#BookFaceFriday “The Midnights” by Sarah Nicole Smetana

We’re ringing in this #BookFaceFriday!

As we wait for the clock to strike twelve, some of us will be reading in the New Year instead. Join us in scrolling all the available books on Nebraska OverDrive Libraries while we look for all the books we want to add to our 2023 TBR lists. Just like this YA read, “The Midnights” by Sarah Nicole Smetana, it’s available as an ebook today. Here at NLC we like to embark on a new year by setting fresh reading goals or a new reading challenge! If you’re trying to read a certain number of books this year, the library is the easiest way to make that happen, don’t forget to check out ebooks and audiobooks from Nebraska OverDrive Libraries.

“An atmospheric voyage through grief and self-discovery perfect for fans of Julie Buxbaum’s Tell Me Three Things and Tim Federle’s The Great American Whatever.”

— School Library Journal

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. 186 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,554 audiobooks, 32,935 eBooks, and 3,940 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: Wreck Near Granville, N.D.

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

On March 13, 1909, a Great Northern Railway train derailment occurred outside Granville, North Dakota. As seen in this postcard, the engine with the coal car is still attached and is stopped on small bridge. It is leaning to one side while the coal car behind it leans in the opposite direction. A railroad car behind it has completely derailed and lays on its side in the snow. You can see workers standing on the tracks trying to repair the damage.

This week’s image is owned and published by History Nebraska. Check out the full collection on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. 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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ARPA Report – Hartington Public Library

Hartington Public Library utilized ARPA funds to make improvements to the Library!

The Hartington Public Library used funds to purchase new chairs for its public meeting room. This room is used for public meetings as well as children’s programming like StoryTime, StoryHour, afternoon movies, and regular board game club meetings. The original upholstered chairs were purchased when the new addition was built in 1997 and were showing considerable wear. The new chairs are commercial grade with chrome legs and are very durable.

The ARPA grant also provided the library with a new water fountain and water bottle station. The older water fountain overflowed and caused damage to the library’s tile floor. The new improvement helps the bathroom area become more sanitary and provides the after-school kids with a place to fill up their water bottles, as many of them stop in the library between sporting activities.

Patrons love the new upgrades and improvements made to the library!

_________________________________________________________________________________

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is result of the federal stimulus bill passed by Congress. The Nebraska Library Commission received a one-time award of $2,422,166. A portion of this funding has been allocated for three projects: Formula based grant program, NLC Library Improvement Grants, and NLC Youth Grants for Excellence.

For more information about the 2021 American Rescue Plan, visit www.nlc.nebraska.gov/grants/arpa/index.aspx

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Friday Reads – Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

This Christmas I hunted around for Native American stories for my niece and nephew. They are finally old enough to start asking questions about their culture and the color of grandpa’s skin. My dad is from the Band River Band of Chippewa at the very tip of Wisconsin. My brother and I are half Native, which makes my niece and nephew a quarter Native. We all tan pretty well.

To help the kids learn their heritage, I am reviewing Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids, edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Not surprisingly, I learned a lot from this collection of poems and short stories as well. In hindsight, I probably won’t give it to the kids until they are in middle school or at a higher reading level, but it was still a good read.

Many of the stories centered on Indian kids learning their culture through powwow celebrations and everyday life on the reservation, or elsewhere in the world. My brother and I didn’t grow up on the reservation like our dad did, but the stories still felt familiar and well-worn. I’ve been to many a powwow in my lifetime, but my niece and nephew have never seen one in person. Now they can learn the good, bad and ugly of Indian life from the safety of this book.

While some stories pass down traditional fancy dancing and our native languages, one of my favorite stories was told from the perspective of a reservation dog observing people in all their flawed and wonderful glory. If you’ve never heard of a reservation dog, nearly ever rez has got one. That dog that cannot and will not be owned by a single person. Rez dogs are cared for by and cares for all the people on the rez. Sort of like a library cat.

Even though some of these stories represent specific tribes, when you stack them all side-by-side, the similarities are unmistakable. Every language has a word for family, belonging, fear, loss, identity, and all those very human things. Having explored stories from around the world, all of our Ancestors must have all been talking to each other for a lifetime.

