NASA MAKES THEIR ENTIRE MEDIA LIBRARY PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE AND COPYRIGHT FREE

No matter if you enjoy taking or just watching images of space, NASA has a treat for you. They have made their entire collection of images, sounds, and video available and publicly searchable online. It’s 140,000 photos and other resources available for you to see, or even download and use it any way you like.

You can type in the term you want to search for and browse through the database of stunning images of outer space. Additionally, there are also images of astronauts, rocket launches, events at NASA and other interesting stuff. What’s also interesting is that almost every image comes with the EXIF data, which could be useful for astrophotography enthusiasts.

When you browse through the gallery, you can choose to see images, videos or audio. Another cool feature I noticed is that you can narrow down the results by the year. Of course, I used some of my time today to browse through the gallery, and here are some of the space photos you can find:

What I love about NASA is that they make interesting content for average Internet users. They make us feel closer and more familiar with their work and with the secrets of the outer space. For instance, they recently launched a GIPHY account full of awesome animated gifs. It’s also great that photography is an important part of their missions, and so it was even before “pics or it didn’t happen” became the rule. The vast media library they have now published is available to everyone, free of charge and free of copyright. Therefore, you can take a peek at the fascinating mysteries of space, check out what it’s like inside NASA’s premises, or download the images to make something awesome from them. Either way, you’ll enjoy it!

 

Courtesy of 

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Friday Reads: Just One Damned Thing After Another: v.1, The Chronicles of St. Mary, by Jodi Taylor

Just One Damned Thing After Another: Chronicle of St. Mary’s, by Jodi Taylor shows how historians are trained to “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.”, but don’t call it time travel! Actually, I started this series with what I thought was the last book, Lies, Damned Lies, and History, v.7 and was so intrigued with the characters that I wanted to start the series from the beginning!

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

It begins with Max, (Madeline Maxwell), a disruptive, unhappy, student, being mentored in school by her head teacher. Next, a letter from the same head teacher, guides her from academe to the doors of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, an adjunct of the University of Thirsk. Taking the tour of the facility with her mentor, she notices some oddities: little remarks about not having had an interview, she notices they have a security section, and a hanger named after Stephen Hawking. Finally she has “the interview” with the facility, which is when the real reveal of what they do at St. Mary’s occurs. Since she studied archeology and anthropology, with emphasis in Greek and Roman times, and has experience in archeological digs, she jumps at the chance to time travel.  She signs up, and joins a small class of would be “historians”.

It is set in the UK in the fairly near future. The  relationship with the University is of course fraught with politics and academic tensions. The borders of America (The United Sates) have been closed. And a great deal of funding is going toward Mars exploration, or a possible manned Mars trip. And, as a side note, all of this is run by some members of the same institution, but from a future form of the same institution. And the muse of history is the director’s PA (personal assistant).

While it isn’t perfect, the series is fun, raucous, accident prone, and in turns, deadly serious and on a dull weekend, or too cold, or too hot Nebraska day, the perfect antidote to very nearly everything. If you grew up on James Bond, Benny Hill, Saturday Night Live, Dr. Who, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, or simply like any or all of those shows, this is just the thing for you! Especially if you don’t mind it filled with really interesting parts of History, that feel well researched.

Chronicles of St. Mary, in order, as best as I can tell:

  1. Just One Damn Thing After Another
  2. A Symphony of Echos
  3. A Second Chance
  4. A Trail Through Time
  5. No Time Like the Past
  6. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  7. Lies, Damned Lies, and History
  8. And the Rest is History
  9. An Argumentation of Historian

Various Short Stories–Please muddle through them as you will!

Just One Damned Thing After Another: Chronicle of St. Mary, book 1, by Jodi Taylor, Nightshade,  9781597808682, 2013, paper back, $12.99

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#BookFaceFriday “Stoner”

This week’s #BookFaceFriday is kind of a bummer, man…

Does this #BookFace look familiar? You might recognize this cover from Sam Shaw’s recent Friday Reads post about “Stoner” by John Williams (NYRB Classics, 2006). Sam, our Planning and Data Coordinator, was gracious enough to pose for this week’s photo.

