Category Archives: General

What’s Up Doc? New State Agency Publications at the Nebraska Library Commission

New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for January 2020.  Included are Annual Reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies, Rules and Regulations from the Nebraska Jail Standards Board, economic development reports from the Nebraska Public Power District, new Fishing and Boating Guides from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, reports from the Nebraska Department of Transportation, 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.  You can read synopses of the books received from the University of Nebraska Press in the Book Briefs blogposts.

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 – “Crushed”

It’s just ahh little crush on #BookFaceFriday!

Happy Valentine’s Day readers! Don’t let the lack of the perfect book club read get you down. We promise there’s a book out there for everyone, like “Crushed” by Laura and Tom McNeal (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2006) This YA novel is written by a husband and wife duo from Nebraska and can be reserved for your book club!

“A sympathetic documentary of human interrelationships and the consequences of choices, with an underlying emphasis on the value of real connection. McNeal fans and other young believers in human possibility will find food for thoughtful hope here.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

This week’s #BookFace model is our new Library Innovation Studios Staff Assistant Chelsea Lemburg! She started just a few weeks ago and will be assisting all of our LIS makerspace libraries!

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

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Friday Reads: The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander

I’ll be the first to admit that you can put the word “library” in any book title, and I’ll read it without hesitation. But I am sure glad I picked up The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander, because it was delightful. I read a handful of middle-grade books around this time each year, and this has been my favorite selection so far of 2020.

Trying to abscond from her nanny at the library and get some quality reading time in, Lenora stumbles into the “staff only” section. Recognizing her potential, the head librarian offers her a job as “Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian”, tasking her to use her wits and valor to serve her patrons. Lenora embarks on a series of adventures, some comical, some harrowing, in her quest to answer patron inquiries. If only my days on the reference desk were this exciting!

This book clocks in at 208 pages, so it’s a fairly quick read, making it ideal for read-alouds. The fast-pace and fun facts will keep middle grade readers engaged. I have a certain niece named Lenora that will be getting a copy soon for sure!

Alexander, Zeno. The Library of Ever. Imprint, 2019.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Auto Complete Lesson Plan

Not my hands

I was typing an email on my phone last night and Google kept trying to put words in my mouth. Some of them were things no human being would ever say, others were eerily close to what I was planning to say. I have a Google Pixel smartphone and I recently found out this feature is called Smart Compose. Instead of only recommending the end of a word I’m typing, the system might recommend a full sentence.

I decided to try an experiment. Every time those light grey recommended words popped in, I tapped on them to accept the recommendation. I got some interesting results. Some were way off, others were eerily accurate. I tried it with responses to emails, and fresh email drafts with no recipient. Here’s what I started to notice:

  • Responses to emails resulted in longer recommended phrases
  • Initial email drafts with no recipient resulted in small, one-word recommendations to the end of sentences.
  • Business formatted emails resulted in long recommendations of formal sentences
  • Casual emails resulted in off-the-wall recommendations of things I would never say.

Good times were had by all. Anyway, the lesson plan idea is pretty simple here. Have learners observe their auto-response texts and emails for a while. If the person has auto-response deactivated on their device, temporarily reactive the service. It can be turned off later.

This observation can be done over the course of a brief lesson, or observed over the span of a week. Just ask people to write an email or text, then choose the autocomplete option. Highlight or mark out the autocomplete section so it can be identified later. This activity can only be done with Gmail or another Google service that has Smart Compose enabled.

Ask people to consider these questions:

  1. Would you ever say any of the things Google recommends?
  2. Did Google’s recommendation change what you were originally going to type?
  3. Was the recommendation better or worse than what you had planned (consider phrasing, politeness, grammar, etc.)?
  4. Do you like the Auto Complete option?
  5. What do you think Google is looking at to make these recommendations?
  6. How will this change the way we communicate?

Additional Resources

Gmail Autocomplete Feature Unveiled (YouTube): See Smart Compose in action and hear from the team that made the feature.

Here’s How to Use Gmail’s Smart Compose: The Verge shows you how to enable Smart Compose if you haven’t upgraded to the new Gmail yet.

Google’s AI-powered Smart Compose feature is coming to Google Docs: The Verge describes in more detail how the system works and how to use the beta in Google Docs.

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Throwback Thursday: Sweet Lips

We’ve got a sweet Valentine’s Day themed #throwback for you!

