Category Archives: Uncategorized

Friday Reads: The Book of Tomorrow, A Novel by Cecelia Ahern

Once again, I have come across a book in the mystery sub-genre of Bibliomystery.  In The Book of Tomorrow, Cecilia Ahern’s intriguing narrative proves to be much more captivating than just a whimsical young adult novel.

At first glance, Tamara Goodwin is nothing more than a poor little rich girl. But in one fell swoop, Tamara loses her father to suicide, her family’s lavish Dublin home to crippling debt and misfortune, her mother to a depression so debilitating that she can’t even get out of bed, and her friends. With dwindling options, Tamara and her mother pack their bags for Meath, a small town in the Irish countryside where Tamara’s distant aunt and uncle reside. Bored and restless, Tamara stumbles upon an old, padlocked diary one day while chatting with the cute boy that runs a lending library out of the back of a van. Shortly thereafter she discovers that the peculiar diary includes entries for one day in the future, seemingly authored in her own handwriting. Each day she finds herself startled by the accuracy of the prophetic diary, eventually learning to use its foresight to help her out of an unsettling situation in Meath, finding herself, and coming to terms with her father’s suicide and dark family secrets.

Cecelia Ahern is also the author of P.S. I Love You, so if you are a fan of that book, as well as a fan of Ahern in general, I’m sure you’ll also enjoy The Book of Tomorrow!

 

 

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Throwback Thursday: Lincoln Fire Department

Check out this week’s #ThrowbackThursday from the Nebraska Memories archive.

This 8″x10″ glass plate negative shows the interior view of a Lincoln Fire Department around the early 1900s. Harnesses are suspended from the ceiling and hooked up to two wagons in order for the horses to be quickly hitched up.

This photo is courtesy of Townsend Studio. Townsend studio has been in continuous operation since it was founded in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1888 by Timothy Townsend with his sons, Alva C. and Charles. The studio holds a collection of glass plate and acetate negatives of early Lincoln and early residents including General John J. Pershing, William Jennings Bryan and Mari Sandoz; images also include University of Nebraska and high school sports teams, state governors and Lincoln Mayors.

Interested in Nebraska history? Find out more about this photo in the Nebraska Memories archive!

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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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.

Presenter:

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.

REGISTRATION DETAILS: 

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.

REGISTER NOW

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2020 Census: Key Roles for Libraries

In 2020, the Census will be conducted primarily online for the first time. Like past e-government efforts, this will likely impact libraries and libraries’ technology resources as staff work to assist people in participating in the Census. The 2020 Census also presents an opportunity to increase public awareness and use of Census data. To best position libraries to support our communities in the 2020 Census, ALA is engaging with the Census Bureau and other stakeholders to ensure that libraries are informed and represented in the policy discussions and planning process. ALA is advocating for a fair, accurate, and inclusive Census that recognizes the roles libraries will play in this vital civic effort.

Want to stay up-to-date on our work to prepare for the 2020 Census? Subscribe to ALA’s Census newsletter.

Why the Census is Important

  • Representation: The decennial count of all U.S. residents is required by the U.S. Constitution to determine representation in Congress and the Electoral College (known as reapportionment). This data is also the basis for drawing districts for federal, state, and local offices (known as redistricting).
  • Funding: The Census is key to the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding to states and localities (such as grants to states under the Library Services and Technology Act).
  • Information: Data resulting from the Census is widely used by researchers, governments, businesses, and other organizations (to, for example, plan for library services).

Key Roles for Libraries

  • Partners in E-Government: In 2020, the Census Bureau for the first time will encourage residents to complete the Census questionnaire online, starting in March 2020. Like past e-government efforts, this likely will place additional demands on library staff and technology resources to enable people to complete the Census questionnaire. (Other response methods will also be available.) Libraries can use their experience partnering with government to assist their communities in achieving a fair, accurate, and inclusive count.
  • Education and Community Outreach: Libraries have the opportunity to educate their communities about the Census. In the 2010 Census, more than 6,000 library locations hosted Census Bureau outreach activities.
  • Public Spaces: Census Bureau field staff often utilize community rooms in libraries as affordable temporary workspaces, such as for staff hiring and training. Other community stakeholders may also use library meeting rooms to host events related to the 2020 Census.

