Category Archives: Technology

FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund Program: Resources, Training, and Application Window Announced

In addition to the USAC training sessions listed below, the Nebraska Library Commission will be holding an FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) – Overview and Q&A webinar on Thursday, June 24, from 10:30am-12:00 noon CT.

This session will be recorded for anyone who may want to see it again or who cannot attend at the scheduled time. Registration is not required to view the archived recording.


Get ready! The Emergency Connectivity Fund Program will provide up to $7.17 billion in support to schools and libraries for the purchase of laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic for use by students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack connected devices and/or broadband connections sufficient to fully engage in remote learning.

The FCC and USAC will open the first Emergency Connectivity Fund Program application filing window on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at noon ET, which will fund equipment and services for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. The first application filing window will be open for 45 days, during which applicants will be able to submit requests for funding for purchases to be made between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 to meet the needs of students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to basic educational opportunities and library services. The FCC’s announcement of the funding window is available on their website.

Stay Informed
USAC will conduct outreach and training about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. Register for an Emergency Connectivity Fund Program overview training. USAC will repeat the training several times to allow all potential program participants to join a session and will post recordings of webinars when they are completed.

  • Wednesday, June 16 @ 2:00 p.m. ET: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview Webinar for E-rate Participants – Register
  • Thursday, June 17 @ 2:00 p.m. ET: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview Webinar for New (Non E-rate) Participants – Register
  • Thursday, June 17 @ 4:00 p.m. ET: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview for Tribal Applicants – Register
  • Wednesday, June 23 @ 3:00 p.m. ET: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview for Potential Applicants – Register

USAC will post Program e-learning modules on the website and host weekly office hours where applicants and service providers can ask questions and get information about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program application process.

Visit the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program website to view trainings, access e-learning modules and register for office hour sessions.

Get Ready
To help you prepare for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program filing window, there are two steps you can take now, before the window opens:

  1. Obtain an FCC Registration Number or locate your existing registration number if you already have one.

Schools, libraries, and consortia of schools and libraries that intend to submit a funding application for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, as well as service providers that agree to invoice on behalf of applicants, should make sure they have an FCC Registration Number.  If a program participant previously registered with the FCC, they do not need to complete this step again. Schools. libraries, and services providers can obtain an FCC Registration Number by visiting the FCC Commission Registration System (CORES) and completing the registration process

  1. Register with SAM.gov so that you can receive support through the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.

Applicants can apply for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program before their SAM.gov registration is approved, but will not be able to receive program funding until they have completed their registration. Applicants and service providers who agree to invoice on behalf of applicants must have an active registration with SAM.gov to receive support through the Program. 

Emergency Connectivity Fund Program participants do not need to re-register at SAM.gov if they already have an active SAM.gov registration.

Processing a SAM.gov registration request can take more than a week, so USAC recommends schools, libraries, and service providers who are invoicing on behalf of applicants begin the process early.

More detail on the Program is available in the FCC Order that established the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.

To learn more, please visit EmergencyConnectivityFund.org and sign up for Emergency Connectivity Fund Program emails.

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NCompass Live: How Do People Learn?: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 2)

How Do People Learn? Find out on Part 2 of Teaching Technology in the Library, on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, June 16 at 10am CT.

This four-part webinar series works with the Teaching Technology in the Library course offered by the Nebraska Library Commission. The course is designed to help libraries connect communities with technology and digital skills that matter at home, work, school and everywhere in between. The webinar series will introduce the topics and framework used in the course.

Course materials are available for free to libraries in and out of Nebraska. Only Nebraska libraries will be able to take the materials for CE credit towards Nebraska Public Librarian certification. One credit is earned by attending the introductory webinar, additional credits are earned by completing the course materials and contributing to a shared digital skills resource. Tackling technology is easier when we all work together!

This is the second webinar in the series.

Here is a preview of the online course. The Overview is available now. Course content will become available by the start of each webinar as the material is continuously piloted and tested. Your feedback is greatly appreciated to make sure these materials work for as many people as possible. I look forward to teaching and learning with everyone!

