Author Archives: Shoshana Patocka

Friday Reads: The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn

“The first person I met in England was a hallucination.”

When a book starts with a sentence like that, you know it will be interesting, at the very least. First published in 2017, and still going strong today with over a million copies in print and multiple holds on the e-book and audiobook versions in Overdrive. Of course, being chosen for Reese Witherspoon’s book club helped, but in my opinion, “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn is worth all the hype and so much more than just interesting.

“The Alice Network” follows people “chasing… (the) legacies left by lost women in past wars”. Told from the alternating perspectives of “Charlie”, a young woman wanting answers about her cousin who went missing during the ravages of World War II, and Eve, now of middle age but who spent World War I as a young spy in German-occupied France.

Based on real lives and events, “The Alice Network” is all at once a romance, thriller, mystery, historical fiction, and a work of social commentary. Engrossing and touching, I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to get my hands on Kate Quinn’s “The Diamond Eye”, a story about a librarian turned sniper in World War II.

Quinn, K. (2022). The Alice network: a novel. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Authority Control class registration is now open!

Libraries use authority control to manage the names, uniform titles, series titles, and subject headings in their catalogs. Participants in this class will learn what authority control is and why it is needed, how to read a MARC authority record, and how to use the Library of Congress authority file. This class is one of the REQUIRED classes for the NLC Cataloging Certificate program.

Audience: Library staff with knowledge of AACR2/RDA, MARC records, and cataloging.

This class will be held online from June 13th to July 24th, with a week off for the Fourth of July holiday. To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments and receive a 75% in the class.

Class participants will access the course website to read materials and complete assignments. The class is held asynchronously, which means that participants are not required to be online at any particular time during the five weeks. The instructor will interact with the participants during the course to offer feedback and help clarify the material.

A few days before the class starts, class participants will be sent information about accessing the class.

To register: Go to Authority Control in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes on June 5th.

This workshop is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification Program. This is open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.  

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“Cataloging Video Recordings” class registration is now open!

Video materials make up a significant portion of today’s libraries’ collections. Attend this workshop to learn about the cataloging of video recordings in a variety of formats, including DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and streaming video. Topics will include series/episodes, cast notes, editions, and access points.

This class will be held online from May 2nd to June 3rd. To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments by June 5th.

Class participants will access the course website to read materials and complete assignments. The class is held asynchronously, which means that participants are not required to be online at any particular time during the five weeks. The instructor will interact with the participants during the course to offer feedback and provide explanations of the material.

A few days before the class starts, class participants will be sent information about accessing the class.

Prerequisite: “Understanding MARC” or “MARC Tutorial” class.

To register: Go to Cataloging Video Recordings in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes on April 24th.

This workshop is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification Program. Courses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library. This class is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification Program

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Friday Reads: The House in the Cerulean Sea” by T.J. Klune

I’ve probably said it before but if you’re anything like me reading has recently become kind of a chore. After recently getting a dedicated e-reader the total volume of my reading has increased, just from the sheer volume of titles now available to me at the click of a button, but I was still having a hard time finding a book that I thought deserved particular attention. That is until I found this week’s book.

“The House in the Cerulean Sea” is the sweetest little novel, and a surprisingly quick read, written by T.J. Klune. It takes place in a fantasy world, not unlike earth,  that follows the life of one Linus Baker, a caseworker for the Department In Charge of Magical Youth. At DICOMY his job is to evaluate the orphanages the department runs when situations arise, including the facilities and the masters in charge of each one. Although not uncaring Linus is proud of his ability to do his work by the book, literally a 900+ page volume entitled “Rules and Regulations” that he purchased from the company and lugs with him wherever he goes. It is because of this attention to the rules that Linus is given a special assignment by Extremely Upper Management to evaluate one of their more extraordinary orphanages.

An orphaned gnome, who keeps the most beautiful garden, and a shy young man who, when overtaken by extreme anxiety, turns into a Pomeranian are just a few of the children that give this orphanage its life and color, a very different setting than Linus’s usual drab gray life. Over the month that Linus has been given to evaluate the home, he is confronted with how living by the book can not only be restrictive of life and all it has to offer but may end up being detrimental, too.

If you’re looking for a cozy read that makes you think a bit “The House in the Cerulean Sea” fits the bill perfectly. I’ve heard good things about his most recent book “Under the Whispering Door” and it’s now on the top of my to-be-read book pile. Could this mark the end of my reading slump?

Klune, T.J. The House in the Cerulean Sea. New York: Tor, 2020.

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Seats are still available!

Come join our free class on authority control, starting February 7th!

