Category Archives: Public Relations

2019 State Aid Letters Have Been Mailed

The 2019 state aid calculations are now complete. State aid letters have been mailed and payments will be processed soon. In the meantime, you can read (in general) about state aid and how it is distributed. Here is a list of the state aid distributions for 2019 (including this year’s formula). Finally, here is a link to a press release you can customize and use for your particular library.

This year, there were 47 libraries that will be receiving Dollar$ for Data payments. For those libraries, you are now eligible to apply for accreditation when the cycle opens this summer.

For libraries that aren’t accredited, now may be the time to consider the accreditation process, as you would then be eligible for state aid next year. You also need to submit your public library survey online via Bibliostat. The next public library survey collection cycle begins in November.

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FREE PLA Webinar : Measuring the Success of Health Programs and Services

Public libraries are critical to their community’s health, serving as a go-to resource for individuals to access current and reliable health information. Public library staff have a deep understanding of the unique needs of their communities and the value of serving their patrons’ health needs. Now all they need is the data to prove just how valuable those services are. In this webinar, participants will learn how ’s new health survey will help public libraries measure the success of health programs and services. Participants will also discover helpful resources and training tools to enhance their health services. 

The Project Outcome health survey was developed in partnership with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), dedicated to advancing the progress of medicine and improving public health. To learn more, visit .

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will:

  • Know resources and training tools to help create and improve health services at their library;
  • Understand how to measure the outcomes of their health-related programs using Project Outcome’s new health survey; and,
  • Be able to apply survey data for decision making and action.


Emily Plagman, manager of impact and advocacy, manages PLA’s performance measurement initiative, Project Outcome. Prior to joining PLA, Emily worked as a project manager at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning on an energy efficiency grant. Emily received her Master’s in International Public Affairs from the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin and her Bachelor’s in Political Science at Marquette University.


Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Time: 1:00–2:00 p.m. Central Time

Cost: The webinar is free, but registration is required. You can register for this webinar until it begins, or until space is no longer available, whichever comes first.


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Upcoming Webinars from WebJunction


Strategic Planning in a Deeply Weird World: The Flexible Roadmap Field Guide Approach

DATE AND TIME: Tuesday, March 26, 2019:  2:00-3:00 CENTRAL TIME


Join us to learn about Salt Lake City Public Library’s new ground-breaking approach to strategic planning, focused on human-centered service design.

It’s a big task to define the library’s future over the next three or five years, and strategic planning is becoming less and less effective in a rapidly changing world. The Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL) has created a new approach that is flexible, staff-driven, and human-centered. SCLPL’s Strategic Roadmap is not a 100-page plan in a binder-on-a-shelf; it’s an experiential learning tool that invites all staff to participate in the co-creation of meaningful outcomes and experiences for the community. The Roadmap focuses less on planning and more on building the capacity of staff to adopt a human-centered service design mindset and skillset. SLCPL staff are adopting a new perspective, continually experimenting with and adapting spaces, collections, services, programs, and their own roles, to responsively address community needs and aspirations in an ever-changing landscape. Join us for this webinar to learn how to cultivate new skills to help bring the Roadmap to life for your library’s strategic planning.

Presented by: Peter Bromberg, Executive Director; and Marilee Moon, Assistant Director of Customer Experience, at Salt Lake City Public Library

The Power of Small: How Rural Libraries Help Their Communities Thrive

DATE AND TIME: Thursday, April 18, 2019: 2:00-3:00 CENTRAL TIME


Learn how any tiny library can find more ways to support the needs of their community by thinking strategically and creating new connections.

All libraries provide vital services to their communities, but libraries that serve small, rural populations have the potential to go beyond providing information and access—they can inject the vitality that will help their communities thrive. Addressing the challenges faced by rural areas may seem daunting to a library with few staff and limited resources, but any tiny library can find more ways to support the needs of their community by thinking strategically and creating new connections with their stakeholders, patrons, and other library staff. Learn how small library director and 2018 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, Allie Stevens, applied the concept of growth mindsets to set her priorities, use resources and volunteers smartly, and avoid burnout as a solo librarian. Follow her lead to turn your library into a powerhouse for your community.

This webinar is presented in collaboration with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

Presented by: Allie Stevens, Director, Calhoun County Library & Museum, Hampton, Arkansas

The Library as Social Connector: Forging Community Connection

DATE AND TIME: Thursday, April 25, 2019: 2:00-3:00 CENTRAL TIME


This webinar will explore how libraries play a role in creating social connection and identify ways to more intentionally facilitate stronger community bonds.

Strong social cohesion is a crucial factor in a community’s resilience in times of stress and disruption. Unfortunately, studies show that our communities are experiencing a steady erosion of social cohesion, pointing to an increase in loneliness, depression, and separation because of too much time spent online and too little time spent in the community. Libraries have the position and the power to rebuild social bonds, offering that sense of community and shared place that humans crave. Active learning programs that bring people together for participatory, shared experiences are a boost to community strength, but they could go even further to amplify social connection and build social infrastructure. Join us as we explore library programs through the lens of social possibilities and devise strategies to be more intentional about forging stronger community bonds.

Presented by: Betha Gutsche, WebJunction Programs Manager, OCLC; and Jennifer Peterson, WebJunction Community Manager, OCLC

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2019 Big Talk From Small Libraries Schedule Now Available

The full schedule for the 2019 Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference is now available!

You will find it on the Schedule page. Information about our presenters is available on the Speakers page.

If you haven’t registered yet, now is the time to jump over to the Registration page and sign up!

You are welcome to watch as an individual or to host a group viewing of the conference. If several staff members from the same library want to attend, you can just register for one seat and have staff members view/listen together via one workstation.

You can also host a viewing party this same way and invite staff from other libraries. For any group viewings, if you know who will be there, you can list your Additional Attendees on your one registration or you can send us a list after the event.

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Call for Speakers: Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019

The Call for Speakers for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019 is now open!

This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better! We are looking for speakers from small libraries or speakers who directly work with small libraries. 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 five 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!

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019 will be held on Friday, February 22, 2019 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Speakers will be able to present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

If you are interested in presenting, please submit your proposal by Friday, January 18, 2019.

Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered.

This conference is organized and hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission and is co-sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

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Governor Ricketts Joins the Bayard Community in Celebration of a New School – Library Partnership

On November 16th, 2018 about 120 students and residents of from Bayard attended an Open House at the Bayard Public Library. The Open House promoted the library’s new Homework Hotspot. The Bayard Public Schools and Library have established a technology focused partnership to provide school district students and staff access to the school’s internet at the library. The new Homework Hotspot will feature internet speeds up to 200 Mbps, which is a dramatic increase from the libraries current internet speed of 15 Mbps.

Gov. Pete Ricketts answers questions from Bayard Public School students.

Gov. Pete Ricketts attended the event and addressed the critical need to provide high-speed internet for all residents in rural communities. About 15% (45,000) of Nebraska’s public K-12 students have no internet at home, or internet so slow or unreliable that they are not able to carry on digital learning activities. Many of these students go home with a school district-owned device, such as Chromebooks, which require a constant internet connection. The new Homework Hotspot at the Bayard Public Library will help address this “Homework Gap”.

Now, Bayard school district students can bring their school issued devices or use one of the two desktop computers that are connected to the fixed-wireless Wi-Fi connection between the school and the library to work on homework and school projects.

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NLC Staff: Meet Tan Ngo

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.

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Free Materials for Nebraska Libraries to Support Great American Read Programming

The Great American Read is the new PBS eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign to discover America’s favorite novel. Everyone can vote for their favorite from a list of 100 novels chosen in a national survey. NET Television is offering Nebraska resources for programming to help community members participate in the Great American Read. Nebraska libraries are invited to request posters and bookmarks (and possibly a local screening) from Marthaellen Florence, Director, Community Engagement, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications – NET,, 402-470-6603.

See or for more information about the program broadcasts on NET. The series is hosted by Meredith Vieira and features conversations with authors, celebrities, and book lovers. The programs are scheduled for the next six weeks, leading up to the last day of voting (October 18, 2018) and announcement of America’s favorite read (October 23, 3018).


