Friday Reads: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was banned or challenged in several communities. ALA’s Banned Book Spotlight quotes a complaint from one of the challengers, highlighting “shocking words of profanity, sexual innuendo and violence”. A reviewer on Goodreads recommends the book for older audiences because she is “all for letting kids enjoy their innocence for as long as possible”. This book does have adult themes, including alcoholism and child abuse, with the constant bitterness of death glaring between the pages.

Parents and schools can try to ban books and protect innocent minds. However, we cannot ban reservations to protect the innocent. For many kids living in these areas, life is not appropriate for a young adult audience. What is the alternative to life? We have a theme.

How do I know about reservation life? My dad is from the Bad River Band of Chippewa in Wisconsin. I grew up hearing the myths and legends of an amazing culture. The myths are better than the reality of that reservation. Poverty runs rampant, and alcohol and drugs are the strong thematic elements that propel many people through the day. The ones who leave the reservation are challenged to change their way of life. Reservations are often a small, tight-knit community. Leaving is traitorous. Leaving can mean you are no longer Indian. It’s like saying your skin changes color as soon as you cross the border. Not everyone thinks this way, and not every reservation is the same. But I’ve seen it often enough.

I didn’t grow up on the reservation. I grew up with the aftermath. That is another story. We’re here to talk about Junior, a Spokane Indian born with brain damage to alcoholic parents. He’s the protagonist of The Absolutely True Diary. This is the story of how he leaves the reservation by attending an all-white rural school, 22 miles from the reservation. He hitchhikes his way to school and back, catching fire and vitriol on both ends.

Yet he is determined to break free and make change happen. I’ve read the book, and concur that it is absolutely true. Change can be like raking over hot coals. The humor and cartoons make the pain bearable. Humor is the collection of small respites necessary to drive change to fruition. If you want to bear witness to the truth of life, laid bare by a teenage protagonist, please read this book. Read deeply, and take the wise words of a teenage Indian living through real, thematic elements: “Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community”.

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What’s Sally Reading?

YALSA Announces the 2020 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers List

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), a division of the American Library Association (ALA),  announced the list on January 8, 2020 on their blog, The Hub.  You will see the committee also chose a “top ten” out of the 64 titles on the final list.

One of the titles selected as a top ten of the list is the graphic novel Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, a Nebraska author. Deja and Josiah (who goes by Josie) are great friends and have worked together each fall at the pumpkin patch. This is the last day of their last fall together. Deja is determined to get Josie to talk to his four-year crush – the Fudge Girl. He is reluctant. This final evening is a whirlwind of hitting different parts of the Patch trying to find his crush. They encounter a snack-thief, a runaway goat, the maze, lots of chances to eat, all as Josie suffers anxiety about actually talking to Fudge Girl.     As School Library Journal (8/1/19) says, “The characters in this graphic novel are so expressive and authentic, it’s impossible not to love them…the dialog is cute, funny, and punny…”

Ms. Rowell notes in the back of the book that the Pumpkin Patch in the novel is fictional. However, illustrator Faith Erin Hicks did travel to Omaha to join Rainbow Rowell in a visit to her favorite Omaha pumpkin patch. There is a fun conversation between them at the back of the book.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers. After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Throwback Thursday: Len Franklin

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week’s #throwback is an 8″x10″ glass plate negative from the Townsend Studio collection on the Nebraska Memories archive. Townsend Studio has been in continuous operation since it was founded in 1888 by Timothy Townsend with his sons, Alva C. and Charles. In 1970, James N. Clark purchased the studio and today it is run by his son, Bradford J. Clark.

The collection includes glass plate and acetate negatives of early Lincoln an 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.

Are you interested in Nebraska history? If so, check out all the collections on 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. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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Friday Reads: The Little Book of Big Feelings: an Illustrated Exploration of Life’s Many Emotions by Maureen “Marzi” Wilson

Being the good reader that I am every holiday season I make sure to include books on my gift list. (Yes, my family still does Christmas lists but that’s a story for another time.) Sometimes I’ll ask for the latest hot fiction title, or I might want a larger coffee table book that I’ve had my eye on but couldn’t justify the price. This year though I went with something small enough to fit in my stocking.

The Little Book of Big Feelings is authored and illustrated by Marzi Wilson, creator of “Introvert Doodles”. If you’ve ever wondered about the care and feeding of your fellow introvert, or are one yourself, I highly recommend checking her out. She has a lovely little Instagram page, perfect material to scroll through when that party gets to be a bit to much and you’re taking a moment to yourself behind a potted plant. She has three other books, as well, including an activity book!

