Author Archives: Allie OConnor

Experiencing the 40th Nebraska State Genealogical Society Conference

April ConferenceThree weeks ago on a rainy, cold weekend I drove to the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln to join over 200 other family history aficionados who attended the annual Nebraska State Genealogical Society Conference. The organizers were able to book D. Joshua Taylor of Genealogy Roadshow  as the main presenter, and more than a dozen other enthusiasts shared their Previewsuccesses, stories, and suggestions with attendees.

Seventeen sessions were offered by these generous individuals during the two-day conference; I’ll focus today on the three sessions that were most helpful to me.

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Concussion: DVD Review

ConcussionDebate on the long-term effects of head traumas suffered by professional football players is a relatively new concern.  For decades, professional teams of the National Football League downplayed the possible permanent brain damage to players who experienced repeated concussions. In this film, Will Smith portrays forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who was on staff at one of the hospitals in Pittsburgh. Continue reading

John James Audubon, Naturalist

John James AudubonJohn James Audubon was born in what was then San Domingo (now Haiti) on this date 232 years ago in 1785. His childhood was spent in France, but by 1803 he left there to avoid conscription in Napoleon’s army. His father was a successful businessman and sea captain, and hoped an extended visit to Pennsylvania would encourage John James to find his way in the New World. Though he didn’t follow the path his father hoped, John James discovered two loves that endured for his lifetime – his friend and wife, Lucy Bakewell, and living in and preserving the outdoor life.

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Robert Lee Frost, American Poet

Robert Frost 2As we prepare for National Poetry Month in April, today I’m introducing our readers to one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost. Though he was born in San Francisco on March 26, 1874, and lived for brief periods in England, Michigan, and Florida, Frost is usually associated with New England. His father died in California of tuberculosis in 1885, and he and his mother and sister moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts to live with Robert’s grandparents. He graduated from high school in Lawrence, and shared valedictorian honors with his future wife, Elinor Miriam White.


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“First in the Hearts of his Countrymen”

General Washington285 years ago today, George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. During his 67 years on this earth, Washington served many roles; he was a son, brother, husband, surveyor, gentleman farmer, soldier, delegate, and President of the United States. He experienced joy, disappointment, loss, victory, and defeat, and  lived his life as an honorable man.  One of Washington’s first adult adventures came while he was still in his teens. Continue reading

Winter Graduation Open House

GraduationBellevue University currently holds two commencement ceremonies each year, on the last Saturday in January and the first Saturday in June. From 5:00 – 7:00 on the evening of January 27, Bellevue University held an Open House in the Margre H. Durham Student Center and the Learning Center in honor of the students who have had degrees conferred since June. Many of those who attended on Friday participated in the winter commencement exercises on Saturday morning, January 28. Activities in the Student Center included.. Continue reading

German Christmas Markets

leather-goodsDuring the mid-1980s, our young family lived in Germany for two years. While my husband was stationed at the Hohenfels Training Area, we lived “on the economy” in Regensburg, an ancient cathedral city on the Danube River. The two Christmases we spent there gave us a unique opportunity to experience German Christmas markets or Christkindlesmarkts. Most villages and cities have their own market, and we were able to participate in one of the four found in Regensburg. The granddaddy of all the German Christkindlemarkts in the mid-1980s was the one in Nuremberg. Continue reading

Build Your Family Tree and Watch Your True Story Emerge

hillcrestOn Wednesday, November 9, Allie O’Connor and Barbara Haney met some of the residents at the Hillcrest Country Estates Grand Lodge during a workshop to share tips on how to use some of the Bellevue University Library’s sources to research personal genealogy. This was our first visit, and two of our aims were to find out how much family information those who came have already gathered, and whether they are using print or electronic format to store their information. Fourteen of the residents attended.. Continue reading

Summary of Banned Books Week Participation

students-bannedConversations! Contests! Cookie decorating! Displays! Browsing opportunities! Mugshots!  Once again, the Bellevue University Library staff offered a number of activities to promote the right to read during Banned Books Week. The three major events took place on September 23 in the upper lobby of the ESB, on September 27 in the main area of the Library, and in the Student Center during the lunch hour on September 29. Two contests were available for anyone interested in participating throughout the week. Read on to find out who won the contests….

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Banned Books Week and the Freedom to Read

Each year in the early fall, libraries and booksellers across the country bring the freedom to read to the forefront by celebrating Banned Books Week. This emphasis publicizes the many and varied titles that have been taken off shelves and made unavailable to EVERYONE because someone in a community doesn’t feel the content is worthy. For young children, there are cases where families need to make the decision what is to be allowed for them to experience. Some parents, grandparents, and older siblings may determine that the topic or the treatment the author gave is too racist, explicit, violent, or offensive for their young family members to understand. This protection of younger members is the prerogative of the family, but individual opinion should not prevent the work from being available to others who do not find the topic or treatment to be objectionable.

The banner and slogan for this year capitalizes on those who enjoy superheroes, graphic novels, and comic books.


In 2016, Banned Books Week is September 25 – October 1. Our Library on the Go team will preview some of the banned or challenged books that the Library owns in the upper lobby of the ESB from 11:30 – 1:00 on Friday, September 23. Those books, audio books, and DVDs can be found here.

The Bellevue University Library will be marking the week with displays, contests, blogs, and activities in the Student Center and in the library. Details of the local celebration will be included in a second blog to be posted on September 25. For those who are interested in more information about the history of Banned Books Week, please check these links: