Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New faces

Welcome to Julie and Frances, who will be working in the public services area of the Cambridge Branch of East Central Regional Library

Welcome Julie & Frances....

Barbara Misselt, Director

Monday, December 29, 2008

Internship at Cambridge Branch

Jennifer, Metro State Student

Cambridge library users were fortunate to receive enhanced services for 8 weeks this fall, thanks to Jennifer Larson, who did an internship as part of her degree requirements for Metropolitan State University. Jennifer worked 3 days a week in the computer lab, and twice a week she gave after-school research help to children and young adults in the youth section of the library. Jennifer also put together pathfinders (research or study guides) on Minnesota History and Health and Nutrition.

Thank you, Jennifer!

Barbara Misselt, Director

Monday, November 24, 2008

Librarian like a gas station attendant


At the Cambridge Library/Headquarters, staff members enjoy having a monthly birthday coffee. Shannon made cards for the many November birthdays. This is mine. I particularly like it, because I see the services provided by library staff to be a valuable community asset.

This quote: "Librarian is a service occupation. Gas station attendant of the mind." is from The Gold Bug Variations p.35, 1991. The author, Richard Powers (born 1957) is a novelist whose works explore the effects of modern science and technology. The Gold Bug Variations is an exploration of biology, computer science, classical music, and librarianship. From NoveList:

Librarian Jan O'Deigh researches Stuart Ressler's past at the request of Frank Todd, Ressler's colleague. Ressler, a promising young molecular biologist of the fifties, has disappeared from the scientific community and is now working as a lowly computer operator.

I do find it amusing that in 1991 (the copyright date) a computer operator is described as "lowly" in contrast to the career of being a scientist. Another sign of the times . . . it won't be long until we have a generation that doesn't know what a "gas station attendant" is.

The Gold Bug Variations is not available in the ECRL catalog, but it is in MnLINK, and can be requested via interlibrary loan.

Barbara Misselt, Director

Friday, November 7, 2008

Planning and building for the future

Perhaps you think your town needs a library. Or, you've had a library for a long while and you want to enlarge it or move it to a more accessible location. About half of the communities in the East Central Region are at various stages in exploring these questions. Some are looking for land to build on and some are looking to expand current facilities. Thus was the impetus to bring in an expert in the planning and building libraries business, Jack Poling, Managing Principal of Meyer Scherer and Rockcastle Architecture and Interior Design.

The workshop was attended by 41 library leaders that included librarians, library supporters, and city and county elected officials. Poling led a discussion on the library building process that included: identifying and establishing need; defining needs; funding campaigns; design; construction; and the post construction period. Poling's nationally-known firm has built more than 100 libraries. He shared his experiences and offered valuable insight into the process including lessons learned. The audience asked many questions and shared experiences with each other. The attendees thanked Poling for the valuable information and expressed a desire for the Region to sponsor additional opportunities to get together and learn more about the process.

Personal Attention
Jack Poling answers a question posed to him by Dwight Haberman,
part of the committee working on getting a new library built in Isanti.

Making Connections
Participants from Princeton, Onamia and Sandstone converse about library planning issues.
It never hurts to get a little help from your friends.

Barbara Misselt, Director

Monday, October 27, 2008

After school pilot project

Long about mid-afternoon in most libraries, the activity pace picks up and the noise level becomes a little more noticeable as the kids get out of school and descend on the library. Many of them sign up for computers, and others head for the tables to work on their homework.

This semester, the Cambridge library has a pilot project for those kids needing help finding the sources they need to do projects or write papers. Jennifer Larson, on an internship with Metro State University, has implemented an after-school program to help kids find what they need to do school projects, work on a hobby, or enjoy recreational reading. Flyers were sent to middle school students, inviting them to come and ask Jennifer to assist them in the library.

After school help is available at Cambridge on Monday and Tuesday afternoons from 3:15 to 6:15. The program runs from October 27th through December 16th.

Afterschool Program

Barbara Misselt, Director

Monday, October 6, 2008


November 4, 2008 is election day!
You may want to look at the following websites and familiarize yourself with your Federal and State governments. Become an informed citizen!
In this election year you may also need to locate your polling place or view election results.

Check out these sites:

This is the official website of the Federal Government. Peruse the A-Z index of government departments and agencies. Note the links to State, Local, and Tribal governments. Contact your elected officials, replace vital records, or find out how to apply for a passport. Its all here!

Minnesota North Star
This is the official website of the State of Minnesota. See the various links to state agencies, jobs, education, social services, and natural resources. Find a phone number in the Government Telephone Directory. Look at the "Kids Page" and the resources for "Minnesota Seniors". Or contact the office of Governor Tim Pawlenty!

Polling Place Finder
Locate your polling place (where you go to vote) in Minnesota. Get maps and directions. Locate a specific district number. Just enter your zip code or county of residence to get started!

Election Center
From the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. Access voter and candidate information, view election results and statistics. Includes historical facts and figures from past election years!

Above all, don't forget to vote on November 4th!

Gray, Reference and Adult Services Librarian

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Book Sale at the Milaca Public Library

The Milaca Public Library is holding a
on Saturday, September 27th
from 10:00 to 3:00.

We have had a lot of donations of really great materials, and you are sure to find something of interest. We are located at 235 1st St East in Milaca - 1 block east of Casey's, and right next door to City Hall and the DMV.

Hardcover books sell for 1.00
Paperbacks are .50
Videos are 1.00
You can't go wrong!

All proceeds go to the Friends of the Library, who use the money to provide programming for our area. Please attend and help both yourself AND your community!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Smartest Card is @ the North Branch Area Library

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, and the North Branch Area Library wants to make sure that your child is among the two-thirds of Americans that carry the smartest card of all—a library card. With the Smartest Card, you have access to a goldmine of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, VHS, computers and Internet access. Why buy when you can borrow?

Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to continue to use the library as a source of lifetime learning.

Of course, library cards are not just for kids. A recent study by the American Library Association also showed that families use libraries to spend time together. Forty-four percent of survey respondents report taking the children to the library for this reason.

This September in order to make sure that you and your children have the Smartest Card, Domino’s Pizza in North Branch is offering a $5.00 coupon for each person that opens up a brand new library account at the North Branch Area Library!

For more information on how you can sign up for your library card and receive a Domino’s coupon, visit the North Branch Area Library at 6355 379th Street, or call the library at 651-674-8443. The library hours are: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10 am- 6pm; Tuesday & Thursday noon-8 pm; Saturday 10 am–2 pm.

Sue Monroe
North Branch Area Library
Branch Librarian

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Home Schooling Resources

Are you planning to homeschool? If so, you’re probably wondering what the Minnesota laws are concerning home education, the types of curriculum to use, and where you can go for support. Here are some helpful websites that will answer these important questions:

A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling - Features laws, lesson plans, support groups, and community networking resources

National Home Education Network - Provides a wide array of information and resources for all styles of homeschooling

ECHO (Early Childhood Homeschooling Opportunities) - An inclusive outreach group that helps connect families by setting up local support groups

Jon’s Homeschool Resource Page - One of the largest and most popular collections of online homeschool resources

Homeschool.com - A comprehensive resource for all aspects of home schooling

Minnesota Home School Associations:

  • Minnesota Homeschoolers' Alliance: www.homeschoolers.org

  • Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators: www.mache.org

Don’t forget your local library! We have resources and materials available for all age groups. Contact us at 1-888-234-1293 (x16), or email us at ref@ecrlib.org.

Nancy Dunbar, Reference Assistant

Friday, August 15, 2008

Building gets a facelift

As I walked into the building this morning a guy facetiously said to me, "gee, I thought I was in the wrong place." Well, the address hasn't changed, so I assume that he meant that the Cambridge library looks really different these days since Isanti County crews have undertaken a cleanup and redo project on the building exterior. For the last couple weeks visitors to the library have been greeted by chainsaws, backhoes, and trucks hauling away the overgrowth. Lots of days pedestrians and cars have been directed away from the front of the library in the interest of safety. Even the interior of the library is affected since the shrubs that covered the large windows are gone and light streams in. No longer is there a hiding place for all sorts of who-knows-what potentially threatening public safety.

While standing on the sidewalk conferring with the crews, I've talked to lots of people who are thrilled with the work on their library home. I've had the opportunity to provide information (that's what librarians do best, you know) about the system. In Cambridge, Isanti County owns the building, which is the home of Cambridge library (upstairs) and East Central Regional Library headquarters(basement). The city partners with the utility costs. In all of ECRL, the branch facilities are owned by the cities and/or counties. ECRL provides staff and materials to operate the branches. It's a good system and cost-efficient by partnering multiple funding sources.

All the ECRL branches have unique looks that fit their communities. Marketing begins at home, and attractive, well-kept libraries project the pride of their communities. Expectation of quality is greatly influenced by visual perception and atmosphere. Our libraries are attractive and welcoming community centers to residents and readers for all sorts of educational and recreational retreats.

All cleaned up and ready for a paint-job
Building gets a facelift>

Barbara Misselt, Director

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hinckley Summer Reading Winds Down....

Time is winding down for this year’s summer reading program, but not the enthusiasm or participation!!

July 30 was the day for our “Happy Birthday to Everyone!” party and a party it was! Thanks to the excellent coordination by volunteers Jill Hopkins, Laura Eyre, and Florence Lyseth, nearly 40 children celebrated birthdays. After reading A Birthday Cake is No Ordinary Cake, the signature book for “What’s Cookin’ at your Library?”, kids were involved in a rotation of activities including making a birthday card, decorating their own cupcake, and playing “pin the candle on the cake”.

But the main event was the result of an amazing collaboration of seniors, parents, and kids. After hearing about the upcoming party, Jeannie Van Der Schaegen put in a request to the seniors at the dining center for birthday cake supplies for the food shelf. Those great folks responded with an overwhelming 28 sets of ingredients for a birthday cake. Tobies responded with a donation of donut boxes. Parents brought more supplies to the party. When it was all put together and the kids had decorated the boxes and some bags, a total of 47 birthday cake kits were assembled for the food shelf! They were complete with sprinkles and candles and delivered later in the day by the generous volunteers. What a wonderful inter-generational cooperative effort that everyone involved can be really proud of. Thank you to everyone who donated…it will mean so very much to those who use the food shelf.

“What’s Cookin’” will be winding down next week as the closing program takes place on Thursday, August 7 at 1:00pm in the community room. After yet another magic show (we just can’t get enough of that sleight of hand and tom-foolery) by Mr. Jon Adams, a program sponsored by the City of Hinckley, we will conduct the much anticipated ticket drawing, when each child who has completed their reading log will have a chance to choose yet another great prize from among a selection of book bags, t-shirts, books, play food, cooking sets, and much more.

The teen level reading program has now come to an end with a total of 133 books read by most of the 39 teens who signed up. Week 6 winners were Paige Hodena, Melanie Nelson, and Nikki Mans. Week 7 winners were Robert Bustamante, Chris Carlstrom, and Liz Sikkink. Week 8 winners were Breanna Grinsteinner, Lauren Rabe, and Janiqua Robinson. For the final cash prizes, !st place was earned by Nikki Mans who will receive $25, and 2nd place winners came in as a tie, so $12.50 will be received by both Trent Doyle and Liz Sikkink. Congratulations to all you wonderful teen readers…you will absolutely be leaders one day!

