Join the Nebraska WebDewey Group Purchase

WebDewey screenshots

This is a good time of year to remind Nebraska librarians that they can save money on a subscription to WebDewey by participating in the Nebraska WebDewey Group Purchase! Enjoy web-based access to an electronic version of the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC ) database through WebDewey. It is a full representation of all published numbers, plus other mappings and new terms that have been approved by the Dewey Editorial Policy Committee (EPC).

WebDewey also includes:

  • Searching or browsing DDC numbers, Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and mapped MeSH headings.
  • Adding your own notes and displaying them in context.
  • An easy-to-navigate, simple user interface that is suitable for the novice as well as the power user.

Our next WebDewey Group annual subscription will begin on January 1, 2023 and run through December 31, 2023. Libraries may join the group at any time. Mid-term subscriptions will be prorated. If your library is interested in subscribing to WebDewey, you’ll find pricing information on our online WebDewey Group Order Form. OCLC Membership is NOT required to purchase WebDewey.

If you have questions please contact Susan Knisely.

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Throwback Thursday: Nebraska Veterans

NLC is proud to honor Nebraska’s many Veterans with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

This week, we have a 7″ x 5″ black and white formal photograph featuring the first commanding officer of the Sioux Army Depot, Colonel Prebble, with his staff. The Sioux Army Depot was established on 19,771 acres west of Sidney, Nebraska in March of 1942. The depot warehoused and distributed ammunition and general supplies. It was deactivated in June of 1967.

This week’s image is published and owned by Cheyenne County Historical Society and Museum. Items in this collection represent the people and places of Sidney, Fort Sidney, Potter, Dalton and other communities and sites in the county. Images feature business districts in these towns, troops stationed at the fort, and William Jennings Bryan speaking at the Cheyenne County Court House.

If you like history, check out 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 Club Spotlight – The Birchbark House

Cover of The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. A young Ojibwe girl stands with a crow perched on her shoulder. Behind her is a field with trees and a single room house built of birchbark and tanned hides behind her.

November is Native American Heritage Month, and I’m excited to spotlight books written by Indigenous authors in our collection. As we go into the month of Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember the people who were here first and the sacred land we are on. Today, we will focus on a story of a young girl in the Northern Midwest on traditional Ojibwe land. The Birchbark House, by Chippewa woman Louise Erdrich, began as a story she would tell to her daughters. Wanting to show the love, community, and humanity that represents Native American culture rather than the negative depictions, Erdrich published the story, which went on to win the WILLA Literary Award in 2000.

Excitable and brave spirited, Omakayas, or Little Frog, is a young Ojibwe girl who lives with her family near present-day Lake Superior. As white people begin to take over the land, Omakays and her siblings continue their way of life while the adults fear that they must move soon. We follow the local community as they survive, learn important lessons and skills, and enjoy a peaceful life together. But when a sickly visitor crashes a powwow one night, he brings deadly smallpox to the area; and the course of the community and Omakayas’ life are changed forever.

“Like Andeg, she couldn’t help being just who she was. Omakayas, in this skin, in this place, in this time. Nobody else. No matter what, she wouldn’t ever be another person or really know the thoughts of anyone but her own self.”

Louise Erdrich

The Birchbark House is the first in the series chronicling the life of Omakayas’ family over 100 years. This novel is perfect for a young book group who wants to read stories like The Little House on the Prairie but through the lens of a young Indigenous girl instead. It is also an interesting read for adult groups who want to learn more about Indigenous culture pre-colonization. The story is brought to life through beautiful illustrations by the author and stories taken from her own life and family. Often the action will stop, and the reader is fully engrossed in the storytelling of an elder. Through this, Erdrich shows the reverence for the past, tradition, and the land that Omakayas and her people hold. Reading groups can discuss how tradition and culture play into their lives and the connections they see between the people in Omakayas’ tribe and those they know.

If you’re interested in requesting this book for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. (Items must be requested by a librarian) 

To see more of our Native American Voices book club titles, visit the link here.

Erdrich, Louise. The Birchbark House. HarperCollins Publishers. 1999.

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NLC Staff: Meet Shoshana Patocka

Get to know NLC’s Cataloging Librarian, Shoshana Patocka. Take a few minutes and get to know her with a few fun questions!

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
Keep working towards your goal, you’ll get there eventually

What’s your ideal vacation?
Disney World

What do you do to relax?
Take bubble baths

Describe your first car
A used, white Ford Escort that I didn’t learn to drive until I was 23

If I weren’t working in a library, I’d be…
A professional organizer

What was the first concert you remember attending?
Green Day at the Ranch Bowl in Omaha

What movie can you watch over and over again?
La La Land

What was the last book you read?
The Finishing School series by Gail Carriger

What was the last movie you watched?
Return of the Jedi

What is your proudest handyman moment?
Replacing a door knob on the entrance to my duplex

What smell brings back great memories?
Cinnamon rolls and chili

If you had a warning label, what would it say?
Quiet but deadly

Do you have any tattoos?
Yes – 2 – one on my wrist and one on my leg

What is your favorite comfort food when you are sick?
Chicken noodle soup

What’s your most treasured possession?
My cat Dharma

Do you love or hate rollercoasters?
Love

Do you have any pets?
A gray and white cat named Dharma and a corgi named Charlie

What is your guilty pleasure?
Ice cream

Favorite technology that you could not live without?
My alarm clock

If you could only eat one kind of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Mac and cheese

If you could call anyone in the world and have a one-hour conversation, who would you call?
Carol Burnett

What do you get every time you go to the grocery store?
Choceur Peanut Butter Cups from Aldi (Sooooooo good!)

