Category Archives: General

Friday Reads: Cinderella Ate my Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

Cinderella ate my daughter by Peggy…

Cinderella Ate My Daughter
by Peggy Orenstein

Have you ever noticed the increased abundance of princesses and pink in the youth section? Have you ever wondered how that came about?

Peggy Orenstein is an accomplished writer and cultural critic. When she has a daughter, she hopes to offer her a positive childhood experience that doesn’t revolve around her daughter being pretty or a “princess.” What she encounters is a consumer culture very different than the one she grew up in—and one that has surprising appeal for her daughter.

Orenstein takes a personal approach to the story, and her desire for her daughter’s happiness—even if it doesn’t look like the happiness she imagined for her—gives the book a very balanced and nuanced tone about complicated topics. Even when she visits a toddler beauty pageant, she doesn’t judge the families that are involved, but she does present an unvarnished look at the mechanics and effects of the child beauty industry. She writes honestly about moments when she doesn’t handle her frustration well—like when her four-year-old wants hyper-sexualized “bratty” doll/action figures on their trip to the store. In that sense, it’s a classic story of a child and a parent having different ideas about identity—and the parent having to learn how to let their child have their own ideas, in the safest environment they can provide.

What really stuck with me was the description of the processes companies use to market to children. You won’t forget the story about the branding shift at Disney, when the new head of the consumer products division realized that the firm demarcation between Disney vehicles—which was designed to protect narrative integrity—was getting in the way of selling products. Or his moment of clarity at a Disney on Ice show, when he realized all the little girls in the audience were wearing homemade costumes—and how his company could change that.

My paperback copy is covered with accolades and blurbs, and I like that People called the book “Funny,” while Vanity Fair called it “Blood-Chilling.” I read this as an assigned book for a class, but I’d recommend it to anyone who has children, or who works with children—or anyone who is curious about generational differences in attitudes towards gender and consumerism.

Orenstein, P. (2011). Cinderella ate my daughter: Dispatches from the front lines of the new girlie-girl culture. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

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Throwback Thursday: North Platte Carnegie Library

North Platte ext

Exterior photo of the North Platte, Nebraska Carnegie Library built in 1912.

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The Data Dude – Wednesday Watch: Twin Peaks

twin peaksIn case you hadn’t heard, Showtime has announced a nine-episode revival of the Twin Peaks series that originally aired on ABC from 1990 to 1991. For those of you who are older, the mention of Twin Peaks conjures up the memory of the quirky TV show and not a symbol representing objectified women, inauspicious food (that’s an assumption since the Dude has no firsthand knowledge), and Sons of Anarchy posers flexing their biceps and engaging in fracases (or is it fracai?). Yes, youngsters, there is another Twin Peaks, one that existed before the name was soiled by yet another franchise that the world really does not need. This one is much more tolerant, much more haunting, and with much more enigma and intrigue. The Showtime episodes, set to take place 25 years after the original series ended, will be written by creators David Lynch and Mark Frost (Lynch temporarily bailed on it because of Showtime’s lack of support, but he got his way in the end). In Nebraska, only a couple of public libraries own the Twin Peaks DVD’s (the series lasted two seasons; the gold box edition contains all of them). For those of you who are fans, it might be time to revisit before the Showtime continuation airs; for those who have never heard of the Twin Peaks series, it is worthy of a thumbs up on today’s Wednesday Watch.

Twin Peaks has a bit of everything. Old fashioned mystery, humor (mostly dark), horror (it will likely cause you to look over your shoulder at times), offbeat-ness, huge amounts of characters that are difficult to keep track of (diagrams of how characters are interconnected is almost reminiscent of Hegel’s dialectic), complex plot lines, doppelgangers, ethereal music, and a gander into the paranormal or supernatural world. The original show aired a couple years before the X-Files, another show that has recently reappeared (and may be worth checking out), and with a number of similarities. One of the best parts of the show is main character FBI agent Dale Cooper (played by Kyle McLachlan), summed up by this blogger:

“I gotta say I was pretty psyched about Coop’s crime-fighting methods. Most case-solving on TV today relies heavily on Western science with microscopes, ‘enhanced’ security footage, and DNA. Coop solves murders by dreaming and throwing stuff. And no one seems to question him. Coop and Twin Peaks champion the belief that there are other ways of knowing beyond science …”

Nuff’ said. Shaka.

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What’s Sally Reading?