Ceci Cross-Maser
Hinckley Librarian

Rush City Summer Reading Program "Tasty" Success

The summer reading program at the Rush City Library was a tasty success with over 200 children participating. With the completion of 10 books the children received a large curly lollipop but the big prize was given when the children read 20 books. Al Stewert of "Big Al's Cafe and Pizzeria"generously gave each successful reader a personal pizza. "The kids were so excited about finishing this year and we had a record number of them complete the program. We really appreciate Al's support and help with this project." states the library staff. Parents have reported that Al makes the children feel like "real winners" when they present their coupon.

The summer reading program is an important feature of the library. It helps the children keep their reading skills up, promotes family reading time and is a fun way to pass the summer. Visit your library and see why it's called "the best bargain in town".

Jeanette Monthye
Rush City Library

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Look What's Cookin' Summer Reading Celebrations

Things have really been cookin' at all of our East Central Regional Library branches this summer and we're getting ready to celebrate. The 2008 Look What's Cookin' at Your Library summer reading program is coming to a close and it's time for us to get together and celebrate everyone's reading accomplishments.

Aitkin, McGregor, Mille Lacs Lake, Mora, Princeton & Wyoming Libraries

Puppeteer, Diane Gasch, will be visiting several ECRL branches with her gigantic 8 foot puppets to entertain summer reading program participants. Diane is a member of the Twin Cities Puppetry Guild and the Puppeteers of America and has performed at many Minnesota libraries. She will be performing on the following dates:

Wednesday, July 30

McGregor Public Library at 10:00 am
Aitkin High School Choir Room at 1:00 pm

Thursday, July 31

Mille Lacs Lake Community Library at 1:00 pm

Saturday, August 2

Wyoming Area Library at 2:00 pm

Wednesday, August 6

Mora Public Library at 10:00 am
Princeton Area Library at 1:00 pm


Our final celebration and reward will be held on Monday, August 4 from 1:00-2:00 pm. Summer reading participants are invited to visit the library for a special treat. Pick up your reading record, any earned unclaimed incentives, and completion certificate. You'll also get a chance for a free polaroid picture with our giant "pig" chef and a coupon for a free ice cream treat from the Schwan's truck. You can pick from 3 different kinds of treats! Help us beat the heat with some fun and treats as we celebrate a great summer filled with books and reading.

Chisago Lakes

Help us close out the summer reading program at our Beat the Heat Treats Celebration on Saturday, August 2 from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. Kids ages 4-12 are invited to make their very own ice cream sundae (toppings will be provided) in our community room.


Mr. Adams magic will have your kids laughing hysterically as he performs at the Hinckley Public Library on Thursday, August 7 at 1:00 pm. Watch as he makes rock soup, peanut butter mustard cake and hippopotamus toothpaste. The ticket drawing and drawings for other prizes will be held after the event.

Vickie Sorn, ECRL Community Services Coordinator

Another Round of Genealogy Classes

If you missed it the first time, now is your chance to learn all about East Central Regional Library’s genealogical database, Ancestry Library Edition. It provides instant access to a wide range of unique genealogical and historical resources. Classes were held this past spring and were so successful, several branch libraries are offering them again.

Reference staff from will be presenting classes for those interested in learning all about this new and exciting genealogical database. Classes will be offered at the Cambridge Public Library on Friday, August 8 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm; the Milaca Community Library on Wednesday, August 13 from 5:30-7:30 pm; the Pine City Public Library on Thursday, August 14 from 6:00-8:00 pm; and the Sandstone Public Library on Tuesday, August 19 from 6:00-8:00 pm. Registration is necessary for each of the classes. Call the Cambridge, Milaca or Sandstone library branch for more information about the class.

Vickie Sorn, Community Services Coordinator

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another Bookmobile Adventure

“My name is Jug, J-U-G.” I glanced apprehensively past the dashboard trinkets and girlie calendar to the burly tattooed driver.

“When they called, they asked if I could haul a Bluebird bus.” Jug was no novice. “It’s not a Bluebird—it’s The Bookmobile!”

I was struggling to find common ground for conversation as we faced a two-hour trip back to Cambridge, when Jug offered the magic segue: “The only thing that’s worse to haul than the Bookmobile is the vehicle for the State correctional facilities!”

So began my assortment of lessons on towing services, customers, double clutching, and the adventures of a hardworking business owner and former repo man. I had thought it would be just another hot summer day on the bookmobile, but I never expected to return to Cambridge in a super-sized wrecker hauling our 13-ton bus.

Just last spring, the bookmobile hobbled back to Cambridge sporting a cracked block. Thankfully, this time we’re looking at something as minor as a starter that won’t start. I hope that’s all it is, because we have a job to do. The bookmobile is our way to provide library services to folks in remote areas, early readers in children’s groups, elderly folks no longer able to get around, and more. There is nothing like its services, and there is nothing like its adventures!

Yes, I had left Cambridge full of hope, prepared for eight hours on the road. Eagerly I started my audiocassette tape, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, determined to understand men by the time I returned to Cambridge. (I like a challenge!) Well, I never reached eight hours on the road, I still don’t understand men, but I did finish my tape—and “it was a good thing.” Little did I know that I’d be riding back to Cambridge entertained by stories from a guy named Jug. Using my newfound knowledge, I enjoyed the ride and conversation (as well as the obligatory quiet times, of course).

So, next time I venture out on the bookmobile, I’ll be shopping the shelves for an audiocassette tape on either diesel mechanics or a sequel to the Martians and Venusians. We never know what to expect on the bookmobile—apart from groups of eager readers who are always thrilled to see us. Can it get any better than that!?

Jackie Shaefer, Bookmobile Driver

Monday, July 14, 2008

Got Fish?

During the summer, library patron, Roger Branville and his sons, Jason and Stephen, visited the Cambridge Public Library. Roger wanted the boys to read. They approached the reference desk while I was working. It seemed Jason loved to read, but Steven wasn't much into it. When I found out that Steven liked to fish, I took him to the fishing section in the library.