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Apply now for Science Kits for Public Libraries (SKPL) Grants

For more grants like this one, check out the NLC’s Grant Opportunities for Nebraska Libraries.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) – Region 4’s Science Kits for Public Libraries (SKPL) Grant program is offering up to $2,000 in funding to public libraries to establish a new circulating science kits collection. Open to public libraries that serve geographic areas inside or partially inside the IEEE-Region 4 – this includes portions of Nebraska – see the green-shaded area of this map: IEEE Regions in the USA

The Application deadline is January 16, 2023. Those libraries which have previously applied for the grant but did not receive funding are invited to submit again.

Public Libraries have a long tradition of building stronger communities by providing life-long learning opportunities for children and teens. The SKPL Team is honored to have the opportunity to enrich the services that public libraries offer. SKPL enables children, parents, and teachers the chance to borrow library kits for hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning at home or in classroom.

Visit the SKPL website, https://r4.ieee.org/skpl/ for the application form and submission details.

Region 4, Science Kits for Public Libraries (SKPL) organization is a volunteer-based organization affiliated with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). SKPL believes all children – regardless of race, gender, financial condition, or home environment – should have access to high-quality, hands-on STEM learning experiences. By making catalyst grants available to public libraries, we empower them to start their own science kit collections that are free and accessible to the public.

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NCompass Live: Reach Your Military-Affiliated Patrons with the Libraries & Veterans Toolkit

Learn about the Libraries & Veterans Toolkit on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, November 9, at 10am CT.

The Libraries & Veterans Toolkit is a searchable and browsable guide of military-affiliated outreach ideas ready for implementation at academic, public, school, state, and VA and military libraries. Join project director, librarian, and Army veteran Sarah LeMire and Nebraska librarian and committee member Tammi Owens as they discuss the IMLS-funded project. After attending this seminar, attendees will be able to use the Toolkit to implement outreach events for military-affiliated patrons, submit their own events to the Toolkit, and gain insight on how and why to serve, support, and celebrate military-affiliated students and patrons at all libraries.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Nov. 16 – Bad Bosses – Tales from the Dark Side of Library Management
  • Nov. 23 – Best New Children’s Books of 2022
  • Nov. 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Dec. 21 – Summer Reading Program 2023: All Together Now
  • Jan. 11, 2023 – Best New Teen Reads of 2022
  • Jan. 18, 2023 – First Amendment Audits: What You Need to Know

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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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 September and October, 2022.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, the Nebraska Civil Defence Agency, the Nebraska Department Transportation, and new books from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

Most items, except the books from the University of Nebraska Press, are available for immediate viewing and printing by clicking on the highlighted link above, or directly in the .pdf below.  You can read synopses of the books received from the University of Nebraska Press in the Book Briefs blogposts.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse in 1972 as a service of the Nebraska Library Commission. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, and provide access to all public information published by Nebraska state agencies.  By law (State Statutes 51-411 to 51-413) all Nebraska state agencies are required to submit their published documents to the Clearinghouse.  For more information, visit the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse page, contact Mary Sauers, Government Information Services Librarian; or contact Bonnie Henzel, State Documents Staff Assistant.

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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 has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in September and October, 2022:

An Evolving Vision : The James Collection, 1997-2022, by Carolyn Ducey, Marin F. Hanson, and Penny McMorris.

In 2022 the International Quilt Museum (IQM) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln celebrates a quarter century of studying, preserving, and exhibiting the Ardis and Robert James Collection. The Jameses’ donation of their unparalleled one-thousand-piece collection in 1997 established the IQM and formed the solid base from which the museum has steadily grown. Today, the museum’s collection includes more than six thousand quilts from five different centuries and over fifty countries, an expansion that has been encouraged by the James family, who continue to support the museum’s efforts to represent global quiltmaking.

This companion publication to the exhibition An Evolving Vision, 1997–2022 highlights important pieces from various segments of the collection: Classics—stunning antique American quilts; From the Studio—early and innovative art pieces; and New Horizons—quilt traditions from around the world. This book also includes a comprehensive catalog of the James Collection, comprising the quilts from the original 1997 gift as well as important groups given to the IQM in 2006 and 2009. An Evolving Vision documents the significance of the James Collection and underscores the broad vision its collectors developed not only for themselves but for the museum they so vitally helped shape.

The Enlightened Patrolman : Early Law Enforcement in Mexico City, by Nicole von Germeten; Series: Confluencias

When late eighteenth-century New Spanish viceregal administrators installed public lamps in the streets of central Mexico City, they illuminated the bodies of Indigenous, Afro-descended, and plebeian Spanish urbanites. The urban patrolmen, known as guarda faroleros, or “lantern guards,” maintained the streetlamps and attempted to clear the streets of plebeian sexuality, embodiment, and sociability, all while enforcing late colonial racial policies amid frequent violent resistance from the populace.