2016 Notable Children’s Books Announced

The Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA) has announced their list of books from 2015 that were selected as Notable Children’s Books – 2016.  As it says on the web page, “According to the Notables Criteria, ‘notable’ is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding.” The list is divided into four sections: Younger Readers, Middle Readers, Older Readers, and All Ages. Each category is “loosely” defined by grade ranges in the introduction. Enjoy looking over the list and I hope you find something to add to your collection!

Koehler096Something small and white this week reminded me of the picture book The Little Snowplow by Lora Koehler. The Little Snowplow joined the BIG trucks for the town, and they all told him to leave the jobs to them, they would handle them and he was too little. So he cleaned up after parades, cleared streams and other small jobs, but as fall began to change to winter he began his training exercises. When the snow fell, it was soon overwhelming. He kept clearing and clearing, and soon went to work to help the dump truck who was caught in an avalanche. Power of the small.

(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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Throwback Thursday: North Bend Carnegie Library

North Bend

Exterior photo of the North Bend, Nebraska Carnegie Library  built in 1912.

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The Data Dude on Monotony

metzThanks goes out to all of you who are helping collect data, by completing our makerspace survey or working on your public library surveys. I know surveys sometimes can be a chore and/or a bore, so here’s to you for helping us in that regard. Recently, the Dude has been reflecting on the monotonous and repetitive nature of daily life (how’s that for a transition?). Between periods of boredom and emotional responses from other humans analogous to something out of the Twilight Zone, there is this notion of balance in life. Speaking of which, isn’t that a concept that leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth? Balance, that is. It implies that we joggle all these sets of circumstances in our lives, and one circumstance seems to be necessary in order to obtain the other. The implication is that the monotonous work feeds the ability for leisure (or at least less monotonous work). The Dude sees this monotony almost every day, when encountering the same strangers in the same places doing the same things (that’s the Twilight Zone reference, but maybe Black Mirror is more appropriate since technology is often a part of it). Well, the Dude says toss balance out in the toter. Change your line of thought so that it is no longer necessary. But before you do so, know that once in a while, something or someone appears that changes the game, surprises you, and perhaps does not completely eradicate the monotonous feelings but somehow adds some meaning, passion, or purpose. Make sure that if that happens, you don’t miss it. Irish poet John O’Donohue (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong) aptly sums part of this up:

“We live in a world that responds to our longing; it is a place where the echoes always return, even if sometimes slowly… The hunger to belong is at the heart of our nature. Cut off from others, we atrophy and turn in on ourselves. The sense of belonging is the natural balance of our lives… There is some innocent childlike side to the human heart that is always deeply hurt when we are excluded… When we become isolated, we are prone to being damaged; our minds lose their flexibility and natural kindness; we become vulnerable to fear and negativity.”

If you read that again, you’ll notice that this has the potential to tie into our notion of the library makerspace (although admittedly the Dude was thinking of something more along personal lines), or if you prefer, just scratch your head and move on. But since this blog should (at least in theory) have even a slight applicability towards something library related, let’s take a crack at it.

In response to the makerspace survey, some of you indicated that you were intrigued by the notion but either had limited experience with it or had no experience at all with the term. Well, fear not because that term captures many things (keep reading for more detailed information). Common terms for makerspaces often include hackerspaces, design centers, community collaboration areas, workshops, innovation space, and (the Dude’s favorite to date) creation stations (it conjures up a nostalgic feeling similar to that of Conjunction Junction, and the Dude has an affinity for nostalgic things). The common thread is that the space (often dedicated solely for such a purpose) offers people the ability (either individually or collectively) to come together and create something. Spaces often include all kinds of things or tools to create, and the sky is the limit on what might be offered. The survey contained some of the more common things that libraries, educational institutions, or communities might offer. Collaboration is, however, often an essential part of these spaces, as knowledge might be shared or ideas built upon during the creative process. And it makes sense for libraries to be involved with offering these things and programs. Libraries, in addition to being what one might call anchor institutions in communities (that’s a fancy way of saying they have been around for a long time and have always been and will continue to be there), are facilitators of the free exchange of knowledge and ideas. The makerspace embodies this notion.