Over the summer, he has read several books about catching walleyes and northern pike. Since I love to fish, I was soon getting fishing reports from various family members when they came to get more materials. Out on the lake, Stephen was showing-up seasoned fisher people. "How'd you do that?" they asked. "I went to the library, checked out some books and read them, " Steven replied.

Do you have a skill you'd like to improve? Stop by the library and see what we can find!

Check out Steven's picture at the library's Flickr site

Rebecca Hostetler
Reference Assistant Cambridge Public Library

Summer Library Fun at Hinckley Public Library

Library kids had a great time last week celebrating the 150th birthday of
the state of Minnesota. Guest storyteller, Steven Keillor, entertained
with stories from our great state’s past. Following his delightful
anecdotes, volunteers Lori Klar and Mindy Johnson kept the kids busy with
a gummy worm fishing game, creating colorful pictures of Minnesota symbols
which were crafted into a “quilt” decorating the hallway, and snacking on
“firecrackers” made from combining twinkies, frosting, and red licorice.

This week’s library event features the excellent puppetry of Robert and
Lynn Halbrook who will be presenting “Chef Roberto’s Magical Cooking Show”
at 1:00pm on Wednesday filled with amazing illusions and a myriad of
kitchen mishaps, along with a generous dose of literature inspired

The next scheduled summer reading event for kids comes up on Wednesday,
July 30, at 1:30pm, when we will be having a birthday party for everyone!!
Jill Hopkins and Laura Eyre have agreed to coordinate this one, along
with Florence Lyseth who will be in charge of the cupcake decorating
station. One of the activities planned for this party involves putting
together “birthday cake kits” for the local food shelf. Here is an easy
opportunity for all library patrons to help out by donating a boxed cake
mix, a can of frosting, and a box of birthday candles. Kids will be
decorating cake boxes at the party which will then be filled with the
donated ingredients and delivered to the food shelf. Please consider
adding to the fun by bringing in to the library your donation of birthday
cake needs by Wed. the 30th. The library kids will put them to good cause
in a colorful way!!!

This week’s winners in the teen level reading program are: Trent Doyle,
Lauren Rabe, and Quamari Robinson. Congratulations, teens…keep on
reading, enter often…you could win the cash prize in August!

Ceci Cross-Maser
Branch Librarian
Hinckley Public Library

Monday, July 7, 2008

Library News from Hinckley

"Look What’s Cookin’ at your library" took on a whole new meaning as the delicious smell of stone soup filled the library this past Wednesday, July 2. Of course the soup had lots more than just a stone in it. 10 vegetables, plus beef, pasta, and seasonings were prepared under the watchful eyes of volunteers Michelle Letourneau and Alyssa Prater. After hearing the story "Stone Soup", kids surrounded a table of work stations and were all peeling, chopping, dicing, slicing, grating, or julienning (is that a word?) It was a sight to behold! And then while the soup was cooking, they kept busy with other stories, games, and activities until it was time to sample the yummy results of their labors. Much thanks to those two gals for all the time they enthusiastically put into prep and production.

This week’s event on Wednesday, July 9 will be the "Happy Birthday, Minnesota" party where Lori Klar and Mindy Johnson will help the kids celebrate our state’s sesquicentennial. A special part of this celebration will be stories told of early Minnesota by guest storyteller, Steven Keillor. 150 years deserves a party and details will be in next week’s column.

Winners in the Teen level program for week three were Colton Blesi, Robert Bustamante, and Janiqua Robinson, while week four’s winners were Chris Carlstrom, Erika Winter, and Liz Sikkink. Congratulation to all of you and keep on reading and entering!!!

A new feature this year is a drawing for prizes for parents, or other adults who have been helping their kids participate in the summer reading program. It’s one way to say thank you for all the efforts they have to put in to enhance their kid’s library experiences. Prizes are from the Daily Dollar store, who generously donated a portion of them. Make sure you register when you’re here with your kids!

Holy scavenger hunts!!! The activity around the library gets intense as kids scurry around searching for items or pictures for the various hunts…and this week a new one will begin. This one appropriately has to do with the great state in which we are all fortunate enough to live in.

Ceci Cross-Maser, Hinckley Branch Librarian

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

WHAT'S IT WORTH? The Library Can Help!

Like many people, I enjoy poking around flea markets, antique shows, and book fairs.

Michael Sparks does, also. In 2006 he was browsing through a thrift store in Nashville, Tennessee, and purchased an old print of the Declaration of Independence for $2.48; on March 22, 2007, he sold that “old print” at auction for $477,650.

Did he know what he had? Perhaps not. I wonder if he contacted his local library and asked the reference librarian, “What’s it worth?”

Yes! The library has a rich collection of resources that can help you determine the value of your flea market find or that dusty antique in grandma’s attic.

Three of the best general guidebooks are:

“Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price List 2008”

“Schroeder’s Antiques Price Guide”

“Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2009”

Reference staff can also guide you to books that cover very specific areas of collecting, such as coins, dolls, guns, pottery, and toys---even Civil War memorabilia.

Stop by the library in Cambridge and browse the extensive collection of reference books we have on display near the magazine shelves. These materials can be used freely within the library. If you need something to check out, staff may be able to locate circulating copies for you.

And keep an eye out for that one-of-a-kind treasure. If Michael Sparks can find it, perhaps you can, too.

I'm still looking!

Bob Gray
Reference and Adult Services Librarian

Branch email address


Branch email address, xxmail@ecrl.lib.mn.us, are available again. They have the same generic password that your users started with. Any questions give us a call.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Website and Mail access

Good morning,

As of this morning our website and staff email should be accessible from all branches and from home. This means that if you have patrons or staff who still cannot access our content, you should let us know.



