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