Other sessions in the ‘Teaching Technology in the Library’ series:

Presenter: Amanda Sweet, Technology Innovation Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • June 23 – Bedbugs in the Library?!
  • June 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Spatial for Librarians: A 3D Meeting Space
  • July 7 – History Nebraska: Taking History Online
  • July 14 –Finding Partners & Preparing Staff: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 3)
  • July 21 – Accessing Census Data
  • July 28 –Marketing & Follow-Up: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 4)
  • August 4 – Small Libraries Will Save the World! Implementing Sustainability at the Library
  • August 11 – The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries

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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NCompass Live: Who is Learning & Why?: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 1)

Find out ‘Who is Learning & Why?’ as we start our four-part series, Teaching Technology in the Library, on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, June 2 at 10am CT.

This four-part webinar series works with the Teaching Technology in the Library course offered by the Nebraska Library Commission. The course is designed to help libraries connect communities with technology and digital skills that matter at home, work, school and everywhere in between. The webinar series will introduce the topics and framework used in the course.

Course materials are available for free to libraries in and out of Nebraska. Only Nebraska libraries will be able to take the materials for CE credit towards Nebraska Public Librarian certification. One credit is earned by attending the introductory webinar, additional credits are earned by completing the course materials and contributing to a shared digital skills resource. Tackling technology is easier when we all work together!

This first webinar will cover the following:

  • How the course works to “choose your path” to Teaching Technology in the Library
  • User experience research techniques to uncover who is learning and why
  • Design thinking approaches to identifying problem areas and defining user needs in the library
  • How to provide course feedback and leverage course materials.

Here is a preview of the online course. The Overview is available now. Course content will become available by the start of each webinar as the material is continuously piloted and tested. Your feedback is greatly appreciated to make sure these materials work for as many people as possible. I look forward to teaching and learning with everyone!

Other sessions in the ‘Teaching Technology in the Library’ series:

Presenter: Amanda Sweet, Technology Innovation Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • June 9 – Mental Maintenance
  • June 16 –How Do People Learn?: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 2)
  • June 23 – Bedbugs in the Library?!
  • June 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Spatial for Librarians: A 3D Meeting Space
  • July 7 – History Nebraska: Taking History Online
  • July 14 –Finding Partners & Preparing Staff: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 3)
  • July 21 – Accessing Census Data
  • July 28 –Marketing & Follow-Up: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 4)
  • August 4 – Small Libraries Will Save the World! Implementing Sustainability at the Library

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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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Nebraska Libraries on the Web: Updates & Getting Started

Does your library need a website? Nebraska Libraries on the Web is a free way for Nebraska public libraries to get started with a WordPress website. Learn more on next week’s Pretty Sweet Tech NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, May 26 at 10am CT.

In this session you will:

  • Learn the basics about WordPress and Nebraska Libraries on the Web
  • Find out how to get started or revamp your existing website
  • See some examples of new website layouts and design

It is free to use WordPress through Nebraska Libraries on the Web. The server and “behind the scenes” maintenance is run through the Nebraska Library Commission. All you have to do is add content and update the website after initial setup. One-on-one assistance is available to plan, learn WordPress, and troubleshoot along the way.

This session will be helpful for anyone who wants to learn more about the program, see website examples, or hear about WordPress updates.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • June 2 – Who is Learning & Why?: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 1)
  • June 9 – Mental Maintenance
  • June 16 –How Do People Learn?: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 2)
  • June 23 – Bedbugs in the Library?!
  • June 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Spatial for Librarians: A 3D Meeting Space
  • July 7 – History Nebraska: Taking History Online
  • July 14 –Finding Partners & Preparing Staff: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 3)
  • July 21 – Accessing Census Data
  • July 28 –Marketing & Follow-Up: Teaching Technology in the Library Series (Part 4)
  • August 4 – Small Libraries Will Save the World! Implementing Sustainability at the Library

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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Small-Town Libraries Get Help from Kreutz Bennett Grants

Fourteen community libraries receive improvement grants

Fourteen Nebraska public libraries recently received project funding, thanks to the generosity of a lifelong educator, the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett of Lincoln. Each year, the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF), accepts proposals for matching grants for public libraries in communities with populations under 3,000.

This year grants were awarded to libraries in Albion, Arapahoe, Bayard, Beaver City, Bridgeport, Cambridge, Elgin, Emerson, Grant, Newman Grove, Pierce, Plainview, Stanton, and Sterling.

Following Ms. Kreutz Bennett’s wishes, a Fund Advisory Committee composed of her nieces and nephews recommends grants in three areas: planning for accreditation grants to support steps taken toward gaining accreditation; enhancement grants to improve library services; and facilities grants for new construction or the renovation, restoration or rehabilitation of current libraries.

