What are they?

Every time I see this image of the Burlington Shops in Nebraska Memories, I wonder what the gray things are piled up in front of the buildings.

Burlington shops, Havelock, Nebr.

Before asking for help identifying the items I had to do my own research. I’ve learned a lot about the Burlington Shops. I still don’t know what those items are but I have some better guesses now. Before I share my guesses and ask for your help, let me tell you what I’ve learned about the Burlington Shops in Havelock.

The book Lincoln: The Capital City and Lancaster County, Nebraska, Volume 1 (1916) provides a nice history of the town and the shops. The town of Havelock was incorporated on May 6, 1893. It was located about four Burlington Shops, Havelock, Neb. miles northeast of downtown Lincoln. Around the same time, Burlington decided to locate a repair and manufacturing shop in Havelock. Work on the first building started in June of 1890. A blacksmith shop, boiler shop and a new shop building were added a few years later. The next large expansion came 1910.

I was surprised by the amount of information I was able to find about the shops and expansion that took place around 1910. I found two journals articles published in 1911 that included detailed information about the Burlington Shops. At first glance, the articles may appear to be identical but they are slightly different. They contain too much information for me to include in this post but below are links to the articles along with few highlights.

Here are a few highlights from these articles.

  • MapBoth articles provide detailed drawings of the property that includes the location and dimensions of every building. I found it fun to compare the map to a current bird’s eye view of the shops. Many of the builds are still being used today.
  • The newly built storehouse is 80 ft. wide, 500 ft. long, and three stories high. It is surrounded on three sides by a 16 ft. wide platform.
  • On the west end of the storehouse, 100 ft. of space on the first and second floors was designed as office space. On the first floor were “quarters of the superintendent of shops and the storekeeper. On the second floor are the stationer, medical examiner with emergency hospital fully equipped, telephone exchange, space for apprentice school and meeting room.”
    Store house, C.B.& Q. shops, Havelock, Nebr.
  • The windows in the storehouse were designed to work with the material cases that would be stored in the building. “The material cases are 5 feet wide at the bottom and are separated by space of the same width. This arrangement gives a case spacing of 10 feet center to center and 7 feet of window between two adjacent cases, the tops of which are three feet wide.”

While both of these journal articles provided me with a ton of information, I still didn’t have any good guess about the objects in the photo. I thought they might be made out of cement because if you look at the bottom of a few of the stacks you can see that a few of them have broken. Burlington shops, Havelock, Nebr.

The article A Modern Concrete Slab and Pile Plant appeared in the 1921 issue of Railway Track and Structures, Volume 17 confirms that there was a concrete plant at the Havelock shops. The article listed some of the items manufactured at the Havelock Shops. “In addition to the concrete slabs and piles, the concrete plant is equipped to manufacture concrete fence posts, platform curbs, hog troughs and some miscellaneous items.” Included with the article was a picture of concrete curb units but they do not match the items in the picture.

Now that you know a bit more about the Burlington Shops at Havelock, what do you think the items are piled in front of the boiler shop? If you haven’t already done so, take a minute and go view the image on the Nebraska Memories website. You can use the zoom function to get a better view.

What do you think they are? As you can see, there are a few different items. I can pick out three different styles for sure.

Burlington shops, Havelock, Nebr.At the far left, you can see three small piles. I think they are flat but they do have slight curve to them.

 

 

 

Burlington shops, Havelock, Nebr.In the middle of the picture are items that have a slight arch to them. If you look at the bottom of the piles, you can see a significant gap between the middle of the items and the ground. As I mentioned before a few of them have broken. Do you think these and the first items are both curbs used on curves?

 

 

Burlington shops, Havelock, Nebr.The items at the far right are much shorter. I think they have a slight arch to them. As I was looking at the picture of the roundhouse, I was wondering if these pieces could be used to line the turntable.

 

 

Burlington yards, Havelock, Nebr. Do you agree with my guesses or am I completely off track? Are these pieces used in assembling a train engine? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think they are.