Now back to O’Donohue. For the record, these feelings of monotony don’t permeate or consume a huge amount of my time, but they do exist. When we talk about a lot of these things, the notion of confidence comes into play. Now, I’ve blogged before about creative confidence, and that certainly is important. In the library sense, people who come together to collaborate on things (like in a makerspace) certainly need an amount of creative confidence in order to exchange ideas and build on someone else’s ideas. But I’m talking about confidence that gets a person in the door, or gets them to look someone else in the eye, or say hello. To a large and often underappreciated degree, this involves vulnerability, and that may be the topic of discussion on another day. Photo upper right is of the Metz Beer bottling plant, courtesy of Nebraska Memories. Shaka.

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Friday Reads: The Last Midwife

midwifeSandra Dallas is one of my favorite authors, and The Last Midwife does not disappoint.

From Amazon:

“It is 1880 and Gracy Brookens is the only midwife in a small Colorado mining town where she has delivered hundreds, maybe thousands, of babies in her lifetime. The women of Swandyke trust and depend on Gracy, and most couldn’t imagine getting through pregnancy and labor without her by their sides.

But everything changes when a baby is found dead…and the evidence points to Gracy as the murderer.

She didn’t commit the crime, but clearing her name isn’t so easy when her innocence is not quite as simple, either. She knows things, and that’s dangerous. Invited into her neighbors’ homes during their most intimate and vulnerable times, she can’t help what she sees and hears. A woman sometimes says things in the birthing bed, when life and death seem suspended within the same moment. Gracy has always tucked those revelations away, even the confessions that have cast shadows on her heart.

With her friends taking sides and a trial looming, Gracy must decide whether it’s worth risking everything to prove her innocence. And she knows that her years of discretion may simply demand too high a price now…especially since she’s been keeping more than a few dark secrets of her own.

With Sandra Dallas’s incomparable gift for creating a sense of time and place and characters that capture your heart, The Last Midwife tells the story of family, community, and the secrets that can destroy and unite them.”

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Free Webinar: The National Agricultural Library: Agricultural Information for the 21st Century

FederalDepositoryLogoA live training webinar, “The National Agricultural Library: Agricultural Information for the 21st Century,” will be presented on Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

Register today for “The National Agricultural Library: Agricultural Information for the 21st Century”.

Start time: 2:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Duration: 60 minutes
Speaker: Chris Cole is the Acting Associate Director for Information Products and the Manager of Business Development at the National Agricultural Library (NAL). As the Associate Director, he manages the customer facing activities of the library including the information centers and reference operations. As the Manager of Business development, he manages the grant seeking operations of NAL and the development of partnerships with public and private sector groups to digitize collections and develop new services.
Learning outcomes: This webinar describes the history and customers of the NAL. It will include an in-depth description of NAL’s current services, information products, and tools. Participants will learn about the information resources and tools freely available to them via the web. These include the PubAG repository of agricultural research articles, the AGRICOLA periodical index, the specialty Information Centers, and information tools such as the NAL thesaurus.
Expected level of knowledge for participants: No prerequisite knowledge requiredUSDA Logo

The webinar is free, however registration is required. Upon registering, a confirmation email will be sent to you. This registration confirmation email includes the instructions for joining the webinar.

Registration confirmations will be sent from To ensure delivery of registration confirmations, registrants should configure junk mail or spam filter(s) to permit messages from that email address. If you do not receive the confirmation, please notify GPO.

GPO’s eLearning platform presents webinars using WebEx. In order to attend or present at a GPO-hosted webinar, a WebEx plug-in must be installed in your internet browser(s). Download instructions.

Visit FDLP Academy for access to FDLP educational and training resources. All are encouraged to share and re-post information about this free training opportunity.

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Governor Ricketts Proclaims 2016 One Book One Nebraska: The Meaning of Names

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:onebooklogo163pxw
January 14, 2016
Rod Wagner

Governor Ricketts Proclaims 2016 One Book One Nebraska: The Meaning of Names

On Jan. 13, 2016 Governor Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation honoring 2016 One Book One Nebraska: The Meaning of Names by Karen Shoemaker, of Lincoln. In this year people across Nebraska are encouraged to read this Nebraska-set novel with a World War I backdrop. The Meaning of Names follows a German-American woman trying to raise a family in the heartland and keep them safe from the effects of war and the influenza panic, as well as from violence and prejudice. Karen Shoemaker, author of The Meaning of Names, presented the governor with a copy of the book.

