NCompass Live: WiFi in the Library

Do you have WiFi questions? Sherm has the answers! Join him to learn all about ‘WiFi in the Library’ on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, February 7, at 10am CT.

On this episode on NCompass Live, the Nebraska Library Commission’s Library Technology Support Specialist, Andrew ‘Sherm’ Sherman, will cover:

  • The current standards of WiFi technology
  • What WiFi standards and equipment libraries should be utilizing
  • The pros and cons of the different WiFi configurations in a library environment
  • The assistance Sherm can provide to libraries with their WiFi and other technology needs

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Feb. 14 – ConnectEd Nebraska: Bridging the Digital Divide through Innovative eduroam Expansion
  • Feb. 21 – Using Creativity to Grow & Develop
  • Feb. 28 – Pretty Sweet Tech

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, 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 GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Friday Reads & #BookFaceFriday: Houses with a Story, by Seiji Yoshida

Sometimes art imitates #BookFaceFriday

After the holiday frenzy I needed to read something that would serve as a mental palate cleanser–the literary equivalent of a deep, cleansing breath. Houses with a Story, by Seiji Yoshida, fit the bill.

Yoshida, a Tokyo-based artist who works as a professional background illustrator in the game/anime industry, first published Houses with a Story in Japan in 2020. The English translation came out in November 2023. Language isn’t the most important component of this book, however. Instead, detailed illustrations of over 30 imaginative dwellings, along with brief text hinting at a backstory for each, predominate.

Each of Yoshida’s 30+ houses get at least a two-page spread featuring both a street view and a cut-away drawing that lets you see inside the structure’s various rooms. This allows you to view nooks and crannies, furnishings, and basic possessions. Sketched floor plans are also sometimes included.

One of my favorite dwelling/character combos is the Methodical Witch’s House. Her small abode is divided into two rooms by a partial wall, which includes a two-sided hearth designed to heat both. The witch grows herbs and vegetables in an outdoor garden (also depicted), which she then harvests and uses in cooking and medicine. According to a “Concepts and Commentary” section at the back of the book, Yoshida imagines this house existing in mid-nineteenth century Scotland.

As a librarian, I also love Yoshida’s Library of Lost Books. This temple-like compound of unknown origin exists in an imaginary, isolated, Tibet-inspired landscape. According to the accompanying annotation, it supposedly contains “all the books that have been entirely lost to this world.” The lone librarian’s main duty is to comb the shelves for newly lost books that appear daily in order to catalog and organize them—a seemingly unending task.

The publisher of Houses with a Story recommends it for fans of Studio Ghibli, which makes sense given their similar aesthetic. I also think that adults who enjoy looking at architecture, floor plans, and photo spreads of enchanting and unusual living spaces will be enthralled. Finally, if you were a kid who loved poring over Richard Scarry, I Spy, and Where’s Waldo books, this might be a good selection for adult you!

You can find “Houses with a Story: A Dragon’s Den, a Ghostly Mansion, a Library of Lost Books, and 30 More Amazing Places to Explore” by Seiji Yoshida and many more in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 194 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,174 audiobooks, 36,611 ebooks, and 5,210 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!

This week’s BookFace “model” is a painting by the late Lincoln artist Larry Griffing, which hangs in librarian Lisa Kelly’s home. Thank you Lisa for capturing this photo for us!

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

Yoshida, Seiji. Houses with a Story. Abrams, 2023.

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Book Club Spotlight – Survivors of the Holocaust

Cover for Survivors of the Holocaust

In observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, today’s Book Club Spotlight, Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children, is a graphic novel that commemorates the Jewish children who were displaced by World War Two. This book will be read in conjunction with next month’s spotlight, When Stars are Scattered, which follows two Somali brothers as they are growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp. While these children all survived, it’s important to remember those who are still being displaced or, worse, by war and apartheid. Survivors of the Holocaust is adapted from a six-part animated interview series, Children of the Holocaust, which won the VLA Graphic Novel Diversity Award for Youth Honor. It was edited by Kath Shackleton and illustrated by Zane Whittingham. 