If you are interested in the Burlington shops, I found two additional historical journals articles that I read but didn’t reference in this post. I thought you might enjoy reading them.

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

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. Nebraska Memories 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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Friday Reads: The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue

A newly married couple move to Quebec for the summer where Kay works as an acrobat while Theo translates a French biography on Eadweard Muybridge (famous for his photographs of galloping horses and movement).

As the couple explores the city, they find an old toy shop with a wooden puppet under a glass jar that can be seen from the dusty window. Kay falls in love with the puppet and returns often to look at it, although the shop remains closed.

On her way home late one night, Kay hears footsteps behind her. Looking for shelter, she sees a light on in the toy shop and rushes inside without a thought.

The next morning, when Theo realizes that Kay never made it home, he starts contacting the police and the other members of Kay’s group of performers. Only Egon believes that something terrible has happened and together they search the city for any trace of Kay.

In alternating chapters with Theo’s desperate search, the point of view switches back to Kay. She’s been transformed into a puppet and now resides in the back room of the toy shop which is run by the “giants” who decide which puppets get to leave and perform. Kay and the other puppets, who have all been magically transformed over the years, can only wake between midnight and dawn. With her human memories fading more each day, Kay must learn to adapt to her new surroundings unless she can somehow escape with the one puppet, Noe, who still clearly remembers her past life or be rescued.

Based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, this story is more odd/magical than creepy/horror. Slower paced, but well written and still a fairly short read.

 

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What’s Up Doc? New State Agency Publications at the Nebraska Library Commission

New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for March 2017.  Included are titles from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, the Nebraska Legislature, and the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System, to name a few.

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It’s #bookfacefriday!

Tom Osborne "More Than Winning" BookFaceIf you’re on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) and interested in libraries, you may have come across the hashtags #bookface or #bookfacefriday.

According to the New York Times “bookface involves strategically lining up your face or another body part alongside a book cover that features a matching body part so that there appears a melding of life and art.”

Mayor Helen Boosalis BookFaceTo highlight some of the Nebraska 150 books, we’ve been posing Library Commission staff (and sometimes their kids!) for our own Bookface Fridays. It’s trickier than you’d think! Fortunately we have a photographer with a great eye, and some good-natured staff!

You can see past bookface photos on the Center for the Book’s Facebook page, or check in every Friday to see the latest shot!

Has anyone at your library posted a #bookfacefriday?

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Behind the Scenes: Learn about Recording Talking Books

If you have ever wondered how a book becomes a talking book, you can find out in the most recent edition of the NCB News from the Nebraska Center for the Book. The Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service creates audio versions of print materials for the use of Nebraskans with a visual or physical condition or a reading disability that limits the use of regular print. The activities of staff and volunteers throughout the process of mapping, narration, review, postproduction, markup, and duplication are described in an article in the Spring 2017 NCB News (page 9 at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/docs/publications/NCBNewsSpring2017.pdf). For more information see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/tbbs/. To volunteer as a narrator, contact Annette Hall, Volunteer Services Coordinator, 402-471-4033, 800-742-7691, email.

 

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Throwback Thursday: Terrace Garden, Arbor Lodge State Park

Postcard of Terrace Garden, Arbor Lodge State Park, Nebraska City, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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NCompass Live: Conversation Circles: A Simple ESL Program

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Conversation Circles: A Simple ESL Program’, on Wednesday, March 29, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Learn how Los Alamos County Library System put together a simple, cost-effective English conversation program for patrons who wanted to practice their English speaking skills. Conversation circles are not English classes: you don’t need ESL teachers, a registration system or a fancy curriculum. We’ll show you how we put it together, what worked, what still needs development and share resources so you can develop your own conversation circles program.

