Author Archives: Aimee Owen

Friday Reads: “Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused” by Melissa Maerz

I enjoy celebrity biographies and behind-the-scenes stories, and those two things come together quite groovily in Melissa Maerz’s oral history of the 1993 cult-classic Dazed and Confused.

Maerz interviews everyone involved with the movie, from Richard Linklater, to the costume designer, casting director, the casts and their families, even Linklater’s high school classmates, many of whom were inspirations for the characters (however unflattering they may find that fact). I learned all sorts of fun facts about the movie and it’s cast, as did my family and friends, because I would constantly share what I was reading as I went along (sorry guys!). I couldn’t help it – this movie was on constant VCR rotation when I was in high school and I can still quote whole scenes without fail. This book was a fun trip down memory lane.

It was especially fun to look at the cast and how far they’ve come since 1993 – this was Matthew McConaughey’s first movie, and his bit part grew and grew until he became the breakout star. Mila Jovovich, who was the biggest name of the cast at the time, saw her part shrink considerably as she got caught up in an on-set romance and neglected her role; her boyfriend Shawn Andrews effectively got himself blackballed from Hollywood for a time due to his attitude and behavior during filming. Texas native Renee Zillweger wanted to be in the movie badly enough that she took a non-speaking, uncredited roll as “Girl in Blue Truck”.

If you’re in need of a slow ride down memory lane while school’s out for the summer, this book will help you rock and roll all night long. Just don’t forget your reading glasses, because if this was your favorite movie in high school, you’re now old like me.

Maerz, Melissa. Alright, alright, alright: the oral history of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. Harper, 2020.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Duke and I” by Julia Quinn

Is it steamy out here, or is it just #BookFaceFriday?

A rakish rouge, a scheming debutante, a mysterious gossip column…what could go wrong? Whether or not you spent your pandemic binging Bridgerton on Netflix, why not read the series that inspired it? The Nebraska Library Commission has the first book in the series, The Duke and I, by Julia Quinn (Avon Books, 2000) in our Book Club Kit collection. You can browse the other romances in our Book Club Kits collection by choosing Romance in the Genre dropdown.

Quinn is a consummate storyteller. Her prose is spry and assured, and she excels at creating indelible characters.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Rules for Book Club Kits

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

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

 
 
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Asian American & Pacific Islander Book Club Kits

May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage month! If you are looking for a book club selection that explores and honors AAPI experiences, we have added a genre category to our Book Club Kit page to make it easier. Simply choose “Asian & Pacific Islander Lives” in the Genre dropdown menu to see all the titles available for request.

In addition, new categories have been added for Native American Lives, Black Lives, and Latinx Lives. Our book club kit collection has over 1900 titles and growing, so there is something for every group. Is your preferred title checked out? Don’t forget to check our read-alike page for similar suggestions to tide you over while you wait.

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Pandemic Resources for Libraries

We are now more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve learned to Zoom, perfected curbside pick-up, and have probably forgotten how to shake hands.

While many of our Nebraska libraries closed their doors entirely for a time, the vast majority have re-opened. Reduced hours, virtual programming, and mask recommendations are common, but many libraries have resumed regular hours and in-person  activities. What you decide should be based on the comfort levels within your own community.

We’ve also been keeping track of the latest guidance and resources for libraries, businesses, and families. You can find more on our pandemic resource page: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx.
We are always updating our pages, so if you notice that we are missing a crucial resource, please reach out to us.

Photo by Anton on Unsplash

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Friday Reads: The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Science fiction titles have been popping up more and more in my reading list over this past year, perhaps as an escape from our current reality. A list of the some of the best new science fiction from the last 15 years led me to some fantastic escapes, including:

  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (2014)
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (2014)
  • The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull (2019)
  • The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (2014)
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (2014)

The last one on that list, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is the first in the Wayfarers trilogy. Described as a “light-hearted space opera”, the story follows a ragtag group of wormhole tunnelers as they cruise through space. New ship accountant Rosemary is adjusting to life off-planet and to her new crew mates. But when the team is offered the tunneling job of a lifetime, Rosemary must decide if she can trust them with a secret about her past.

