Category Archives: Information Resources

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

Apologies that this installment of Book Briefs has taken so long–we have been without a cataloger since December 1st, 2023, but our new cataloger starts July 15th!

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  We normally post every two months, but today we are catching up with our backlog of the UNP books that the Clearinghouse has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in January through June, 2024:

Antilla, by Henrietta Goodman. Series: The Backwaters Prize in Poetry Honorable Mention

The title poem of this collection refers to the phantom island of Antillia, included on maps in the fifteenth century but later found not to exist. The ghosts that haunt this collection are phantom islands, moon lakes, lasers used to clean the caryatids at the Acropolis, earlier versions of the self, suicides, a madam from the Old West, petroleum, snapdragons, pets, ice apples, Casper, and a “resident ghost” who makes the domestic realm of “the cradle and the bed” uninhabitable. The ghosts are sons, fathers “asleep in front of the TV,” and a variety of exes—“lost boys” with names like The Texan and Mr. No More Cowboy Hat whom Henrietta Goodman treats with snarky wit but also with grief, guilt, and love.

Although memories pervade this collection, these poems also look forward and outward into a world where social inequality and environmental disaster meet the possibility of metamorphosis.

Boundless Deep, and Other Stories, by Gen Del Raye. Series: The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction

Winner of the Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Boundless Deep, and Other Stories is a portrait of a family that holds together despite everything. By turns introspective, surreal, and bitingly funny, this collection of linked short stories spans seven decades across Japan and the United States and shows the tenacity of relationships fractured by language and distance.

At the funeral of her old boss, a grandmother confronts the legacy of the draft letters she delivered as a girl during World War II. Facing the loss of his job, a father becomes the caricature strangers have always believed him to be. A graduate student living far from home is worn down by the reality of what it takes to save even a small piece of the world. Along the way, we meet communist revolutionary Shigenobu Fusako hiding out in a Tokyo hotel, submariner and war criminal Nishina Sekio in his tortured dreams, and Edwin, a half-dolphin friend, wreaking havoc in a public pool. Written in the compressed style of Amy Hempel and Lucia Berlin, these stories examine characters whose struggles submerge them, weighing them down from every angle, until they can finally float free.

Brand Antarctica : How Global Consumer Culture Shapes Our Perceptions of the Ice Continent, by Hanne Elliot Fonss Nielsen. Series: Polar Studies

Antarctica is, and has always been, very much “for sale.” Whales, seals, and ice have all been marketed as valuable commodities, but so have the stories of explorers. The modern media industry developed in parallel with land-based Antarctic exploration, and early expedition leaders needed publicity to generate support for their endeavors. Their lectures, narratives, photographs, and films were essentially advertisements for their adventures. At the same time, popular media began to use the newly encountered continent to draw attention to commercial products. These advertisements both trace the commercialization of Antarctica and reveal how commercial settings have shaped the dominant imaginaries of the place.

By contextualizing and analyzing Antarctic advertisements from the late nineteenth century to the present, Brand Antarctica identifies five key framings of the South Polar continent: a place for heroes, a place of extremity, a place of purity, a place to protect, and a place that transforms. Demonstrating how these conceptual framings of Antarctica in turn circulate through our culture, Hanne Elliot Fønss Nielsen challenges common assumptions about Antarctica’s past and present, encouraging readers to rethink their own relationship with the Far South.

Bribed With Our Own Money : Federal Abuse of American Indian Funds in the Termination Era, by David R. M. Beck. Series: New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies

In Bribed with Our Own Money David R. M. Beck analyzes the successes and failures of Indigenous nations’ opposition to federal policy in the 1950s and 1960s. Focusing on case studies from six Native nations, Beck recounts how the U.S. government coerced American Indian nations to accept termination of their political relationship with the United States by threatening to withhold money that belonged to the tribes.

Termination was the continuation—and, federal officials hoped, the culmination—of more than a century of policy initiatives intended to end the political relationship between Indian tribal nations and the federal government. Termination was also intended to assimilate American Indian individuals into the country’s social and economic culture and to remove the remainder of reservation lands from federal trust. American Indians hoped to gain greater opportunities of self-governance and self-determination, but they wanted to do so under the protection of the federal trust relationship.

Bribed with Our Own Money analyzes both successful and unsuccessful efforts of Native nations to oppose this policy within the larger context of long-standing federal abuse of tribal funds. It is the first book to view federal termination efforts grounded in bribery for what they were: a form of coercion.

Buffalo Bill and the Mormans, by Brent M. Rogers.

In this never-before-told history of Buffalo Bill and the Mormons, Brent M. Rogers presents the intersections in the epic histories of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and the Latter-day Saints from 1846 through 1917. In Cody’s autobiography he claimed to have been a member of the U.S. Army wagon train that was burned by the Saints during the Utah War of 1857–58. Less than twenty years later he began his stage career and gained notoriety by performing anti-Mormon dramas. By early 1900 he actively recruited Latter-day Saints to help build infrastructure and encourage growth in the region surrounding his town of Cody, Wyoming.

In Buffalo Bill and the Mormons Rogers unravels this history and the fascinating trajectory that took America’s most famous celebrity from foe to friend of the Latter-day Saints. In doing so, the book demonstrates how the evolving relationship between Cody and the Latter-day Saints can help readers better understand the political and cultural perceptions of Mormons and the American West.

Creative Genius : The Art of the Nebraska Capitol, by Susanne Shore, Kevin Moser, and Drew Davies.

Few buildings reveal truths, inspire greatness, and narrate the creation of humanity. Creative Genius: The Art of the Nebraska Capitol documents such a place. The Nebraska Capitol—once called “a peak in the history of building accomplishment”—breaks the boundaries of architecture and art.

Creative Genius unveils new images of the art of the Capitol in striking detail. Included are some of the greatest works by some of America’s most recognized artists and visionaries.

Along with remarkable visuals, Creative Genius delivers insights into the extraordinary stories and vision behind the art. Steeped in history and lore, the building narrates the creation of the universe and life, as well as the epic journey of the peoples of Nebraska. This book reveals the themes driving the art, chronicles the stories behind artists and their creations, and celebrates the beauty embodied in this influential building.

Ethics at the Center : Jewish Theory and Practice for Living a Moral Life, by Elliot N. Dorff. Series: A JPS Scholar of Distinction Book

Ethics at the Center culls the best of Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff’s pioneering thinking in Jewish ethics over nearly five decades. Dorff shows that our response to moral issues depends ultimately on our conceptions of the nature of human beings and God; how Jewish law, theology, prayer, history, and community should also define and motivate Jewish responses to moral issues; and how the honorable and divergent stances of Western philosophy and other religions about moral living shed light on Judaism’s distinctive standpoints.

From there Dorff applies Judaism’s ethics to real life: abortion post–Roe v. Wade, sexual orientation and human dignity, avoiding harm in communication, playing violent or defamatory video games, modern war ethics, handling donations of ill-gotten gain after the fact. In conclusion he explores how Jewish family and community, holidays and rituals, theology, study, and law have moral import as well.

Dorff’s personal introduction to each chapter reflects on why and when he wrote its contents, its continuing relevance, and if—and if so, how—he would now change what he wrote earlier. Readers will experience not only his evolving ethical thought but many facets of the person and the Jew that Dorff is today.

Exile and the Jews : Literature, History, and Identity, Edited by Nancy E. Berg and Marc Saperstein. Series: JPS Anthologies of Jewish Thought

This first comprehensive anthology examining Jewish responses to exile from the biblical period to our modern day gathers texts from all genres of Jewish literary creativity to explore how the realities and interpretations of exile have shaped Judaism, Jewish politics, and individual Jewish identity for millennia. Ordered along multiple arcs—from universal to particular, collective to individual, and mythic-symbolic to prosaic everyday living—the chapters present different facets of exile: as human condition, in history and life, in holiday rituals, in language, as penance and atonement, as internalized experience, in relation to the Divine Presence, and more. By illuminating the multidimensional nature of “exile”—political, philosophical, religious, psychological, and mythological—widely divergent evaluations of Jewish life in the Diaspora emerge. The word “exile” and its Hebrew equivalent, galut, evoke darkness, bleakness—and yet the condition offers spiritual renewal and engenders great expressions of Jewish cultural creativity: the Babylonian Talmud, medieval Jewish philosophy, golden age poetry, and modern Jewish literature.

Exile and the Jews will engage students, academics, and general readers in contemplating immigration, displacement, evolving identity, and more.

Forget I Told You This : A Novel, by Hilary Zaid. Series: Zero Street Fiction

Amy Black, a queer single mother and an aspiring artist in love with calligraphy, dreams of a coveted artist’s residency at the world’s largest social media company, Q. One ink-black October night, when the power is out in the hills of Oakland, California, a stranger asks Amy to transcribe a love letter for him. When the stranger suddenly disappears, Amy’s search for the letter’s recipient leads her straight to Q and the most beautiful illuminated manuscript she has ever seen, the Codex Argentus, hidden away in Q’s Library of Books That Don’t Exist—and to a group of data privacy vigilantes who want her to burn Q to the ground.

Amy’s curiosity becomes her salvation, as she’s drawn closer and closer to the secret societies and crackpot philosophers that haunt the city’s abandoned warehouses and defunct train depots. All of it leads to an opportunity of a lifetime: an artist’s residency deep in the holographic halls of Q headquarters. It’s a dream come true—so long as she follows Q’s rules.

The Forsaken and the Dead : The Bass Reeves Trilogy, Book Three, by Sidney Thompson. Series: The Bass Reeves Trilogy Series

**Books 1 & 2 of the Bass Reeves Trilogy adapted for the Paramount+ miniseries Lawmen: Bass Reeves
2023 Foreword INDIES Finalist in Historical Fiction
National Indie Excellence Award Winner in Western Fiction

All heroes have fatal flaws and a moment of defining hubris, but few rise from the ashes to achieve greater heights. In 1884 Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves was arrested for murder and placed among his own prisoners in Hell on the Border, the infamous federal jail in Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was the single greatest setback of his illustrious career, but it wouldn’t be his last mistake or trial by fire.

In The Forsaken and the Dead we meet Reeves again. In the 1890s, past his prime, Reeves proceeds through the valleys and shadows of Indian and Oklahoma Territories. Despite his caution and innovations as a lawman and detective, his nation no longer seems a product of his own making—so much like his children and his marriage to Jennie. While a modern world implodes around him and demons from his past continue to haunt his present, he remains resolute in his faith that he can be a steady rider on a pale horse.

Forward Without Fear : Native Hawaiians and American Education in Territorial Hawai’i, 1900-1941, by Derek Taira. Series: Studies in Pacific Worlds

During Hawai‘i’s territorial period (1900–1959), Native Hawaiians resisted assimilation by refusing to replace Native culture, identity, and history with those of the United States. By actively participating in U.S. public schools, Hawaiians resisted the suppression of their language and culture, subjection to a foreign curriculum, and denial of their cultural heritage and history, which was critical for Hawai‘i’s political evolution within the manifest destiny of the United States.