The graphic novel begins with a foreword by Lilian Black, who was the Chair of the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association. She introduces us to the six storytellers, Heinz, Trude, Ruth, Martin, Suzanne, and Arek, who were all children at the beginning of World War II and were impacted by the Holocaust and its systemic persecution of Jewish people. Split into individual sections, we begin by meeting each child shortly before war breaks out during Hitler’s rise to power. Some are forced to flee with their families, siblings, or all alone. Others are stuck in Germany and manage to survive their time in concentration camps. Their stories are told through evocative and mildly disturbing illustrations that work to bring the sense of terror that Hilter’s reign imposed on their young lives. Sections following the main stories include short paragraphs about each of the children as they grew up outside of the war, a timeline of events, a helpful glossary of terms, and further online resources.

“It is not easy for them to tell their stories. They agreed to because they want people to know what can happen when people are subjected to discrimination and persecution for being seen as “different”. Their dearest wish is that no one should suffer as they did and that people who never again stand by when injustice is taking place.”

Survivors of the holocaust – Foreword: Lilian Black

Appropriate for ages ten and above, Survivors of the Holocaust presents a solid reference point for young readers who are just learning about the Holocaust. As written by The Jewish Book Council: “These accounts rep­re­sent a good cross-sec­tion of expe­ri­ence, since plu­ral­i­ty of expe­ri­ence is vital in pre­sent­ing the Holo­caust to young read­ers. The illus­tra­tions make the iden­ti­ties of the vic­tims and per­pe­tra­tors clear and the maps used as back­grounds pro­vide geo­graph­ic ground­ing for bor­der cross­ings. Ren­der­ings of pho­tographs and pri­ma­ry doc­u­ments add anoth­er lay­er of under­stand­ing”. However, there are minor inconsistencies that often occur through retellings. From classrooms to adult reading groups, Survivors of the Holocaust presents a multifaceted approach to our continuing Holocaust education and commitment to victims of displacement.

As with many of our Book Club Kits, discussion questions and an Educator’s Guide are available to help teachers and Book Club Group leaders through discussion resources and additional information. 

Other Resources: 

If you’re interested in requesting Survivors of the Holocaust  for your book club, you can find the Request Form here. There are 10 copies available. (A librarian must request items)

Shackleton, Kath. Survivors of the Holocaust. Sourcebooks Explore. 2019.

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Smokey Bear Reading Challenge

To celebrate Smokey Bear’s 80th Birthday the National Forest Service has set up their Smokey Bear Reading Challenge.  To learn more about the Challenge, visit here.

The Forest Service is going to ask how many children signed up and filled in a log of the challenge, so please keep a count if you promote it to your community.

We have received the items the National Forest Service mailed to the Library Commission for their Smokey Bear Reading Challenge.  Each public library is welcome to receive the following items:

One roll of 500 Smokey Stickers
One package of 50 Smokey Cards
One Smokey Stamp

I plan to deliver what I can at the Library Systems’ Summer Reading Program workshops.  If you do not plan to attend the workshop, or if your system’s workshop has already met, we will be working on a way to get the items to you if you want them.

Also, take a look at the digital toolkit prepared by the National Forest Service.

Amanda Shelton, Director of the Franklin Public Library, made a QR code for their website.  Thank you Amanda!

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#BookFaceFriday “Rez Ball” by Byron Graves

This #BookFaceFriday is a slam dunk!

Get your game face on, because it’s #BookFaceFriday! If you’re interested in staying up-to-date on the latest and greatest in young adult books, check out this week’s episode of NCompass Live, Best New Teen Reads of 2023, presented by NLC’s Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, Sally Snyder, and Fremont High School librarian, Dana Fontaine. Today’s #BookFace selection, “Rez Ball” by Byron Graves (‎Heartdrum, 2023), was one of the titles featured in Sally’s teen list. Sally does two presentations like this each year on NCompass Live, one on YA books and another on children’s books. “Rez Ball” is a William C. Morris Debut Book Award winner and an American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award winner. You can find it as both an eBook and audiobook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. If you’re looking for more information about NCompass Live or Sally Snyder’s Best Books lists, check out the NCompass Live Archive.

“Debut author Graves, who is Ojibwe like Tre, doesn’t shirk from showing his community’s ugly experiences, but he never languishes in them. Well-paced and exciting—the action of the basketball games is exceptionally well written—this is a solid piece of sports fiction.”

— Booklist

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. 194 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,174 audiobooks, 36,611 ebooks, and 5,210 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 Indigo Girl

The Indigo Girl, by Natasha Boyd, is an exceptional example of historical fiction, one of my favorite genres. In this incredible story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice, an extraordinary sixteen-year-old girl in Colonial South Carolina defies all expectations to achieve her dream.