In The Enlightened Patrolman Nicole von Germeten guides readers through Mexico City’s efforts to envision and impose modern values as viewed through the lens of early law enforcement, an accelerated process of racialization of urban populations, and burgeoning ideas of modern masculinity. Germeten unfolds a tale of the losing struggle for elite control of the city streets. As surveillance increased and the populace resisted violently, a pause in the march toward modernity ensued. The Enlightened Patrolman presents an innovative study on the history of this very early law enforcement corps, providing new insight into the history of masculinity and race in Mexico, as well as the eighteenth-century origins of policing in the Americas.

Imperial Zions : Religion, Race, and Family in the American West and the Pacific, by Amanda Hendrix-Komoto; Series: Studies in Pacific Worlds

In the nineteenth century, white Americans contrasted the perceived purity of white, middle-class women with the perceived eroticism of women of color and the working classes. The Latter-day Saint practice of polygamy challenged this separation, encouraging white women to participate in an institution that many people associated with the streets of Calcutta or Turkish palaces. At the same time, Latter-day Saints participated in American settler colonialism. After their expulsion from Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, Latter-day Saints dispossessed Ute and Shoshone communities in an attempt to build their American Zion. Their missionary work abroad also helped to solidify American influence in the Pacific Islands as the church became a participant in American expansion.

Imperial Zions explores the importance of the body in Latter-day Saint theology with the faith’s attempts to spread its gospel as a “civilizing” force in the American West and the Pacific. By highlighting the intertwining of Latter-day Saint theology and American ideas about race, sexuality, and the nature of colonialism, Imperial Zions argues that Latter-day Saints created their understandings of polygamy at the same time they tried to change the domestic practices of Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples. Amanda Hendrix-Komoto tracks the work of missionaries as they moved through different imperial spaces to analyze the experiences of the American Indians and Native Hawaiians who became a part of white Latter-day Saint families. Imperial Zions is a foundational contribution that places Latter-day Saint discourses about race and peoplehood in the context of its ideas about sexuality, gender, and the family.

Living Room, by Laura Bylenok; Series: The Backwaters Prize in Poetry 

Deeply phenomenological and ecological, Laura Bylenok’s poems in Living Room imagine the lived reality of other organisms and kinds of life, including animals, plants, bacteria, buildings, and rocks. They explore the permeability of human and nonhuman experience, intelligence, language, and subjectivity. In particular, the poems consider so-called model organisms—nonhuman species studied to understand specific and often human biological processes, diseases, and phenomena—as well as an experience of self and world that cannot be objectively quantified. The impulse of these poems is to slow down, to see and feel, and to listen closely. Language becomes solid, palpable as fruit. Long lines propel breath and push past the lung’s capacity.

Life at a cellular level, synthesis and symbiosis, is revealed through forests, fairy tales, and vines that grow over abandoned houses and hospital rooms. A living room is considered as a room that is lived in and also a room that is alive. Cells are living rooms. A self is a room that shares walls with others. Interconnection and interplay are thematic, and the network of poems becomes a linguistic rendering of a heterogeneous and nonhierarchical ecosystem, using the language of biology, genetics, and neurochemistry alongside fairy tale and dream to explore the interior spaces of grief, motherhood, mortality, and self.

Might Kindred, by Monica Gomery; Series: The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry

The poems of Might Kindred wonder aloud: can we belong to one another, and “can a people belong to a dreaming machine?” Conjuring mountains and bodies of water, queer and immigrant poetics, beloveds both human and animal, Mónica Gomery explores the intimately personal and the possibility of a collective voice. Here anthems are sung and fall apart midsong. The speaker exchanges letters with her ancestors, is visited by a shadow sister, and interrogates what it means to make a home as a first-generation American.

Winner of the Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, the poems in Might Kindred are rooted in the body and its cousins, seeking the possibility of kinship, “in case we might kindness, might ardor together.” Belonging and unbelonging are claimed as part of the same complicated whole, and Gomery’s intersections reach for something divine at the center.

Nez Perce Summer, 1877 : The U.S. Army and the Nee-Me-Poo Crisis, by Jerome A. Greene

Nez Perce Summer, 1877 tells the story of a people’s epic struggle to survive spiritually, culturally, and physically in the face of unrelenting military force. Written by one of the foremost experts in frontier military history, Jerome A. Greene, and reviewed by members of the Nez Perce tribe, this definitive treatment of the Nez Perce War is the first to incorporate research from all known accounts of Nez Perce and U.S. military participants.

Enhanced by sixteen detailed maps and forty-nine historic photographs, Greene’s gripping narrative takes readers on a three-and-one-half month 1,700-mile journey across the wilds of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana territories. All of the skirmishes and battles of the war receive detailed treatment, which benefits from Greene’s astute analysis of the strategies and decision making on both sides.

Between 100 and 150 of the more than 800 Nez Perce men, women, and children who began the trek were killed during the war. Almost as many died in the months following the surrender, after they were exiled to malaria-ridden northeastern Oklahoma. Army deaths numbered 113. The casualties on both sides were an extraordinary price for a war that nobody wanted but whose history has since fascinated generations of Americans.