Advocacy for a Fair, Accurate, and Inclusive Census

Learn More

Courtesy of the American Library Association:  http://www.ala.org/advocacy/govinfo/census

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Countdown to the 2020 Census

What Is the 2020 Census?

The 2020 Census counts every person living in the United States and five U.S. territories—once, only once, and in the right place. This census is conducted every 10 years by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency.

Why We Do It

The results of the census determine your congressional representation as well as federal funding for states and communities. Every year, more than $675 billion goes toward hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and more.

It’s also mandated by the Constitution: The United States has counted its population every 10 years since 1790.

When You Can Take the 2020 Census 

By April 1, 2020, households will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You’ll then have three ways to respond: online, by phone, or by mail.

You can find a detailed timeline for 2020 Census activities here.

And for the first time ever, you’ll be able to respond to the census online! Sign up below for a reminder to complete the 2020 Census.

Everyone Must Complete the 2020 Census

If you live in the United States, you are required by law to participate in the 2020 count, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical, as the results of the 2020 Census will affect congressional representation, community funding, and more.

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Important FEMA Information for March 2019 Flooding

APPLYING FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE THROUGH FEMA AND NEMA

Cultural institutions and arts organizations in declared counties that were impacted by the March flooding may be eligible for Federal assistance via:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA)
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans

If your organization or institution is affiliated with a government entity, such as a public university, you should communicate with that government entity regarding your damage and any expenditures (overtime of personnel, purchases, etc.) to protect your facilities. The information below doesn’t necessarily apply to your institution or organization because your expenditures will be included as part of your government entity – but only if that government entity is aware of your damage.

In a Nutshell: File, File, File 

  1. File a claim with your insurance company immediately. Follow all the deadlines set by the insurance company, and submit all documents and information requested within the deadlines set by the insurance company. FEMA will want to see a settlement or denial letter from your insurance company to ensure that benefits are not duplicated, so be sure to file an insurance claim promptly. If you still have unmet needs or damages that the insurance company does not cover, then FEMA may be able to provide you with assistance.
  1. File for a Small Business Administration disaster loan as well. Complete and submit the application as soon as possible. The deadline to apply for an SBA Business Physical Disaster Loan is Mon., May 20. Submitting the application does not obligate you to accept an SBA loan, but it is a necessary step to being considered for other forms of federal disaster assistance, including FEMA Public Assistance.            https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance
  1. File for FEMA Public Assistance. The deadline to apply for Public Assistance is Mon., May 20. After that date, the State and FEMA are not obligated to process your application. Go to Public Assistance page of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency for information that includes a list of declared counties and the forms that need to be submitted: https://nema.nebraska.gov/recovery/public-assistance.
    1. For an explanation of the Public Assistance process via a virtual Applicant Briefing webinar, watch the YouTube video on that page. 

Questions? Contact NEMA-PA at nema.publicassistance@nebraska.gov.

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FREE 2019 Summer of Space Learning Program!

In the summer of 2019, 16,000 libraries across the country will celebrate space exploration in their summer reading programs. The slogan “A Universe of Stories” was chosen by library professionals to help inspire children of all ages to dream big, believe in themselves, and create their own story. The Collaborative Summer Learning Program and STAR Net are partnering to share STEM resources with these libraries.

This summer learning program will coincide with NASA’s 60 years of achievement and its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

This is a free program funded primarily by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. All giveaways, resources, and activities are available at no cost.

In order to participate, your library must be a public library within the United States and register at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/universe-of-stories-registration

The 2019 Summer of Space campaign does not require a paid subscription. You will, however, receive one newsletter a month highlighting resources.

You can register multiple libraries and branches in your system separately, providing  an email address and point of contact for each.

The benefits of registering are: Access to STAR Net’s webinar series, a chance to win everything from a telescope, tactile books, and Scholastic books to NASA Stickers and calendars.  New and exciting activities that connect well with A Universe of Stories and blogs highlighting events and competitions around the U.S.

Be sure to visit http://www.starnetlibraries.org/summer-of-space/ for more information and programming resources.

ALSO,  SAVE THE DATE!