“The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family’s three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.

Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it’s the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it’s impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return—against the laws of the day—she will teach the slaves to read.

So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Based on historical documents, including Eliza’s letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.” [Audible]

This book is set between 1739 and 1744, and Natasha Boyd has done extensive research and masterful writing to form the story of a remarkable young woman whose actions were before her time. I listened to the Audible version, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, and highly recommend this story about a little known piece of American history: the story of The Indigo Girl.

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2024 Big Talk From Small Libraries Schedule Now Available

The full schedule for the 2024 Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference is now available!

You will find all the details on the Schedule page. Information about our presenters is available on the Speakers page.

If you haven’t registered yet, now is the time to jump over to the Registration page and sign up!

You are welcome to watch as an individual or to host a group viewing of the conference. If several staff members from the same library want to attend, you can just register for one seat and have staff members view/listen together via one workstation.

You can also host a viewing party this same way and invite staff from other libraries. For any group viewings, if you know who will be there, you can list your Additional Attendees on your one registration or you can send us a list after the event. Be sure to take all necessary health and safety precautions into account when planning group viewings.

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2024 will be held on Friday, February 23, 2024 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoTo Webinar online meeting service.

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ALA Announces the Youth Media Awards

A number of awards honoring titles and media for children and young adults were announced this morning.  The John Newbery Medal goes to The Eyes and the Impossible written by Dave Eggers, with five other titles named as Newbery Honor Books.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal goes to Big, illustrated and written by Vashti Harrison, with four additional titles named Caldecott Honor Books.

To see the ALA new release listing all the youth awards and titles, go here.

Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow, set in Nebraska, was named both a Newbery Honor Book and a Schneider Family Book Award honor book for middle grades. This title is hilarious, heart-breaking and goofy –  an amazing book.  Simon and his parents move from near Omaha to a part of Nebraska that is a National Radio Quiet Zone (fictional, the real one is in West Virginia).  There is no Internet access and the town (Grin and Bear It, NE) lives with it.  Simon has been homeschooled for the past year and now is back in public school for the 7th grade.  He makes a couple of friends and begins to settle in.  His mom is undertaker for the town and they live in the mortuary.  His dad works for the Catholic Church.  Amazing writing, quirky people and animals, unusual situations will keep the students reading.  Spoiler: a school shooting has happened in the past and is revisited.  It will break your heart.

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NCompass Live: Best New Teen Reads of 2023

Hear about the ‘Best New Teen Reads of 2023’ on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, January 24, at 10am CT.

Brief book talks and reviews of new titles recommended to school and public librarians, covering both middle and high school levels, that were published within the last year.

Presenter: Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, Nebraska Library Commission and Dana Fontaine, Librarian, Fremont High School.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Jan. 31 – Pretty Sweet Tech: WordPress Website Refresh
  • Feb. 7 – WiFi in the Library
  • Feb. 14 – ConnectEd Nebraska: Bridging the Digital Divide through Innovative eduroam Expansion
  • Feb. 21 – Using Creativity to Grow & Develop

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, 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 GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, 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 November and December, 2023.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Nebraska Crime Commission, the Nebraska Department of 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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Friday Reads: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

A whimsical and sweet story about found family, belonging, and magic. Mika Moon has been alone all of her life, raised by a series of nannies and forced to live by strict rules to protect and hide her magic (as all witches must do). She begins posting short witchy videos online, assuming no one will actually believe the simple magic tricks are real – until she gets a message offering her a tutoring job for three young witches.

When she arrives to “Nowhere House,” she meets the two caretakers, along with a retired actor, a grumpy/broody librarian, and the three girls who are very much in need of some magical guidance. She also finds that the mysterious archeologist, Lillian, who owns the house, has been out of contact for months and people are starting to ask questions which all threatens the girls’ safety. Mika knows if the kids are discovered (by other witches), they’ll be taken and split up so their magic doesn’t draw attention. No one at the house wants to find out what will happen if they’re discovered by non-witches.

But will the girls learn to reign in their powers? Will James, the librarian, trust Mika enough to let her help? Does he really hate her or is there something more developing between them? Where is Lillian? How is this connected to Mika’s own past? Could this odd group be the home and family that Mika has always wanted?

Mandanna, Sangu. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches. Berkley. 2022.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch, and the #BookFace!

