Author Archives: Lisa Kelly

Meet the Library Commission Reference and Interlibrary Loan Staff!

Nebraska Library Commission Reference Team

Front row left to right: Mary Geibel, Mary Sauers, and Lynda Clause
Back row – left to right: Lisa Kelly, Beth Goble, Bonnie Henzel and Susan Knisely

Meet the Library Commission Reference and Interlibrary Loan Staff!

In the past year and half, we’ve experienced several changes in personnel on our reference and interlibrary loan team. Here are the updates as to the whereabouts of our former staff in addition to our new arrivals:


January 2012:
Julie Pinnell – leaves the Library Commission after nearly 17 years of service to become the director of the Doane College Library.

Summer 2012:
Beth Goble – becomes part time and is now our Historical Services Librarian. She still spends time at the reference desk answering email questions and will celebrate 20 years with the state this July. Beth and her husband Ron travel regularly to Michigan to visit their two granddaughters and also spend time at their other home in Alberta, Canada. Not to be left out are the family pets, Arwen, a Sheltie and Allie, a rescue cat.

December 2012:
Dave Eckmann leaves the reference team to return to working with the Talking Book and Braille Service.

April 2013:
Evelyn Kubert retires after 13 years of doing ILL for the Library Commission and just received happy news of grandchild number 6.


January 2013:
Mary Sauers comes to us by way of Lincoln City Libraries where she worked at the Anderson and Bethany Branches in public services. Prior to moving to Nebraska in 2009 she worked at BCR, the former OCLC regional network located in Denver. It was there that she met her husband, Michael Sauers, who you may recognize as another employee of the Library Commission. Mary has two daughters (Diana and Sara), three dogs, and spends many hours in her greenhouse.

Mary Geibel is already recognizable to many of you since she’s been answering and routing incoming calls to the Nebraska Library Commission for many years as a member of the Administrative Services team.  Since the reference desk recently took over “switchboard” duties it’s a particularly fitting time for Mary to transition to our team, where she will be one of several team members answering the phones.  Mary will also now be your first contact for book group reservations and questions. Mary and her husband John have two sons (Sean and Nikolas) and two dogs. Mary cares for her mother in her home and also enjoys regular meetings with her scrapbook friends.

April 2013:
Lynda Clause is our most recent team member and also comes to us by way of Lincoln City Libraries. Lynda will be working primarily with Interlibrary Loan and helping and guiding us in our change to WorldShare.  Lynda will also be at the reference desk and will be corresponding with you all by email. Lynda is planning to return to school this fall to study Digital Humanities, but she will still be here at NLC full time. Lynda and her partner Eric enjoy hiking and live music, and are planning to adopt a dog from the Humane Society this summer and we are all eager to see who will join their home.

Still here:
Bonnie Henzel continues helping the team on Friday mornings. Bonnie works with Nebraska State Publications and is the proud mom of a son Alex and twin high school graduates (Alaina and Kayla) who will matriculate at Peru State College this fall. Bonnie is married to Vince and together they are active in coaching basketball and volleyball. Last but not least in their home is Bonnie’s Golden Retriever Chloe.

Susan Knisely is a part of the Technology and Access Services Team but also spend time at the reference desk on Mondays. Susan is the person you speak to for overdrive and database subscription questions in addition to many other topics. Susan and her husband Will share their home with their son Ian and 4 rabbits.

Lisa Kelly remains at the reference desk after 20 years and has learned many new tasks as people have come and gone. Lisa lives with her rescue cat named Moon in the historical Stuart Building where she organized a book group that has been meeting for 12 years. Susan and Lisa are a month apart in age and have planned their joint retirement party for the year 2035.


Posted in General, Information Resources | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Meebo replaced with LibraryH3lp

In early June news broke that Google had acquired the embedded social media platform Meebo. Shortly thereafter, Google announced that on July 11 they would retire the Meebo Me Widget, a component of the service that supported online chat. This was unwelcome news to many libraries who used the Meebo Me widget to provide online chat reference services, including the Nebraska Library Commission.

The Commission had been using the Meebo Me Widget to offer chat reference service since October 2006. Because chat is an important part of our reference service, we started looking at replacement options right away. For us it was important to find a product that not only allowed us to embed chat boxes in several locations on our website but also allowed patrons to chat anonymously with our reference staff. Based on these criteria, in conjunction with a very small budget, we decided to go with LibraryH3lp.

Patrons shouldn’t notice a huge change in how LibraryH3lp works compared to the Meebo Me Widget.  There is however a new feature you may find helpful. Depending on your question the librarian’s answer may include a lot of information, a book title, or even a URL or two.  Instead of writing this information down or cutting and pasting it, patrons can email themselves a copy of the chat transcript. Here’s how: After completing your conversation with the librarian,click on the white envelope icon. It is located on the right side of the chat box above the area where you type. When prompted enter your email address. As with Meebo, this service is anonymous. We do not know your name unless you provide it and you will not know which reference staff member is answering your question unless we identify ourselves.

Please ask us a question and take LibraryH3lp out for a test drive. Currently you can find the chat box on the Ask A Librarian pages on both the Nebraska Library Commission and NebraskAccess websites. Don’t be surprised if you see it appear on a few other pages in the future.

Posted in General, Information Resources, Library Management | Leave a comment

New Book Club Kits added for Young Readers

Two new book club kits for young readers have been added to our collection. I asked Sally Snyder to write a bit about the two titles. Please use this request form if you’d like to borrow either of these kits or any others from our collection.

Out of My Mind – 4 copies

Melody has a sharp brain in a body with cerebral palsy.  She is frustrated with learning the alphabet over and over when she has a photographic memory (or nearly so).  Since she cannot talk, the neighbor, Mrs. V., first rigs up a word and alphabet board on her wheelchair.  Finally Melody is sent to “inclusion classes” where children from room H-5 experience life in a real classroom for certain subjects.  Melody loves this chance to learn.  But it isn’t until she gets her best “gizmo” ever that she really has a chance to become a part of the class.

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had – 4 copies

Dit (turns 13 during the book) is disappointed that the new postmaster has a daughter instead of a son.  It is 1917 and Dit was looking forward to a summer of fishing and baseball with a new friend.  Emma is a girl, and she is black.  As the summer progresses, they begin a friendship, but there are those in town who think a white boy should not spend time with a black girl.  Civil rights have yet to arrive in the U.S. especially in the South.  Over the summer and into the school year, trouble is brewing.  A wonderful book about coming of age and finding the courage to do what is right, even if it is hard.


Posted in Books & Reading, General, Information Resources | 1 Comment

Has your book club read a Pulitzer Prize award winner?

Recently, the Pulitzer Prize committee made headlines when they did not select a winner for the fiction category.  This award has a long and storied history “honoring excellence in journalism and the arts since 1917.” First things first, how do you properly pronounce the name of this award? According to the Pulitzer FAQ the correct pronunciation is “PULL it  sir.” Now, how about selecting one of the Pulitzer titles for your book club to read? Here are the titles we have in our collection with the year they were awarded the prestigious honor:

2007 The Road by Cormac McCarthy, 6 copies
2006 March by Geraldine Brooks, 8 copies, 1 audio
2002 Empire Falls by Richard Russo, 11 copies, 1 audio
1999 The Hours by Michael Cunningham, 15 copies
1983 The Color Purple by Alice Walker, 5 copies
1972 Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, 21 copies
1947 All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, 13 copies
1932 The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, 10 copies

Please use this request form to let us know if you’d like to borrow any of these titles!

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Leave a comment

Alex Matthews – Cassidy McCabe Mystery Series

Recently, our book club collection was gifted with four sets of books (Secret’s Shadow, Satan’s Silence, Death’s Domain, and Wedding’s Widow) by the Chicago author Alex Matthews. If you’re unfamiliar with Matthews, she is the writer of the Cassidy McCabe mysteries. Cassidy McCabe is a psychotherapist who lives and works in the Oak Park Neighborhood, owns a cat named Starshine, and spends her time as an amateur detective. I asked the Library Commission book club to read and discuss the first title in her series, Secret’s Shadow. There were comments that the story was good and moved right along. There were criticisms from some about Cassidy too easily dismissing her intuition regarding signals of danger, but most generally sensed an overall strength in her character.  Some of the readers were fond of Cassidy; others struggled with her insecurity in her relationships. The setting of Chicago and its description was given high marks in its accuracy. Most important to any title read by a club is the discussion which was described as lively and opinionated. The readers disagreed about several items and I think those are always the most memorable meetings. The more opposite the opinions; the more members work to articulate why they are taking a particular position.  If your book club is looking for a Midwest setting for a book, considering requesting one of Matthew’s titles for your book group and many thanks to Alex for providing her books to our library.