On Monday, July 15th, join us for a Live Webcast Event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission. This live webcast, brought to you by the American Museum of Natural History, will feature a guided recreation of the Apollo 11 voyage – the space-flight that landed the first two astronauts on the Moon.

Note: More info will be available in future newsletters.

 

 

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Libraries Ready to Code

Coding is no secret. In fact, there’s an almost paralyzing amount of information available to people. So much that it can be difficult to decide where to start and where to go next. Knowledge of computers and technology is rapidly becoming vital to life, but many people don’t have a computer science or technology background. And that’s okay.

In 2017, the American Library Association (ALA) and Google saw this and partnered together to make Libraries Ready to Code. Librarians and educators from 30 different libraries worked on their own project to decide what “coding” means to them and how to best introduce it to their own communities. The result is s set of tools that has been made freely available to us all.

This resource is geared towards all experience levels, so you can filter resources by experience level: “I’m Getting Started”, “I’ve Had Some Practice”, and “I’m Experienced”. Some of these resources are further divided into subject categories like art and fashion, while others are parceled out by recommended age range. Either way, this resource is a great place to connect K-12 students with computational thinking and “coding” skills.

But keep in mind that this is just a drop in the bucket of what is available. Not everyone learns the same way either. Feel free to look to these learning tools as inspiration to build your own. Think of Libraries Ready to Code as a starting point on the long road towards future-ready technology.

Keep an eye out for students who devour every resource on this list, then ask for more. Ask them what they want to learn, then do a little digging to find out which resources you need to make it happen. You might not know every line of code that makes a product work, but you can connect interested students with the information they need to learn.

At one time, information took the form of books and journal articles. Now that information may appear in a Raspberry Pi or  YouTube video. It’s time to curate our ever-changing resources. But do yourself a favor and don’t try to learn every bit of technology on the planet. You would be in for a world of hurt.

Start asking students to teach as they learn. There is no telling what people are capable of when given the tools to learn. Take a look at this Virtual Reality headset and software built by a group of high school students in France. Their passion was to make technology accessible to all income levels. They learned more thoroughly with the intent to teach. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, machine learning and more are all at our fingertips.

Technology is not slowing down, and neither are libraries. We can work together to curate resources and pave the way towards a better future.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Flame Wars and Trolls, Oh My!

The other day I came across a forum called “How to Deal With Flaming Trolls”. I won’t link to it here because the content took a turn about halfway through. But it is an important topic.

Lifewire defines ‘flaming‘ as a “means to attack someone verbally online…flaming is about hurling insults, transmitting bigotry, name-calling, or any outright verbal hostility”. The meaning of ‘trolling‘ seems similar, but “an internet troll is an abusive or obnoxious person who purposely seeks to get a rise out of others, either online or in real life”. Basically, a troll is a habitual flamer. You can see how the forum took a turn halfway through.

Anyway, different online platforms will deal with flaming and trolling in different ways. Many private, moderated forums will have a written policy for this situation. A good example is Mozilla’s Forum Etiquette ground rules. Their number one rule is to “Be Civil: No personal attacks. Do not feel compelled to defend your honor in public. Posts containing personal attacks may be removed from the news server”.

I like this example because Mozilla didn’t use any special jargon to remind people to be a good person. They also firmly reminded users not to rise to the bait to try to “defend their honor in public”. Being unjustly defamed in public is a big cause for flame wars. For bonus points, read the “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” section. Wise words Mozilla. Wise words.

Mozilla’s Etiquette guide also does a great job of reminding people to ignore trolls and flamers. It does more harm than good to engage in cyclical discussions. But there is one thing I would like to point out: this forum is mostly used by adults.

Many libraries deal with teaching children and teens online etiquette and cyber bullying prevention techniques. Much of this behavior occurs on social media or on forums that are not closely monitored. Many of us also know that impulse control is not always well-honed at this age.

Etiquette rules are more important and need to be monitored and enforced more closely at this age. Practice, repetition, and positive reinforcement is also helpful. We also can’t focus solely on our younger patrons. People of all ages could use a reminder of how to treat others respectfully, especially when we can hide behind a digital avatar.

Here are a few resources to learn about cyber bullying, flaming, and digital etiquette:

Stopbullying.gov: cyberbullying, signs of cyberbullying, and prevention tactics.

