Search Results for: great american read

Free Materials for Nebraska Libraries to Support Great American Read Programming

The Great American Read is the new PBS eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign to discover America’s favorite novel. Everyone can vote for their favorite from a list of 100 novels chosen in a national survey. NET Television is offering Nebraska resources for programming to help community members participate in the Great American Read. Nebraska libraries are invited to request posters and bookmarks (and possibly a local screening) from Marthaellen Florence, Director, Community Engagement, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications – NET, mflorenc@netad.unl.edu, 402-470-6603.

See http://netnebraska.org/greatread or Facebook.com/netNebraska for more information about the program broadcasts on NET. The series is hosted by Meredith Vieira and features conversations with authors, celebrities, and book lovers. The programs are scheduled for the next six weeks, leading up to the last day of voting (October 18, 2018) and announcement of America’s favorite read (October 23, 3018).

Schedule

“Launch Special” (Premiered Tuesday, May 22, 2018) – WATCH NOW

“Fall Kick-off” (Premieres Tuesday, September 11, 2018 7:00 p.m. ct)
“Who Am I?” (Premieres Tuesday, September 18, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Heroes” (Premieres Tuesday, September 25, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Villains and Monsters” (Premieres Tuesday, October 2, 2018 7:00 p.m. ct)
“What We Do For Love” (Premieres Tuesday, October 9, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Other Worlds” (Premieres Tuesday, October 16, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Grand Finale” (Premieres Tuesday, October 23, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)

The Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service helps Nebraska librarians serve library customers who can’t use regular print, and all but four of the Great American Read titles are available in the talking book format through this service. For more information, see http://nlcblogs.nebraska.gov/nlcblog/?s=great+american+read. To help serve book clubs that want to read a title from this list, the Nebraska Library Commission Book Club Kit collection contains 59 of the 100 selections. To serve your library customers, search at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/ or contact Lisa Kelly, Information Services Director, 402-471-4015 for the list of Great American Read titles available in Book Club Kits.

For more information, see the recording of the Sept. 5, 2018 NCompass Live Great American Read broadcast at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/scripts/calendar/eventshow.asp?ProgID=17615 

#GreatReadPBS

 

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NCompass Live: The Great American Read

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘The Great American Read’, on Wednesday, September 5, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

The Great American Read is the new PBS eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign to discover America’s favorite novel. Everyone can vote for their favorite from a list of 100 novels chosen in a national survey. Marthaellen Florence, from NET Television, and Katie Murtha, from Lincoln City Libraries, will join us to share resources and activities that you can use in your library to help your community participate in the program.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Sept. 12 – Book vs. Movie: The Ultimate Showdown!
  • Sept. 19 – Get a Youth Grant for Excellence!
  • Sept. 26 – 2018 Continuing Education/Training and Internship Grants
  • Oct. 3 – NO NCOMPASS LIVE – ENJOY NLA/NSLA!
  • Oct. 24 – Strategies for Identifying Fake News

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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“The Great American Read” Books available to Talking Book and Braille Service readers

The Great American Read LogoThis reading list, curated by PBS, shows the diversity of America’s 100 most beloved fiction books. Voting for America’s greatest novel began May 22nd and will end in October 2018. Learn more about The Great American Read and how to vote at http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/about/show/

For library patrons who can’t use regular print, all but four of the Great American Read titles are available in the talking book format. If you know readers who would love to be involved, but their vision is making it hard to use regular print, they can’t hold a book, or turn pages, the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service is here to help! You can use the 5-digit numbers beside the book titles below to order these and many other wonderful books and magazines. Simply give us a call anywhere in Nebraska by dialing 1-800-742-7691, or visit our section of the NLC website.