Posted in Books & Reading, General, Information Resources | Leave a comment

Celebrating National Library Week

Sitting with a group of neighbors, I decided to celebrate National Library Week by asking everyone to share a library story – any story – that had to do with an experience they had in a library. I did not specify age or location. Here are the results: A story about a stereotypical librarian who preferred order to patrons caused one of my neighbors not to check out books as a child. A story of a librarian who let young children read whatever they wanted to, no matter the content contrasted to a story of a librarian who called home to check with the parents before checking materials out to my neighbor as a young girl. One woman smiled from ear to ear sharing the story of the absolute wonders of a bookmobile and the joys of visiting each week in a rural setting. Another story was from a woman who loves to check out books but has difficulty returning items on time so library fines are a constant issue. Yet another neighbor shared that the library helped her with replacement values for items that were broken in a move so she could fill out forms for insurance – a good story as it was a reference testimony! My favorite story of the morning was a gentleman who admitted he isn’t a frequent user of libraries but he did become a literacy volunteer as an adult and met with his student in a library. He was paired with a young man who was a husband and a father but was unable to read. After three years of tutoring with my neighbor, both their lives changed. The last session concluded on Valentine’s Day and my neighbor encouraged his student not to forget to get his wife a Valentine card. The new reader replied, “I WILL! And this year I will be able to pick a sentiment that says what I really feel because now I can read.” What do libraries mean to the people around you?

Posted in Books & Reading, General | 1 Comment

ALA Merritt Fund

The ALA Merritt Fund was recently awarded to Nebraska Librarian, Karla Schafer.  The Merritt Humanitarian Fund was established in 1970 and named for LeRoy C. Merritt who was “one of the library profession’s staunchest opponents of censorship and one of its most vigorous defenders of intellectual freedom.”

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Masterpiece – resources for book and film clubs for your library!

If you’re a fan of Masterpiece on Sunday evenings, PBS is providing resources to integrate their programming into a book or a film discussion group in your library. PBS has “provided all the tools you need, including the NEW Book and Film Club Handbook (PDF), plus guides with discussion questions, background info, activities, and even recipes. If you’re an educator, don’t forget to check out over 30 Masterpiece Teacher’s Guides.”  Downton Abbey fans are still talking about season 2 so take this opportunity to integrate this wonderful programming into a library discussion.

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Leave a comment

Generous Nebraska Libraries Support Book Clubs

Interlibrary Loan isn’t the ONLY way that our libraries share materials with each other. Through the Nebraska Book Club Kits Sharing Wiki, libraries list and share their book club kits with others in the state. Many thanks to the following for listing and sharing their kits with others:  Crete Public Library, Hastings Public Library, John Stahl Library (West Point), Keene Memorial Library (Fremont), Northeast Library System (Columbus), Oakland Public Library, Southeast Library System (Lincoln), and the Wayne Public Library. If your library has book club kits and would like to add them to our wiki, contact Lisa Kelly for the password.

The Nebraska Library Commission now has over 250 book club kits to check out and share with you as well. Please contact us to inquire or check out any of our kits or fill out our new and improved request form to reserve a kit.


Posted in Books & Reading, General, Information Resources | Leave a comment

A Julie of all Trades

The month of December can be difficult with long to do lists and sentimental hurdles.  I spent this December considering the loss of a very fine colleague – Julie Pinnell – who will leave the Library Commission on January 3rd after nearly 17 years of service to become the Director of the Doane College Library. For me, this will be a difficult transition as Julie knows a little bit about all things library – from technical to public services and a little bit of everything in between. In addition, she has been the person with whom I have considered ideas and enjoyed many a cup of coffee with in every kind of weather and budgetary season. I will miss Julie more than I can convey, but as a Doane College graduate, I know she will do great things for Perkins Library and take very good care of the staff there, including my own beloved niece who is a student worker. I know many of you will miss hearing Julie’s voice on the phone and her wonderful workshops. There isn’t any way to replace her skills and knowledge, but at least she remains in the state of Nebraska where we’ll see her from time to time. The reference staff will forge along and keep in touch with Julie. I know those of you who will miss her will find a way to keep her in your lives as well.

Posted in General, Information Resources | Leave a comment

Mother Daughter Book Clubs

The Omaha Public Library started its first mother-daughter club about five years ago and now sponsors at least three, said Sarah English, youth services coordinator for the library system.  Read more about it here:

Does your library sponsor such a book club? How has it worked in your community?

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Leave a comment

Jackson Brodie Series

Fans of Masterpiece Theater are now enjoying a trilogy of movies featuring books written by Kate Atkinson.  Three of her books from the Jackson Brodie Series have been adapted to screen starring Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, The Patriot) as a Private Investigator living in Edinburgh.If you’ve missed the first episode, you can watch online here.  Check out background interviews and additional information on this series at the PBS website.

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Leave a comment

New Book Club Kits!