The following libraries received grants in 2021:

Albion Public Library

This library currently has an area for genealogy and the vision impaired. The goal of the grant is to expand these two sections and make them more accessible. Funds will also be used to purchase new oak bookshelves and a new desk for this expanded area.

Arapahoe Public Library

This grant will help pay for a new community room, ADA bathrooms, drive-up lane, service window, and new entrance in the vestibule. The new room will also be used for their afterschool program and summer programming. Currently, the adults must share space in the middle of the library during children’s programming. The renovation will allow the circulation desk direct sight of the children’s area and access to the new bathrooms and community room. It will increase safety for patrons and limit disruption by sharing space. The plans also include a new ADA parking space, ramp for ADA access and ADA push buttons for the doors.

Bayard Public Library

Bayard will use its grant to replace lighting, ceiling tiles and flooring. The funds will also aid an effort to remodel the front entrance to be ADA compliant. The purpose is to make the entire library space more inviting and brighter.

Beaver City Public Library

The grant will go toward the purchase of a photo kiosk and worktable near the kiosk. The kiosk will be used by patrons to print their photos as wells as for special programs such as making ornaments, calendars, etc.

Bridgeport Public Library

With this grant, Bridgeport will renovate a fire hall building next to the library into a community meeting space as well as a place to hold their STREAM program. The renovation will increase the library size by 2,000 square feet, allowing for a STREAM program room, conference room and large meeting room for the library.

Butler Memorial Library (Cambridge)

Cambridge will use its grant to enhance the children’s reading area of the library. They plan to add an adult reading chair, new rug, acoustic panels for sound control and a caddie with floor cushions for the children to use on the floor.

Elgin Public Library

This grant will assist with building a new community room in the library. Currently, many of their programs have grown too large to have at the library and must be moved to the Elgin Community Center. The new community room will allow library activities to stay at the library and provide another meeting space for Elgin. This new room will also provide more space for this storage as well as increased programming.

Emerson Public Library

Emerson’s grant will fund five raised garden beds as part of a lifelong learning program. Emerson will launch a program incorporating gardening, nutrition, food security and cooking. They will partner with their local gardening club for this project. This program will also provide intergenerational learning as children in the community learn alongside adults in the garden. Emerson Public Library will also receive a grant to renovate their library to make it more accessible. The project includes adding an ADA-compliant main entrance door with a push button, replace stairs at the side entrance with a new ramp and install ADA-compliant door handles throughout the building.

Hastings Memorial Library (Grant)

This grant is for funds to help create a permanent makerspace. Hastings Memorial participated in the Library Innovation Studio through the Nebraska Library Commission in 2019. This was a traveling makerspace that they utilized for 20 weeks. In that time, the makerspace was used by many different people to create, share ideas and learn new skills. They also used it for the after school program. This program was very popular, and it was clear that a permanent makerspace would be a great asset at the library. This grant will help purchase equipment such as laminator kit, button maker kit, embroidery/sewing machine, desktop computers and software, 3D printer, heat press, vinyl cutter and a CNC Router.

Newman Grove Public Library

This grant will purchase a cupboard and art supplies for a creative center. This creative center will provide many supplies for different crafts as well as offer the opportunities to learn new skills. The creative center will also be available to adults. Some of the items available will be a sewing machine and materials, craft items such as beads, construction paper, ribbon, buttons, colored pencils, rotary cutters, glues, canvasses, paints and more.

Lied Pierce Public Library

The Pierce library received a grant to help purchase supplies for their makerspace. They plan to purchase equipment such as a vinyl cutter, sublimation printer, heat press and graphic design software. The library believes these additions will assist in increasing digital literacy skills, help entrepreneurs in the area and give individuals access to technology outside of school. Patrons can use these services at no cost.

Plainview Public Library

Plainview also requested a grant to help purchase makerspace equipment. They will add a laser cutter and etcher to their makerspace. If they have enough funds, they hope to also purchase a 3D printer. There are plans to hold camps for all ages to provide opportunities for technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

Stanton Public Library

Stanton’s library is a historical building listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The building’s second floor is not handicap accessible. This grant will help fund a ramp to provide access to the second floor as well as serve as a second exit in case of emergency.

Sterling Public Library

This library is not accredited with the Nebraska Library Commission but plans to use this grant to work toward accreditation. The funding will help create a Friends of the Library 501(c)(3) organization. It will also assist with advancing the technology to enhance the services provided, such as offering e-books. The new Friends of the Library group plans to provide a workforce of nearly 20 volunteers to help with requirements of the accreditation process.