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Libraries use authority control to manage the names, uniform titles, series titles, and subject headings in their catalogs. Participants in this class will learn what authority control is and why it is needed, how to read a MARC authority record, and how to use the Library of Congress authority file. This class is one of the REQUIRED classes for the NLC Cataloging Certificate program.

Audience: Library staff with knowledge of AACR2/RDA, MARC records, and cataloging.

This class will be held online from February 7th to March 13th. To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments and receive a 75% in the class.

Class participants will access the course website to read materials and complete assignments. The class is held asynchronously, which means that participants are not required to be online at any particular time during the five weeks; however, there is a class schedule with due dates that participants are expected to meet. The instructor will interact with the participants during the course to offer feedback and provide explanations of the material.

A few days before the class starts, class participants will be sent information about accessing the class.

To register: Go to Authority Control in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes on January 30th.

This workshop is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification Program. Courses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.  

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Authority Control Class

Libraries use authority control to manage the names, uniform titles, series titles, and subject headings in their catalogs. Participants in this class will learn what authority control is and why it is needed, how to read a MARC authority record, and how to use the Library of Congress authority file. This class is one of the REQUIRED classes for the NLC Cataloging Certificate program.

Audience: Library staff with knowledge of AACR2/RDA, MARC records, and cataloging.

This class will be held online from February 7th to March 13th. To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments and receive a 75% in the class.

Class participants will access the course website to read materials and complete assignments. The class is held asynchronously, which means that participants are not required to be online at any particular time during the five weeks; however, there is a class schedule with due dates that participants are expected to meet. The instructor will interact with the participants during the course to offer feedback and provide explanations of the material.

A few days before the class starts, class participants will be sent information about accessing the class.

To register: Go to Authority Control in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes on January 30th.

This workshop is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification Program. Courses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.  

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Friday Reads: “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches book cover

Have you ever read a book that reminds you of someone?

The novel “Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness follows historian Diana Bishop as she researches science in the 15th and 16th centuries, more specifically manuscripts covering alchemy. Sounds boring, right?

During her work, Diana runs across one particular manuscript that just feels different. Literally! The book seems to sigh when she places her hand on it. Slightly spooked by the sigh, and what she finds within the volume, she sends it back to the bowels of the Oxford library where she has been working hoping to forget about it.

This seemingly insignificant moment sparks a journey for Diana across Europe, and eventually to her childhood home in New England, all the while trying to avoid witches, vampires, and other creatures, with the help of Matthew Clairmont, a fellow academic and a vampire. Oh, did I forget to mention that Diana is a witch? She’s been spending her entire life trying to forget that fact, too, leading to some interesting situations stemming from her out-of-control magic.

“Discovery of Witches” has recently been made into a series by AMC, causing the book series to have a resurgence. Deborah Harkness doesn’t waste a single word or phrase in this book and while a pretty hefty at nearly 600 pages I found this book really easy to read and enthralling. So much so, I’ve already purchased the rest of the series.

By now you’re probably curious about whom I’m reminded of when reading this book. I came across this book while spending an afternoon with my best friend, who just so happened to be heading off to Europe to teach at a university. The adventure, romance, and mystery of this novel will catch anyone’s interest but for me, the parallels to my own “Diana” made this read so much more enjoyable.

Harkness, Deborah. A Discovery of Witches. Penguin Books, 2011.

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Seats are still available for the October “Understanding MARC” class!

This class is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification ProgramCourses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.

Why would you use a 651 MARC tag instead of a 610 tag? What is the difference between a 260 tag and a 264 tag? Where do you put the note about large print?

If you have questions about MARC catalog records or would like to learn more about entering records into your local system, join us for this seven-session asynchronous online workshop. By the end you should have a general understanding of how MARC functions and be able to create a basic record for a physical book.

Topics will include:

  • Fixed & variable fields, subfields, tags
  • Title and statement of responsibility
  • Edition
  • Publication
  • Physical description
  • Notes
  • Subject headings
  • Series
  • Main and added entries

This class will be held online from Oct 4th to November 20th.

Class participants will access the course website in order to read materials, discuss questions/issues in discussion boards, and post assignments. The instructor will interact with participants through discussion boards and optional web chats in order to offer feedback and provide explanations of material.

To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments AND receive a total score of 75% or above for the class.

Prerequisite: Basic skills “Organization of Materials” or some library automation experience.

To register: Go to Understanding MARC 21 Bibliographic Records in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes on September 26th, 2021.

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“Understanding MARC21 Bibliographic Records” class registration is now open!

This class is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification ProgramCourses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.

Why would you use a 651 MARC tag instead of a 610 tag? What is the difference between a 260 tag and a 264 tag? Where do you put the note about large print?