This latest book takes a look at those big feelings we all get, joy, sadness, anger and so on, how they may look different to an introvert and, greatest of all, how to deal with them. Reading this book is a great way to get perspective on those emotions and even to start processing and accepting them. Each section deals with one particular emotion in small cartoons as well as meatier parts dealing with they psychology behind them. This is a fun and easy to grasp little book that, while slightly geared towards adults, would totally be useful for those fun balls of emotions that are teens.

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#BookFaceFriday – “Conversations with Friends” by Sally Rooney

Raise your hand if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to read more! One of the best ways to accomplish that goal is by joining a book club, and have some great ‘conversations with friends’ about books! “Conversations with Friends: A Novel” ( Hogarth, 2017) by Sally Rooney is a part of our book club kit collection. It’s also available to our Talking Book & Braille customers who are looking for a new read in the new year! Check out all of our Book Club titles and TBBS services to start tackling your goals today!

“An insightful look at what it’s like to be young, smart, and deeply confused about friendship and love . . . It’s like an Ask Polly letter in the form of a novel, in the best possible way.”The Cut

This week’s #BookFace models are Anna Walter and Holly Atterbury, two of our Talking Book & Braille Service Library Readers Advisors!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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“Cataloging Video Recordings” class registration now open!

Video materials make up a significant portion of today’s libraries’ collections. Attend this workshop to learn about copy and original cataloging of video recordings in a variety of formats, including DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and streaming video. Topics will include series/episodes, cast notes, editions, and access points.

This class will be held online from February 3 to March 9. To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments by March 13th.

Class participants will access the course web site in order to read materials, discuss issues in a forum, and complete assignments. The class is held asynchronously, which means that participants are not required to be online at any particular time during the six weeks; however, there is a class schedule with due dates that participants are expected to meet. The instructor will interact with the participants during the course to offer feedback and provide explanations of material.

A few days before the class starts, class participants will be sent information about accessing the class.

Prerequisite: “Understanding MARC21 Bibliographic Records” class.

To register: Go to Cataloging Video Recordings in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes January 26th.

This workshop is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification Program. Courses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library. This class is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification Program

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Throwback Thursday: Breakneck Hill

It’s the first #ThrowbackThursday of the new year!

Southeast of Crawford, Nebraska, a dirt road snakes its way down a steep and rugged hill called Breakneck Hill. The rural road this hill is located on was a primary road for farmers and ranchers in the area. The road still exists today.

This 5″x7″ black and white photograph is owned by the Crawford Historical Society and Museum. The Crawford Historical Society and Museum, in partnership with the Crawford Public Library, digitized a number of images of the Crawford area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The collection includes portraits of Crawford residents, photographs of local businesses, and souvenir postcards. Check out more materials in this collection on 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. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 12

The Twelfth Census: Census Day was June 1, 1900.

William McKinley was President of the United States on Census Day, June 1, 1900.

Authorizing Legislation

In the act authorizing the 1900 census, Congress limited census content to questions dealing with population, mortality, agriculture, and manufacturing. Reports on these topics, called “Census Reports,” were to be published by June 30, 1902. The act also authorized special census agents to collect statistics relating to incidents of deafness, blindness, insanity, juvenile delinquency, and the like; as well as on religious bodies; utilities; mining; and transportation, among others. These statistics were to be collected following the completion of the regular census. The preparation of the special reports developed from these statistics was to be accomplished in such a way so as to not interfere with the completion of the Census Reports.

The act also changed the title of the chief officer of the Census Office from “supervising clerk of the census” to “director of the census.” Additionally, a new position, assistant director of the census, to be filled by “an experienced practical statistician,” was established. The director was given the power to appoint staff based on noncompetitive examinations. However, in practice, positions were given to political referrals.

Enumeration

The Departments of War and the Navy enumerated military personnel (including those who were abroad). Indian Territory was enumerated with the cooperation of the commissioner of Indian affairs.

Hawaii, which had been annexed in 1898, was included in the census for the first time. (A census of Puerto Rico and Cuba had been carried out by the War Department in 1899. Under the direction of the Philippine Commission, a census of that territory was taken in 1903.)

Intercensal Activity

In 1902, the formerly temporary Census Office was made a permanent organization within the Department of the Interior. In 1903, it became the Census Bureau and was moved to the new Department of Commerce and Labor.