About Nebraska Community Foundation

Nebraska Community Foundation unleashes abundant assets, inspires charitable giving and connects ambitious people to build stronger communities and a Greater Nebraska.

Headquartered in Lincoln, the Foundation serves communities, donors and organizations by providing financial management, strategic development, education and training to a statewide network of 1,500 volunteers serving 260 communities.

In the last five years, 44,476 contributions have been made to Nebraska Community Foundation and its affiliated funds. Since 1994, Nebraska Community Foundation has reinvested $355 million in Nebraska’s people and places. For information, visit NebraskaHometown.org or contact Kristine Gale, Community Impact Coordinator, Nebraska Community Foundation, 402.822.0466, kgale@nebcommfound.org

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Over $4 Million in E-rate Funding Awarded to Nebraska Schools and Libraries

On April 17, USAC released Wave 1 of Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) for E-rate Funding Year 2021. This first Wave includes $4,004,513.46 in funding commitments for 225 Nebraska school and library applicants.

Congratulations to all Nebraska schools and libraries who have been funded!

A list of libraries who have received E-rate funding is on the NLC E-rate webpage. The 2021 list will be updated as new funding waves are announced.

If you haven’t received your FCDL yet, don’t panic! There are many more weekly Waves to come as USAC processes more applications. This is just the start of Funding Year 2021, more approvals are coming.

When your library’s FCDL is ready, it will be attached as a printable PDF to the email notifying you that your FCDL has been issued. It will also be available in the Notifications section of your EPC account, but you are no longer required to log into your EPC account to view it.

As soon as you receive your FCDL, you can go on to the next step in the E-rate process, filing your Form 486. This form is submitted in your EPC account. Information and instructions on how to do that can be found on the USAC website.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, visit the NLC E-rate webpage or contact Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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#BookFaceFriday – Entrepreneur Magazine

Get your side hustle on with #BookFaceFriday!

You now have access to magazines on Nebraska OverDrive Libraries! Take a look at “Entrepreneur Magazine, Mar 2021” just one of 2,417 English titles now available as an eBook from Nebraska OverDrive Libraries! Three years of issues are available of many titles, as well as some single titles (generally special edition issues of certain magazines or items like adult coloring books). Magazines do not count against a reader’s checkout limit of 6, and magazine issues may be checked out for 7, 14, or 21 days, depending on your library’s policy. There are 2,400 English-language titles, 182 Spanish-language titles, and other languages include French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Afrikaans, and Italian.

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!

This week’s #BookFace model is our amazing Computer Services Director, Vern Buis. Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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E-rate Form 471 Deadline: Two weeks left to file for FY 2021

Get your library’s piece of the E-rate pie!

The deadline to submit the second form in the E-rate process, Form 471, for Funding Year 2021 is Thursday, March 25. The application filing window for Form 471 opened on January 15.

However, we do not recommend waiting until the last day to submit your Form 471! If there are any issues that day, like the E-rate servers are slowed down because it is the last day to submit, or you can’t submit the form due to reasons on your end, such as illness, weather, power outage, etc., then you could miss the deadline and lose out on E-rate altogether. So, log into your E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) account and submit your Form 471 as soon as you are allowed!

IMPORTANT: Before you file your Form 471, check your Form 470 Receipt Notification for your Allowable Contract Date – the first date you are allowed to submit your 471. Do not submit your 471 before that date! Remember, after you submit your Form 470, you must wait 28 days to submit your Form 471. You can find your Notification within the EPC portal in your News feed.

Do you need help completing your forms? Do you have questions about E-rate? You’re in luck!

USAC has many resources on their website:

And more recorded webinars, demos, and training materials are available on the NLC E-rate webpage.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, please contact the State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries in Nebraska, Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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NCompass Live: High Tech Makerspace Goodness

Explore some ‘High Tech Makerspace Goodness’, on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, March 10 at 10am CT.

Over the years I have researched and collected information resources and activity ideas that culminated in a resource for High Tech in the Library. It covers Robotics, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality. This session is not going to dive into each of these topics individually, that is why the resource exists. Instead, this session is about how to leverage these tools and resources in your library. By the end of this session you will:

  • Explore a variety of ways to help patrons gain exposure to the technology of the future.
  • Be able to refer people to the right learning communities to navigate learning new and emerging technology.
  • Start brainstorming problems your community is facing and how this technology can help.