Very Well Family has an article about 5 Things to Teach Your Kids About Digital Etiquette

BrainPop has a combination of free and paid Digital Etiquette resources for educators. These are nice to have because they are animated and gamified for younger learners.

 

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Disaster Planning and Recovery

Taylor Nebraska Damaged BridgeAs the floodwaters begin to recede, many communities in our state are working to assess and repair the damage left behind. Staff at the Nebraska Library Commission and Regional Library Systems have been in contact with Nebraska libraries. With great relief, we have heard that minimal damage has been reported in the public libraries in affected areas; some wet carpet and a few flooded basements. Now those libraries can focus on helping their communities recover.

If your library is looking for information on disaster planning and materials preservation, check out our page of library-specific resources: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/preservation.aspx

If you are helping residents find information on disaster recovery, we have compiled this page of resources on NebraskAccess: http://nebraskaccess.nebraska.gov/emergency.asp

We are always updating our pages, so if you notice that we are missing a crucial resource, please reach out to us.

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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

REGISTER

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

REGISTER

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

REGISTER

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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Friday Reads: Foundryside: A Novel, by Robert Jackson Bennett

Great world buildings, eccentric characters, and a solid plot that keeps me guessing, will always catch my attention, and Foundryside, by Robert Jackson Bennett has all of that and more. In so many ways it’s also unusual–set in a tropical seaport town, of a world that has seen an apocalypse wrought by an unusual type of magic called “scriving” by the surviving, thriving, inhabitants.

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

The merchant houses of Tevanne, rediscovered the art, and used the power of “scriving” to conquer other cities, create empire, and spy on each other. The tools they create are powerful, arrows that vibrate so hard as they go through the air that they disintegrate; rapiers that accelerate when put into motion, because they believe they’re going so much faster, and can go through tree trunks; and suites of armor that barely need inhabitants to kill. So of course, they create these items, and more, behind their own walls. Each merchant house is nearly a city-state with their own culture.

The people unlucky enough not to be born to the houses, or useful to them, live in the commons, the areas outside their walls. Like Sancia, a very good thief, who has a rare ability of being able to listen, and understand the scrivings on objects–floors, walls, and locks.  A job comes her way through her fence to steal an item that’s just arrived in Tevanne. Which is when everything goes wrong, of course. The item is a very old, rare, scrived artifact, from the original practitioners of scriving, and talks, in a way. Its name is Clef. And he’s freaked out that she can hear him. She’s very freaked out that he can talk! And life just gets more complicated from there, with scions of merchant houses run amok, scrived humans (which shouldn’t exist), the already slightly crazy practitioners of a fractured art, and a lot of people doing impossible things such as shooting crossbow bolts at our heroes.

Included here is an interview with the author on SYFYWire.

Foundryside, Robert Jackson Bennett, Crown, New York, ISBN 978-1-5247-6036-6

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Nebraska Library Commission Announces New Library Innovation Studios Partners

 

FOR IMMEDIATE Nebraska Library Innovation Studios LogoRELEASE:
10:15 AM CT on February 5, 2019

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Media Contacts:
Eric Maher, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1974
Tessa Terry, Nebraska Library Commission, 402-471-3434

 

Gov. Ricketts, Nebraska Library Commission Announce New Library Makerspaces

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Library Commission announced that nine new Nebraska libraries have been selected to host Nebraska’s Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities makerspaces. They join 18 libraries previously chosen in 2017.

“This partnership demonstrates how our Nebraska communities can use technology and education to empower community residents to create, learn, and invent,” said Governor Ricketts. “By expanding the skills of the workforce in our communities, supporting entrepreneurs, and encouraging lifelong learning, this partnership reinforces our vibrant business climate and supports community development.”

The Nebraska Library Commission was awarded a National Leadership Grant of $530,732 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for this partnership project with the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL), Nebraska Innovation Studio, Nebraska Extension, Regional Library Systems, and local public libraries.

The project uses Library Innovation Studios makerspaces hosted by public libraries to support community engagement and participatory learning experiences by providing access to technology and innovative learning tools not readily accessible locally. This is expected to stimulate creativity, innovation, and the exchange of ideas to facilitate entrepreneurship, skills development, and local economic development.