Pass the Turkish Delight! There’s nothing like a great series to while away the winter months. This week’s BookFace, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis (HarperCollins, 1994), is the second book in the fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. This title is available as a Book Club Kit for Nebraska libraries to check out; we have the entire series in the collection. You can also find the series in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. If you’re looking for more information about a book series, check out the Commission’s Books in Series Database. It’s a one-stop shop for information on all the different books series out there!

“Although metaphysical rumblings may disturb adults, this wily symbolism-studded fantasy should appeal to children of an imaginative turn. While exploring an old English mansion, the four children—Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy—discover through passing into a wardrobe, the strange land of Narnia, where it is winter without ever becoming Christmas.”

Kirkus Reviews

A big shout-out to this week’s model Mittens and her person Mackenzie Marrow for this week’s Bookface photo! You’re a natural Mittens!

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. 194 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,174 audiobooks, 36,611 ebooks, and 5,210 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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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).  Every two months 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 November and December, 2023:

Great Plains Forts, by Jay H. Buckley and Jeffery D. Nokes; Series: Discover the Great Plains

Great Plains Forts introduces readers to the fortifications that have impacted the lives of Indigenous peoples, fur trappers and traders, travelers, and military personnel on the Great Plains and prairies from precontact times to the present. Using stories to introduce patterns in fortification construction and use, Jay H. Buckley and Jeffery D. Nokes explore the eras of fort-building on the Great Plains from Canada to Texas. Stories about fortifications and fortified cities built by Indigenous peoples reveal the lesser-known history of precontact violence on the plains.

Great Plains Forts includes stories of Spanish presidios and French and British outposts in their respective borderlands. Forts played a crucial role in the international fur trade and served as emporiums along the overland trails and along riverway corridors as Euro-Americans traveled into the American West. Soldiers and families resided in these military outposts, and this military presence in turn affected Indigenous Plains peoples. The appendix includes a reference guide organized by state and province, enabling readers to search easily for specific forts.

Making Space : Neighbors, Officials, and North African Migrants in the Suburbs of Paris and Lyon, by Melissa K. Byrnes; Series: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization

Since the 2005 urban protests in France, public debate has often centered on questions of how the country has managed its relationship with its North African citizens and residents. In Making Space Melissa K. Byrnes considers how four French suburbs near Paris and Lyon reacted to rapidly growing populations of North Africans, especially Algerians before, during, and after the Algerian War. In particular, Byrnes investigates what motivated local actors such as municipal officials, regional authorities, employers, and others to become involved in debates over migrants’ rights and welfare, and the wide variety of strategies community leaders developed in response to the migrants’ presence. An examination of the ways local policies and attitudes formed and re-formed communities offers a deeper understanding of the decisions that led to the current tensions in French society and questions about France’s ability—and will—to fulfill the promise of liberty, equality, and fraternity for all of its citizens. Byrnes uses local experiences to contradict a version of French migration history that reads the urban unrest of recent years as preordained.

Modern Jewish Theology : the First One Hundred Years, 1835-1935, Edited by Samuel J. Kessler and George Y. Kohler; Series: JPS Anthologies of Jewish Thought

Modern Jewish Theology is the first comprehensive collection of Jewish theological ideas from the pathbreaking nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, featuring selections from more than thirty of the most influential Jewish thinkers of the era as well as explorations of Judaism’s identity, uniqueness, and relevance; the origin of ethical monotheism; and the possibility of Jewish existentialism. These works—most translated for the first time into English by top scholars in modern Jewish history and philosophy—reveal how modern Jewish theology developed in concert with broader trends in Jewish intellectual and social modernization, especially scholarship (Wissenschaft des Judentums), politics (liberalism and Zionism), and religious practice (movement Judaism and the struggles to transcend denominational boundaries).

This anthology thus opens to the English-language reader a true treasure house of source material from the formative years of modern Jewish thought, bringing together writings from the very first generations, who imagined biblical and rabbinic texts and modern scientific research would produce a synthetic view of God, Israel, and the world. A general introduction and chapter introductions guide students and nonspecialists through the key themes and transformations in modern Jewish theology, and extensive annotations immerse them in the latest scholarship.

