Throwback Thursday: Basketball Players Putting on Makeup

Basketball season is in full swing and we’re celebrating with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

In this week’s 8″ x 10″ black and white acetate negative, we have two young women, in basketball uniforms, putting on makeup. This image was taken by William Wentworth in the early-to-mid 1900s. He worked as both a freelancer and a commercial photographer, providing a unique view of architecture, businesses, and community life in Omaha.

This image is owned and published by The Durham Museum. This collection consists of 4663 negatives of images that document life in Omaha, Nebraska from 1934 through 1950. Check it out on the Nebraska Memories archive!

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural materials and make them available to researchers of all ages. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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E-rate Form 471 Application Filing Window Opens Today

The E-rate Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2023 opened today at noon EST and will close on Tuesday, March 28 at 11:59 pm EDT. You may now log on to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and file your FCC Form 471 for FY2023.

This makes Tuesday, February 28, 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!

Today’s E-rate Special Edition News Brief has detailed tips and instructions, as well as information about upcoming online training opportunities from USAC. To keep up on E-rate news, subscribe to the USAC E-rate News Brief.

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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Book Club Spotlight – Prairie Lotus

The Cover for Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park.  A young half-Chinese girl stands on the prairie with her back to a small town. Her hair is blowing in the wind as she holds on to her bonnet. Over laying her shirt are three people walking towards the town, a white man, a young girl, and a Chinese woman.

In today’s spotlight, we will continue our look back to the historic American frontier and the people who shaped it. If you, like me, grew up in the early 2000s, chances are you’ve read a book by Linda Sue Park. Her Newberry Award Winning novel, A Single Shard and Project Mulberry, were some of my absolute favorite books in middle school, and I was over the moon to learn that she is still writing! Our book today, Prairie Lotus, is a new addition to our collection and is the most recent in Linda Sue Park’s bibliography. Being a 2021-22 Golden Sower Novel Nominee, Prairie Lotus has also earned a Children’s Literature Award Honor from the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association. In addition to being an esteemed author, Park is the founder and curator of Allida Books (a HarperCollins imprint) and a board member for the non-profit We Need Diverse Books and the Rabbit hOle museum project.

At the beginning of Prairie Lotus, Hanna has three goals, graduate from school, become a dressmaker, and make a real friend. As pioneers, she and her father have been traveling across the west for quite some time when they end up in the small Dakota Territory town of LaForge. Hanna is especially excited to live in town so she can finally attend a real school, just like her late mother dreamed of her doing. But, unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Despite being intelligent and resourceful, Hanna is half-Chinese and faces a lot of discrimination from the white settlers who try to stop her from going to school or even running errands. Refusing to give in to their hate, Hanna now has to figure out how to still graduate from school, prepare for the opening of her father’s store, and keep up with her household chores, all the while dealing with the cruelty from the townsfolk. And she has the strong spirit of the American frontier and the strength of her mother in her corner.

 “There were always a hundred reasons for disliking people and not nearly as many for liking them.”

Linda Sue Park

Like The Birchbark HousePrairie Lotus is perfect for young (or adult) readers interested in reading about early American history from a fresh perspective. Exploring life in this pioneer community, we are shown the strength and daily life of the women who settled in the West, and the life of the local Indigenous women, specifically from the Ihanktonwan (Yankton Sioux) tribe. The story purposefully reads similarly to Little House on the Prairie and is heavily influenced by the series (you’ll even see some familiar faces). As a daughter of Korean immigrants, Park says, “Hanna’s story is in many respects a kind of ‘conversation’ with the iconic Little House books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As a child, I spent hours imagining that I too lived on the frontier in the 1800s, and that I was Laura’s best friend”. And Park makes no mistake that she wrote the story as a way for her to come to terms with a story she loves while also challenging its more problematic history, which is discussed more in the Author’s Note at the end of the book. 

More by Linda Sue Park: 

If you’re interested in requesting this book for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. There are 10 copies available (Items must be requested by a librarian) 

Park, Linda Sue. Prairie Lotus. Harper Collins. 2020

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Friday Reads: Four for the Road by K. J. Reilly

Asher (17) lost his mother a year ago in a car accident.  The semi driver was drunk and ran her off the road.  He did not receive the punishment Asher thinks he deserved, due to a technicality. 