“Launch Special” (Premiered Tuesday, May 22, 2018) – WATCH NOW

“Fall Kick-off” (Premieres Tuesday, September 11, 2018 7:00 p.m. ct)
“Who Am I?” (Premieres Tuesday, September 18, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Heroes” (Premieres Tuesday, September 25, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Villains and Monsters” (Premieres Tuesday, October 2, 2018 7:00 p.m. ct)
“What We Do For Love” (Premieres Tuesday, October 9, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Other Worlds” (Premieres Tuesday, October 16, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Grand Finale” (Premieres Tuesday, October 23, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)

The Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service helps Nebraska librarians serve library customers who can’t use regular print, and all but four of the Great American Read titles are available in the talking book format through this service. For more information, see To help serve book clubs that want to read a title from this list, the Nebraska Library Commission Book Club Kit collection contains 59 of the 100 selections. To serve your library customers, search at or contact Lisa Kelly, Information Services Director, 402-471-4015 for the list of Great American Read titles available in Book Club Kits.

For more information, see the recording of the Sept. 5, 2018 NCompass Live Great American Read broadcast at 



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Celebrate the Freedom to Read September 23-29, 2018

Banned Books Week 2018

is September 23-29. It brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Resources to help defend your Freedom to Read are available at 


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NCompass Live: We Find and We Fix: Connecting a Community at the Library

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘We Find and We Fix: Connecting a Community at the Library’, on Wednesday, August 29, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

In 2000, Parchment, MI, (population 2,000) lost its primary employer, a paper mill. Since then it has struggled to maintain services and a sense of community. After hearing many people chatting in the library with great ideas, but lamenting that “nothing ever gets done,” the library started a monthly Town Hall meeting to turn those ideas into reality, with the motto, “We find and we fix”. Join us to hear about the discussions and great projects that the Parchment Community Library has facilitated. “Enthusiasm, something we’ve had in short supply these past few years, is growing in our community!”

Presenter: Teresa Stannard, Library Director, Parchment (MI) Community Library.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Sept. 5 – The Great American Read
  • Sept. 12 – Book vs. Movie: The Ultimate Showdown!

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, 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 GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Looking for Nation’s Favorite Librarians for I Love My Librarian Award

The American Library Association (ALA) is seeking nominations for the coveted 2018 I Love My Librarian Award, which recognizes librarians for transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. The national award invites library users to nominate their favorite librarians working in public, school, college, community college or university libraries. Nominations are being accepted now through Oct. 1, 2018 at

Last year’s award winners were honored for making a difference in their communities, schools, and campuses through the work they do every day. They included an academic librarian who preserves the stories and histories of the LGBTQ community, a public librarian who helps economically disadvantaged families connect with social services, and a school librarian who inspires a love of reading in students who are new to the United States or speak English as a second language.
The ALA will select up to 10 award recipients. Each winner will receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque, and a travel stipend to attend the I Love My Librarian Award ceremony and reception in New York City on Dec. 4 hosted by the award co-sponsor, the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York.



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September is Library Card Sign-up Month

The Incredibles are Honorary Chairs for Library Card Sign-up Month 2018! September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide join together to remind parents, caregivers, and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.

This September Disney Pixar’s superhero family, the Incredibles, will team up with the ALA to promote the value of a library card. As honorary chairs, the Incredibles will remind families, students, and people of all ages that signing up for a library card is a great step toward a truly super lifestyle: libraries offer fun and informative resources to help you pursue your passions and succeed in school. For more information and resources for programming,  see and Use the hashtag #LibraryCardSignUp to join the celebration on social media.


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Nebraska Libraries Invited to Join “Libraries = Strong Communities” Advocacy Effort

ALA recently introduced “Libraries = Strong Communities,” a national advocacy effort aimed at highlighting the value of academic, public and school libraries. This initiative is uniquely positioned to ignite public awareness of the value of libraries and library staff and create a groundswell of support at the local, state, national and global level.

“Libraries = Strong Communities” will include messaging used in conjunction with ALA’s Libraries Transform public awareness campaign. Publicity tools, including a press release template, flyer, Because Statements, and Facebook frame, will be available for participating libraries as well as advocates at large. Additional information regarding the tour will be available within the next few weeks, and those interested in following tour activities in real time may follow the hashtag #LibrariesStrong.

For more information see

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NLC Staff: Jerry Breazile

Meet NLC’s Business Manager, Jerry Breazile

(pronounced Brazil), he joined the Nebraska Jerry Breazile 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.