DB Title and Author
73474 1984 by George Orwell
50482 A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
29012 A Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel by John Irving
24697 A Separate Peace by John Knowles
44769 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
53084 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
65599 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Alex Cross Series by James Patterson
50842 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
77188 Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
11077 And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
(also within DB 53999)
56114 Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
(also within DB 50475)
51074 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
26026 Beloved by Toni Morrison
62431 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
65402 The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
49486 The Call of the Wild by Jack London
48063 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
47480 Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
74950 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
50083 Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
52680 Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
57412 Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
58842 The Color Purple by Alice Walker
56946 Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas
50147 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
56893 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
55735 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
24290 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
26423 Doña Bárbára by Rómulo Gallegos
44126 Dune by Frank Herbert
74504 Fifty Shades of Grey series by E.L. James
36176 Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
80139 Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
book 1 10365, book 2 80139, book 3 10610
25835 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
45742 Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin
Prequel Companion  80183, Prequel Anthology  80183
book 1 45742, book 2 49913, book 3 51406,
book 4 62348, book 5 73557
85921 Ghost by Jason Reynolds
59561 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
37689 The Giver by Lois Lowry
25677 The Godfather by Mario Puzo
74888 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
33082 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
68308 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
53991 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
16147 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
23150 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
24695 The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
book 1 47260, book 2 48437, book 3 48772, book 4 50228,
book 5 56062,  book 6 60262, book 7 64495
30535 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
12613 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
68889 The Help by Kathryn Stockett
18339 Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
book 1 68384, book 2 69689,  book 3, 71734
21513 The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
56346 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
47868 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
29021 The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
32018 Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
47462 Left Behind by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
44071 The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
18128 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Lonesome Dove series by Larry McMurtry
book 1 43928, book 2 45001, book 3 22959, book 4 37323
61873 Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien
prequel 48978, book 1 47486,  book 2 47487, book 3 47488
54698 The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
78389 The Martian by Andy Weir
45008 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
34184 Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
43180 The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
25181 One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
book 1 36535,  book 2 36536, book 3 38591, book 4 43320
book 5 53366,  book 6 61201, book 7 70073,  book 8 79331
22433 The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
56794 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
59950 The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
30999 The Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follett
50549 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
73772 Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
11106 Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
67237 The Shack by William P. Young
52190 Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
15759 The Sirens Of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
12942 The Stand by Stephen King
34114 The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
26498 Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
Tales of The City series by Armistead Maupin
book 1 39531, book 2 39602, book 3 39603,  book 4 39604,
book 5  39605, book 6 39606, book 7 65336, book 8 72107,
book 9 78276
35745 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
47510 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
29252 This Present Darkness by Frank. E. Peretti
36414 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twilight Saga series by Stephanie Meyer
book 1 82750, book 2 64367, book 3 65812,  book 4 67238
67136 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
25982 Watchers by Dean Koontz
The Wheel of Time series by  Robert Jordan and Brandon
Sanderson
prequel 57628, book 1 57628, book 2 34701,  book 3 34702,
book 4 36984, book 5 37569, book 6 39661,  book 7 43043,
book 8 47082, book 9 51203, book 10 55506, book 11 62078,
book 12 70020, book 13 71926, book 14 76085
32449 Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
50261 White Teeth by Zadie Smith
25178 Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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APPLY NOW: ‘The Great American Read’ Grants for Public Libraries

Nebraska public libraries are invited to apply for grants to host public programs around the PBS series “The Great American Read,” an eight-part television and online series designed to spark a national conversation about reading and the books that have inspired, moved, and shaped us, the ALA Public Programs Office announced. “The Great American Read” will engage audiences with a list of 100 diverse books, encouraging audiences to read the books, vote from the list of 100, and share their personal connections to the titles.

 Fifty U.S. public libraries will be selected through a competitive application process to receive a cash grant to support programs and events related to “The Great American Read.” Selected libraries will also receive a programming kit, developed by ALA and PBS, that will help public libraries participate in a national conversation about reading and books, including those featured in the series that highlight themes of love, heroes, villains, other worlds and self-discovery.

Selected libraries will be required to hold at least three public programs related to “The Great American Read” series May and November 2018. Collaboration with local PBS member stations is strongly encouraged.

Read the full project guidelines and apply online by April 17.

“The Great American Read” will premiere May 22 on PBS stations with a two-hour launch, kicking off a summer of reading and voting. In fall 2018, seven new episodes will air, featuring appearances by celebrities, athletes, experts, authors and everyday Americans advocating for their favorite book, culminating with a finale that reveals America’s best-loved novel as chosen by the American public. Selected libraries will receive a DVD collection of the eight-part series with public performance rights; a hardcover copy of the companion book, “The Great American Read: The Book of Books” by PBS (Black Dog & Leventhal, August 21, 2018); print materials for local program promotion and publicity; a programming guide developed by ALA, PBS and a panel of librarian advisors; and more. The libraries will also have the opportunity to host private screenings of the series premiere and six fall episodes before they broadcast to the public.

