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
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 for more information on the program.

Vickie Sorn, Community Services Coordinator