Category Archives: Technology

E-rate Form 471 Application Filing Window Opens Today

Get your library’s piece of the E-rate pie!

The Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2022 opens today at noon EST and will close on Tuesday, March 22 at 11:59 pm EDT. You may now log on to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and file your FCC Form 471 for FY2022.

This makes Tuesday, February 22, the deadline to post your Form 470 to the USAC website, meet the 28-day posting requirement for the competitive bidding process, and submit a Form 471 by the filing window closing date.

However, we do not recommend waiting until the last day to submit your Form 470! If there are any issues that day, like the E-rate servers are slowed down because it is the last day to submit, or you can’t submit the form due to reasons on your end, such as illness, weather, power outage, etc., then you would miss the deadline and lose out on E-rate altogether. So, get your E-rate Form 470 submitted as soon as possible!

IMPORTANT: Before you file your Form 471, check your Form 470 Receipt Notification for your Allowable Contract Date – the first date you are allowed to submit your 471. Do not submit your 471 before that date! Remember, after you submit your Form 470, you must wait 28 days to submit your Form 471. You can find your Notification within the EPC portal in your News feed.

Do you need help completing your forms? Do you have questions about E-rate? You’re in luck!

USAC has many resources on their website:

And more recorded webinars, demos, and training materials are available on the NLC E-rate webpage.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, please contact the State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries in Nebraska, Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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Computers in Libraries 2022 Conference (March 29 – March 31) Discount

The Nebraska Library Commission is offering a group discount to all Nebraska librarians who attend the Computers in Libraries 2022 conference. This year it will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, VA, on March 29 through March 31, 2022. Detailed information about the conference can be found on the conference web page.

This year the Gold Pass will be available for the group rate of $649 (regular rate is $899). The Full 3-day Pass will be $379 (regular rate is $599). (No discount rates are available for the preconference workshops, unless purchased as part of a Gold Pass.)

In addition, discount prices of $619 (regularly $749) on the Library Leaders Summit (includes all three days of CIL) is also available.

To receive the discount:

  1. Go to the Computers in Libraries 2022 Registration page: https://secure.infotoday.com/RegForms/ComputersinLibraries/
  2. Type priority code NLC22 in the Priority Code field at the top of the form, and click the “Activate Code” button. Discounted rates should appear on the registration form after you successfully activate the code. If you don’t see the discounted rates on the form, please contact Susan Knisely for assistance.
  3. Complete and submit the online form by the deadline.

Deadline: Online registrations can be made until February 25th to receive the discounted rates. Please Note: If the deadline is extended for regular registration, your deadline will also be extended. After this time, rates will go up by $20.

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E-rate Form 471 FY2022 Application Filing Window Dates Announced

Get your library’s piece of the E-rate pie!

From the USAC website:

FY2022 Application Filing Window Dates Announced

The FCC Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2022 will open on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at noon EST and close on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at 11:59pm EDT. You can read the USAC announcement for full details.

To prepare for the window opening:

  • If you haven’t already done so, file your FCC Form 470 now! You don’t need to wait for the window to open.
    • To file your FCC Form 470, log into the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC). You must wait 28 days after your FCC Form 470 is posted to the USAC website before you can close your competitive bidding process, select a service provider, sign a contract (if applicable), and submit an FCC Form 471. If you issue an RFP after the FCC Form 470 is posted, you must wait 28 days from the release of the RFP to select a service provider.
    • Tuesday, February 22, 2022 is the deadline to post your FCC Form 470 to the USAC website or issue an RFP and still complete all of these actions before the window closes.
  • Update Your EPC Profile During the Administrative Window – Update your EPC profile by January 10, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Review your EPC profile and confirm all of your information is accurate including your organization’s name, address, and other details. Your profile is now unlocked and available for you to insert any further updates but will be locked again before the filing window opens. Libraries should confirm their square footage, main branch, and public school district of the main branch information is correct and that any bookmobiles or kiosks are included.

You can find additional resources and instructions for using the EPC on the USAC website and on the NLC’s E-rate website.

Please contact Christa Porter if you have any questions or need any assistance submitting your E-rate forms.