“A beautiful, sad, utterly convincing account of an entire life…I’m amazed a novel this good escaped general attention for so long.” —Ian McEwan

Friday Reads is a weekly book review series posted by Nebraska Library Commission staff. Former NLC staffer Laura Johnson created this series to model the idea of talking about books and to help readers get to know our staff a little better.  We hope that our book reviews will start a conversation about books among our readers and encourage others to share their own reviews and recommendations. Past Friday Reads are archived on the NCompass blog, or you can browse a list of reviews here.

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

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Throwback Thursday: Bookmobile at School District 32

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week we have a 4-1/8″ x 2-1/2″ black and white photograph of the Nebraska Public Library Commission’s bookmobile from 1937.

This picture is provided and owned by the Nebraska Library Commission. The collection includes materials on the history of libraries in the state of Nebraska, mainly libraries built with Carnegie grants. This collection  also includes items showcasing the history of Nebraska’s state institutions.

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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Preliminary 2018 Public Library Survey Data is Now Available

The 2018 public library survey data is now available on the NLC website. This is preliminary data (meaning that it has not yet been certified by IMLS) so keep in mind that it is subject to change. Thanks to all of you who submitted your statistics. Historical data (back to 1999) is also available on our website. The next survey cycle begins in November, but you should be collecting those statistics now. If you are a new library director, check out the Bibliostat guide.

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THIS WEEK: Saving Your Family Treasures Workshop

Saving Your Family Treasures Workshop is a workshop that provides information on how to preserve damaged personal heirlooms after natural disasters. The workshop is free and open to the public.

Saturday, June 1, 2019: 10:30 am – 12:00 noon CST

The Durham Museum
801 South 10th Street
Omaha, NE 68108

When homes are flooded and lives upended, treasured possessions such as family heirlooms, photos, and other keepsakes become more cherished. Even in the aftermath of a disaster, these treasures may be salvageable. Smithsonian affiliate The Durham Museum has teamed up with the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative to host a second free workshop providing information on how to preserve damaged personal heirlooms after natural disasters.

Experts will demonstrate how to handle, dry, and clean damaged objects and share tips on personal safety, setting priorities, and other preservation options. There will be a formal presentation followed by a question and answer period.

The workshop will have examples of common personal heirlooms on display to demonstrate salvaging techniques. ***DUE TO SAFETY CONCERNS*** please do not bring your damaged objects to the workshop. If you have specific questions about your personal heirlooms, feel free to bring images of each item to discuss with the preservation experts directly.

 

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THIS WEEK: Training Seminar for Cultural Heritage Professionals

Cultural heritage professionals from across the region are invited for a training workshop for post‐disaster community engagement.

“Strategies for Post-Disaster Community Engagement Workshop”

When homes are damaged and lives are upended, treasured keepsakes such as artwork, photos, personal papers, and other family heirlooms become more cherished. Even in the aftermath of a disaster, these treasures may be salvageable.  Cultural institutions can provide important information to communities to preserve their possessions as they regain access to their homes and businesses. On May 31, the Smithsonian Institution’s experts will be onsite and online at The Durham Museum to provide a workshop exclusively for cultural heritage professionals. They will conduct a “train‐the-trainer”
session with the hope that institutions will host workshops in their own communities to most directly help those recovering from the recent historic flooding.

Friday, May 31 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. CST

The Durham Museum
Criss Conference Center,
801 S. 10th Street,
Omaha, NE

The workshop will be live-streamed through ZOOM video-conference software for those unable to attend onsite.

Presented by The Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, in collaboration with The Durham Museum in Omaha.

