Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Spirit Alive!

The Grinch did not steal the holiday spirit from Wyoming Area Giese Memorial Library patrons this year. Branch Librarian, Rebecca Hostetler, collaborated with Heidi Neff of Chisago County Human Services, to create a list of names for the library Giving Tree. This year 31 children requested books. First names and ages of the children were written on tags. Children, teens, and adults chose names and purchased a book for each of them. Monetary donations of nearly $350 purchased an additional 66 books providing roughly 100 children with the gift of reading.

In this second year of the Giving Tree, based on the book by Shel Silverstein, I wish to express my sincere thanks to all who helped make this another successful year. The generosity of the community to these children is indeed a sign that the Grinch is not welcome here!
Rebecca Hostetler
Branch Librarian
Wyoming Area Giese Memorial Library

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Results

Yesterday was election day. Here are a couple good sources to find election results:

Minnesota Public Radio - lists races by various breakdowns, so you can scan through them.

Star Tribune - "My Vote" directs user to enter address and gives customized results for that location.

Barbara Misselt, Director

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Local bookstore, library work together to promote literacy

This is a letter written by Judith Kissner, owner of Scout and Morgan Books in Cambridge. She says she wrote the piece for the upcoming issue of Bookwomen Magazine (Minnesota Women’s Press)which will have a feature in their next issue about supporting public libraries. She also sent the letter to the Isanti County News, where it was published last week.

Scout and Morgan Website
Scout and Morgan on Facebook

Local bookstore, library work together to promote literacy

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Dear Editor:

As the owner of an independent bookstore in a small community, I have noticed that people often think that we are somehow in competition with our local library, and that they need to offer an apology for checking a book out at the library rather than buying it from us.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I can’t imagine wanting to live in a community that didn’t have a public library. In the same way that you can tell a lot about a person by the books on their shelves, you can tell a lot about a community by their public library. Do they have an active Friends Group? What kinds of services do they provide? Are there lots of new arrivals displayed? Do they have book groups? How about a City- Wide Read? Do they celebrate Banned Books Week?

Our bookstore is a business member of our Friends of the Library and I volunteer on the City-Wide Read committee. Many of our loyal customers and supporters are strong supporters and users of our local libraries. We often suggest to customers that they check a book out at the library first before making a decision to purchase a copy. We regularly promote our local library’s author events and book groups, as well as remind people of what a resource a public library is, especially in tough economic times. Public libraries are essential to a healthy democracy where everyone, regardless of income has access to information and ideas. Public libraries are often at the forefront in defending the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of the press and speech. We see public libraries as partners and librarians as colleagues.

To candidates running for local and state offices, we ask, “What will you do to insure that our public libraries receive the funding they need to thrive?” The answer to that question speaks volumes.

Judith Kissner, Owner
Scout & Morgan Books

Used with permission of author
Posted by: Barbara Misselt, Director

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

McGregor Library Supports Habitat for Humanity

McGregor Library for opened up for Habitat for Humanity on Monday, July 12, 2010.

135 bicycle riders and approximately 40 support staff came into McGregor for the Habitat 500 - a 500 mile bicycle ride fund-raiser: Pedaling to build a cycle of hope.

They started in Sandstone and after passing through many other towns, end up in Cloquet.

They camped in the yard at the McGregor School in tents or slept on the floor in the BIG gym. The school is across from the library so I thought maybe we could offer them some connection to their family and friends. We opened the library for two hours (4-6 p.m.). They were waiting at the door to get in at four and I had to shoo several out of the community room, the WiFi center, at 6 p.m., for another group that had reserved the room.

There were approximately 65 that stopped in to use the internet, relax in the coolness or browse the shelves. Several bought books from the Friends' dollar cart; a nice surprise. One did a little research in a Consumers Report magazine and another requested the words to Home On The Range. ALL the computers were in use, and I figured we had it in one of our sheet music books, and sure enough we did. He was happy because they do a program on Friday night and he was incorporating the song into his act.

Although everyone was very laid back and shared, I was happy to have Branch Library Aide Norma stop in and help for an hour and a half.