Reading the Contemporary Author : Narrative, Authority, Fictionality, Edited by Alison Gibbons and Elizabeth King; Series: Frontiers of Narrative

Readers, literary critics, and theorists alike have long demonstrated an abiding fascination with the author, both as a real person—an artist and creator—and as a theoretical concept that shapes the way we read literary works. Whether anonymous, pseudonymous, or trending on social media, authors continue to be an object of critical and readerly interest. Yet theories surrounding authorship have yet to be satisfactorily updated to register the changes wrought on the literary sphere by the advent of the digital age, the recent turn to autofiction, and the current literary climate more generally. In Reading the Contemporary Author the contributors look back on the long history of theorizing the author and offer innovative new approaches for understanding this elusive figure.

Mapping the contours of the vast territory that is contemporary authorship, this collection investigates authorship in the context of narrative genres ranging from memoir and autobiographically informed texts to biofiction and novels featuring novelist narrators and characters. Bringing together the perspectives of leading scholars in narratology, cultural theory, literary criticism, stylistics, comparative literature, and autobiography studies, Reading the Contemporary Author demonstrates that a variety of interdisciplinary viewpoints and critical stances are necessary to capture the multifaceted nature of contemporary authorship.

To Educate American Indians : Selected Writings from the National Educational Association’s Department of Indian Education, 1900-1904, Edited by Larry C. Skogen; Series: Indigenous Education

To Educate American Indians presents the most complete versions of papers presented at the National Educational Association’s Department of Indian Education meetings during a time when the debate about how best to “civilize” Indigenous populations dominated discussions. During this time two philosophies drove the conversation. The first, an Enlightenment era–influenced universalism, held that through an educational alchemy American Indians would become productive, Christianized Americans, distinguishable from their white neighbors only by the color of their skin. Directly confronting the assimilationists’ universalism were the progressive educators who, strongly influenced by the era’s scientific racism, held the notion that American Indians could never become fully assimilated. Despite these differing views, a frightening ethnocentrism and an honor-bound dedication to “gifting” civilization to Native students dominated the writings of educators from the NEA’s Department of Indian Education.

For a decade educators gathered at annual meetings and presented papers on how best to educate Native students. Though the NEA Proceedings published these papers, strict guidelines often meant they were heavily edited before publication. In this volume Larry C. Skogen presents many of these unedited papers and gives them historical context for the years 1900 to 1904.

Wallace Stegner’s Unsettled Country : Ruin, Realism, and Possibility in the American West, Edited by Mark Fiege, Michael J. Lansing, and Leisl Carr Childers

Wallace Stegner is an iconic western writer. His works of fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Angle of Repose and Big Rock Candy Mountain, as well as his nonfiction books and essays introduced the beauty and character of the American West to thousands of readers. Wallace Stegner’s Unsettled Country assesses his life, work, and legacy in light of contemporary issues and crises. Along with Stegner’s achievements, the contributors show how his failures offer equally crucial ways to assess the past, present, and future of the region.

Drawing from history, literature, philosophy, law, geography, and park management, the contributors consider Stegner’s racial liberalism and regional vision, his gendered view of the world, his understandings of conservation and the environment, his personal experience of economic collapse and poverty, his yearning for community, and his abiding attachment to the West. Wallace Stegner’s Unsettled Country is an even-handed reclamation of Stegner’s enduring relevance to anyone concerned about the American West’s uncertain future.

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

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Throwback Thursday: Burwood Theatre in Omaha, Neb.

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week, we have a 14 x 9 cm color postcard featuring the exterior of the Burwood Theatre located at 1514 Harney Street in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Burwood Theatre was built in 1906. A few years later, its name was changed to the Gayety. It became a notorious burlesque house. Civic organizations protested and finally, in 1928, the theater was closed.

This image is published and owned by Omaha Public Library. The items from Omaha Public Library in Nebraska Memories include early Omaha-related maps dating from 1825 to 1922, as well as over 1,100 postcards and photographs of the Omaha area. The Omaha Postcard Collections shows scenes of Omaha, spanning a time period from the 1890s to the 1920s.

Check out this collection and many more on the Nebraska Memories archive.

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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E-rate Form 471 Application Filing Window Opens Today

The E-rate Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2024 opened today at noon EST and will close on Wednesday, March 27 at 11:59 pm EDT. You may now log on to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and file your FCC Form 471 for FY2024.

This makes Wednesday, February 28, the deadline to post your Form 470 to the USAC website, meet the 28-day posting requirement for the competitive bidding process, and submit a Form 471 by the filing window closing date.

