Teens Need Libraries

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Annual Christmas Reading

Are you looking for a different kind of holiday program for your community? Here is a wonderful idea and the cost of the program is $0.

Jane Somerville, Library Director in Stanley, Idaho, reports that the Stanley Community Library sponsors an Annual Christmas Reading early each December. They meet at a private lodge with Christmas goodies and spirits and read a Christmas story aloud. They have read many books over the years, and they have had readers choose a short story or poem. They found that most of the folks that join in this tradition prefer a short book that can be read aloud in an hour and a half or less.

You could choose a place in your community for this type of program…a care home, an assisted living facility, the hospital, the school. Any place that has plenty of seating and is nicely decorated for the holidays. Have each attendee bring treats, put the apple cider in a crock pot to warm, and you have a great community program!

By the way Stanley, Idaho, has a population of 63. No matter how small the library, we are all doing our best to serve our communities.

Here are some suggestions for books to read:

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
The Shepherd, the Angel and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry
The House Without a Christmas Tree by Gail Rock
A Certain Small Shepherd by Rebecca Caudill
A Christmas Blizzard by Garrison Keillor
Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo
Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant
A Cup of Christmas Tea by Tom Hegg

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December Display Ideas

As I look back on the days when I had small children, I spent most of December looking for mittens. Of course, I preferred that they be a matching pair, but there came a time when that was not so important…like when the school bus was pulling up in our driveway and my 2nd grader could not find anything to put on her hands. Where do all the mittens go? (Probably the same place all the odd socks hang out.) Here is a bulletin board idea perfect for school libraries or children’s areas. Cover the board with blue paper for the sky and white along the bottom for snow. Add snowflakes, a clothesline strung between two snowmen, and the title “We’re S-mitten with Books!” Provide paper mittens for your students to decorate and write the title of a book they have recently read. Hang the mittens on the line, pile them on the ground, have them blowing in the wind, etc. Here are 10 more display ideas for December.

National Cookie Day (December 4)
This is a great time to find all of your picture books about cookies for a display in the children’s area. Cookie cookbooks are always popular during the holidays. You could host a cookie exchange or give away cookies at the circulation desk. You might fill a clear jar with mini cookies and have patrons guess how many are in the jar. The closest guess gets the jar and the cookies!

Walt Disney’s Birthday (December 5, 1901)
The famous animator, filmmaker, and theme park developer was born in Chicago, IL. Celebrate by gathering all things Disney and displaying them along with a pair of mouse ears (if you can find a set).

Pearl Harbor Day (December 7, 1941)
Highlight your nonfiction collection of World War II history books and DVDs.

Emily Dickinson’s Birthday (December 10, 1830)
One of America’s greatest poets, Emily Dickinson was born at Amherst, MA. She was reclusive, mysterious and frail in health. Seven of her poems were published during her life, but after her death, her sister discovered almost 2,000 more poems written on the backs of envelopes and other scraps of paper locked in her bureau. Emily Dickinson now is recognized as one of the most original poets of the English-speaking world. Prepare a sign and place it in the stacks near any books containing Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

It’s a Wonderful Life Film Premiere (December 20, 1946)
America’s favorite Christmas drama premiered on this date at New York, NY. Host a viewing party and give prizes for the person who has seen it the most times…and for anyone seeing the movie for the first time.

Winter Begins (December 21)
Display books with winter words in the title: snow, ice, cold, coat, etc., etc.

First Crossword Puzzle: 100th Anniversary (December 21, 1913)
The first crossword puzzle was compiled by Arthur Wynne and published in a supplement to the New York World. Place a sign at the circulation desk and have handouts available with a variety crossword puzzles for patrons to pick up.

Card Playing Day (December 28)
Make a sign and set it on a table along with a deck of cards. Encourage your patrons to take time to play a hand or two of cards.

Rudyard Kipling’s Birthday (December 30, 1865)
English poet, novelist and short-story writer, Nobel Prize laureate, Kipling was born at Bombay, India. After working as a journalist in India, he traveled around the world. He married an American and lived in Vermont for several years. Kipling is best known for his children’s stories. Prepare a bookmark with a list of Kipling’s books. Display his books and the bookmarks in the children’s area.

