Thursday, December 22, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library

Here's a great place to find primary source documents on Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States.
From the website:
Unlike modern presidents, Theodore Roosevelt does not have a presidential library. Instead, his personal and presidential papers are scattered in libraries and other sites across the United States. The mission of the Theodore Roosevelt Center is to gather together and digitize copies of all Roosevelt-related items, to make his legacy more readily accessible to scholars and schoolchildren, enthusiasts and interested citizens. Items in the digital library include correspondence to and from Roosevelt, diary entries, notes, political cartoons, scrapbooks, newspaper columns and magazine articles by and about Roosevelt, speeches, and photographs. Users can also view film clips and listen to audio recordings.
Barbara Misselt, Director

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ludwig van Beethoven

Today is recognized as the anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven in 1740. His exact birthdate is unknown, but his baptism was recorded on December 17th. In the time and place he was born, it was customary to baptize babies the day after birth, so he was probably born on the 16th. Besides, Beethoven himself celebrated the anniversary of his birth on the 16th.
While he was born 241 years ago, he may have had a profound impact on the digital age, since some believe that when the compact disc was developed, it had to have enough capacity/length to hold Beethoven's 9th Symphony. (The 9th Symphony when recorded on LP records filled 3 sides.)

According to Wired online: When Sony and Philips were negotiating a single industry standard for the audio compact disc in 1979 and 1980, the story is that one of four people (or some combination of them) insisted that a single CD be able to hold all of the Ninth Symphony. The four were the wife of Sony chairman Akio Morita, speaking up for her favorite piece of music; Sony VP Norio Ohga (the company’s point man on the CD), recalling his studies at the Berlin Conservatory; Mrs. Ohga (her favorite piece, too); and conductor Herbert von Karajan, who recorded for Philips subsidiary Polygram and whose Berlin Philharmonic recording of the Ninth clocked in at 66 minutes.

You can check out books about Beethoven or CDs of Beethoven's music. Also, read more about Beethoven on the Minnesota Public Radio site.

Barbara Misselt, Director

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Saying Goodbye After 38 Years

One day in May 1973, a young gal by the name of Shari Wilcox stepped into the original East Central Regional Library building and applied for the job of catalog typist for Technical Services. Little did she know that it would be 38 years later when she would walk out the door and end her career at ECRL.
Shari was so excited in 1973 because she had a window by her desk and she could gaze out the east side of the library. Well, that view lasted a grand total of 2 days! The windows on the east side of the building were closed up so the present day garage could be built. For the next 37 years, 363 days, Shari would never see the light of day again through a window from her workstation.
Shari worked as a catalog typist in Technical Services for 6 ½ years and then moved into the accounting and bookkeeping position after the previous employee, Leona Medin, retired. During her tenure, Shari worked for 5 East Central Regional Library directors. The Regional library budget went from less than 1 million a year to 3 million a year and Shari’s position went from Administrative Assistant to Administrative Services Manager.

Remember card catalogs, records and audio cassettes? That’s what you would have found in the library in 1973 when Shari started working at ECRL. At that time she could not envision all the technology that would be a part of the library today. One thing that has not changed in her time at ECRL, however, is the yearly struggle with the budget. Shari feels it will continue to be the biggest challenge facing ECRL in the future.

“I’ll miss the people I work with the most,” says Shari. “They have made my job easier, so it will be very hard to leave them.” Over her 38 years she remembers working with lots of different people – she says Eunice Wickland, Mary Koepsell, Barb Nord and Sandy Novak and many more come to mind. Many became lifelong friends.

The East Central Regional Library Board recognized Shari for her years of service at a brunch and presentation on Monday, December 12 and her friends and co-workers will be celebrating with her before she retires at the end of December. What’s in store for Shari when she retires? She says, “relaxing, relaxing, relaxing and reading the long list of authors and titles I want to read.” It’s a good thing she’s got great connections at the library!