Over the course of the book certain facts and Asher’s plans are revealed to the reader. Asher has started group therapy, in 2 different groups, since he has made no progress in accepting his loss.  He befriends an older gentleman, Henry, from his first group, and then he befriends Sloane and Will, close to his own age, from the second.

All three agree to travel with him from New Jersey to Memphis, so he can take his long-distance girlfriend to the prom.  That’s what he tells them but he really is planning to kill the man who killed his mother.

Believe it or not, this is an upbeat book, with the final plan lurking in the distance.  They accept and bond with each other as they travel.  There are jokes, laughing, supporting each other when needed.

They have fun.  Ultimately, what will Asher do?

This book was on my mind for several days after I finished reading it.  Something about how the characters interact and how they express themselves made it hard to forget.

Reilly, K. J. Four for the Road. Atheneum, 2022.

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NCompass Live: First Amendment Audits: What You Need to Know

Have you heard about ‘First Amendment Audits’? Learn how to deal with these visits at your library on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, January 18 at 10am CT.

A loosely organized social media campaign to “audit” government spaces and agencies for alleged First Amendment violations has begun to target public libraries. Individuals and groups claim a right to film in any space, arguing that they’re entitled to do so as taxpayers and citizen journalists. A growing number of public libraries are reporting these types of visits, even in Nebraska. Library users and staff are being targeted as subjects of these videos. This session will share what a First Amendment Audit is, what the related laws are, how to protect both the public and library staff, and what to do when and after it happens.

Presenters: Jessica Chamberlain, Director, Norfolk (NE) Public Library; Laura England-Biggs, Director, Keene Memorial Library (Fremont, NE); Sky Seery, Director, North Platte (NE) Public Library.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Jan. 25 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Learn About TechGirlz & Inspire Girls in Your Community Today!
  • Feb. 1 – A New Partnership to Provide Tax Preparation Services to Hard-to-Reach Taxpayers
  • Feb. 8 – Accessibility Isn’t Just for Patrons! Internal Documentation for Everyone
  • Feb. 15 – Digital Libraries as Digital Third Place: Virtual Library Programming
  • Feb. 22 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • March 1 – 2023 One Book One Nebraska: ‘The Mystery of Hunting’s End’
  • March 8 – Read the Rainbow: Serving the LGBTQ+ Community in Your 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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#BookFaceFriday “An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good” by Helene Tursten

This #BookFaceFriday will leave you in stitches!

Don’t be fooled by the diminutive size of this week’s #BookFace – it’s more than meets the eye. Just like Maud, the tiny octogenarian protagonist of this short story collection, “An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good: Stories” by Helene Tursten (Soho Press, 2018). All Maud wants is to live in peace in her rent-free apartment, and travel the world as she pleases… but other people just keep getting in her way. If your book group enjoyed the senior sleuths in “The Thursday Murder Club” or the quirky loner in “Eleanor Oliphant is Just Fine”, you may want to check out the misadventures of Maud – but don’t turn your back on her!

You can find this title and all the new books available on our Book Club Kits page; just look in the Browse Options section and select the Browse New Additions link for our latest reads. It is also available as an e-book and audiobook on Nebraska Overdrive Libraries, along with the sequel, “An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed” and many of Helene Tursten’s other books.

“Wickedly fun . . . if you’ve had your fill of gooey, saccharine sweet holiday books or movies, then this collection of vignettes featuring Maud, an eighty-eight year old serial killer, will cure your holiday sugar rush.”

—The Book Review

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

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

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

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

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Throwback Thursday: Courting Buggy

It’s never too late for a #ThrowbackThursday!

This week, we have a 5″ x 8″ black and white photograph of John H. Bruer (1891-1959) in a horse-drawn buggy on the White River bridge west of Crawford. Written on the back of this photograph are the words: “Dad in his courting buggy with Hank, the horse, doing the honors.”

This image from 1914 is published by Crawford Public Library and is owned by the Crawford Historical Society and Museum. The Crawford Historical Society and Museum, in partnership with the Crawford Public Library, digitized a number of images of the Crawford area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The collection includes portraits of Crawford residents, photographs of local businesses, and souvenir postcards.

Are you someone who likes history? If so, check out the Nebraska Memories archive! It’s a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural materials and make them available to researchers of all ages.