The transition from a temporary to a permanent agency was sometimes controversial. One of Congress’s goals in creating the new department was to centralize many of the overlapping statistical offices scattered throughout the bureaucracy; Census Bureau officials attempted, without much early success, to assume the role as chief statistical agency of the federal government. These aspirations were hindered, in part, by the Census Bureau’s subordinate position within the Department of Commerce and Labor.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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Apply for a CE Grant!

There’s still time to apply for a CE Grant to attend the ARSL 2020 conference before January 17th! This is an awesome opportunity to attend an out-of-state but nearby conference focused on rural and small libraries! Though the conference is in September, registration opened in spring last year (and sold out very quickly). Best to plan early!

Applications are now open to library students, librarians employed in an accredited public library, and library board members! Please see details in the links below.

This year, the Nebraska Library Commission is offering individuals $500 grants to attend the annual Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) 2020 Conference in Wichita, Kansas (Sept. 30th to Oct. 3rd)! Funding could go towards the cost of travel, hotel, meals, and/or registration costs.

CE grants are open to applicants who are either 1) currently employed in an accredited Nebraska public library at the time of application and for the duration of the conference, 2) a current board member of an accredited Nebraska public library at the time of application and for the duration of the conference, or 3) a student enrolled in a certificate or degree program with a concentration in library and information science or school library media at an accredited college or university for Fall 2020.

More details about the grant requirements, along with the application forms can be found in the links below.

If you have any questions, please contact Holli Duggan, CE Coordinator.

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NCompass Live: Summer Reading Program 2020: Imagine Your Story

Join us online tomorrow as we get ready for the 2020 Summer Reading Program Imagine Your Story on NCompass Live with the NLC’s Children and YA Services Coordinator, Sally Snyder.

NOTE! This NCompass Live will be on Tuesday December 31, due to the New Year’s Day holiday. It will be at the usual time, from 10am – 11am Central Time.

Log in at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/scripts/calendar/eventshow.asp?ProgID=18875

Get ready for next summer by learning about quality books to consider for your library’s collection and start planning for Imagine Your Story. Kids will be clamoring for both fiction and nonfiction titles as they explore the worlds of fairy tales, myths, legends, and even their families’ own stories of their history. These are the topics for the 2020 Summer Reading Program.

Presenter: Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, Nebraska Library Commission

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Jan. 8, 2020 – Rescheduled due to technical issues – United for Libraries – Trustees, Advocates, Friends, and Foundations: The Voice for America’s Libraries
  • Jan. 15, 2020 – Best New Children’s Books of 2019: Discovering New Books for the Young and the Young at Heart
  • Jan. 22, 2020 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Jan. 29, 2020 – Community Engagement: Straight Talk
  • Feb. 5, 2020 – Best New Teen Reads of 2019
  • Feb. 12, 2020 – Legal Research for Non-Lawyers and Librarians

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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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 11

The Eleventh Census: Census Day was June 2, 1890.

Benjamin Harrison was President of the United States on Census Day, June 2, 1890.

Authorizing Legislation

An act signed into law March 1, 1889 authorized the census of 1890, which was modeled after the 1880 enumeration.

Enumeration

Because June 1 was a Sunday, the 1890 enumeration began on June 2. The census employed 175 supervisors, with one or more appointed to each state or territory, except Alaska and the Indian Territory. Subdivisions assigned to a single enumerator were not to exceed 4,000 inhabitants. In cities designated by 1880 census results to have populations under 10,000, the enumeration was to be completed within two weeks. Enumerators were required to collect all information required by the act by a personal visit to each dwelling and family.

The 1890 questionnaire retained almost all of the inquiries from the 1880 census, and a few new questions were added. The 1890 census included a greater number of subjects than any previous census and more than would be included in those immediately following. New entries included questions about ownership and indebtedness of farms and homes; the names, as well as units served in, length of service and residences of surviving Union soldiers and sailors and the names of the widows of those who had died. Another new question dealt with race, including “Japanese” as a category for the first time, along with “Chinese,” “Negro,” “mulatto,” “quadroon,” “octoroon,” and “white.”

The population schedule was changed so that a separate sheet was used for each family, irrespective of the number of persons included.

As in 1880, experts and special agents were hired to make special enumerations of manufactures, Indians living within the jurisdiction of the United States, and a separate enumeration of Alaska. Furthermore, the schedule collecting social statistics was withdrawn from enumerators; the work of obtaining statistics concerning mines and mining, fisheries, churches, education, insurance, transportation, and wealth, debt, and taxation, also was conducted by experts and special agents.