Presenter: Elizabeth Rivera, Reference Librarian, Los Alamos County Libraries, Los Alamos, NM.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • April 5 – Making Space: Administrative Weeding
  • April 12 – Building a Digital Image Collection With Flickr: A low (or no) cost way to share your digital assets
  • April 19 – LMNOP: The Evolution of Engagement
  • April 26 – Collecting Library User Feedback: Free! high tech and low tech options that will meet your needs

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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Friday Reads: The Great Mistake, by Mary Roberts Rinehart

The Great Mistake

In the mystery series “Death on Demand”, by Carolyn Hart, several women authors of the golden age are mentioned: Agatha Christy, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, and our own Mignon Eberhart. But one author I’d never heard of was Mary Roberts Rinehart. So when an e-book edition of The Great Mistake, one of her titles, popped up on BookBub,  I bought it.

And I wasn’t disappointed. Set in a small town called Beverly set near Town, it is large enough to have a hunt club, and Society. After some digging online, I discovered the book was published in 1940, but nothing of World War II, politics, or international tensions shadow this book. I was a third of the way through before I could clearly say, “well, we don’t do that anymore”.  The characters are from all sections of society, and for the most part are treated very fairly. If anyone comes off looking churlish, it’s the homicide officer from Town, and of course, it’s part of his job, as the outsider. The main characters are all definitely rounded. There is a love story, but surprisingly enough for the time, it is low-key.  The foundation of the mystery is built skillfully, adding to the suspense.

The main character, Pat, comes into “the big house on the Hill,” to be a secretary to the widow of the billionaire who built the house for her and her son.  Maude, the widow, is a vibrant, attractive personality, and busy hostess in need of help for her parties and social responsibilities. And Pat is fond of her.  Tony is the son,  who runs the family firm in Town  and at first they merely get on each others nerves.  Pat never sets out to be a detective of any type, unlike many other main characters of mystery fiction, particularly cozy mysteries. She is meant to be more of a way for us to be a part of the mystery. The events of the story tell on her, as her employer falls mysteriously ill. Then a dear friend’s runaway & divorced husbanded returns for nursing for a terminal illness, (he says.)  A mysterious figure is seen peering in a window, and a night watchman is mugged, stripped of trousers (& keys).  The entire mystery is framed by remarks about writing the entire story down for everyone, which serves as a fine way to find out how the dangling threads are tied up. It all flows so well, the language enhances the story and never shouts out the time period. A smoother read in that regard than Christie.

Mary Roberts Rinehart, (August 12, 1876-September 22, 1958) was often called the American Agatha Christie. While she is considered the source of the phrase “the butler did it”, from her novel The Door, 1930, the writer never used that phrase in the book. She is also considered to have invented the “Had-I-But-Known” school of mystery writing in her book The Circular Staircase, 1908. She wrote novels, plays, short stories, travelogues, and was a war correspondent. With her sons she founded the publishing house Farrer & Rinehart, and served as director.

More about Mary Roberts Rinehart and lists of her titles from Wikipedia

 

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E-rate Program Webinars for Beginners

From USAC: Schools and Libraries Program Special Edition News Brief

For any libraries interested in E-rate, we strongly recommend that you attend these webinars to learn more about the program. These sessions will be useful to libraries who are new to E-rate and current E-rate libraries who just want a refresher on what E-rate is all about.

Webinars: E-rate Program Overview for Beginners

E-rate Program applicants are invited to participate in a webinar on the E-rate program and the application process for Funding Year 2017. These webinars are tailored for new E-rate applicants or anyone who needs a refresher on basic program information. During each webinar, the audience will have the opportunity to participate in a live question and answer session with members of the Schools and Libraries team.

Registration for these events is now open and available in the “Upcoming Events” section of the Schools and Libraries Trainings & Outreach page. Register for one or both webinars based on your training needs.


E-rate 101: Introduction to the E-rate Program

Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 12:00-1:00 PM CT

This webinar provides an overview of E-rate Program fundamentals, including key terms, timelines, processes, and the roles of USAC and the FCC. Learn who can apply for funding and what types of services are eligible as well as how to calculate your discounts and Category Two budgets. The presentation is a great option for first-time applicants and anyone who needs a refresher on the basics of the E-rate Program.  Register Now!

E-rate Program Application Process

Thursday, April 6, 2017, 12:00-1:00 PM CT

This webinar provides a detailed overview of the E-rate Program Application Process. We will explain the purpose and process of filing each program form, including your options for invoicing. We will also provide guidance on the requirements for choosing a vendor and what to expect during Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review. Last, we’ll cover the rules and importance of document retention. The presentation is intended for first-time applicants and anyone who needs a refresher on the basics of the E-rate Program Application Process.  Register Now!


If you can’t attend the live presentations, register for the webinars and we’ll send you a link to the recording. The recordings will also be posted in the Online Learning Library.

Equipment and Set-Up

To participate, you’ll need:

  • Minimum system requirements:
    • Click the “FAQs and System Test” button on the event’s registration page.
  • A computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.
  • Computer speakers or headset.

Need Help?

If you have any questions about the webinar, please contact USAC Outreach at outreach@usac.org.

Audience members may submit questions anytime during the live event. If the presenters are unable to answer your questions, please call the Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100 or open a customer service case in EPC.

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Throwback Thursday: Scribner High School

Postcard of Scribner High School, Scribner, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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NASA@My Library

NASA@ My Library is a national Earth and Space Science initiative that connects NASA, public libraries, and their communities.

Applications are due today, Wednesday, March 22nd.

Public libraries are invited to apply for NASA@ My Library, a STEM education initiative that will increase and enhance STEM learning opportunities for library patrons throughout the nation, including geographic areas and populations currently underserved in STEM education.

Seventy-five U.S. public libraries will be selected through a competitive application process to become NASA@ My Library Partners and participate in the 18-month project (Phase 1), with the opportunity to extend for an additional two-year period (Phase 2). Applications will be accepted from Feb. 1 to March 22, 2017. For more information or to apply online, visit https://apply.ala.org/nasalibraries.

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National Network of Libraries of Medicine April Webinars : Disasters, Data Science, and HealthReach

Crisis in the Library: Are You Prepared?

Friday, April 14, 2017, 1 pm MT/ 2 pm CT

This webinar is for the library workforce with ten simple steps to take to be aware of potential hazards and serve as a guide to actions needed to be ready for any disaster affecting the library! The session is based on the 10-Step Approach to Service Continuity Planning developed by Dan Wilson at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia Health System. Participants will be shown the tools to assess risk, identify core services and resources at the library and what can be included in a one page disaster plan. Although the webinar is a good overview for those in health sciences libraries, all kinds of libraries can benefit from and adapt the information to their needs. For more information and to register: https://nnlm.gov/class/crisis-library-are-you-prepared/7226

Librarianship and Data Science

Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 10 am MT/ 11 am CT

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from a panel of professionals who are working in the widening world of health data. Our panel presentation will consist of a data analyst, an information specialist, an academic health sciences data librarian, and a finance data librarian. The panelists will be discussing their interest in data as a career focus, the required skills needed to practice their profession, and the services they would like to see offered by librarians to support the work they do. For more information and to register: https://nnlm.gov/class/librarianship-and-data-science/7090

HealthReach: Health Information in Many Languages

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 1 pm MT/ 2 pm CT

Join us for a one-hour webinar on HealthReach, a quality multilingual, multicultural public health resource developed by the National Library of Medicine. HealthReach provides patient education materials in a number of languages and formats, a collection of tools for healthcare providers, and a collection of information on special topics, such as Emergency and Disaster, Women’s Health and Mental Health. This session will be presented by two members of the HealthReach team from the Division of Specialized Information Services at the National Library of Medicine, Laura Bartlett and Michael Honch. For more information and to register: https://nnlm.gov/class/healthreach-health-information-many-languages/7016

 

Annette Parde-Maass

Nebraska Outreach Coordinator

National Network of Libraries of Medicine | MidContinental Region

Creighton University Health Sciences Litrary

AnnetteParde-Maass@creighton.edu

402.280.4156

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MLS Classes Offered in Sioux Falls, SD

Beginning in the Fall of 2017, the School of Library and Information Management (SLIM) at Emporia State University will be offering classes in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The program is  accredited by the American Library Association and offers a two-year, 36-credit-hour Master of Library Science degree that prepares students for careers as information professionals in all types of libraries and information agencies–public, academic, school, corporate, private, government, and special libraries.

