Thursday, April 30, 2009

MedLinePlus for flu (and other) health information

Many of us are watchful of the potential for a flu pandemic - specifically the H1N1 flu, popularly known as "swine flu." Panic can reign when the public is uninformed, but for those who are armed with reliable information, preparation and common sense will contribute to peace of mind. I suggest MedLinePlus as a good place to look for timely and accurate medical information. MedLinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. They're doing a good job of gathering together credible information and news about the spread of this new flu. Link to swine flu resources on MedLinePlus.

Another source for information about swine flu is on the Centers for Disease Control site which is also a credible source for health information.

Use MedLinePlus or CDC whenever you need current health and medical information. There is an encyclopedia, a dictionary, and an alphabetized list of health topics. You can even look up names of drugs (both prescription and over the counter) and supplements to find extensive information about them.

If you need help finding information on MedLinePlus, CDC, or other sources, ask your local librarian!

Barbara Misselt, Director


The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library has announced the results of the 21st annual Minnesota Book Awards! A panel of judges selected winners in eight categories, and over 2000 online voters from across Minnesota selected the winner of the Readers’ Choice Award. The awards were presented on the evening of April 25, 2009, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul.

It was my pleasure to serve on the panel that selected The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich as the winner in the Novel & Short Story category. This remarkable novel was also a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

Here’s the complete list of the winners:

Children's Literature: The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson

General Non-fiction: The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend

Genre Fiction: Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer

Memoir & Creative Non-fiction: The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang

Minnesota: Hard Work and a Good Deal by Barbara W. Sommer

Novel & Short Story: The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich

Poetry: National Monuments by Heid E. Erdrich

Young Adult Literature: Twelve Long Months by Brian Malloy

The Latehomecomer also won the Readers’ Choice Award!

Please check the library catalog or contact your ECRL librarian if you’re interested in reading any of these books.


Bob Gray, Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Aitkin Volunteer Earns President's Volunteer Service Award

Recently, Ardith Kane received a letter from former President George W. Bush thanking her for her 4000 hours of volunteer service. This service earned Ardith the 2008 President’s Volunteer Service Award. The letter stated, “By volunteering, you have joined a remarkable team that includes millions of Americans whose everyday acts of kindness and decency make our country a better place.” In January 2002, President Bush called on all Americans to dedicate at least two years, or 4000 hours over the course of their lives to serve others.

(Pictured right to left) Roseann Johnson, Ardith Kane, Mary Beth Woodrow, Elaine Haberkorn, Shirley Pick...all Aitkin Public Library staff.

Ardith volunteers through Retired Seniors Volunteer Program, or RSVP. She has volunteered since September, 2005 at the Aitkin Public Library, where she works 5 days/week. Ardith, a volunteer, is a valued and integral part of the library staff. On Monday, April 20, 2009 the library staff at the Aitkin Public Library celebrated this milestone with Ardith. Ardith has also volunteered for many years at First Lutheran Church, Aitkin.

Through Ardith’s service to others, she demonstrates the outstanding character of America and is helping to strengthen our country. Thank you Ardith!

By Mary Beth Woodrow, Aitkin Public Library Branch Librarian

New Wyoming Branch Librarian Named

By Vickie Sorn

The new Wyoming Area Branch Librarian “loves the challenge of meeting the patron’s needs.” “It’s sometimes like being a detective trying to figure it out,” says Rebecca Hostetler, new branch librarian. “Many times you don’t know where the search will take you.” Rebecca was chosen for the branch librarian position when former librarian, Maria Gruener, took a new library position as Watertown Regional Library Assistant Director in her native South Dakota.

Rebecca moved to Pine City five years ago and began working for ECRL in January 2007 as a reference assistant at the Cambridge branch. During her time at Cambridge she has become knowledgeable in electronic databases, reader’s advisory and interlibrary loan resources. Rebecca has a Masters of Divinity degree and is currently enrolled in the Minnesota Voluntary Certification Program for librarians.

From visiting her school and public library growing up in South Bend, Indiana, to the Carnegie Library in Barron, Wisconsin, where she worked as a public librarian, libraries have always been an important part of Rebecca’s life. “Libraries educate, re-create, gather, motivate and challenge members of a community,” believes Rebecca. They are an important part of the community because they can “open worlds for users by providing them with information in a variety of forms.”

Teaching is Rebecca’s passion and she would like to empower everyone that visits the Wyoming Area Library with the skills they need to use the library to its fullest. Rebecca sees one of the biggest challenges to be “to connect individuals, families, groups and the community with their library so that they use it to its fullest potential for their own benefit.” It’s important that the community realize what their “free” Wyoming Library card has to offer.

To get people in the door of the Wyoming Library to utilize all its services, Rebecca says we need “education, education and more education and satisfied customers will bring more users.” From quiet libraries with books with cards and pockets to bustling libraries with online databases and teens playing Wii , libraries have come a long way. Rebecca asks, “When was the last time you entered the doors of endless knowledge?” Stop by and meet the new Wyoming Area Branch Librarian, Rebecca Hostetler. Her enthusiasm for libraries is contagious, so be careful….

you might just catch it, too!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thank you letter we received

April 23, 2009

East Central Regional Library Staff,

There are eight book-club members in Milaca that are in awe of the precious right to borrow books from our very own community library. Our April book selection was one of your book-club kits. Just like that we were on the same page at the same time reading with communal pleasure and nary a nickel spent. What a privilege!

With gratitude we thank you for the library's range of reading opportunities.

Respectfully yours,

Eight Avid Readers

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday morning humor

Frazz, by Jef Mallett (Sep 18, 2004)

Thanks to Stephen Abrams at Stephen's Lighthouse for digging up this old gem (with lots of truth)

Barbara Misselt, Director

Friday, April 17, 2009

When did it happen?

History books will document the period we're living in, although I'm not sure what they'll call it. My grandparents endlessly recounted the horrors of the 30s. My husband and I took it pretty hard in the 80s. What will our descendents say about the first decade of the 21st century? As recently as October 2008, news journalists and even economists were debating whether we were in a recession (and I wrote a post on my personal blog I know it when I see it.) The official benchmark for a depression is defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.” A simpler definition is that recession occurs when real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is negative for two or more consecutive quarters.

Well the official depression marker has been reached, and no one had to tell us in libraries that it's official. Our branches are busier than ever from open to close. Folks are waiting in line to use our computers to find unemployment and job search information. By everything we count, library use in East Central Minnesota is up 20% or more. People are using our resources and services -at no cost - and are using our collections to find ways to save money. East Central Energy donated 5 Kill a Watt electricity usage meters to check the amount of efficiency of household devices. The devices circulate just like books and there are currently 157 people on a waiting list to check one out.

An old story goes: A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. Over the last months fewer and fewer people are working. As a result, tax receipts are going down and government is less able to fund services.

To see a gut-wrenching graphic depiction of the spread of unemployment, check out When Did Your County's Jobs Disappear, on Slate (an online magazine published by the Washington Post.) Using the Labor Department's local area unemployment statistics, Slate presents the recession as told by unemployment numbers for each county in America. In January 2007, many blue dots represented areas of net job gains. Moving through month by month, red dots representing job losses take over the map. Check it out. Link to online article.

Barbara Misselt, Director