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‘E-rate: What’s New for 2022?’ Recording now available

Get your library’s piece of the E-rate pie!

The recording and presentation slides of the E-rate: What’s New for 2022? online session are now available.

What is E-rate? How can my library benefit from E-rate? How do I apply for E-rate?

E-rate is a federal program that provides discounts to schools and public libraries on the cost of their Internet Access and Connections to make these services more affordable. This includes Broadband, Fiber, and Wi-Fi Internet access as well as Internal Connections, such as wiring, routers, switches, and other network equipment.

The E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) is your online portal for all E-rate interactions. With your organizational account you can use EPC to file forms, track your application status, communicate with USAC, and more.

In this workshop, Christa Porter, Nebraska’s State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, will explain the E-rate program and show you how to access and use your account in EPC to submit your Funding Year 2022 E-rate application.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, visit the NLC E-rate webpage or please contact Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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Call for Speakers: Big Talk From Small Libraries 2022

The Call for Speakers for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2022 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 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!

Submit your proposal by Friday, January 14, 2022.

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

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2022 will be held on Friday, February 25, 2022 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Speakers will present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

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

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Grants, Information Resources, Library Management, Preservation, Programming, Public Relations, Technology, Youth Services | Tagged | Leave a comment

Internet Librarian (Oct. 26th-28th) 2021 Going Virtual, Discount Still Available

The 2021 Internet Librarian Conference, originally scheduled to be held on October 26th-28th in Monterey, California, is switching to a virtual format. See their online announcement for more information. While this is a disappointment for those who were planning to attend in person, it does open up opportunities for those interested in attending virtually.

The virtual event is scheduled for the same week that the in-person conference was scheduled to be held, and a Virtual Pass for October 26-28, 2021, will provide you with access to all keynotes and main conference sessions, networking, and the virtual exhibit hall. See the Internet Librarian Connect 2021 website for more details.

Nebraska librarians are also still eligible for a discount if they sign up for a Virtual Pass to this conference using the Nebraska Library Commission discount code: 21NLC. The discounted rate for a Virtual Pass is $199. This is a $100 savings of the regular $299 price.

To receive a Virtual Pass discount for Tuesday, October 26th – Thursday, October 28th, 2021:

  1. Go to the Register Now page and click “Attendee.”
  2. Complete the form and click “Proceed to Tickets.”
  3. Select 1 Virtual Pass ticket and scroll to the bottom of the form.
  4. Type 21NLC in the Promotion Code field and click “Apply.”
  5. You should see a pop-up telling you the code has been successfully applied. You should also see that the Virtual Pass price of $299 has been reduced to a total of $199 on your form. At this point you can enter your payment information and click “Checkout.”

If you have questions, please contact Susan Knisely.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Gadgets & Gizmos Aplenty: Makerspace Edition

Get some STEM and tech gadget recommendations on this week’s NCompass Live webinar, ‘Gadgets & Gizmos Aplenty: Makerspace Edition’, on Wednesday, September 29 at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related ‘Pretty Sweet Tech’.

There’s too much stuff in the world of STEM and tech gadgetry. Trying to find the right tool for the job can get confusing and downright frustrating. This session will cover a wide variety of gadget options for your makerspace or STEM activities. Recommendations will be organized by target audience: kids, teens, adults , and older adults. There’s a little something for everybody.

By the end of this session you will have:

  • A healthy list of recommendations for every budget
  • Tips for choosing equipment
  • Tips for maintaining equipment
  • Tips for training staff and patrons

If you’re a Nebraska library, I am also available for makerspace and tech gadget consultations. I like tech. It’s kind of my thing. I hope to see you there!

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • October 6 – The Queer Omaha Archives: The First Five Years
  • October 13 – NO NCOMPASS LIVE THIS WEEK – ENJOY NLA!
  • October 27 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • November 3 – Letters About Literature

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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Over $11.2 Million in First Emergency Connectivity Funding Wave Awarded to Nebraska Schools and Libraries

Today, the FCC announced that the first Wave of funding commitments for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Program have been released. This first Wave includes $11,292,769.36 in funding commitments for 51 Nebraska school and library applicants.