“The Great American Read” is a production of Nutopia for PBS. PBS Funding for “The Great American Read” is provided by The Anne Ray Foundation and PBS. For more information contact Sarah Ostman, Communications Manager, Public Programs Office, American Library Association, 312-280-5061, sostman@ala.org.

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Friday Reads: The Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I love reading historical novels, especially ones that are based in fact and teach me about a subject I previously knew little about. The Signature of All Things is just such a book. Elizabeth Gilbert’s descriptions of the botanical world, and how plants were discovered, acquired, and improved, are truly masterful.

Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family, led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who—born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution—bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. (Amazon.com)

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Friday Reads: Cookbooks

It’s time for more cookbooks!

I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to share, so I thought I would include a few favorites from my last cookbook haul:

Perfectly Golden: Inspired Recipes from Goldenrod Pastries, the Nebraska Bakery that Specializes in Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Vegan Treats by Angela Garbacz

Goldenrod Pastries, located in Lincoln, is an amazing bakery with the best baked goods of all kinds. As much as I would love to just visit every day, having the cookbook now helps fill the gaps.

Gluten-free and vegan baking can be intimidating, but the recipes are clear and easy enough, even for beginning bakers. The photos are all bright and cheerful, and there are plenty of notes to help explain different parts of the recipes, like flours.

I started with the cinnamon rolls which turned out perfectly and may very well replace my usual recipe!

Aran: Recipes and Stories from a Bakery in the Heart of Scotland by Flora Shedden

One of the best parts of reading cookbooks, especially this last year, is looking at amazing pictures and reading stories of far-off places, and turning your kitchen into something like a small Scottish bakery. Flora Shedden’s (from the Great British Bake Off) book has become a favorite. Aran (meaning bread) is full of recipes arranged by the time of day in the bakery, starting with making bread before dawn, including a section for getting your sourdough starters just right. The recipes are simple and encouraging, with plenty of instructions for North American conversions. Some recipes, like croissants, are multi-day projects but well worth the extra time and effort (with lots of butter).

And now for something completely different!

Fuel Your Body: How to Cook and Eat for Peak Performance: 77 Simple, Nutritious, Whole-Food Recipes for Every Athlete by Angie Asche

This is already my new favorite everyday cookbook. The recipes are super simple and delicious, focusing on helping you reach your full athletic potential whether you’re just trying to get healthy, you’re a recreational runner, or a more serious athlete. The first section includes great information for athletes (or parents of athletes) on basic nutrition concepts and timing your meals around game time to give you the best boost, as well as several weekly meal plans (including a vegan/plant-based plan) and how to make the perfect smoothie. These recipes are quick and easy, perfect for weekly meals. The baked banana oatmeal has been great for breakfast meal prep through the week. The lentil tacos, almond flour cookies, and ginger-citrus smoothie are also new staples.

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What’s Sally Reading?

ALA Upcoming Youth Awards and Newly Announced Lists

The American Library Association (ALA) will announce the Youth Media Awards (think Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King Awards and more) starting at 8 am CT next Monday, January 25.  For the first time that I am aware of, they also have released several annual booklists early.  They are:

Best Fiction for Young Adults

Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

Check these lists out to see what you may already have in your collection.

One of the Top Ten titles for the “Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers” Continue reading

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Friday Reads: Break Shot: My First 21 Years by James Taylor

More accurately described – Friday listens, this title is available exclusively from Audible.com. Break Shot was recorded by James in his home studio, TheBarn in western Massachusetts and released in conjunction with his 19th studio album, American Standard. At only an hour and a half, I listened twice, enjoying it even more the second time. It begins with the following: “I’m James Taylor and I’m a professional autobiographer. I usually talk about myself with a guitar in my hand and I have one now.” James explains that the title is an analogy for his tight knit family that eventually split apart “like a break shot in the game of pool … when you slam the cue ball into the fifteen other balls and they all go flying off.”  James and his four siblings were raised with great privilege in North Carolina in the ‘60’s but the family fell apart. Three of the four kids ended up in psychiatric hospitals.  Drug and alcohol addiction took their toll.