For the first time, enumerators were given detailed maps to follow so they could account for every street or road and not stray beyond their assigned boundaries.

Technological Advancement

The 1890 census was notable as the first in which the electric tabulating system, invented by former Census Office employee Herman Hollerith, was used. Tabulation of the 1880 census results took almost a decade to complete, and officials hoped Hollerith’s machine would alleviate delays caused by relying on hand counts and rudimentary tallying machines to process data.

Hollerith’s machine required information from the census questionnaires to be transferred to a card, which was hole-punched at various places to indicate the characteristics – age, sex, color, marital status, etc. – of a person enumerated. The cards were then run through an electronic tabulating machine, which, using metal pins to complete circuits through the punched holes, counted or cross-tabulated different characteristics.

Intercensal Activity

Robert P. Porter served as superintendent of census until his resignation on July 31, 1893. On October 3, 1893, Congress enacted a law that directed census-related work to continue under the direction of the commissioner of labor. On March 2, 1895, a further act of Congress closed the Census Office and transferred the unfinished work to the office of the secretary of the interior, where it continued until July 1, 1897.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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Friday Reads: Exile from Eden, by Andrew Smith

Exile from Eden, the featured title in this Friday Reads, is the sequel to Andrew Smith’s 2014 apocalyptic novel, Grasshopper Jungle, which I claimed as my new favorite book in a July 15, 2016 Friday Reads. I guess, therefore, this is a sequel Friday Reads.

Exile from Eden begins sixteen years after six-foot-tall praying mantises with a taste for human flesh forced Austin Szczerba, Robby Brees, and Shann Collins, along with Robby’s mother, Connie Brees, her boyfriend, Louis Sing, Shann’s mother and stepfather, Wendy and Johnny McKeon, and Austin’s dog, Ingrid, to hole up in an underground bunker, called Eden. During these sixteen years, Johnny McKeon and Ingrid have died, and Arek Szczerba and Mel Sing have been born. Arek is the son of Austin and Shann, though he considers Robby his second father. Mel is the daughter of Connie and Louis.

Narrated by sixteen-year-old Arek, Exile from Eden tells the story of what happens when he and fifteen-year-old Mel leave Eden (or, as Arek calls it, “the hole”) to search for Austin and Robby, who have failed to return from one of their regular supply-gathering missions. A road trip adventure ensues. As was the case with Grasshopper Jungle, however, Exile from Eden is about so much more than a mere plot summary would suggest. After all, as Austin stated in Grasshopper Jungle, “[g]ood books are about everything.”

In Grasshopper Jungle, Austin was obsessed with recording history and telling the truth. In Exile from Eden, Arek, his son, also ruminates on truth—how we construct it for ourselves and try to convey it to others: “All stories are true the moment they are told,” Arek states in the opening sentence of the book. “Whether or not they continue to be true is up to the listener” (3).

Because he was born and raised in the hole, Arek has no firsthand knowledge of the before-the-hole world, and extremely limited exposure to the new post-apocalyptic world outside the hole. To address this deficit, his father, Austin, brings back artifacts—including books, maps, and paintings—to try to build a model of the world for Arek. As Arek discovers after leaving the hole, however, “the model . . . is not the thing” (110). This leads him to further epistemological exploration of what we can know and how we can know it:

. . . My father’s model of the world was supposed to represent everything that was outside the hole. The only thing that can re-present anything real is the thing itself. No models can ever adequately perform that job.
    The model presents—and re-presents—only the model, and nothing more.
    And the data—what’s really outside the hole—does not call to us, so we must go to it, and then interpret its meaning with our incompetent human minds. The data is mute; we give it an imperfect voice. (110)

Exile from Eden juxtaposes the before-the-hole world, with its rules and protocols, shame and inhibitions, with the terrifying, unstructured freedom offered by the after-the-hole world. In Eden, Arek’s grandmother, Wendy–“SPEAKER OF LAWS” (20), believer in following instructions, and segregator of the sexes—represents the pre-hole world. The promise of the post-hole world, on the other hand, is captured most powerfully by a line from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, recited by Arek’s father, Austin, after he and Arek finish reading the book aloud to each other: “In landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God” (244).

At one point, Austin tells Arek “you and Mel are like the first humans on earth. You are the new people, without the baggage everyone carried with them, without end, from before” (188). Indeed, after months outside the hole, Arek describes Mel and himself as “joined to the world outside, not as pieces of a model, but as the thing itself” (347).