The newly selected library partners that will host one of the four rotating makerspaces are:

• Kimball Public Library
• Beatrice Public Library
• Hastings Public Library
• Chadron Public Library
• Blue Hill Public Library
• Hastings Memorial Library, Grant, Nebraska
• Plainview Public Library
• Verdigre Public Library
• Laurel Community Learning Center

They join those selected in October 2017:

• Plattsmouth Public Library
• Ainsworth Public Library
• Ashland Public Library
• Crete Public Library
• Loup City Public Library
• South Sioux City Public Library
• Neligh Public Library
• Broken Bow Public Library
• Bridgeport Public Library
• Norfolk Public Library
• North Platte Public Library
• Ravenna Public Library
• Lied Scottsbluff Public Library
• Sidney Public Library, Special Model Program Partner
• Wayne Public Library
• Geneva Public Library
• Central City Public Library
• Nebraska City Public Library

Five more libraries will be selected through a final application opportunity with a March 29th deadline. All Accredited Public Libraries in communities of populations of less than 25,000 population are eligible.

This project began July 1, 2017 and will conclude June 30, 2020. For more information about the project or equipment that will be featured in the rotating makerspaces, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/grants/InnovationStudios.

“Nebraska’s public libraries are the natural gathering points for people to come together to share materials, knowledge, and experiences,” said Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner. “Whether the materials and tools are high tech or low tech, digital or analog, art or science, the focus is to create, invent, tinker, explore, and discover using the tools, materials, and knowledge available. Libraries have always been dedicated to community partnership, collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas—makerspaces are the next step in that progression.”

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.

Nebraska’s Regional Library Systems are four non-profit corporations governed by boards representative of libraries and citizens in the region. Systems provide access to improved library services by facilitating cooperation among all types of libraries and media centers within the counties included in each System area.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, their grant making, policy development, and research has helped 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 them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Nebraska Innovation Studio—the UNL makerspace—is the creative and collaborative hub of UNL’s Nebraska Innovation Campus, where makers and builders team up to conceptualize, prototype, and iterate projects that solve problems and influence change. The primary focus is on creativity, interdisciplinary collaboration, entrepreneurship, and education.

Nebraska Extension is one of three components of UNL’s land-grant mission. It is a dynamic educational organization that puts research to work in local communities, businesses, and individuals’ lives. Extension professionals are recognized for subject matter competence, excellent teaching skills, and community presence. They live and work in Nebraska communities across the state and engage with local and state partners in educational program delivery to address critical issues identified by constituents.

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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.

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Friday Reads: The Prague Sonata, by Bradford Morrow

As a librarian and pianist, the minute I read the synopsis below for this book, I knew I had to read and listen to it.  It is both a music mystery and literary mystery rolled into one.  Bradford Morrow has done a masterful job of telling the story of not only the sonata, but of Prague’s tragic and triumphant history.  I was hooked from beginning to end, and I think you will be too!

In the early days of the 21st century, pages of a worn and weathered original sonata manuscript – the gift of a Czech immigrant living out her final days in Queens – come into the hands of Meta Taverner, a young musicologist whose concert piano career was cut short by an injury. To Meta’s eye, it appears to be an authentic 18th-century work; to her discerning ear, the music rendered there is commanding, hauntingly beautiful, clearly the undiscovered composition of a master. But there is no indication of who the composer might be. The gift comes with the caveat that Meta attempts to find the manuscript’s true owner – a Prague friend the old woman has not heard from since the Second World War forced them apart – and to make the three-part sonata whole again. Leaving New York behind for the land of Dvorák and Kafka, Meta sets out on an unforgettable search to locate the remaining movements of the sonata and uncover a story that has influenced the course of many lives, even as it becomes clear that she isn’t the only one after the music’s secrets. (Audible.com)

 

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Gov. Ricketts Names Appointments to Nebraska Library Commission

Gov. Pete Ricketts recently appointed NLC LogoArunkumar Pondicherry and Lois Todd-Meyer, both of Lincoln, to three-year terms on the Nebraska Library Commission. Gov. Ricketts also reappointed Debby Whitehill Bloom, of Omaha, to a second three-year term.

Arunkumar Pondicherry is a committed community leader serving on many committees representing the state. Pondicherry is currently serving his third term as the President of the India Association of Nebraska Lincoln, a nonprofit organization. He is also currently serving as the Finance Chair for the Lancaster County Republican Party and is in the Nebraska Republican Party State Central Committee. Pondicherry has served as a Fundraising Committee member and Executive Committee member for the Hindu Temple of Omaha Nebraska, a nonprofit organization. He has also served as a Charitable and Fundraising Committee Member for Telugu Samiti of Nebraska, a nonprofit organization. Pondicherry attended and represented the State of Nebraska at the White House Briefing for Hindu American Seva in 2014. Pondicherry has served in the Matt Talbot Kitchen as a volunteer, and currently helps fund and organize First Friday Lunch every month.

Pondicherry currently works as a Consultant for IS&T /OCIO – Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. In the past, he has been integral with his work as a consultant to the Nebraska Real Estate Commission in implementing critical legislative changes in their system. His work as a consultant has led him to projects with Central Data Processing /DAS/Child Support division /Medicare/Medicaid to fulfill many legislative changes and federal requirements for their statewide system.

Lois Todd-Meyer is a long-time Nebraska educator who has a deep understanding of the important role that public libraries play in supporting the education of Nebraska’s youth. She taught high school English/Language Arts for twenty-eight years in two rural Nebraska school districts and earned her Doctorate in Education from UN-L in 2015, as part of their second cohort of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. The focus of her dissertation is adolescent literacy. She has been a member of Nebraska State Education Association throughout her career and serves on the State Government Relations Committee. Todd-Meyer is currently an adjunct English instructor at Southeast Community College and adjunct education instructor at Concordia University, teaching literacy classes at both the undergraduate and graduate level. She is a board member of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association and Nebraska Center for the Book, for which she serves as board secretary. She is also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international organization for key woman educators.

Debby Whitehill Bloom is an Investor Services Broker at TD Ameritrade and serves as Vice-chair of the Nebraska Library Commission. She is an entrepreneur with an MBA in finance and management, with specialties in recruiting, marketing, insurance, finance, and written communication. She holds series 7, series 63, life and health insurance licenses and is the owner of Whitehill Bloom Consulting, LLC, which provides recruiting services for national insurance institutions. She worked in marketing and accounting for Enron/Northern Natural Gas for eighteen years. She volunteers with King of Kings Church, Republican Party of Nebraska, Alpha Xi Delta, and Omaha Liberty Ladies. Whitehill Bloom is the author of two books: Wisdom, Whimsy and Drivel, an inspirational poetry book and Fall Textures, a children’s picture book. She is also working on other children’s books.

They join current Commissioners Michael LaCroix (Chair, Omaha), Charles Peek (Kearney), and Sandy White (Sidney) 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.”

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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.

 

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Friday Reads; Sea of Rust, by C. Robert Cargill

Sea of Rust

Not your ordinary chase adventure, shoot-’em-up, Science Fiction dystopia–Sea of Rust, by C. Robert Cargill, begins after the robot revolution, when man is gone. After the assimilation started by OWIs (One World Intelligences), which once were supercomputers that now share their consciousness with millions of individual workers called “facets”. The individual, autonomous AIs (robots) either give up, are destroyed, or escape and establish their own societies in other cities. This cycle continues until all that are left are groups in the Midwest Rust Belt, dug into new fortifications or old cities. The Midwest Rust Belt has become the Sea of Rust where robots go to die. Or a place they are sent when they go mad.

Brittle goes out into the sea to scavenge for parts for other robots, and for exchange for her own. Not a safe job. Her latest is very nearly her last. She is a rare model, and another robot, which is the same model, needs parts that only she has and she needs the parts to function. And so the running (& shooting & explosions) begins.

Many of the scenes in the Sea of Rust are horrific, and the tone is often dark. The OWIs and robots deal with the HuPop (Human Population) efficiently and ruthlessly. However, the way they do it does leave unseen damage in their personalities and on their reputations. Yes, despite being machines they do have emotions, sometime in spite of their programing. They also destroy nearly all biological life on the planet in the process of eliminating man. In eliminating humanity, many of the smaller, independent AIs discovers that they’ve eliminated their reason for existing. I was intrigued by how they became more human, showing fear of incorporation into a mainframe, or even fear of another robot’s reputation from the war.

