Author Archives: Margie McCandless

National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month

For much of the country, June is the start of the summer season and brings with it an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month has been observed in June since 1991, originally as a way to promote growers and the grilling season. The details of how it originated are unclear, but it seems obvious why the month of June would be perfect. Supermarkets overflow with colorful choices not available in winter, farmers’ markets spring up offering fresh local produce, and for those who have the space, there is nothing better than fresh produce straight from your garden.

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National Library Week Goes Virtual

The Bellevue University Library has not let the Covid-19 pandemic cancel their annual National Library Week celebration. It will just be a little different this year, but first some background about the week itself. Back in the 50s, libraries weren’t worried about the Internet, but they were worried that people were spending less time reading books and more time listening to the radio and watching television. So the National Book Committee was formed in 1954 to encourage people to read more. By 1957, they had developed a plan for National Library Week in cooperation with ALA (American Library Association) and the Advertising Council. The first National Library Week was celebrated in 1958 with the theme, “Wake Up and Read” and it has been celebrated every year since. After the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA took over complete sponsorship.

This year’s theme is “Find Your Place at the Library,” and everything was going according to a plan that included an Open House, Lunch and Learn, READ posters, Used Book Sale, contests, and more. Then Covid-19 happened and there was no Plan B. Being resourceful librarians, as we are here at the Freeman Lozier Library, we didn’t let that stop us.  With the week rapidly approaching, we put our heads together, and came up with a plan for a virtual National Library Week.

Here is what is happening:

  • “Clif Mason Knocks the Stars Senseless” webinar – Originally scheduled as a Lunch and Learn, Bellevue University’s own Dean of Arts and Sciences, Clif Mason, will instead do a virtual reading from his recently published books of poetry, Knocking the Stars Senseless and The Book of Night & Waking. Join us live on Zoom at 12:30, Thursday, April 23 or watch the recording later. Dr. Mason is always a pleasure to listen to.
  • READ posters – If you don’t know what these are, they are photos taken of students and staff holding a favorite book and inserted into a READ background. This year, you will take your own photo and submit it, and we will insert it into a new background, especially created for this year’s event by library staff. We will print them out and hang them in the library, as well as send you a digital copy. Let people see what you love to read when we post it on our social media.
  • Enter one of these, or all of these contests, for a chance to win a gift card: “Caption the Past” a photo archive caption contest, “Find Your Place: A Library Scavenger Hunt” Facebook Contest, and “Picture This: Match the Photo” a Pinterest contest.
  • There may not be an Open House this year, but we will still be giving out our Friend of the Library award as well as presenting our first Librarian of the Year award. Watch the video on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon, April 22.

The week will be celebrated April 19-25, and all the details are on the National Library Week page on our website and on our social media. Be part of this unique celebration by participating in the week’s online events, and above all, know that no matter what, you have a place at our library!


National Library Week History

National Library Week: “For a Better Read, Better Informed America”

The Many Faces of Autism

What do Charles Darwin, Emily Dickenson, Albert Einstein, Mozart, Nikola Tesla, and Michelangelo all have in common? They are a just few of the many famous people in history who are thought to have been on the autism spectrum. More contemporary figures who show signs of being on the spectrum are Tim Burton, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, even television characters – who doesn’t know Sheldon? Autism has many faces; you probably know someone who falls somewhere on the spectrum. In fact, autism affects about 1 in 59 children in the U.S. today, with boys being four times more likely to be diagnosed as autistic than girls. Though statistics may seem to show autism is on the rise, it was not until well into the twentieth century that it was diagnosed as a mainstream condition. Nevertheless, prevalence of autism in children in the U.S. has increased by almost 120% in the last 20 years, making it the fastest growing disability. It often carries a stigma and is misunderstood. April is Autism Awareness Month and a good time to learn more about this common disorder.

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Hot Topics: Climate Change LibGuide

There is a new kind of LibGuide in town, a series called “Hot Topics.” The LibGuides in this series focus on the topics that everyone is talking about and usually disagreeing about. The first in the series is available now. Climate change is a topic that raises questions about what causes it, how much effect human activity has on it, or whether it is an entirely natural part of the life cycle of the Earth.  Some people even deny it exists at all. The Hot Topics: Climate Change LibGuide provides an abundance of resources of all types that address these issues.

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Science on Display: The Bellevue University Sustainability Learning Lab

What is going on in the area of campus just to the north of the Learning Center? You might have noticed that space was cleared, large landscaping pavers installed, and little plants appeared everywhere on the hill. This is actually a garden of native Nebraska plants and just the beginning of a three year innovative project, the Bellevue University Sustainability Learning Lab. Partially funded by a $200,000 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the lab will be a bonus to both students, especially biology and sustainability management students, and the community. Commenting on the award, Dr. Dennis Joslin, Executive Director of the Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation, sums it up by saying, “The Sustainability Learning Lab has tremendous potential to benefit the State of Nebraska by raising awareness and educating future generations of students and citizens about how to conserve, enhance and restore natural environments.”