The North American West in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Brenden W. Rensink

In 1893 Frederick Jackson Turner famously argued that the generational process of meeting and conquering the supposedly uncivilized western frontier is what forged American identity. In the late twentieth century, “new western” historians dissected the mythologized western histories that Turner and others had long used to embody American triumph and progress. While Turner’s frontier is no more, the West continues to present America with challenging processes to wrestle, navigate, and overcome.

The North American West in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Brenden W. Rensink, takes stories of the late twentieth-century “modern West” and carefully pulls them toward the present—explicitly tracing continuity with or unexpected divergence from trajectories established in the 1980s and 1990s. Considering a broad range of topics, including environment, Indigenous peoples, geography, migration, and politics, these essays straddle multiple modern frontiers, not least of which is the temporal frontier between our unsettled past and uncertain future. These forays into the twenty-first-century West will inspire more scholars to pull histories to the present and by doing so reinsert scholarly findings into contemporary public awareness.

The Old Iron Road : An Epic of Rails, Roads, and the Urge to Go West, by David Haward Bain

In the summer of 2000 David Haward Bain and his family left their home in Vermont and headed west in search of America’s past. Spiritually, their journey began on a Kansas trail where the author’s grandmother was born in a covered wagon in 1889. Between the Missouri River and the Golden Gate, they retraced the entire route of the first transcontinental railroad and large stretches of the Oregon and California trails, and the equally colorful old Lincoln Highway. Following vanished iron rails and wagon wheel ruts, bumping down backroads and main streets, they discovered the deep, restless, uniquely American spirit of adventure that connects our past to our present.

A superb writer and an exacting researcher, Bain conjures up a marvelous sense of coming unstuck in time as he lingers in the ghost towns and battlegrounds, prairies and river ports, trainyards, museums, deserts, and diners that line his cruise west to California. Bain encounters a fascinating cast of characters, both historic and contemporary, as well as memories of his grandparents and the journeys that shaped his own heritage.

Writing in the tradition of William Least Heat-Moon and Ian Frazier, and with an engaging warmth and a deep grasp of history all his own, Bain has fashioned a quintessentially American journey.

Outback & Out West : The Settler-Colonial Environmental Imaginery, by Tom Lynch.

Outback and Out West examines the ecological consequences of a settler-colonial imaginary by comparing expressions of settler colonialism in the literature of the American West and Australian Outback. Tom Lynch traces exogenous domination in both regions, which resulted in many similar means of settlement, including pastoralism, homestead acts, afforestation efforts, and bioregional efforts at “belonging.” Lynch pairs the two nations’ texts to show how an analysis at the intersection of ecocriticism and settler colonialism requires a new canon that is responsive to the social, cultural, and ecological difficulties created by settlement in the West and Outback.

Outback and Out West draws out the regional Anthropocene dimensions of settler colonialism, considering such pressing environmental problems as habitat loss, groundwater depletion, and mass extinctions. Lynch studies the implications of our settlement heritage on history, art, and the environment through the cross-national comparison of spaces. He asserts that bringing an ecocritical awareness to settler-colonial theory is essential for reconciliation with dispossessed Indigenous populations as well as reparations for ecological damages as we work to decolonize engagement with and literature about these places.

Paternalism to Partnership : The Administration of Indian Affairs, 1786-2021, by David H. DeJong

Paternalism to Partnership examines the administration of Indian affairs from 1786, when the first federal administrator was appointed, through 2021. David H. DeJong examines each administrator through a biographical sketch and excerpts of policy statements defining the administrator’s political philosophy, drawn from official reports or the administrator’s own writings.

The Indian Office, as an executive agency under the secretary of war (1789 to 1849) and secretary of the interior (1849 to present), was directed by the president of the United States. The superintendents, chief clerks, commissioners, and assistant secretaries for Indian affairs administered policy as prescribed by Congress and the president. Each was also given a level of discretion in administering this policy. For most of the federal-Indian relationship, administrators were limited in influencing policy. This paternalism continued well into the twentieth century. Beginning in the 1960s Congress and the president ameliorated their views on the federal-Indian relationship and moved away from paternalism. Since 1966 every administrator of the Bureau of Indian Affairs has been Native American, and each has exercised increasing authority in shaping policy. This has given rise to a federal-Indian partnership that has witnessed tribal nations again exercising their inherent rights of self-government.

In this documentary history David H. DeJong follows the progression of federal Indian policy over more than two hundred years, providing firsthand accounts of how the federal-Indian relationship has changed over the centuries.

The Settler Sea : California’s Salton Sea and the Consequences of Colonialism, by Traci Brynne Voyles

2022 WHA Caughey Western History Prize for the most distinguished book on the American West

Can a sea be a settler? What if it is a sea that exists only in the form of incongruous, head-scratching contradictions: a wetland in a desert, a wildlife refuge that poisons birds, a body of water in which fish suffocate? Traci Brynne Voyles’s history of the Salton Sea examines how settler colonialism restructures physical environments in ways that further Indigenous dispossession, racial capitalism, and degradation of the natural world. In other words, The Settler Sea asks how settler colonialism entraps nature to do settlers’ work for them.

The Salton Sea, Southern California’s largest inland body of water, occupies the space between the lush agricultural farmland of the Imperial Valley and the austere desert called “America’s Sahara.” The sea sits near the boundary between the United States and Mexico and lies at the often-contested intersections of the sovereign lands of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla and the state of California. Created in 1905, when overflow from the Colorado River combined with a poorly constructed irrigation system to cause the whole river to flow into the desert, this human-maintained body of water has been considered a looming environmental disaster.