In the final chapter, when he and Mel finally reunite with Austin and Robby, Arek, channeling Melville, describes himself as “Shoreless Man.” And when Austin asks how he likes it outside the hole, Arek replies “There are no rules, and it’s wild” (353). Based on the premise set up throughout the book, this is a good thing and a happy ending.

Smith, Andrew. Exile from Eden. New York: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2019.

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#BookFaceFriday – “Curmudgeons, Drunkards, & Outright Fools by Thomas P. Lowry

As you prepare to ring in the new year, don’t get caught in a compromising position like those in our #BookFaceFriday, Thomas P. Lowry’s “Curmudgeons, Drunkards, & Outright Fools: Courts-Martial of Civil War Union Colonels” (Bison Books, 2003). Lowry details the misdeeds and misfortunes of fifty colonels and lieutenant colonels during the war between the North and South. This title is published by Bison Books, an imprint of University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state documents program.

Lowry has taken the genre of the historical underside to its proper scholarly limits; he has coupled the lurid and the weird with excellent research and analysis. – Civil War Times

This week’s #BookFace model is neither curmudgeon, nor drunkard, nor fool. It’s Matt Hier, our new Audio Production Studio Manager!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Throwback Thursday: Omaha Community Playhouse

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week’s #throwback features an 8.5″ x 11″ black and white glossy photograph of the east side of the Omaha Community Playhouse in 1976.

From 1928 until 1959, the Omaha Community Playhouse occupied a building at 40th & Davenport. In 1959, it moved to a bigger and newly-constructed building at 69th and Cass, where it currently resides. The theater was renovated after a tornado hit in 1975. The renovations resulted in a second story and new glass-fronted lobby.

This image is provided and owned by the Omaha Community Playhouse. Their collection includes digitized images of the Playhouse and some of its performances. Some of the actors included in these images are Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, and Dorothy McGuire. Check out this collection on 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. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Machine Learning on Code.org

Happy holidays everyone! This post will be short and sweet as we get ready for the holiday week. I stumbled across this Machine Learning activity on Code.org to help kids learn about the impact of artificial intelligence. The lesson has eight sections and is jam-packed with good information!

It starts with a video from two practitioners in the field, speaking without jargon for a younger audience. Honestly, this activity is fun and informative for adults as well!

You’ll learn how machine learning learns how to read data to make predictions about incoming data. The activities in this set are all ocean themed! Start by teaching the AI algorithm how to tell the difference between what is a fish, and what isn’t a fish to sort pollutants out of our water. Then, move on to find out how bias can enter the equation.

Eight sections later, and you will have learned the basics of how machine learning works, along with some of the pitfalls. Extend the activity by trying to apply it to other situations. Which occasions work best for machine learning in the real world? What doesn’t work as well?

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E-rate Form 471 Application Filing Window Dates Announced

From the USAC website:

FY2020 Application Filing Window Dates Announced

The FCC Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2020 will open Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at noon EST and close at 11:59pm EDT on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. You can read the USAC announcement for full details.

To prepare for the window opening:

  • If you haven’t already done so, file your FCC Form 470 now! You don’t need to wait for the window to open.
    • To file your FCC Form 470, log into the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC). You must wait 28 days after your FCC Form 470 is posted to the USAC website before you can close your competitive bidding process, select a service provider, sign a contract (if applicable), and submit an FCC Form 471. If you issue an RFP after the FCC Form 470 is posted, you must wait 28 days from the release of the RFP to select a service provider.
    • Wednesday, February 26 is the deadline to post your FCC Form 470 to the USAC website or issue an RFP and still complete all of these actions before the window closes.
  • Log-in or create your account in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and then review, update or assign user rights for anyone who will need access for FY2020. Review your EPC profile and confirm all of your information is accurate including your organization’s name, address, and other details. Your profile is now unlocked and available for you to insert any further updates but will be locked again before the filing window opens. Libraries should confirm their square footage, main branch, and public school district of the main branch information is correct and that any bookmobiles or kiosks are included.

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

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

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Watch Me Build a Virtual World Using A-Frame

‘Watch Me Build a Virtual World Using A-Frame’ is the Pretty Sweet Tech topic on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar.

NOTE! This NCompass Live will be on MONDAY DECEMBER 23, due to the Christmas Day holiday and the federal/state holiday on Tuesday, December 24. It will be at the usual time, from 10am – 11am Central Time.