Congratulations to all Nebraska schools and libraries who have been funded!

If you haven’t received your ECF Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) yet, don’t panic! There are more Waves to come as USAC processes more applications.

As soon as you do receive your ECF FCDL, you should also view the e-learning modules, live trainings, recordings of past trainings and webinars, and register for USAC’s weekly office hour sessions at https://www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org/training/

To stay informed about the ECF program, sign up for the weekly ECF Newsletters, and read the previous newsletters, at https://www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org/stay-informed/

From the FCC Press Release:

Second Filing Window Set for September 28 to October 13 Providing Funding for Eligible Equipment and Services Between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022: https://www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org/

WASHINGTON, September 24, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission today announced that it is committing $1,203,107,496.88 for 3,040 schools, 260 libraries, and 24 consortia that applied for support from the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. This first wave of funding commitments will provide students, school staff and library patrons in all 50 states and Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia access to the devices and broadband connectivity they need to support their off-campus education needs. The funding will support 3,081,131 devices and 774,115 broadband connections and help connect over 3.6 million students who, according to their schools, would otherwise lack devices, broadband access, or both.

Read the full press release and details about which schools and libraries will receive funding in this first Wave at:

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-commits-over-12b-first-emergency-connectivity-funding-wave

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Tech-Friendly Book Club Ideas

The best way to learn about technology is to read about it! Get some ‘Tech-Friendly Book Club Ideas’ on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, August 25 at 10am CT.

Even if they are not all going to make it themselves, people are infinitely curious about robots, computers, artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and all the tech that is changing the world. While libraries can’t be expected to teach all of this directly, books can help tackle the big stuff! Over the years I tracked the books I used to learn about all my favorite tech and practiced with different discussion questions and ways to talk about tech.

By the end of this session you will have:

  • A list of recommended titles for book clubs & discussion
  • Tech topics to tackle in book groups
  • Ideas for wraparound activities
  • Book groups as market research

I focus mainly on options for adults and teens in this session, but harvested some options from people who specialize in K-12 to help out the kids!

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.os Live shows:

  • Sept. 1 – NLC Grants for 2022
  • Sept. 8 – Manga and Graphic Novels in Your Library
  • Sept. 15 – Library School Now – Library Workers Talk about Their Library Science Coursework
  • Sept. 29 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • October 6 – The Queer Omaha Archives: The First Five Years
  • October 13 – NO NCOMPASS LIVE THIS WEEK – ENJOY NLA!

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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2022 ARPA Youth Grants for Excellence Now Available

The Nebraska Library Commission (NLC) is pleased to announce the availability of Youth Grants for Excellence to legally-established public libraries, tribal libraries, and institutional libraries in Nebraska, through a competitive grant process. The purpose of the Youth Grants for Excellence is to make funding available specifically for innovative projects for children and young adults in Nebraska communities.

This year’s funding is provided from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), as administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). ARPA is the result of the federal stimulus bill passed by Congress. Nebraska has received a one-time award of $2,422,166. A portion of that amount will be available via these competitive grants.

Some of the usual rules and requirements for Youth Grants for Excellence will be suspended for this year only:

  • No local match is required.
  • All legally established public libraries are eligible, both accredited and unaccredited, as well as tribal libraries and State run institutions.
  • Libraries will be able to use the grant funds for improving their collection (buy any books you feel you need), and to purchase AWE workstations or an equivalent item, Playaway Launchpad, computers, and furniture for the children’s or teen areas.

Online applications will be accepted through 11:59 PM (CT) on October 7, 2021 and recipients will be notified of funding by October 29, 2021.

Visit the grant webpage for the full grant details and the online application form.

And to learn more, sign up for the September 1 NCompass Live webinar, NLC Grants for 2022.

Posted in Grants, Information Resources, Library Management, Preservation, Programming, Technology, Youth Services | Leave a comment

2022 ARPA Library Improvement Grants Now Available

The Nebraska Library Commission (NLC) is pleased to announce the availability of Library Improvement Grants to legally-established public libraries, tribal libraries, and institutional libraries in Nebraska, through a competitive grant process. The purpose of the Library Improvement Grants is to facilitate growth and development of library programs and services, by supplementing local funding with federal funds designated for these purposes.