The Salton Sea’s very precariousness—the way it sits uncomfortably between worlds, existing always in the interstices of human and natural influences, between desert and wetland, between the skyward pull of the sun and the constant inflow of polluted water—is both a symptom and symbol of the larger precariousness of settler relationships to the environment, in the West and beyond. Voyles provides an innovative exploration of the Salton Sea, looking to the ways the sea, its origins, and its role in human life have been vital to the people who call this region home.

Standing Bear’s Quest for Freedom : The First Civil Rights Victory for Native Americans, by Lawrence A. Dwyer

Chief Standing Bear of the Ponca Nation faced arrest for leaving the U.S. government’s reservation, without its permission, for the love of his son and his people. Standing Bear fought for his freedom not through armed resistance but with bold action, strong testimony, and heartfelt eloquence. He knew he and his people had suffered a great injustice.

Standing Bear wanted the right to live and die with his family on the beloved land of his Ponca ancestors, located within the Great Plains of Nebraska. In telling his story, Standing Bear’s Quest for Freedom relates an unprecedented civil rights victory for Native Americans: for the first time, in 1879, a federal court declared a Native American to be a “person”—a human being with the right to file an action for a redress of grievances in a federal court, like every other person in the United States.

Standing Bear’s victory in Standing Bear v. Crook began a national movement of reforming Native American rights—albeit a slow one. Because of the courage and leadership of Chief Standing Bear, the pervasive spirit of indifference of most Americans toward Native Americans was disrupted by this historic decision. America would never be the same.

Strength From the Waters : A History of Indigenous Mobilization in Northwest Mexico, by James V. Mestaz

Strength from the Waters is an environmental and social history that frames economic development, environmental concerns, and Indigenous mobilization within the context of a timeless issue: access to water. Between 1927 and 1970 the Mayo people—an Indigenous group in northwestern Mexico—confronted changing access to the largest freshwater source in the region, the Fuerte River.

In Strength from the Waters James V. Mestaz demonstrates how the Mayo people used newly available opportunities such as irrigation laws, land reform, and cooperatives to maintain their connection to their river system and protect their Indigenous identity. By using irrigation technologies to increase crop production and protect lands from outsiders trying to claim it as fallow, the Mayo of northern Sinaloa simultaneously preserved their identity by continuing to conduct traditional religious rituals that paid homage to the Fuerte River. This shift in approach to both new technologies and natural resources promoted their physical and cultural survival and ensured a reciprocal connection to the Fuerte River, which bound them together as Mayo.

Mestaz examines this changing link between hydraulic technology and Mayo tradition to reconsider the importance of water in relation to the state’s control of the river and the ways the natural landscape transformed relations between individuals and the state, altering the social, political, ecological, and ethnic dynamics within several Indigenous villages. Strength from the Waters significantly contributes to contemporary Mexicanist scholarship by using an environmental and ethnohistorical approach to water access, Indigenous identity, and natural resource management to interrogate Mexican modernity in the twentieth century.

There Where It’s So Bright in Me, by Tanella Boni; Series: African Poetry Book

There Where It’s So Bright in Me pries at the complexities of difference—race, religion, gender, nationality—that shape twenty-first-century geopolitical conditions. With work spanning more than thirty-five years and as one of the most prominent figures in contemporary African literature, Tanella Boni is uniquely positioned to test the distinctions of self, other, and belonging. Two twenty-first-century civil wars have made her West African home country of Côte d’Ivoire unstable. Abroad in the United States, Boni confronts the racialized violence that accompanies the idea of Blackness; in France, a second home since her university days, Boni encounters the nationalism roiling much of Europe as the consequences of (neo)colonialism shift the continent’s ethnic and racial profile.

What would it mean for the borders that segregate—for these social, political, cultural, personal, and historicizing forces that enshroud us—to lose their dominion? In a body under constant threat, how does the human spirit stay afloat? Boni’s poetry is characterized by a hard-earned buoyancy, given her subject matter. Her empathy, insight, and plainspoken address are crucial contributions to the many difficult contemporary conversations we must engage.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

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#BookFaceFriday “Liar Temptress Soldier Spy” by Karen Abbott

I spy with my little eye a #BookFaceFriday!

Come in from the cold with this week’s #BookFace. This one’s for all the spy novel fans out there. Even better is a true story about the incredible female spies of the Civil War, like “Liar Temptress Soldier Spy” by Karen Abbott (Harper Perennial, 2015), available as an NLC Book Club Kit. You can also find this title through Nebraska OverDrive Libraries, we have copies in both eBook and Audiobook. If you’re a fan of Kate Quinn and John le Carré, this is the read for you. Add it to your to-be-read list today!

“Not for nothing has Abbott been called a ‘pioneer of sizzle history.’ Here she creates a gripping page-turner that moves at a breathtaking clip through the dramatic events of the Civil War.”

Los Angeles Times

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

  1. These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and media centers.
  2. Circulation times are flexible and will be based upon availability. There is no standard check-out time for book club kits.
  3. Please search the collection to select items you wish to borrow and use the REQUEST THIS KIT icon to borrow items.
  4. Contact the Information Desk at the Library Commission if you have any questions: by phone: 800/307-2665, or by email: Information Services Team

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

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

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Friday Reads: Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang

It seemed good timing to read Lydia Kang’s Opium and Absinthe soon before Halloween. The vampire connection was enticing. The historical novel takes place in New York City in 1899, the year that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published. Lucy Pembroke is found dead in an alleyway by puncture wound and drained of blood on the eve of her marriage ceremony. Mathilda (Tillie) Pembroke is Lucy’s younger sister. Tillie is determined to find the murderer. An overprotective mother and a controlling grandmother hamper her efforts. Tillie must go to imaginative and extreme lengths to escape the confines of her home to seek answers to her many questions about the murder.

Tillie’s challenges include an opium and morphine addiction that came about following a horse-riding accident. Intended to provide pain relief, addiction followed and continued. Opium and Absinthe places drug addiction as a central theme. Heroin is also notable, introduced by Bayer as a cough remedy. At the time, all were legal and commonly prescribed.

An intriguing mix of characters emerge including New York’s rich and privileged and the working class poor. The Pembroke family is among the city’s elite. The mystery unfolds at a steady pace and, at least for me, comes to a surprising end.

The book is included among CrimeReads Best Historical Fiction of 2020.

Described as among the great virtuosos of the crime genre, Lydia Kang is an author and an internal medicine physician. Her writings include historical mysteries, popular history, young adult sci fi, essays and poetry. Kang’s most recent book, Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World’s Worst Diseases, co-authored with Nate Pedersen, is a 2022 Nebraska Book Award winner for nonfiction – popular history. Kang’s The November Girl won the Nebraska Book Award for Young Adult Fiction in 2018.  

Kang, Lydia. Opium and Absinthe: A Novel. Seattle: Lake Union Publishing. 2020

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Kreutz Bennett Fund Leaves $700,000 Impact

Since 2012, the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund, an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation, has granted over $700,000 to Nebraska’s small-town public libraries through a term endowment established by the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett, a lifelong educator originally from Harvard, Nebraska.

Kreutz Bennett’s estate gift has helped dozens of Nebraska libraries in communities with populations under 3,000 achieve a margin of excellence over the last 11 years. The Fund spent the remainder of the gift’s principal in 2022, marking over a decade of success and countless lives impacted by her generosity.

Facilities Grants supported construction of new or expanded library buildings and renovation or restoration work, Enhancement Grants allowed for improvements in library services, and Planning for Accreditation Grants covered activities and expenses associated with earning Public Library Accreditation from the Nebraska Library Commission.

“The reason she focused on that is because she did a lot of traveling and experiencing the world,” said NCF’s Kristine Gale. “She felt libraries were a way for rural Nebraskans to learn and experience things they may not otherwise be able to experience. Shirley would feel amazing about the impact she made.”

In this final year, requests were received for more than what was left in the fund, so the Nebraska Library Commission contributed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help cover some of the grants. As a result, all applications submitted in 2022 were funded.

The Nebraska Community Foundation and the Nebraska Library Commission screened applicants for eligibility and provided guidance for those invited to submit proposals. Each year, the Kreutz Bennett Donor- Advised Fund advisory committee, made up of Kreutz Bennett’s nieces and nephews, reviewed applications and awarded funding to match every local dollar raised.

In 2022, the final Kreutz Bennett Fund Grants were awarded to the following thirteen libraries:

  • Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public Library, $14,427: outdoor learning space
  • Butler Memorial Library, Cambridge, $10,000: renovations
  • Clarkson Public Library, $3,000: children’s activity wall
  • Davenport Public Library, $750: planning for accreditation activities 
  • Lied Lincoln Township Library, $13,000: outdoor learning space
  • Lied Randolph Public Library, $3,800: musical outdoor playground
  • Logan County Public Library, Stapleton, $1,000: OverDrive, Summer Reading Program supplies
  • Maltman Memorial Public Library, Wood River, $4,000: purchase Golden Sower and Newbery Award children’s books
  • Mead Public Library, $2,000: collection development
  • Palmyra Memorial Library, $15,080: architectural firm site survey and conceptual designs for a new library building
  • Scotia Public Library, $4,000: Story Time kits
  • Sutherland Public Library, $5,041: computers, tables, chairs
  • Valparaiso Public Library, $5,000: replace flooring
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Throwback Thursday: “A Kiss for Cinderella”

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week, we have an 8″ x 10″ black and white photograph of Henry Fonda and thirteen-year-old Dorothy McGuire in the Omaha Community Playhouse’s production of J. M. Barrie’s “A Kiss for Cinderella”. Henry Fonda debuted on the Omaha Community Playhouse stage in 1925. He returned to Omaha in 1930, specifically to appear in “A Kiss for Cinderella” for which he also designed all of the sets. The production ran from April 28 through May 3, 1930.

This week’s image is published and owned by the Omaha Community Playhouse. The Omaha Community Playhouse collection includes digitized images of the Playhouse and some of its performances.

Check it out 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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Apply now for ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities Grant: Accessible Small and Rural Communities

For more grants like this one, check out the NLC’s Grant Opportunities for Nebraska Libraries.

The American Library Association invites applications from small and rural libraries for the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Accessible Small and Rural Communities grant.

Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities will offer more than $7 million in grants to small and rural libraries to increase the accessibility of facilities, services, and programs to better serve people with disabilities. ALA is now accepting applications for grants to be distributed over the next three years ranging from $10,000 to $20,000.

Applications will be accepted from November 1, 2022 through February 28, 2023 at https://www.ala.org/tools/librariestransform/libraries-transforming-communities/access

Interested applicants are encouraged to register for a free Pre-Application Webinar to be held on November 8, 2022 at 1pm CT.

The opportunity is open to any type of library in the U.S. and U.S. territories that serves a small and rural community – to be eligible, a library must have a legal service area population of 25,000 or less and be located at least five miles from an urbanized area (town/city with a population of 25,000 or greater).

Participating libraries will first conduct community input-gathering sessions to assure that their work aligns with local needs. Libraries will be required to identify the primary audience they are hoping to reach (e.g., homebound seniors, children with autism, Deaf community members) and facilitate a community conversation with the impacted populations in order to guide improvement of the library’s services. Grantees would then use the funds to create services or improve their facilities based on the needs identified by their audience.

Selected libraries will receive $10,000 or $20,000 to support costs related to their community engagement project; virtual training to assist project directors in developing their community engagement, facilitation, and disability service skills; a suite of online resources developed to support local programs; and technical and project support from the ALA Public Programs Office throughout the grant term.

Questions? Contact the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office staff at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045, or publicprograms@ala.org

Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities is part of ALA’s longtime commitment to preparing library workers for the expanding role of libraries. The initiative is offered in partnership with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL). It is supported by a private donor.

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NCompass Live: Power Up With Documents: E-Documents in the Classroom

Learn how K-16 students can access and use free government documents online on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, November 2, at 10am CT.

Too often government documents are overlooked as sources for K-16 students. But for schools with limited resources, documents are the perfect place to find information. Best of all, they are freely accessible with an internet connection. Calvin T. Ryan Library is a selective depository in the Federal Depository Library Program and has been for over 60 years! This presentation will focus on the variety of ways to locate these treasures. Some sites are grade-specific! There will also be a libguide of Nebraska and federal documents your library can share to help your students find information. Are you up for the challenge?

Presenter: Rochelle Hunt Reeves, Associate Professor, Curriculum/OER/Government Documents Librarian, Calvin T. Ryan Library, University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Nov. 9 – Reach Your Military-Affiliated Patrons with the Libraries & Veterans Toolkit
  • Nov. 23 – Best New Children’s Books of 2022
  • Nov. 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Dec. 21 – Summer Reading Program 2023: All Together Now
  • Jan. 11, 2023 – Best New Teen Reads of 2022
  • Jan. 18, 2023 – First Amendment Audits: What You Need to Know

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 – “Here There are Monsters” by Amelinda Bérubé

Something #BookFace this way comes!

If your go-to Halloween activity is watching a horror flick or visiting a haunted house, you probably also love a scary story. This week’s #BookFaceFriday is the perfect way to get your adrenaline flowing, check out “Here There are Monsters” by Amelinda Bérubé (Sourcebooks Fire, 2019.) This title is available as an eBook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Find this title and other tales of horror in Nebraska OverDrive’s curated collection, “It Came From the Library: Spooky reads for adults and teens“!

“Bérubé has written a horror story that is part demented Bridge to Terabithia and part folktale the Pear Drum. Readers will never see the end coming.”

—Booklist

Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

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 Cosmic Puppets, by Philip K. Dick

Ted Barton has a problem. He doesn’t exist. When he visits his old hometown, the one he left eighteen years ago, he recognizes nothing. When he visits the town newspaper and checks into their archives, he discovers his name in the obituaries: funny, he doesn’t feel like he died of scarlet fever eighteen years ago. Something is Going On, and Ted Barton is going to hang around town for the length of an expanded novella until he finds out just what that Something is.

Cover of Mariner Books edition, 2012

So begins the spaced-out mystery horror of 1957’s The Cosmic Puppets, which takes a Twilight Zone-style jumpstart of one individual’s profound alienation from history and memory, and builds from there, until the whole town, then the whole universe, is involved — and the nature of reality itself is called into question. In other words, just another book by Philip K. “for now we see through a glass, darkly” Dick (1928 – 1982), the fictionalizing philosopher whose works are the source for such movies and series as Blade Runner, The Man in the High Castle, A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, and several others.

It turns out that the town Ted Barton vividly remembers – Millgate, Virginia – is still there, but on top of it lies the consistently projected illusion that he and the rest of the townspeople currently perceive. Through strenuously concentrating on his memories, he can bring back small details temporarily, but he can’t hoist up the real town alone: it’s a mass delusion that must be countered with a collective effort of memory.

Cover of Europa-America edition, 1993

Alliances are formed and sides taken, snakes and spiders fight with bees and moths, and primordial forces that predate the physical universe rise and join the psychic tug of war. Dick wrote most of this book in 1953, making it one of his first efforts, but PKD fans will notice that many of the classic preoccupations he explored in later books and writings — such as the 1978 speech “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later” — are already in place, especially the old philosophical question, “what is real?

A warning to puppet enthusiasts and ventriloquists: puppets do not play a role in the story, except perhaps metaphorically; the original title of The Cosmic Puppets was A Glass of Darkness. This title is available through hoopla Digital via your local library (I read mine through Lincoln City Libraries) and also the Internet Archive, as well as well-curated used bookstores everywhere.

