Tag Archives: Nebraska Library Innovation Studios

NLC Staff: Meet Tan Ngo

The Nebraska Library Commission welcomed Tan Ngo (pronounced Go) in June of 2015 as an accountant. Tan was born in Binh Dinh, Vietnam and immigrated to the United States with her husband sixteen years ago. Even though she had completed three years of teacher education classwork in Vietnam, it wasn’t recognized in the United States so she began again. First she completed a yearlong ESL class and then completed a degree from Southeast Community College in Accounting.  She graduated from UNL with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance and just last year, achieved her Master’s Degree from UNL in Professional Accountancy. Tan credits her parents for instilling a value of education in her. In addition, her mother-in-law helped and supported Tan through the years of working, raising a family, attending classes, and completing coursework.

Before working for the Library Commission, and while attending school, Tan held many part time jobs including working as: a banquet server at the Cornhusker Hotel, a waitress at Eastmont Towers, a cafeteria worker at Lincoln Public Schools, an assembly line worker at Molex, and as a cashier at Russ’s Market. These experiences helped propel Tan to complete her education. Tan also worked full time for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services (now State Accounting.) When I asked Tan what she thinks about working at the Library Commission, she says it is a very friendly and a supportive place to work.

As a young girl growing up in Vietnam, libraries were not free and required both membership and borrower fees which were prohibitive to her family. One way she read books was borrowing them from her friends. As an adult committed to spending time with her children, she reads the same books with her daughter and son.

Tan shares her home with her husband Duc, her daughter Vi, her son Khang, and her mother-in-law Tung Le. Duc is the oldest of 12 children and the gathering place for all of the family is Tan’s home, so a full house often totals upwards of 45 people. Husker football is often the focus of family events. Tan is also a Husker Volleyball fan and is fortunate to have a friend with season tickets so she can attend games in person. Life in Nebraska could be warmer but Tan says she likes the lack of traffic and ability to get around easily. Tan and her family returned home for her brother’s wedding this summer, closing a 5 year gap since her last visit. If Tan could have dinner with anyone famous, she easily answered, “I would want to have dinner with my Aunt who is 70 years old and lives in Vietnam. Family is the most important thing to me.”

If Tan didn’t have to work, travel would be her priority. First on her list of destinations would be Alaska to see the aurora borealis. As a young girl, Tan considered being a flight attendant most importantly for the travel benefits. The perfect day for Tan would include staying home with family, sleeping, and watching Vietnamese dubbed movies from Hong Kong. Tan’s exercise of choice is running and currently she and her son are completing a 9 week cardio program together.

One of the most challenging things Tan has achieved is learning English. Tan and her family speak Vietnamese at home and English at work and at school. At work, one of Tan’s accomplishments has been cheerfully teaching Commission employees to use the online payroll system. We are very proud of Tan and are grateful she has chosen to work at the Library Commission.

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#BookFaceFriday “Wired”

This week’s #BookFace is practically electric!

"Wired" by Julie Garwood BookFaceWired” by Julie Garwood (Berkley, 2017) is this week’s #BookFaceFriday and seemed like the perfect way to kick off the next round of our Nebraska Library Innovation Studios (LIS) project! NLC staff members will be traveling around Nebraska over the next few months, maybe even visiting your library. They will be installing makerspaces, training librarians/community members in the different types of technology, and showing them how to share it with their communities. This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is Max Wheeler, Instructional Designer on the LIS project! He may not be an FBI agent or a model/hacker but he sure knows a lot about all of the different machines in our makerspaces.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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NLC Staff: Meet Cynthia Nigh

Cynthia Nigh HeadshotMeet Cynthia Nigh who joined The Library Commission staff this past August as a Project Assistant for the Library Innovation Studios Grant. Cynthia was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin where her father worked for Amour Meats and later Dubuque Pack. Every morning he would receive a call with the market prices on the party line early and neighbors on the same party line soon learned what valuable information was being conveyed. Cynthia attended West Delaware Community High School in Manchester, IA and because of an influential Art Teacher named Mr. Renfrow, she applied for and was awarded an Art Scholarship to attend the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Cynthia also attended Hawkeye Technical College for Commercial Art in Waterloo, IA.