They appreciated us being open "just for them" and thanked ECRL for opening up. It went very well for all.

The last bicyclist left town, followed by a support vehicle, at 7:09 a.m., with a temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday, July 13th.

Penny Olson, McGregor Branch Librarian

Bicyclists using wireless in the Community Room. Click on the photo for more photos.
McGregor Library assists Habitat 500

Monday, June 28, 2010

ECRL PRESENTS: Fool in a Mask Productions !

From June 28th through July 9th the library will present Fool in a Mask Productions in "The Amazing Adventures of Stuart Lindman and Other Short Plays".

Four young actors will perform in four short plays commissioned for the "Minnesota's Greatest Generation Project". This program is made possible through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and results from a new partnership between the Minnesota Regional Public Library System (MRPLS) and the Minnesota Historical Society.

Danielle Bronshteyn, Jacob Budnick, Tylinn Fahrni, and Marshall Sonsteby will entertain ECRL patrons in the following plays, all of which are based on oral histories and original historical documents:

"The Amazing Adventures of Stuart Lindman" by Joseph Scrimshaw
"Parachute Silk" by Carson Kreitzer
"The Secret Storm" by Sheri Wilner
"Swell" by Craig Johnson

Please check the ECRL homepage for the dates and times of scheduled performances. The theatre troupe will perform at all branch libraries in the ECRL service area.

This FREE program is suitable for the entire family!
Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Monday, May 17, 2010

Library Online is open while branches are closed

East Central Regional Library branches are closed this week while we transfer our data to a new online library system. Just like road construction season, when sometimes the transportation department has to close a road in order to make major upgrades, we’ve closed all 14 of our branches in order to perform the migration of data. During this week, staff members are learning the new system so that when we re-open they’ll be ready to serve the public and help people use the new online catalog.

In truth, I think that many people will find that the new catalog is so user friendly that they will easily find what they need on their own. The menu screens are cleanly designed, and options are clearly described.

We’ve been testing the system for a couple months. All library records are transferring correctly, the hold lists are maintained, even fines and fees are transferred (sorry ).

In the meantime, all of our online resources are still available – our online branch never closes. For the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) – use this link to MnKnows.

Newsflash! Find Encyclopedia Britannica in 3 editions (Academic, Public Library, and School editions). Select the MnKnows box above > select "ELM" > select "Databases, alphabetically" from the left menu > find "Britannica . . . "

Please note that you won’t be able to request through MnLINK during this time, because MnLINK relies on the ECRL system to authenticate your library card.

While the ECRL branches are closed, you might find AskMN especially useful. At AskMN, you can contact a librarian (in real time) to get questions answered that you would usually ask someone at an ECRL branch. AskMN is ready to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Besides MnKnows, our other popular ECRL resources are still there: Chiltons, Learn a Test, NoveList -- find them here:
The other resource provided by ECRL is, which is only available in our branches (no remote access due to licensing restrictions).

We will re-open with our shiny new catalog the week of May 24th -- but then, we're really not completely closed!

Barbara Misselt, Director

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's TWELFTH NIGHT at Anoka-Ramsey!

William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night was first performed over 400 years ago on Candlemas night, 2 February 1602, in England. Some of the greatest names in 20th century English and American theatre have since performed in the play - Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, and Helen Hayes, to name a few.

Twelfth Night, one of the Bard's most accomplished comedies, is currently being performed on the stage of the Performing Arts Center at Anoka-Ramsey Commmunity College in Coon Rapids.

I was delighted to attend opening night on April 16th. Scott Ford's inspired direction, the stark yet effective scenic design, and the striking costuming made for a memorable evening.

The young actors, by and large, did a commendable job of interpreting Shakespeare's intricate and complex prose. A few struggled, others should remember that they must react to action and other actors on the stage, but Marcus Coker (Sir Toby Belch), Jacob Budnick (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), and Emily Moulds (Feste) gave diverting and entertaining performances in their comic roles. Neal Skoy was outstanding as Malvolio.