However, we do not recommend waiting until the last day to submit your Form 470! If there are any issues that day, like the E-rate servers are slowed down because it is the last day to submit, or you can’t submit the form due to reasons on your end, such as illness, weather, power outage, etc., then you would miss the deadline and lose out on E-rate altogether. So, get your E-rate Form 470 submitted as soon as possible!

IMPORTANT: Before you file your Form 471, check your Form 470 Receipt Notification for your Allowable Contract Date – the first date you are allowed to submit your 471. Do not submit your 471 before that date! Remember, after you submit your Form 470, you must wait 28 days to submit your Form 471. You can find your Notification within the EPC portal in your News feed.

Do you need help completing your forms? Do you have questions about E-rate? You’re in luck!

Today’s E-rate Special Edition News Brief has detailed tips and instructions, as well as information about upcoming online training opportunities from USAC. To keep up on E-rate news, subscribe to the USAC E-rate News Brief.

And more recorded webinars, demos, and training materials are available on the NLC E-rate webpage.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, please contact the State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries in Nebraska, Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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Book Club Spotlight – Transcendent Kingdom

cover for Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi.  a Black woman faces away from the viewer, her hands and posture in a praying pose. the cover is cut in half slant-ways between black and a pale pink

Reading all the books I feature in the spotlight puts me in a perpetual time crunch of my own making. However, that was not a problem as I read today’s Book Club Spotlight in one day because it was so incredible. Transcendent Kingdom is Yaa Gyasi’s sophomore novel following the success of her debut, Homegoing. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Gyasi has won the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first book of fiction, the American Book Award for Homegoing, and she was featured not only on the National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35 list but also the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Born in Ghana and raised in Alabama, Gyasi proves in her novels that the immigrant story is not a monolith, and in Transcendent Kingdom, she tackles the great costs of depression and addiction.

Gifty, a neuroscience doctoral student, is studying the reward-seeking behavior in mice, especially as it relates to depression and addiction. Once the mice are hooked on Ensure, she looks for the lengths addicted mice will go to reach their reward and how to dissuade that neurological impulse. While she tries to keep it a secret from her peers, Gifty has a deep connection with addiction and depression. Her older brother, Nana, lost to opiate addiction. And her mother, torn apart by grief, is sleeping in her daughter’s bed. Gifty’s parents moved to the United States from Ghana when Nana was young, only for her father to leave them for the homeland when she was very young. Left to fend for themselves all alone, the family never quite recovered. And Gifty, fueled by ambition focused on nothing but proving herself over and over again. If she was the best, if she did the hardest thing, she’d have a place to rest. Reconciling with the past as a means to her future, Gifty spends her energy trying to understand the problem that tore her family apart while keeping what’s left of it together. 

I want everything and I want to want less.”

Yaa Gyasi

Focusing on Gifty’s relationship with her family as it transforms and her time in her “motherland” of Ghana, Transcendent Kingdom, is not plot-driven but purpose-driven. To know the story is to understand Gifty and all the little disjointed areas of her life that came together to make her whole. There is no magical solution to her problems, only a continued forward motion. An integral part of Transcendent Kingdom is the struggle between the spiritual and the scientific mind- knowing deep in ourselves that if we can figure out the mechanics of why something happens or why this person is who they are, we can fully understand them and be at peace. Recovering from her anxious evangelical upbringing, Gifty ran to science and only science. But as her questions get more complex and philosophical, she finds herself tentatively reaching out to something more. 

January is Mental Health Awareness Month: 

  • If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.
  • To learn how to get support for mental health, drug, and alcohol issues, visit FindSupport.gov.
  • To locate treatment facilities or providers, visit FindTreatment.gov or call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).

If you’re interested in requesting Transcendent Kingdom  for your book club, you can find the Request Form here. There are 5 copies available. (A librarian must request items)

Gyasi, Yaa. Transcendent Kingdom. Vintage Books. 2020.

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NCompass Live: Auditing Library Websites

Have you wondered if your library’s website needs some work? How do you decide that, without being subjective? How do you know what to measure, or how to measure it?

Learn about ‘Auditing Library Websites’ on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, January 17 at 10am CT. 

There are many current standards for content, images, navigation, usability, and more that can be readily applied to your website, allowing for a more objective analysis of what you currently have. A website audit can provide a valuable framework, especially before beginning a full or even partial redesign of your library’s site. Learn about data-based principles that can guide your future work and discover some tools that can provide concrete specifics for elements that may need attention.