Vickie Sorn, Youth & Community Services Librarian
(Press release)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

ECRL to Increase Overdue Fees

Upon recommendation by the finance committee, the East Central Regional Library Board approved an increase in overdue fines at their November 11 board meeting.  Fines for all overdue items will increase from the current .10 per day to .20 per day per item beginning Monday, January 9, 2012.  The overdue rate has not been increased since East Central Regional Library automated back in 1996.  The new fine structure is similar to that of other Minnesota library systems.

Since we have a limited materials budget, it is important for individuals to return their items on time, so others may check the item out.  When items are kept past their due date, it prohibits others from being able to use that item.  We hope that individuals will return the items they have checked out on time and thus, avoid any fines.  Most items can be renewed online, by phone, or in person at any ECRL branch.  You cannot renew an item for which someone else has placed a hold request.   Fines will accrue to a maximum of $6.00 per item for juveniles, teens and adults.  Remember that fines will increase on any items checked out beginning Monday, January 9, 2012.

Vickie Sorn, Youth & Community Services Librarian

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Penguin titles and Kindle

Currently owned eBooks published by Penguin are once again available for download to Kindle through ECRL's eBook service. However, we understand that we will not be able to buy new Penguin titles, at least not now, anyway.

Yesterday I posted notice that the Penguin titles were not available for Kindle. That was changed sometime this morning. As I said in yesterday's post, the eBook landscape is constantly shifting in its implementation. We'll try to stay on top of it and keep you informed.

Further information about these developments are in these posts:
OverDrive blog
Publishers Weekly

Barbara Misselt, Director

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

eBooks - not everything is available

Warning . . . whatever I'm writing in this post may very well be outdated before I push the "publish" button . . .

eBooks have overtaken the information industry like a tsunami. Almost everyone knows someone who has an eReader, if they don't have one personally. While many die-hard print booklovers have decried eBooks as a passing fad, it appears that not only are they not going away, their presence in the information world is getting more prevalent. And it seems like the whole atmosphere surrounding eBooks is market-driven and planted not-so-firmly in the sand. Like anything else in this techy-obsessed world, desirability appears to be based on newer, shinier, and faster. Thus, the relationships and the rules are being written and changed as we go along.

Almost every library system in Minnesota provides eBooks as one of its choices for book formats and the company OverDrive is the primary provider for the subscription service. ECRL buys eBooks from OverDrive title by title, just as we would from a print book vendor. OverDrive provides the website on which readers search for and check out the eBooks.

When OverDrive first launched eBook service for libraries, owners of one eReader device could not take advantage of their library's service -- the Kindle. Kindle is a product of Amazon. By September of this year, OverDrive had brokered a deal and accomplished the logistics for library subscribers to check out and download eBooks to their Kindle device. So, by the time ECRL launched eBook service, eBooks were available for almost all eReader devices.

Meanwhile, there has been considerable jockeying within the industry about how individual publishers allow their publications to be used and made available. Macmillan and Simon and Schuster do not license ebooks to public libraries. Hachette Book Group withdrew its frontlist ebook titles from library circulation in July 2010, although reportedly they may be reconsidering their position. Harper Collins caps the number of checkouts for their licensed books to 26 per purchase. Then there are some books that simply are not available for libraries to check out as eBooks - like the Harry Potter series.

The news in recent days is from Penguin Group (USA) to not allow their books to be checked out and downloaded to the Kindle. Indeed, a check on ECRL's OverDrive site ( shows that Penguin books that ECRL currently owns are available for checkout only as Adobe EPUB or Adobe PDF (which will work fine for your Nook, or Sony Reader, or many other eReaders) but not Kindle. Furthermore, Penguin is not licensing any of their new books for any format - so it appears that we will not be able to purchase any new Penguin published books.

ECRL regrets that some of our current books are not available to Kindle owners. It's not a decision made by ECRL, and we'll continue to advocate on behalf of all eBook readers and keep you, our public, informed through this blog.