Register by emailing Carrie Meyer at cmeyer@durhammuseum.org and indicate ZOOM or onsite participation.

 

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FREE Library Advocacy Webinar on June 10

FREE Webinar:

Local, State, and National Library Advocacy: A Grasstop Approach

Monday, June 10, 1 p.m. Eastern

Speakers: Julius Jefferson, 2020-2021 ALA president; Kathi Kromer, associate executive director of ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office; and Skip Dye, 2018-2019 United for Libraries president and vice president of library marketing and digital sales at Penguin Random House.

Library Trustees, advocates, Friends, Foundations, directors, and staff are invited to hear from experts about the difference between grassroot and grasstop advocates, how to identify them in their communities, and how to engage them in their efforts. Attendees will learn how to build key library advocates to cultivate allies and develop constituencies in support of their positions at every level of government.

To register for the webinar, visit www.ala.org/united/advocacywebinar. If you cannot attend the live session, register and you will receive a link to the recording the day after the live session.

Skip Dye is Vice-President of library marketing and digital sales at Penguin Random House and 2018-2019 president of United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, a division of the American Library Association. Dye has been a corporate at large member of the United for Libraries board since 2015. Kathi Kromer is the associate executive director of ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office. ALA’s advocacy and public policy staff work to secure information technology policies that support and encourage efforts of libraries to ensure access to electronic information resources as a means of upholding the public’s right to a free and open information society. Prior to joining ALA, Kromer was vice president of strategy and outreach for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association for 11 years. Julius C. Jefferson Jr., section head of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., was recently elected as the 2020-2021 president of the American Library Association. An active member of ALA for 15 years, Jefferson currently serves on and has been a member of ALA Council since 2011, and most recently completed a three-year term on the ALA Executive Board (2015–2018).

For information about other webinars offered by United for Libraries, visit http://www.ala.org/united/training/webinars.

United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. United for Libraries supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. To join, please visit www.ala.org/united or call (800) 545-2433, ext. 2161.

Beth Nawalinski
Executive Director
bnawalinski@ala.org

United for Libraries General Inquiries: 800-545-2433, ext 2161
To reach me directly, call 800-545-2433, ext. 5868 or call 312-280-5868

United for Libraries
The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations
A division of the American Library Association
600 Eagleview Blvd., Suite 300
Exton, PA 19341

www.ala.org/united

 

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#BookFaceFriday “Rosie’s Glasses”

Sometimes all you need is a new perspective . . .

This week’s #BookFace is all about rocking that perfect pair of specs! “Rosie’s Glasses” by Dave Whamond (Kids Can Press, 2018). It’s a wordless picture book that speaks volumes about learning to find the bright side and beauty in life. Young Rosie discovers that a change in perspective can change the way we experience the world.

“… an excellent tool for discussing how good and bad moods can alter perspectives.” — School Library Journal, September 2018

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is Laura England-Biggs, Librarian at Keene Memorial Library and presenter in Wednesday’s episode of NCompass Live. Check out the recorded show, “Picture Book City: Reorganizing Our Storybooks by Subject” in our NCompass Live archives.

This title comes from our large collection of children’s and young adult books sent to us as review copies from book publishers. When our Children and Young Adult Library Services Coordinator, Sally Snyder, is done with them, the review copies are available for the Library System Directors to distribute to school and public libraries in their systems. Public and school library staff are also welcome to stop by and select some titles for their library collections. Contact Sally Snyder for more information.

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

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Friday Reads: The Woman in the Window, a novel by A.J. Finn

Shortly after I started back in April I was asked if I wanted to contribute to the commissions “Friday Reads” blog and of course I said “Yes!” And then I froze. I had been moving so I haven’t read anything in a while! Nothing I had with me seemed to work and nothing recently seemed intriguing. So after some (okay…a lot!) of browsing I finally came across “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn. It mainly caught my eye as my cover says “Soon to be a major motion picture” and I’m the type of person who always has to read the book first. Rarely is a movie better than the book but with this one we’ll just have to wait and see.

