Year-Long Access to Reader Zone

Great News!

Many Nebraska libraries used the online record-keeping tool, Reader Zone, which is a user-friendly way to collect reading data for their Summer Reading Programs. We racked up nearly 1.7 million minutes of reading this summer. In light of the continuing need for online programming, the Nebraska Library Commission awarded a grant from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide year-long access to Reader Zone free of charge for Nebraska libraries. 

This access is for public libraries, school libraries, and academic libraries. If you want your patrons to keep track of the reading they do, either by minutes, pages, chapters, and/or books, Reader Zone can do it. If you want to help parents in your community keep track of the books they read in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, Reader Zone can do it. If a classroom teacher wants to have a reading competition (girls vs. boys or Mrs. Smith’s class vs. Mr. Jones class), Reader Zone can do it. Any kind of reading program recording-keeping, Reader Zone can do it.

Here is a link to an educational video that will help you understand the program.

Click on this link to sign up and get your password for Reader Zone. +

This project is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Nebraska Library Commission.

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Do You Need A Disclaimer?

A question that has been coming up frequently now that libraries are opening to the public is whether or not there should be a disclaimer stating that the library is not responsible should a visitor or patron become ill with COVID-19. Recently, the Western New York Library Resources Council asked an attorney that exact question. Go to this website to see the answer.

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Nebraska 1K Reading Challenge

Download the free app for Apple or Android devices or sign up and record minutes on the
Reader Zone website.

In this difficult year, librarians learned about using technology to do a wide variety of tasks. One example is using Reader Zone to keep track of Summer Reading Goals instead of collecting that information on paper reading logs. Some found it difficult to manage. Others liked the way it was set up. Some patrons struggled to record their minutes and others loved using the app. Just like any other bit of new technology, Reader Zone takes some time to master.

Reader Zone has given us the chance to collect some pretty amazing statistics. As of the end of July, Nebraska readers have read 244,781 pages; plus 11,206 chapters; plus 19,085 books; plus 1,553,361 minutes!! Readers have also completed more than 2,500 literary activities. Reader Zone allows each library to designate what type of goal their patrons should work towards (i.e. pages, chapters, books, or minutes read). So, it is not just about the minutes…there is a LOT of reading going on!

Now we have another great opportunity and all you need to do is advertise it. The Nebraska Library Commission, the Nebraska Regional Library Systems, and Reader Zone are joining forces to offer the Nebraska 1K Reading Challenge for all ages. Every Nebraskan that reads 1,000 minutes in August and records it in Reader Zone will receive an exclusive vinyl sticker and be entered into a drawing for a new waterproof, 32 GB Kindle Paperwhite. Two Kindles will be given away to Challenge Winners and their libraries will also receive a matching Kindle.

Click on this link, print the poster of your choice, and put it up in your library. It features the five-digit code (NEB1K) that will get your patrons started on the challenge. The first time a person logs in with this code, he or she will be asked for an address. That is so we can mail the sticker to everyone that completes the challenge and the Kindles to the drawing winners. I will be able to sort the data and provide each library with the number of their patrons that participate (and win!).

Please help promote this terrific program to keep Nebraskans of all ages reading through the month of August!

This project is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Nebraska Library Commission.

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Two Important Websites to Review

Strong libraries are essential to the recovery of communities devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help guide communities, library workers, and library supporters along the path to recovery, on July 15 ALA launched a curated, online repository of tools, guides, and resources. The ALA COVID-19 Recovery website includes everything from the latest information on safely reopening libraries to funding opportunities available on the local, state, and federal level. It will be updated often and replace the existing COVID-19 Response page that has served the community through the pandemic thus far. The online resource center is arranged into four sections: Advocacy and Policy; Education; Data and Research; and Guidance Content and Protocol.

COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool

This site provides interactive context to assess the risk that one or more individuals infected with COVID-19 are present in an event of various sizes. The model is simple, intentionally so, and provided some context for the rationale to halt large gatherings in early-mid March and newly relevant context for considering when and how to re-open. Precisely because of under-testing and the risk of exposure and infection, these risk calculations provide further support for the ongoing need for social distancing and protective measures. Such precautions are still needed even in small events, given the large number of circulating cases.