This year’s funding is provided from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), as administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). ARPA is the result of the federal stimulus bill passed by Congress. Nebraska has received a one-time award of $2,422,166. A portion of that amount will be available via these competitive grants.

Some of the usual rules and requirements for Library Improvement Grants will be suspended for this year only:

  • No local match is required.
  • All legally established public libraries are eligible, both accredited and unaccredited, as well as tribal libraries and State run institutions.

Online applications will be accepted through 11:59 PM (CT) on October 7, 2021 and recipients will be notified of funding by October 29, 2021.

Visit the grant webpage for the full grant details and the online application form.

And to learn more, sign up for the September 1 NCompass Live webinar, NLC Grants for 2022.

Posted in Grants, Information Resources, Library Management, Preservation, Programming, Technology | Leave a comment

NCompass Live: Marketing & Follow-Up: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 4)

Make sure to do your ‘Marketing & Follow-Up’ when you are ‘Teaching Technology in the Library’. Learn how on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, June 28 at 10am CT.

This four-part webinar series works with the Teaching Technology in the Library course offered by the Nebraska Library Commission. The course is designed to help libraries connect communities with technology and digital skills that matter at home, work, school and everywhere in between. The webinar series will introduce the topics and framework used in the course.

Course materials are available for free to libraries in and out of Nebraska. Only Nebraska libraries will be able to take the materials for CE credit towards Nebraska Public Librarian certification. One credit is earned by attending the introductory webinar, additional credits are earned by completing the course materials and contributing to a shared digital skills resource. Tackling technology is easier when we all work together!

This is the fourth webinar in the series.

Here is a preview of the online course. The Overview is available now. Course content will become available by the start of each webinar as the material is continuously piloted and tested. Your feedback is greatly appreciated to make sure these materials work for as many people as possible. I look forward to teaching and learning with everyone!

Other sessions in the ‘Teaching Technology in the Library’ series:

Presenter: Amanda Sweet, Technology Innovation Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • August 4 – Small Libraries Will Save the World! Implementing Sustainability at the Library
  • August 11 – The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries
  • August 18 – One Book for Nebraska Kids & Teens
  • August 25 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Sept. 29 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • October 6 – The Queer Omaha Archives: The First Five Years
  • October 13 – NO NCOMPASS LIVE THIS WEEK – ENJOY NLA!

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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Internet Librarian (Oct. 26-28) 2021 Conference Discount

The Nebraska Library Commission is offering a group discount to all librarians in Nebraska who attend the 2021 Internet Librarian Conference. This year it will be held October 26-28 at the Monterey Marriott in Monterey, California. Detailed information about the conference can be found on the conference web page.

As in the past, InfoToday is offering select groups the opportunity to participate in their Group Discount Program. The Gold Pass is available to groups at the discounted rate of $699 (regularly $899). They are also offering a special rate of $449 for the 3-Day Pass (regular rate is $599). (No discount rates are available for the separately priced preconference workshops.)

To receive the discount:

  1. Go to the Internet Librarian 2021 Registration page: http://internet-librarian.infotoday.com/2021/Register.aspx
  2. Click on the Register Now graphic at the top of the page.
  3. Type priority code 21NLC in the Priority Code field at the top of the form, and click the “Activate Code” button. Discounted rates should appear on the registration form after you successfully activate the code. If you don’t see the discounted rates on the form, please contact Susan Knisely for assistance.
  4. Complete and submit the online registration form before the September 24th deadline to receive the discounted rates. Rates will go up by $20 after the deadline.
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NCompass Live: History Nebraska: Taking History Online

Join us to hear how History Nebraska is ‘Taking History Online’ on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, July 7  at 10am CT.

As a strategic goal of our agency, History Nebraska is undertaking significant efforts to provide access to historical collections for Nebraskans, regardless of where they live. One such initiative is to digitize our newspaper collections through a partnership with Newspapers.com. We have also been scanning microfilmed probate records from county courthouses, select manuscript collections, and some county and community histories. For years, we have been digitizing our vast photograph collections, as well as our audio/visual collections. Tune in to learn how and when we plan to make these available to the public.