Told from the perspective of one Dr. Anna Fox who, due to her battle with agoraphobia, has spent the last ten months in her house having what she can delivered so she never has to leave. She keeps tabs on her neighborhood through the lens of her camera and “see’s something she shouldn’t”. I’ve never seen “Rear Window”, or much of it at least, but it seems like there are a number of connections that can be made between this book and the movie. A person trapped in their home thinks they see something nefarious and people don’t believe them. The connection is made even stronger through Anna’s own love of old movies, including “Rear Window”, which are referenced throughout the book.

As for the rest of the characters A.J. does a good job fleshing each of them out but I hate to say it – he does nothing with them. Most of them have very little connection to the plot and you never really get to know any of them well. Unfortunately, you never really get to know Anna very well either as major parts of her story, and why she is the way she is, aren’t revealed until you’re ¾ of the way through the book. Thankfully the book redeems itself in other ways and really is a quick read. The “chapters”, some of which are only a page long, are grouped together by date and the flow that this gives the book never waivers. Plus, the way AJ writes really gives you an almost visceral feel for what’s going on (hence the reason I feel that if done right the movie might out shine the book.)

I wouldn’t recommend “Woman in the Window” to hard core mystery buffs, but other than that I found the book enjoyable. I normally don’t like mysteries as I find it frustrating that I usually figure it all out only sentences before the characters do. “The Woman in the Window” is more suspense story than a true “who-done-it” type of mystery, though, and it keeps you on your toes by throwing twists and turns at you constantly making you, and Anna, question if your reasoning is correct. With that being said in the end I was able to figure out the “who” well before it’s revealed in the book.

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What’s Sally Reading?

YALSA asks for book recommendations

The Hub, the blog site for YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), encourages teens and adults to submit recommendations for their Media Lists that will be announced in early 2020. Criteria varies between the lists but in general, the book must not have been published before July 1, 2018 (Quick Picks) or Nov. 1, 2018 (all the other lists) and final publishing dates vary.  The lists are: Amazing Audiobooks for Teens, Best Fiction for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers

Links to the individual “Field Suggestion” forms can be found on this posting.  You have plenty of time to ask your teens what new books they think deserve consideration, or you can recommend some titles you have read and think are worthy.  YALSA does state that “suggesting a title does not guarantee it will be nominated or blogged about.”

To learn more about each of the lists prior to submitting suggestions, visit this YALSA page and scroll down a bit to see the Media Lists.

New Kid by Jerry Craft is a full-color graphic novel I recently finished reading.  Jordan Banks (12), who loves drawing, is new to the Riverdale Academy Day School and discovers he is one of only a few people of color in the seventh grade.  This school is much larger, and more confusing, than his previous school.  Finding friends and his way is difficult, especially with some students and teachers who are less than aware of their troubling viewpoints and comments.  One teacher has continued to call a student by the wrong name for years.  Some teachers also make book suggestions based on a student’s race rather than his or her interests and are oblivious to the implications, demonstrating some common microaggressions people of color encounter.

As Booklist says, “this remarkably honest and accessible story is not just about being new, it’s unabashedly about race.”  Still the artwork and Jordan’s own sketchbook lighten the mood.  This is a book for every middle school, as Kirkus notes.  Starred reviews from Booklist, School Library Journal and Kirkus.

The Classroom Bookshelf blog of the online School Library Journal has a review and some teaching ideas connected to 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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ThrowbackThursday: “Little Gold Star”

NLC remembers those who died in service to our country with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday.

This week we have sheet music of World War I. “Little Gold Star” was written by Will M. Maupin and J. A. Parks, who was an internationally famous Nebraska composer and publisher.

“O little gold star on your field of white!

Your hero has paid the price;

God comfort the hearts that are sad tonight

With the thought of his sacrifice.