I don’t often associate “cozy” with “sci-fi” but this is an apt descriptor of this novel. Quirky, likeable characters and a heartwarming tone would make this a perfect read for fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Chambers, Becky. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. New York: Harper Voyager 2016. (Originally self-published, 2014).

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#BookFaceFriday – The Retake by Jen Calonita

We didn’t need multiple takes for this #BookFaceFriday!

Ever wish you could have a do-over? Zoe doesn’t understand what went wrong with her friendship with Laura. She gets the chance for a “retake” when a magical app appears on her phone that lets her redo moments in her life and fix missteps. But second chances don’t always go as planned. Check out “The Retake” by Jen Calonita (Random House Children’s Books, 2021), on Nebraska OverDrive.

“While the notion of traveling back in time to repair the present isn’t new to middle-grade fiction, many readers will empathize with Zoe’s determination to succeed and her mishaps along the way, while sharing her confusion over the overlapping, conflicting memories that she has created.” —Booklist

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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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#BookFaceFriday “Joyful Mending” by Noriko Misumi

It’s a #BookFaceFriday for #MendingMonday!

Discover the joy of working with your hands to reinvigorate or transform your worn-out clothing in this week’s #Bookface title, Joyful Mending by Noriko Misumi (Tuttle Publishing, 2020). Adding visible stitching or patches to your threads not only adds artistry to your wardrobe but also extends the life of your clothes and keeps them out of the landfill. #MendingMonday, #MendAndMakeDo, and #VisibleMending are some of the hashtags used on social media to draw attention to refurbished pieces the mender is particularly proud of and are part of an ongoing sustainable fashion trend.

“…a resource as practical as it is whimsical… Misumi visually guides readers through visible and invisible mending techniques that bring new life to well-loved materials…Anyone wishing to preserve and repair their favorite clothes will find plenty of ideas and useful techniques here.”

Library Journal (starred review)

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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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#BookFaceFriday “On Account of the Gum” by Adam Rex

This #BookFace is caught in a sticky situation…

And this day started out so well! If you’re looking for the best advice on how to remove gum from your hair, maybe skip reading “On Account of the Gum” by Adan Rex. If you’re looking for a good laugh, this is your book! It’s available as an eBook from Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Nebraska OverDrive Libraries has a wide variety of children’s books, from picture books to to youth adult titles, and more.

Conversational rhyme, cascading action, and dramatic page turns create a story of early-morning, get-ready-for-school chaos. Gum-wrapper endpaper illustrations collaged under a bubble gum-pink wash set the tone for escalating silliness . . . [On Account of the Gum is a] gloriously giggly tale glued together by a glob of very gooey gum. –Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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: Bob by Wendy Mass

Confession: my son is a reluctant reader. This pains me both as a mother and a librarian. He was introduced to books as an infant, visited me at the library, was (and is) read to constantly, and there are books everywhere in our house. He can read just fine; it’s just not his preferred hobby. He’ll do whatever it takes to get through his daily 20 minutes of assigned reading and not a minute more. This is obviously a me-problem; what librarian doesn’t want their kid to know the joy of reading?

So I was pleasantly surprised when he voluntarily brought home a middle-grade novel this week. He will often check out a book about animals or cars, or just choose to read picture books aloud to his sister. But this week, he handed me Bob by Wendy Mass. “I heard it’s a good story.” Indeed, it is – I read it in early 2019 and it was a 2020/21 Golden Sower nominee. We are reading a couple of chapters a night (don’t want to exceed that 20 minute limit!).

Bob is the story of a small green creature, dressed in chicken suit, waiting not-so-patiently in a closet for his friend to return. That friend, Livy, has been gone for 5 years and when she does show up, she doesn’t remember Bob or the promise she made to him when she was 5 years old – to help him find his home. Now that they are reunited, they set off to figure out the mystery of Bob.