In Forward without Fear Derek Taira reveals that many Native Hawaiians in the first forty years of the territorial period neither subscribed nor succumbed to public schools’ aggressive efforts to assimilate and Americanize them but instead engaged with American education to envision and support an alternate future, one in which they could exclude themselves from settler society to maintain their cultural distinctiveness and protect their Indigenous identity. Taira thus places great emphasis on how they would have understood their actions—as flexible and productive steps for securing their cultural sovereignty and safeguarding their future as Native Hawaiians—and reshapes historical understanding of this era as one solely focused on settler colonial domination, oppression, and elimination to a more balanced and optimistic narrative that identifies and highlights Indigenous endurance, resistance, and hopefulness.

The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 2 : Franz Boas, James Teit, and Early Twentieth-Century Salish Ethnology. 2 Volumes– Part 1: 1894-1913, and Part 2: 1914-1922, Edited by Angie Bain, John Haugen, et al. Series: Franz Boas Papers Documentary Edition

The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 2 explores the development of the ethnography of Salishan-speaking societies on the North American Plateau as revealed through the correspondence between Franz Boas and the Scottish-born James Teit, who married into an Interior Salish family and community and became fluent in the Nlaka’pamux language. The letters between Teit (1864–1922) and Boas (1858–1942) chronicle Teit’s varied career as an ethnographer, from shortly after his initial meeting with Boas in 1894 until Teit’s death at the age of fifty-eight. A postscript documents Boas’s contribution to Teit’s legacy through the posthumous publication of the manuscripts Teit left unfinished at his death.

Teit made significant contributions to ethnography and the history of southern British Columbia through his photography of the people with whom he worked, his contributions to ethnomusicology and ethnobotany, his anthologies of mythic narrative, and his collections of Interior Salish—primarily Nlaka’pamux—material culture. In addition to collaborating with Boas in the development of Interior Salish ethnography, between 1909 and 1922 Teit worked to support Indigenous groups in British Columbia who were seeking recognition of Aboriginal title and resolution of their outstanding land claims.

The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 2 meticulously tracks the impact of the differing career trajectories of Teit and Boas on the primary product of their collaboration—the initial development of the ethnography of societies speaking Interior Salish languages. This second volume of the Franz Boas Papers Documentary Edition is an essential primary source of archival materials for research libraries and for students and scholars of Northwest Coast and Interior Mountain West ethnohistory, Native American and Indigenous studies, history of anthropology, and modern U.S. history. It is also an essential source for Indigenous and settler descendant communities.

Let Our Bodies Change the Subject, by Jared Harel. Series: The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry

National Jewish Book Award Finalist
Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist

Let Our Bodies Change the Subject is a poetry collection that dives headlong into the terrifying, wondrous, sleep-deprived existence of being a parent in twenty-first-century America. In clear, dynamic verses that disarm then strike, Jared Harél investigates our days through the keyhole of domesticity, through personal lyrics and cultural reckonings. Whether taking a family trip to Coney Island or simply showing his son snowflakes on Inauguration morning, Harél guides us toward moments of intimacy and understanding, humor and grief.

“I will try,” he admits, “to be better than myself, which is all/I’ve ever wanted and everything I need.” Winner of the Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Let Our Bodies Change the Subject is a secular prayer. Hoping against hope, Harél works to reconcile feelings of luck and loss, of living for joy while fearing the worst.

Loving the Dying, by Len Verwey. Series: African Poetry Book

Loving the Dying is a collection of poems on life’s different stages. Set against the backdrop of a conflicted society, Len Verwey looks at a person’s life from youth and growing up to aging and dying, considering what the ineluctable reality of death might imply about how we should think about our lives.

These are poems of uncertainty rather than certainty. The more overtly biographical ones end with as many questions as they start with, and there is often sympathy for the outsider or the marginalized voice. Varying in tone and complexity, Verwey’s poems focus on the tension between escapism and reality, truth and delusion (for individuals and societies), and the need to face death if we are to care for the aged and learn to understand the process of dying.

As in his first poetry collection, In a Language That You Know, Verwey continues his effort to understand the successes and failures of the South African post-apartheid journey, with both humor and some despair.

Marcias : Queer Cultures and State Violence in Argentina and Spain, 1942-1982, by Javier Fernandez-Galeano. Series: Engendering Latin America

In Maricas Javier Fernández-Galeano traces the erotic lives and legal battles of Argentine and Spanish gender- and sexually nonconforming people who carved out their own spaces in metropolitan and rural cultures between the 1940s and the 1980s. In both countries, agents of the state, judiciary, and medical communities employed “social danger” theory to measure individuals’ latent criminality, conflating sexual and gender nonconformity with legal transgression.

Argentine and Spanish queer and trans communities rejected this mode of external categorization. Drawing on Catholicism and camp cultures that stretched across the Atlantic, these communities constructed alternative models of identification that remediated state repression and sexual violence through the pursuit of the sublime, be it erotic, religious, or cultural. In this pursuit they drew ideological and iconographic material from the very institutions that were most antagonistic to their existence, including the Catholic Church, the military, and reactionary mass media. Maricas incorporates non-elite actors, including working-class and rural populations, recruits, prisoners, folk music fans, and defendants’ mothers, among others. The first English-language monograph on the history of twentieth-century state policies and queer cultures in Argentina and Spain, Maricas demonstrates the many ways queer communities and individuals in Argentina and Spain fought against violence, rejected pathologization, and contested imposed, denigrating categorization.

My Grandfather’s Altar : Five Generations of Lakota Holy Men, by Richard Moves Camp, edited by Simon J. Joseph. Series: American Indian Lives

Richard Moves Camp’s My Grandfather’s Altar is an oral-literary narrative account of five generations of Lakota religious tradition. Moves Camp is the great-great-grandson of Wóptuȟ’a (“Chips”), the holy man remembered for providing Crazy Horse with war medicines of power and protection. The Lakota remember the descendants of Wóptuȟ’a for their roles in preserving Lakota ceremonial traditions during the official prohibition period (1883–1934), when the U.S. Indian Religious Crimes Code outlawed Indian religious ceremonies with the threat of imprisonment.

Wóptuȟ’a, his two sons, James Moves Camp and Charles Horn Chips, his grandson Sam Moves Camp, and his great-great-grandson Richard Moves Camp all became well-respected Lakota spiritual leaders. My Grandfather’s Altar offers the rare opportunity to learn firsthand how one family’s descendants played a pivotal role in revitalizing Lakota religion in the twentieth century.

The Narrator : A Problem in Narrative Theory, by Sylvie Patron, translated by Catherine Porter. Series: Frontiers of Narrative

The narrator (the answer to the question “who speaks in the text?”) is a commonly used notion in teaching literature and in literary criticism, even though it is the object of an ongoing debate in narrative theory. Do all fictional narratives have a narrator, or only some of them? Can narratives thus be “narratorless”? This question divides communicational theories (based on the communication between real or fictional narrator and narratee) and noncommunicational or poetic theories (which aim to rehabilitate the function of the author as the creator of the fictional narrative).

Clarifying the notion of the narrator requires a historical and epistemological approach focused on the opposition between communicational theories of narrative in general and noncommunicational or poetic theories of the fictional narrative in particular. The Narrator offers an original and critical synthesis of the problem of the narrator in the work of narratologists and other theoreticians of narrative communication from the French, Czech, German, and American traditions and in representations of the noncommunicational theories of fictional narrative. Sylvie Patron provides linguistic and pragmatic tools for interrogating the concept of the narrator based on the idea that fictional narrative has the power to signal, by specific linguistic marks, that the reader must construct a narrator; when these marks are missing, the reader is able to perceive other forms and other narrative effects, specially sought after by certain authors.

The Nebraska Sandhills, Edited by Monica M. Norby, Judy Diamond, and Aaron Sutherlen, et al.

“Like a rumpled wool blanket, the Nebraska Sandhills spreads out over twenty thousand square miles of north central Nebraska and is the largest stabilized dune field in the Western Hemisphere. It is also the largest intact mixed-grass prairie left on the continent.”

This description by photographer Michael Forsberg alludes to the exceptional physical geography of the Nebraska Sandhills, a place of rolling grasslands, rivers, and wetlands created by the Ogallala Aquifer that underlies the region. Home to abundant wildlife, from pronghorn antelope to sandhill cranes, the Sandhills are an ecological treasure. Dotted with ranches and small towns, the Sandhills are rich with deep cultural history, including those of Indigenous peoples, settlers, Black homesteaders, immigrants, ecotourists, and some adventurous golfers.

The Nebraska Sandhills features nearly forty essays about the history, people, geography, geology, ecology, and conservation of the Nebraska Sandhills. Illustrated with hundreds of remarkable color photographs of the area, this is the most up-to-date and illuminating portrayal of this remarkable yet largely unknown region of the United States.

A New Deal for Quilts, by Janneken Smucker.

During the Roosevelt administration’s efforts to combat the Great Depression, the quilt became an emblem for how to lift one’s family out of poverty, piece by piece. A New Deal for Quilts explores how the U.S. government drew on quilts and quilt-making, encouraging Americans to create quilts individually and collectively in response to unemployment, displacement, and recovery efforts. Quilters shared their perspectives on New Deal programs such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and the National Recovery Administration, which sent quilts as gifts to the Roosevelts and other officials. Federal programs used quilts’ symbolic heft to communicate the values and behaviors individuals should embrace amid the Depression, perceiving the practical potential of crafts to lift morale and impart new skills. The government embraced quilts to demonstrate the efficacy of its programs, show women how they could contribute to their families’ betterment, and generate empathy for impoverished Americans.

With more than one hundred period photographs and images of quilts, A New Deal for Quilts evokes the visual environment of the Depression while conveying ways craft, work, race, poverty, and politics intersected during this pivotal era. Accompanying the book is a fall 2023 exhibit at the International Quilt Museum, featuring 1930s quilts drawn from its renowned collection.

The New Nancy : Flexible and Relatable Daily Comics in the Twenty-First Century, by Jeff Karnicky. Series: Encapsulations: Critical Comics Studies

In The New Nancy Jeff Karnicky explores how today’s successful daily comic strips are flexible and relatable, and he uses Olivia Jaimes’s 2018 reboot of the long-running comic strip Nancy to illustrate the ways that contemporary comics have adapted to twenty-first-century technology and culture.

Because comic creation has become part of the gig economy, flexible comics must be accessible to both online and print readers, and they must quickly grab readers’ attention. Flexible comic creators like Jaimes must focus both on the work of producing comics and on building an audience.