O little gold star in your border’d red,

You gleam for a world made free,

For the choice he made, and the price he paid

For the world and its liberty!”

 

If you’d like to hear a recording of this piece, click here.

This piece is owned and provided by Polley Music Library. Just over two hundred fifty pieces of Nebraska sheet music are available through the Nebraska Memories databases, as well as concert programs, manuscripts, theatre programs, photographs, and other Nebraska memorabilia which features an element of music. Searchers can also listen to a dozen performances of selections from this music collection performed by local musicians.

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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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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NCompass Live: ‘Picture Book City: Reorganizing Our Storybooks by Subject’

Learn how to make your picture books more browsable on the next FREE NCompass Live webinar, ‘Picture Book City: Reorganizing Our Storybooks by Subject’, on Wednesday, May 22, 10:00am-11:00am CT.

What do you do to make picture books more browsable? Sort them by subject! Learn how we did it and tips we picked up along the way.

Presenter: Laura England-Biggs, Librarian, Keene Memorial Library, Fremont, NE.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • May 29 – Let’s Get Real About Virtual Reality
  • June 5 – Providing Passports at Your Library
  • July 24 – The Golden Sower Award: Nebraska’s Children’s Choice Literary Award
  • Aug. 28 – Eliminating Late Fines is a Win-Win for Your Library and Community

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 “Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know”

#BookFaceFriday is being blown away by Nebraska’s new State Poet!

"Things We Don't Know We Don't Know" by Matt Mason bookface photo

Matt Mason, Nebraska’s recently proclaimed State Poet for the term of 2019-2024, visited us to chat about poetry and his new role on this week’s NCompass Live webinar. Check out the recorded show, “A Conversation with Nebraska’s New State Poet, Matt Mason” in our NCompass Live archives. This week’s #BookFace highlights “Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know” by Matt Mason (The Backwaters Press, 2006.) If you haven’t read any of Matt’s poetry yet all we can say is “DO IT!” Take a peek at page 42 and read “After the 1996 Fiesta Bowl” and then watch Matt perform it on NCompass Live. You will not be disappointed with this Nebraska Book Award winning poetry collection!

“The only thing better than reading these poems is to hear Matt Mason himself read them.” –Marjorie Saiser

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is the author himself, Matt Mason!

Fun Fact: This book’s cover photo is by John Spence, who Matt used to work with. Matt knew he was a photographer and asked if he had photos which might go with the book. As they went back and forth, he mentioned that Bill Kloefkorn’s first printing of his first book had a photo of Spence’s on the cover. For those of you who aren’t Nebraska poetry buffs, Kloefkorn was a past State Poet of Nebraska.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available at Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

 

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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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Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse receives.                UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians, for their patrons, in Nebraska.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in May:

Age in Love : Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Court              Jacqueline Vanhoutte (Series: Early Modern Cultural Studies)

The title Age in Love is taken from Shakespeare’s sonnet 138, a poem about an aging male speaker who, by virtue of his entanglement with the dark lady, “vainly” performs the role of “some untutor’d youth.” Jacqueline Vanhoutte argues that this pattern of “age in love” pervades Shakespeare’s mature works, informing his experiments in all the dramatic genres. Bottom, Malvolio, Claudius, Falstaff, and Antony all share with the sonnet speaker a tendency to flout generational decorum by assuming the role of the lover, normally reserved in Renaissance culture for young men. Hybrids and upstarts, cross-dressers and shape-shifters, comic butts and tragic heroes—Shakespeare’s old-men-in-love turn in boundary-blurring performances that probe the gendered and generational categories by which early modern subjects conceived of identity.