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Strictly Business Journal Review

The Omaha business scene is vibrant and growing with new businesses , services, and products  being launched every month. Keeping up with all of this can be hit and miss – a news article here, a TV announcement there, or something spotted as you drive by. Strictly Business Omaha gathers all this information into one place.  Created mainly as a marketing and networking tool for business owners in the area, the 15,000 copies that are distributed each month often pass through hands at all levels of a business. While its role as a targeted advertising tool is of great value to businesses in the Omaha area, it also fills the role of a news source. Its current and relevant business information makes it the best way to keep up with Omaha and surrounding
area businesses. Continue reading

The Making of the Presidential Library

If your mental image of a library starts and stops with your public library or university library, then you probably have never visited a presidential library. You may even think that a presidential library is just a room full of books, documents, and a few photos or portraits. That is what I thought until I visited the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY. I had no idea at the time of the significance of this particular presidential library or the role that FDR himself played in the modern presidential library. There was hardly a book in sight, but the 12,000 square foot space was filled with exhibits, many interactive, and all manner of memorabilia from his large collections, not only telling the story of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s time in office but also the events going on in the country at that time. It was a fascinating few hours.

As I was to learn later, FDR was actually the driving force behind the modern system of presidential libraries. From the earliest days of the nation, most of the documents accumulated during a president’s term in office were considered his personal property and went with him when he left office. Often they were divided up among family, friends, political colleagues, libraries, or historical societies, often ending up in basements, attics, and abandoned buildings. Some found their way to the Library of Congress, but many items were lost to time, others to deterioration resulting from poor storage conditions.  FDR, however, believed that these presidential papers belonged to the people and needed to be properly preserved, so he donated all his things, including thousands of items of memorabilia, to the National Archives, that was established while he was in office. He also donated a portion of his estate for the building of the library. His vision became the basis for future presidential libraries which were built with private funds, maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and open to the public.  Every president since has followed in FDR’s footsteps, with a presidential library operated in this fashion.

The Presidential Library System was officially established in 1955 with the passage of the Presidential Library Act, but unbelievably, it was not until 1978 that the Presidential Records Act was passed that changed the legal ownership for official presidential records from private to public. Today there are thirteen libraries in the Presidential Library System, including Barack Obama’s library which has not yet opened, and one for FDR’s predecessor, Herbert Hoover, who also decided to preserve his legacy in this way.

Presidential libraries are part library and part museum, providing a fascinating walk through the history and the events that affected the nation at that time. Besides the museum portion, which is all that most visitors see, another component of the presidential library is the Research Library. This is where the primary source books, documents, photos, letters, and other papers are kept, carefully preserved in archival boxes. Many secondary sources related to this president are available for use as well. This room is open to the public but usually requires a special visitor’s badge to enter the room. There visitors are free to use the resources and even make copies, though unlike regular libraries, nothing can leave that room. Most people using this room are doing serious research and desired teems can be retrieved upon request from storage by archivists, who are always available to help. Fortunately, thousands of items have been digitized, an ongoing process, and are available from the library website, making these documents accessible to even more of the public.

So what about all the presidents prior to Hoover, surely some of them have presidential libraries? This is true though they are not operated by NARA, and often open years after the president leaves office or has even died. They may occupy free standing buildings, or be housed in a public library or historical society. Most have a research library, as well, that is open to the public but may require an appointment. The documents in these libraries are mostly secondary sources while the surviving important documents are housed in the National Archives. Nevertheless, many include exhibits and artifacts that bring the presidency and the times to life. As with the presidential libraries in the system, many things have been digitized providing easier access.

So next time you have the opportunity, be sure to visit one of the Presidential Libraries or do a virtual 360 degree tour, available from most of the library websites. Much more information about these libraries can be found at the links below:

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum website

Barack Obama Presidential Library

FDR Dedicated the First Presidential Library

FDR Library Virtual Tour

George Washington presidential library to open Sept. 27 (USA Today)

Help Us Build the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

Jefferson Library Collations

Learn about Presidential Libraries (National Archives website)

The ‘New’ Nixon Library’s Challenge: Fairly Depicting a ‘Failed Presidency’

Presidential Libraries and Records: Purdue University

Presidential Libraries: Laws and Regulations

What does a presidential building look like?

What is a Presidential Library? – FDR Presidential Library & Museum website