If you want to peer into the lives of dozens of Native cultures, try Ancestor Approved. Our history comes to life through story. These stories are real and refuse to be whitewashed.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Managing Technology Problems: Using SpringShare LibAnswers as a Ticketing System

Learn how to manage your library’s technology problems using SpringShare LibAnswers on next week’s Pretty Sweet Tech NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, December 28, 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.

Come to this session to learn how (and why) to set up a SpringShare LibAnswers Queue to manage all technology-related problems in your library. I will share our experience in setting up and using our “LibTech” queue to track issues pertaining to the library website, library services platform, and hardware/software in the library.

Presenter: Bobbi-Jean Ludwig, Coordinator of Library Technology Services & E-Resources Librarian, Calvin T. Ryan Library – University of Nebraska – Kearney.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Jan. 4, 2023 – Critical Hit! Tabletop Gaming in the Library
  • Jan. 11, 2023 – Best New Teen Reads of 2022
  • Jan. 18, 2023 – First Amendment Audits: What You Need to Know
  • Jan. 25, 2023 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Learn About TechGirlz & Inspire Girls in Your Community Today!
  • Feb. 8, 2023 – Accessibility Isn’t Just for Patrons! Internal Documentation for Everyone
  • Feb. 15, 2023 – Digital Libraries as Digital Third Place: Virtual Library Programming
  • March 8, 2023 – Read the Rainbow: Serving the LGBTQ+ Community in Your Library

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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FINRA Foundation Library Grants Program

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

The FINRA Foundation is now accepting applications for grants up to $50,000 to support public and academic libraries in their efforts to bolster financial education and financial inclusion at the community level. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2023.

To download the application form and receive instructions on how to apply, visit the FINRA Foundation Library Grants website.

This grant program supports public libraries and academic libraries in their efforts to meet financial and/or investor education needs at the community level by providing high-quality education, services, and resources. The program also aims to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in access to personal finance education and information.

Eligibility to apply for this grant is limited to U.S. public libraries and academic libraries at U.S. state or nonprofit higher education institutions. This is a competitive grant program. Submission of a grant application does not guarantee that a grant will be awarded.

About the FINRA Foundation

Established in 2003 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation empowers underserved Americans with the knowledge, skills and tools to make sound financial decisions throughout life. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through educational programs and research that help consumers achieve their financial goals and that protect them in a complex and dynamic world. FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, regulates all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity.

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#BookFaceFriday – “The Snow Globe” by Sheila Roberts

We’re shaking things up with this week’s #BookFaceFriday!

This winter wonderland is making our holiday books feel right at home! Looking for the perfect Hallmark read, reserve a holiday title like “The Snow Globe” by Sheila Roberts (Piatkus, 2014) for your book club! Take a peek

at all of our holiday-themed book club kits today!

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

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

“This lighthearted and charming read will appeal to fans of Kristin Hannah’s magical, light romances and readers who enjoyed Roberts’s previous holiday offerings.”

–Library Journal (Starred Review)

This week’s #BookFace model is Kay, she’s a TBBS Readers Advisor.

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

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Throwback Thursday: Snow in Peru, Nebraska

Winter is finally here and we’re celebrating the new season with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

This week’s throwback features an early 1900s winter scene in Peru, Nebraska. Snow covers the road and yards along the residential streets.

This image was donated by Lori Sailors. It is owned and published by the Nebraska Library Commission. This collection includes material on the history of libraries in Nebraska, mainly those built with Carnegie grants. Also included in this collection, are items from the 1930s related to the Public Library Commission bookmobile and items that showcase Nebraska’s state institutions.

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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E-rate Form 471 FY2023 Application Filing Window Dates Announced

Get your library’s piece
of the E-rate pie!

From the USAC website:

FY2023 Application Filing Window Dates Announced

The FCC Form 471 Application Filing Window for Funding Year 2023 will open on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at noon EST and close on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 11:59:59 EDT. You can read the USAC announcement for full details.