Despite coming from a family of doctors and lawyers, James wasn’t interested in college. His parents supported his decision to spend tuition money on a flight to London. This trip provided the pivotal moment of his life. Through life-long friend Danny Kortchmar, James met with Peter Asher, the head of A&R (Artist & Repertoire) at Apple Records and played his demo tape.  Peter liked what he heard and recalls calling out,  “is there a Beatle in the house?”  James auditioned for Paul McCartney and George Harrison with the song Something in the Way She Moves. James’ first album James Taylor, was the first recording by a non-British artist released by Apple Records in 1968.

Break Shot didn’t provide a great deal of revelatory information, so much of James’ life is in his lyrics, but the storytelling intertwined with the recorded songs provided an experience you can’t have with a printed book. This audio memoir was for me, a private concert. This recording is part of a new series, Words+Music, Audible’s musical storytelling initiative. With other exclusive music biographies by Tom Morello, Common, St. Vincent, Sheryl Crow, and T Bone Burnett, I hope other audio publishers will begin providing similar recordings.

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Friday Reads: Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In, by Phuc Tran

I love memoirs. Not only do they offer readers insight into what it’s like to live lives different from their own, they also remind us of how much we humans have in common. That’s definitely the case with Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In, by Vietnamese American teacher, writer, and tattoo artist Phuc Tran.

In 1975, when Tran was one, his family fled the fall of Saigon and wound up resettled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In Sigh Gone, Tran describes what it was like growing up as a member of “the token refugee family” (2) in town. As one can imagine, it included schoolyard taunts and name-calling, and, when out in public with his family, the discomfort of always sticking out.

Tran also describes the resentment he felt toward his parents over what he saw, at the time, as their cultural and English language failings: “I needed to trust in my dad’s ability to navigate the world at large, and I was already doubting him. . . . Five-year-olds were supposed to believe what their parents said. Maybe some kids’ parents still had the golden nimbus of infallibility, but not my parents and not for me” (16).

Going forward, Tran chronicles his relentless efforts to assimilate. By high school, his two-pronged strategy included pursuit of academic excellence and successful integration into the punk/skater subculture. Of the later, he writes, “[b]eing a freak because of my weird clothes and hair was a respite. These were things that I had chosen . . . Fighting rednecks because you were a punk was far better than fighting because you were Asian, and fighting with allies was far better than fighting alone” (6).

So why did this book resonate with me? For one, Tran’s depiction of high school, with its cliques and angst—a “cultural cul-de-sac built with the craftsman blueprint of John Hughes, the Frank Lloyd Wright of teen malaise” (2)—is viscerally familiar. His description of his job as a library page also warmed my librarian’s heart, as did his discovery and adoption of Clifton Fadiman’s The Lifetime Reading Plan, which he stumbled on while prepping for the library’s used book sale.

Though the Plan, was “unapologetically American, classist, and white” (4), Tran could not have cared less at the time; it served as a catalyst for his burgeoning love of literature–which the English major in me appreciated. He also viewed the Plan as his entrée to the world of big ideas that can connect people across time, geography, and culture—which is what Tran, himself, has accomplished with this memoir. Sigh, Gone concludes right after Tran graduates from high school, just as he’s poised to head off to Bard College, which had described itself to him in its admissions literature as “A Place to Think” (267). So fitting!

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#BookFace & Friday Reads: “Lovely War” by Julie Berry

I first picked up this book because I was drawn to the cover art and soft, muted color scheme, but also because I’m a sucker for historical fiction. I expected a straight forward period romance, boy meets girl, boy goes to war, there’s pining, an injury, and a happily ever after. Don’t get me wrong, there is some of the expected, but let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised by this novel’s unexpected plot and characters.

It all starts with a torrid affair between gods, Aphrodite and Ares to be exact. Then turns into two love stories the goddess orchestrated during the last World War. The author introduces us to interesting characters from different walks of life, weaving their stories together for the reader. Berry dives in to overlooked parts of World War I history like the roles of black American soldiers, James Reese Europe’s introduction of Jazz to France, and YMCA volunteer work to name a few. I really appreciated the appendix and bibliography included at the end of the book. They let the reader know which parts of the story are factual and expand on those issues. Berry also includes references to nonfiction works that she used, so the reader can keep learning.

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

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!

Berry, Julie. Lovely War. Viking Books for Young Readers, 2019.

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What’s Sally Reading?

YALSA Announces the 2020 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers List

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), a division of the American Library Association (ALA),  announced the list on January 8, 2020 on their blog, The Hub.  You will see the committee also chose a “top ten” out of the 64 titles on the final list.

One of the titles selected as a top ten of the list is the graphic novel Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, a Nebraska author. Deja and Josiah (who goes by Josie) are great friends and have worked together each fall at the pumpkin patch. This is the last day of their last fall together. Deja is determined to get Josie to talk to his four-year crush – the Fudge Girl. He is reluctant. This final evening is a whirlwind of hitting different parts of the Patch trying to find his crush. They encounter a snack-thief, a runaway goat, the maze, lots of chances to eat, all as Josie suffers anxiety about actually talking to Fudge Girl.     As School Library Journal (8/1/19) says, “The characters in this graphic novel are so expressive and authentic, it’s impossible not to love them…the dialog is cute, funny, and punny…”

Ms. Rowell notes in the back of the book that the Pumpkin Patch in the novel is fictional. However, illustrator Faith Erin Hicks did travel to Omaha to join Rainbow Rowell in a visit to her favorite Omaha pumpkin patch. There is a fun conversation between them at the back of the book.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers. After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Libraries Ready to Code

Coding is no secret. In fact, there’s an almost paralyzing amount of information available to people. So much that it can be difficult to decide where to start and where to go next. Knowledge of computers and technology is rapidly becoming vital to life, but many people don’t have a computer science or technology background. And that’s okay.

In 2017, the American Library Association (ALA) and Google saw this and partnered together to make Libraries Ready to Code. Librarians and educators from 30 different libraries worked on their own project to decide what “coding” means to them and how to best introduce it to their own communities. The result is s set of tools that has been made freely available to us all.

This resource is geared towards all experience levels, so you can filter resources by experience level: “I’m Getting Started”, “I’ve Had Some Practice”, and “I’m Experienced”. Some of these resources are further divided into subject categories like art and fashion, while others are parceled out by recommended age range. Either way, this resource is a great place to connect K-12 students with computational thinking and “coding” skills.

But keep in mind that this is just a drop in the bucket of what is available. Not everyone learns the same way either. Feel free to look to these learning tools as inspiration to build your own. Think of Libraries Ready to Code as a starting point on the long road towards future-ready technology.

Keep an eye out for students who devour every resource on this list, then ask for more. Ask them what they want to learn, then do a little digging to find out which resources you need to make it happen. You might not know every line of code that makes a product work, but you can connect interested students with the information they need to learn.

At one time, information took the form of books and journal articles. Now that information may appear in a Raspberry Pi or  YouTube video. It’s time to curate our ever-changing resources. But do yourself a favor and don’t try to learn every bit of technology on the planet. You would be in for a world of hurt.

Start asking students to teach as they learn. There is no telling what people are capable of when given the tools to learn. Take a look at this Virtual Reality headset and software built by a group of high school students in France. Their passion was to make technology accessible to all income levels. They learned more thoroughly with the intent to teach. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, machine learning and more are all at our fingertips.

Technology is not slowing down, and neither are libraries. We can work together to curate resources and pave the way towards a better future.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Last Farmer: An American Memoir”

Old McDonald has nothing on this week’s #BookFaceFriday!

"The Last Farmer" BookFace Photo

The Last Farmer: An American Memoir” by Howard Kohn (Bison Books, 2004) is a great read, even if you’re just a farm kid at heart. This memoir is based on Howard Kohn’s father, his last few seasons working the farm that they both were raised on. Kohn, a former editor at Rolling Stone, digs into the gritty details of his father’s story and the only way of life he ever knew. As part of our permanent collection it’s available for check out to anyone. Just ask our amazing Information Services staff! This title is published by the Bison Books, and imprint of University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state document program.