If you’re curious about the future of technology and how your library can help, this session is a good place to start. I hope to see you there!

Presenter: Amanda Sweet, Technology Innovation Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • March 17 – Ways to Fill Your Shelves Without Draining Your Budget
  • March 24 – Friday Reads: Pandemic Reading
  • March 31 – Pretty Sweet Tech – How I Turned My Dad’s House Into a Smart Home Using Amazon Alexa Devices

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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Big Talk From Small Libraries 2021 is tomorrow!

Small libraries! Awesome ideas! FREE!

Join us tomorrow for the 10th annual Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference. Registration is still open, so head over to the Registration page and sign up!

We have a great agenda for the day, with seven 50 minute sessions plus four 10 minute lightning round sessions.

Topics range from technology to programming to new roles for libraries as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This event is a great opportunity to learn about the innovative things your colleagues are doing in their small libraries.

And, Nebraska library staff and board members can earn 1 hour of CE Credit for each hour of the conference you attend! A special Big Talk From Small Libraries CE Report form has been made available for you to submit your C.E. credits.

So, come join us for a day of big ideas from small libraries!

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Grants, Information Resources, Library Management, Programming, Public Relations, Technology, Youth Services | Tagged | Leave a comment

2021 Computers in Libraries Virtual Conference (March 23-25) Discount

“Computers in Libraries Connect, organized and produced by Information Today, Inc., provides a unique, annual opportunity for library and information professionals from all over the world to gather together and discuss the myriad of ways technology continues to impact libraries and the people who use them. While we can’t yet meet in person, we invite you to join us online to learn, share, and celebrate the technologies and people that are shaping the future of libraries.

The Nebraska Library Commission is pleased to announce that Information Today has again provided us with a discount code we can distribute to Nebraska librarians to use when registering for Computers in Libraries Connect 2021. This conference will be held virtually.

Discount code: NLCCIL21

Link to register: https://pheedloop.com/cil2021/site/register/

When you register using this discount code, you will be eligible to receive $100 off the Virtual Pass, which is normally $299. This means you will only pay $199.

The Virtual Pass (Tuesday, March 23rd through Thursday, March 25th) includes access to all keynotes and main conference sessions, networking, and the virtual exhibit hall. It also includes access to archived session recordings for viewing through June 1, 2021. (The Virtual Pass does not include access to workshops unless purchased separately. Workshops are separately priced and are not eligible for discounts.)

There is no deadline, so you can use this discount code through the event dates and will be able to view the archives if you miss any live sessions.

You can review programs here: https://pheedloop.com/cil2021/site/schedule/

If you have questions please contact Susan Knisely

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Only One Week Until Big Talk From Small Libraries 2021!

Small libraries! Awesome ideas! FREE Online Conference!

There’s only one week until Big Talk From Small Libraries 2021!

Check out the full schedule and register to join us next Friday, February 26.

Sponsored by the Nebraska Library Commission and the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL), this free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better! Each of our speakers is from a small library serving fewer than 10,000 people. This event is a great opportunity to learn about the innovative things your colleagues are doing in their small libraries.

Everyone is welcome to register and attend, regardless of how big or small your library. But, if your library serves a few hundred to a few thousand people, this is the day for you!

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E-rate: Form 470 Deadline is February 25

Get your library’s piece of the E-rate pie!

One week left to file for FY 2021!

Next Thursday, February 25 is the deadline to submit the first form in the E-rate process, Form 470, for the upcoming 2021 Funding Year.

The Filing Window for submitting the second form in the process, Form 471, opened on Friday, January 15, and will close at 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, March 25. This makes February 25 the deadline to post your Form 470 to the USAC website, meet the 28-day posting requirement for the competitive bidding process, and submit a Form 471 by the filing window closing date.

However, we do not recommend waiting until the last day to submit your Form 470! If there are any issues that day, like the E-rate servers are slowed down because it is the last day to submit, or you can’t submit the form due to reasons on your end, such as illness, weather, power outage, etc., then you would miss the deadline and lose out on E-rate altogether.

So, get your E-rate process started and submit your Form 470 as soon as possible!