Photos of the proclamation-signing ceremony are available at:

The One Book One Nebraska reading program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, and Humanities Nebraska is entering its twelfth year. It encourages Nebraskans across the state to read and discuss one book, chosen from books written by Nebraska authors or that have a Nebraska theme or setting. Libraries across Nebraska will join other literary and cultural organizations in planning book discussions, activities, and events to encourage Nebraskans to read and discuss this book. Support materials to assist with local reading/discussion activities are available at Updates and activity listings will be posted there and on

The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the Nebraska Library Commission.

As Nebraska’s state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, “bringing together people and information.”


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

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2015 State Agency Publications Received at the Library Commission

NEState SealNebraska State Government Publications 2015 is a listing of the new state publications received in 2015 by the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse, a service of the Nebraska Library Commission. It is a compilation of the state publications listed in What’s Up Doc?, the Clearinghouse’s blog. They are arranged in two separate lists: by broad subject categories and alphabetically by title. All of the publications listed here are available for loan from the Library Commission by calling 1-800-307-2665 and asking for the Reference desk (outside Nebraska and in Lincoln call 402-471-4016). Users wishing to obtain their own copies must request them directly from the issuing agency.

The majority of items have been cataloged and the OCLC number listed. They can be searched in the Library Commission’s Online catalog.

 Many publications are also available in other formats. Microfiche copies of documents published prior to 2006 may be available at the State Depository Libraries.

State Publications Online, a Clearinghouse web page, lists publications in electronic format.

This list, along with issues of What’s Up Doc?, and annual lists from previous years are also available online.

For additional copies of this publication please contact:

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

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Throwback Thursday: Norfolk Carnegie Library


Exterior photo of the Norfolk, Nebraska Carnegie Library built in 1911.

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Free Webinar on Rural Health Resources

nlm_logo-jpeg_2k56_946f_1bin_038s1Discover National Library of Medicine Resources and More: Rural Health
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 – 1 PM MT/2 PM CT
Join us at

Residents of rural communities, both consumers and health professionals, face challenges when seeking access to health information. Yes—people in rural communities are part of the underserved population too. This webinar will feature reliable resources available to assist rural populations with their health information needs. The session will highlight common characteristics of rural areas and their demographics, and identify some helpful resources specific to the needs of those in rural settings. Presentation will include hands-on exercises. No registration required. Eligible for CE credits for the Nebraska Public Librarian Certification.

Instructions to connect to the webinar audio will show up once you’ve logged in. No registration required. Captioning will be provided and the sessions will be recorded. Questions to

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The Data Dude – Makerspace Survey

SurveyThanks to all of you who have responded to our recent survey on library makerspaces. In the first day alone, we received over 100 responses. The survey will stay open for a little while longer, so if you haven’t yet looked at it, there is still time. The survey is short; it should only take about 5-10 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your time and effort.

Here is a link to the survey.

Also, you have just over one month to complete your public library survey. Please contact me if you have questions about either survey. Shaka.


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New State Agency Publications Received at the Library Commission

Nebraska StatehoodNew Nebraska State Agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for November and December 2015.  Included are titles from the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System, and University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

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ALA Announces the Youth Media Awards

The Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) Division of the American Library Association (ALA) announced Monday, January 11, 2016, the winner of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals.

Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson, is the 2016 Newbery Medal winner. Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: The War that Saved My Life written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Roller Girl written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson, and Echo written by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

The 2016 Caldecott Medal winner is Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick. Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named: Trombone Shorty illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews, Waiting illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, Last Stop on Market Street illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de le Peña.

To read a copy of the ALA press announcement and learn about all the other award winners and honor books, go to:

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Nebraska Library Commission Awards Grants for Children’s Library Service

January 11, 2016
Sally Snyder

Nebraska Library Commission Awards Grants for Children’s Library Service

The Nebraska Library Commission recently awarded $30,000 in Children’s Grants for Excellence to Nebraska public libraries. Of the grants awarded, several addressed the need for specialized computer workstations for children, while others will use tools like LEGO® to encourage creativity in young people. Libraries received funding to implement science programs to encourage young inquiring minds, as well as to offer special reading and storytelling programs.

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.

Bellevue Public Library
Central City Public Library
Columbus Public Library
Dodge, John Rogers Memorial Library
Fremont, Keene Memorial Library
Genoa Public Library
Kimball Public Library
La Vista Public Library
Lexington Public Library
Louisville Public Library
Mead Public Library
Morrill Public Library
Nebraska City, Morton-James Public Library
Papillion, Sump Memorial Library
Plattsmouth Public Library
Lied Randolph Public Library
Ravenna Public Library
Seward Memorial Library
Superior Public Library
Lied Tekamah Public Library
Valley Public Library
Yutan Public Library

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.”