More information is available in this article from Digital Shift.
Notice from OverDrive concerning non-availability of Penguin books for Kindle

Barbara Misselt, Director

Yes, we have eBooks

You asked, we listened! ECRL has added another format for your reading enjoyment -- eBooks. Refer to this document for guidelines and more information about the service:

Readers enjoy books in many ways and use a variety of formats:
  • Books for reading - for reading and enjoyment while in one place, like curling up in a chair:
    • Print - Some of them are even in Large Print - easier on the eyes than smaller type. Print books come in hard cover and paper back. Libraries usually buy hard-cover, because they last longer through multiple users.
    • eBooks - the newest format edition, books are downloaded to be read from an eReader device.
  • Books for listing - for reading and enjoyment while moving around, like walking or riding/driving:
    • Audio books on cassette - we used to buy books that were recorded on a cassette tape, for use in cassette players. We don't buy books on cassette any more, but have a few older ones that people still enjoy.
    • Audio books on CD - we buy books recorded on CDs, for use in CD players.
Another format that ECRL does not currently purchase is the downloadable audio book, which is downloaded to a personal listening device, like an MP3 player or an iPod. This format appears to be replacing the books on CD format and is available from some other library systems.

Barbara Misselt, Director

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans History Project

Today is Veterans Day. Thank you to all Veterans for your service!

The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The United States Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000. The authorizing legislation (Public Law 106-380), sponsored by Representatives Ron Kind, Amo Houghton, and Steny Hoyer in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators Max Cleland and Chuck Hagel in the U.S. Senate, received unanimous support and was signed into law by President William Jefferson Clinton on October 27, 2000. The address for the site is

Veterans can contribute to the project by personal narratives through audio and video-taped memoirs or written memoirs; correspondence via letters, postcards, v-mail and personal diaries; and visual materials in the form of photographs, drawings and scrapbooks. There is information on the site on how to contribute memoirs, etc.

The database is searchable by name of war or conflict, branch of service, and other variables by selecting Search the Veterans Collections from the main page. You can also browse the collection by a variety of ways by selecting the browse tab on the search page.

The collection provides interesting reading and is an excellent primary research  source.

Barbara Misselt, Director 
information in this post from the Veterans History Project site

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Clubs Galore!

Pine City currently has three - yes, three book clubs.  Two that meet at the Pine City Public Library (facilitated by Pine City Branch Librarian, Sarah Biro) and one faciliated by former Pine City Branch Librarian, Christy Koch hosted at the Our Redeember Lutheran Church.

Read the interesting article about these book clubs on the Pine City Pioneer website

It sounds like they're having way too much fun!

Vickie Sorn
Youth & Community Services Librarian

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

National Book Awards Finalists

The finalists for the National Book Awards were announced this morning. The winners will be announced on November 16th.

The list of finalists is on the National Book Awards site at:
Use the NBA site to build your reading list with winners of past awards.

Barbara Misselt, Director

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Willow Skogen from Rural Isle Wins $1,000 from
Minnesota College Savings Plan Sweepstakes

Mille Lacs Lake Community Library awarded $500

Thirteen year old Willow Skogen of rural Isle was selected as a winner in this summer’s “One World, Many Stories” @ Saving for College” sweepstakes, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Education, State Library Services and the Minnesota College Savings Plan. Mark and Cameo Skogen, parents of Willow, have been awarded a $1,000 cash prize that can be invested in a Minnesota College Savings Plan account for the benefit of Willow.    (right to left:  Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director, Willow Skogen, Kathy Morrow, Mille Lacs Lake Community Branch Librarian)        

The sweepstakes, which received over 4,000 entries statewide this summer, was a component of this year’s Minnesota Library Summer Reading Program, held at public libraries throughout the state. The Mille Lacs Lake Community Library branch of East Central Regional Library where Willow participated in the Summer Reading Program, also won a $500 cash prize for future reading programs.

The Minnesota Library summer reading program is offered through local libraries to encourage children to read during the summer and has over 100,000 children participating every year. The Summer Reading Program is offered through Minnesota’s libraries to encourage children to continue to read through the summer. 

The Minnesota College Savings Plan (the “Plan”) is a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan to help parents and grandparents invest in a child’s future college education.  The Plan is implemented and administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc.