To prepare for the window opening:

  • If you haven’t already done so, file your FCC Form 470 now! You do not have to wait for the Form 471 window to open.
    • To file your FCC Form 470, log into the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC). You must wait 28 days after your FCC Form 470 is posted to the USAC website before you can close your competitive bidding process, select a service provider, sign a contract (if applicable), and submit an FCC Form 471. If you issue an RFP after the FCC Form 470 is posted, you must wait 28 days from the release of the RFP to select a service provider.
    • Tuesday, February 28, 2023 is the deadline to post your FCC Form 470 to the USAC website or issue an RFP and still complete all of these actions before the window closes.
  • Update Your EPC Profile During the Administrative Window – Update your EPC profile by January 16, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Review your EPC profile and confirm all of your information is accurate including your organization’s name, address, and other details. Your profile is currently unlocked and available for you to insert any further updates, but will be locked again before the 471 Filing Window opens. Libraries should confirm their square footage, main branch, and public school district of the main branch information is correct and that any bookmobiles or kiosks are included.

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

Please contact Christa Porter , Nebraska State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, if you have any questions or need any assistance submitting your E-rate forms.

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Book Club Spotlight – The Fishermen

Cover for the The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma. On a bright red background, four fishing hooks are intertwined and tangled together

While we’re busy getting snowed in this week, you’ll want to hunker down with a good book like this week’s spotlight! During the winter holidays, many of us spend our time around family or loved ones, and The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma is, first and foremost, a book about family. Written as a love letter to his brothers, Obioma explores the intrinsic connection between siblings and how easily chaos can sow a rift between them. I love sharing books that have a special connection to Nebraska, and The Fishermen, recipient of the 2016 Nebraska Book Award for fiction, is an excellent example of one such book. Born in Nigeria, Chigozie Obioma is currently the James E. Ryan Associate Professor of Creative writing at UNL. The Fishermen, his debut novel, also won the Inaugural FT/Oppenheimer Award for Fiction, the NAACP Image Awards for Debut Literary Work, and was shortlisted for the 2015 Booker Prize. 

In 1990s Nigeria, under the dictatorship of Gen. Sani Abacha, there is a family of brothers. Ikenna, the oldest; Boja and Obembe in the middle; and the youngest, Ben as our narrator. When their father moves away for work, the delicate family structure begins to crumble without its leader. In a fit of rebellion, the four boys go behind their mother’s back to fish in a forbidden and polluted river, leaving her clueless, tending to their two youngest siblings. At the river, the boys encounter the town’s prophetic madman, who convinces Ikenna that he will be murdered brutally by one of his siblings. Driven mad by this prophecy, the family suffers the loss of another authority figure, as their eldest brother becomes suspicious, anxious, and even violent toward them. So, the four brothers, like Cain and Abel before them, are plunged into turmoil, testing their bond and loyalty to the bitter end.

“I heard someone say that the end of most things often bears a resemblance- even if faint- to their beginnings”

– Chigozie Obioma

Perfect for an adult book group that enjoys character-driven plots that tell a deeper story, The Fishermen is rife with metaphors and parables from Obioma’s Igbo roots. Described as “an essential novel about Africa with all of its contradictions—economic, political and religious—and the epic beauty of its own culture,” each of the brothers represents the four major tribes of Nigeria and how the political tumult in the country led to unrest between them. Even though the novel is an allegory for and takes place during a dangerous time in Nigeria’s history, this is not a historical war novel. While affected and aware of the situation, the children are more invested in their interpersonal lives rather than politics. This style reminds me of the show Derry Girls in how it isn’t only addressing issues in a political sense but also in a personal sense. And in this book is about strife and torn bonds, Obioma delivers hope for the future resting on the next generation’s unmarred shoulders.

If you’re interested in requesting this book for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. There are 20 copies available with large print and audio CD (Items must be requested by a librarian) 

Obioman, Chigozie. The Fishermen. Little, Brown and Company. 2015.

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NCompass Live: Summer Reading Program 2023: All Together Now

Get ready for the 2023 Summer Reading Program, All Together Now, on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, December 21, at 10am CT.

Learn about quality books to consider for your library’s collection and start planning for All Together Now. Kids will be clamoring for both fiction and nonfiction titles as they read all about Kindness, Friendship, and Unity, the topics for the 2023 Summer Reading Program.

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

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Dec. 28 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Managing Technology Problems: Using SpringShare LibAnswers as a Ticketing System
  • Jan. 4, 2023 – Critical Hit! Tabletop Gaming in the Library
  • Jan. 11, 2023 – Best New Teen Reads of 2022
  • Jan. 18, 2023 – First Amendment Audits: What You Need to Know
  • Jan. 25, 2023 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Learn About TechGirlz & Inspire Girls in Your Community Today!
  • Feb. 8, 2023 – Accessibility Isn’t Just for Patrons! Internal Documentation for Everyone
  • Feb. 15, 2023 – Digital Libraries as Digital Third Place: Virtual Library Programming
  • March 8, 2023 – Read the Rainbow: Serving the LGBTQ+ Community in Your Library

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 “First Snow” by Bomi Park

 It’s beginning to look a lot like #BookFaceFriday!

You might be dreaming of a white Christmas, but maybe not two feet worth. Even if winter weather ruins your regular trip to the library you and your kids can still enjoy new books like “First Snow” by Bomi Park (Chronicle Books, 2016). This title is available as an ebook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries, along with many other children’s favorites. We also have a few of his titles in our book club kit collection, if your younger readers want to read them as a group.

“Toddler-PreS—The simple narrative holds readers’ interest while it moves from the familiar to the ethereal. The concise language and dreamy yet understandable images are perfect for toddlers. The artwork, in shades of black-and-white with accents of red, is reminiscent of the visuals in Akiko Miyakoshi’s Tea Party in the Woods, although Park’s images, mostly depicting nighttime scenes, are darker. VERDICT This quality picture book debut is a delight and just right to share one-on-one or in toddler storytime.”

School Library Journal

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. 186 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,554 audiobooks, 32,935 eBooks, and 3,940 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: How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived, by Leslie Jordan

I listened to Leslie Jordan’s How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived, shortly after the 67-year-old actor’s October 24th death. Jordan was well known for his roles in “Will & Grace” and “American Horror Story,” but his profile shot through the roof during the pandemic. Stuck at home, he started making regular posts to Instagram to keep himself entertained. The posts were short and silly but obviously resonated, because before he knew it he had five and a half million followers and a book contract!

When describing his Instagram posting philosophy Jordan states: “On my Instagram page, I usually follow the old rule of not discussing politics and religion in company. I don’t know what I don’t know, and who would want to hear about what I don’t know? All I know is comedy and my sweet self.” And therein lies the appeal of listening to Jordan narrate the audiobook edition of How Y’all Doing? – it is a chance to spend four hours and 14 minutes in his sweet, hilarious company, listening to him tell stories in his delightful Tennessee accent.

Jordan writes about how much fun he’s had with Instagram, crediting the need to tell a story in around a minute with improving his comedic delivery: “Get to the point. Cut to the chase. No meandering around.” But he also celebrates the comedic freedom he experienced writing this book: “Who knew that writing for the printed page could send an artist soaring? To be able to tell not only the story but the backstory as well. And the story that led up to the backstory.”

Jordan’s memoir doesn’t have to be read in any particular order, since its chronology isn’t linear. Instead, most chapters are structured around a theme on which Jordan riffs, sharing stories from his life that are in some way related to that theme. In “The Bride Doll,” for instance, he talks about everything from the negative connotations attached to being a boy who loved playing with dolls, to being a man who, due to work he did in recovery programs, could walk into an American Girl doll store without shame and purchase one as a gift. “[I]t was a milestone moment,” Jordan writes. “Not one with trumpets blaring and angels singing, but a nice quiet realization that I had changed.”

It’s not until the chapter’s end that he tells the story of the bride doll he asked Santa to bring him back in 1958, when he was three. Initially, his father, “a man’s man” who died in 1967 when Jordan was 11, told his mother there was no way he was buying his son a bride doll. But on Christmas Eve, confronted with his son’s exuberant anticipation and unwilling to be the cause of his crushing disappointment the next morning, his father snuck out and procured one. “Thank you, Daddy. For having enough love for your son to buy him a doll,” Jordan writes in his conclusion. “And thank you, Don Norman [Jordan’s recovery advisor]. For helping me live a joyful, shame-free life.”