In Age in Love Vanhoutte shows that questions we have come to regard as quintessentially Shakespearean—about the limits of social mobility, the nature of political authority, the transformative powers of the theater, the vagaries of human memory, or the possibility of secular immortality—come to indelible expression through Shakespeare’s artful deployment of the “age in love” trope. Age in Love contributes to the ongoing debate about the emergence of a Tudor public sphere, building on the current interest in premodern constructions of aging and ultimately demonstrating that the Elizabethan court shaped Shakespeare’s plays in unexpected and previously undocumented ways.

Great Plains Weather                                                                                                                                                 Kenneth F. Dewey (Series: Discover the Great Plains)

The weather of the Great Plains is extreme and highly variable, from floods to droughts, blizzards to tornadoes. In Great Plains WeatherKenneth F. Dewey explains what makes this region’s climate unique by presenting a historical climatology of extreme weather events. Beginning with tornadoes—perhaps the most formidable plains weather phenomena—he describes the climatology of these storms and discusses memorable tornadoes of the plains. As one of the storm chasers who travels the Great Plains in the spring and summer tracking severe weather, Dewey also shares some of his experiences on the road.

Dewey then goes on to discuss famous blizzards, from the “School Children’s Storm” of 1888 to more recent storms, along with droughts and floods. Precipitation, or the lack thereof, has long determined human activity in the region; exacerbated by the vagaries of climate change, it continues to have a significant economic and cultural impact on the people of the plains. Dewey’s absorbing narrative is complemented by images of tornadoes, snowstorms, and flash floods that he amassed in forty years of climatological research.

Postcolonial Hauntologies : African Women’s Discourses of the Female Body                                                                                                Ayo A. Coly  (Series: Expanding Frontiers–Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality)

Postcolonial Hauntologies is an interdisciplinary and comparative analysis of critical, literary, visual, and performance texts by women from different parts of Africa. While contemporary critical thought and feminist theory have largely integrated the sexual female body into their disciplines, colonial representations of African women’s sexuality “haunt” contemporary postcolonial African scholarship which—by maintaining a culture of avoidance about women’s sexuality—generates a discursive conscription that ultimately holds the female body hostage. Ayo A. Coly employs the concept of “hauntology” and “ghostly matters” to formulate an explicative framework in which to examine postcolonial silences surrounding the African female body as well as a theoretical framework for discerning the elusive and cautious presences of female sexuality in the texts of African women.

In illuminating the pervasive silence about the sexual female body in postcolonial African scholarship, Postcolonial Hauntologieschallenges hostile responses to critical and artistic voices that suggest the African female body represents sacred ideological-discursive ground on which one treads carefully, if at all. Coly demonstrates how “ghosts” from the colonial past are countered by discursive engagements with explicit representations of women’s sexuality and bodies that emphasize African women’s power and autonomy.

Songs of Profit, Songs of Loss : Private Equity, Wealth, and Inequality                                                                Daniel Scott Souleles (Series: Anthropology of Contemporary North America)

Since the early 1980s, private equity investors have heralded and shepherded massive changes in American capitalism. From outsourcing to excessive debt taking, private equity investment helped normalize once-taboo business strategies while growing into an over $3 trillion industry in control of thousands of companies and millions of workers. Daniel Scott Souleles opens a window into the rarefied world of private equity investing through ethnographic fieldwork on private equity financiers. Songs of Profit, Songs of Loss documents how and why investors buy, manage, and sell the companies that they do; presents the ins and outs of private equity deals, management, and valuation; and explains the historical context that gave rise to private equity and other forms of investor-led capitalism.

In addition to providing invaluable ethnographic insight, Songs of Profit, Songs of Loss is also an anthropological study of inequality as Souleles connects the core components of financial capitalism to economic disparities. Souleles uses local ideas of “value” and “time” to frame the ways private equity investors comprehend their work and to show how they justify the prosperity and poverty they create. Throughout, Souleles argues that understanding private equity investors as contrasted with others in society writ large is essential to fully understanding private equity within the larger context of capitalism in the United States.