This piece of music was written by Jess Williams, a long-time resident of Lincoln, Nebraska and a nationally famous ragtime pianist.

This content is provided and owned by the Polley Music Library of Lincoln City Libraries. Just over 250 pieces of Nebraska sheet music are available through the Nebraska Memories databases, as well as concert programs, manuscripts, theatre programs, photographs, and other Nebraska memorabilia which features an element of music. Searchers can also listen to a dozen performances of selections performed by local musicians.

Want to see more Nebraska history? Check out all the collections on 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. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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#BookFaceFriday – “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”

#BookFaceFriday celebrates Black History Month!

We’re throwing back to one of our first-ever #BookFace photos with “The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As told to Alex Haley” by Malcolm X (Grove Press, 1963.) We originally featured this title as a Nebraska 150 Books List selection, and it’s available in our book club kit collection. Check out this Nebraska Author of color for your book club!

“Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will.”—Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father

“The most important book I’ll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn’t know I had inside me. I’m one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better.”—Spike Lee

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

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Throwback Thursday: Charles B. Washington and Louis Armstrong

The month of February is Black History Month and we’re celebrating with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

In this 5-3/4″ x 10″ black and white photograph, Nebraska’s own civil rights activist Charles B. Washington is shaking hands with Louis Armstrong, one of the most influential figures in jazz history.

This week’s image is provided and owned by Omaha Public Library. The items on the Nebraska Memories archive include early Omaha-related maps dating from 1925 to 1922, as well as over 1,000 postcards and photographs of the Omaha area.

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

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2020 Census Preparation Manual

The 2020 Census will be conducted primarily online, creating additional obstacles to counting already under-counted populations. With this in mind, communities and organizations are preparing to support enumeration efforts by providing safe internet access points, answering questions from the community, and tracking incidents that arise.

The Digital Equity Laboratory has released a learning guide, Preparing for the First Digital Census, meant for anyone who intends to work with communities towards a complete count during Census 2020. Based on expert risk assessments and a series of pilot workshops across New York State, they have compiled a set of curriculum modules intended to equip organizations with the information and tools they need to play their part.  

The goal is to provide both digital and public-facing tactics and techniques to reduce confusion, find the right path to participation for all, help prevent possible harms, and enable communities to better prepare against the uncertainties of a digital census. The aim has been to address holistic safety concerns, not solely cybersecurity.

Complete manual: “Preparing for the First Digital Census”

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Free Class: Libraries as Partners in Healthy Communities

WebJunction is collaborating with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) to design a series of courses for public library staff related to health topics. The next course, available in March through WebJunction, is Libraries as Partners in Healthy Communities.

Public libraries around the country are magnifying the role they play as key contributors to community health. By understanding the health needs and challenges specific to our communities, libraries are able to respond with relevant services and programming, often created in collaboration with local agencies and health providers.

Join us this March for Libraries as Partners in Healthy Communities, a free, two-week, instructor-led course, to explore how your library can actively partner to promote the health of your community through responsive programs and services, and learn how to incorporate this focus into your library’s strategic plan.

The course will look at the many ways public libraries are supporting community health, and provide strategies and methods to identify activities that serve the health needs of your community. We will also look for inspiration and support from partnerships, including a library that partnered with the local Parks and Recreation department to host an all-ages Zumba program, and another that worked with the local health department to host a chronic disease self-management workshop for community members without adequate access to traditional healthcare. And Josh Berk, of Bethlehem Area Public Library, will present about Bike Bethlehem, a free bike share program serving community needs through a successful multi-agency partnership.

WebJunction’s Dale Musselman and NNLM’s Darlene Kaskie will present this free course in two live, online sessions, on March 3 and 10, from 2:00-3:00 pm Eastern Time, with two additional hours of readings and assignments for learners to complete on their own. You’ll also be encouraged to share your ideas and learning with others enrolled in the course through active discussion forums. Learn more about the course Libraries as Partners in Healthy Communities, enroll today, and join us in March to take the next steps for your library’s community health partnerships.

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UPDATES: Libraries and the 2020 Census

New webinar recording about responding to the Census
If you missed ALA’s sold-out webinar, “Responding Online to the 2020 Census: What Libraries Need to Know,” the recording is now available. The webinar orients library staff to the 2020 Census questionnaire, the online response system, other options for responding, common questions, and tips for libraries.