Not sure if you’ve done your 470 yet? No problem! You can look up your E-rate forms to check their status in your E-rate EPC account, to be sure that you have submitted and certified them:

When you are logged into your EPC account, and you are on your Landing Page, scroll all the way to the bottom – under ‘FCC Forms and Post-Commitment Requests’ you can look up your FCC Forms. The Form Type will default to the 470. Choose the Funding Year – 2021. When the results come up, your forms will be listed below the search boxes. If the Status is ‘Certified’ or ‘Committed’, then the Form and the Certification has been received by USAC. If it says ‘Incomplete’ or there are no results, then you still need to submit your 470.

Do you need help completing your forms? Do you have questions about E-rate? You’re in luck!

USAC has many resources on their website:

And more recorded webinars, demos, and training materials are available on the NLC E-rate webpage.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, please contact Christa Porter, Nebraska’s State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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NCompass Live: How to Make Tutorials with a Screen Recorder & Webcam

Learn ‘How to Make Tutorials with a Screen Recorder & Webcam’ on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, January 27 at 10am CT.

With the expansion of digital services in the library comes the need for more screen recorded tutorials. This session covers tools, tips and tricks specifically for making and editing videos with free screen recorders, free or low-cost video editors, and budget-friendly webcams. Basically, you will learn by watching me record and edit a video in live! By the end of this session you will:

  • Know how to use Flashback Express screen recorder to make tutorials.
  • Learn the basic functionality of Canva to edit videos together.
  • Access tips and tricks for setting up your webcam in common scenarios.

You will gain access to my behind-the-scenes planning documents to see how I plan, storyboard, and script my videos. Feel free to review these as you begin making your own tutorials. With these resources will be off to a running start on making your own screen recorded tutorials in your library! I hope to see you there!

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Feb. 3, 1pm CT – 2021 One Book One Nebraska: Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II
  • Feb. 10 – Education Programs Leading to Credentials in Librarianship
  • Feb. 24 – Pretty Sweet Tech – How to Make Green Screen Videos Using Free and Low-Cost Tools

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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E-rate Form 471 Application Filing Window Opens Today

Get your library’s piece of the E-rate pie!

The Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2021 opens today at noon EST and will close on Thursday, March 25 at 11:59 pm EDT. You may now log on to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and file your FCC Form 471 for FY2021.

This makes Thursday, February 25, the deadline to post your Form 470 to the USAC website, meet the 28-day posting requirement for the competitive bidding process, and submit a Form 471 by the filing window closing date.

However, we do not recommend waiting until the last day to submit your Form 470! If there are any issues that day, like the E-rate servers are slowed down because it is the last day to submit, or you can’t submit the form due to reasons on your end, such as illness, weather, power outage, etc., then you would miss the deadline and lose out on E-rate altogether. So, get your E-rate Form 470 submitted as soon as possible!

IMPORTANT: Before you file your Form 471, check your Form 470 Receipt Notification for your Allowable Contract Date – the first date you are allowed to submit your 471. Do not submit your 471 before that date! Remember, after you submit your Form 470, you must wait 28 days to submit your Form 471. You can find your Notification within the EPC portal in your News feed.

Do you need help completing your forms? Do you have questions about E-rate? You’re in luck!

USAC has many resources on their website:

And more recorded webinars, demos, and training materials are available on the NLC E-rate webpage.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, please contact the State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries in Nebraska, Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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NCompass Live: Video Production: Tools, Tips and Tricks

Learn some ‘Video Production: Tools, Tips and Tricks’ on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, December 30 at 10am CT.

Video tutorials, online story hour, and marketing videos are all the rage right now. They have been for a while. This session will tell you everything you need to know to plan, shoot, edit, and put your videos out into the world. By the end of this session you will:

  • Understand the process of video production
  • Access a list of recommended tools with tutorials to learn more
  • Access a step-by-step Video Production Guide for Libraries

There will be low-cost, middle of the road, and high-cost options included to suit the needs of various library budgets. I also included both beginner and advanced software options for those who are less comfortable using technology. Happy video editing, and I hope you enjoy the session!

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Jan. 6 – Best New Children’s Books of 2020: Discovering New Books for the Young and the Young at Heart
  • Jan. 13 – Tiny Spaces Bring Big Opportunity
  • Jan. 20 – 2021 One Book One Nebraska: Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II
  • Jan. 27 – Pretty Sweet Tech

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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E-rate Form 471 FY2021 Application Filing Window Dates Announced

From the USAC website:

FY2021 Application Filing Window Dates Announced

The FCC Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2021 will open Friday, January 15, 2021 at noon EST and close at 11:59pm EDT on Thursday, March 25, 2021. You can read the USAC announcement for full details.