And that’s how most of the chapters unfold, including the final one, poignantly titled “”Until We Meet Again.” Jordan starts out reminiscing about the Florida vacations his family took each summer, and how bereft he felt when they ended: “It was then I realized how hard goodbyes can be.” He then pivots to the fact that even though the book is ending, it won’t really be the end because he has an endless supply of stories to tell. Knowing of his recent death, it was impossible not to choke up at his optimistic concluding words, which promise something that will now never come to pass:

So, to all my dear new friends, this is not goodbye forever. It is only goodbye for now. Goodbye till I get revved up and ready to launch into a whole bunch of new stories.

See you then.

Jordan, Leslie. How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived. Read by the author. Harperaudio, 2021. Audiobook, 4 hr., 14 min.

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Throwback Thursday: Christmas Party

We’re getting into the Christmas spirit with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

This week’s 3 1/2″ x 5″ black and white photograph features the Nebraska Federal Writers’ Project Christmas party from 1936, hosted at the home of Project Director Jake Gable.

This image is published and owned by the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors. This collection includes digitized items from the Rudolph Umland Papers relating to the Nebraska Federal Writers’ Project. Umland served as an editor and from 1936-1941, as Assistant State Director of the WPA’s Nebraska Federal Writers’ Project. Umland donated personal correspondence and a fifteen-volume scrapbook to the Heritage Room in 1989. This collection also includes images that were scanned from an album titled “Lincoln, Nebraska: A Photograph Album of Business Buildings.” These images date from around 1930.

Check out all the items in this collection on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. 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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Computers in Libraries 2023 Conference (March 28-March 30) Discount

The Nebraska Library Commission is offering a group discount to all Nebraska librarians who attend the Computers in Libraries 2023 conference. This year it will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, VA, from March 28 through March 30, 2023. Detailed information about the conference can be found on the conference web page.

This year the Gold Pass will be available for the group rate of $649 (regular rate is $899). The Full 3-day Pass will be $379 (regular rate is $599). No discount rates are available for the preconference workshops, unless purchased as part of a Gold Pass.

In addition, a discounted price of $619 (regular $749) on the Library Leaders Summit (includes all three days of CIL) is also available.

To receive the discount:

  1. Go to the Computers in Libraries 2023 Registration page: https://secure.infotoday.com/RegForms/ComputersinLibraries/
  2. Type priority code NLC23 in the Priority Code field at the top of the form, and click the “Activate Code” button. Discounted rates should appear on the registration form after you successfully activate the code. If you don’t see the discounted rates on the form, please contact Susan Knisely for assistance.
  3. Complete and submit the online form by the deadline.

Deadline: Online registrations can be made until February 24th to receive the discounted rates. Please Note: If the deadline is extended for regular registration, your deadline will also be extended. After this time, rates will go up by $20.

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#BookFaceFriday – “Cold” by Mariko Tamaki

This #BookFace is ice cold!

With the wintery weather all across the state, we couldn’t think of a more fitting book for this week’s #BookFaceFriday! The perfect ebook to cozy up with is “Cold: A Novel” by Mariko Tamaki (Roaring Brook Press, 2022.) A suspenseful teen read about murder in a small town, perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars or One of Us is Lying. And because this title is available as an eBook on Nebraska OverDrive Libraries you won’t even have to leave the house to check it out. Find this title and more winter reads available to Nebraska OverDrive Libraries.

“Sharp and authentic, Cold doesn’t just take its title from the chill of a wintry day but also from the cruelty and isolation of adolescence. Readers who love intense, suspenseful storytelling will devour it in one sitting.”

—BookPage

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 Personal Librarian

The Personal Librarian is a remarkable novel about J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as White in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, by New York Times bestselling authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.

This book had my attention from the very first sentence, and I was so riveted that I listened to, and read, this book. The narrator of the Audible book, Robin Miles, is masterful as always. At the end of the audio book, the authors, Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, each talked about the process of researching and writing this book, and how, as a result, they became close personal friends. This is a MUST read, so here is a little more about it:

In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture in New York City society and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps create a world-class collection.

But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as White—her complexion is dark because she is African American.