Seven core courses are offered in a blended format, with some online coursework  and some face-to-face time with professors. The face-to-face time is accomplished during  weekend intensives, with classes held on Friday nights from 6:00-9:00 p.m.  and  Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Each core course requires two face-to-face weekends per semester. Most electives are in online format. Face-to-face classes will be held at Augustana University or Siouxland Libraries. Apply by July 1, 2017. For more information, contact Kathie Buckman at kbuckman@emporia.edu or 620-341-5065 or see https://www.emporia.edu/news/03/15/2017/get-your-mls-in-south-dakota/?

 

 

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NCompass Live: Small and Rural Libraries Leading with TV Whitespace

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Small and Rural Libraries Leading with TV Whitespace’, on Wednesday, March 22, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

This presentation provides an opportunity for librarians working in small and rural library contexts to learn about the innovative applications of TV White Space (TVWS) technology in their communities. Join us to find out how small and rural libraries can implement this emerging technology and use it to collaborate with other community anchor institutions to advance access, inclusion, and crisis planning.

TVWS is an extremely valuable license-exempt radio spectrum located in the bands for traditional TV broadcast. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently made a portion of these TVWS bands of spectrum available for free, open, and shared public use (similar to WiFi). TVWS, in conjunction with WiFi, allows libraries to extend their networks of internet access strategically across their communities.

Among our objectives are to build awareness of TVWS technology, describe how TVWS wireless networks operate, and help participants develop familiarity with several library TVWS case studies. We anticipate sharing how to plan for a new TVWS network and next steps participants might take. Also discussed will be a recent project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which will give small and rural libraries the opportunity to apply to become a pilot site/early adopter of TVWS.

Presenters: Kristen Rebmann, Associate Professor, School of Information, San José (CA) State University, and Don Means, Gigabit Libraries Network.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • March 29 – Conversation Circles: A Simple ESL Program
  • April 19 – LMNOP: The Evolution of Engagement
  • April 26 – Collecting Library User Feedback: Free! high tech and low tech options that will meet your needs

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Nebraska Public Libraries Participate in IMLS Internet2® Pilot Program to Assess Rural Library Broadband

During the first week of March, three Nebraska Public Libraries had a unique  experience, participating in  kick-off site visits for a pilot program funded by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant was awarded to Internet2®, a member-owned advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2® provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve common technology challenges and to develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research, and community service missions.

Public library directors and staff in the Nebraska communities of Valley, Walthill, and Wymore each spent an afternoon with two state employees who are the technical advisors for the site visits to the five Nebraska libraries. Library staff and technical advisors examined the details of each library’s broadband profile. Susannah Spellman from Internet2® participated in site visits to the public libraries in Valley and Wymore. Susannah said, “We are delighted to partner with the Nebraska Library Commission and Network Nebraska to pilot the IMLS-funded Broadband Toolkit. Being able to leverage the library technology expertise of the Nebraska Library Commission, especially from their Library Broadband Builds Nebraska Communities BTOP grant, and the broadband and E-Rate expertise of Network Nebraska delivers an even more powerful learning experience for the library staff involved in the pilot.”

The Toolkit is designed to help library staff assess and evaluate their library’s broadband connection. Topic areas include: how broadband is delivered to the library; the library’s broadband provider; and infrastructure details including inside wiring, types of devices connecting the libraries network, age of wiring and devices, and reliability of the library network (availability and speed). The Toolkit includes links to online resources and a glossary to help guide the staff through the assessment activities. As staff work through the assessment with the technical advisors, they identify quick fixes and long-range plans that are summarized in a customized Broadband Improvement Plan for the library.