New tip sheet on Census programs and partnerships
On January 30, ALA released “Libraries and the 2020 Census: Programming, Outreach, and Partnerships (PDF),” a 2-page tip sheet that describes how libraries can reach hard-to-count populations and build community collaborations around the 2020 Census.

Updated “Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census”
On January 22, ALA released an updated “Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census.” The revised 22-page guide (PDF) includes the latest information about Census operations and tips for libraries. Share it with a colleague who needs to know!

Upcoming events
February 13, 2 pm ET: YALSA webinar: “Engaging Teens in the 2020 Census” (free for YALSA members, paid for others)
February 18, noon ET: ODLOS webinar: “Census 2020 Outreach to Communities of Color
February 28: PLA Conference: “2020 Census Countdown: What You Need to Know Now” (3:30 pm CT, Music City Center, room 103) 

News of note
The Scoop: “Completing the Count” (January 26, 2020) – report of ALA Midwinter program
UPI: “Census Bureau aims to improve response rates” (January 23, 2020) – includes a discussion of libraries’ activities
School Library Journal: “Libraries Are Preparing for the 2020 Census. With Plenty at Stake, There’s Still Work To Be Done” (January 21, 2020)
The Public Libraries Podcast: “The 2020 Census and Public Libraries” (January 21, 2020)
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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 17

The Seventeenth Census: Census Day was April 1, 1950.

Harry S. Truman was President of the United States on Census Day, April 1, 1950.

Enumeration

The 1950 census encompassed the continental United States, the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, American Samoa, the Canal Zone, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, and some of the smaller island territories.

Americans abroad were enumerated for the first time in 1950. Provisions were made to count members of the armed forces, crews of vessels, and employees of the United States government living in foreign countries, along with any members of their families also abroad. This enumeration was carried out through cooperative arrangements with the departments of Defense and State, the United States Maritime Administration and other federal agencies that took responsibility for distributing and collecting specially designed questionnaires.

Other persons living abroad were to be reported by their families or neighbors in the United States, but the quality of these data was considered to be poor and they were not included in the published statistics.

A new survey on residential financing was conducted as part of the 1950 census. In a separate operation, information was collected on a sample basis from owners of owner-occupied and rental properties and mortgage lenders.

Efforts to Improve Coverage and Completeness

Several procedures were used to improve the accuracy and completeness of the 1950 census, including: improved enumerator training, providing enumerators with detailed street maps of their assigned areas, publishing “Missed Person” forms in local newspapers, and setting a specific night to conduct a special enumeration of persons in hotels, tourist courts, and other places frequented by transients.

For the first time, a post-enumeration survey was instituted as a further check on the accuracy and completeness of the count. The Census Bureau recanvassed a sample of about 3,500 small areas and compared these to the original census listings to identify households that may have been omitted in the original enumeration. In addition, a sample of about 22,000 households was reinterviewed to determine the number of persons likely omitted in the initial count.

Technological Advancement

The Census Bureau began use of the first non-military computer shortly after completing the 1950 enumeration. UNIVAC I (for Universal Automatic Computer), the first of a series, was delivered in 1951, and helped tabulate some of the statistics for the 1954 economic censuses. It weighed 16,000 pounds and used 5,000 vacuum tubes.

Intercensal Activity

In August of 1954, Congress codified the various statutes, including 1929’s Fifteenth Census Act, which authorized the decennial and other censuses, as Title 13, US Code. Since then, Title 13 (along with other laws) has been the underlying authority that governs the actions of the Bureau.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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$24,500 in Internship Grants Awarded to Nebraska Public Libraries

NLClogo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 3, 2020

FOR MORE INFORMATION:                            
Christa Porter
402-471-3107
800-307-2665

$24,500 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 $24,500 to twenty-two 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;
  • implement a Young Adult Book Group or a Teen Summer Reading Program;
  • organize Makerspaces and Maker Clubs, as well as other STEAM learning activities;
  • create a Local History Collection;
  • assist with outreach events outside the library;
  • update the library’s website and social media sites (Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, etc.) or in some situation designing and coding a new website;
  • assist with circulation activities, book selection, and collection management;
  • create flyers, newsletters, newspaper articles, and other promotional materials; and
  • work with Summer Youth Outreach Services to provide Bookmobile services at locations throughout the city and county.