Vickie Sorn, Youth & Community Services Librarian

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grand Marshals

Both outgoing and incoming Pine City Branch Librarians were honored on Saturday, August 6 as they served as Grand Marshals in the Pine City Parade.

Retiring Librarian
(on the left), Christy Koch and new librarian (on the right ), Sarah Biro, led the parade on this gorgeous Saturday.

Christy retired after 17 years of service as Pine City's Branch Librarian.  Sarah Biro started as the new Pine City Branch Librarian in early July. 

(Photo courtesy of Pine City Pioneer)

Vickie Sorn
Youth & Community Services Librarian

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ebooks are coming!

You asked and we listened! East Central Regional Library will launch ebook service in late 2011. The ECRL Board of Directors gave their approval, an implementation team is established, and we're making plans.

An ebook (also called e-book, electronic book, digital book) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. E-books are usually read on dedicated hardware devices known as e-Readers or e-book devices. Personal computers and some cell phones can also be used to read e-books. (definition from Wikipedia).

People who love their ebooks say they appreciate being able to have multiple books on a single device that weighs less than 8 ounces. With a backlit screen, ereaders are read easily in low light, and print size can be enlarged or reversed (white on black) for comfortable viewing.

ECRL provides books in a variety of formats - traditional print in either hardback or paperback and audio books on CD. Soon, residents of the east central region will be able to download an ebook to their own ereaders 24/7. Ebooks can also be read on some cell phones, home computers, or tablet computers (like iPads). Downloading can be done via the Internet, and the book will be available on the ereader until the checkout period expires, when access to the book will end. No trips to the library to pick up or return books, and no risk of overdue fees.

Watch this space over the next couple months for further details about ECRL's coming ebook service. For now, please help us make plans for the launch, select the initial offering of books, and set up our system by taking an online survey at:

Barbara Misselt, Director

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sustainable Landscape Plan Underway

The completion of the Sustainable Landscape Plan is underway by the Wyoming Area Library Society using, in part, an awarded $10,000 grant through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Legacy Funds. The landscaping is scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer.

Cody Eggers constructed four benches to beautify the front landscaping of the Wyoming Area Giese Memorial Library as his Eagle Scout badge project. Along with other members of Scout Troop 487 of St. Peter Catholic Church, Forest Lake, Eggers (pictured back row, farthest left), installed the benches last week. 

Vickie Sorn
Youth & Community Services Librarian

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Pine City Branch Librarian Named

“I’m so lucky to be entering a community that is so invested in its library, which cares about its success and its librarian,” says the new Pine City Branch Librarian, Sarah Biro.  She is overwhelmed by the warm welcome she has received and of course, working in the beautiful new library is wonderful.  Sarah received her Bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Benedict and recently completed her Masters of Library and Information Science from Drexel University.

Before coming to Pine City, she worked at several surrounding library systems and university libraries including the Anoka County Library, St. John’s University-Alcuin Library, Great River Regional Library and St. Cloud State University.  Sarah was able to gain a wealth of experience by working in several different library departments including reference, circulation, interlibrary loan and technical services.  It has given her a broad spectrum of library experience that will no doubt serve her well in her new position as Pine City Branch Librarian.

Sarah, as an avid reader, “grew up in public libraries; attending storytime, checking out books, participating in summer reading programs, and maxing out her checkout limit.”  She happened upon a part-time library aide position in high school and never looked back.  Her job titles and responsibilities have changed over the years, but her “love for libraries has only grown.”  One of her favorite quotes is from the book, The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown – “There is no problem a library card can’t solve.”  She feels lucky to have stumbled upon a career which she loves so early in life. 

Sarah is “excited to use the insight” she has gained from all her previous library experience and what she has learned as she finished her Master’s degree.  She hopes to “build on the library’s success, serving the needs of the Pine city library users and operating the library as efficiently as possible.”

Sarah will serve as Grand Marshal of the Pine County Parade on Saturday, August 6 along with retired Pine City branch librarian, Christy Koch.  Wave as she rides by or even better, stop by the Pine City Public Library and take a moment to welcome her.