Friday, June 20, 2008

E-Mail Life-saver

Now that our e-mail is back, here's a tip for using Squirrel Mail that has
been a life-saver for me. In the past I would often lose something I was
composing due to a time-out or whatever. To prevent losing your valuable
compositions, do the following:
Go to Options, then Display Preferences and look for Message Display and
Composition. Scroll down until you see "Compose Messages in a New Window."
Click "yes"
That's all there is to it. Your composition will remain in the taskbar at
the bottom of your computer with the heading http://mail.ecrl.lib.mn.....
You can toggle back and forth to it, add to or edit your message and then send it when you are ready.
Hope this was helpful.
Marilyn M.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Well it looks like email is back to full function, very basic function, but full. We have been able to successfully send and receive email from the outside now that all of the ducks are in a row.

At this point you should be able to send and receive email from external users. If you are using Outlook Express you will be able to view your received email but not be able send any out. We are aware of this and will get it fixed in the near future.

We have seen instances where people have been unable to access email through the webmail link on the homepage, most of the time this has been resolved by either clearing the browser cache, refreshing the website, or clicking on the link in the blog (provided here again) http://mail.ecrl.lib.mn.us/squirrelmail. If none of these solutions works for you please let us know.

We will be getting rid of the @ecrl.lib.mn.us required for login and we will be recreating all of the generic email accounts and groups.

We are also aware of the problems with patrons accessing the website from home. We are going to hold off on investigating this until next week because many of the changes that the state made will gradually phase in for everyone over the next 48 hours and so many of them many start working without any intervention. Remote access to our subscription databases is on the list of things to fix, but again we will wait for the dust to settle next week before making any changes.

Thank you again for your patience, this is our baseline and we will be working to improve everyday going forward.



Well we have email internally now. Everyone has an account and we can send to other ECRL users. Unfortunately we are running into issues sending to outside addresses and we are working with the State to resolve this.

The following section should guide you through the initial login and password change. To get the generic password just give us a call at the help desk. This password will work for everyone at your location so there is no need for each of you to call. If you have any questions let us know.

Password change instructions.

Browse to http://mail.ecrl.lib.mn.us/squirrelmail. Log in using your first initial and last name @ecrl.lib.mn.us (Andy Nordin = anordin@ecrl.lib.mn.us) and the generic password. As a note from now on we will only conduct password business by phone so, please, if you are having password issues call us, this is to protect our patrons privacy.

A successful login should bring you to the familiar INBOX screen and our first order of business will be changing your password. To do this simply click on the Options link at the top of the page.

Next click on the Change Password link on the bottom of the right hand column.

Finally enter your old password (the one you used to log in today) and enter your new password, twice as indicated. Click Submit and if the change is successful Sign Out and log back in to make sure it works. If you have problems at this point just give us a call.

The only current rule we have in place for passwords is that they must be at least 6 characters long. We would encourage you to include numbers, capital letters, and punctuation to make passwords harder to guess, but please make sure it is also something you can remember without writing down.

I like playing word games with rhymes or phrases e.g. “Four score and twenty years ago..” becomes 84&20ya or 420&2oya for the lefties in the crowd. These passwords look complicated but are easy to remember, song lyrics work well too just make sure it is a melody you won’t mind singing to yourself after you come back from a long vacation.

Also please note that any email sent to your old address should be forwarded to your new address.



Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Progress Report


Well we are not where we were hoping to be by now. We have resolved our issues with the State and are now chasing down problems with our server configuration. All of the pieces are in place it is now just a matter of getting them all to play nicely. I again appreciate your patience with this process and hope to have us back on track tomorrow.


Wednesday afternoon update

Andy continues to work with OET (Office of Enterprise Technology, the state agency that does our internet) to resolve DNS (domain name server) issues, etc.

Please remember, that the path to the website is


Wednesday morning update

Apologies to those who may read this blog for news about what's going on in East Central libraries. We are using the blog as an internal communication tool while our e-mail server is being rebuilt. It's much more efficient to make one blog posting than 14+ phone calls.

This morning Andy is working on establishing SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), or how the e-mail server talks over the Internet. When he's sure that communication is going through, then he'll be able to set up mailboxes -- a formidable task with all the users on our network.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday afternoon update

As you've probably already noticed, the website is again available via the URL. E-mail is still down and any E-mail that is being sent to ECRL addresses is bouncing back as undeliverable. Andy has been working on E-mail installation all day, and will continue tomorrow. When it comes back up we will be contacting staff members with new user names and passwords.

I've received a number of phone calls from Minnesota library colleagues asking if we're "OK." I guess when they sent E-mail to ECRL that bounced there were flashbacks of last year's ECRL server crash. I've assured the other regions and others in the state network that restoration is under control.

We had an Internet interruption at Cambridge earlier this afternoon that was unrelated. Andy immediately called OET, and Internet connectivity resumed shortly, although OET said they didn't know why it was down.

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Still at it


We are still waiting to verify with the State that the pointers are updated for the web page.

We are closer to completion on the mail server and are on track for having it up and running by the end of today.


Status of Web and Email

Hello all,

We had a miscommunication with OET and they pointed the world to our old web-server. We have requested that they change the pointer, unfortunately this change will not occur instantly and will gradually phase in during the day with everyone corrected by tomorrow morning, sort of the reverse of what we saw yesterday. The correct page is still out there and can be reached by typing the IP address - but ecrl.lib.mn.us will be problematic for the rest of today.

Email we are in the process of building a new email server. Since this is coming up from scratch we are going to take the opportunity to standardize every one's addresses to be the same format - first initial last name e.g. anordin@ecrl.lib.mn.us we will be making accommodations so that email sent to your old address will get forwarded to you. This will of course mean new passwords as well we are working on a system to disseminate new passwords securely most likely by phone.

We will try to update this throughout the day so that you are not in the dark, if you have questions just give us a call.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Website Returns!

Thanks to Andy, our System Administrator extraordinaire, the website is back up.

Email access, however, will require more time. It will hopefully be available by opening time Monday.

Thanks for your patience.