All three of the pilot libraries appreciated having an opportunity to learn about the status of the broadband in their libraries and identify improvements that can be made immediately (and in the long term) to better serve the library and their community

“The information in the Toolkit that we received will help us learn and prepare to become a bigger and better community hot spot. We were presented with resources, hands-on demos, suggestions, and best of all—a timeline to accomplish what will help us improve and be a better asset to our community,” said Janet Roberts, Library Director, Wymore Public Library.

Additional site visits are planned for the public libraries in Atkinson and Gering at the end of March.

______________________________________________________________

Internet2® was awarded a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant of $248,725 from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  Internet2® will pilot a project to develop a broadband network assessment Toolkit and training program for rural and tribal libraries in partnership with the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums; the American Library Association; the Association of Rural and Small Libraries; the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies; and Internet2® member research and education networks. The pilot will include more than thirty library practitioners in at least 30 rural public and tribal libraries across five states, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. The Toolkit will provide training for librarians to advance their understanding of and advocacy for broadband infrastructure in their libraries and will be developed to address library-specific broadband technology and infrastructure needs.

(l-r) Tom Rolfes, State of Nebraska Office of the Chief Information Officer; Janet Roberts, Wymore Public Library Director; Susannah Spellman, Internet2®, Holly Woldt, Nebraska Library Commission.

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The Luck of the Irish

At 32,599 square miles, the island that contains the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has just over two-fifths the area of the state of Nebraska. However, it has made a huge impact on the world through the immigration of its people to other places. While the largest diaspora occurred during the potato famines of the 1840s, many Irish continued to move to the United States throughout the rest of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. A fair number of them came to Nebraska.

According to Nebraska Moments by Donald R. Hickey, et al., the very first church built in Nebraska Territory was a Catholic church to serve the Irish population in 1856. Another church purported to have been built for residents of Irish descent some 26 years later was the St. James Catholic Church of Fairmont at left (Fairmont Public Library Collection). After Germans (a mix of Catholic and Protestant faiths) and Swedes (generally Lutheran), the Irish made up the third largest ethnic group of immigrants to Nebraska.

O’Neill, which has been proclaimed “The Irish Capital of Nebraska,” was named for John O’Neill, who helped establish several towns in Nebraska with Irish settlers. O’Neill, a U.S. Civil War veteran, had worked for “Home Rule” in Ireland, trying to push the British out. Some years later in 1890 that topic was raised in a program at Lincoln High School by the Photereone Society (Polley Music Library Collection). Along with a mixture of music and dramatics, students debated Irish Home Rule and discussed the issue of Chinese immigration. In two years the Chinese Exclusion Act that suspended Chinese laborer immigration to the United States was due to expire; the Act was renewed in 1892. Some people also wanted to restrict the immigration of other ethnic groups, including the Irish.

The Irish worked at a variety of jobs in Nebraska. William McGaffin, above with his son Wesley (Butler County Gallery), and his first wife Margery emigrated to the United States in the late 1860s. After spending some years in New York, the McGaffins moved to Butler County, Nebraska in 1885. McGaffin published the Bellwood Gazette that year and ran the paper into the 1920s. Joseph Haney, at right (The Lincoln Police Department Collection), was a baby when his family emigrated in 1881. From age 16-20, Haney drove a police wagon for the Lincoln police department. Another Irishman, Captain William T. B. Ireland who was born in New York, served with the Lincoln Police Department for over 20 years.

Whether or not you have descended from those earlier Irish immigrants, you might have enjoyed the St. Patrick’s Day musicale at the Temple Theatre in 1913 with song and dance (Polley Music Library Collection). I plan to enjoy some Irish dancing myself tonight across the street in the newer performing arts center. Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day!

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

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. Nebraska Memories 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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Friday Reads: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Far away from bike paths that lead to grocery stores that sell kale is Appalachia.  It runs through West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, and some parts of Tennessee and the Carolinas, too.  It’s mostly dirt-poor and the things for which it’s known—family feuds, coal mining, moonshine—seem to have little connection with modern life in other parts of America.  These days, unless Appalachia is being mocked, it’s generally ignored.