To prepare for the window opening:

  • If you haven’t already done so, file your FCC Form 470 now! You don’t need to wait for the window to open.
    • To file your FCC Form 470, log into the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC). You must wait 28 days after your FCC Form 470 is posted to the USAC website before you can close your competitive bidding process, select a service provider, sign a contract (if applicable), and submit an FCC Form 471. If you issue an RFP after the FCC Form 470 is posted, you must wait 28 days from the release of the RFP to select a service provider.
    • Thursday, February 25 is the deadline to post your FCC Form 470 to the USAC website or issue an RFP and still complete all of these actions before the window closes.
  • Update Your EPC Profile During the Administrative Window – Update your EPC profile by January 13, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Review your EPC profile and confirm all of your information is accurate including your organization’s name, address, and other details. Your profile is now unlocked and available for you to insert any further updates but will be locked again before the filing window opens. Libraries should confirm their square footage, main branch, and public school district of the main branch information is correct and that any bookmobiles or kiosks are included.

You can find additional resources and instructions for using the EPC on the USAC website and on the NLC’s E-rate website.

Please contact Christa Porter if you have any questions or need any assistance submitting your E-rate forms.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Teach Kids to Podcast, or Start Your Own!

Learn how to ‘Teach Kids to Podcast, or Start Your Own!’ on next week’s Pretty Sweet Tech FREE NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, November 25 at 10am CT.

I have a large number of requests for podcasting resources and information, so I decided it is time for this podcasting webinar guide! You don’t have to be an audio expert to get started in podcasting. Beginners can get started with just a smartphone and a dream. Whether you want to guide patrons to start their own podcast, or start your own library podcast, this is the place for you!

By the end of this session you will:

  • Understand the basics of podcasting, from start to finish.
  • Have access to a set of recommended software & equipment.
  • Walk through and access my Podcasting Guide for Librarians.

I hope you see you there!

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Dec. 2 – Reading Diversely
  • Dec. 9 – Esports and Evidence-Based Connected Learning
  • Dec. 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Video Production: Tools, Tips and Tricks

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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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Computers in Libraries 2020 – Greatest Hits

Hear about the Greatest Hits from Computers in Libraries 2020 on next week’s Pretty Sweet Tech FREE NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, October 28 at 10am CT.

There were hundreds of great sessions at Computers in Libraries 2020 this year. This week’s Pretty Sweet Tech will highlight just a few of my favorites from this year’s conference. So if you’re interested in all things technology in the library, and you were not able to make it to that conference this year, this is the place to be! Here are some of the topics we will touch upon:

  • Libraries and the Future of Work
  • Closing the Digital Skills Gap
  • Makerspaces 2.0

This conference offered a lot of great ideas, and hopefully this Computers in Libraries 2020-Greatest Hits session will give you plenty of great ideas for your library!

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Nov. 4 – Letters About Literature
  • Tues. Nov. 10 – Creating an Open Educational Resource: Grenzenlos Deutsch, German Language Online Curriculum
  • Nov. 18 – Summer Reading Program 2021: Tails and Tales
  • Nov. 25 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Dec. 2 – Reading Diversely
  • Dec. 9 – Esports and Evidence-Based Connected Learning

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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Call for Speakers: Big Talk From Small Libraries 2021

The Call for Speakers for the 10th annual Big Talk From Small Libraries is now open!

This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better! We are looking for speakers from small libraries or speakers who directly work with small libraries. Small libraries of all types – public, academic, school, museum, special, etc. – are encouraged to submit a proposal. We’re looking for seven 50-minute presentations and four 10-minute “lightning round” presentations.

Do you offer a service or program at your small library that other librarians might like to hear about? Have you implemented a new (or old) technology, hosted an event, partnered with others in your community, or just done something really cool? The Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference gives you the opportunity to share what you’ve done, while learning what your colleagues in other small libraries are doing.

Here are some possible topics to get you thinking:

  • Unique Libraries
  • Special Collections
  • New buildings
  • Fundraising
  • Improved Workflows
  • Staff Development
  • Advocacy Efforts
  • Community Partnerships
  • That great thing you’re doing at your library!

Submit your proposal by Friday, January 8, 2021.

Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered.

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2021 will be held on Friday, February 26, 2021 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Speakers will present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

This conference is organized and hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission and is co-sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

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