Website et al Down Again

The website is again temporarily inaccessible. After successfully installing the new server yesterday, it seems that one of its hard-drives has died and needs to be replaced with a new one. This may take some time. The hope is that it will be back up and running today (Friday). However, most resources can still be accessed.

The online catalog: "ecrl.sirsi.net" (note: no "www" prefix) will redirect those in the library or at home to ECRL's public access catalog.

ELM databases: "elm4you.org" (note: no "www" prefix) will take you to the EBSCO databases, among others. Unfortunately, Ancestry.com cannot be accessed while we are experiencing this problem.

If you have any questions please contact your local library staff.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Website et al restored

The server that provides web and e-mail service is online and it appears everything is back to normal.

Thanks for your patience. Thank you to Andy for finding the server, arranging to get it here, and installing it correctly the first time. And thanks also to FedEx, although I doubt that they're reading this.

Website down

The website for East Central Regional Library is down . ECRL library staff are also not able to receive E-mail. The server that provides web and E-mail services went down yesterday. A rush order was placed yesterday, and the new server arrived at 10:15 this morning. Andy and Frank have locked themselves in the server room to install the server. We have good backup tapes and expect that nothing will be lost.

In the meantime -- access the library catalog here: ECRL library catalog

The magazine databases are at -- http://www.elm4you.org

Watch this blog for updates. Please call us if you have questions or need assistance. 763-689-7390.

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Library on wheels

The Bookmobile is back on the road. After over a month in the repair shop getting a new engine, the Bookmobile is serving its patrons. It's plain to see how much this mobile library service is loved by the people who wait for its arrival as they lamented over how much they missed it while it was off the road.

I had my first experience on the Bookmobile on Saturday. Not only has the Bookmobile been laid up, its primary driver and main back-up have also been sidelined due to surgery. When we got the call on Friday that the substitute driver was also sick, I knew that we couldn't cancel the Saturday stop in Onamia. So I took a big gulp and volunteered to drive the behemoth to Onamia -- as long as Jackie (who is 50% back) was able to come along with me to navigate.

So it was at 8:00 on Saturday morning that Jackie and I headed north. Jackie's calm voice coaching me over those first few miles -- "now turn when your wheels are here . . . watch the fish-eye mirrors" etc. made the trip relatively easy and we rolled along without incident. First stop was the gas station. I was so proud that we pulled up to the pump just the right distance from the nozzle. I filled the tank and got back on the road, and then Jackie said, "That was really good. ______ hit the gas pump." (named former staff member to remain anonymous). Oh boy, now she tells me.

The first few miles west on 95, I admit I piled up a little bit of traffic behind me. 45 MPH seemed awfully fast, and frankly I decided that it didn't hurt anyone to slow down a bit and enjoy the beautiful spring morning. Fairly soon the road was rolling by more quickly and we were up to traveling speed.

We arrived in Onamia on time. I informed Jackie that I didn't intend to include backing the beast up as part of my first-day training, so if we weren't able to pull straight up to the expected stopping point I would keep right on going and drive straight back to Cambridge. At that, Jackie broke into gales of laughter. Fortunately that wasn't necessary, and we parked without incident. Good thing too, because people were waiting for us. I had to waive them back in order to swing the door open and bring the steps down.

For 2 and a half hours people came on the Bookmobile almost steady. At one point, there were so many people in the library that I feared that we'd soon have a line out the door. They good-naturedly jostled past each other, greeting their community friends with pleasure. People of all ages, they all checked out stacks of stuff. Some received items they'd requested from other libraries and were thrilled. When we told them that next weekend the Bookmobile was taking a rest for the Memorial Day weekend they all went back and found additional items to fill an extra week.

It hardly seemed possible when 12:00 came and it was time to pull in the steps and head for home. The drive back started out uneventfully until we came into a sudden shower. Jackie said "turn on the wipers." I said "I can't, I don't know where they are." (who knew in the earlier sunshine that we'd need them.) Jackie, still calm, said reach to the left and forward, and sure enough, there was the switch under my fingers and engaged without taking my eyes from the road.

What a good morning it was. If I had any doubts about the importance of our mobile service they are gone. Visit our Bookmobile -- your library card is accepted there the same as at any bricks and mortar library.

Click for more photos from our Saturday Bookmobile adventure
Bookmobile in Onamia

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Banner ends its journey

For the last year, Minnesota public libraries, in partnership with the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission,have provided residents the opportunity to touch Minnesota history, be part of the Sesquicentennial, and journal their memories about the State of Minnesota in observance of the 150th statehood anniversary. The partnership was announced on May 11, 2007 at the 10th annual Rural Minnesota Summit, sponsored by Minnesota Rural partners. Two banners were launched, and through the coordination of the Minnesota Regional Library Systems have made their way through public libraries throughout the state.

Here at ECRL we received our banner and began the roving party on March 13th. Each of the 14 branch libraries in the East Central Regional Library System hosted the banner, giving the celebration its own local flavor. We collected many of the photos and posted them on our Flickr site. You can see them all by clicking on any photo in this post.

Sunday, May 11th the banners and journals were returned - one came from the north, the other from the south. East Central Regional Library Assistant Director Nick Dimassis presented the banner and journal to Governor Tim Pawlenty, who in turn presented the items to Nina Archabal, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Historical Society for archiving. Nick was accompanied by his daughters Emma and Alice. The southern banner was presented to Governor Pawlenty by Southeastern Libraries Cooperating Executive Director Ann Hutton, who was accompanied by several SELCO staff members. SELCO's Flickr photos of the day are online here.

It's been fun to be part of Minesota history. Happy 150th birthday, Minnesota!

Launching the banner (May 11, 2007)
Banner journey began May 11, 2007

Governor Pawlenty accepts well-traveled banners from ECRL and SELCO (May 11, 2008)
Banner Day at the Capitol

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Friday, May 9, 2008

A North Branch Story

Shared by Maureen . . .