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

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Throwback Thursday: Neligh Carnegie Library


Exterior photo of the Neligh, Nebraska Carnegie Library built in 1911.

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The Data Dude: Public Library Survey

SurveyThis is a friendly first of the year reminder to those who have yet to start or complete your IMLS Public Library Survey. The deadline is February 19, 2016. The survey is required for your library to receive state aid if you are accredited. If you aren’t accredited, you still have an incentive to complete the survey ($200), called Dollar$ for Data.

The link to log in to the survey is here. If you forgot your password, send me an e-mail and I will get it to you.

According to the last published statistics by IMLS, Nebraska was second to last (behind Puerto Rico) in response rates to the public library survey, so we need your help to improve our percentage. If you have any questions about the survey, or need any help, please contact me.

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Talking Book Advisory Committee Seeks Nominees

January 5, 2016

Scott Scholz

Talking Book Advisory Committee Seeks Nominees

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

The Talking Book and Braille Service provides free talking books, magazines, playback equipment, and Braille to any resident of Nebraska who cannot see regular print, or hold a book, or turn its pages. Books and magazines are received and returned through the mail postage-free or downloaded directly from the Internet. Persons interested in serving on the committee should contact Talking Book and Braille Service, 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023. Phone: 402-471-6553 or 800-742-7691, fax: 402-471-6244, email:  Deadline: March 15, 2016.

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.”


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


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“Nee-bras-ki is where we dwell”

McNair HardwareNebraska Memories contains 5,500+ digitized items from institutions across Nebraska. I’ve been working with the project since it began and I think I’ve seen every item in the collection at least once or twice. Not surprisingly, I’m drawn to some items more than other items. I wanted to share with you a few of the items that I like.

I’ll start with the picture of McNair Hardware that was taken in Crawford. The quality of the picture isn’t that great but I love the rows of rocking chairs. My parents own a rocking chair very similar to the padded chair on the bottom shelf. When I look at this photo, I always see it as an antique store until I remember that this photo was taken in 1909 and these are probably new chairs for sale.

NebraskaIncluded in Nebraska Memories is a collection of 256 musical scores from the Polley Music Library. I haven’t made the time to read the lyrics of every song in the collection but I’ve read a few. The lyrics of the song Nebraska, written by B. A. Rosencrans of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, always makes me laugh, especially the chorus. This song was written in 1927 and was dedicated to the American Legion Posts of Nebraska. I’ll tease you by just including the chorus below. You can view the complete score on the Nebraska Memories website. I’m assuming the name Volstead in the third verse is referring to the Volstead Act, which is actually a nickname for the National Prohibition Act.

NebraskaNebraska chorus:
“Nee-bras-ki,” That’s its name;
Cows and corn have won it fame.
Nee-bras-ki is where we dwell,
Its the best old state this side of.

On the last page of the score, they included the text that you see in the image on the right. One line states that this “It will be to Nebraska what the “Corn Song” is to Iowa.” I’ve never heard of the Corn Song before so I did a quick search and found the score on the Iowa Digital Library website. I wonder if Mr. Rosencrans wrote Nebraska as Nee-bras-ki because Iowa was written and I-O-Way in the Corn Song.

POW entertainersAnother set of photos that intrigues me are those of the clowns and actors at Camp Atlanta. If you are not familiar with Camp Atlanta, it was a German P.O.W camp located about 10 miles southwest Holdrege. It was in use from 1943 to 1946.

Food display in a grocery storeI’m sure we have all seen a TV show or movie where they are in a grocery store and the cans are stacked high in some pyramid type shape until someone either runs into the stack or pulls out the wrong can. While it makes for great entertainment, I don’t remember ever seeing stacks like this in any of the stores I frequent. Maybe that’s why I like this food display in the California Grocery. If you wanted to take advantage of the sale on apricots and buy three cans for 59 cents, which three cans would you pick up?

Children looking at picture books A list of favorites wouldn’t be complete unless it included pictures of children reading, a cat, and a baby playing with a dog.Cat on the kitchen table at the Wallace residence

These are just a few my favorite items in Nebraska Memories. Do you have any favorites? Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Edwin Lyndon "Ned" May, Jr. 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 Nebraska Memories, see for more information, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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