Daily comics also must form a relatable connection with readers. Most contemporary comic creators cultivate an online persona through which they engage readers with specific identities, beliefs, and expectations. This work might form a mutually beneficial bond that results in a successful daily comic strip, but it risks becoming fraught, toxic, and sometimes even dangerous.

Jaimes cultivates a relatable persona in connection with longtime readers and new fans. Nancy finds its humor in both nostalgic objects (like cookie jars) and contemporary technological objects (like smartphones). Rebooted comic strips like Nancy directly confront the stereotypical representations that haunt the past of comics. Focusing on Nancy’s role in contemporary culture, Karnicky uses literary studies, cultural studies, and media studies to argue that Jaimes’s comic strip has something to say about comics, contemporary culture, and the intersection of the two.

Object-Oriented Narratology, by Marie-Laure Ryan and Tang Weisheng. Series: Frontiers of Narrative

The quick spread of posthumanism and of critiques of anthropomorphism in the past few decades has resulted in greater attention to concrete objects in critical theories and in philosophy. This new materialism or new object philosophy marks a renewal of interest in the  existence of objects. Yet while their mode of existence is independent of human cognition, it cannot erase the relation of subject to object and the foundational role of our experience of things in our mental activity.

These developments have important implications for narratology. Traditional conceptions of narrative define its core components as setting, characters, and plot, but nonhuman entities play a crucial role in characterizing the setting, in enabling or impeding the actions of characters, and thus in determining plot.

Marie-Laure Ryan and Tang Weisheng combine a theoretical approach that defines the basic narrative functions of objects with interpretive studies of narrative texts that rely more closely on ideas advanced by proponents of new object philosophy. Object-Oriented Narratology opens new theoretical horizons for narratology and offers individual case studies that demonstrate the richness and diversity of the ways in which narrative, both Western and non-Western, deals with humans’ relationships to their material environment and with the otherness of objects.

On Our Own Terms : Indigenous Histories of School Funding and Policy, by Meredith L. McCoy. Series: Indigenous Education

On Our Own Terms contextualizes recent federal education legislation against the backdrop of two hundred years of education funding and policy to explore two critical themes: the racial and settler colonial dynamics that have shaped Indian education and an equally long and persistent tradition of Indigenous peoples engaging schools, funding, and policy on their own terms. Focusing primarily on the years 1819 to 2018, Meredith L. McCoy provides an interdisciplinary, methodologically expansive look into the ways federal Indian education policy has all too often been a tool for structural violence against Native peoples. Of particular note is a historical budget analysis that lays bare inconsistencies in federal support for Indian education and the ways funds become a tool for redefining educational priorities.

McCoy shows some of the diverse strategies families, educators, and other community members have used to creatively navigate schooling on their own terms. These stories of strategic engagement with schools, funding, and policy embody what Gerald Vizenor has termed survivance, an insistence of Indigenous presence, trickster humor, and ironic engagement with settler structures. By gathering these stories together into an archive of survivance stories in education, McCoy invites readers to consider ongoing patterns of Indigenous resistance and the possibilities for bending federal systems toward community well-being.

Origins of the Syma Species, by Tares Oburumu. Series: African Poetry Book

Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets

Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, Tares Oburumu’s collection is a brief history of where he came from: Syma, a neglected oil-producing region of Nigeria. After growing up with a single mother in the creek- and brook-marked region, and himself now a single parent, Oburumu examines single parenthood and how love defines family circles. Mixing music, religion, and political critique, Origins of the Syma Species evokes pasts and futures.

Inspired by the relative chaos found in the origin of things, Oburumu’s poems explore how the beauty of chaos binds us to our ancestral roots. In his poems Oburumu identifies with anyone who is a single parent or is dealing with the lonely trauma of a broken home. His poems instill hopefulness in a world that has the means to throw many into poverty and agony.

Pakistan and American Diplomacy : Insights from 9/11 to the Afghanistan Endgame, by Ted Craig.

Pakistan and American Diplomacy offers an insightful, fast-moving tour through Pakistan-U.S. relations, from 9/11 to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, as told from the perspective of a former U.S. diplomat who served twice in Pakistan. Ted Craig frames his narrative around the 2019 Cricket World Cup, a contest that saw Pakistan square off against key neighbors and cricketing powers Afghanistan, India, and Bangladesh, and its former colonial ruler, Britain.Craig provides perceptive analysis of Pakistan’s diplomacy since its independence in 1947, shedding light on the country’s contemporary relations with the United States, China, India, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan. With insights from the field and from Washington, Craig reflects on the chain of policy decisions that led to the fall of the Kabul government in 2021 and offers a sober and balanced view of the consequences of that policy failure. Drawing on his post–Cold War diplomatic career, Craig presents U.S.-Pakistan policy in the context of an American experiment in promoting democracy while combating terrorism.                                  

Resisting Oklahoma’s Reign of Terror : The Society of Oklahoma Indians and the Fight for Native Rights, 1923-1928, by Joshua Clough. Series: New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies

The oil and natural gas boom in pre–World War I Oklahoma brought unbelievable wealth to thousands of tribal citizens in the state on whose lands these minerals were discovered. However, as Angie Debo recognizes in her seminal study of the period, And Still the Waters Run, and, more recently, as David Grann does in Killers of the Flower Moon, this affluence placed Natives in the crosshairs of unscrupulous individuals. As a result, this era was also marked by two of the most heinous episodes of racial violence in the state’s history:  the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 and the Osage Murders between 1921 and 1925. 

In Resisting Oklahoma’s Reign of Terror Joshua Clough details the responses of one largely forgotten Native organization—the Society of Oklahoma Indians (SOI)—to the violence and pillaging of tribal resources during the 1920s. Clough provides historical understanding of its formation and its shared values of intertribal unity, Native suffrage, and protection of Native property. He also reveals why reform efforts were nearly impossible in 1920s Oklahoma and how this historical perspective informs today’s conflicts between the state and its Indigenous inhabitants.

Through this examination of the SOI, Clough fills the historiographic gap regarding formal Native resistance between the dissolution of the national Society of American Indians in 1923 and the formation of the National Congress of American Indians in 1944. Dismissed or overlooked for a century as an inconsequential Native activist organization, the history of the SOI, when examined carefully, reveals the sophistication and determination of tribal members in their struggle to prevent depredations on their persons and property.

Shift : A Memoir of Identity and Other Illusions, by Penny Guisinger. Series: American Lives

Penny Guisinger was not always attracted to women. In Shift she recounts formative relationships with women and men, including the marriage that produced her two children and ultimately ended in part due to her affair with her now-wife. Beginning her story as straight and ending as queer, she struggles to make sense of how her identity changed so profoundly while leaving her feeling like the same person she’s always been. While covering pivotal periods of her life, including previous relationships and raising her children across the chasm of divorce, Guisinger reaches for quantum physics, music theory, planetary harmonics, palmistry, and more to interrogate her experiences. This personal story plays out against the backdrop of the national debate on same-sex marriage, in rural, easternmost Maine, where Guisinger watched her neighbors vote against the validity of her family.

Shift examines sexual and romantic fluidity while wrestling with the ways past and present mingle rather than staying in linear narratives. Under scrutiny, Guisinger’s sense of her own identity becomes like a Mobius strip or Penrose triangle—an optical illusion that challenges the dimensions and possibilities of the world.

Storytelling in Kabuki : An Exploration of Spatial Poetics of Comics, by Steen Ledet Christiansen. Series: Encapsulations: Critical Comics Studies

Steen Ledet Christiansen’s Storytelling in “Kabuki” explores the series created by David Mack—a slow, recursive narrative that focuses on the death of Kabuki and her past. The series ran from 1994 to 2004 in a variety of miniseries, one-shots, and spin-offs, rather than following a conventional American monthly release schedule. Most of the series explores different perspectives on the same event and adds background to Kabuki’s past, usually through surreal sequences, dreams, and near-death experiences. The flexibility of comics’ approach to chronology, space, focalization, narrative, and fictionality enabled Mack to produce an unusual experience. Kabuki tells a story that can only exist via comics.

Christiansen analyzes the visual design of the series, a heterogeneous collection of styles depending on the story. To understand Kabuki, it is crucial to explore the visual styles, as well as the use of visual and spatial rhymes and mixed media forms. Because Kabuki employs a complex layering of focalizations, diegetic levels, and metafictional self-reflectivity that is rare in mainstream American comics, it utilizes a narrative poetics that focuses on constant repeating, restating, and returning to the same events.

Kabuki’s unique compositional layering allows Christiansen to provide a clear example of how comics work while also expanding on critical vocabulary, especially in terms of spatial poetics. By exploring spatial form, Christiansen illuminates and gives a critical framework to a different and underexamined aspect of comics.

Wardship and the Welfare State : Native Americans and the Formation of First-Class Citizenship in Mid-Twentieth-Century America, by Mary Klann. Series: New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies

Wardship and the Welfare State examines the ideological dimensions and practical intersections of public policy and Native American citizenship, Indian wardship, and social welfare rights after World War II. By examining Native wardship’s intersections with three pieces of mid-twentieth-century welfare legislation—the 1935 Social Security Act, the 1942 Servicemen’s Dependents Allowance Act, and the 1944 GI Bill—Mary Klann traces the development of a new conception of first-class citizenship.

Wardship and the Welfare State explores how policymakers and legislators have defined first-class citizenship against its apparent opposite, the much older and fraught idea of Indian wardship. Wards were considered dependent, while first-class citizens were considered independent. Wards were thought to receive gratuitous aid from the government, while first-class citizens were considered responsible. Critics of the federal welfare state’s expansion in the 1930s through 1960s feared that as more Americans received government aid, they too could become dependent wards, victims of the poverty they saw on reservations. Because critics believed wardship prevented Native men and women from fulfilling expectations of work, family, and political membership, they advocated terminating Natives’ trust relationships with the federal government. As these critics mistakenly equated wardship with welfare, state officials also prevented Native people from accessing needed welfare benefits.

But to Native peoples wardship was not welfare and welfare was not wardship. Native nations and pan-Native organizations insisted on Natives’ government-to-government relationships with the United States and maintained their rights to welfare benefits. In so doing, they rejected stereotyped portrayals of Natives’ perpetual poverty and dependency and asserted and defined tribal sovereignty. By illuminating how assumptions about “gratuitous” government benefits limit citizenship, Wardship and the Welfare State connects Native people to larger histories of race, inequality, gender, and welfare in the twentieth-century United States.

Westerns : A Women’s History, by Victoria Lamont. Series: Postwestern Horizons

At every turn in the development of what we now know as the western, women writers have been instrumental. Yet the myth that the western is male-authored persists. Westerns: A Women’s History debunks this myth once and for all by recovering the women writers of popular westerns who were active during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the western genre as we now know it emerged.

Victoria Lamont offers detailed studies of some of the many women who helped shape the western. Their novels bear the classic hallmarks of the western—cowboys, schoolmarms, gun violence, lynchings, cattle branding—while also placing women characters at the center of their adventures and improvising with western conventions in surprising and ingenious ways. In Emma Ghent Curtis’s The Administratrix a widow disguises herself as a cowboy and infiltrates the cowboy gang responsible for lynching her husband. Muriel Newhall’s pulp serial character Sheriff Minnie comes to the rescue of a steady stream of defenseless women victims. B. M. Bower, Katharine Newlin Burt, and Frances McElrath use cattle branding as a metaphor for their feminist critiques of patriarchy. In addition to recovering the work of these and other women authors of popular westerns, Lamont uses original archival analysis of the western-fiction publishing scene to overturn the long-standing myth of the western as a male-dominated genre.

Who Would You Kill to Save the World?, by Claire Colebrook. Series: Provocations

2024 Hugh J. Silverman Book Prize in Philosophy and Literature

Who Would You Kill to Save the World? examines how postapocalyptic cinema uses images from the past and present to depict what it means to preserve the world—and who is left out of the narrative of rebuilding society. Claire Colebrook redefines “the world” as affluent Western society and “saving the world” as preventing us from becoming the othered them who are viewed in their suffering. Colebrook further examines how the use of postapocalyptic cinema is a humanist—Western, capitalist, colonizing, white, heteronormative, and individualist—creation and challenges the notion that a world built on foundations of exploitation is worth saving.

Colebrook combines postapocalyptic fiction, concern over the global climate crisis, colonialism, and anti-Blackness to explain how contemporary postapocalypse blockbusters circulate ideas of whiteness and the right of the privileged to rebuild the world. Who Would You Kill to Save the World? is a provocative addition to the field of extinction studies and challenges the conceptual frames we use to define ourselves.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

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ARSL 2024 Early Bird Conference Registration is NOW OPEN!

Registration for both in-person and virtual attendance at the 2024 Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference is open!

The in-person 2024 ARSL Conference will be held at the MassMutual Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, from September 11-14, 2024.

This year’s conference theme is “Libraries are (r)Evolutionary.” Our conference provides an opportunity to explore the transformative power of rural and small libraries in our communities. Like chrysalises of change, these libraries nurture revolutionary ideas and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of our patrons. Let’s embrace the (r)Evolutionary spirit of libraries and inspire each other.

Early Bird pricing for in-person attendance will be available through July 16.

For more information about the conference and to register, visit the 2024 Conference Homepage.


ARSL Member Rates

  • Base Conference Attendance
    Early Bird – $295
    Regular – $380
    On-site – $380 + $25 admin fee
  • Preconference Workshops**
    3-Hour Workshops – $60
    4-Hour Workshops – $75
    7-Hour Workshop – $160
  • Virtual Attendance
    $55

Student, Advocate & Retiree Rates*

  • Base Conference Attendance
    Early Bird – $250
    Regular – $290
    On-site – $290 + $25 admin fee
  • Preconference Workshops**
    3-Hour Workshops – $60
    4-Hour Workshops – $75
    7-Hour Workshop – $160
  • Virtual Attendance
    $30

Nonmember Rates

  • Base Conference Attendance
    Early Bird – $390
    Regular – $460
    On-site – $460 + $25 admin fee
  • Preconference Workshops**
    3-Hour Workshops – $85
    4-Hour Workshops – $100
    7-Hour Workshop – $205
  • Virtual Attendance
    $80

*Must be an ARSL Advocate, Student, or Retiree member. **Preconference Workshop fees are charged in addition to Base Conference Registration and are available for in-person conference attendees only.

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CCC Library Information Services Classes for Fall 2024

Central Community College announces class for the Library Information Services program for Fall 2024.

Enrollment opened April 19, 2024 for classes beginning August 19, 2024. The Library & Information Services Certificate is a 15-credit hour program. All credits can be applied to a Central Community College associate degree.

See details of classes and registration information at https://www.cccneb.edu/lis

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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 January and February, 2024.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Bureau of Sociological Research, the Nebraska Foster Care Review Office, the Nebraska Department of Transportation, and the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court, to name a few.

Items are available for immediate viewing and printing by clicking directly in the .pdf below. 

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse in 1972 as 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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NewsBank Trial Access Through April 6, 2024

NewsBank is a web-based subscription service that offers library access to current and archival content from newspapers, newswires, transcripts, and other publications. They have agreed to offer Nebraska librarians trial access to the following resources that they market to K12 libraries:

Trial access instructions, including product login URLs and a temporary username and password, were distributed via a March 6, 2024 message to the TRIAL mailing list. Nebraska librarians who didn’t receive this information or who would like to have it sent to them again can email Susan Knisely

Note: If you are a Nebraska librarian and you’d like to receive future database trial announcements directly in your email inbox, please make sure you are signed up for the Nebraska Library Commission’s TRIAL mailing list.

This trial runs through April 6, 2024.

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Big Talk From Small Libraries 2024 is tomorrow!

Small libraries! Awesome ideas! FREE!

Join us tomorrow for the 2024 Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference. Registration is still open, so head over to the Registration page and sign up!

We have a full agenda for the day, with speakers from academic and public libraries presenting on a wide variety of topics: fundraising, Memory Cafes, summer reading, accessibility audits, afterschool meals programs, DEIB: diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and much more.

This event is a great opportunity to learn about the innovative things your colleagues are doing in their small libraries.

And, Nebraska library staff and board members can earn 1 hour of CE Credit for each hour of the conference you attend! A special Big Talk From Small Libraries CE Report form has been made available for you to submit your C.E. credits.

So, come join us for a day of big ideas from small libraries!

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Friday Reads: The Indigo Girl

The Indigo Girl, by Natasha Boyd, is an exceptional example of historical fiction, one of my favorite genres. In this incredible story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice, an extraordinary sixteen-year-old girl in Colonial South Carolina defies all expectations to achieve her dream.

“The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family’s three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.

Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it’s the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it’s impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return—against the laws of the day—she will teach the slaves to read.

So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Based on historical documents, including Eliza’s letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.” [Audible]

This book is set between 1739 and 1744, and Natasha Boyd has done extensive research and masterful writing to form the story of a remarkable young woman whose actions were before her time. I listened to the Audible version, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, and highly recommend this story about a little known piece of American history: the story of The Indigo Girl.

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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 and December, 2023.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Nebraska Crime Commission, 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 as 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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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).  Every two months we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in November and December, 2023:

Great Plains Forts, by Jay H. Buckley and Jeffery D. Nokes; Series: Discover the Great Plains

Great Plains Forts introduces readers to the fortifications that have impacted the lives of Indigenous peoples, fur trappers and traders, travelers, and military personnel on the Great Plains and prairies from precontact times to the present. Using stories to introduce patterns in fortification construction and use, Jay H. Buckley and Jeffery D. Nokes explore the eras of fort-building on the Great Plains from Canada to Texas. Stories about fortifications and fortified cities built by Indigenous peoples reveal the lesser-known history of precontact violence on the plains.

Great Plains Forts includes stories of Spanish presidios and French and British outposts in their respective borderlands. Forts played a crucial role in the international fur trade and served as emporiums along the overland trails and along riverway corridors as Euro-Americans traveled into the American West. Soldiers and families resided in these military outposts, and this military presence in turn affected Indigenous Plains peoples. The appendix includes a reference guide organized by state and province, enabling readers to search easily for specific forts.

Making Space : Neighbors, Officials, and North African Migrants in the Suburbs of Paris and Lyon, by Melissa K. Byrnes; Series: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization

Since the 2005 urban protests in France, public debate has often centered on questions of how the country has managed its relationship with its North African citizens and residents. In Making Space Melissa K. Byrnes considers how four French suburbs near Paris and Lyon reacted to rapidly growing populations of North Africans, especially Algerians before, during, and after the Algerian War. In particular, Byrnes investigates what motivated local actors such as municipal officials, regional authorities, employers, and others to become involved in debates over migrants’ rights and welfare, and the wide variety of strategies community leaders developed in response to the migrants’ presence. An examination of the ways local policies and attitudes formed and re-formed communities offers a deeper understanding of the decisions that led to the current tensions in French society and questions about France’s ability—and will—to fulfill the promise of liberty, equality, and fraternity for all of its citizens. Byrnes uses local experiences to contradict a version of French migration history that reads the urban unrest of recent years as preordained.

Modern Jewish Theology : the First One Hundred Years, 1835-1935, Edited by Samuel J. Kessler and George Y. Kohler; Series: JPS Anthologies of Jewish Thought

Modern Jewish Theology is the first comprehensive collection of Jewish theological ideas from the pathbreaking nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, featuring selections from more than thirty of the most influential Jewish thinkers of the era as well as explorations of Judaism’s identity, uniqueness, and relevance; the origin of ethical monotheism; and the possibility of Jewish existentialism. These works—most translated for the first time into English by top scholars in modern Jewish history and philosophy—reveal how modern Jewish theology developed in concert with broader trends in Jewish intellectual and social modernization, especially scholarship (Wissenschaft des Judentums), politics (liberalism and Zionism), and religious practice (movement Judaism and the struggles to transcend denominational boundaries).

This anthology thus opens to the English-language reader a true treasure house of source material from the formative years of modern Jewish thought, bringing together writings from the very first generations, who imagined biblical and rabbinic texts and modern scientific research would produce a synthetic view of God, Israel, and the world. A general introduction and chapter introductions guide students and nonspecialists through the key themes and transformations in modern Jewish theology, and extensive annotations immerse them in the latest scholarship.

Reading the Contemporary Author : Narrative, Authority, Fictionality, Edited by Alison Gibbons and Elizabeth King; Series: Frontiers of Narrative

Readers, literary critics, and theorists alike have long demonstrated an abiding fascination with the author, both as a real person—an artist and creator—and as a theoretical concept that shapes the way we read literary works. Whether anonymous, pseudonymous, or trending on social media, authors continue to be an object of critical and readerly interest. Yet theories surrounding authorship have yet to be satisfactorily updated to register the changes wrought on the literary sphere by the advent of the digital age, the recent turn to autofiction, and the current literary climate more generally. In Reading the Contemporary Author the contributors look back on the long history of theorizing the author and offer innovative new approaches for understanding this elusive figure.

Mapping the contours of the vast territory that is contemporary authorship, this collection investigates authorship in the context of narrative genres ranging from memoir and autobiographically informed texts to biofiction and novels featuring novelist narrators and characters. Bringing together the perspectives of leading scholars in narratology, cultural theory, literary criticism, stylistics, comparative literature, and autobiography studies, Reading the Contemporary Author demonstrates that a variety of interdisciplinary viewpoints and critical stances are necessary to capture the multifaceted nature of contemporary authorship.