“A stunning portrait. . . . Kohn went looking for one story—his father’s—only to find his own.”—Chicago Tribune

This week’s #BookFace model is Three Rivers Library System Director, Eric Jones!!

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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Friday Reads: Canada by Mike Myers

Canada by Mike Myers
Publisher: Doubleday Canada (October 22, 2016)

This title came to my attention on July 1st aka Canada Day as the daily special from Audible. I was intrigued, downloaded the title, and eagerly began listening. It helps that the author of whom I have long been a fan reads this title.

Myers begins with the premise that Canada lacks a mission statement. The country promises to provide good government and a safe place to live but is that enough? The inevitable comparisons to life in the United States make up a great deal of content. He compares regional colloquialisms, health care, the love of hockey, and the government supported CBC to their American counterparts. The United States does not propagate information about Canada so there may be many episodes in Canadian history that will be new information. To drive this point home, when my curiosity was piqued for the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, father of the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I looked for books to read more about him from my local library, but there were none.

Mike Myers was born to two Liverpudlian parents who immigrated to Canada for better employment opportunities. English parents making a life in Canada caused a clash of culture. Mike shares how the values of his parents and the humor of his brothers Peter and Paul shaped his worldview and brand of comedy. One of the attributes of his father in often-difficult situations was a non-rhetorical question of “how can we make this funny?”

Mike shares how his character Wayne Campbell (Wayne’s World) is a quintessential Canadian creation, specifically from the Scarborough district of Montreal, dissecting everything from his language to his name. Other Saturday Night Live characters also owe their origin to Mike’s Canadian and British upbringing.  With Canadian, British, and United States Citizenship, it’s clear that Mike Myers is a very proud Canadian patriot despite being an expatriate.

Myers, Mike (2016) Canada. Doubleday Canada

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Friday Reads: Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

I heard Celeste Ng speak at a United for Libraries hosted author event a few years ago. At the same event, I received an advance copy of her book, Little Fires Everywhere. I enjoyed her remarks but I wasn’t especially interested in reading the book. The book has received a lot of attention since its publication. It is included on many best books of 2017 lists and it is now among three books on Lincoln City Libraries short list for One Book One Lincoln voting. During a recent and long road trip, I had a chance to listen to the audio version of Ng’s book. I wasn’t disappointed.

Little Fires Everywhere begins with a house on fire and speculation about who is to blame. At the top of the list is the youngest family member – a non-conforming teen rebel. But did she do it and, if so, why? The setting is Shaker Heights, Ohio, and the story evolves from the developing relationships among members of two families – one long rooted in the community and prosperous, and the other (a mother and daughter) impoverished and living day to day under uncertain circumstances. Central are the two mothers – Elena Richardson, a local news reporter, mother of four and a well-connected community member, and Mia Warren, a mysterious artist and single mother of one. Connections evolve and conflict emerges as a result of the attempted adoption of a Chinese-American baby and an ensuing custody battle. In the background is Elena Richardson’s effort to uncover Mia Warren’s true identity.

Lincoln’s three books selected for the all community read are all excellent choices. Celeste Ng’s book is worthy and notable. If chosen, it will make an interesting read and a great source for conversation.

Little Fires Everywhere is Celeste Ng’s second novel. Her debut book is, Everything I Never Told You, an award winning best seller.

Ng, Celeste. Little fires everywhere. (New York: Penguin Press) 2017.

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Friday Reads: “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya

I became motivated to reread this book when I looked at the booklist for The Great American Read program and realized that it had been about forty years since I first encountered this classic “Coming of Age” story.

With Bless Me, Ultima (1972), the first in a trilogy (followed by the publication of Heart of Aztlan in 1976 and Tortuga in 1979), Anaya follows six-year-old Antonio on his growing-up journey and spins the story by revealing dreams and reality—and blurring the fine line between them from time to time. Anaya says he does not seek characters—they just come to him. So it is with Ultima. Anaya says she appeared in the doorway while he was writing and assured him that the story will not work unless he put her in it. Ultima is a pivotal character in the story. She is a curandera—a healer and teacher, and she guides Antonio gently without prescribing exact choices to make or solutions to problems.

From the first dream sequence to the last (you’ll recognize them, they are in italics), it is clear that Antonio was born to struggle and that his path is marked by having his feet in two different worlds. Throughout the book, he is faced with tests. Some are common tests of childhood, like how to overcome the loneliness of feeling different. Others are extremely unusual and painful tests for a young person to endure and learn from. I feel like this book has resonated with so many readers because even though we may live in different worlds, many of us can really relate to his experience. Are we all on the same journey as Antonio? Struggling to understand good and evil around (and within) us? But are some of us especially lost with no guides or curanderas to show us the way?

The setting and characters ring true to me. The book mirrors my experience in small towns in New Mexico right down to my best friend Lenora’s grandmother—who might very well be the model for Antonio’s mother—speaking only Spanish, warning us against straying to the city (too late—we were already on our way to LA), and feeding us the most heavenly comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The story is told in flat-out beautiful writing, and unless you read the book, you’ll just have to take my word for it that this book has one of the best first paragraphs ever! So I’d suggest you (and your book group) find out for yourselves. This #FridayReads feature is available as a Book Club kit from the Nebraska Library Commission at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

The Great American Read is an eight-part PBS series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, in the context of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen through a national survey). It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience. Voting for America’s favorite book opened with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode on May 22 and continues throughout the summer, leading up to the grand finale “favorite” announcement in October 2018. Viewers can vote at pbs.org/greatamericanread and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter using #GreatReadPBS. I think I might be voting for Bless Me Ultima. Which book will you vote for?

Review by Mary Jo Ryan.

#fridayreads

#GreatReadPBS

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Friday Reads: Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

All 5-year-old Mike wanted from life was to go to Disney World. One day, his dad packed him in the car, drove him to an abandoned shipyard, and told him that The Happiest Place on Earth must have closed. That was the day that ol’ Mike Muñoz realizes that life will be a constant disappointment, and just when you think you’re going to get what you want, it will all be taken away.

Today, Mike is a 22-year-old landscaper (although he prefers the title “topiary artist” for his skills with the hedge-trimmers). He still lives with his mom and his developmentally disabled brother, their dad long gone to parts unknown. He drives a junky car, always one step away from engine failure, and still hangs out with his high school buddy, neither of them with any romantic prospects on the horizon.

When Mike loses his landscaping job for refusing to pick up dog poo, he is determined to do whatever it takes to break free of his hand-to-mouth existence and chase the American Dream, perhaps writing “the great American landscaping novel” along the way. And so begins a series of unfortunate events that will be all too familiar to anyone who has ever tried to escape from the cycle of poverty that holds down a good portion of our society. Though angry and resentful about his lot in life, Mike keeps his sense of humor, even as “The Man” takes everything else away.

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Great Stories Club Grant Applications Due July 9

The American Library Association asks Nebraska librarians, “Do you love books and want to instill a love of reading in others? Learn how ALA’s Great Stories Club grants can help you connect with underserved youth in your community.”

This grant opportunity is open to all library types who are interested in working with (or located within) organizations that serve under-resourced youth, such as alternative high schools, juvenile justice organizations, or foster care agencies.

ALA is now accepting applications for the Great Stories Club, a grant program in which library workers lead reading and discussion programs with underserved teens in their communities. Read the project guidelines and apply online. Applications are due July 9. Up to 150 grants will be awarded.

Program details and eligibility: Working with small groups of approximately 10 teens, grantees will host reading and discussion programs for up to four thematically related books. The titles — selected in consultation with librarian advisors and humanities scholars — are chosen to resonate with reluctant readers struggling with complex issues like academic probation, detention, incarceration, violence, and poverty. All types of libraries are eligible, as long as they work in partnership with, or are located within, organizations that serve under-resourced youth, such as alternative high schools, juvenile justice organizations, homeless shelters, foster care agencies, teen parenting programs, residential treatment facilities, and other nonprofit and community agencies. (Read an account of a former Great Stories Club grantee about her partnership with a juvenile detention center.) Libraries located in high-poverty communities are also eligible to apply, though outreach partnerships with youth-focused organizations are still encouraged.

Themes and titles: Participating libraries may choose to work with one or both of the following themes during a 12-month programming period (September 2018 – August 2019): “Empathy: The Cost of Switching Sides” and “What Makes a Hero? Self, Society and Rising to the Occasion.”