The following Nebraska public libraries were awarded 2020 internship grant funding:

Alma, Hoesch Memorial Library
Atkinson Public Library
Axtell Public Library
Bassett, Rock County Public Library
Bayard Public Library
Bellevue Public Library
Columbus Public Library
Falls City Library & Arts Center
Grant, Hastings Memorial Library
Kimball Public Library
Lincoln City Libraries – Three branches (Bennett Martin, Loren Corey Eiseley Branch, Charles H. Gere Branch) and the Lied Bookmobile/Youth Services Department
Orleans, Cordelia B Preston Memorial Library
Oshkosh Public Library
Oxford Public Library
Plainview Public Library
Shelby Community Library
York, Kilgore Memorial Library

Additionally, five public libraries participating in the Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities (LIS) project have also received 2020 internship grant funding. The interns hired in these libraries will primarily be working with this LIS makerspace grant. These libraries include:

La Vista Public Library
Lied Pierce Public Library
McCook Public Library
Nelson Public Library
Superior 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.

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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 Lady and the Panda” by Vicki Croke

We can all be explorers with a good #BookFaceFriday!

There’s nothing like adding a little non-fiction to your reading list! “The Lady and the Panda: The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China’s Most Exotic Animal” by Vicki Constantine Croke (Random House, 2005) is a part of our book club kit collection. Reserve it for your book club to read today!

“A remarkable journey beautifully described, The Lady and the Panda brings to life one of the most astonishing and overlooked stories of American adventure, the 1936 quest by Ruth Harkness to bring a giant panda to America. Vicki Constantine Croke’s canvas is the mystical and wondrous China of the 1930s, her heroine a most remarkable woman, and her gift the ability to understand that this is a great love story.”
ROBERT KURSON, author of Shadow Divers

This week’s #BookFace model is Cynthia Nigh, our new Infrastructure Support Technician! She was previously working as the Library Innovation Studios grant assistant. In her new position, she will be working on the Better Broadband For Public Libraries initiative, to help libraries improve their broadband speed.

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

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Throwback Thursday: Home Economics Class

This #ThrowbackThursday is going back to school!

This 9 1/2″ x 7 3/4″ black and white photograph features students in a Home Economics class at Whittier Junior High School. The school, named after John Greenleaf Whittier, was located at 22nd and Vine streets in Lincoln, Nebraska. The building was built in 1923 and used until the 1970s as a junior high school. It was then used as an alternative high school until 1980.

This image is provided and owned by Lincoln Public Schools. Historical materials related to the Lincoln Public Schools have been collected and saved in some form in various offices, library sites, and schools since the inception of the first school in the county. Over the past 15 years, the Library Media Services Department has made a deliberate attempt to collect, preserve, and archive the history of LPS and make various items available to the staff and also the public.

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

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 16

The Sixteenth Census: Census Day was April 1, 1940.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was President of the United States on Census Day, April 1, 1940.

Authorizing Legislation

In August 1939, Congress authorized the director of the census to conduct a national census of housing “in each state, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Alaska, in the year 1940 in conjunction with, and at the same time, and as part of the population inquiry of the sixteenth decennial census.” The census was “to provide information concerning the number, characteristics (including utilities and equipment), and geographic distribution of dwelling structures and dwelling units in the United States.”

Enumeration

Because the originating legislation came so late in the census planning process and because the nature of the questions was so different from those in the census of population, the housing inquiries in the 1940 census were collected via a separate census. In practice, enumerators collected information for the housing census at the same time they collected information for the population census.

Sampling

One of the major innovations of the 1940 census was the use of advanced statistical techniques, including probability sampling, which had been used only on an experimental basis before. Sampling had been tested in a trial census of unemployment carried out by the Civil Works Administration in 1933-1934 and surveys of retail stores in the same decade, and an official sample survey of unemployment in 1937 that covered about 20,000 households.

Sampling in the 1940 census allowed the addition of a number of demographic questions of enumerated persons without unduly increasing the overall burden on respondents and on data processing. It also made it possible to publish preliminary returns 8 months ahead of the complete tabulations. Sampling also allowed the Census Bureau to increase the number of detailed tables published and review the quality of the data processing with more efficiency.

Several new questions reflected the concerns of the depression years. Along with the new census focusing on the condition of the nation’s housing stock and the need for public housing programs, the 1940 census included questions about employment, unemployment, internal migration and income.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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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).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse receives.  UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians, for their patrons, in Nebraska.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in January 2020:

Chaucer’s losers, Nintento’s Children, and Other Forays in Queer Ludonarratology Tison Pugh (Series: Frontiers of Narrative)

Tison Pugh examines the intersection of narratology, ludology, and queer studies, pointing to the ways in which the blurred boundaries between game and narrative provide both a textual and a metatextual space of queer narrative potential. By focusing on these three distinct yet complementary areas, Pugh shifts understandings of the way their play, pleasure, and narrative potential are interlinked.