We have a 'Mom' using our public access computers to communicate with her son who is serving on the carrier The U.S.S. Roosevelt. She is e-mailing her son one question at a time from the pamphlet, "Minnesota Sesquicentennial: 150 Years of Statehood" that ECRL prepared for us. When he e-mails back with the answer she sends him another question.

What a wonderful use of the libraries resources! It is amazing the unique ways in which some of our patrons make use of their libraries!

Sue Monroe, Branch Librarian, North Branch

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Learning new technologies

My favorite thing about summer is fair season (must go back to my years as a 4-H kid). My favorite part of the fair is the food, and the world-famous Minnesota State Fair's everything-edible-on-a-stick is just about as good as it gets. So it was not surprising that the Minnesota multitype regions chose 23 Things on a Stick as the name to promote their project for indulging in 23 library 2.0 activities.

The project is a self-guided experiential tour of interactive technologies that are part of the social computing scene. Most have potential use for enhanced interaction with our library customers. All 23 Things are based on free utilities available on the Internet. Over 1,000 library staff and board members across Minnesota signed up for the project and followed the 23 Things step by step as prescribed by the 23thingsonastick blog. Participants documented their progress on their own blogs. Those who finished all 23 things by April 16th received a flashstick as a prize.

Lots of people in ECRL signed up and have completed some of the Things (including yours truly). The program remains open for us to plod along in our own time. I have heard that there will be another round of the program and possible addition of even more Things.

6 ECRL super-achievers finished all 23 Things by April 16th and deserve congratulations. The 6 ECRL folks who have finished the 23 Things on a Stick are:
Katherine Morrow, Mille Lacs Lake
Maria Gruener, Wyoming
Penny Olson, McGregor
Robin Suhsen, Princeton
Wendy Prokosch, Mora

The real prize is the knowledge gained by everyone who has been digging into new technologies through the Things program. I'm proud of everyone who's trying, and looking to them as ECRL's emerging technologies leaders in our branches and communities.

The 23 Things are:
1. Setting up a blog and adding an avatar.
2. What is Web 2.0 and why should I care? Reading and writing about the perspectives.
3. Setting up an RSS aggregator account.
4. Photosharing and editing.
5. Using Flickr tools (mashups, etc.).
6. Using an online image generator.
7. Using Web 2.0 tools for library communication.
8. Sharing slide decks, photos, and presentation slides.
9. Collaborating with others with Web 2.0 tools.
10. Contributing to a wiki.
11. Tagging and using del.icio.us.
12. Social media sites and rating and recommending articles.
13. Using online productivity tools.
14. Using LibraryThing and cataloging collections.
15. Exploring online games.
16. Using Assignment Calculator and Research Project Calculator.
17. Implementing ELM productivity tools.
18. Using YouTube.
19. Producing and listing to Podcasts.
20. Participating in Facebook and MySpace.
21. Finding and joining other social networks.
22. Keeping on learning.
23. Evaluating and blogging the overall 23 Things experience.

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Bookmaking Tons of Fun……

A “book” is not necessarily the latest bestseller on the New York Times Bestseller list or your child’s favorite picture book. Nor is a “book” always published or “made” by a big name publisher such as Scholastic or Random House.

The Minnesota Center for Book Arts presented a bookmaking workshop for families on Saturday, April 12. The event was part of the One Book, Cambridge Community wide reading program. “As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and bookbinding to experimental art making and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts.” The event was made possible by funds received from the East Central Regional Development Commission - East Central Arts Council.


Those attending the workshop had a blast making a simple petal fold book. Holly, the representative from the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, showed those that attended how to make numerous varieties of the petal-fold book and came with supplies for each person to make “tons.” Even though the workshop said “come and spend 15-30 minutes” making your own book, many chose to stay for almost 2 hours working on their own creations. And of course, the children caught on way sooner than us “adults.” The 6 year old and the 60 year old were just as proud of their creations. Although attendance wasn’t as big as we had hoped (there was a snowstorm the day before), those that took the time to attend the workshop celebrated the traditional art of bookmaking and made it their very own.

Vickie Sorn, Community Services Coordinator

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Are you interested in exploring the history of your family? Perhaps you’d like to look at old census or land records. Or maybe you were told that your great-great grandfather fought in the Civil War.

The Ancestry Library Edition database, an unmatched resource for genealogical research, can help you locate that “missing link”!

It can be accessed at seven branches within East Central Regional Library: Aitkin, Cambridge, Chisago Lakes, Milaca, Mora, Pine City, and Sandstone. Staff will be happy to introduce you to Ancestry if you visit any one of these seven branches.

I recently held “Introduction to Genealogy” classes here at Cambridge and the other branches that offer Ancestry. Very popular! Another class will be held in Aitkin on April 21, 2008 at 6 pm. We’ve been “snowed out” twice in Aitkin---hopefully, the third time is the charm!

Please contact the Reference Department here in Cambridge (763-689-7390 x.16) or your local branch library to enquire about Ancestry or to express your interest in future “Introduction to Genealogy” classes. We have various handouts that can be copied, including a list of recommended FREE genealogy sites, contact information for historical societies in our service area, and other literature.

We’re eager and willing to share all of this with you!

Bob Gray

Reference Coordinator, East Central Regional Library

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What Book Would You Save?

The One Book, Cambridge Community Wide Reading program committee would like to know what book is important to you. In the book chosen for the 2008 One Book Cambridge Community Wide Program, The Book Thief, books are very important to the main character, Liesel. She takes many chances with her life to find books during a time when book burnings were a regular occurrence in Germany. She even takes one right from a smoldering pile! Would you take such a chance?