Dick, Philip K. The Cosmic Puppets. Boston: Mariner Books, 2012.

Top image: Cover of Centipede Press edition, 2020

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Throwback Thursday: Trenching

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week’s photograph shows a steam-powered trencher digging a trench for the Crawford waterworks. Trenching was dug for pipes from the Crawford Reservoir about 7 miles southwest of the town in 1907.

This image is owned by the Crawford Historical Society and Museum. It is published by Crawford Public Library. This collection includes portraits of Crawford residents, photographs of local businesses, and souvenir postcards.

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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Book Club Spotlight – Going Bovine

Cover for Going Bovine by Libba Bray. A cow is in the lower left corner standing upright like a person and facing sideways to the reader. He is holding a garden gnome who is wearing sunglasses and sticking his tongue out.

When I decide to spotlight a book, I usually like to pick a title that is relevant to an upcoming holiday or one that is in the news. But, in the case of Going Bovine by Libba Bray, I honestly just thought the cover was really neat and I stick by that decision. Libba Bray, who dreams of one day replacing her artificial eye with a laser-gun eye, views “comedy and tragedy [as] two sides of the same coin.” And her absurdist YA comedy is such a coin, asking deep questions about life, loyalty, disability, quantum mechanics, and reality itself. Going Bovine is crawling with awards, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award, and was named Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year in 2009. 

Cameron Smith is a burnout. His family doesn’t get along, he’s barely getting through High School, and his only hobbies are getting high and listening to music he hates. Being basically a hermit, the people in Cameron’s life try to convince him that he needs to get out more and actually experience the world for once. But before he can do so, he contracts Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease, better known as Mad Cow Disease. Yup. Cameron is dying from a bad burger…bummer. The thing about Mad Cow Disease is that because it’s pretty much eating your brain, you will experience some buck wild and vivid hallucinations. So while Cameron is laid up and dying in the hospital, he is visited by a punk rock angel who informs him that he’s the only person who can save the world. With this knowledge, Cameron and his new friend Gonzo head out on this world-saving mission with the promise that Cameron’s cure waits at the end of it all. So that’s how a kid dying from Mad Cow and a 16-year-old anxious dwarf go out on an epic odyssey across America to save the world and themselves. Along the way, they meet jazz legends, cults, and a Norse god in the body of a garden gnome. Seriously. Well maybe. It could just be Cameron’s hallucinations, after all.

“I don’t think you should die until you’re ready. Until you’ve wrung out every last bit of living you can.”

Libba Bray

Like a modern-day Don Quixote, what’s so great about Going Bovine is that we, the audience, know that Cameron’s brain is dying, so we can’t trust anything he experiences to be real. But even so, Cameron is just an angsty teen who never really got a chance, but who was still able to go on this incredible life-changing journey all the same. Even though this book is unfailingly silly in nature, it asks the reader if reality makes a difference if you yourself are changed in the end. Sure it’s a meaningless adventure in the long run, but not while they are experiencing it. I know that sounds pretty heavy for a YA Book Club title, but sometimes you have to ask those big questions. Ask your group their thoughts on coincidences and reality. Do they see certain things as signs from the universe? Maybe to you, seeing a butterfly means a lost loved one is still around, or perhaps it’s a sign from a higher power. Does that being true or not change what it means to you? Is Cameron’s experience worth anything, even if it didn’t actually happen?

If you’re interested in requesting this book for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. (Items must be requested by a librarian)

Bray, Libba. Going Bovine. Delacorte Press. 2009.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – WordPress Chatbots: No Code Tools & Guides

Do you get really repetitive questions at your library? Hours? Address? Learn how to use a WordPress Chatbot to help manage these common questions on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, October 26 at 10am CT.

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

Library staff are already too overworked to answer the same questions over and over again. This session will help you set up a chatbot on your library’s website to relieve some of the burden. We will use the free Tidio plugin on WordPress to walk through a quick setup.

By the end of this session you will:

  • Have a list of common chatbot planning questions.
  • Identify different levels of chatbot services, from easy to complex
  • See a simple chatbot in action

I hope to see you there!

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Nov. 9 – Reach Your Military-Affiliated Patrons with the Libraries & Veterans Toolkit
  • Nov. 23 – Best New Children’s Books of 2022
  • Nov. 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Dec. 21 – Summer Reading Program 2023: All Together Now
  • Jan. 11, 2023 – Best New Teen Reads of 2022

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 – “Ghost Eaters” by Clay McLeod Chapman

Stare at the dark for too long, and you will eventually see… #BookFaceFriday!

This week’s #BookFaceFriday conjures things that go bump in the night… Stay up late and read “Ghost Eaters” by Clay McLeod Chapman (Quirk Books, 2022.) This title is available as both an eBook and an audiobook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Find this title and other tales of horror in Nebraska OverDrive’s curated collection, “It Came From the Library“, perfect for late-night reading!

“Chapman has created an experience so anxiety inducing, immersive, and intense that readers will feel like something is actually there, lurking over their shoulder as they turn the pages. A great choice for fans of A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and Orphans of Bliss, edited by Mark Matthews.”

—Booklist, starred review

Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

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

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