old style threshing outfit, Nebraska

This week we have a 1907-1917 black and white photograph on a postcard. It depicts a group of men threshing wheat with horses attached to a threshing machine as they walk in a circle. In the background is a stack of hay or wheat and more men. Information printed on item: 567 Old Style Threshing Outfit, Nebraska.

Are you interested in Nebraska’s history? Find out more about this photo in the Nebraska Memories archive! Photo provided by the Nebraska State Historical Society located in Nebraska Memories.

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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