Vickie Sorn
Youth & Community Services Librarian

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Weather calculators

We're having a really hot summer here in east central Minnesota. But I'll bet that those of us living here already knew that. It's been a year of extremes - just a couple months ago, we thought that summer had been canceled. Six months ago each snowfall broke a new record. Mostly, living in Minnesota, the weather gives us lots to talk about.

Here's a nifty tool from the National Weather Service to calculate heat index (and make you look real smart around the water cooler.)
Also, follow the link for "Heat Index Chart and Explanation." And to be prepared, there's a link to more calculators, where you can calculate the wind chill in just a few months. Uff da!

Barbara Misselt, Director

Friday, June 17, 2011

Legislative Women's Legislative Timeline Published

The following is a press release about the new Minnesota Women's Legislative Timeline from the Legislative Reference Library

Timeline shows key laws passed for women since suffrage in 1920.

On June 15, 2011, the Legislative Reference Library of the State of Minnesota and the Office on the Economic Status of Women published an interactive online historical timeline. The timeline looks at the history of legislation affecting women enacted in Minnesota since the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The state laws featured on the timeline show the legislative progression of women’s rights in Minnesota since women earned the right to vote.

Funded by a grant from the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants Program, this timeline is the culmination of research into the types of laws that were significant milestones for women in the state of Minnesota. Resources included the Legislative Reference Library, Office on the Economic Status of Women archives, Minnesota Historical Society, interviews, surveys and commentary from historians and leaders who have worked on women’s issues in Minnesota.

Of the many fascinating insights into women’s history in Minnesota, the timeline shows that after a flurry of post-suffrage legislation in the 1920s, women’s legislative issues in Minnesota receded during the years before and after World War II, only to resurface with marked strength in the post-Civil Rights years of the 1970s and 1980s. One key component of the timeline project was determining which laws to feature. Said project co-director Amy Brenengen, “We were able to choose from over one hundred relevant laws during this time period, and highlight some key milestones. We got excellent feedback from the academic and women’s rights communities and touched on areas ranging from economics to health to female jurors! It’s an important reminder of the incremental but vital steps taken by the state of Minnesota to ensure fair treatment of women across a wide spectrum of issues.”

The project was spearheaded by Robbie LaFleur, Director of the Legislative Reference Library, and Amy Brenengen, former Director of the Office on the Economic Status of Women. Project staff included Mary McGreevy, Elizabeth Lincoln, Mike Schatz, and Jennifer Schwope.

The public is invited to view the timeline at, and to share your feedback.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Minnesota's Own - JUDY GARLAND !

Eighty-nine years ago today, Frances Gumm was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  In 1935, she signed a seven-year contract with MGM, the biggest motion picture studio in Hollywood.  In 1939, she shot to international stardom as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz".

Frances Gumm was better known as JUDY GARLAND.

It was a rough and rocky road for the young girl who first entertained audiences at age two in her father's theatre.  Musical hits like "Meet Me in St. Louis", "The Harvey Girls" and "Easter Parade" kept her at the pinnacle of Hollywood stardom in the 1940s, even though she battled personal demons and drug addiction in her private life.  Today Garland is considered one of the great icons of 20th century American entertainment. 

The 36th Annual Judy Garland Festival will be held June 16-18  in Grand Rapids.  Her childhood home is a popular museum and can be visited. For additional information, call 1-800-664-5839 or visit the following website:

East Central Regional Library has a wide variety of materials pertaining to Garland that can be requested and checked out.

"Get Happy" by Gerald Clarke is the definitive biography, while "Me and My Shadows" by Lorna Luft is an enlightening, bittersweet memoir written by Judy's second daughter.

If you enjoy musicals, look no further than our DVD collection.  "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944) is a gentle, nostalgic look at a Midwestern family during the 1904 World's Fair.  Judy and Van Johnson play feuding music store clerks destined for romance "In the Good Old Summertime" (1949).  And in "A Star is Born" (1954), she gives the finest performance of her career as a young singer rising to stardom while her husband battles alcoholism.   Garland received her only Academy Award nomination as "Best Actress" for this film.