Grantees will receive: 11 paperback copies of up to four book selections (10 to gift to participants and 1 for discussion leader/library collection), travel and accommodation expenses paid for one staff member to attend a 1 ½-day project orientation workshop in Chicago (libraries selected to implement both Great Stories Club series will be assigned to attend only one workshop), and programming materials, including discussion guides, related reading lists and promotional resources,

For more information: See http://www.programminglibrarian.org/articles/apply-now-great-stories-club-book-club-underserved-youth. Potential applicants may sign up for a free webinar to learn more about this opportunity. The webinar will be held at 1 p.m. Central Time on Monday, May 21. Reserve a spot for the webinar. 

Sarah Ostman, American Library Association
Public Programs Office Communications Manager
312-280-5061

 

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Friday Reads: The Archivist, by Martha Cooley

Matthias Lane is a library archivist, a widower nearing retirement at an American university, who guards the rules of the library’s archives religiously.  Case in point—the archives has among its’ collections the letters written by T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale, a close personal friend. Graduate student Roberta Spire wants access to those letters, but the instructions left when the letters were donated do not allow public viewing until the year 2020. Roberta believes that the letters will give insight into why Eliot enjoyed female companionship, but was so emotionally detached from his wife, as well as to why Eliot became religious. At first, Matthias sees Roberta as only another grad student doing research. But as Roberta persists in wanting to read Eliot’s letters, Matthias is intrigued by her persistence, and by her knowledge of Eliot’s life and poetry that matches his own. As Matthias gets better acquainted with Roberta, he begins to realize that his own life and marriage are similar to Eliot’s, which Matthias has not previously examined in depth. As a result, his dilemma over Eliot’s letters ends in a completely unexpected solution.

This book appealed to me on two levels: it was a story involving a library archives, and a story based in historical fact. The letters of T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale are real, and are kept in the Firestone Library, at Princeton University.  The letters are not to be shown to the public until January 1, 2020.

The Archivist, by Martha Cooley, was written 20 years ago, it was is still a great read, and I highly recommend it.

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Friday Reads: The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy by Kliph Nesteroff

I’ve had bad book luck lately.  Even titles that have won fancy awards have left me feeling pretty unsatisfied.  But The Comedians broke my streak—this is a fantastic book, strong enough to be considered the definitive work on the subject.  Nesteroff starts off with comedy’s beginnings in Vaudeville and progresses through the radio era, comedy clubs and cable specials, & sketch comedy and variety shows.  The title is not a rib—this is a serious, expansive history of comedy as an art form and business—and the treatment of the material might disappoint people who just want a laugh-a-minute romp.  But they’ll be missing out if they skip this book.

The title is also not kidding about the “drunks, thieves, scoundrels”  part.    Early American comedy had strong links to seedy elements and there are numerous examples of that here—insult comics getting threatened by the Mafiosi sitting in the audience, people dying when cheap comedy clubs collapsed.  Beyond its chronicles of actual violence, The Comedians also devotes a fair bit of time to the “crying clown” idea and prevalence of addiction in comedy.  Some famous names come across as very broken people and a few emerge as basically forever-unhappy monsters.  Some of your favorites might seem a little tarnished after you read it and The Comedians occasionally gets gossipy in a Hollywood Babylon kind of way.  But, most of the time, it takes the high road and tells the story of the art form in a fun and engaging fashion.  It does for comedy what David J. Skal’s epic The Monster Show did for the history of horror.

One of the most important things about the book is its championing of obscure comedians.  Everybody knows the Marx Brothers and Joan Rivers, but it was great to learn about people like Eddie Cantor and Fred Allen, especially at a time when radio-era comedy is instantly accessible through sources like the Internet Archive.  If a comedian is/was important, they’re almost certainly here.  As I neared the end of the book, I was getting nervous that Andy Kaufman hadn’t been mentioned yet, but The Comedians came through for me.  Because of the book’s massive scope, nobody gets tons of spotlight time, but you’ll finish this with a solid understanding of pretty much everything you’d ever want to know about American comedy.

Nesteroff, K. (2015). The Comedians Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy. Pgw.

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