Presenters: Jill Dolberg, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, and Lindsey Hillgartner, Digital Archivist, History Nebraska.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • July 14 –Finding Partners & Preparing Staff: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 3)
  • July 21 – Accessing Census Data
  • July 28 –Marketing & Follow-Up: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 4)
  • August 4 – Small Libraries Will Save the World! Implementing Sustainability at the Library
  • August 11 – The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries

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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NCompass Live: Spatial for Librarians: A 3D Meeting Space

Explore new ways to work remotely, connect with groups, collaborate, and innovate with ‘Spatial for Librarians: A 3D Meeting Space’ on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, June 30 at 10am CT.

Spatial, a 3D meeting space, is a new way for librarians to collaborate using the power of augmented and/or virtual reality (VR). With VR headsets (e.g., an Oculus Quest), a team can brainstorm using post-it notes on a large whiteboard, interact with digital 3D objects, conduct presentations on multiple screens, connect and use services like Google Drive, do screen sharing, and more. Everyone can walk around Spatial’s 3D digital space and work alongside one another as though they were physically in the same room. As teams continue to operate remotely, or partner with organizations from around the world, this shared experience is a game-changer! There is a desktop computer and mobile option for those without a VR headset.

The augmented reality (AR) experience adds a digital layer to one’s shared physical space. Similar to the VR experience, users can save both time and paper by sticking digital post-it notes to a wall, pulling up shared calendars, accessing web browsers, adding 3D objects inside the physical space, and more. AR is designed to complement the real world and help people build a shared vision that would never have been possible without this technology. All one needs is a smartphone or a special AR viewing device to see this augmented layer of the world. With Spatial there is no after-meeting clean-up: just close the app and the room disappears!

In this session, Chad and Amanda will introduce you to the Spatial app. Together we will explore new ways to work remotely, connect with groups, collaborate, and innovate! You will get a quick-start guide and some resources to get started with Spatial in your library. It’s time to try something new, so let’s do it today!

Presenters: Chad Mairn, Innovation Lab Librarian, St. Petersburg College and Amanda Sweet, Technology Innovation Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • July 7 – History Nebraska: Taking History Online
  • July 14 –Finding Partners & Preparing Staff: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 3)
  • July 21 – Accessing Census Data
  • July 28 –Marketing & Follow-Up: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 4)
  • August 4 – Small Libraries Will Save the World! Implementing Sustainability at the Library
  • August 11 – The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries

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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FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund Program: Resources, Training, and Application Window Announced

In addition to the USAC training sessions listed below, the Nebraska Library Commission held an ‘FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) – Overview and Q&Awebinar on June 24, 2021. Registration for the original session is not required to view the archived recording and presentation slides.


Get ready! The Emergency Connectivity Fund Program will provide up to $7.17 billion in support to schools and libraries for the purchase of laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic for use by students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack connected devices and/or broadband connections sufficient to fully engage in remote learning.

The FCC and USAC will open the first Emergency Connectivity Fund Program application filing window on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at noon ET, which will fund equipment and services for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. The first application filing window will be open for 45 days, during which applicants will be able to submit requests for funding for purchases to be made between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 to meet the needs of students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to basic educational opportunities and library services. The FCC’s announcement of the funding window is available on their website.

Stay Informed
USAC will conduct outreach and training about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. Register for an Emergency Connectivity Fund Program overview training. USAC will repeat the training several times to allow all potential program participants to join a session and will post recordings of webinars when they are completed.

  • Wednesday, June 16 @ 2:00 p.m. ET: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview Webinar for E-rate Participants – Register
  • Thursday, June 17 @ 2:00 p.m. ET: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview Webinar for New (Non E-rate) Participants – Register
  • Thursday, June 17 @ 4:00 p.m. ET: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview for Tribal Applicants – Register
  • Wednesday, June 23 @ 3:00 p.m. ET: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview for Potential Applicants – Register

USAC will post Program e-learning modules on the website and host weekly office hours where applicants and service providers can ask questions and get information about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program application process.