To find these materials -- and more, including music CDs -- visit the library's homepage: and click on "ECRL Catalog" on the upper left.  Then enter "Judy Garland" as a keyword search.

Staff are always willing to help or make suggestions!

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Friday, May 27, 2011

Searching and privacy

Do you ever get a little spooked when you type a search term in Google, and the results are just a little too similar to your recent searches or interests or are near you geographically? I have! It kind of makes me look over my shoulder to see who is reading my screen. Or maybe makes me feel like the computer and all that artificial intelligence is smarter than I'd like it to be.

That's because search engines are tuned for optimized results, using cookies and other tools to harvest information from your browser and its search history to provide personalized results that are hopefully relevant to you. Sometimes that's good and saves time, and sometimes it could feel a little creepy. Even more importantly, when Google and other search engines are trying to personalize results, they may not be delivering all the relevant hits, in favor of customizing the results to previous searches and eliminating results that could be more relevant.

If this subject intrigues you, I recommend reading an article written by Mary Ellen Bates, a professional researcher, who knows (and regularly shares) all the tricks of searching - Getting "Pure" Search Results. A couple years ago I attended a workshop that she taught, and came away with my head so full of useful information I thought I would burst.

My personal favorites cited are Scroogle and Ixquick (a metasearch engine that employs the results of several other search utilities). Ms Bates also recommends the Chrome browser's "Incognito mode." (I'll have to try that). ECRL's automation services department regularly recommends Google's Chrome browser for its unencumbered light-weight speed.

Sources cited:
Scroogle -
Ixquick -
Google Chrome  this is a browser you download. Using Chrome itself does not result in an anonymous search. After it's installed, go to the wrench icon in the upper right-hand corner of the window and select from the drop down menu options "new incognito window."
Happy searching!

Barbara Misselt, Director

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Last Man's Club" at Minnesota Digital Library

This column shared by Minitex and the Minnesota Digital Library. Reprinted with permission
This is a special edition of “Digital Delights from Minnesota Reflections,” in honor of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.

Sometimes, memories are our only companions.

July 21, 1930, marked the 69th anniversary of the First Battle of Bull Run.  In Stillwater, an old man named Charles Lockwood sat at a table surrounded by 33 empty chairs, drinking a bottle of burgundy wine.  Why did this Civil War veteran relive his memories of the bitter conflict alone, with only a bottle of wine to console him?

The records of the “Last Man’s Club,” contributed to Minnesota Reflections ( by the Stillwater Public Library, answer this question.

Charles Lockwood was a member of Company B of the famous 1st Minnesota Volunteer infantry.  The 1st Minnesota suffered heavy losses in the First Battle of Bull Run as well as Antietam, later showing heroism at Gettysburg.  View an accounting of Company B officers and soldiers:,1724.

After the war, 34 surviving veterans of Company B formed an organization known as the “Last Man’s Club,” devoted to keeping the memories of the 1st Minnesota alive.  The group held an annual banquet every year on the anniversary of the First Battle of Bull Run.  View a book of “Last Man’s Club” member biographies:,1728.

As time passed, so too did veterans of Company B.  View a list of deceased and living members of the Last Man’s Club by following this link:,1726.

In joining the “Last Man’s Club,” each veteran promised that, if he were the organization’s last surviving member, he would drink a bottle of burgundy wine in his comrades’ honor.  Charles Lockwood was the “Last Man.”  Thus, on July 21, 1930, he convened the final meeting of the “Last Man’s Club,” fulfilling his promise to drink the wine of memory alone.

Click the following link to view a soliloquy by the last survivor of the Last Man’s Club, entitled “The Wine of Memory:”,1727.

Read a poem entitled “The Last Survivor to His Dead Comrades” by following this link:,1725.

To view other Last Man’s Club records, conduct an advanced search for “Last Man’s Club” in the Stillwater Public Library’s collection.