Bob may or may not kick off a lifelong affinity for the written word, but for this winter break at least, I’m going to savor each page read aloud by my favorite reluctant reader.

Mass, Wendy. Bob. Feiwel & Friends, 2018.

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#BookFaceFriday “New World Sourdough” by Bryan Ford

This #BookFaceFriday is the best thing since sliced bread!

Did you start a pandemic hobby? Learn to knit, bake the perfect loaf of bread, organize your closets? Expand your horizons from the comfort of your home with a new cookbook or craft book, like “New World Sourdough” by award-winning bread maker, Bryan Ford.

“Bryan brings so much heart, soul, and terroir to his bread baking. Each loaf tells a story and I can’t wait to bring those stories to life in my own kitchen.” – Joy Wilson, Joy the Baker

Find this cookbook and many more nonfiction DIY titles through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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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#BookFaceFriday “Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten” by Barbara Park

Gobble-gobble! We’re so thankful it’s #BookFaceFriday!

Here’s a kid’s title we can really sink our teeth into this holiday weekend. Feisty and fun, Junie B. Jones has long been a favorite among young chapter book readers!

“Junie B. is the darling of the young-reader set” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

Find this title and many more from this series through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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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#BookFaceFriday “Pie Academy” by Ken Haedrich

We’re drooling over this #BookFaceFriday!

Thanksgiving may look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t shake things up in the kitchen and try out a new dessert. We’ve all got a little more time on our hands at home, so push up your sleeves, sprinkle some flour on the counter, and roll out the perfect pie crust for your Turkey Day feast.

“An excellent resource for home bakers looking to up their pie game.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The wide-ranging, well-curated mix of classic and contemporary recipes and expert advice make this an essential primer for avid home bakers.” Library Journal, starred review

This cookbook and many more are available through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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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#BookFaceFriday “Vote For Cupcakes” by Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk

This #BookFaceFriday gets our vote!

Have an aspiring baker at your house? “Vote For Cupcakes” is the 10th book in The Cupcake Club series, which follows 4th grader Kylie and her cupcake-baking buddies as they battle the mean girls and deliver sweet treats. The series is written by Sheryl Berk and her cupcake-obsessed daughter Carrie. Their recipes are included in each book – yum!

“Kids and cupcakes are the perfect recipe!”—Sophie and Katerine, stars of TLC’s DC Cupcakes

The whole series is available through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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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#BookFaceFriday “Took: A Ghost Story” by Mary Downing Hahn

We’re very taken with this week’s #BookFaceFriday!

It’s the perfect time of year for a spooky story like Mary Downing Hahn’s Took: A Ghost Story. Grab a blanket, a warm cup of cider, and a tale of terror… if you dare…

“This creepy tale skillfully weaves in—and honors—the oral tradition of folklore, legends, and ghost stories.”

Horn Book Magazine

It’s available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in eBook format. 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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: Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

Pumpkinheads book cover

Is there anything better than a crisp cool night at the pumpkin patch in the fall? The smell of campfire smoke, kettle corn, and apple cider in the air?

Deja and Josiah have been partners in the Succotash Hut for 4 seasons at the world’s greatest pumpkin patch. It’s their last night, and Deja is on a mission to get Josie to finally talk to his long-time crush at The Fudge Hut…and score some snacks along the way.

This YA graphic novel by Nebraska author Rainbow Rowell and Canadian artist Faith Erin Hicks was the perfect quick read to kick off my autumn. While I may not visit the local pumpkin patch this year (darn you coronavirus!), I am definitely ready for s’mores, fire pits, and pumpkin pie.

Rowell, Rainbow. Pumpkinheads. First Second Books, 2019.