Mr. Skoy is a remarkably talented young man, and the audience was captivated by his exceptional performance from the moment he first appeared on stage. Malvolio is a complex and fascinating character that he handled with assurance and aplomb, especially through the use of his rich and eloquent voice - which filled every corner of the auditorium, seemingly without effort.

The actors cavorted about the stage in some of the most intriguing, if not startling, costumes I've ever seen in a Shakespeare production. Special kudos to Costume Designer Barb Portinga for combining vintage evening gowns, fright wigs, and red high-top sneakers with more conventional ensembles recalling the 16th century. Lauren Haven was lovely in everything she wore, Mr. Skoy bore a striking resemblance to the young F. Scott Fitzgerald in many of his scenes, and Mr. Budnick looked like an escapee from the Court of Versailles throughout. It was all very strange, but it worked.

The public can enjoy upcoming performances of Twelfth Night at 7:30 pm on April 22, 23, and 24. Tickets are $8.00 at the box office.

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Monday, March 8, 2010


On the evening of March 7, 2010, the 82nd annual Academy Awards were presented at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was officially organized on May 4, 1927, but the first "Oscars" were not awarded until May 16, 1929. That evening, in the ballroom of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, "Wings" was named "Best Picture" of the year. Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor took home the acting prizes.
Fast forward 81 years. On March 7th the following winners were announced:

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side"
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz in "Inglorious Basterds"
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique in "Precious"
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker"

It was a night of firsts! Bullock, Waltz, and Mo'Nique were all first-time nominees, and Bigelow was the first woman in the history of the Academy Awards to receive the "Best Director" prize. Also, for the first time since 1943, ten films were nominated for "Best Picture".
Here are some fascinating facts about the Oscars:
Most Awards (11): "Ben-Hur", "Titanic", and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
Most Nominations (14): "All About Eve", "Titanic"
Most Awards - Acting (4): Katharine Hepburn
Most Nominations - Acting (16): Meryl Streep

East Central Regional Library has many Oscar-winning films on DVD and more are being added to the collection on a regular basis. Check our catalog!
The best book ever written about the Academy Awards is probably "80 Years of the Oscar" by Robert Osborne. It's located in the central reference collection at the Cambridge library for your enjoyment and perusal.

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Friday, February 19, 2010


Did you know that East Central Regional Library maintains an extensive list of web sites that we use on a daily basis? Just check our "Reference Desk" page and click on "Web Links". There are many different categories! One of the most popular is Health & Medicine.

Here you'll find links to the American Medical Association, Medline Plus, WebMD, and the Mayo Clinic, among other reliable online resources. You can easily locate information on diseases, medical conditions, drugs, and specific health-related topics pertaining to children, men, women, and seniors.
The library also maintains outstanding print resources for your use, including:

"Mayo Clinic Family Health Book"
"Complete Guide to Prescription & Non-Prescription Drugs"
"American Medical Association Complete Medical Encyclopedia"

Please contact your nearest ECRL branch library for assistance with these and other library resources!

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Sunday, January 31, 2010


On Friday, January 29, 2010, it was my privilege to attend the evening performance of "4 A.M.", presented by the Cambridge-Isanti High School Theatre Department as part of the 2010 State One-Act Play Festival.

An ensemble piece written by Jonathan Dorf, the play explores the question, "What's it like to be awake when the rest of your world is asleep?" Teen characters examine themselves, their relationships, and their place in the world through a series of vignettes and monologues tied together by the character of Frankie, a lonely and somewhat isolated radio DJ.

"4 A.M." premiered at a similar festival in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in April 2009. It is one of many plays and monologues written by Dorf, who holds a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting from UCLA.

While the entire cast is commendable, special kudos go to Jake Budnick and Tylinn Fahrni. As Frankie, Mr. Budnick transcends the stationary nature of the part through the use of his very expressive voice, while Ms. Fahrni is remarkably natural and unaffected as Jane.

The Cambridge-Isanti High School Theatre Department hope to bring their interpretation of the play to the State Tournament, which will be held in the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine's University on February 11, 2010.

"4 A.M." is directed by Kelly Fahrni.

Bob Gray, Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian