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Category Archives: Public Library Boards of Trustees
Meet Gabe Kramer who joined the Library Commission staff ten years ago and recently became Talking Book & Braille Service Director. Gabe grew up in Wahoo and graduated from Wahoo High School. He attended UNL earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting and completed his Master’s Degree in Library Science this past December from the University of Missouri. As a kid, Gabe remembers reading all the Goosebumps books and his first Stephen King book in 5th grade. As an adult, Gabe prefers nonfiction and is currently reading John Adams by David McCullough. Gabe estimates for every fiction book he reads, he reads two nonfiction. Stephen King is his favorite author. Gabe’s library also includes a substantial music collection featuring David Bowie, Nirvana, Kanye West, and Radiohead.
Prior to working in libraries, Gabe worked at Dairy Queen, the UNL Parking and Transit Department, and produced the broadcasts for the Lincoln Stars and the Lincoln Saltdogs. Gabe submitted an application for several jobs with the State of Nebraska and received a call to interview for the Library Commission. He does not remember applying specifically for a job at the Library Commission but happily, his application made him a good candidate making Gabe an accidental librarian. When he isn’t busy juggling the many staff shortages his department has been dealt recently, he likes to play basketball and spend time at home with his family listening to music and playing video games.
Gabe is married to Jenny and together they have a 9-year-old daughter, Ella. When I asked Gabe what is the best thing about life in Nebraska, he replied, “Jenny keeps me here.” A perfect day for Gabe is one with lovely weather, no chores, and plenty of time to do whatever he wants. If Gabe won the lottery, travel would be the first priority with the goal of filling all the pages of his passport book with custom stamps. Two trips to Japan to visit his mother’s family has whetted his appetite to see more of the world. Accidental or otherwise, we’re grateful Gabe joined the staff at the Library Commission.
Local, State, and National Library Advocacy: A Grasstop Approach
Monday, June 10, 1 p.m. Eastern
Speakers: Julius Jefferson, 2020-2021 ALA president; Kathi Kromer, associate executive director of ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office; and Skip Dye, 2018-2019 United for Libraries president and vice president of library marketing and digital sales at Penguin Random House.
Library Trustees, advocates, Friends, Foundations, directors, and staff are invited to hear from experts about the difference between grassroot and grasstop advocates, how to identify them in their communities, and how to engage them in their efforts. Attendees will learn how to build key library advocates to cultivate allies and develop constituencies in support of their positions at every level of government.
To register for the webinar, visit www.ala.org/united/advocacywebinar. If you cannot attend the live session, register and you will receive a link to the recording the day after the live session.
Skip Dye is Vice-President of library marketing and digital sales at Penguin Random House and 2018-2019 president of United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, a division of the American Library Association. Dye has been a corporate at large member of the United for Libraries board since 2015. Kathi Kromer is the associate executive director of ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office. ALA’s advocacy and public policy staff work to secure information technology policies that support and encourage efforts of libraries to ensure access to electronic information resources as a means of upholding the public’s right to a free and open information society. Prior to joining ALA, Kromer was vice president of strategy and outreach for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association for 11 years. Julius C. Jefferson Jr., section head of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., was recently elected as the 2020-2021 president of the American Library Association. An active member of ALA for 15 years, Jefferson currently serves on and has been a member of ALA Council since 2011, and most recently completed a three-year term on the ALA Executive Board (2015–2018).
For information about other webinars offered by United for Libraries, visit http://www.ala.org/united/training/webinars.
United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. United for Libraries supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. To join, please visit www.ala.org/united or call (800) 545-2433, ext. 2161.
United for Libraries General Inquiries: 800-545-2433, ext 2161
To reach me directly, call 800-545-2433, ext. 5868 or call 312-280-5868
United for Libraries
The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations
A division of the American Library Association
600 Eagleview Blvd., Suite 300
Exton, PA 19341
The Nebraska Library Commission welcomed Tan Ngo (pronounced Go) in June of 2015 as an accountant. Tan was born in Binh Dinh, Vietnam and immigrated to the United States with her husband sixteen years ago. Even though she had completed three years of teacher education classwork in Vietnam, it wasn’t recognized in the United States so she began again. First she completed a yearlong ESL class and then completed a degree from Southeast Community College in Accounting. She graduated from UNL with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance and just last year, achieved her Master’s Degree from UNL in Professional Accountancy. Tan credits her parents for instilling a value of education in her. In addition, her mother-in-law helped and supported Tan through the years of working, raising a family, attending classes, and completing coursework.
Before working for the Library Commission, and while attending school, Tan held many part time jobs including working as: a banquet server at the Cornhusker Hotel, a waitress at Eastmont Towers, a cafeteria worker at Lincoln Public Schools, an assembly line worker at Molex, and as a cashier at Russ’s Market. These experiences helped propel Tan to complete her education. Tan also worked full time for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services (now State Accounting.) When I asked Tan what she thinks about working at the Library Commission, she says it is a very friendly and a supportive place to work.
As a young girl growing up in Vietnam, libraries were not free and required both membership and borrower fees which were prohibitive to her family. One way she read books was borrowing them from her friends. As an adult committed to spending time with her children, she reads the same books with her daughter and son.
Tan shares her home with her husband Duc, her daughter Vi, her son Khang, and her mother-in-law Tung Le. Duc is the oldest of 12 children and the gathering place for all of the family is Tan’s home, so a full house often totals upwards of 45 people. Husker football is often the focus of family events. Tan is also a Husker Volleyball fan and is fortunate to have a friend with season tickets so she can attend games in person. Life in Nebraska could be warmer but Tan says she likes the lack of traffic and ability to get around easily. Tan and her family returned home for her brother’s wedding this summer, closing a 5 year gap since her last visit. If Tan could have dinner with anyone famous, she easily answered, “I would want to have dinner with my Aunt who is 70 years old and lives in Vietnam. Family is the most important thing to me.”
If Tan didn’t have to work, travel would be her priority. First on her list of destinations would be Alaska to see the aurora borealis. As a young girl, Tan considered being a flight attendant most importantly for the travel benefits. The perfect day for Tan would include staying home with family, sleeping, and watching Vietnamese dubbed movies from Hong Kong. Tan’s exercise of choice is running and currently she and her son are completing a 9 week cardio program together.
One of the most challenging things Tan has achieved is learning English. Tan and her family speak Vietnamese at home and English at work and at school. At work, one of Tan’s accomplishments has been cheerfully teaching Commission employees to use the online payroll system. We are very proud of Tan and are grateful she has chosen to work at the Library Commission.
The Friends of the Ravenna (Nebraska) Library, along with the Friends of the Shelby (Michigan) Area District Library, have been recognized with United for Libraries’ Baker & Taylor Awards for outstanding efforts to support their libraries. Each group receives $1,000 and a plaque from Baker & Taylor to honor their achievements.
The Friends of the Ravenna Library held 19 programs to benefit its community in 2017, many of which contributed to funds raised for the city of Ravenna’s project to build a brand-new library facility. The new facility will be three times the size of the previous one at 7,600 sq. ft., providing ample space for the library’s annual programs and activities.
Given annually since 2000, the Baker & Taylor Awards have recognized more than 45 groups for outstanding efforts to support their library. United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. United for Libraries supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library Trustees, advocates, Friends, and Foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. The Nebraska Library Commission supports membership to United for Libraries for all of the state’s public libraries to ensure that Nebraska library staff, friends, trustees, and foundations can take advantage of services to enhance fund raising, advocacy, and public awareness.
Nebraska libraries are encouraged to use a special website (www.ala.org/united/Nebraska) to access resources, webinars, online training, and publications for Nebraska library trustees, library directors, and library staff at no charge to the participating library.
Meet NLC’s Business Manager, Jerry Breazile
(pronounced Brazil), he joined the Nebraska Library Commission staff as the Business Manager in 2014. Jerry was born in Nebraska City and raised in Auburn, Nebraska. As a young boy, Jerry built his own Newtonian reflector telescope and once thought of majoring in astronomy until he learned there would be a dearth of jobs in that field. After graduating from Auburn High School, Jerry attended one year of college at Peru State and worked at Hinky Dinky to pay for tuition. However, as a newly married person the need to a be a provider outweighed the need for school, so Jerry began working full time at the grocery store and ceased his student life.
After ten years at Hinky Dinky, the union was “busted” and Jerry lost his job. He subsequently went to work driving a forklift at a metal fabrication plant to make ends meet. While Jerry was reconsidering his life choices, his sister-in-law encouraged him to return to school and fund his education using something called “student loans.” He re-enrolled at Peru State College and, during this course of study, worked towards degrees in Economic Development and Business Management; at the time, PSC was one of only three schools in the country that offered a bachelor’s degree in E.D. An influential professor (and retired business developer) named Robert Shively helped Jerry apply for and receive scholarships and introduced him to faculty. In his senior year, Jerry was hired as a Staff Assistant to the V.P. of Administration and Finance for Peru State College.
Jerry graduated with his degrees and was promoted to Assistant to the President under Dr. Robert Burns. He later became the Director of the Nebraska Business Development Center at PSC, helping over 200 companies apply for business loans in the seven years of his tenure. Federal funding for SBA was discontinued so Jerry next worked as Assistant Materiel Manager for Armstrong Cabinets in Auburn.
Jerry left Armstrong after a few months to work a grant funded position as an economic developer at ESU 5 in Beatrice for a year until the funding source ended. During his subsequent six or seven months of unemployment, Jerry wrote two novels and signed with a literary agency in New York; unfortunately, his agent insisted that he reduce his first novel from 200,000 words to 80,000, and Jerry had a snit and ended his contract with the agency. The novels remain on a flash drive, waiting to be properly edited. Jerry eventually found employment at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution and was there for three months as a unit case worker before becoming Business Manager at the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center in Lincoln. During his time at DEC, Jerry received his Master’s Degree in Organizational Management through tuition assistance from the state of Nebraska. Jerry’s next position was at the Nebraska Library Commission.
Jerry has eclectic reading tastes but enjoys the classics and history. He says he wishes he had more time to read fiction. If Jerry were to switch jobs, he would be interested in returning to a career in college administration. If he won the lottery and no longer needed to work, he would travel extensively– first to Ireland. Jerry is married to Teresa and together they have four children: Melissa, Trent, Charlotte, and Nicole. The best things about living in Nebraska are the four seasons, the tradition of firing college football coaches, and the equal distance to both coasts.
Meet Cynthia Nigh who joined The Library Commission staff this past August as a Project Assistant for the Library Innovation Studios Grant. Cynthia was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin where her father worked for Amour Meats and later Dubuque Pack. Every morning he would receive a call with the market prices on the party line early and neighbors on the same party line soon learned what valuable information was being conveyed. Cynthia attended West Delaware Community High School in Manchester, IA and because of an influential Art Teacher named Mr. Renfrow, she applied for and was awarded an Art Scholarship to attend the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Cynthia also attended Hawkeye Technical College for Commercial Art in Waterloo, IA.
As a young girl, Cynthia describes her reading habits as constant. She remembers fondly the number of scholastic books she and her sisters would order. A childhood favorite was Once and Future King by T. H. White. A Course in Miracles is another important book to Cynthia as her copy was given to her by her father. The value of this book for Cynthia is that “it helped me look at the world more peacefully.”
Cynthia says the best thing about working in a library is being amongst the stacks. She describes her own house as a library so close proximity to a collection of books is a comfort. The most challenging thing about this position is learning to operate each machine acquired for the grant; what supplies each machine requires; and writing operating manuals for library staff. Apart from work, Cynthia enjoys working in her garden, cooking, and canning with the bounty from her labor. If she could have dinner with anyone she would like to dine with Oprah but not at Cynthia’s house, in a neutral location.
If she won the lottery and no longer had to work, she might pursue more fully her interest in mycology – the study of mushrooms. She might also enjoy fully implementing a craft studio where she could be creative and perhaps a small business could emerge for selling her projects. Cynthia shares her home with her two sons, Dylan and Paul in addition to two rescue cats named Bonnie and Chloe. Because of her Iowa background, I asked what distinguishes life in Nebraska and she answered, Nebraskans are a little wilder and exhibit more freedom in their choices compared to the tucked in manner of Iowans. A perfect day for Cynthia would be laying around watching movies and binge watching Netflix titles. Welcome to Cynthia!
Nebraska libraries are invited to use the resources and support of United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. The Library Commission supports membership to United for Libraries for all of the state’s public libraries to ensure that Nebraska library staff, friends, trustees, and foundations can take advantage of services to enhance fund raising, advocacy, and public awareness.
Nebraska libraries are encouraged to use a special website (www.ala.org/united/Nebraska) to access resources, webinars, online training, and publications for Nebraska library trustees, library directors, and library staff at no charge to the participating library, including: Trustee Academy Five online courses; Short Takes for Trustees Ten 10-minute training videos; Engaging Today’s Volunteers for Libraries and Friends Webinar series on volunteer recruitment and retention; Friend Your Library Bookmark and Poster Files Free downloadable promotional items; Recorded Webinars Just-in-time webinar training on topics like Troubled Library Boards and Merging Friends and Foundation; Resource Collection Zones Current and archived newsletters, toolkits, electronic publications, special offers, etc. for Library Boards, Friends, and Foundations; and Power Guide for Successful Advocacy A step-by-step guide to developing an advocacy campaign, with examples of talking points, flyers, petitions, etc. at http://www.ala.org/united/powerguide.
Additionally, United for Libraries is accepting applications for the United for Libraries Friend Conference Grant through Jan. 15, 2018. This grant enables one member of a Friends of the Library group at a public library to attend the ALA Annual Conference. First-time Conference attendees, who are active in their public library Friends group, can receive a grant of $850, plus full ALA Annual Conference registration. For more information and to apply, see www.ala.org/united/grants_awards/friends/united.
United for Libraries brings together library voices to speak out on behalf of library services and free public access to information. This national network of enthusiastic library supporters stresses the importance of libraries as the social and intellectual centers of communities and campuses—educating and organizing the strongest voice for libraries: those who use them, raise money for them, and govern them.
For more information see United for Libraries at http://www.ala.org/united/
United for Libraries has made available a free webcast recording on “Celebrating National Friends of Libraries Week: Promoting Your Group and Library.”
Plan now for the 12th annual National Friends of Libraries Week, Oct. 15-21, 2017. This webinar will offer ideas on how to celebrate the week within your group, library, and community. Hear about the 2016 National Friends of Libraries Week Award winners, the Holdrege (NE) Area Friends of the Library and the Friends of the Glendale (Ariz.) Public Library. And learn about the ALA Store’s new customizable “Friend Your Library” products designed specifically for Friends.
View the webcast recording and learn more on the National Friends of Libraries Week website.
United for Libraries Friends group members are also eligible to apply for National Friends of Libraries Week Awards. All Nebraska public libraries are members of United for Libraries through the statewide membership purchased by the Nebraska Library Commission. Two groups will be awarded $250 each in honor of their celebrations during the week.
For information about the award and to submit an application for your group, visit the Awards website.
IMLS Is Accepting Nominations for the 2018 National Medal. Each year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services recognizes outstanding libraries and museums that have made significant contributions to improve the wellbeing of their communities. The winning museums and libraries are presented with the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for community service. This week our #IMLS Program Officer Michele Farrell visited Nebraska and reminded us to encourage Nebraska libraries to apply for this honor. Nebraska Library Commission staff thought of lots of libraries that are providing exemplary programs and services in their communities and we want to encourage all of you to throw your hats into the ring!
IMLS is now accepting nominations for the 2018 awards. Anyone—an employee, a board member, a member of the public, or an elected official—can nominate an institution. To be considered, the institution must complete and return a nomination form by October 2, 2017.
This year, IMLS is particularly interested in museums and libraries with programs that build community cohesion and serve as catalysts for positive community change, including programs that provide services for veterans and military families, at-risk children and families, the un- and under-employed, and youth confronting barriers to STEM-related employment.
All types of nonprofit libraries and library organizations, associations and consortia are eligible, including academic, school, digital, tribal, and special libraries or archives. The ten winning institutions are honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., are spotlighted in the news media and on social media, and are invited to host a two-day visit from StoryCorps to record community member stories. As part of the selection process, approximately thirty finalists are chosen and are featured by IMLS during a six-week social media and press campaign.
Winning the medal elevates an institution’s profile and can positively impact fundraising, programming, and partnership and outreach activities.
Institutions interested in being considered should read the nomination form carefully and contact the designated program contacts with questions.
Program contacts for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:
Museums: Mark Feitl, Program Specialist, 202-653-4635
Libraries: Laura McKenzie, Administrative Specialist, 202-653-4644
You may also submit your question by e-mail: email@example.com
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Jan was born in Corsicana, Texas and is a graduate of Corsicana High School. Jan then attended the University of Houston in London, study abroad program, and was able to travel throughout Europe and Great Britain studying French, Literature, and Architecture. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, she was en route to Peru to become an archaeologist but she opted for marriage and children instead. In 1990 she began working towards her MLS Degree at Texas Woman’s University in Denton while she was expecting her first child. She still has the signed poetry book given to her by one of her first children’s literature professors. She completed her degree in 1993. She found her way to librarianship by applying the same principle that brought her to anthropology, a desire to work in the community with cultural groups; a librarian could offer a great deal to all age groups and sectors.
As a young girl, Jan attended James L. Collins Catholic School in Corsicana which had its own thriving library. She read the Little House books and all the classic children’s titles. One of the first books that captured her heart was Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Her teacher read this book aloud to the class and from that time on, Jan was a captive library user. As a librarian, Jan has read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory many times and has used it for several book club discussions. As an adult reader, she lists the authors Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, and Diana Gabaldon as some of her favorite authors. Because she shares a birthday (June 6th) with Cynthia Rylant, and YA Authors Sara Dessen and V.C. Andrews, those are also favorites. Her favorite genre is historical fiction and will read anything history related regarding London and Europe. Jan describes a perfect day as one that is stormy outside while she reads inside next to a fireplace in a comfortable chair.
Jan has worked in various jobs from the library at Frito Lay to small publics and very large school districts in the states of Texas and Washington. Jan credits her director at Ennis, Texas Independent School District, Kay Weathers, for teaching her the nuts and bolts of librarianship. In 2010, Jan moved back to Texas and was contemplating Law School. She took paralegal courses for 2 years and volunteered for an Immigration and Bankruptcy Attorney at El Centro Community College in Dallas. This got her a position at L.G. Pinkston High School, a school with a Law Magnet Program, and later transferred to Skyline High School with 4,500 students.
How did Jan get to Nebraska? When she was 17 years old, she visited Scottsbluff with Pat Jolliffe, a dashing young pilot from Scottsbluff that she met at age 16, when he had attended flight school in Corsicana where his uncle was an aeronautics instructor. She knew that Scottsbluff was where she wanted to live when she saw the Wildcat Hills. Thirty-two years after their first meeting they reconnected, Jan and Pat were married this past December. She says she knows this is where she was always meant to be. As she says: “this area called my name.” Of course, she misses her family and friends who are still in Texas and also misses the euphemisms, most especially y’all which is properly, all y’all.
When Jan isn’t working in a library she enjoys tennis and is learning to play golf. She has 2 grandchildren and they are a big part of her life. She describes herself as an artsy-crafty person and loves to create photography books because they document history. She enjoys traveling and looks forward to someday returning to that Edwardian era home that doubled as her college/dorm in Maida Vale, west London.
Jan says the best thing about working in in a library is the relationships that you make with the people, not just the ones you work with but also with the patrons you serve. It can be babies through the older generation, and when you make connections, they’re for life. When you work in a library it’s always a new day, no two days are the same. It’s amazing you get paid to do this, it’s not a real job, it’s more of a lifestyle, it’s who you are. Welcome to Nebraska Jan!
We are reintroducing our staff member Christa Porter, who changed both her name and her job title since joining the Library Commission staff in 2000.
Last September, Christa (Burns) married John Porter and effective April 4th, Christa also will become the new Director of Library Development. So many congratulations are in order. Christa was born in Albany, New York. She earned her BA in English with a Specialty in Literature and Irish Folklore, from SUNY Binghamton and her MLS from SUNY Albany. As a young girl, her dad would take Christa and her sister Sarah to the Saratoga Springs Public Library every Saturday and she read her way through the Black Beauty and Narnia Series as well as many other science fiction and fantasy novels. She found her way to a career in libraries in a rather serendipitous route as her dad found a work study position for her where he worked at SUNY Central Administration in Albany – specifically the OCLC offices of Nylink. This led her to enroll in Library School where she was fortunate to be assigned Bill Katz as her work study professor who was a helpful and considerable influence on her career.
Christa’s job at Nylink would prove an interesting segue for her first position at the Library Commission as NEBASE Member Services Coordinator. Most recently her role as Library Development Consultant involved speaking to many of you about E-rate among other topics. Christa is also the host of the Commission’s weekly NCompass Live online program and she assists organizations in the state to hold virtual meetings with GoToWebinar. In her opinion, the best thing about working in libraries is solving problems and finding answers to questions. “It’s always a treasure hunt. The best skill a librarian can have is the ability to say I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”
When Christa isn’t working, she enjoys being at home with John, spending time with family, relaxing, playing video games, or reading. Without hesitation, her all-time favorite author is Isaac Asimov. If Christa could switch careers, she would love to own a book or comic store combination coffee shop that served pastries and food, provided someone else was doing the books. Christa and John share their home with three cats: Logan, Luna, and Nushi. Despite being far from home, Christa says Nebraska offers friendly people, open spaces, and friends and family.
Through a statewide partnership between the Nebraska Library Commission and United for Libraries, all Trustees, Friends groups, and library directors in Nebraska have access to online United for Libraries resources. The Trustee Academy is a series of webinars to help Trustees learn about their roles in libraries.
Recently, these Trustee Academy resources have been updated. The old courses will only be available until June 30, 2017.
- Trustee Competencies
- Working Effectively with the Library Director
- The Library’s Budget for Trustees
- Standing Up for Intellectual Freedom
- Everyday Advocacy – Why the Library Matters!
Added Webinar (not a part of the Trustee Academy):
- Merging a Friends and Foundation – “In the library world today, there is a huge need for support organizations – Friends & Foundations – but often the lines between these two groups are blurred and their work counter-productive. In this webinar, presenters Peter Pearson and Sue Hall discuss the difference in the roles of Friends and Foundations and identify areas where there can be conflict – and present strategies for minimizing conflict. They also address the question, “When is it time for the two organizations to merge?” and share solutions for engaging in a merger process that minimizes pain and maximizes potential. Pearson and Hall also talk about national challenges and trends for Friends and Foundations.”
The old (soon-to-be-retired) courses are still available until June 30, 2017:
- Trustee Basics – Part I
- Trustee Basics – Part II
- Working Effectively with the Library Director
- The Library’s Budget
- Advocating for Your Library
- Evaluating the Library Director
For more information: http://www.ala.org/united/nebraska
Admission to the Trustee Academy courses has been prepaid by the Nebraska Library Commission for Nebraska Library Trustees and Directors. Contact Holli Duggan for the username and password.
Books make a difference in the lives of Nebraska young people. We know this because they say so in the letters they write to authors for the Letters About Literature competition. In her 2014 winning letter to Gary Soto, Sydney Kohl says, “The work inspired me to be true to myself, and also taught me the importance of each and every small perk in life. Our time on Earth is short, and might not be perfect, but as long as we take advantage of the opportunities given to us, maybe that’s okay.” *
Nebraska teachers and librarians are invited to apply for $300 grants to conduct Letters About Literature Letter Writing Clinics. Funding will be provided to introduce students to the Letters about Literature (LAL) contest and letter writing techniques, and to work with them to select books and craft letters to the authors. Grant funds can be used for items such as instructor honorariums, supplies, marketing, small participation prizes, etc. Applicants will target their efforts to specific age groups: grades 4-6, grades 7-8, or grades 9-12
For more information about the LAL Letter Writing Clinic grant (due March 30), see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/lalwritingclinics or contact JoAnn McManus, Nebraska Library Commission, 402-471-4870, 800-307-2665. This grant opportunity is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book and Nebraska Library Commission and supported by Humanities Nebraska. More about how the LAL national reading and writing promotion program encourages young readers in grades 4-12 to explore what books mean to them by writing a personal letter to an author is available at centerforthebook.nebraska.gov.
* Get inspired by listening to Nebraska winners Ashley Xiques and Sydney Kohl read and talk about and their winning letters to the authors that meant something to them at NET Radio’s All About Books.
NOTE: The Letters About Literature competition is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations. Letters About Literature is coordinated and sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Library Commission, with support from Houchen Bindery, Ltd. and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.
Sam collects and gathers statistical data about public libraries and produces a variety of products. A large portion of the data collected is from the annual IMLS Public Library Survey. Sam was born and raised in Northeast Lincoln and is a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University where he received a BA in Philosophy. Since philosophical jobs were in short supply, Sam worked at a law firm in Lincoln and discovered that he would rather devote his time to public service as opposed to private practice. Sam then became the public services librarian at the Nebraska State Library, better known as the Nebraska Supreme Court Law Library in the capitol building. After staff elimination from budget cuts (Sam got RIF’d), he became the librarian at the Nebraska State Penitentiary and later the Library Coordinator for the Nebraska Correctional Libraries. He obtained his MLS from the University of Missouri. Sam says the most satisfying thing about working in libraries is finding information, helping people with projects, and serving the public
When I asked Sam what he thinks of when I mention the Library Commission he responded: Its laid back, there is support for new ideas and ways of doing things, and a great group of people. When Sam isn’t working at the Commission, he enjoys light workouts, chen style tai chi, gardening, fixing things, visiting botanical gardens, and ballroom dancing. He is the father to a daughter (age 9) and a son (age 5). If he could choose any other profession he would like to found and run non-profits supporting the local community. Likely these would be bringing a large scale botanical Garden or an Asian Cultural Center (tai chi and Asian botanical garden or self-realization center) to Lincoln. Sam describes himself as non-fiction reader and a lowbrow fiction reader, with his favorite authors including John Waters, Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, Albert Camus, and Larry Brown. It’s not uncommon for Sam to have 40 or more items borrowed from the Lincoln City Library at one time, including kids’ books and DVDs. A perfect day might include a favorable climate, sleeping late, drinks, napping, dinner, and late night salsa dancing. It’s wonderful to have Sam at the Library Commission after he has served other Nebraska State Agencies so well.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2016
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Mary Jo Ryan
Gov. Ricketts Names Appointments to Nebraska Library Commission
Gov. Pete Ricketts recently appointed Charles (Chuck) Peek, of Kearney, and Sandra (Sandy) White, of Sidney, to three-year terms on the Nebraska Library Commission. Gov. Ricketts also reappointed Michael LaCroix, of Omaha, to a second three-year term.
A former member of the board for Kearney Public Library, Chuck Peek is an Emeritus Professor of English at University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). He served for some time as a board member and president of the Nebraska Center for the Book, and received its Mildred Bennett Award in 2011. Since retiring in 2008, he has published two books of poetry and one volume of homilies given at Red Cloud’s Grace Church for Cather events—and currently serves on the Willa Cather Foundation Board of Governors. Chuck teaches occasionally for Kearney’s Senior College, Lincoln’s OLLI, and the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry in Topeka.
Sandy White was a Nebraska educator for more than forty years. Before retiring, she served panhandle schools for several years as the Library-Media Services Director for Educational Service Units 13 and 14. She served on the board of the Western Library System (formerly known as the Panhandle Library System). She also served on the board, including a term as president, of the Nebraska School Library Association (formerly known as the Nebraska Educational Media Association). She currently serves on the board of the Sidney Public Library.
Michael LaCroix served as Director of the Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library at Creighton University and as interim dean of the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library. He formerly served as library director at Greensboro College and Wingate University in North Carolina, and at Albright College in Pennsylvania. He is a member of the board of directors for United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and previously served on the Nebraska State Advisory Council on Libraries—including a term as chair—and on the North Carolina State Advisory Council on Libraries. LaCroix was elected to the board of directors of ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries and served as Nebraska’s representative to the Online Computer Library Center Member’s Council. Formerly the treasurer of the Nebraska Library Association (NLA), he chaired the NLA College and University section.
They join current Commissioners Molly Fisher (Lincoln), Susan Warneke (Norfolk), and Debby Whitehill Bloom (Omaha) serving on the Nebraska Library Commission—the policy-making body ensuring that the agency is fully responsible for the statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library programs and services.
As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, “bringing together people and information.”
The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases
Meet Craig Lefteroff, who joined the Nebraska Library Commission as our Technology Innovation Librarian a year ago this month. Craig was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi and attended college at Delta State University, in Cleveland, Mississippi, graduating with a BA in English. After graduation, Craig taught English and speech for one year in a Mississippi Delta town with one store and a prison. This experience encouraged Craig to seek new employment, so he moved to Versailles (pronounced ver-say-elles), Kentucky, where he cleaned computers for Walmart. Next up was a job as an accountant for a Holiday Inn in Lexington, Kentucky. This job afforded him some flexibility so, affirming his love for books and literature, he enrolled in library school at the University of Kentucky.
Craig’s first professional library job was as a reference librarian at St. Tammany Parish Library north of Lake Pontchartrain after Hurricane Katrina. A tipping point occurred during this chapter of Craig’s life and it was time to try living closer if not north of the Mason-Dixon Line. To fill a job title of Reference and Electronics Librarian, Craig moved to West Virginia to work for the Kanawha City Public Library where he lived at the top of a hill. When Craig was selected by the Nebraska Library Commission, it was a priority to be able to walk to work as this was never a possibility in Elkview.
It is typical for librarians to have eclectic interests and Craig fits this description. He surrounds himself with a variety of people and enjoys movies, music, and reading. Some of Craig’s favorite authors are Thomas Hardy, George Elliot, Herman Melville, Cormac McCarthy, and Mary Roach. A book that Craig has read at least five times is Stoner by John Williams owing to the theme of a young man growing up in the south who falls in love with literature. If money were no issue, he would spend his time reading and traveling first to Italy. When asked what other profession he would like to practice, Craig would be a writer and when I asked him to comment on his associations about his workplace, he responded: food day.
We’re grateful Craig has made the Midwest his home and is willing to share his skills and interests with those of us in Nebraska libraries.
Imagine that a new resident has just arrived in your town. She’s eager to read the new Ruth Ware novel, but isn’t familiar with your library, so she hits the Internet to search for you. What does she find? What would you like for her to find?
Nebraska Libraries on the Web is a free service open to any public library in Nebraska. We use the WordPress platform to create robust and user-friendly library websites. Our sites are controlled by “themes” that modify the display of your site, meaning that your content will be presented in an appealing fashion automatically. You don’t have to worry about coding, just add text and images that tell the world about your library. For those who wish to alter aspects of their site’s theme, controls are available that allow you to tweak your font, colors, and more. You can even change your entire theme with one click to give your site a brand new appearance.
Because WordPress is so widely used, it’s not surprising that it works well with the biggest names on the Internet. Your site will arrive ready to connect to Facebook, Pinterest, and more. Any content that you add to your website can be automatically posted to your social networks, too. If you use Google Calendar, you can incorporate that directly into your new site, or use add-on tools called plugins to create a new calendar that displays your library’s events. Plugins also allow you to create surveys, contact forms, and forums, and host them all on your site. There’s probably a plugin for anything that you’d like to do with your site and Commission staff are available to assist you in tracking down the right tools. We also take care of software updates and security concerns, so you never have to worry about maintenance.
If this sounds like an approach that might work for your library, please contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.
Developed and presented by Libby Post of Communication Services, the Library Campaign Training Institute will teach attendees how to create, market, and implement an effective advocacy campaign for your library.
(Note: Registration is mandatory, and “seats” in the virtual room are first-come, first serve. All four hour sessions will be recorded and archived for future viewing; registrants will be sent a link after each session to watch the recorded webinar. Thanks in advance for understanding!)
Part 1: Building your Base – July 14, 2016, 12:00, CST
This workshop makes the connection between program and services outreach and building a library’s base of support for advocacy. This workshop details:
- Using recent research as well as preparing public service return on investment calculations.
- How to map a community.
- Options for program development – examples used are the Recreation market and local elected officials.
- Connection between customer service and advocacy.
- Use of social media.
- Managing data.
- Using volunteer messengers.
Part 2: The Best Defense is a Good Offense – July 21, 2016, 12:00, CST
This workshop provides participants with the knowledge needed to:
- Create a campaign plan.
- Recruit volunteer leadership.
- Detail roles and responsibilities.
Part 3: Message, Marketing, & Media – July 28th, 2016, 12:00, CST
This workshop walks participants through:
- How to develop a campaign message using values and emotional branding.
- Integrating that message into campaign outreach.
- Public presentations.
- Using the media to advance the message.
Part 4: Connecting with YES Voters + Part 5: Get out the Vote (Immediately following Part 4): August 4, 2016, 12:00, CST
This workshop details the nuts and bolts of a library field operation including:
- Targeting through using enhanced voter files.
- Phone Banking/Direct Mail/Social Media/Email/Voter Tracking
This workshop brings the previous four together with the ultimate goal of reaching out to Yes voters and getting them to the polls.