Visit the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program website to view trainings, access e-learning modules and register for office hour sessions.

Get Ready
To help you prepare for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program filing window, there are two steps you can take now, before the window opens:

  1. Obtain an FCC Registration Number or locate your existing registration number if you already have one.

Schools, libraries, and consortia of schools and libraries that intend to submit a funding application for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, as well as service providers that agree to invoice on behalf of applicants, should make sure they have an FCC Registration Number.  If a program participant previously registered with the FCC, they do not need to complete this step again. Schools. libraries, and services providers can obtain an FCC Registration Number by visiting the FCC Commission Registration System (CORES) and completing the registration process

  1. Register with SAM.gov so that you can receive support through the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.

Applicants can apply for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program before their SAM.gov registration is approved, but will not be able to receive program funding until they have completed their registration. Applicants and service providers who agree to invoice on behalf of applicants must have an active registration with SAM.gov to receive support through the Program. 

Emergency Connectivity Fund Program participants do not need to re-register at SAM.gov if they already have an active SAM.gov registration.

Processing a SAM.gov registration request can take more than a week, so USAC recommends schools, libraries, and service providers who are invoicing on behalf of applicants begin the process early.

More detail on the Program is available in the FCC Order that established the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.

To learn more, please visit EmergencyConnectivityFund.org and sign up for Emergency Connectivity Fund Program emails.

Posted in Broadband Buzz, Education & Training, Technology | 2 Comments

NCompass Live: How Do People Learn?: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 2)

How Do People Learn? Find out on Part 2 of Teaching Technology in the Library, on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, June 16 at 10am CT.

This four-part webinar series works with the Teaching Technology in the Library course offered by the Nebraska Library Commission. The course is designed to help libraries connect communities with technology and digital skills that matter at home, work, school and everywhere in between. The webinar series will introduce the topics and framework used in the course.

Course materials are available for free to libraries in and out of Nebraska. Only Nebraska libraries will be able to take the materials for CE credit towards Nebraska Public Librarian certification. One credit is earned by attending the introductory webinar, additional credits are earned by completing the course materials and contributing to a shared digital skills resource. Tackling technology is easier when we all work together!

This is the second webinar in the series.

Here is a preview of the online course. The Overview is available now. Course content will become available by the start of each webinar as the material is continuously piloted and tested. Your feedback is greatly appreciated to make sure these materials work for as many people as possible. I look forward to teaching and learning with everyone!

Other sessions in the ‘Teaching Technology in the Library’ series:

Presenter: Amanda Sweet, Technology Innovation Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • June 23 – Bedbugs in the Library?!
  • June 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Spatial for Librarians: A 3D Meeting Space
  • July 7 – History Nebraska: Taking History Online
  • July 14 –Finding Partners & Preparing Staff: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 3)
  • July 21 – Accessing Census Data
  • July 28 –Marketing & Follow-Up: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 4)
  • August 4 – Small Libraries Will Save the World! Implementing Sustainability at the Library
  • August 11 – The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries

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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NCompass Live: Who is Learning & Why?: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 1)

Find out ‘Who is Learning & Why?’ as we start our four-part series, Teaching Technology in the Library, on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, June 2 at 10am CT.

This four-part webinar series works with the Teaching Technology in the Library course offered by the Nebraska Library Commission. The course is designed to help libraries connect communities with technology and digital skills that matter at home, work, school and everywhere in between. The webinar series will introduce the topics and framework used in the course.

Course materials are available for free to libraries in and out of Nebraska. Only Nebraska libraries will be able to take the materials for CE credit towards Nebraska Public Librarian certification. One credit is earned by attending the introductory webinar, additional credits are earned by completing the course materials and contributing to a shared digital skills resource. Tackling technology is easier when we all work together!

This first webinar will cover the following:

  • How the course works to “choose your path” to Teaching Technology in the Library
  • User experience research techniques to uncover who is learning and why
  • Design thinking approaches to identifying problem areas and defining user needs in the library
  • How to provide course feedback and leverage course materials.

Here is a preview of the online course. The Overview is available now. Course content will become available by the start of each webinar as the material is continuously piloted and tested. Your feedback is greatly appreciated to make sure these materials work for as many people as possible. I look forward to teaching and learning with everyone!