To Educate American Indians : Selected Writings from the National Educational Association’s Department of Indian Education, 1900-1904, Edited by Larry C. Skogen; Series: Indigenous Education

To Educate American Indians presents the most complete versions of papers presented at the National Educational Association’s Department of Indian Education meetings during a time when the debate about how best to “civilize” Indigenous populations dominated discussions. During this time two philosophies drove the conversation. The first, an Enlightenment era–influenced universalism, held that through an educational alchemy American Indians would become productive, Christianized Americans, distinguishable from their white neighbors only by the color of their skin. Directly confronting the assimilationists’ universalism were the progressive educators who, strongly influenced by the era’s scientific racism, held the notion that American Indians could never become fully assimilated. Despite these differing views, a frightening ethnocentrism and an honor-bound dedication to “gifting” civilization to Native students dominated the writings of educators from the NEA’s Department of Indian Education.

For a decade educators gathered at annual meetings and presented papers on how best to educate Native students. Though the NEA Proceedings published these papers, strict guidelines often meant they were heavily edited before publication. In this volume Larry C. Skogen presents many of these unedited papers and gives them historical context for the years 1900 to 1904.

Wallace Stegner’s Unsettled Country : Ruin, Realism, and Possibility in the American West, Edited by Mark Fiege, Michael J. Lansing, and Leisl Carr Childers

Wallace Stegner is an iconic western writer. His works of fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Angle of Repose and Big Rock Candy Mountain, as well as his nonfiction books and essays introduced the beauty and character of the American West to thousands of readers. Wallace Stegner’s Unsettled Country assesses his life, work, and legacy in light of contemporary issues and crises. Along with Stegner’s achievements, the contributors show how his failures offer equally crucial ways to assess the past, present, and future of the region.

Drawing from history, literature, philosophy, law, geography, and park management, the contributors consider Stegner’s racial liberalism and regional vision, his gendered view of the world, his understandings of conservation and the environment, his personal experience of economic collapse and poverty, his yearning for community, and his abiding attachment to the West. Wallace Stegner’s Unsettled Country is an even-handed reclamation of Stegner’s enduring relevance to anyone concerned about the American West’s uncertain future.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

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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 September and October, 2023.  Included are reports from various Nebraska Legislative Committees, the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board, 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 as 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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NCompass Live: Racial & Gender Bias in Search

Learn how to help your patrons improve their search and online information literacy on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, November 8, at 10am CT.

Many library users believe that when they use a search engine, they are always getting factual, unbiased, and objective results. But search engines and the algorithms that power them are not neutral. This session explores some of the racial and gender biases found in search and looks at how these biases impact search results. By examining the idea of search neutrality, we can gain a better understanding of how human beings influence, for better or worse, the creation and ongoing maintenance of search algorithms. Through examining bias in search, we can help our patrons improve their search and online information literacy.

Presenter: Marcella Fredriksson, Web & Discovery Services Librarian, University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). She received her BA from Boston University in 2002 and her MSLS from Catholic University in 2006. She has been at UNCW since 2016. Her research interests include improving the usability of library websites and the library search experience.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Nov. 15 – Redesigning a Library Website
  • Nov. 22 – Best New Children’s Books of 2023
  • Nov. 29 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Internet Librarian 2023 Highlights
  • Dec. 6 – Using Creativity to Grow & Develop
  • Dec. 13 – Canvaholic
  • Dec. 20 – Summer Reading Program 2024: Adventure Begins at Your Library
  • Jan. 17, 2024 – Auditing Library Websites
  • Jan. 24, 2024 – Best New Teen Reads of 2023

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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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 has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in September and October, 2023:

Almost Somewhere : Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail, by Suzanne Roberts. Series: Outdoor Lives.

Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award in Outdoor Literature

It was 1993, Suzanne Roberts had just finished college, and when her friend suggested they hike California’s John Muir Trail, the adventure sounded like the perfect distraction from a difficult home life and thoughts about the future. But she never imagined that the twenty-eight-day hike would change her life. Part memoir, part nature writing, part travelogue, Almost Somewhere is Roberts’s account of that hike.

John Muir wrote of the Sierra Nevada as a “vast range of light,” and that was exactly what Roberts was looking for. But traveling with two girlfriends, one experienced and unflappable and the other inexperienced and bulimic, she quickly discovered that she needed a new frame of reference. Her story of a month in the backcountry—confronting bears, snowy passes, broken equipment, injuries, and strange men—is as much about finding a woman’s way into outdoor experience as it is about the natural world Roberts so eloquently describes. Candid and funny, and finally, wise, Almost Somewhere not only tells the whimsical coming-of-age story of a young woman ill-prepared for a month in the mountains but also reflects a distinctly feminine view of nature.

This new edition includes an afterword by the author looking back on the ways both she and the John Muir Trail have changed over the past thirty years, as well as book club and classroom discussion questions and photographs from the trip.

The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1887-1888, Volume 2, Edited by Michael Anesko and Greg W. Zacharias, and Katie Sommer. Series: The Complete Letters of Henry James

This second volume of The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1887–1888 contains 182 letters, of which 120 are published for the first time, written from late December 1887 to November 19, 1888. These letters continue to mark Henry James’s ongoing efforts to care for his sister, develop his work, strengthen his professional status, build friendships, engage timely political and economic issues, and maximize his income. James details work on The Aspern PapersThe ReverberatorPartial Portraits, and The Tragic Muse. This volume opens with some of James’s social visits, includes the death of longtime friend Lizzie Boott, and concludes with James on the Continent.

Ecologies of Imperialism in Algeria, by Brock Cutler. Series: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization.

Between 1865 and 1872 widespread death and disease unfolded amid the most severe ecological disaster in modern North African history: a plague of locusts destroyed crops during a disastrous drought that left many Algerians landless and starving. The famine induced migration that concentrated vulnerable people in unsanitary camps where typhus and cholera ran rampant. Before the rains returned and harvests normalized, some eight hundred thousand Algerians had died.

In Ecologies of Imperialism in Algeria Brock Cutler explores how repeated ecosocial divisions across an expansive ecosystem produced modern imperialism in nineteenth-century Algeria. Massive ecological crises—cultural as well as natural—cleaved communities from their homes, individuals from those communities, and society from its typical ecological relations. At the same time, the relentless, albeit slow-moving crises of ongoing settler colonialism and extractive imperial capitalism cleaved Algeria to France in a new way. Ecosocial divisions became apparent in performances of imperial power: officials along the Algerian-Tunisian border compulsively repeated narratives of “transgression” that over decades made the division real; a case of poisoned bread tied settlers in Algiers to Paris; Morocco-Algeria border violence exposed the exceptional nature of imperial sovereignty; a case of vagabondage in Oran evoked colonial gender binaries. In each case, factors in the broader ecosystem were implicated in performances of social division, separating political entities from each other, human from nature, rational from irrational, and women from men. Although these performances take place in the nineteenth-century Maghrib, the process they describe goes beyond those spatial and temporal limits—across the field of modern imperialism to the present day.

Encountering Palestine : Un/Making Spaces of Colonial Violence, Edited by Mark Griffiths and Mikko Joronen. Series: Cultural Geographies + Rewriting the Earth.

Encountering Palestine: Un/making Spaces of Colonial Violence, edited by Mark Griffiths and Mikko Joronen, sits at the intersection of cultural and political geographies and offers innovative reflections on power, colonialism, and anti-colonialism in contemporary Palestine and Israel. Organized around the theme of encountering and focusing on the ways violence and struggle are un/made in the encounter between the colonizer and colonized, the essays focus on power relations as they manifest in cultural practices and everyday lives in anti/colonial Palestine.

Covering numerous sites in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel, Encountering Palestine addresses a range of empirical topics—from marriage and queer aesthetics to policing, demolition, armament failure, and violence. The contributors utilize diverse theoretical frameworks, such as hyperreality, settler capitalism, intimate biopolitics, and politics of vulnerability, to help us better understand the cultural making and unmaking of colonial and anti-colonial space in Palestine. Encountering Palestine asks us to rethink how colonialism and power operate in Palestine, the ways Palestinians struggle, and the lifeways that constantly encounter, un/make, and counter the spaces of colonial violence.

Galloping Gourmet : Eating and Drinking With Buffalo Bill, by Steve Friesen.

Galloping Gourmet explores an unfamiliar side of a familiar character in American history, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. In this entertaining narrative Steve Friesen explores the evolving role of eating and drinking in Buffalo Bill’s life (1846–1917). Friesen starts with Buffalo Bill’s culinary roots on the American Plains, eating simple foods such as cornbread, fried “yellow-legged” chicken, and hardtack. Buffalo Bill discovered gourmet dining while leading buffalo-hunting expeditions and scouting. As his fame increased, so did his desire and opportunities for fine dining: his early show business career allowed him to dine at some of the best restaurants in the country.

Friesen examines the creation of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1883, in which Cody introduced his diverse cast of employees to dining that equaled America’s best restaurants. One newspaper reporter observed that “Colonel Cody displays no more care about anything than the proper feeding of horse and man.” Cody opened the first Mexican restaurant east of the Mississippi and introduced American foodways to Europe. Equally comfortable eating around a campfire on the plains or at Delmonico’s in New York City, he also dined with leading celebrities of his day. In the final section Friesen addresses the controversies surrounding Cody’s drinking, his death, and his ongoing culinary legacy. Galloping Gourmet includes an appendix of more than thirty annotated period recipes.

Godfall : a Novel, by Van Jensen. Series: Flyover Fiction.

When a massive asteroid hurtles toward Earth, humanity braces for annihilation—but the end doesn’t come. In fact, it isn’t an asteroid but a three-mile-tall alien that drops down, seemingly dead, outside Little Springs, Nebraska. Dubbed “the giant,” its arrival transforms the red-state farm town into a top-secret government research site and major metropolitan area, flooded with soldiers, scientists, bureaucrats, spies, criminals, conspiracy theorists—and a murderer.

As the sheriff of Little Springs, David Blunt thought he’d be keeping the peace among the same people he’d known all his life, not breaking up chanting crowds of conspiracy theorists in tiger masks or struggling to control a town hall meeting about the construction of a mosque. As a series of brutal, bizarre murders strikes close to home, Blunt throws himself into the hunt for a killer who seems connected to the Giant. With bodies piling up and tensions in Little Springs mounting, he realizes that in order to find the answers he needs, he must first reconcile his old worldview with the town he now lives in—before it’s too late.

The Grapes of Conquest : Race, Labor, and the Industrialization of California Wine, 1769-1920, by Julia Ornelas-Higdon. Series: At Table.