As a young girl, Cynthia describes her reading habits as constant. She remembers fondly the number of scholastic books she and her sisters would order. A childhood favorite was Once and Future King by T. H. White. A Course in Miracles is another important book to Cynthia as her copy was given to her by her father. The value of this book for Cynthia is that “it helped me look at the world more peacefully.”

Cynthia says the best thing about working in a library is being amongst the stacks. She describes her own house as a library so close proximity to a collection of books is a comfort. The most challenging thing about this position is learning to operate each machine acquired for the grant; what supplies each machine requires; and writing operating manuals for library staff. Apart from work, Cynthia enjoys working in her garden, cooking, and canning with the bounty from her labor. If she could have dinner with anyone she would like to dine with Oprah but not at Cynthia’s house, in a neutral location.

If she won the lottery and no longer had to work, she might pursue more fully her interest in mycology – the study of mushrooms. She might also enjoy fully implementing a craft studio where she could be creative and perhaps a small business could emerge for selling her projects. Cynthia shares her home with her two sons, Dylan and Paul in addition to two rescue cats named Bonnie and Chloe. Because of her Iowa background, I asked what distinguishes life in Nebraska and she answered, Nebraskans are a little wilder and exhibit more freedom in their choices compared to the tucked in manner of Iowans. A perfect day for Cynthia would be laying around watching movies and binge watching Netflix titles. Welcome to Cynthia! NLC Logo

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JoAnn McManus: Nebraska Excellence in Leadership

JoAnn McManus PhotoJoAnn McManus (nee Jedlicka) was recently selected as a co-recipient of the Library Commission’s state of Nebraska Excellence in Leadership recognition award. She joined the Nebraska Library Commission in 2010 to work on the Library Broadband Builds Nebraska Communities Project funded through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). Currently, she is working with the Library Innovation Studios Project (funded through an IMLS grant) with a team of Library Commission staff.

JoAnn grew up on a farm just outside of Schuyler, NE and is one hundred percent Czechoslovakian.  She graduated from Schuyler Central High School and is the youngest of thirteen children. Her mother was also from a family of thirteen. JoAnn was named after her first cousin, who was a child movie star named JoAnn Marlowe (Mares) who’s most famous picture was Mildred Pierce amongst the ten to her credit.

JoAnn earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and is a Graduate of the Economic Development Institute from the University of Oklahoma.  She also completed coursework in Grant Writing and Research from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. JoAnn has held various positions, many in the economic development field and almost all in the area of project or grants management.  Most of the organizations JoAnn worked for served counties throughout the state including NPPD, Nebraska Departments of Economic Development, and the Nebraska Department of Labor so JoAnn has done her share of traveling to Nebraska communities. JoAnn says the most challenging thing about her current assignment is that there is so much to do in a concentrated amount of time especially in the first few months. Luckily there are others on the team that are going through these same challenges to move the project forward.  The best thing about working with librarians is serving Nebraska in a different way than in her former jobs,

If JoAnn could have dinner with anyone she would like to dine with Warren Buffett and should a winning lottery ticket find its way to her possession, she would retire and begin traveling with Hawaii and Ireland being top of her list. When she is not working at the Commission, JoAnn enjoys going to estate sales and is drawn to buying pretty objects. She has one case and two booths at the Aardvark Antique Mall and her family is always surprised when what looks like a useless purchase actually sells.  JoAnn won’t be quitting her day job anytime soon, selling ‘treasures’ pencils out as more of a hobby.

JoAnn is married to Brian McManus and together they have a son Daniel. They also share their home with one cat named M&M. A perfect day would include spending time with her family enjoying adventures together. Congratulations JoAnn!NLC Logo

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