Other sessions in the ‘Teaching Technology in the Library’ series:

Presenter: Amanda Sweet, Technology Innovation Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • June 9 – Mental Maintenance
  • June 16 –How Do People Learn?: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 2)
  • June 23 – Bedbugs in the Library?!
  • June 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Spatial for Librarians: A 3D Meeting Space
  • July 7 – History Nebraska: Taking History Online
  • July 14 –Finding Partners & Preparing Staff: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 3)
  • July 21 – Accessing Census Data
  • July 28 –Marketing & Follow-Up: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 4)
  • August 4 – Small Libraries Will Save the World! Implementing Sustainability at the Library

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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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Nebraska Libraries on the Web: Updates & Getting Started

Does your library need a website? Nebraska Libraries on the Web is a free way for Nebraska public libraries to get started with a WordPress website. Learn more on next week’s Pretty Sweet Tech NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, May 26 at 10am CT.

In this session you will:

  • Learn the basics about WordPress and Nebraska Libraries on the Web
  • Find out how to get started or revamp your existing website
  • See some examples of new website layouts and design

It is free to use WordPress through Nebraska Libraries on the Web. The server and “behind the scenes” maintenance is run through the Nebraska Library Commission. All you have to do is add content and update the website after initial setup. One-on-one assistance is available to plan, learn WordPress, and troubleshoot along the way.

This session will be helpful for anyone who wants to learn more about the program, see website examples, or hear about WordPress updates.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • June 2 – Who is Learning & Why?: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 1)
  • June 9 – Mental Maintenance
  • June 16 –How Do People Learn?: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 2)
  • June 23 – Bedbugs in the Library?!
  • June 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Spatial for Librarians: A 3D Meeting Space
  • July 7 – History Nebraska: Taking History Online
  • July 14 –Finding Partners & Preparing Staff: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 3)
  • July 21 – Accessing Census Data
  • July 28 –Marketing & Follow-Up: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 4)
  • August 4 – Small Libraries Will Save the World! Implementing Sustainability at the Library

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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Small-Town Libraries Get Help from Kreutz Bennett Grants

Fourteen community libraries receive improvement grants

Fourteen Nebraska public libraries recently received project funding, thanks to the generosity of a lifelong educator, the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett of Lincoln. Each year, the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF), accepts proposals for matching grants for public libraries in communities with populations under 3,000.

This year grants were awarded to libraries in Albion, Arapahoe, Bayard, Beaver City, Bridgeport, Cambridge, Elgin, Emerson, Grant, Newman Grove, Pierce, Plainview, Stanton, and Sterling.

Following Ms. Kreutz Bennett’s wishes, a Fund Advisory Committee composed of her nieces and nephews recommends grants in three areas: planning for accreditation grants to support steps taken toward gaining accreditation; enhancement grants to improve library services; and facilities grants for new construction or the renovation, restoration or rehabilitation of current libraries.

The following libraries received grants in 2021:

Albion Public Library

This library currently has an area for genealogy and the vision impaired. The goal of the grant is to expand these two sections and make them more accessible. Funds will also be used to purchase new oak bookshelves and a new desk for this expanded area.

Arapahoe Public Library

This grant will help pay for a new community room, ADA bathrooms, drive-up lane, service window, and new entrance in the vestibule. The new room will also be used for their afterschool program and summer programming. Currently, the adults must share space in the middle of the library during children’s programming. The renovation will allow the circulation desk direct sight of the children’s area and access to the new bathrooms and community room. It will increase safety for patrons and limit disruption by sharing space. The plans also include a new ADA parking space, ramp for ADA access and ADA push buttons for the doors.

Bayard Public Library

Bayard will use its grant to replace lighting, ceiling tiles and flooring. The funds will also aid an effort to remodel the front entrance to be ADA compliant. The purpose is to make the entire library space more inviting and brighter.

Beaver City Public Library

The grant will go toward the purchase of a photo kiosk and worktable near the kiosk. The kiosk will be used by patrons to print their photos as wells as for special programs such as making ornaments, calendars, etc.