California’s wine country conjures images of pastoral vineyards and cellars lined with oak barrels. As a mainstay of the state’s economy, California wines occupy the popular imagination like never before and drive tourism in famous viticultural regions across the state. Scholars know remarkably little, however, about the history of the wine industry and the diverse groups who built it. In fact, contemporary stereotypes belie how the state’s commercial wine industry was born amid social turmoil and racialized violence in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century California.

In The Grapes of Conquest Julia Ornelas-Higdon addresses these gaps in the historical narrative and popular imagination. Beginning with the industry’s inception at the California missions, Ornelas-Higdon examines the evolution of wine growing across three distinct political regimes—Spanish, Mexican, and American—through the industry’s demise after Prohibition. This interethnic study of race and labor in California examines how California Natives, Mexican Californios, Chinese immigrants, and Euro-Americans came together to build the industry. Ornelas-Higdon identifies the birth of the wine industry as a significant missing piece of California history—one that reshapes scholars’ understandings of how conquest played out, how race and citizenship were constructed, and how agribusiness emerged across the region. The Grapes of Conquest unearths the working-class, multiracial roots of the California wine industry, challenging its contemporary identity as the purview of elite populations.

The Incarceration of Native American Women : Creating Pathways to Wellness and Recovery Through Gentle Action Theory, by Carma Corcoran. Series: New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies.

In The Incarceration of Native American Women, Carma Corcoran examines the rising number of Native American women being incarcerated in Indian Country. With years of experience as a case management officer, law professor, consultant to tribal defenders’ offices, and workshop leader in prisons, she believes this upward trajectory of incarceration continues largely unacknowledged and untended. She explores how a combination of F. David Peat’s gentle action theory and the Native traditional ways of knowing and being could heal Native American women who are or have been incarcerated.

Colonization and the historical trauma of Native American incarceration runs through history, spanning multiple generations and including colonial wartime imprisonment, captivity, Indian removal, and boarding schools. The ongoing ills of childhood abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and drug and alcohol addiction and the rising number of suicides are indicators that Native people need healing. Based on her research and work with Native women in prisons, Corcoran provides a theory of wellness and recovery that creates a pathway for meaningful change. The Incarceration of Native American Women offers students, academics, social workers, counselors, and those in the criminal justice system a new method of approach and application while providing a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical experiences of Native Americans in relation to criminology.

Nebraska Volleyball : the Origin Story, by John Mabry.

When Title IX was enacted in 1972, the University of Nebraska volleyball program, like many across the country, received a fraction of the funding and attention given to the school’s mighty football program. The players had to organize a run from Lincoln to Omaha to raise money for uniforms. The women were asked to wait their turn to use the weight room. Today the Nebraska women’s volleyball team is one of the sport’s most decorated programs—with more career wins than any other program and five NCAA National Championships—and draws standing-room-only crowds at home games in the 8,000-seat Devaney Center.

Nebraska Volleyball is the first book to recount how volleyball took hold at Nebraska, through Pat Sullivan, the team’s first coach; through such early figures as Cathy Noth, a decorated player and later an assistant coach into the 1990s; through Terry Pettit, who coached the team for twenty-three seasons and led it to its first National Championship in 1995; and through John Cook, who took over as head coach in 2000. John Mabry highlights the small Nebraska towns that have sent some of the best players to the program and helped build statewide support for the team. Public television helped too, with its power to broadcast games early on and thus build a following across the state.

The success of Nebraska’s volleyball program is one of the greatest stories in sports. As Karch Kiraly, head coach for the U.S. National Women’s Volleyball Team, said: “If you want to learn about women’s college volleyball, your first stop has to be Lincoln, Nebraska.”

Of Love and War : Pacific Brides of World War II, by Angela Wanhalla. Series: Studies in Pacific Worlds.

Between 1942 and 1945 more than two million servicemen occupied the southern Pacific theater, the majority of whom were Americans in service with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. During the occupation, American servicemen married approximately 1,800 women from New Zealand and the island Pacific, creating legal bonds through marriage and through children. Additionally, American servicemen fathered an estimated four thousand nonmarital children with Indigenous women in the South Pacific Command Area.

In Of Love and War Angela Wanhalla details the intimate relationships forged during wartime between women and U.S. servicemen stationed in the South Pacific, traces the fate of wartime marriages, and addresses consequences for the women and children left behind. Paying particular attention to the experiences of women in New Zealand and in the island Pacific—including Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and the Cook Islands—Of Love and War aims to illuminate the impact of global war on these women, their families, and Pacific societies. Wanhalla argues that Pacific war brides are an important though largely neglected cohort whose experiences of U.S. military occupation expand our understanding of global war. By examining the effects of American law on the marital opportunities of couples, their ability to reunite in the immediate postwar years, and the citizenship status of any children born of wartime relationships, Wanhalla makes a significant contribution to a flourishing scholarship concerned with the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, and militarization in the World War II era.

Rise Up! : Indigenous Music in North America, by Craig Harris.

Music historian Craig Harris explores more than five hundred years of Indigenous history, religion, and cultural evolution in Rise Up! Indigenous Music in North America. More than powwow drums and wooden flutes, Indigenous music intersects with rock, blues, jazz, folk music, reggae, hip-hop, classical music, and more. Combining deep research with personal stories by nearly four dozen award-winning Indigenous musicians, Harris offers an eye-opening look at the growth of Indigenous music.

Among a host of North America’s most vital Indigenous musicians, the biographical narratives include new and well-established figures such as Mildred Bailey, Louis W. Ballard, Cody Blackbird, Donna Coane (Spirit of Thunderheart), Theresa “Bear” Fox, Robbie Robertson, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joanne Shenandoah, DJ Shub (Dan General), Maria Tallchief, John Trudell, and Fawn Wood.

Settler Aesthetics : Visualizing the Spectacle of Originary Moments in The New World, by Mishuana Goeman. Series: Indigenous Films.

In Settler Aesthetics, an analysis of renowned director Terrence Malick’s 2005 film, The New World, Mishuana Goeman examines the continuity of imperialist exceptionalism and settler-colonial aesthetics. The story of Pocahontas has thrived for centuries as a cover for settler-colonial erasure, destruction, and violence against Native peoples, and Native women in particular. Since the romanticized story of the encounter and relationship between Pocahontas and Captain John Smith was first published, it has imprinted a whitewashed historical memory into the minds of Americans.

As one of the most enduring tropes of imperialist nostalgia in world history, Renaissance European invasions of Indigenous lands by settlers trades in a falsified “civilizational discourse” that has been a focus in literature for centuries and in films since their inception. Ironically, Malick himself was a symbol of the New Hollywood in his early career, but with The New World he created a film that serves as a buttress for racial capitalism in the Americas. Focusing on settler structures, the setup of regimes of power, sexual violence and the gendering of colonialism, and the sustainability of colonialism and empires, Goeman masterfully peels away the visual layers of settler logics in The New World, creating a language in Native American and Indigenous studies for interpreting visual media.

The Sonoran Dynasty in Mexico : Revolution, Reform, and Repression, by Jürgen Buchenau. Series: Confluencias.

Two generals from the northwestern state of Sonora, Álvaro Obregón and Plutarco Elías Calles, dominated Mexico between 1920 and 1934, having risen to prominence in the course of the Mexican Revolution. Torn between popular demands for ending the privileges of wealthy foreign investors and opposition by a hawkish U.S. administration and enemies at home, the two generals and their allies from their home state mixed radical rhetoric with the accommodation of entrenched interests.

In The Sonoran Dynasty in Mexico Jürgen Buchenau tells the story of this ruling group, which rejected the Indigenous and Catholic past during the decades of the revolution and aimed to reinvent Mexico along the lines of the modern and secular societies in western Europe and the United States. In addition to Obregón and Calles, the Sonoran Dynasty included Adolfo de la Huerta and Abelardo L. Rodríguez, four Sonorans among six presidents in less than two decades. Although the group began with the common aims of nationalism, modernization, central political control, and enrichment, Buchenau argues that this group progressively fell apart in a series of bloody conflicts that reflected broader economic, political, and social disagreements. By analyzing the dynasty from its origins through its eventual downfall, Buchenau presents an innovative look at the negotiation of power and state formation in revolutionary Mexico.

Ted Kooser : More Than a Local Wonder, by Carla Ketner, illustrated by Paula Wallace.

Long before Ted Kooser won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, served as the U.S. Poet Laureate, and wrote award-winning books for children, he was an unathletic child growing up in Iowa, yearning to fit in. Young Teddy found solace in stories, and one specific book, Robert McCloskey’s Lentil, inspired him to become a writer. As a child and later, while working in the insurance industry, Ted honed his craft and unique style as he wrote about the people and places of the rural Midwest. Ted Kooser: More Than a Local Wonder celebrates the power of stories and of finding oneself through words.

Washington State Politics and Government, by T.M. Sell. Series: Politics and Governments of the American States.

In the twenty-first century, as many candidates actively campaign against the very government they seek to serve in, and as many people appear to believe their government irreparably broken, T. M. Sell argues that in Washington State, the system works better than most realize. In Washington State Politics and Government Sell explains how the many parts of government function and introduces readers to a diverse array of individuals who work in government, including how they got there and what it is they’re trying to do. Sell covers the three branches of state government, plus county, city, special purpose district, and tribal governments. He explains the state budgets and taxes; the functions of major and better-known state agencies; how policy is made; the political landscape of Washington; and parties, voting, and elections.

Sell discusses economic development, including the importance of high-tech industry, aviation, Amazon.com, and more traditional parts of the state economy, such as timber and agriculture. He also provides a contemporary look at Washington’s elected officials, constitution, judiciary, media, demographics, and political culture and landscape. With this volume, any Washington citizen, student of politics, or specialist in government can gain insight into the state’s current political system.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

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Happy Birthday Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse!

July 2023 marked the 51st anniversary of Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse operations!

Prior to 1972 there was no comprehensive program in the state for collecting and preserving Nebraska government publications. In 1971 the Nebraska Library Commission began surveying other states and Nebraska libraries to find out how such a program should work and drafting proposed legislation to give the program legal authority. In January 1972 LB 1284 was introduced in the Nebraska Legislature, passed and signed by the Governor in March establishing the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse. The program was launched in July of that year.

State Depository Program
“There is hereby created, as a division of the Nebraska Library Commission, a Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse. The clearinghouse shall establish and operate a publications collection and depository system for the use of Nebraska citizens” The original legislation has been amended several times to exclude Junior Colleges and reduce the number of mandatory copies that agencies must send, but the basic operation of the program remains the same.

Federal Depository Program
The legislation also directed the Library Commission to provide access to federal publications. “The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse shall provide access to local, state, federal and other governmental publications to state agencies and legislators and through interlibrary loan service to citizens of the state.” The Commission began participating in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) in 1972. It served as Nebraska’s Regional Federal Depository until 1984, when Love Library at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln became the Regional. The Commission is now a selective depository and has reduced its selections to about 2% of the publications offered through the program.