The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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Nebraska Library Commission Announces Public Library Accreditation

NLC Logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 12, 2023

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Christa Porter
402-471-3107
800-307-2665

Nebraska Library Commission Announces Public Library Accreditation

Nebraska Library Commission Library Development Director Christa Porter recently announced the accreditation of twenty-nine public libraries across Nebraska.

Porter stated, “We are dedicated to helping Nebraska libraries meet Nebraskans’ information needs, opening up the world of information for citizens of all ages. The Library Commission continues to work in partnership with Nebraska libraries and the regional library systems, using the Public Library Accreditation program to help public libraries grow and develop.”

The Public Library Accreditation process was put on hiatus for two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was re-started in 2022.

Public libraries in Nebraska are accredited for a five-year period. To learn more about this process and to see a complete list of all accredited Nebraska public libraries, go to http://nlc.nebraska.gov/LibAccred/Standings.asp.

The Nebraska Library Commission congratulates the public libraries listed below as they move forward toward the realization of this vision for the future: “All Nebraskans will have improved access to enhanced library and information services, provided and facilitated by qualified library personnel, boards, and supporters with the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes necessary to provide excellent library and information services.”

Nebraska Public Libraries Accredited through December 31, 2027:

  • Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public Library
  • Bridgeport Public Library
  • Cedar Rapids Public Library
  • Chadron Public Library
  • Chappell Memorial Library & Art Gallery
  • Clay Center Public Library
  • Franklin Public Library
  • Fullerton Public Library
  • Hebron Secrest Library
  • Hoesch Memorial Public Library (Alma)
  • Howells Public Library
  • Kathleen Lute Public Library (Ogallala)
  • Keene Memorial Library (Fremont)
  • Lied Battle Creek Public Library
  • Lied Pierce Public Library
  • Logan County Library (Stapleton)
  • Lois Johnson Memorial Library (Oakdale)
  • Louisville Public Library
  • Meadow Grove Public Library
  • Nelson Public Library
  • Osmond Public Library
  • Palmyra Memorial Library
  • Ravenna Public Library
  • St. Paul Public Library
  • Sterling Public Library
  • Valley Public Library
  • Verdigre Public Library
  • Walthill Public Library
  • Wilson Public Library (Cozad)

The Nebraska Library Commission would also like to congratulate two of these libraries on earning accreditation for the very first time. Those libraries are:

  • Logan County Library (Stapleton)
  • Sterling Public Library

As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, “bringing together people and information.”

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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

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Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grants Application Cycle is Open

For more grants like this one, check out the NLC’s Grant Opportunities for Nebraska Libraries.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is currently accepting grant applications for programs aimed at enhancing Adult, Family, and Summer Reading Literacy programs. The Foundation will also accept applications for its Youth Literacy grant program starting on March 9, 2023.

The application deadline for Adult, Family, and Summer Reading Literacy Grant applications is February 16, 2023. Interested applicants may find eligibility information and apply by visiting the Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant Programs website.

To be eligible for a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, your organization must be a nonprofit organization as determined by the IRS, a public library, school or college providing direct literacy services within a state that Dollar General Corporation operates in and is within 15 miles of a Dollar General store. Other eligibility requirements are specific to each grant type and can be found within the grants themselves.

For the Adult and Family literacy grant programs, the maximum grant amount is up to $10,000. The Summer Reading maximum is $3,000 and the Youth Literacy grant is $4,000. Applying for a grant does not guarantee that amount due to the large volume of requests we receive.

Adult Literacy Grants (Grant Application deadline: February 16, 2023)
Funding is awarded to organizations that provide direct services to adults in need of literacy assistance in one of the following areas:

  • Adult basic education
  • GED or high school equivalency preparation
  • English language acquisition

Family Literacy Grants (Grant Application deadline: February 16, 2023)
Funding is awarded to nonprofit organizations who support the whole family in literacy, providing:

  • Adult education instruction
  • Children’s education
  • Parent and Child Together Time (PACT)

Summer Reading Grants (Grant Application deadline: February 16, 2023)
Local nonprofit organizations, schools, and libraries can receive funding to support the creation or expansion of summer reading programs that meet the following criteria:

  • Target pre-K to 12th grade students who are new readers
  • Target below grade level readers
  • Assist readers with learning disabilities

Youth Literacy Grants (Grant Applications will be available on March 9, 2023. Application deadline: April 27, 2023)
Schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations who help students that are below grade level or having trouble reading may apply with funding provided to assist in the following areas:

  • Implementing new or expanding existing literacy programs
  • Purchasing new technology or equipment to support literacy initiatives
  • Purchasing books, materials or software for literacy programs

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ARPA Report – Falls City Library & Arts Center

Falls City Library & Arts Center provided social distanced computer use to its patrons with funds granted through the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act!