The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go to—for the protection of her family and her legacy—to preserve her carefully crafted White identity in the racist world in which she lives. (Audible)

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Throwback Thursday: Guard Tower at Camp Atlanta

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week’s image features a wooden guard tower at Camp Atlanta. Camp Atlanta was a camp for German prisoners of war located near Holdrege, Nebraska.

This photograph is owned by the Phelps County Historical Society and is published by the Holdrege Area Public Library. Together in partnership, the Holdrege Area Public Library and the Phelps County Historical Society digitized a collection of images portraying the history of the Phelps County since the mid 1880’s.

Check out the collection on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. 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: What’s New for 2023?’ Recording now available

The recording and presentation slides of the E-rate: What’s New for 2023? online workshop are now available.

Get your library’s piece
of the E-rate pie!

What is E-rate? How can my library benefit from E-rate? How do I apply for E-rate?

E-rate is a federal program that provides discounts to schools and public libraries on the cost of their Internet Access and Connections to make these services more affordable. This includes Broadband, Fiber, and Wi-Fi Internet access as well as Internal Connections, such as wiring, routers, switches, and other network equipment.

The E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) is your online portal for all E-rate interactions. With your organizational account you can use EPC to file forms, track your application status, communicate with USAC, and more.

In this workshop, Christa Porter, Nebraska’s State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, will explain the E-rate program and show you how to access and use your account in EPC to submit your Funding Year 2023 E-rate application.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, visit the NLC E-rate webpage or please contact Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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Book Club Spotlight – Outside Valentine

The cover of the novel "Outside Valentine" by Liza Ward. The D is blood red.
A red car drives away on an snowy country road.

For 60 days in the winter of 1957-1958, Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate raced across Nebraska and Wyoming, leaving 11 dead in their wake. As one of America’s most infamous and widely-reported killing sprees, Starkweather and Fugate are immortalized through movies, music, and literature. And Liza Ward, the granddaughter of two victims, Lauer and Clara Ward, decided it was time to tell the story from a new perspective. Her 2004 novel Outside Valentine is the story of her family and the trauma that has consumed it for generations. But instead of focusing on the notorious Starkweather, this novel takes a step back, concentrating on Caril Ann and those he left behind in a stunning re-telling of what happened that winter. 

Outside Valentine is a fictional account of the Starkweather killing spree, following the three narrators simultaneously. One narrator, Caril Ann Fugate, is a disenfranchised impressionable 14-year-old who finds solace and a desperate love with 19-year-old Charles Starkweather. Their romance soon burns too hot when he takes Caril on a joyride, murdering her family and anyone found in the way of that love. Four years later, the story follows Susan Hurst, who finds herself obsessively reading about the killing spree, envious of the pair’s violent love. Desperate for this kind of love and recognition, she lives a lonely life with her emotionally distant parents, all the while harboring a secret obsession for the surviving son of the Bowmans (the fictionalized Lauer and Clara Ward), whom she has never met. The son, Lowell Bowman, is our third narrator, who, 30 years later, is still dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy. Unable to cope, he runs away from his wife and children, both from and to his past.    

“There was no doubt to me he wouldn’t care. He’d blow up the world for a stuffed dog, if he thought I wanted it enough.”

Liza Ward

Outside Valentine is an engaging and lyrical read that isn’t quite “true crime” but still has that thrilling air. Because the story takes place over 30 years, the reader follows how Fugate and Starkweather’s actions spiral bigger than just themselves. Ward creates an atmosphere that sucks you in so deeply and wholly that you forget where you are. And the stark winter setting makes this a perfect book club selection coming into the colder months. Book club groups, especially those here in Nebraska, will find plenty to discuss in how Ward uses the setting to instill her characters with deep longing and isolation. She does an incredible job of identifying the true loneliness of being a young girl and the dark side of romanticism. 

While both were found guilty and Starkweather sentenced to death, Caril Ann Fugate spent 17 years in prison on a murder conviction before she was paroled in 1976. In 2020, With her father’s support, Liza Ward advocated for Fugate’s pardon, believing her grandparents “would want people to know the truth,” and that it is “time to show that young girl’s stories are worth being listened to.” And she gives young girls that opportunity in Outside Valentine

If you’re interested in requesting this book for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. There are 12 copies available (Items must be requested by a librarian) 


Ward, Liza. Outside Valentine. Picador. 2004.

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