How Publications are Collected

Agencies are currently defined as “every state office, officer, department, division, bureau, board, commission, and agency of the state and, when applicable, all subdivisions of each, including state institutions of higher education defined as all state-supported colleges and universities”

The first challenge facing the new Clearinghouse service was creating a comprehensive list of these agencies. The next challenge was getting them to send their publications. Unlike some other states, Nebraska does not use a central printing agency that could make extra copies for the documents program. A network of contact persons is used instead.

“Every state agency head or his or her appointed records officer shall notify the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse of his or her identity.” Every few years the Library Commission sends agency directors letters with a form for designating an agency contact person. The contacts are sent a packet of information about the Clearinghouse service.

In the early years of the program agencies supplied more copies to the Clearinghouse than they do now and both the statutorily designated recipients and the contract depositories received paper publications. Space restrictions at the depositories, cost limitations for the agencies, and a desire to preserve publications in a long-lasting format resulted in a reduction in the number of paper copies normally required from each agency.

The current statute reads “The records officer shall upon release of a state publication deposit four copies and a short summary, including author, title, and subject, of each of its state publications with the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse for record purposes…. Additional copies, including sale items, shall also be deposited in the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse in quantities certified to the agencies by the clearinghouse as required to meet the needs of the Nebraska publications depository system, with the exception that the University of Nebraska Press shall only be required to deposit four copies of its publications.”

One copy is kept at the Library Commission and copies are forwarded to the Historical Society and Library of Congress. Until the spring of 2005 microfiche copies were produced from the fourth copy and distributed to Nebraska depositories.

State Agency Responsibilities

Processing and Cataloging

Once the list of agencies was compiled in 1972 a classification system based on agency names (NEDOCS) was created and the first Guide to State Agencies was published. The Guide lists agencies with their five digit alpha-numeric code and traces agency creation, mergers, discontinuance, and classification number changes. Originally a print publication reissued every few years, the Guide is now continuously updated online.

The Statute states that “The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse shall publish and distribute regularly to contracting depository libraries, other libraries, state agencies and legislators, an official list of state publications with an annual cumulation. The official list shall provide a record of each agency’s publishing and show author, agency, title and subject approaches.”From 1972 until 1991 The Nebraska State Publications Checklist was produced. The Checklist included abstracts with a title, subject and agency index. It was issued on microfiche several times a year with an annual cumulation. In 1992 the Checklist was discontinued and publications began receiving full OCLC cataloging. Nebraska publications now are listed in the WorldCat, the OCLC database of catalog records contributed by its member libraries worldwide. The WorldCat can be searched without cost by any Nebraska citizen from NebraskAccess with a driver’s license number or password obtained from their local library. Older records from the Checklist can also be searched using the Library Commission catalog. Publications received are listed in What’s Up Doc and compiled into an annual publication. 

The Depository Program

Contrary to what the word “clearinghouse” might make one think, the Library Commission is not a warehouse distributing giveaway or sale copies of Nebraska publications. The Commission is in fact prohibited by law from doing that. At first copies were forwarded to the Nebraska State Historical Society, Library of Congress, and Center for Research Libraries. This was amended later to exclude the Center for Research Libraries.

The legislation also authorized the Library Commission to “enter into depository contracts with any municipal or county public library, state college or state university library, and out-of-state research libraries. The requirements for eligibility to contract as a depository library shall be established by the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse. The standards shall include and take into consideration the type of library, ability to preserve such publications and to make them available for public use, and also such geographical locations as will make the publications conveniently accessible to residents in all areas of the state.”

By 1975 contracts had been signed with six institutions willing to serve as depositories. More depositories were added over the years, bringing the total since 1990 to 13 plus the Nebraska State Historical Society.
Depository Library Responsibilities

Making Government Information Accessible

Internet technology has created an opportunity to greatly improve public access to government information. Most state agencies now post key publications to their web sites, and much legislative information is available online. The Library Commission was already making extensive use of the Internet to direct users to Nebraska government information, and had created special web sites such as Nebraska State Government Publications Online and Nebraska Legislators, Past and Present.

In 2005 breakdown of the microfiche camera at the state Records Management Division led to a decision to discontinue fiche production and redirect the program toward providing online access to the same high-priority documents that were formerly sent to depositories on microfiche. They are downloaded or scanned, archived on a Library Commission server, and searchable via Nebraska State Government Publications Online and the NLC catalog. Instead of microfiche, depositories receive regular alerts via What’s Up Doc blog postings which include stable urls that can be used in library catalog records.

The Library Commission partners with the Official State of Nebraska Web Site to offer an “Ask a Librarian” link citizens can use to email, or telephone our reference desk. Many government information links are provided from our NebraskAccess site.

Resources for Government Information

Formats and distribution methods may change, but the Publications Clearinghouse will continue to use new technology and strategies for making government information accessible to Nebraskans.

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Friday Reads: The Brothers Hawthorne, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

After Holli Duggan wrote a Friday Reads post about it, I listened to the Inheritance Games trilogy last year–and loved it! So when a fourth book in this YA series was released this summer, I had to listen to that as well, and it did not disappoint. A 5th book, The Grandest Game, is due out in July 2024.

Four brothers. Two missions. One explosive read. And the stakes have never been higher.  
 
Grayson Hawthorne was raised as the heir apparent to his billionaire grandfather, taught from the cradle to put family first. Now the great Tobias Hawthorne is dead and his family disinherited, but some lessons linger. When Grayson’s half-sisters find themselves in trouble, he swoops in to do what he does best: take care of the problem—efficiently, effectively, mercilessly. And without getting bogged down in emotional entanglements.
 
Jameson Hawthorne is a risk-taker, a sensation-seeker, a player of games. When his mysterious father appears and asks for a favor, Jameson can’t resist the challenge. Now he must infiltrate London’s most exclusive underground gambling club, which caters to the rich, the powerful, and the aristocratic, and win an impossible game of greatest stakes. Luckily, Jameson Hawthorne lives for impossible.
 
Drawn into twisted games on opposite sides of the globe, Grayson and Jameson—with the help of their brothers and the girl who inherited their grandfather’s fortune—must dig deep to decide who they want to be and what each of them will sacrifice to win.

** Synopsis courtesy of Audible.

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Take the Nebraska Digital Access and Skills Survey

CONTACT: Ezra Effrein at ezra.effrein@nebraska.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Take the Nebraska Digital Access and Skills Survey

September 14, 2023 (Lincoln, Neb.)

How satisfied are you with the quality of your home internet connection? Does your household have enough computer devices available? How confident are you in your internet skills? The State of Nebraska would like to know.

The State of Nebraska Digital Opportunities team will be hosting an online survey at https://go.unl.edu/nedigitalequity to gather this data from Nebraskan households. The survey will allow Nebraskans to indicate how many computer devices (laptops, smartphones, or tablets) they have in their home, the quality of their broadband service, their ability to use the internet, and more. The survey must be completed by September 27, 2023.

“I would like to encourage Nebraskans to participate in the survey and help the State of Nebraska better understand and address the digital needs of residents,” said Ed Toner, CIO for the State of Nebraska. “Having access to the internet and appropriate devices, as well as having the digital skills necessary to use these technologies, is becoming necessary to access healthcare, financial services, education, and other necessities.”

The survey, conducted by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, is a component of the State of Nebraska’s State Digital Opportunities Plan being developed by the Office of the Chief Information Officer in conjunction with the Nebraska Broadband Office’s broadband planning efforts. The development of the State Digital Opportunities Plan is funded through a grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

“Collecting this data is really the foundation of beginning to understand, prioritize, and formulating solutions to the most important digital needs and skills of Nebraskans,” said Patrick Haggerty, Director, Broadband Office, Nebraska Department of Transportation. “Thank you to the Nebraska Digital Opportunities team and the University of Nebraska for supporting this very important work.”

To learn more about the Nebraska State Digital Opportunities Plan, please visit nitc.nebraska.gov or broadband.nebraska.gov.

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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 July and August, 2023.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Administrative Services, Nebraska Colleges & Universities, the Nebraska Board of Examiners, the Nebraska Department of Labor, 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 as 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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Call for Speakers: Big Talk From Small Libraries 2024

The Call for Speakers for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2024 is now open!

Submit your proposal by Friday, December 15, 2023.

This free one-day online conference is tailored for staff from small libraries; the smaller the better!

Small libraries of all types – public, academic, school, museum, special, etc. – are encouraged to submit a proposal. We’re looking for seven 50-minute presentations and four 10-minute “lightning round” presentations.

Do you offer a service or program at your small library that other librarians might like to hear about? Have you implemented a new (or old) technology, hosted an event, partnered with others in your community, or just done something really cool? The Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference gives you the opportunity to share what you’ve done, while learning what your colleagues in other small libraries are doing.

Here are some possible topics to get you thinking:

  • Unique Libraries
  • Special Collections
  • New buildings
  • Fundraising
  • Improved Workflows
  • Staff Development
  • Advocacy Efforts
  • Community Partnerships
  • That great thing you’re doing at your library!

Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered. Speakers must be from small libraries or directly partnered with a small library and submitting a proposal to co-present with the library.

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2024 will be held on Friday, February 23, 2024 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Speakers will present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

This conference is sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) and the Nebraska Library Commission.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

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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 has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in July and August, 2023:

Bad Subjects : Libertine Lives in the French Atlantic, 1619-1815, by Jennifer J. Davis. Series: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization

In a lively account that spans continents, Jennifer J. Davis considers what it meant to be called a libertine in early modern France and its colonies. Libertinage was a polysemous term in early modern Europe and the Atlantic World, generally translated as “debauchery” or “licentiousness” in English. Davis assesses the changing fortunes of the quasi-criminal category of libertinage in the French Atlantic, based on hundreds of cases drawn from the police and judicial archives of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France and its Atlantic colonies alongside the literature inspired by those proceedings.

The libertine life was not merely a subject for fiction nor a topos against which to play out potential revolutions. It was a charge authorities imposed on a startlingly wide array of behaviors, including gambling, selling alcohol to Native Americans, and secret marriages. Once invoked by family and state authorities, the charge proved nearly impossible for the accused to contest, for a libertine need not have committed any crimes to be perceived as disregarding authority and thereby threatening families and social institutions. The research in Bad Subjects provides a framework for analysis of libertinage as a set of anti-authoritarian practices and discourses that circulated among the peoples of France and the Atlantic World, ultimately providing a compelling blueprint for alternative social and economic order in the Revolutionary period.

Butterfly Nebula, by Laura Reece Hogan. Series: The Backwaters Prize in Poetry

Winner of the Backwaters Prize in Poetry, Butterfly Nebula reaches from the depths of the sea to the edges of space to chart intersections of the physical universe, the divine, the human, and the constantly unfolding experience of being “one thing in the act of becoming another.” This collection of poems teems with creatures and cosmic phenomena that vivify and reveal our common struggle toward faith and identity. The longing and metamorphosis of the human heart and soul are reimagined in an otherworldly landscape of firework jellyfish, sea slug, stingray, praying mantis, butterfly and moth, moon and star, and celestial events ranging from dark matter and Kepler’s Supernova remnant to a dozen classified nebulae. Our desire for purpose and renewal collides with the vast constellation of divine possibility in this collection, which invites the reader to enter a transformative world both deeply interior and embracing of the far-flung cosmos.

Fictionality and Multimodal Narratives, Edited by Torsa Ghosal and Alison Gibbons. Series: Frontiers of Narrative

Fictionality and Multimodal Narratives interrogates the multimodal relationship between fictionality and factuality. The contemporary discussion about fictionality coincides with an increase in anxiety regarding the categories of fact and fiction in popular culture and global media. Today’s media-saturated historical moment and political climate give a sense of urgency to the concept of fictionality, distinct from fiction, specifically in relation to modes and media of discourse.

Torsa Ghosal and Alison Gibbons explicitly interrogate the relationship of fictionality with multimodal strategies of narrative construction in the present media ecology. Contributors consider the ways narrative structures, their reception, and their theoretical frameworks in narratology are influenced and changed by media composition—particularly new media. By accounting for the relationship of multimodal composition with the ontological complexity of narrative worlds, Fictionality and Multimodal Narratives fills a critical gap in contemporary narratology—the discipline that has, to date, contributed most to the conceptualization of fictionality.

The Gathering of Bastards, by Romeo Oriogun. Series: African Poetry Book

Like I knew, standing
on the seashore, the hunger
wracking a migrant’s body
is movement.
—from Romeo Oriogun’s “Migrant by the Sea”

The Gathering of Bastards chronicles the movement of migrants as they navigate borders both internal and external. At the heart of these poems of vulnerability and sharp intelligence, the poet himself is the perpetual migrant embarked on forced journeys that take him across nations in West and North Africa, through Europe, and through American cities as he navigates the challenges of living through terror and loss and wrestles with the meaning of home.

The JPS Bible Commentary : Psalms 120-150, The Traditional Hebrew Text with the JPS Translation, Commentary by Adele Berlin. Series: JPS Bible Commentary

The Jewish Publication Society’s highly acclaimed Bible Commentary series provides the Hebrew text of the Bible, the JPS English translation, and a line-by-line commentary. This volume presents commentary on Psalms 120–150, based on the most recent research on the language of the Bible, its literary forms, and the historical context that may have given rise to the psalms. The commentary pays special attention to the message of each psalm and to how the poetry shapes the message. At the same time, it draws on traditional Jewish interpretations of the meaning of the psalms.

¡Vino! : The History and Identity of Spanish Wine, by Karl J. Trybus. Series: At Table

¡Vino! explores the history and identity of Spanish wine production from the mid-nineteenth century to today. Nineteenth-century infestations of oidium fungus and phylloxera aphids devastated French and Italian vineyards but didn’t extend to the Iberian Peninsula at first, giving Spanish vintners the opportunity to increase their international sales. Once French and Italian wineries rebounded, however, Spanish wine producers had to up their game. Spain could not produce only table wine; it needed a quality product to compete with the supposedly superior French wines. After the Spanish Civil War the totalitarian Franco regime turned its attention to Spain’s devastated agricultural sector, but the country’s wine industry did not rebound until well after World War II. In the postwar years, it rebranded itself to compete in a more integrated European and international marketplace with the creation of a new wine identity. As European integration continued, Spanish wine producers and the tourism industry worked together to promote the uniqueness of Spain and the quality of its wines.

Karl J. Trybus explores the development of Spanish wine in the context of national and global events, tracing how the wine industry has fared and ultimately prospered despite civil war, regional concerns, foreign problems, and changing tastes.

The Women Who Built Omaha : a Bold and Remarkable History, by Eileen Wirth.

During the 1930s the Federal Writers’ Project described Omaha as a “man’s town,” and histories of the city have all but ignored women. However, women have played major roles in education, health, culture, social services, and other fields since the city’s founding in 1854. In The Women Who Built Omaha Eileen Wirth tells the stories of groundbreaking women who built Omaha, including Susette “Bright Eyes” LaFlesche, who translated at the trial of Chief Standing Bear; Mildred Brown, an African American newspaper publisher; Sarah Joslyn, who personally paid for Joslyn Art Museum; Mrs. B of Nebraska Furniture Mart; and the Sisters of Mercy, who started Omaha’s Catholic schools. Omaha women have been champion athletes and suffragists as well as madams and bootleggers. They transformed the city’s parks, co-founded Creighton University, helped run Boys Town, and so much more, in ways that continue today.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

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The Veterans Health Library: Helping Veterans Stay Well and Well-Informed

What is the Veterans Health Library?

The Veterans Health Library (VHL) is coordinated by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. The VHL is a comprehensive online health resource provided to assist Veterans, their families, and caregivers understand and maintain their best health no matter where they receive care. It features timely health topics and provides a list of Veteran Resources based on the most-frequently searched topics. Health information on the website is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains evidence-based, up-to-date, and relevant to the needs of Veterans. With more than 1.6 million page views per year, the VHL is a popular resource for health information that empowers Veterans to better understand their health, their healthcare, and their options.

How does one access the Veterans Health Library? Who can use it?

The Veterans Health Library is a free-of charge platform available to anyone with an internet connection and its contents can be used by anyone regardless of where they receive their care. There is no required sign-up or login for the Veterans Health Library and users can access health information from the site at any time. Users may simply go to https://www.veteranshealthlibrary.va.gov.

VHL content is crafted to aid its users to better understand and manage their own healthcare. Many VHL resources link to uniquely Veteran-focused information, benefits, and programs that help inform Veterans, their families, and caregivers. The VHL can also be accessed by Veterans through MyHealtheVet, an online portal for Veterans receiving healthcare through VA. MyHealtheVet serves to help Veterans manage their prescriptions, appointments, secure messages with medical staff, and their health records.

What health content is available?

The Veterans Health Library hosts health information and resources, written using plain language, health literacy, and accessibility principles, with many materials in both English and Spanish. This includes over 1,600 health information sheets and 6,000 medication information sheets, all in an easy to print format. The VHL offers a catalogue of over 250 health videos across 15 categories such as Cancer (18 videos), Diabetes (15), Medications (19), Pregnancy and Women’s Health (18), and others. It contains in-depth Online Guides on topics such as cardiology, dental, eye and vision care, general health, and orthopedics.  Interactive Go-to Guides include text, videos, printable action plans, quizzes and more to help Veterans better manage their chronic conditions such as asthma, chronic heart disease, diabetes, heart failure, lung disease, and stroke recovery and prevention. Additional Decision Aid Tools help Veterans to better understand treatment options, share results with their healthcare team, and work with them in developing a personalized treatment plan. The Decision Aid Tools assist Veterans in talking with their providers about their own personal health decisions around colorectal cancer screenings, diabetes care, and both flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.

How do users navigate the Veterans Health Library?

The VHL provides a four-minute video tour to help users understand how to get the most out of the VHL and find what they need. The web tour is fully transcribed and designed to help users learn the website and how to share it with Veterans and others.

There are several ways for Veterans, their families, and caregivers to quickly and easily find the health information they need on the website. There is a main search box that provides a keyword search across all content categories and formats. Below the search box there is an alphabetical browse of the Health Encyclopedia articles. Each article includes a side-bar full of links to related content and VA resources relevant to the health topic within the article.

The Veterans Health Library provides browsable clusters of curated content that serve users who wish to explore additional health information through the tabs on Living WellDiseases & ConditionsTests & TreatmentsMedicationsRehabilitationMental HealthLiving With… [chronic conditions], and Additional Resources. Each of those categories are broken down into sub-categories that range from a few to a few dozen related resources. This curated approach leads users to dozens of related resources within the VHL as well as resources and benefits available through other VA programs, so Veterans and users can find the information they need.

When should I suggest the Veterans Health Library to a Veteran or other user?

The VHL offers resources to help Veterans better understand and take an active role in their health care. Share the VHL with Veterans, their family members, and caregivers as a tool they can use to better understand and manage their own health. Specific resources may be beneficial with certain health situations such as:

  • Instructional graphics to help Veterans understand how to take their medicines.
  • Tracking diaries to support self-care and self-management of health conditions.
  • Online guides to help prepare for surgical procedures.
  • Preventive screening information to stay up to date with recommended tests.
  • Health sheets to educate family members and caregivers on Veteran health issues.

By recommending the VHL to Veterans and those close to them, you can help empower them to take charge in pursuit of their best health.

How can I learn more?

The Veterans Health Library provides an overview of its contents and functions and has a list of frequently asked questions. You can also contact the My HealtheVet Help Desk via the online form or by calling 1-877-327-0022. The Help Desk is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 am – 8 pm EST. You can provide feedback through the user survey linked on every page. Together, librarians can help ensure that Veterans are well and well-informed.

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Just for Kids Streaming Video Database Trial (through 9/28/23)

Infobase is offering Nebraska public libraries trial access to their Just for Kids streaming video collection through September 28, 2023.

Infobase’s Just for Kids streaming video collection for the public library market offers a thoroughly kid-safe, advertisement-free media platform where children can freely explore and enjoy! Just for Kids has educational videos children want to watch–Weston Woods, Sesame Street, The Electric Company, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, The Berenstain Bears, Franklin, and more. Access to songs, games, and other interactives that are sure to entertain, educate, and inspire.

The collection is ideal for librarians hosting a video storytelling hour, activities for early learners as well as after-school or ESL programs. Great resources for homeschoolers that they can access anywhere, anytime.

Unlimited, simultaneous access means ALL patrons can enjoy this entertaining and educational resource.

For more product information, see: https://infobase.com/products/just-for-kids-streaming-collection/

Trial Dates: August 28, 2023 through September 28, 2023

Trial Registration URL: https://freetrial.infobase.com/?promocode=WEBSITE&products=228

When completing the registration form, be sure to select “Public Library” from the “Market Type” menu. This will ensure that the expanded “Select Products to Demo” section of the registration form includes “Access Video On Demand: Just for Kids” under the Streaming Video heading. The “Access Video On Demand: Just for Kids” product should be automatically selected, but if it’s not you can select it by checking the box to its left.

If you have questions about this trial, please contact Susan Knisely.

Note: If you are a Nebraska librarian and you’d like to receive future database trial announcements directly in your email inbox, please make sure you are signed up for the Nebraska Library Commission’s TRIAL mailing list.

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