The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act provided financial support so libraries could meet the needs of their communities. The grant covered cost of equipment, technology, and other materials.

The computer lab at Falls City Library & Arts Center has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic due to the computers being side by side. Patrons utilize the computers to access the internet for digital content, find resources to support educational pursuits, healthcare research, employment opportunities, and personal enjoyment. It serves the needs of individuals who do not have internet access in their home.

Money from the ARPA grant allowed Falls City Library & Arts Center to offer social distanced computer use. 14 Chromebooks were purchased so that patrons can use them anywhere in the facility.

The Library staff met their goal to provide computer access without time limits for patrons online access and no waiting for use since 2007.

Patrons have expressed their gratitude for being able to access the internet and equipment to print, fax and scan documents.

Patrons have also shown appreciation for assistance with computer needs.

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The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is result of the federal stimulus bill passed by Congress. The Nebraska Library Commission received a one-time award of $2,422,166. A portion of this funding has been allocated for three projects: Formula based grant program, NLC Library Improvement Grants, and NLC Youth Grants for Excellence.

For more information about the 2021 American Rescue Plan, visit www.nlc.nebraska.gov/grants/arpa/index.aspx

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2023 Big Talk From Small Libraries Schedule Now Available

The full schedule for the 2023 Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference is now available!

You will find all the details on the Schedule page. Information about our presenters is available on the Speakers page.

If you haven’t registered yet, now is the time to jump over to the Registration page and sign up!

You are welcome to watch as an individual or to host a group viewing of the conference. If several staff members from the same library want to attend, you can just register for one seat and have staff members view/listen together via one workstation.

You can also host a viewing party this same way and invite staff from other libraries. For any group viewings, if you know who will be there, you can list your Additional Attendees on your one registration or you can send us a list after the event. Be sure to take all necessary health and safety precautions into account when planning group viewings.

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2023 will be held on Friday, February 24, 2023 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoTo Webinar online meeting service.

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2023 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries

For more grants like this one, check out the NLC’s Grant Opportunities for Nebraska Libraries.

The Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) of ALA and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation are pleased to accept applications for the 2023 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries.

The application deadline is Sunday February 12, 2023.

Through these grants the GNCRT and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation seek to continue to encourage public awareness about the rise and importance of graphic literature and to honor the legacy and creative excellence of Will Eisner. For a career that spanned nearly eight decades — from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics — Will Eisner is recognized as the “Champion of the Graphic Novel.”

The objective of the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries is to facilitate library-generated programs and services that will promote graphic novels to library patrons and to the local community. Three Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries are given annually – two Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grants will provide support to two libraries that would like to expand its existing graphic novel services and programs; one Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant will provide support to a library for the initiation of a graphic novel service, program or initiative.

The applying librarian or their institution must be an ALA Member to be eligible and the grants are open to libraries across North America, including Canada and Mexico.

The application and information about the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries can be found on the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table Eisner Grants page. Interested applicants will find resources and examples on the Eisner Grants FAQ page to help guide them through the process of writing their grant applications. For any inquiries, please contact ALA Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries Round Table staff liaison Tina Coleman at ccoleman@ala.org.

Will Eisner (1917-2005) was an acclaimed American comics writer, artist, teacher, and entrepreneur.  He is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of sequential art (a term he coined) and is known for the cartooning studio he founded; for his highly influential comic series, The Spirit; for his use of comics as an instructional medium; for his leading role in establishing the graphic novel as a form of literature with his 1978 groundbreaking graphic novel, A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories; for his 20 years of teaching at the School of Visual Arts, leading to his three textbooks. In a career that spanned nearly seven decades—from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics—Will Eisner was truly the “Father of the Graphic Novel.”