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Is Your Library the Best Small Library in America?

Calling all libraries serving communities of 25,000 or less! Library Journal is now accepting applications for the Best Small Library in America Award, made possible by sustaining sponsor Baker & Taylor. The deadline to nominate your library is July 2.

This is an amazing opportunity to show off your great rural or small library. Anyone can nominate a library – the library administration itself, patrons, members of the community, library peers, etc.

The winning library will receive a $5,000 cash award, and two finalist libraries will be awarded $1,000 each – thanks to Baker & Taylor. All three will be featured in the September 15, 2018 issue of Library Journal and online.

The winner will also be highlighted at the 2018 Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference, Sept. 13-15 in Springfield, IL, and, thanks to support from ARSL, will receive a scholarship to attend and the opportunity to speak there.

Nominate your favorite Nebraska library today! Learn more about the guidelines and submit your nomination on the Best Small Library in America Award website.

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NCompass Live: Big-Time Library Support in Small Towns

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Big-Time Library Support in Small Towns’, on Wednesday, May 23, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

With examples from my newly released novel, To the Stars Through Difficulties, this session will highlight efforts in small towns to support libraries, a century ago and today. The novel was inspired by the 59 Carnegie libraries in Kansas, has won generous reviews from Booklist, Library Review Journal, and United for Libraries, as well gold medal IPPY and Readers’ Favorites awards. It was just listed as a finalist in the INDIES Foreword awards. My own background is in small town arts council development, with work first in Kansas and then for the National Endowment for the Arts in the Midwest and the Pacific Rim.

Presenter: Romalyn Tilghman, She Writes Press.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • May 30 – Library Innovation Studios – A Project Update and Review of the Application Process
  • June 20 – Rising to the Challenge: Using the Aspen Institute Report and Action Guide for Strategic Planning
  • June 27 – The 2018 Public Library Accreditation Process
  • July 18 – Many Languages, Many Cultures: Responding to Diverse Health Information Needs
  • August 1 – Engaging Your Community
  • Aug. 15 – Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, 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 GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Nebraska Libraries Invited to Celebrate Money Smart Week®, April 21 – 28, 2018

Libraries across the country will offer a wealth of personal finance programs during Money Smart Week® and Nebraska libraries will join them in sponsoring educational and entertaining programs. From April 21-28, 2018, more than 1,000 of our nation’s libraries will be participating in Money Smart Week®. Library events will focus on such diverse financial issues as first-time home buying, obtaining renovation loans, preparing a personal spending plan, the property tax appeal process, evaluating financial aid packages, choosing the proper Medicare plan, and the basics of wills and trusts. Libraries are also offering programs that week on options for tax-free savings and charitable tax strategies.

Please comment below about how your Nebraska library will provide programs and resources to celebrate Money Smart Week® April 21-28, 2018. Created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002, Money Smart Week® is a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. This is achieved through the collaboration and coordinated effort of hundreds of organizations across the country. Classes, activities, events, and programming will be offered to all demographics and income levels and will cover all facets of personal finance. Resources for local events are available at

For more information, see

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Big Talk From Small Libraries 2018 Recordings Now Available

Recordings of all 2018 Big Talk From Small Libraries sessions are now available! You will find them through the Previous Conferences page.

We are still waiting for a few of the PowerPoint files from our presenters – they will be added as soon as we receive them.

And don’t forget to complete the conference Evaluation! We’re looking for input from people who attended the live conference and watched the archived recordings.

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Apply Now for Funding to Host Letter Writing Clinics


Funding is available to support Letters About Literature Letter Writing Clinics in Nebraska libraries and schools. Teachers and Librarians can apply now at:

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 April 15), see or contact Mary Jo Ryan, 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

* Get inspired by listening to Nebraska winners Ashley Xiques and Sydney Kohl read and talk about 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.


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Big Talk From Small Libraries is tomorrow!

Small libraries! Awesome ideas! FREE!

Join us tomorrow for the Big Talk From Small Libraries 2018 online conference. Registration is still open, so head over to the Registration page and sign up!

We have a great agenda for the day, with seven 50 minute sessions plus five 10 minute lightning round sessions. You can log in and out of the conference as you like throughout the day, based on your interest and availability.

And, Nebraska library staff 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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