I think you’ll find this a very thought-provoking read, very well written. This is not a young adult book. I haven’t read Robopocalipse, by Daniel H. Wilson, but I believe it would be a good contrasting read. (Yes, it’s on my to-read list!)

Before anyone brings up Asimov’s “Three Rules for Robotics”, you’ll have to read the story to see how well they hold up in Cargill’s universe.

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill, Harper Voyager, an Imprint of Harper Colins Publishers, hardback 9780062405838

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Friday Reads: Murphy’s Law, by Rhys Bowen

I have my mother-in-law to thank for introducing me to a new-to-me mystery series: The Molly Murphy Mysteries.  So far, I’ve read and listened to Book 1: Murphy’s Law, and am halfway through Book 2: Death of Riley.  This series is Mrs. Bowen’s third historical mysteries venture, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Here’s a synopsis of Murphy’s Law:

Murphy’s Law introduces us to the spunky, 19th-century Irish heroine: Molly Murphy. Defending herself from the unwelcome advances of a landowner’s son in Ireland, Molly accidentally kills him and flees to London to escape hanging.  A split second decision introduces Molly to Kathleen O’Connor, who, with her two small children, has tickets on a ship to America, where she plans to join her husband. But after discovering she has  tuberculosis, Kathleen persuades the desperate Molly to take her children to America. On board the ship, Molly attracts the loud attentions of a crude, boisterous type named O’Malley. Her public argument with him comes back to haunt her when he is found murdered on Ellis Island; Molly and a young man she befriended become prime suspects. Although the handsome young detective investigating the case, Daniel Sullivan, appears to believe Molly is innocent, Molly decides she’d better investigate on her own behalf and that of her friend. Wending her way through a gritty, pulsating underworld of recently arrived immigrants in Tammany Hall-era New York, Molly struggles to prove her innocence by any means necessary.

Complete list of the Molly Murphy series titles:

  1. Murphy’s Law (2001)
  2. Death of Riley (2002)
  3. For the Love of Mike (2003)
  4. In Like Flynn (2005)
  5. Oh Danny Boy (2006)
  6. In Dublin’s Fair City (2007)
  7. Tell Me, Pretty Maiden (2008)
  8. In a Gilded Cage (2009)
  9. The Last Illusion (2010)
  10. Bless the Bride (2011)
  11. Hush Now, Don’t You Cry (2012)
  12. The Family Way (2013)
  13. City of Darkness and Light (2014)
  14. The Edge of Dreams (2015)
  15. Away in a Manger (2015)
  16. Time of Fog and Fire (2016)
  17. The Ghost of Christmas Past (2017)
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2018 State Aid Letters Have Been Mailed

The 2018 state aid calculations are now complete. State aid letters have been mailed and payments are in process. 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 2018 (including this year’s formula). Finally, here is a link to a press release you can customize and use for your particular library.

Here is also a list of the 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 Webinar Series: The Social Library

Social Library is a regular WebJunction series featuring some of the amazing work from the libraries that we follow on Facebook. It’s a great virtual tour of how libraries are using social media to connect with their communities, promote services and programs, and engage with their patrons and fans. If you’d like to see your library featured in the Social Library series, please let WebJunction know via social@webjunction.org, or find them on Facebook.

Here are the most recent entries in the Social Library series:

Social Library, Volume 104

 News / Last Modified:20 March 2018

The latest edition of our Social Library highlights innovative ways libraries are using Facebook to connect with communities. One library is circulating fishing poles and another created a video to show that yes, people still use libraries. One libra…

Social Library, Volume 103

 News / Last Modified:20 March 2018

This edition of our Social Library series presents fresh ideas from libraries truly responding to community needs. From language classes in Cree to a lactation station for mothers, and from services for local veterans to a community discussion on new…

Social Library, Volume 102

 News / Last Modified:06 March 2018

In this next edition of the Social Library, we’re showcasing a comic con focused on diversity, patron-designed library cards, libraries as creative economic development hubs, coffee-incentivized reading, and new services for health, literacy and pare…

Social Library, Volume 95

 News / Last Modified:22 February 2018

In this edition of our Social Library series we’re highlighting a pumpkin decorating contest (no carving allowed!), a library ambassador’s take on the new Austin Public Library, a makeup workshop, a 150 celebration, and a microcollege in the Brooklyn…