As we celebrate School Library Media Month in April and National Library Week, April 13-19, stop and think about what the freedom to read means to you. Stop in and take a look at the display in the window of the Cambridge Public Library depicting the book burnings of WWII and the propaganda used by the U.S. to protest the book burnings. Did you know that books by Helen Keller, H. G. Wells and Jack London were burned in Germany? Take a peek at this informative display.

How important are books to you? If you had a fire in your home and you could safely save only ONE book, what book would you save? Stop by the Cambridge Public Library and fill out a form with your answer. Students in the local middle schools and high school are also participating in this thought provoking activity. We will collect all the entries and hope to have some of them published in the newspaper. Your name is optional. Help us discover what makes a book important to you!

Plus, there’s still time to join the One Book, Cambridge Community Wide Reading Program. Check out The Book Thief at the Cambridge Public Library or purchase your own copy at Scout & Morgan Books. Visit our website at http://www.ca-reads.com/ for more information on the program.

Vickie Sorn, Community Services Coordinator

Monday, March 24, 2008

Congratulations, Sue

North Branch Librarian Sue Monroe has completed a class in American Sign Language. Sue says it was a very intense 6 weeks where she learned "the very basics of American sign language."

She very quickly found her new skills useful and told us about it in this e-mail:

Today I had a deaf woman come into the library for the first time. She brought her granddaughter with her and wanted to get her a library card and to check out Scooby-Doo materials. The granddaughter is not hearing impaired and it was so interesting watching the two of them interact with one another. I was able to communicate with the deaf woman with my very limited ASL vocabulary on such items as establishing that she was the grandmother and not the parent of the young girl, taking the registration form to a table to fill out, the need for two pieces of identification (I used finger spelling for this as I do not know the sign for ID), and a 3 week CKO period on materials. I was able to understand some of her signing, but certainly not all of it. She knows that I am just learning to sign, so she was patient with me. I felt that it was a positive experience for both of us.
About her training, Sue further stated, "A couple of items that I found interesting was that ASL is NOT a universal language, there is no universal sign language. In fact not only is it not universal, but some ASL signs are geographical as well. A sign that is used in Minnesota, may not be used in another part of the country. Also, deaf people do not view themselves as disabled or handicapped, but as whole & complete. . . Sign language is just like learning a foreign language. It takes practice, practice, practice."

Keep practicing, Sue. ECRL Assistant Director Nick Dimassis said this in an e-mail to Sue: "Congratulations, Sue, on finishing the class, putting what you've learned into practice for your patrons/community and for providing yet another set of skills from which ECRL staff can draw." And from me -- thanks for your dedication to serving your community!

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Legislative Session Now On

This time of year the Legislature is in session and much of my energy and attention is spent on the Capitol in Saint Paul. There is a tension and excitement to the process. With the economy on the downturn, and the economic forecast predictions that state revenues will decline, legislators are displaying fiscal conservatism -- especially in the House, where all the members are up for re-election in 2008. My task is to remind them that funding libraries is especially important during rough economic times, when library use has historically increased. Availability of the free services libraries provide is especially important when families and businesses cannot afford to pay for information and recreation access.

February 27th was Library Legislative Day. The Capitol was full of library workers, board members, and Friends, who were engaged in talking to their legislators. I enjoy Legislative Day, and always end up dead tired after walking the tunnels between the State Office Building, the Capitol, and the Judicial Center. Our first appointment this year was at 8:15 a.m., and the last was at 3:30 p.m.

This year is a bonding year, and our biggest issue is to encourage legislators to include money in the bonding bill to fund the Library Construction and Accessibility Program. Six communities in the East Central Region are in various phases of planning for new or expanded libraries. Funding for the bonding bill is critical to library growth.

While Legislative Day is important, we need to keep talking to our legislators through visits, phone calls, and mail (both e-mail and via the postal service.) A super tool to find your state or federal representatives is at: http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/legdir.asp Click on "Who Represents Me?" And then start calling or writing -- tell them how important the library is in your community! Thanks for helping us.

Barbara discusses library construction needs with Senator Betsey Wergin, District 16
Sen Betsey Wergin, District 16 11 March, 2008 (Photo 2/27/08)

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Friday, February 8, 2008

My Health Minnesota Go Local at Rotary

June 30, 2010 Note: The website referenced in this blog post has been decommissioned by the National Library of Medicine. More information about the decision to end its support is available at this technical bulletin.

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association sponsored the program for Cambridge Rotary this noon. The speaker they brought was librarian Karla Block from the UM Bio-Medical Library. Karla talked about the on-line resource My Health Minnesota Go Local, which is part of the National Library of Medicine partnership with libraries and library consortia to provide national coverage of health services. The Minnesota site is one of 24 Go Local projects with many more in development.

Go Local is a tool to bring accurate information about health services in local geographic areas, including hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, support groups, health screening providers and many others.

Go Local is linked on the ECRL site under the menu bar Reference Desk. Look at the Reference Desk section to find links and information guides from ECRL librarians.

Go Local at Rotary
Karla Block, Associate Librarian at the Bio-Medical Library

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Friday, January 11, 2008

Telling Our Library Story

I just finished a presentation for the Cambridge Rotary Club. I've done similar presentations before, but I never get over the excitementment of being able to give away so much -- and it doesn't raise my library budget or cost me anything personally.

I started out today's presentation by asking people to show their library cards . . . . and today's program-sponsoring Rotarian passed out a prize to everyone who had a library card. While they were proudly holding up their library cards, I told them that was the most valuable card in their wallet. I talked about the services our 14 libraries offer, and about our online services that they can use 24/7. Wow! They were taking notes and asking questions.

As I said, I've done pretty much the same presentation in both Regions in which I've worked, and the response is the same -- total amazement and appreciation for what they didn't know they've had for quite some time now. I wonder how many others haven't heard about us yet. And I'm reminded that we've got a lot of marketing and instruction to do.

I'm looking to go out and talk to as many people as I can and demo our fine products and services. Just call and invite me!

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director