If you have questions about MARC catalog records or would like to learn more about entering records into your local system, join us for this seven-session asynchronous online workshop. By the end you should have a general understanding of how MARC functions and be able to create a basic record for a physical book.

Topics will include:

  • Fixed & variable fields, subfields, tags
  • Title and statement of responsibility
  • Edition
  • Publication
  • Physical description
  • Notes
  • Subject headings
  • Series
  • Main and added entries

This class will be held online from Oct 4th to November 20th.

Class participants will access the course website in order to read materials, discuss questions/issues in discussion boards, and post assignments. The instructor will interact with participants through discussion boards and optional web chats in order to offer feedback and provide explanations of material.

To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments AND receive a total score of 75% or above for the class.

Prerequisite: Basic skills “Organization of Materials” or some library automation experience.

To register: Go to Understanding MARC 21 Bibliographic Records in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes on September 26th, 2021.

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Seats still available for the “Authority Control” class!

There is still time to register for the upcoming “Authority Control” class. This class is also now a requirement for the NLC’s Cataloging Certificate program.

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Libraries use authority control to manage the names, uniform titles, series titles, and subject headings in their catalogs. Participants in this class will learn what authority control is and why it is needed, how to read a MARC authority record, and how to use the Library of Congress authority file. The class will also include discussions of how to keep headings in your local systems up-to-date, and the relevance of authority control.

Prerequisite:Understanding MARC21 Bibliographic Records” class or some knowledge of MARC tagging.

This class will be held online from August 2rd to September 5th. To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments and receive a 75% in the class.

Class participants will access the course website in order to read materials, discuss issues in a forum, and complete assignments. The class is held asynchronously, which means that participants are not required to be online at any particular time during the five weeks; however, there is a class schedule with due dates that participants are expected to meet. The instructor will interact with the participants during the course to offer feedback and provide explanations of the material.

A few days before the class starts, class participants will be sent information about accessing the class.

To register: Go to Authority Control in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes July 25th.

This workshop is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification Program. Courses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.  

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Authority Control Class

Libraries use authority control to manage the names, uniform titles, series titles, and subject headings in their catalogs. Participants in this class will learn what authority control is and why it is needed, how to read a MARC authority record, and how to use the Library of Congress authority file. The class will also include discussion of how to keep headings in your local systems up-to-date, and the relevance of authority control.

Prerequisite:Understanding MARC21 Bibliographic Records” class.

This class will be held online from August 2rd to September 5th. To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments and receive a 75% in the class.

Class participants will access the course web site in order to read materials, discuss issues in a forum, and complete assignments. The class is held asynchronously, which means that participants are not required to be online at any particular time during the five weeks; however, there is a class schedule with due dates that participants are expected to meet. The instructor will interact with the participants during the course to offer feedback and provide explanations of material.

A few days before the class starts, class participants will be sent information about accessing the class.

To register: Go to Authority Control in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes July 25th.

This workshop is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification Program. Courses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.  

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Friday Reads: The Anthropocene Reviewed Essays on a Human-Centered Planet, by John Green

If you have never heard of John Green where have you been, living under a rock? Just kidding, but seriously this man is prolific writer of young adult fiction, creator of video content with his brother Hank, and is a great philanthropist. His books always seem to land on the New York Times bestsellers lists, winning numerous awards, and a number of them have been adapted for the screen. The video ventures he does with his brother Hank, specifically “Crash Course”, have won the highest acclaim of teachers who use their YouTube content in class. I could go on and on, so to learn more about John start with his website at https://www.johngreenbooks.com/

“The Anthropocene Reviewed” is a departure from his other works as it is not strictly geared towards young adults and, probably more importantly, it is his first work of nonfiction. John has taken his wonderfully cozy prose writing style to share his thoughts our modern age, specifically the current geological age – the Anthropocene, by rating the seemingly most mundane things on a five star scale. Everything from diet Dr. Pepper, to sunsets, to Super Mario Brothers gets a chapter. He uses the Anthropocene as a lens to focus the reviews as it the first age in which humans have played a huge roll in how the world is shaped.

I loved everything about this book! The writing style makes me feel like I’m back on my grandma’s lap listening to her read me a story, but the content makes you think and look at the world differently. John’s choice of items to review, his silly little footnotes1, and how each chapter is a story unto itself is just perfect.

Covid-19 and quarantine have probably affected every single person on the planet. The “Anthropocene Reviewed” is the first book that I have read where the author is aware of this and shares its effect on themselves, to remind us that we are not alone in what is shaping our world right now.