Through illustrative readings of an eclectic collection of cultural artifacts—from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda franchise, from Edward Albee’s dramatic masterpiece Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter fantasy novels—Pugh offers perspectives of blissful ludonarratology, sadomasochistic ludonarratology, the queerness of rules, the queerness of godgames, and the queerness of children’s questing video games. Collectively, these analyses present a range of interpretive strategies for uncovering the disruptive potential of gaming texts and textual games while demonstrating the wide applicability of queer ludonarratology throughout the humanities.

Inside the Hot Zone : A Soldier on the Front Lines of Biological Warfare Mark G. Kortepeter

Inside the Hot Zone is an insider’s account of one of the most dangerous workplaces on earth: the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Retired U.S. Army Col. Mark G. Kortepeter, a leading biodefense expert, recounts his journey from the lecture hall to the role of department chief, to the battlefield, to the Biosafety Level-4 maximum containment lab, and finally, to the corner office.

During Kortepeter’s seven and a half years in leadership at USAMRIID, the United States experienced some of the most serious threats in modern germ warfare, including the specter of biological weapons during the Iraq War, the anthrax letters sent after 9/11, and a little-known crisis involving a presumed botulism attack on the president of the United States. Inside the Hot Zone is a shocking, frightening eye-opener as Kortepeter describes in gripping detail how he and his USAMRIID colleagues navigated threats related to anthrax, botulism, smallpox, Lassa, and Ebola.

Kortepeter crafts a rich and riveting narrative as he wrestles with life-and-death decisions managing biological weapon exposures. The stories are real, but they could just as easily serve as plotlines in popular fiction or Hollywood thrillers. He gives the reader a seat at the table as each crisis unfolds, with an unvarnished and personal perspective on the dangers, the drama, the fear, the frustrations, the irony, and the uncertainty he encountered as a physician in the role of “Biodefender.”

National Pastimes : Cinema, Sports, and Nation Katharina Bonzel (Series: Sports, Media, and Society)

Sports have long fascinated filmmakers from Hollywood and beyond, from Bend It Like Beckham to Chariots of Fire to Rocky. Though sports films are diverse in their approach, style, and storytelling modes, National Pastimes discloses the common emotional and visual cues that belie each sports film’s underlying nationalistic impulses. Katharina Bonzel unravels the delicate matrix of national identity, sports, and emotion through the lens of popular sports films in comparative national contexts, demonstrating in the process how popular culture provides a powerful vehicle for the development and maintenance of identities of place across a range of national cinemas.

As films reflect the ways in which myths of nation and national belonging change over time, they are implicated in important historical moments, from Cold War America to the class dynamics of 1980s Thatcherite Britain to the fragmented sense of nation in post-unification Germany. Bonzel shows how sports films provide a means for renegotiating the boundaries of national identity in an accessible, engaging form. National Pastimes opens up new ways of understanding how films appeal to the emotions, using myth-like constructions of the past to cultivate spectators’ engagement with historical events.

Shape Shifters : Journeys Across Terrains of Race and Identity Edited by Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai, Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly, and Paul Spickard (Series: Borderlands and Transcultural Studies)

Shape Shifters presents a wide-ranging array of essays that examine peoples of mixed racial identity. Moving beyond the static “either/or” categories of racial identification found within typical insular conversations about mixed-race peoples, Shape Shifters explores these mixed-race identities as fluid, ambiguous, contingent, multiple, and malleable. This volume expands our understandings of how individuals and ethnic groups identify themselves within their own sociohistorical contexts.

The essays in Shape Shifters explore different historical eras and reach across the globe, from the Roman and Chinese borderlands of classical antiquity to medieval Eurasian shape shifters, the Native peoples of the missions of Spanish California, and racial shape shifting among African Americans in the post–civil rights era. At different times in their lives or over generations in their families, racial shape shifters have moved from one social context to another. And as new social contexts were imposed on them, identities have even changed from one group to another. This is not racial, ethnic, or religious imposture. It is simply the way that people’s lives unfold in fluid sociohistorical circumstances.

