Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Letter from Japan

This E-mail came from John Becker, a Milaca branch patron who has moved to Japan. He tells us about the library in Japan.

I GOT MY LIBRARY CARD!!!! 4 years ago the library here was small, but I didn't know that from last year they have a new library. It is nice, I have my choice of 18 computers if I get here at opening time, and a view of the green mountains.But no nice red-haired librarian. Or Betty. Instead, there are about a dozen young women in a kind of uniform vest over nice shirt and slacks. They hustle around with such energy, arms pumping and pony tails bobbing up and down, finding material, answering questions, laughing at my bad jokes, bringing the hot towel to relieve weary shoulders. BUT, instead of the few books in English, now they have thousands, including recent Vince Flynn. I was surprised. Regretably, and when I get more known here I will mention this to them, the periodical selection is poor. Although there are about 30 Japanese papers, in
English, the newspapers are the JAPAN TIMES (quite good, except for Americans continuing to snipe at each other in the letters section) and USA TODAY. Non-technical magazines in English are limited to News and World Report, Sports Ill., Elle, Cosmo, Glamour, Good Housekeeping. But the DVD/CD selection is excellent.

Some differences: Checkout is for 2 weeks only for up to 15 books and only 2 CDs or DVDs at a time. But there is no late fee! I asked why and they said "Why should you not be responsible? If you are human, why would you want to shame yourself with thoughtless irresponsibility? And why would we shame ourselves by not trusting you, Bekka-san?"

Also computer time is a choice of 30 min or 1 hour. And they mean it. When they swipe your card, time begins and when it reaches 1 minute countdown, I know that in one minute the screen will blank, and I'd better not be in the middle of something or poof, it's gone.

The library is a nice place to spend a day. There are 4 restaurants and a coffeeshop in the building. And the toilets have those $1500 toilet seats that wash and dry and eliminate the need for toilet paper. Someday I must ask them how this is all funded.

John (Bekka Jion) has written a book, The Touch of Our Sleeves and we are acquiring a copy of it.

Sharon Strack, Branch Librarian, Milaca

Monday, July 13, 2009

Minnesota Video Vault

Sharing with you this announcement about an unbelievable new online resource:
From Keith Ewing, Saint Cloud State University and the Minnesota Digital Library:
Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) has released the Minnesota Video Vault. The vault provides access to hundreds of videos and TPT productions, from short clips to lengthy shows. The "Educators" button allows you to sort by very broad K12 areas (e.g., Social Science, Science, or Language Arts), then focus by "grade level," then "strand" (e.g., Minnesota History or US History), and then by "sub strand" (e.g., under the Minnesota History "strand" you can select "sub strands" like the "Civil War and Dakota War" or "Contact and Fur Trade"). The "Interest Areas" button provides a more immediate breakdown by history, people, places, MN issues, arts & entertainment, and special collections, with further topical subdivisions beneath that. This is a terrific resource, of special value to schools and educators, but also for everyone interested in Minnesota and regional history (although the content goes far beyond Minnesota).
Online at http://www.mnvideovault.org/
I'm amazed at all the quality viewing available. Here's a sample of my favorites:
  • Dakota Conflict (the film shown for the Cambridge Reads event)
  • Tales of the Road: Highway 61, Almanac with Cathy Wurzer
  • American Experience Series
  • Antiques Roadshow
  • Great Performances
  • America at War
  • Nova
Barbara Misselt, Director

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Minnesota College Savings Plan Offers ECRL Summer Reading Participants a Chance to Win $1,000 Toward College

Encouraging a child to read this summer could lead to $1,000 toward his or her college savings. The Minnesota 529 College Savings Plan and Minnesota libraries today announced the launch of a Saving For College Sweepstakes as part of the 2009 Be Creative at Your Library Summer Reading Program at libraries across Minnesota.

“The Summer Reading program is a good opportunity to encourage children to read and to emphasize saving for college with Minnesota’s 529 college savings plan,” said David Metzen, director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, the agency responsible for administering the Minnesota College Savings Plan.

The Get Creative @ Saving For College Sweepstakes, which runs through August 21, will award fifteen $1,000 prizes to individuals statewide that can be used toward a child’s future college education. In addition, each individual winner’s local library will receive $500 toward future reading programs. “This is a great opportunity,” says Vickie Sorn, ECRL Youth & Community Services Librarian. “One individual from an ECRL branch will win a $1000 prize and one ECRL branch library will win the $500 prize.” Parents can enter to win by filling out an entry form at any ECRL branch when their children sign up for the Summer Reading Program.

For more information on the Minnesota College Savings Plan and the Get Creative @ Saving For College Sweepstakes, visit www.mnsaves.org/library or visit your local East Central Regional Library branch in Aitkin, Cambridge, Chisago Lakes, Hinckley, McGregor, Milaca, Mille Lacs Lake (Isle), Mora, North Branch, Pine City, Princeton, Rush City, Sandstone, or Wyoming.

ECRL Press Release - July 2009