Nicholas Sparks’ Birthday (December 31, 1965)
Nicholas Sparks was born in Omaha, Nebraska. Feature his books, audiobooks, and DVDs in your fiction section.

Don’t forget, you’ll get more display ideas by following me on Pinterest.

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The Influence Game

vance_influence_revised_011012-1Stephanie Vance gave the keynote address at the recent Nebraska Library Association/Nebraska School Librarians Association Annual Conference in Kearney. She spent decades as a D.C.-based lobbyist, congressional aide, speaker, and grassroots consultant. Stephanie is known as the “Advocacy Guru.”  Her latest book, The Influence Game, provides the eight critical keys to influencing others.

If you would like to read this book, please contact the RVLS Office.

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The Spirit of the Season

Harvard Scarecrow 3The small community of Harvard, just east of Hastings in Clay County, puts up scarecrows for the month of October. Sharon Steenbarger, Library Director, recently joined in the fun by affixing this one to the columns outside the Library. Sharon reports, “It looks like she was a librarian a little too long, but we love how her dress blows in the wind.”

The Library will be open from 3 – 8 p.m. on Halloween to join the downtown treat handouts. A volunteer will pop popcorn for all who stop by.

Happy Halloween!

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Digital Inclusion Survey

Please take time to complete the Digital Inclusion Survey. It will generate unique and valuable data in the areas of digital literacy, economic and workforce development, civic engagement, and public access to the internet. This survey will be a great new statewide tool if enough of us participate.

What’s the benefit to you?

  • The great interactive tools built by the Digital Inclusion team will help you get a better sense of your community’s needs, challenges, and opportunities and be able to demonstrate how your library’s services add value to your community.
  • Results will help you communicate with decision makers about the value of your library’s technology-enabled services and public access technologies to different communities and articulate how your library helps build a digitally inclusive community, supporting 21st century workforce development, digital literacy, education, and a healthy community.
  • The survey will help you identify where your library’s services and resources are meeting community needs and where there might be room for improvement or a need for new partners to extend the library’s reach.

Please complete the survey by November 15, 2013.

How do I participate?
Go to http://digitalinclusion.umd.edu/ and follow the “Complete the Survey” button. You will need to know your library’s federal code to log-in, which is your FSCS ID. If you do not know your code, please contact John Felton at the Nebraska Library Commission.

Can you see the survey questions before answering them?
Yes, you can access a PDF version of the survey sections on the survey project website. Please note that the print and Web surveys are slightly different (not in terms of the questions, but in terms of layout and presentation). 

Can you save your answers and finish the survey later?
Yes, you can save your answers at any time by clicking the ‘stop and resume later’ button at the bottom of each survey question page. To get back into the survey later, use your ID to login, find your library and click the button that says ‘resume’ or ‘completed.’ You can also print a copy of the completed survey for your records.

How long will it take to complete the survey?
Test estimates ranged from 20 minutes to 40 minutes.

The Digital Inclusion Survey is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and conducted by the American Library Association and the Information Policy & Access Center at the University of Maryland College Park, in partnership with the International City/County Management Association.

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Bob Nedderman–2013 Mentor of the Year

Bob AwardBob Nedderman, Perkins Library Director at Hastings College, was named the Nebraska Library Association New Members Round Table’s 2013 Mentor of the Year. The award recognizes an individual who has aided significantly in the professional development of librarians, media specialists, or library staff, and by example, has influenced their careers. NMRT, along with Houchen Bindery, presented the award to Bob at the NLA/NSLA Conference in Kearney on Friday, October 11, 2013.

(Picture taken by Billie Cotterman.)

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November Display Ideas

Harvest is underway and Thanksgiving is on November 28. Now is the time to get dried cornstalks to tie together. Add gourds, pumpkins, and a cornucopia for a beautiful autumn display outside the library’s front door. Here are 10 more display and decorating ideas for November.

Aviation History Month
Celebrating the anniversary of aeronautical experiments in November 1782. These experiments led to the invention of the hot-air balloon, man’s first flight and the entire science of aviation and flight. Ask your patrons for model airplanes to display along with books about the pioneers of aviation.