Minnesota Reflections contains other Civil War collections.  The Hennepin History Museum (Minneapolis) contributed a ca. 1905 descriptive book of Hennepin County Grand Army of the Republic members to Minnesota Reflections.  Follow this link to see a page from the book:,1076.  Search for “Descriptive Book of Members of the Grand Army of the Republic, Hennepin County, Minnesota” to find the item from the Minnesota Reflections homepage.

The Olmsted County Historical Society (Rochester) contributed letters and other materials documenting a Minnesota family’s Civil War experiences.  Follow this link to read an 1863 letter written by soldier Jacob Dieter:,928. Browse the entire Dieter family collection by using the advanced search feature to limit your search to the Olmsted County Historical Society.  Then search for “Dieter.”

The Civil War ended long ago, but the conflict lives on in national memory.  Though we will never know how Charles Lockwood felt as he drank the wine of memory one summer’s day in 1930, explore Minnesota Reflections to peer into the state’s Civil War past.

Alex L. Ames
Graduate Assistant, Minnesota Digital Library Coalition
Learning Resources & Technology Services

Barbara Misselt, Director

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Black History Month

Black History Month, or African American History Month, has been celebrated since 1926. It was started in February 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson. He and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History) chose the month of February because it contained the birthday of Abraham Lincoln (2/12/1809), responsible for the Emancipation Proclamation, and abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass (birthdate in February 1818 not certain).

We'll see many students in the library this month working on class projects for Black History Month. We recommend these online sources for information:

1. ELM, the Electronic Library for Minnesota, - select "Biographies" to search for notable individuals. If asked for your library card number, enter it without spaces.

2. - quizzes, biographies, interactive timeline, and more from the Biography channel

3. - photos, videos from the History channel

4. Smithsonian Education - check out the virtual tour and the "Educator Resources"

5. Library of Congress collection

Barbara Misselt, Director

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Rush City Branch Librarian Named

“People who subscribe to a personal philosophy of ‘living to learn’ have, I think, a natural affinity for the library, “says the new Rush City Branch Librarian, Donna Larson. Donna, who recently accepted the position in Rush City, previously worked at the Princeton Area Library, so she is familiar with the East Central Regional Library system. Being with and serving people who want to and love to learn is her favorite part of working at the library. Witnessing that sense of desire and anticipation when a customer comes into the library is invigorating.

Donna’s love of reading started early in her life. Being somewhat of an insomniac, Donna found that reading novels at night helped her sleep. Reading books helped direct her mind away from the activities of the day and allowed her to vicariously experience other people’s lives and experience the world from its pages.

Donna hopes to become more acquainted with the Rush City community and ascertain how the library can best serve its patrons. She is eager to become involved in the children’s storytime, summer reading activities and other library events. As she starts her new position, Donna is also excited about working with the Rush City Friends of the Library and developing a larger volunteer base to benefit the library.

Donna hopes to use her overriding enthusiasm plus all the tools the library has to offer including its collection and its network of people to best serve the community. So be careful, she might just infect you with her enthusiasm. Donna believes as Charles “Tremendous” Jones once said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today but for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Stop by the Rush City Public Library and take a moment to meet Donna and check out something from the library. Who knows….you might just be a different person the next time you come back to visit.

Vickie Sorn, Youth & Community Services Librarian
Press Release

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Minnesota Book Awards Nomination

East Central Regional Library: Fifty Years of Connections 1959-2009 has been nominated for the 23rd annual Minnesota Book Awards. The book was written by recently retired Technical Services Librarian Marilyn McGriff as part of the observance of ECRL's fiftieth anniversary. The book has been nominated in the category titled "Minnesota." You can check out a copy from any ECRL branch. Reserve your copy in our online catalog.

Preliminary round finalists of the 23rd Annual Minnesota Book Awards will be announced after judging on January 29th. Winners will be announced at the Book Awards Gala.

The list of all 2010-2011 nominees is here.

If you're looking for a good read, check out the list of past Minnesota Book Awards honorees. Minnesota is the home of some of the best authors, and many of their books are about Minnesota or are set in locations you'll recognize.

Anniversary Book

Barbara Misselt, Director