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Reading For Change: Anti-Racism Titles in Our Book Club Kit Collection

Earlier this week, the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture posted their Black Liberation Reading List. This is among many anti-racism reading lists publicized in recent days (here, here, and here) but I’m choosing to highlight this list because the Schomburg Center has focused on the Black experience, history, and culture for 95 years. Their list of 95 books includes both fiction and nonfiction.

If your patrons or book club groups are interested in these titles, we have a selection of them in our Book Club Kit collection:

You can find these books and similar titles for all ages on our Book Club Kit page: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/, by choosing “Black lives” in the Genre drop down menu.

We have also gathered a number of resources for library patrons and the general public to learn about social issues on NebraskAccess.

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Friday Reads: The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young

I don’t know about you, but reading during this pandemic has been a challenge. Between working from home, keeping a school-age kid on track with his lessons and a preschooler out of the cookie jar, not to mention feeding everyone 3-5 times a day (why are we so hungry?!?), and the constant blare of the news, I just don’t have the time or attention span to concentrate on a book. Is it just me? (Apparently not).

Fortunately, my public library recently started contact-less pickup and I got a load of middle-grade novels and picture books for the aforementioned children. The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young was at the top of the pile.

Set on Madeline Island in Lake Superior, this is the story of a half-Irish, half-Ojibwe girl named Billie who is determined to win her town’s annual pumpkin race and get revenge on her former best friend for sabotaging her attempt the previous summer. It is also the tale of how every story has two sides, growing pumpkins is a full-time job, and sometimes winning isn’t something we do on our own. It was the perfect book to kick off my summer reading and yours too!

Young, Cathleen. The Pumpkin War. Random House, 2019.

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Reopening Your Library During the Pandemic

Is your library reopening to the public, or looking for guidance on reopening?

We’ve compiled recommendations and guidance from local and national organization, as well as example of policies and procedures being used by other Nebraska libraries here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic4libraries.aspx

If you’ve not yet told us that your library is reopening or modifying services for the pandemic, please fill out our form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe5AurxbSHsu5gy5sig7uHWkkQYeRG3EfT7l2ArfmbPTtlx-A/viewform.

A spreadsheet of Nebraska libraries closing, reopening, and modifying services can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vQhzPpcpf_BAB_7wbDegLdjvfFX84AbGgRVAcIzrp-DYBIJUnKIaake5d1jKIRcFVW4qTPVwchtK5SV/pubhtml

And don’t forget our other resources for libraries and their patrons during this time: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx
The Central Plains Libray System (CPLS) has resources too!
http://libraries.ne.gov/cpls/

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A Phased Library Reopening Plan

Many Nebraska libraries have closed their buildings to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic; some stopped all physical services completely, and others developed alternative services. The Nebraska Library Commission has put together some guidance of how libraries can begin to reopen their buildings and restore services.

Phased Plan for Reopening Nebraska Libraries

This plan will provide a phased outline of how full services could be restored as the health crisis eases and social distancing measures end. It can be used as a starting point for library directors and their boards to determine the specific course of action their library will take to serve their community during and after the pandemic.

Disclaimer: This document is intended as guidance only. The Nebraska Library Commission does not have the authority to mandate that libraries close or open in any capacity. Library directors should work with their library boards, local government, and local health departments to determine their course of action. Libraries may modify this plan to suit their needs.

We will continue to update this plan as new information is available. See all of our COVID-19 resources for libraries and Nebraskans here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx

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Online Storytimes To Share With Your Littlest Patrons

Storytime is a beloved library tradition for many of our youngest patrons and their parents. With libraries closing their doors to in-person gatherings, many storytimes are going online. We are rounding up resources to help you find online storytimes or create your own.

Many publishers are relaxing their permissions during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow books to be read aloud online, in addition to the numerous authors and celebreties sharing videos of themselves reading.

Please visit our new page for links to read-alouds and publisher information, plus sources of free ebooks and audiobooks for all ages. If you have additional resources we should list, please let us know!

Read Online: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/readonline.aspx

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash.

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