Which is why it’s strange that this memoir has struck such a chord.  It has been sitting atop the bestseller lists for months and has received coverage in tons of major media outlets.  On its face, the story doesn’t seem to be widely relatable.  J.D. Vance’s family originated in the hills and hollers of rural eastern Kentucky.  He experienced the traumas that often shadow poor communities: drug abuse, outbursts of violence, and other self-defeating behaviors.  But, unlike many, Vance escaped and prospered, eventually attending Yale and joining a San Francisco investment firm.  Hillbilly Elegy reads like a gateway into the world of “Bloody Breathitt” County, Kentucky.  But it also details the process through which Vance found a better life outside the region.  The book is interesting as a depiction of an overlooked place, but it also works as a coming-of-age story.

And it’s getting talked up as a kind of Rosetta Stone that explains election results.  The Times calls it “a civilized reference guide for an uncivilized election”.  I’m not sure that I totally buy that.  Appalachia is a pretty unique place.  I don’t know how much you can port over its attributes to cities in the Rust Belt and so on.  It’s worthwhile to examine a culture and community for its own sake, but if you’re just looking for national power brokers or explanations for electoral trends, Hazard, Kentucky might not be where you want to start.

Even if Hillbilly Elegy can’t provide pat answers to complex political questions, it’s still a good book that’s very affecting and ultimately inspiring.  If you would like to learn more about the region, I’d recommend this book, as well as two documentaries.  American Hollow focuses on the same area and lifestyle described in Hillbilly Elegy and Oxyana viciously captures the prevalence of drug addiction in Appalachian communities.   It’s great that attention is being drawn to a part of our country that’s often been forgotten—hopefully, it will lead to some real change for the region.

Vance, J. D. (2016). Hillbilly elegy: a memoir of a family and culture in crisis. New York: Harper.

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Throwback Thursday: Promenade Krog Park, Omaha, Nebraska

Postcard of Promenade Krog Park, Omaha’s Polite Resort, Omaha, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Friday Reads: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Somewhere in Chicago right now there is a wizard named Harry Dresden.  You might know him because he is the only professional wizard listed in the phone book: “Lost items found.  Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment”.  If you ever run into a werewolf, vampire, demon or other nasty creature of the night he is your man!  Just don’t ask him to perform at your son’s birthday party because he is not a magician.  That you would think that is just offensive.

Jim Butcher knows Harry the best.  There is rumor that Harry is merely a product of Butcher’s imagination, but I refuse to believe that bit of blasphemy.  I also believe in fairies and nothing you say or do will ever erase the twinkle from my eye.

In any case, Jim Butcher has written a series of books called The Dresden Files detailing some of the more notable events from Harry’s life.  The first book in the series is Storm Front where we learn that “just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t an invisible demon about to eat your face”.  Sage advice.  I must take moment here to point out that I have grown rather fond of my face and must thank Mr. Dresden for taking on said demon.  My face thanks him.

I also highly recommend listening to the audiobook version of The Dresden Files because James Marsters is magical.  Just in case you didn’t know this bit of trivia, James Marsters played Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  When I heard Mr. Marsters as Harry I am pretty sure I swooned and melted. In that order.  I was a full on puddle by the middle of the first book.

You may not be aware, but this review is in real danger of turning into a fangirl rave.  But I am a professional so I will just say that Harry Dresden is a clever private investigator who likes to break tension with a perfectly timed one-liner that will have you tittering into your morning latte.  If you like fantasy, P.I. stories, or have grown accustomed to your face, you will love Harry Dresden. Happy reading!

Butcher, Jim. Storm Front. Penguin, 2000.

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NCompass Live: Build a Better World: Summer Reading Program 2017

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Build a Better World: Summer Reading Program 2017’, on Wednesday, March 15, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services at the Nebraska Library Commission, will give brief book talks of new titles pertaining to the 2017 Summer Reading Program theme: Build a Better World.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • March 22 –  Small and Rural Libraries Leading with TV Whitespace
  • March 29 – Conversation Circles: A Simple ESL Program
  • April 19 – LMNOP: The Evolution of Engagement

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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