Presenter: Laura Solomon, MCIW, MLS is the Library Services Manager for the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN). She has been doing web development and design for more than twenty years, in both public libraries and as an independent consultant. She specializes in developing with Drupal. She is a 2010 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. She’s written three books about social media and content marketing, specifically for libraries, and speaks nationally on both these and technology-related topics. As a former children’s librarian, she enjoys bringing the “fun of technology” to audiences and in giving libraries the tools they need to better serve the virtual customer.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Jan. 24 – Best New Teen Reads of 2023
  • Jan. 31 – Pretty Sweet Tech: WordPress Website Refresh
  • Feb. 7 – WiFi in the Library
  • Feb. 14 – ConnectEd Nebraska: Bridging the Digital Divide through Innovative eduroam Expansion
  • Feb. 21 – Using Creativity to Grow & Develop

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, 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 GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Friday Reads: Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult by Maria Bamford

Ever since a friend recommended her breakout television series, Lady Dynamite, I’ve been a fan of Maria Bamford and her singular comedy style. In her new memoir, Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult, she discusses her desire to belong to something, anything, that makes sense of her life and what’s happening in her brain—and how well that challenge goes, or doesn’t. You will be rooting for her as she describes her journey, and as she illustrates the characters she meets along the way—people and organizations that are more than willing to offer her the security she craves, in exchange for her continued insecurity in some other area of her life. She addresses heavy (sometimes very heavy! You’ve been warned! She will warn you too!) topics with both irreverence and gentleness, somehow. No other comedian is quite like Maria Bamford. 

Bamford will talk about her mental health in fresh and honest and uncomfortable ways that will have you laughing out loud—so, you know, watch out for that if you’re listening to the audiobook on earbuds while you’re out in public. Her comedic timing is perfect, and she narrates accordingly, so it’s a great audiobook choice. There are some fun sound effects in the audiobook, to correspond with certain notes that appear in the printed book—it’s all thoughtfully explained at the beginning of the recording. I appreciated that the author and publisher took the time to make the audiobook succeed as a separate work on its own, and not suffer in the adaptation. I checked out the print book as well, though, to see the photos and illustrations. And to take a photo for Friday Reads, of course.  

If you’re familiar with Bamford, you already know you want to read this book. It’s almost all new material, and she even warns you when she’s about to use jokes recycled from earlier routines. (Even those recycled bits are often presented with more context, so you won’t mind.) If you’re not familiar with her, you might be surprised to find that you’ve seen her (or heard her) in a number of series and other works (check out her IMDb credits here).

Bamford M. Sure I’ll Join Your Cult : A Memoir of Mental Illness and the Quest to Belong Anywhere. First Gallery Books hardcover ed. New York: Gallery Books; 2023.

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#BookFaceFriday “I’m Going to Build a Snowman” by Jashar Awan

Bundle up it’s #BookFaceFriday!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, because we have access to all the books we could want! No matter the age group or reading level, you can find great books on Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Just like this week’s #BookFaceFriday, a picture book perfect for a snow day, “I’m Going to Build a Snowman” written and illustrated by Jashar Awan (‎‎Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 20231.) It’s a great reminder that just because the building is closed the library still has plenty to offer. It’s available for checkout as an ebook from Nebraska Overdrive Libraries.

“When a little boy wakes up to see a blanket of snow covering the world outside, there’s only one thing to do: make a snowman, and not just any snowman—he wants the best snowman ever. But when his perfectly packed and powdery dreams clash with cold, slushy reality, he realizes the best snowman ever may be out of reach…but he can make his best snowman yet.”

Book Jacket

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. 194 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,174 audiobooks, 36,611 ebooks, and 5,210 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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Throwback Thursday: Nebraska Traction and Power Company Interurban Streetcar

It’s time for another #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This black and white postcard from the early 1900s features an electric streetcar with reversible navigation controls. Nebraska Traction and Power Company began the streetcar service between Papillion and Omaha, Nebraska, in 1911.

This image is published and owned by the Sarpy County Historical Museum. The Sarpy County Historical Museum is located in Bellevue and has the mission of collecting, preserving, and displaying objects and documentary records related to Sarpy County.

Check out all the collections on the Nebraska Memories archive.

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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