Social Library, Black History Month Edition

 News / Last Modified:20 February 2018

We continue the Social Library series with this special Black History Month edition, highlighting examples of ways your library can use social media to connect your community to books, programs, videos, oral histories and other resources during the m…

Social Library, Volume 100

 News / Last Modified:06 February 2018

We began our Social Library series nearly three years ago, and we’re pleased to be publishing our 100th edition today! We’ve featured 424 different libraries, representing over 60 states and countries. We have collected each of the editions into a sp…

Social Library, Volume 99

 News / Last Modified:23 January 2018

In this, the first 2018 edition of our Social Library series, we’re highlighting a fresh set of stellar examples of libraries leveraging Facebook in innovative ways. From a fun movie tie-in contest to a reading challenge, and from staff favorites to …

Social Library, Volume 98

 News / Last Modified:04 January 2018

This fresh edition of our Social Library series is guaranteed to bring a few surprises! These libraries are adding everything from lucha libre to the DMV to their offerings, and one is presenting a unique opportunity for patrons to “read away&qu…

Social Library, Volume 90

 News / Last Modified:21 December 2017

We continue our Social Library series with this latest edition featuring dogs and dinosaurs, a mobile kitchen, and some of the innovative ways libraries are using Facebook features. Thank you to all these libraries for their great work and if you’d l…

Social Library, Volume 97

 News / Last Modified:19 December 2017

This week’s edition of our Social Library series highlights posts from five libraries we follow on Facebook, with everything from tech tips to fundraising. There’s really no limit to what you can bring to social media to engage with your community. W…

Reprinted from WebJunction Crossroads : The Newsletter for Library Learning, April 4th, 2018
Posted in Education & Training, General, Information Resources, Library Management, Programming, Technology, Uncategorized, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Leave a comment

Tax Time Help for Your Patrons

Well folks, it’s that time of year again–Tax Time!  The Nebraska Department of Revenue is not distributing forms to libraries this year, so below are some alternatives for helping your patrons.

For decades, public libraries have become unparalleled resources in their communities, far beyond their traditional, literary role. Libraries assist those who need it most by providing free Internet access, offering financial literacy classes, job training, employment assistance and more. And for decades, libraries have served as a critical resource during tax season.

Each year, more and more Americans feel as though they lack the necessary resources to confidently and correctly file their taxes on time. This is particularly true for moderate and lower-income individuals and families who are forced to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. The question is “where is help available?”

Libraries across the country are stepping up their efforts to assist local taxpayers in filing their taxes for free. Many libraries offer in-person help, often serving as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) location or AARP Tax-Aide site.  Here in Lincoln, VITA is offering this service at these locations, and forms can be printed from the Nebraska Department of Revenue website.

There is an option for free tax prep that libraries can provide—and with little required from already busy library staff. The next time that a local individual or family comes looking for a helping hand with tax preparation, libraries can guide them to a free online tax preparation resource—IRS Free File:

  • Through the Free File Program, those who earned $66,000 or less last year—over 70 percent of all American taxpayers—are eligible to use at least one of 12 brand-name tax preparation software to file their Federal (and in many cases, state) taxes completely free of charge. More information is available at www.irs.gov/freefile. Free File starts on January 12, 2018.
  • Free File complements local VITA programs, where people can get in-person help from IRS certified volunteers. There are over 12,000 VITA programs across the country to help people in your community maximize their refund and claim all the credits that they deserve, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Any individual making under $54,000 annually may qualify. More information on VITAs is available at www.irs.gov/vita. More information about AARP Tax-Aide can be found here.

With help from libraries and volunteers across the nation, we can work together to ensure that as many taxpayers as possible have access to the resources and assistance that they need to file their returns.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) hosts a website – www.taxtimeallies.org – that provides resources to inform and assist eligible taxpayers with filing their taxes including fact sheets, flyers and traditional and social media outreach tools. CCIA also encourages folks to download the IRS2Goapp on their mobile phone.

Thanks to help from libraries just like yours, we can help eligible taxpayers prepare and file their tax returns on time and free of charge.

 

District Dispatch, ALA, January 12, 2018

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