Chande, A.T., Gussler, W., Harris, M., Lee, S., Rishishwar, L., Hilley, T., Jordan, I.K., Andris, C.M., and Weitz, J.S. ‘Interactive COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool’, URL

Weitz, J.S., Harris, M., Chande, A.T., Gussler, J.W., Rishishwar, L. and Jordan, I.K. (2020) Online COVID-19 Dashboard Calculates How Risky Reopenings and Gatherings Can Be. Sci Am.

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YouTube Channel

The Central Plains Library System has a new means of communication. We have a YouTube Channel! This will allow us to post videos of our CPLS Board Meetings and to offer a way for all of our librarians to participate in continuing education for the Public Librarian Certification Program. In the future, we will also be producing videos with instructions for STEAM activities that you can choose to offer as virtual programming on your social media platforms.

Here is a link to our first video on our channel: It is the System’s first virtual Annual Meeting. Be sure to watch the tours of two attractions in St. Paul after the meeting.

Please let us know if you have any requests or suggestions for future videos. And don’t forget to subscribe and hit the bell if you want to receive notifications every time we upload a new video.

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CPLS Annual Meeting to be Monumental

CPLS Annual Meeting to be a Monumental One!

The Central Plains Library System will be hosting their FIRST EVER Virtual Annual Meeting via Zoom! We might not be able to get together in person, but that will not stop us from celebrating all that has been accomplished this past year, despite a pandemic, as well as look forward to what the future holds!

FRIDAY, JULY 10th, 2020
11am CPLS Board Meeting Begins
12:30 – 1pm Lunch
1:00-1:30pm CPLS Annual Meeting
1:30pm Virtual Tours
**Museum of Nebraska Major League Baseball
**Loup River Distilling

To register for this event, please click here. Zoom meeting invitations will be sent the week of the meeting. We look forward to “seeing” all of you there!

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NEW Reader Zone Features!!

The Additional Questions feature allows you to gather more data from your readers.
You can ask up to five questions for your readers to answer anytime they’re participating with a Reading Group. The questions are:
1.  What is your date of birth?
2.  What is your library card number?
3.  What school do you attend, or will attend next year?
4. Which grade level did you last complete?
5.  What is your complete address and phone number?

This video shows how the function works and how it looks for your readers.

Some tips to help make Additional Questions work for you:
1. Readers who are already participating in a reading group will be prompted to answer the questions the next time they make a reading entry.
2. You can edit which questions are asked anytime.
3. The information you gather from readers stays with their reader record, regardless of the reading group(s) a reader participates with.
4. The data you collected is available in the CSV reporting function.
5.  You can ask any blend of the 5 questions above, or none of them.
6.  Questions are handled at the Reading Group level only.

In addition to the new Additional Questions function, we have released the following:

1.  An enhanced experience for readers who use a desktop computer to participate in reading programs.
2.  Bug fixes and enhanced CSV reporting functions.

We are preparing a host of other refinements and bug fixes that will be applied to the system within the next two weeks.  It’s exciting to see the system improve and address the needs of our users.

As always, please call or email anytime with questions and comments.  We love to hear from you!

Jake Ball
Founder, Reader Zone

This project is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Nebraska Library Commission.

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COVID-19 Signage

Here is the customizable signage I mentioned on our Zoom call this morning. Thanks to DEMCO for providing these templates.

View Now

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DIY Sneeze Guards

Prices vary based on the cost of plexiglass.
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NLA Condemns Racism and Violence Against Black People and People of Color

NLA Statement Condemning Racism and Violence against Black People and People of Color

The Nebraska Library Association condemns racist and violent acts against Black people and all People of Color (POC). Racist oppression has been with us since before this nation was founded and has been highlighted again by the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and James Scurlock — and these are only the most recent, high-profile cases. On behalf of the NLA Diversity Committee and of the NLA as a whole, we cannot be silent at this time.

It is not enough for us as individuals and as a profession to be passively non-racist: we must be actively antiracist, as librarians, as members of our communities, and as human beings. Libraries often promote neutrality as a professional value, and there is good intention in this: we seek balanced and open access to knowledge and information for anyone who uses our services.

However, librarianship does not have a neutral history in matters of justice, from Melvil Dewey to the segregated libraries of Jim Crow, we have seen the ways that passivity and overt oppression have played out in our profession’s history and present day. Though in many ways we have made progress, we still have much work left to do. Now is the time to be unwavering and persistent in our solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and POC colleagues, patrons, and community members. Librarians cannot hide behind the shield of neutrality on matters of human rights.

Read the full statement here.

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