Each winning library will receive a grant award of $4,000 to support initiatives that align with the objective of the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries.  The grant award will consist of the following: 

  • $2,000 grant to purchase graphic novels from the distributor-partner (current partner is Diamond Comics Distributors),
  • $1,000 grant to host a graphic novel-themed event at a library or another community location, and
  • $1,000 grant to attend the ALA Annual Conference to receive their grant money.  This grant can be used towards any of the following: conference registration, transportation, lodging and food.

In addition, from the book publishers and the Eisner Foundation, the winning libraries will also receive the following graphic novels, valued at approximately $3,000:

  • The Will Eisner Library: A graphic novel collection of Will Eisner’s work and biographies about Will Eisner* (comprising approximately 75 books)
  • A selection of the winning titles from the current year’s Will Eisner Awards* at Comic-Con International (comprising approximately 100 books).

* Please note that some of the titles in these collections are of a mature nature. 

Chosen Grant applicants must agree to take responsibility for organizing a recognition ceremony of their grant in their library.

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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 February 13th to March 17th To receive full credit, participants must complete all assignments and receive an 80% for 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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Applications Now Open for NEA Big Read Grants

Washington, DC—Applications are now open for grants to support NEA Big Read projects between September 2023 and June 2024. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read supports community reading programs each designed around a single NEA Big Read book selection with the goal of inspiring meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in each community. Matching grants range from $5,000 to $20,000 each.

The Intent to Apply deadline is Wednesday, January 18, 2023. Visit Arts Midwest’s website for complete grant guidelines and to apply.

For their project, applicants will choose one of 15 books representing a diverse range of contemporary themes, voices, and perspectives. More information on the books and authors, as well as discussion questions and videos, are available at https://www.arts.gov/initiatives/nea-big-read

The NEA Big Read welcomes applications from a variety of eligible organizations, including first-time applicants; organizations serving communities of all sizes, including rural and urban areas; and organizations with small, medium or large operating budgets. Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to: 

  • Arts centers, arts councils, and arts organizations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Libraries and literary centers
  • Community service organizations, environmental organizations, and faith-based organizations
  • Museums and historical societies
  • School districts and local education agencies
  • Tribal governments and non-profits

Applicant organizations will collaborate with a broad range of partners—including a community library if the applicant itself is not a library—to offer events and activities that engage the whole community.

Potential applicants may sign up for 15-minute consultations with Arts Midwest staff and review sample applications—access the guidelines for more details. Stories about past NEA Big Read projects can be found on Arts Midwest’s website.

For more grants like this one, check out the NLC’s Grant Opportunities for Nebraska Libraries.

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NCompass Live: Best New Teen Reads of 2022

Hear about the Best New Teen Reads of 2022 on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, January 11 at 10am CT.

Brief book talks and reviews of new titles recommended to school and public librarians, covering both middle and high school levels, that were published within the last year.

Presenter: Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, Nebraska Library Commission

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Jan. 18, 2023 – First Amendment Audits: What You Need to Know
  • Jan. 25, 2023 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Learn About TechGirlz & Inspire Girls in Your Community Today!
  • Feb. 8, 2023 – Accessibility Isn’t Just for Patrons! Internal Documentation for Everyone
  • Feb. 15, 2023 – Digital Libraries as Digital Third Place: Virtual Library Programming
  • March 8, 2023 – Read the Rainbow: Serving the LGBTQ+ Community in Your 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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Friday Reads: Everyone in this Room Will Someday be Dead by Emily Austin

If I stand near the edge of anything, I think about stepping off.

(165)

It is called gastrointestinal stasis, and it is a common cause of death amongst rabbits.

To the untrained and inexperienced eye — for example, to children, who take on these complex creatures as pets, with no money of their own to provide the best quality of life — the rabbit, as it is phrased in the classic book Watership Down, just stops running. Suddenly. Frozen, with eyes open.

Her name was Pumpkin, and she was a very good rabbit. I picked her because she was soft and reddish-brown, and because her lop-ears had yet to lop. She was smart and gentle and friendly, and I loved her. She stopped running and was dead before I woke. To me, eleven years old and weeping, there didn’t seem to be a cause.

Pets are, if we are lucky, our first introduction to death. They are never our last.