King Tut Tomb Discovery (November 4, 1922)
In 1922, one of the most important archaeological discoveries of modern times occurred at Luxor, Egypt. It was the tomb of Egypt’s child-king, Tutankhamen, who became pharaoh at the age of nine and died, probably in the year 1352 BC, when he was 19. Prepare a display of books and DVDs about ancient Egypt and the treasure found in King Tut’s Tomb.

Sesame Street TV Premiere (November 10, 1969)
An important, successful, long-running children’s show, Sesame Street educates children while they have fun. It takes place along a city street, featuring a diverse cast of humans and puppets. Display books and DVDs that feature the characters from this popular program.

Veterans Day (November 11)
Formerly called Armistice Day and proclaimed each year since 1926. This holiday celebrates that at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month fighting ceased in World War I. Display books about military history to commemorate this day.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Birthday (November 11, 1922)
Kurt Vonnegut was a novelist and playwright, born at Indianapolis, Indiana. 1969’s Slaughterhouse-Five, part of which was based on his WWII experience as a German prisoner of war, is frequently cited as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century. Place a sign in the stacks near his titles.

William Steig Birthday (November 14, 1907)
Prolific cartoonist, satirist and illustrator, William Steig was born at Brooklyn, NY. He wrote more than 25 books for children. He won the Caldecott Medal in 1970 for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and received two Newbery Honors, for Abel’s Island and Dr. De Soto. Encourage your young patrons to check out Steig’s books by displaying them with a sign about his birth date in the children’s area.

Mickey Mouse’s 85th Birthday (November 18)
The comical activities of squeaky-voiced Mickey Mouse first appeared in 1928. The film, Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie, was the first animated cartoon talking picture. Display your books about Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.

150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (November 19)
In 1863, 17 acres of the battlefield at Gettysburg, PA, were dedicated as a national cemetery. The address that Lincoln delivered in less than two minutes was later recognized a one of the most eloquent of the English language. Display both adult and children’s books about Abraham Lincoln and Gettysburg.

50th Anniversary–Assassination of John F. Kennedy (November 22, 1963)President John F. Kennedy was slain by a sniper while riding in an open automobile at Dallas, TX. Accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby while in police custody awaiting trial. Display books and media about President Kennedy.

National Game and Puzzle Week (November 24-30)
Held during the week of Thanksgiving each year, National Game and Puzzle Week encourages family and friends to spend time together. The American Library Association’s youth division, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) created a toolkit a few years ago with several reproducible games and puzzles that you can distribute.

Library Trivia: President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for his Presidential Library at Hyde Park, New York, on November 19, 1939. This was the first Presidential Library.

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More Information, More Often

The RVLS Board has approved a plan to provide System Members with six ValleyTalk newsletters per year. In the past we published four newsletters in print format. In order to provide better service, we are going to alternate between print and online newsletters. Three will be in print and three will be posted to the RVLS website and also distributed through the RVLS email list. To make sure you don’t miss out on vital information, sign up for the RVLS email list on the Nebraska Library Commission’s webpage.

The first all-electronic newsletter will be in your email soon. The next print newsletter will come out on December 1st.


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And the Winners are…

The August edition of ValleyTalk newsletter had two opportunities to win autographed books. Here are the winners:

Untold HistoryThe Untold History of the United States, by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick

Keri Anderson, Library Directory of the Hoesch Memorial Library in Alma, won this 750-page companion to the Showtime documentary series produced by filmmaker Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick. The ten-part series looks back at human events that at the time went under reported, but that crucially shaped America’s unique and complex history of the 20th century.





Is This Thing OnIs This Thing On? By Abby Stokes

Terri Johnson, North Platte Public Library, won this book for Digital Immigrants (those that did not grow up with computers or the internet. The subtitle of the book claims that it is a computer handbook for late bloomers, technophobes, and the kicking & screaming. It also includes information about “a hand-holding website” and a “Grandparents’ Cheat Sheet for Staying in the Game.”



Watch future newsletters, both in print and online, for more opportunities to win.

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