New Book Club Kits added to our collection! Here are four new titles to our collection:

Barrelhouse Boys: A Tale of Mirth, Romance and Murder Lincoln, Nebraska 1894  by Joel Williamsen  – 2 copies and 1 audio cd

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
by Stieg Larsson – 6 copies (my book group read this and we had a fabulous discussion  – plus the US movie of this book will be released in December).

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert – 4 copies

Slow Boat to China: The Personal Diaries and Letters of Pegge Parker, 1942-1951 by Pegge Parker – 3 copies

Also – many of our smaller kits have grown as copies have been added so if there was something that you wanted to read and it appeared we didn’t have many copies, check again, the kit may have grown since you last checked! Fill out this form to check out or reserve any of our titles.

Lastly – don’t forget to celebrate National Reading Group Month in October. Read Nebraska book club readers and leaders comments here.

Posted in Books & Reading, Information Resources | Leave a comment

October is National Reading Group Month!

What does your book group mean to you? What books have you struggled to read? Do you REALLY have to have food when you discuss a book? Take a look and see what people who belong to and lead book groups have to say about their book clubs in Nebraska:

Would you like to add your comments? Send them to Lisa Kelly and I’ll be happy to post them. Happy Book Group Month!

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Leave a comment

ALA Office for Information Technology Policy

The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy’s (OITP) latest policy brief breaks down the formidable challenges in store for libraries during the next few decades. The brief, “Confronting the Future: Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Public Library” was written by OITP Fellow Roger E. Levien, president of Strategy and Innovation Consulting. The report explores how emerging technologies combined with challenges, such as financial constraints as well as shifts in the nature and needs of library users, require libraries to evolve rapidly and make strategic decisions today that will influence their future for decades to come.” We will be adding a print version of this program to the Library Commission Collection.

Posted in Education & Training, General, Information Resources | Leave a comment

Read a Banned Book

Banned Books Week is celebrated annually the last week of September. As librarians, we not only celebrate but are champions of the importance of the first amendment and free and open access to all information. “Banned Books Week stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.” If your book group is looking for their next title, how about choosing a title that has appeared on a banned book list? Here are some banned books titles we have in our book club collection. Please contact us or fill out a form to reserve a kit.

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren; 12 copies (NEW to the collection)

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner; 9 copies

Chocolate War by Robert Cormier; 15 copies

The Color Purple by Alice Walker; 3 copies

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; 25 copies

Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood; 15 copies

The Harry Potter Series (we have books 1-4); 15 copies of each

A Light in August by William Faulkner; 9 copies

My Antonia by Willa Cather; 11 copies

O Pioneers!  by Willa Cather; 15  copies

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet; 9 copies

Posted in Books & Reading, General, Information Resources | 1 Comment

Book Club Webpage Changes!

Come visit our new book club kit webpage. A couple of new additions have been added that we hope will make it easier to browse and select from our collection of over 250 titles. A new title list includes authors, titles and number of copies. The familiar enhanced lists still includes book covers, links to descriptions, and discussions questions and is now split up into easier to manage lists. Another new feature is an online request form that will make getting all the information we need to make your reservation easy and efficient.

Posted in Books & Reading, Information Resources | Leave a comment

Chief Inspector Morse Series

For those fans of Masterpiece Mystery, we are now being treated to Series 3 of Inspector Lewis. The Lewis series is a spin-off from the popular Inspector Morse Series also set in Oxford. The actor Kevin Whatley reprises his role as Robbie Lewis who was formerly Morse’s Sargent. With his promotion to Inspector, Lewis is now working with DS Hathaway as played by Laurence Fox. These series are based upon the mysteries by Colin Dexter. Here is the listing of the Morse books from our books in series database. Enjoy!

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Leave a comment

New Book Club Kits added!

The following titles have been added to our book club kits. Please contact us if you’d like to reserve any of these for your library. Here is a complete listing of our collection.

Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, 15 copies

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, 10 copies

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald, 15 copies

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, 15 copies

The Hours by Michael Cunningham, 15 copies

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson, 13 copies

In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, 15 copies

The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro, 15 copies

The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, 15 copies

Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert, 14 copies

Travels by Michael Crichton, 15 copies

Winona’s Web by Priscilla Cogan, 15 copies

Posted in Books & Reading, Information Resources | Leave a comment

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

If your book group has been waiting to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett and you’ve been unable to find multiple copies, please contact us to reserve our kit which includes 5 copies. The movie based upon this book arrives in theaters August 10th. Here are some southern recipes as provided by the Ladies in Waiting Book Club to prepare when your club gathers to discuss this title.  For other selections in our book club collection, click here.

Posted in Books & Reading, Information Resources | 1 Comment