Women’s Life Writing & Early Modern Ireland                                      Edited by Julie A Eckerle & Naomi McAreavey (Series: Women and Gender in the Early Modern World)

Women’s Life Writing and Early Modern Ireland provides an original perspective on both new and familiar texts in this first critical collection to focus on seventeenth-century women’s life writing in a specifically Irish context. By shifting the focus away from England—even though many of these writers would have identified themselves as English—and making Ireland and Irishness the focus of their essays, the contributors resituate women’s narratives in a powerful and revealing landscape.

This volume addresses a range of genres, from letters to book marginalia, and a number of different women, from now-canonical life writers such as Mary Rich and Ann Fanshawe to far less familiar figures such as Eliza Blennerhassett and the correspondents and supplicants of William King, archbishop of Dublin. The writings of the Boyle sisters and the Duchess of Ormonde—women from the two most important families in seventeenth-century Ireland—also receive a thorough analysis. These innovative and nuanced scholarly considerations of the powerful influence of Ireland on these writers’ construction of self, provide fresh, illuminating insights into both their writing and their broader cultural context.

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2019 State Aid Letters Have Been Mailed

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

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

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

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

Think about the last time you checked the hours of a business. Were you at home or running around town? Were you on a mobile device? Do you have a smartphone?

Statista.com shows that 48.71% of all web traffic comes from a mobile device. That number is estimated to climb higher in coming years. For this reason, many companies are adopting what they call “mobile first” strategies. This means they are optimizing their websites for smartphone screens and tablets. Sadly, this also means it may get harder for people without smartphones to access the information they need. Times are changing, and in some ways not for the better.

This also means libraries will have to adapt to stay relevant in a mobile-first world. Library customers are used to user experiences on Amazon, Google, and large department stores. If our library websites don’t have the same visual appeal, they probably won’t stay long. New customers will also be less likely to take action and come into the library.

So what can we do? If you’re familiar with web development, start by looking into responsive design and fluid layout as a way to make mobile-first happen. This will allow your content to automatically detect the size of the screen and display content properly. Just make sure your font sizes are legible and your objects are a good size for adult fingertips to activate. There are other ways to do this, including building a separate design for popular screen sizes, but that takes a lot more time and energy to maintain.

Mobile-first means we build for mobile, then make sure it works for desktop, rather than designing for desktop screens and hoping for mobile. If users have to scroll from side to side a lot, or zoom in and out to navigate and read text, they won’t stay on your site long. Next time you visit a website on your phone, think about why it works or doesn’t work for you, and why you click away. Stick with what works for your library.

But what if you’re not a developer, or don’t have that kind of time? Luckily, all you need are the right tools! WordPress is a great content management solution that makes it quick and easy to set up and maintain websites. Google “best responsive WordPress themes”. Choose one, make a quick test site, then hop on your mobile device and take it for a test drive. Can you read the text without zooming much? Can you click buttons without zooming, or missing the button? Is the navigation menu easy to use?

If that seems easier said than done, give me a call and we can walk through the steps of mobile-first design for your library’s website. If you already go through Nebraska Libraries on the Web, I can help you find a new, more responsive WordPress theme. If you want to make the switch, let me know at amanda.sweet@nebraska.gov.

To learn more about Mobile-first design, check out these resources:

Responsive, Mobile-First Design Matters Now More Than Ever (Intertech)

2019 Web Design Trends (Ironistic)

 

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Awesome Libraries Foundation: $1000 Prize

If you’re going to be at ALA in D.C. this year, consider applying for the $1,000 Awesome Libraries Prize.

Here’s the description from their prize application form: “library-focused small projects that could help communities, demonstrate new ideas, or improve tools or services. We are looking for AWESOME ideas that just need a little funding to get started. We see this as a chance to help you do some wacky, fun, overlooked, experimental, or artistic with no strings attached… as long as you can relate it to the general concept of libraries.”

You can learn more about the Awesome Libraries Foundation here. I hope you have an Awesome day!

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