Bridgeport Public Library

With this grant, Bridgeport will renovate a fire hall building next to the library into a community meeting space as well as a place to hold their STREAM program. The renovation will increase the library size by 2,000 square feet, allowing for a STREAM program room, conference room and large meeting room for the library.

Butler Memorial Library (Cambridge)

Cambridge will use its grant to enhance the children’s reading area of the library. They plan to add an adult reading chair, new rug, acoustic panels for sound control and a caddie with floor cushions for the children to use on the floor.

Elgin Public Library

This grant will assist with building a new community room in the library. Currently, many of their programs have grown too large to have at the library and must be moved to the Elgin Community Center. The new community room will allow library activities to stay at the library and provide another meeting space for Elgin. This new room will also provide more space for this storage as well as increased programming.

Emerson Public Library

Emerson’s grant will fund five raised garden beds as part of a lifelong learning program. Emerson will launch a program incorporating gardening, nutrition, food security and cooking. They will partner with their local gardening club for this project. This program will also provide intergenerational learning as children in the community learn alongside adults in the garden. Emerson Public Library will also receive a grant to renovate their library to make it more accessible. The project includes adding an ADA-compliant main entrance door with a push button, replace stairs at the side entrance with a new ramp and install ADA-compliant door handles throughout the building.

Hastings Memorial Library (Grant)

This grant is for funds to help create a permanent makerspace. Hastings Memorial participated in the Library Innovation Studio through the Nebraska Library Commission in 2019. This was a traveling makerspace that they utilized for 20 weeks. In that time, the makerspace was used by many different people to create, share ideas and learn new skills. They also used it for the after school program. This program was very popular, and it was clear that a permanent makerspace would be a great asset at the library. This grant will help purchase equipment such as laminator kit, button maker kit, embroidery/sewing machine, desktop computers and software, 3D printer, heat press, vinyl cutter and a CNC Router.

Newman Grove Public Library

This grant will purchase a cupboard and art supplies for a creative center. This creative center will provide many supplies for different crafts as well as offer the opportunities to learn new skills. The creative center will also be available to adults. Some of the items available will be a sewing machine and materials, craft items such as beads, construction paper, ribbon, buttons, colored pencils, rotary cutters, glues, canvasses, paints and more.

Lied Pierce Public Library

The Pierce library received a grant to help purchase supplies for their makerspace. They plan to purchase equipment such as a vinyl cutter, sublimation printer, heat press and graphic design software. The library believes these additions will assist in increasing digital literacy skills, help entrepreneurs in the area and give individuals access to technology outside of school. Patrons can use these services at no cost.

Plainview Public Library

Plainview also requested a grant to help purchase makerspace equipment. They will add a laser cutter and etcher to their makerspace. If they have enough funds, they hope to also purchase a 3D printer. There are plans to hold camps for all ages to provide opportunities for technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

Stanton Public Library

Stanton’s library is a historical building listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The building’s second floor is not handicap accessible. This grant will help fund a ramp to provide access to the second floor as well as serve as a second exit in case of emergency.

Sterling Public Library

This library is not accredited with the Nebraska Library Commission but plans to use this grant to work toward accreditation. The funding will help create a Friends of the Library 501(c)(3) organization. It will also assist with advancing the technology to enhance the services provided, such as offering e-books. The new Friends of the Library group plans to provide a workforce of nearly 20 volunteers to help with requirements of the accreditation process.

About Nebraska Community Foundation

Nebraska Community Foundation unleashes abundant assets, inspires charitable giving and connects ambitious people to build stronger communities and a Greater Nebraska.

Headquartered in Lincoln, the Foundation serves communities, donors and organizations by providing financial management, strategic development, education and training to a statewide network of 1,500 volunteers serving 260 communities.

In the last five years, 44,476 contributions have been made to Nebraska Community Foundation and its affiliated funds. Since 1994, Nebraska Community Foundation has reinvested $355 million in Nebraska’s people and places. For information, visit NebraskaHometown.org or contact Kristine Gale, Community Impact Coordinator, Nebraska Community Foundation, 402.822.0466, kgale@nebcommfound.org

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