I give “The Anthropocene Reviewed” by John Green four and three quarters stars.

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1 The footnotes are probably the best thing about this book! Do not miss his footnote on the copyright page that reviews… well, the copyright page! I give John’s use of footnotes one million stars out of five.

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Understanding MARC class to begin in June

This class is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification ProgramCourses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.

Why would you use a 651 MARC tag instead of a 610 tag? What is the difference between a 260 tag and a 264 tag? Where do you put the note about large print?

If you have questions about MARC catalog records or would like to learn more about entering records into your local system, join us for this seven-session asynchronous online workshop. By the end you should have a general understanding of how MARC functions and be able to create a basic record for a physical book.

Topics will include:

  • Fixed & variable fields, subfields, tags
  • Title and statement of responsibility
  • Edition
  • Publication
  • Physical description
  • Notes
  • Subject headings
  • Series
  • Main and added entries

This class will be held online from June 7th to July 23rd.

Class participants will access the course website in order to read materials, discuss questions/issues in discussion boards, and post assignments. The instructor will interact with participants through discussion boards and optional web chats in order to offer feedback and provide explanations of material.

To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments AND receive a total score of 75% or above for the class.

Prerequisite: Basic skills “Organization of Materials” or some library automation experience.

To register: Go to Understanding MARC 21 Bibliographic Records in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes May 30th, 2021.

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Serials Cataloging (May Session)

Due to the popularity of this course the NLC will be offering it again beginning in May. To register for the May course please follow the links below.

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Courses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.

This class provides the basic principles of serials cataloging for original and copy cataloging. Topics will include title changes and when to create a new record, what to edit when working with copy, and how to determine the chief source for title transcription.

Classes will be held online from May 3rd to June 4th. In order to receive credit for the class all assignments must be completed by June 7 AND you must receive a 75%, or above, for the course.

Class participants will access the course web site in order to read materials and complete projects and assignments. The class is held asynchronously, which means that participants are not required to be online at any particular time during the five weeks; however, there is a class schedule with due dates that participants are expected to meet. The instructor will interact with the participants during the course to offer feedback and provide explanations of material.

A few days before the class starts, class participants will be sent information about accessing the class.

This class is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certificate Program

Prerequisite: Library staff with regular usage and knowledge of AACR2/RDA, MARC records, and cataloging. Preferred that the attendee has completed the Understanding Marc course.

To register: Go to Introduction to Serials Cataloging (May) in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes April 23, 2021.

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Introduction to Serials Cataloging

Courses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.

This class provides the basic principles of serials cataloging for original and copy cataloging. Topics will include title changes and when to create a new record, what to edit when working with copy, and how to determine the chief source for title transcription.

Classes will be held online from April 5 to May 7. In order to receive credit for the class all assignments must be completed by May 10 AND you must receive a 75%, or above, for the course.

Class participants will access the course web site in order to read materials and complete projects and assignments. The class is held asynchronously, which means that participants are not required to be online at any particular time during the five weeks; however, there is a class schedule with due dates that participants are expected to meet. The instructor will interact with the participants during the course to offer feedback and provide explanations of material.

A few days before the class starts, class participants will be sent information about accessing the class.

This class is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certificate Program

Prerequisite: Library staff with regular usage and knowledge of AACR2/RDA, MARC records, and cataloging. Preferred that the attendee has completed the Understanding Marc course.

To register: Go to Basic Serials Cataloging in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes March 28, 2021.

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Friday Reads: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

“Between life and death there is a library,” she said. “And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived.”

This is the idea behind The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I debated how to write this review without giving too much of the story away and a pro/con list seemed the best way to do that.

Pros:

-An easy read. I had it finished in just a few sittings.

-There are some beautifully written passages that just envelop you.

-The characters are very relatable.

Cons:

-Those beautifully written passages? For me they sometimes felt misplaced and would totally take me out of the story.

-The plot leads you in such a way that you don’t necessarily want to take the time to read everything fully, you just want to get to the next plot point.

-Everything about the book feels very unoriginal and overdone. It seems more like something you’d see someone write for a short story class in college, not from a well-known author.

During the pandemic reading, for me, has become more of a chore than being enjoyable. For every book I do manage to finish there are ten that I don’t, or don’t even really start. It was nice to find a book that caught my attention enough to stick with it and even with all its faults it wasn’t a burden to read.

Would I suggest rushing out and buying it? No, but if you happen across it in the library someday maybe check it out.

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Understanding MARC21 class

This class is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification ProgramCourses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.

Why would you use a 651 MARC tag instead of a 610 tag? What is the difference between a 260 tag and a 264 tag? Where do you put the note about large print?