Gilda — a nearly-thirty, atheist lesbian — has death anxiety. It probably started with the sudden death of her childhood pet rabbit, Flop. It doesn’t help that she has major depression, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts. Or that her parents are ignoring her brother’s spiraling alcoholism, or that she has recently been fired. It also doesn’t help that, in an effort to find affordable mental health counseling, she finds herself accidentally interviewed and hired for a job as a secretary — in a Catholic church. It also doesn’t help that reason for the job opening was because Grace, a sweet and well-loved woman well into her 80s, died. Or that dear sweet Grace may have been murdered. Or that Gilda, in a comedy of errors, assumes Grace’s identity through emails to Grace’s old friend Rosemary — who doesn’t know that Grace is dead.

Everyone in this Room will Someday be Dead is a poignant study of what it means to be a functioning adult, the ennui of the end of young adulthood, and the wrenching agony of growth. Austin’s writing is sharp, concise, and emotional; although at times, Gilda as a character and narrator frustrated me. It is sometimes difficult to be at a further stage of healing and growth than a character, maybe because I cannot offer them any advice or reassurance; or, maybe, because Gilda’s story hits a little too close to home. At times, I was reminded of Patricia Lockwood’s No One is Talking About This. Both books offer the same blunt and cathartic exploration of mental health, death, and the grief that comes from both (the grief from loss of the self, of relationships, of experiences).

Going into the book, I sort of expected a dark comedy or a mystery story (I have been very interested in mysteries lately). Everyone in this Room was neither. True, there were bright and shining moments of comedy that pierced the dark morbidity of Gilda’s story, such as when, food rotten in her fridge at home, she steals a bag of crackers from the church — and finds out she has stolen and eaten a bag of communion wafers (49-50). The main plot in the book is ripe for comedy, and Austin plays with that without trivializing or overshadowing the novel’s very serious tone and subject matter. These (brief) moments of levity stand to make the unflinching look at all of our mortality that much more impactful. There is an old adage, “make them laugh before you make them cry” — Austin succeeds in this, whole-heartedly and unabashed. I cried more than I laughed, yes, but I did laugh. It was a catharsis.

I think that I will leave you with Mary Oliver’s poem, “When Death Comes.” May we all accept the inevitable with grace, and grow kinder for it.

Austin, Emily R. Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead. Atria Books, 2021.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani

All wrapped up in #BookFaceFriday!

Take a trip with this week’s #BookFace. We are always adding new titles to our book club kits collection, like “The Blood of Flowers: A Novel” by Anita Amirrezvani (Little, Brown and Company, 2007), its ten copies are now available as an NLC Book Club Kit! If your book club enjoyed “The Henna Artist” by Alka Joshi or “Rooftops of Tehran” by Mahbod Seraji we recommend this title for you. This historical novel set in 17th-century Persia came to us via a donation from Kearney Public Library! We love that book clubs around the state regularly donate their books so that more book clubs can read them. So we want to say a big THANK YOU to all those who have sent us donations!

You can find this title and all the new books available on our Book Club Kits page; just look in the Browse Options section and select the Browse New Additions link for our latest reads. It is also available as an e-book and audiobook on Nebraska Overdrive Libraries.

“In Iranian-American Amirrezvani’s lushly orchestrated debut, a comet signals misfortune to the remote 17th-century Persian village where the nameless narrator lives modestly but happily with her parents, both of whom expect to see the 14-year-old married within the year. With journalistic clarity, Amirrezvani describes how to make a carpet knot by knot, and then sell it negotiation by negotiation, guiding readers through workshops and bazaars. Sumptuous imagery and a modern sensibility make this a winning debut.”

―Publishers Weekly

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

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

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

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

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Throwback Thursday: Bruno Memorial

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This week, we have a 3″ x 5″ acetate negative featuring Reverend Charles Rada, John Curtis, Leslie Kastl, Anton Cuhel, and William Wima standing beside the Bruno Veteran’s Memorial in Bruno, Nebraska.

This image was created by Aubrey C. Hurlbert. It is owned by the Thorpe Opera House Foundation and published as part of the Boston Studio Collection. This collection consists of over 68,000 negatives that record life in and around David City from the 1890s to the 1970s. Harvey Boston was a professional photographer in town and owned a portrait studio business from 1893 until his death in 1927. The business was ran by his daughter and then by his son-in-law, Aubrey C. Hurlbert. The business was later sold in 1973. Negatives and ledgers describing each photograph are stored at the Hruska Memorial Public Library in David City.

See this collection and many more on the Nebraska Memories archive.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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Happy World Braille Day!