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

Sometimes it helps to see someone else do it. I’ve described this process a bunch of times, now you can watch me do it, live and in person! That’s right. Things might get a little messy.

Luckily, you will have the chance to follow along if you so choose. The tools are all free, and all you need is a bit of background with how HTML tags work. A bit of CSS never hurt anyone, but HTML is the important part at this stage. If you don’t have that background, feel free to watch anyway. It’s easy and fun to learn how to build a mini virtual world.

The Tools:

That’s it. Not too bad at all. It’s time to see VR get made.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 31 – Summer Reading Program 2020: Imagine Your Story
  • Jan. 8, 2020 – Rescheduled due to technical issues – United for Libraries – Trustees, Advocates, Friends, and Foundations: The Voice for America’s Libraries
  • Jan. 15, 2020 – Best New Children’s Books of 2019: Discovering New Books for the Young and the Young at Heart
  • Jan. 22, 2020 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Jan. 29, 2020 – Community Engagement: Straight Talk
  • Feb. 5, 2020 – Best New Teen Reads of 2019
  • Feb. 12, 2020 – Legal Research for Non-Lawyers and Librarians

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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#BookFaceFriday – “Mr. Dickens and His Carol” by Samantha Silva

Bah! Humbug! and Happy Holidays from #BookFaceFriday!

Don’t let the ghost of Jacob Marley get you down! A good book, a cozy blanket, something warm to drink. This is the perfect recipe to put any Scrooge into the holiday spirit. We have ten copies of “Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel” by Samantha Silva (Flatiron Books, 2017) and an audio version for our TBBS users as well. Reserve it for your book club to read next holiday season! You should also take a peek at all of our holiday-themed book club kits!

In the collection we have 114 holiday titles, 81 of which have 4 or more copies. If a library is looking to weed some of their holiday titles – they can think of us because we’re always happy to add to this particular collection!

These titles are very popular in November and December, with some book club groups reserving their choices up to a year in advance! NLC staff keep their eyes peeled for holiday-themed books year-round in order to meet the demand come the first snowfall.

Mr. Dickens and His Carol is a charming, comic, and ultimately poignant story about the creation of the most famous Christmas tale ever written. It’s as foggy and haunted and redemptive as the original; it’s all heart, and I read it in a couple of ebullient, Christmassy gulps.”
―Anthony Doerr

This week’s #BookFace model could be considered by some, our very own office Scrooge, but with a heart of gold. It’s Jerry Breazile, our Business Manager!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Nebraska During the New Deal–The Federal Writers’ Project in the Cornhusker State by Marilyn Irvin Holt

I don’t generally read a lot of non-fiction, but occasionally I come across a title that really catches my Nebraska history eye: Nebraska During the New Deal : the Federal Writers Project in the Cornhusker State. And for those not already familiar with the writing of Marilyn Irvin Holt (The Orphan Trains, Children Of the Western Plains, and others), her meticulous research and insightful writing never disappoints. I highly recommend her newest title as another excellent example of the history of Nebraska and the Nebraska spirit.

As a New Deal program, the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) aimed to put unemployed writers, teachers, and librarians to work. The contributors were to collect information, write essays, conduct interviews, and edit material with the goal of producing guidebooks in each of the then forty-eight states and U.S. territories. Project administrators hoped that these guides, known as the American Guide Series, would promote a national appreciation for America’s history, culture, and diversity and preserve democracy at a time when militarism was on the rise and parts of the world were dominated by fascism.

Marilyn Irvin Holt focuses on the Nebraska project, which was one of the most prolific branches of the national program. Best remembered for its state guide and series of folklore and pioneer pamphlets, the project also produced town guides, published a volume on African Americans in Nebraska, and created an ethnic study of Italians in Omaha. In Nebraska during the New Deal Holt examines Nebraska’s contribution to the project, both in terms of its place within the national FWP as well as its operation in comparison to other state projects.  (University of Nebraska Press)

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Throwback Thursday: “A Christmas Carol”

Christmas is right around the corner and we thought this photograph was perfect for this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

The Omaha Community Playhouse put on its first production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in 1976. The novella was adapted for the stage by Charles Jones, one of the Playhouse’s directors.

This color photograph from the late 1970s or early 1980s is provided and owned by the Omaha Community Playhouse. The Omaha Community Playhouse collection includes digitized images of the Playhouse and some of its performances. Some of the actors included in these images are Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, and Dorothy McGuire.

Check out this collection and many more on 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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