If you have questions about MARC catalog records or would like to learn more about entering records into your local system, join us for this seven-session asynchronous online workshop.

Topics will include:

  • Fixed & variable fields, subfields, tags
  • Title and statement of responsibility
  • Edition
  • Publication
  • Physical description
  • Notes
  • Subject headings
  • Series
  • Main and added entries

This class will be held online from February 8th to March 28th.

Class participants will access the course website in order to read materials, discuss questions/issues in discussion boards, and post assignments. The instructor will interact with participants through discussion boards and optional web chats in order to offer feedback and provide explanations of material.

To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments AND receive a total score of 75% or above for the class.

Prerequisite: Basic skills “Organization of Materials” or some library automation experience.

To register: Go to Understanding MARC 21 Bibliographic Records in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes January 31st.

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Friday Reads: The Finishing School Series by Gail Carriger

Imagine yourself in lovely Victorian-era England with grand homes, elegant balls, and a large steam powered dirigible school floating by.

Wait…what?

The Finishing School Series by Gail Carriger is an absolutely lovely young adult series that follows one Miss Sophronia Temminnick through her time at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Classes include “Fainting in a crowd to attract attention” and “Buying poison and planning dinner on a limited budget”.

Hold on! What?

As the books progress we’re taken out of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy into the greater world. In Scotland we’re introduced to Sophronias friend Sidhegs pack, her grandfather and uncles, all of whom are werewolves. And to London where the vampires are trying to undermine a plot they just know the Picklemen are trying to run against them.

STOP!!!! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?

I absolutely love this series! The fantasy elements are done in such a way as to seem completely plausible and familiar. This is neither a dystopian set of novels, which seem to be so popular these days, or a “princess in need of rescuing” story. These girls can take care of themselves thank you very much! Not a fan of YA? Most of Gail Carrigers other books all take place in this same lovely world but are decidedly not YA.

Oh! I almost forgot my favorite part – the mechanicals! Simple household type tasks are carried out by these steam and gear-powered robots. Sophronia happens upon one, which happens to look like a dachshund, early on in the series whom she eventually carries around like a purse. Isn’t that just the cutest thing?

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Cataloging Audio Recordings

Courses are open only to Nebraska residents or those who are employed by a Nebraska library.

From vinyl records, 8 track tapes, and cassettes to digital and streaming services, various forms of audio recordings have been included in library collections. Those who attend this course will learn how to cataloging audio recordings, particularly audio books and music, in cassette, CD, and downloadable formats.

This class will be held online from October 12th to November 20th In order to receive full credit, all assignments must be completed by November 23rd.

Class participants will access the course web site in order to read materials, discuss issues in a forum, and complete assignments. The class is held asynchronously, which means that participants are not required to be online at any particular time during the six weeks; however, there is a class schedule with due dates that participants are expected to meet. The instructor will interact with the participants during the course to offer feedback and provide explanations of material.

A few days before the class starts, class participants will be sent information about accessing the class.

To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments.

This class is approved for the NLC Cataloging Certification Program

Prerequisite: Library staff with some knowledge of MARC records and cataloging rules, preferred that the attendee has completed the Understanding Marc course.

To register: Go to Cataloging Audio Recordings in the Nebraska Library Commission Training Portal. Registration closes October 4th.

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Friday Reads: Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky

The Wikipedia entry for Barbara Delinsky states that “she is an American writer of romance novels, including 19 New York Times bestsellers.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Delinsky) While every point of this is true it misses the vast number of her books that I would say fall under “stories of intrigue”, though not mysteries, as within the first chapter or two you are told what has happened and at times even by whom. What Delinsky does masterfully is get into why the event happened and why the people involved act the way they do, spinning a wonderful web of intrigue throughout.

“Before and Again” follows the story of Maggie Reid as she makes a new life for herself in a small town Vermont after her daughter dies. Almost immediately you find out that a 15 year old boy has been picked up by the FBI for hacking. That someone had been hacking grades at the high school had been no secret in the town but everyone is sent reeling when he’s also charged with hacking into some very prominent twitter accounts. Maggie considers the boy’s mother a good friend so she can’t help but get involved but that means dealing with her own past and helping a lot of others deal with theirs as well.

Barbara Delinsky’s books are like curling up with a cup of tea in an oversized comfy chair, even if you happen to be reading on the bus or over your lunch hour in the break room, so easy to get into with beautiful imagery that’s not hard to conjure. While “Before and Again” is probably one of my least favorite of Delinsky’s books that I’ve read sometimes, especially in times like these, it’s more about how the reading experience makes us feel rather than what we’re actually reading.

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