Check out this story by KMTV on our braille e-reader and Talking Book and Braille services!

Nebraska Library Commission offers free use of braille e-reader

The device uses electronic displays to create braille letters. They are normally costly, but the Nebraska Library Commission’s talking book and braille service has them to use for free.

By: KMTV Staff
Posted at 5:31 PM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 8:21 AM, Jan 05, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Wednesday was World Braille Day and the whole week is dedicated to visual impairments.

A braille e-reader is a digital device that can make a big difference for those who read braille. It translates words on a screen to braille and it’s free to access for Nebraskans.

“I can read a text message in braille, so braille itself hasn’t really changed,” said Mickie Saltzman, technology training associate for Outlook Enrichment. “The technology and the tools we use to access that braille has changed.”

The braille e-reader can be used on more than phones. It works with computers and tablets, too.

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Book Club Spotlight – Death Comes for the Archbishop

Cover of Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. The cover art is a pencil drawing of a road curving around sand dunes covered in sparse vegitation.

A new year means new books will be entering the public domain! According to copyright laws, works originating in 1927 will now be free for all to share, use, and create new stories with. For example, last year, the original Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A. Milne entered the public domain, leading to a new horror movie featuring the characters. So now, in 2023, we have a whole new set of stories to look out for, and today we’ll be talking about one in our very own Book Club collection. Death Comes for the Archbishop is Willa Cather’s re-telling of the lives of Roman Catholic clergymen Jean-Baptiste Lamy and Joseph Projectus Machebeuf as they establish a diocese in the U.S. New Mexico Territory in the 1800s. Cather, preferring to call it a “narrative” rather than a novel, wrote Death Comes for the Archbishop as a cluster of vignettes, legends, and stories surrounding the fictionalized Southwest and how the Catholic Church came to shape the region. But don’t let that frighten you; her book isn’t that of religious zealotry but of the people.

Father Jean Marie Latour, a French Jesuit priest, has been sent off to be the Vicar and Bishop of the newly American-owned New Mexico territory. He, with his close childhood friend Father Joseph Vaillant, attempts to serve their diocese, which often descends into disarray with the Mexican and Native American population content to perform religion in their own way due to the prolonged absence of a Vicar. The men, unused to the harsh New Mexico region, but earnest in their faith, meet and grow fond of their parishioners in the American Southwest, painting a knowledgeable and sympathetic portrait of the times and the people. The intelligent and philosophical Father Latour is open-minded about other cultures and finds human love at the root of his faith. At the same time, his abrupt friend Father Vaillant is much more direct in his faith and actions, which often leads to a more closed-minded approach. Because of this, the two, though immensely fond of each other, find themselves at odds in their passions. Vaillant’s often taking him away on evangelical missions, all the while Latour’s passion keeps him close to home, cultivating deeper bonds there but missing his partner. Together and apart, they explore the vast New Mexico territory, expanding their faith and assisting those in their care.

“Where there is great love there are always miracles,”

Willa Cather

Death Comes for the Archbishop is a quiet and reflective narrative that celebrates communities and cultures coming together while still holding onto their traditions. Not Catholic herself, Cather shows a gentler depiction of religion than her typical portrayal and how it can build a community of not only faith but trust and security. She does not portray the church or even the priests in the novel as perfect but as humans who want to do their best for their parishioners and God. Father Latour is wholly human, makes mistakes, and has his own prejudice, but he never looks down on another person; he advocates for the rights of the Navajos, Mexicans, and all people in his diocese. While the more brash Vaillant is more prone to prejudice, he has his own deep connections in the community as well. And everyone, especially the women, is treated kindly and with reverence, and any biases the priests may have do not bleed into the narration overall. Of course, being a Willa Cather book, any Nebraska book club will have a great time reading one of her classics. Readers will find discussion topics in the many vignette parables scattered throughout the book. While some phrasing or ideas are old, the novel still holds up in its earnestness and love for all people. Modern audiences and book groups will appreciate the sympathetic acknowledgment of the Native and Mexican people whose homes are displaced by white intruders and see how our modern ideals have or have not changed.

To see this year’s list of copyrighted works entering the public domain, visit the link here!

If you’re interested in requesting this book for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. There are 5 copies available (Items must be requested by a librarian) 

Cather, Willa. Death Comes for the Archbishop. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1927

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