With contributions by Ryan Abrecht, George J. Sánchez, Laura Moore, and Margaret Hunter, among others, Shape Shifters explores the forces of migration, borderlands, trade, warfare, occupation, colonial imposition, and the creation and dissolution of states and empires to highlight the historically contingent basis of identification among mixed-race peoples across time and space.

Willa Cather and the Arts Edited by Guy J. Renolds (Series: Cather Studies, Vol. 12)

Over the five decades of her writing career Willa Cather responded to, and entered into dialogue with, shifts in the terrain of American life. These cultural encounters informed her work as much as the historical past in which much of her writing is based. Cather was a multifaceted cultural critic, immersing herself in the arts, broadly defined: theater and opera, art, narrative, craft production. Willa Cather and the Arts shows that Cather repeatedly engaged with multiple forms of art, and that even when writing about the past she was often addressing contemporary questions.

The essays in this volume are informed by new modes of contextualization, including the increasingly popular view of Cather as a pivotal or transitional figure working between and across very different cultural periods and by the recent publication of Cather’s correspondence. The collection begins by exploring the ways Cather encountered and represented high and low cultures, including Cather’s use of “racialized vernacular” in Sapphira and the Slave Girl. The next set of essays demonstrates how historical research, often focusing on local features in Cather’s fiction, contributes to our understanding of American culture, from musicological sources to the cultural development of Pittsburgh. The final trio of essays highlights current Cather scholarship, including a food studies approach to O Pioneers! and an examination of Cather’s use of ancient philosophy in The Professor’s House. Together the essays reassess Cather’s lifelong encounter with, and interpretation and reimagining of, the arts.


**All synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press  (https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/)

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#BookFaceFriday – “The Unbearable Lightness Of Being” by Milan Kundera

Hold on to your hats, it’s #BookFaceFriday!

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera (Harper & Row, 1984) is one of many classic titles your book club can reserve from our collection! You can browse our classics by using the “Search by Genre” drop-down list in our book club kit search options: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/.

“Kundera is a virtuoso . . . A work of the boldest mastery, originality, and richness.”– Elizabeth Hardwick, (Vanity Fair)

This week’s #BookFace model is Allana Novotny, our Technology & Access Services Librarian!

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

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Throwback Thursday: Snow Sledding

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week’s #throwback is from the Nebraska Children’s Home Society collection on the Nebraska Memories archive. NCHS founders had a vision for a better future and believed that every child deserved a family. The agency has never charged fees for adoption services, and still today relies primarily on private donations to fund its services.

Want to see more Nebraska history? Check out all the collections on 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. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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The Public Library Survey Deadline is Approaching

The deadline for submitting the public library survey on Bibliostat is approaching fast. Surveys need to be submitted by February 14, 2020.

Here is the link to the survey. There is also a training guide on our website. If you need your password, or have questions about the survey, feel free to contact me. You can also enter your e-mail in the lost password part of our website.

For other guides, and copies of the survey you can review or print before entering your data into Bibliostat, check out the main Bibliostat page on our website.

I am here to help you with the survey. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 15

The Fifteenth Census: Census Day was April 1, 1930.

Herbert Hoover was President of the United States on Census Day, April 1, 1930.

Authorizing Legislation

The Fifteenth Census Act, approved June 18, 1929, authorized “a census of population, agriculture, irrigation, drainage, distribution, unemployment, and mines [to be] taken by the Director of the Census.” This act was the first to specify only general areas to be investigated, leaving the content of specific questions to the discretion of the director. The census encompassed each state, along with Washington, DC, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The governors of Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands each completed a census that same year. So did the governor of the Panama Canal Zone.

Crises and Controversies

In the time between the passage of the act and census day, the stock market crashed and the nation plunged into the Great Depression. The public and academics wanted quick access to the unemployment information collected in the 1930 census. The Census Bureau had not planned to process the unemployment information it had collected – which some statisticians considered unreliable – until quite a bit later and was unequipped to meet these demands. When it did rush its data on unemployment out, the numbers it reported were attacked as being too low. Congress required a special unemployment census for January 1931; the data it produced confirmed the severity of the situation.

Intercensal Activity

Congress mandated that another unemployment census be conducted in 1937. This special census was largely voluntary; postal carriers delivered a form to every residential address in the country and those who were unemployed were expected to fill it out and mail it back. This special census is noteworthy because it was an early opportunity for Census Bureau statisticians to experiment with statistical sampling. Two percent of households were delivered a special census questionnaire whose results were used to test the accuracy of the larger census.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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