Prohibition in Minnesota: an ECRL Reads program

The 1920s is probably best known for Prohibition, a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933.

Minnesotans, along with the rest of the country, were plunged into what many called “The Great Experiment.” PROHIBITION. A primary theme of the ECRL Reads book, Ice-Out, is prohibition in Minnesota, the struggle for many to survive and how it changed the lives of ordinary people. As gangsters grabbed the headlines, everyday Minnesotans quietly set up their own stills and speakeasies, producing what many considered, the best corn liquor in the nation.

Learn all about Minnesota’s wild and woolly prohibition days as ever popular historical re-enactor, Arn Kind presents Prohibition in Minnesota. He will be visiting six branches within the ECRL system.

Thursday, September 21 – Mora Public Library – 6:00-8:00 pm

Saturday, September 23 – Hinckley Pubic Library – 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Monday, September 25 – Cambridge Public Library – 6:00-8:00 pm

Tuesday, September 26 – Chisago Lakes Area Library – 6:00-8:00 pm

*Thursday, September 28 –Event Center at McQuiod’s Inn, 1325 Hwy 47 North, Isle, MN. –  6:00-8:00 pm – in partnership with McQuiod’s Inn and the Mille Lacs Lake Community Library

Saturday, September 30 – McGregor School Auditorium – 10:30 am – 12:30 pm – in partnership with McGregor Community Ed and presented by the McGregor Public Library

Join us for this in-depth and interactive look at how this constitutional ban played a part in Minnesota’s history. All programs are funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


ECRL Reads – September 15 thru November 16

Many communities throughout Minnesota and the U.S. host community wide read programs with everyone reading the same book.  If this can work for communities, why not try it for an entire region?  Hence, the idea for a region-wide read program for the East Central Regional Library system was conceived.

Supported with Legacy funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund, a library legacy sub-committee was formed to pick a title and plan events and programs for the first ever ECRL Reads Program.  Instead of only one community reading the same book, everyone in our region of six counties including Aitkin, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs and Pine will be reading the same book.  This will include all our 14 branches (Aitkin, Cambridge, Hinckley, Chisago Lakes, McGregor, Milaca, Mille Lacs (isle), Mora, North Branch, Pine City, Princeton, Rush City, Sandstone, Wyoming and our eight Outreach locations.

The ECRL Reads program’s goal is to encourage community members throughout our six counties to come together through the reading and discussion of a common book and to strengthen the region while supporting literacy.  After several book suggestions and discussions, the committee chose the book Ice-Out by MN author Mary Casanova to be our 2017 ECRL Reads title.  The ECRL Reads event will run from September 15 thru November 16 and includes numerous programs and events based on the life and culture of 1920s Minnesota.

Ice-Out is the story about nineteen-year-old Owen Jensen who has big dreams growing up in tiny Ranier, Minn., near the Canadian border. He wants to open the town’s first Studebaker dealership, support his mom and younger siblings after the death of his father and win the hand of his girlfriend, Sadie Rose. But in the lawless 1920s, few paths are open to young men in his town, other than farming, fishing and bootlegging.  Readers will be rooting for Owen to find a path forward at a time when the police were sometimes as dangerous as the criminals they chased down.  Inspired by real events in early 1920s Minnesota, it is a story of young romance against terrible odds and true grit on the border between license and responsibility, rich and poor, and right and wrong.

Mary Casanova is an award-winning Minnesota author. Many of her books stem from her life on the Minnesota-Canadian border; yet some of her stories have taken her as far away as France, Norway, and Belize for research.

The ECRL Reads program is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and in partnership with the Friends groups of the Cambridge Public Library, Chisago Lakes Area Library, North Branch Area Library, Princeton Area Library, Rush City Public Library and the Sandstone Public Library and both McGregor and North Branch Community Education.

For a list of all programming and events including book discussions, a Prohibiton re-enactor, music of the 20s and 30s, The Tin Lizzie: Mr. Ford’s Model T and more download the ECRL Reads brochure.  Be sure to follow us on  our Facebook page and Twitter as well (#ECRLReads).

RBdigital Web Updates

An update for RBdigital will start around 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20. This update may take up to 8 hours to complete. During this period, service disruptions are expected for all RBdigital products on both web and mobile, including RBDigital audiobooks, magazines, and  eBooks, and the Atomic Training database.

The RBdigital update will deliver a number of new features.  We apologize for the inconvenience during this time.

Read an eBook Day!


At East Central Regional Library, we love eBooks every day, but today we’re showing our love just a little bit more. September 18th is Read an eBook Day, a celebration of modern storytelling. Be a part of the celebration by checking out your favorite eBook from ECRL’s OverDrive Digital Library.

eBooks enable you to take the stories and authors you love with you anytime, anywhere. If you have a smartphone, tablet or computer you can be connected to a world of literature whether you’re sitting on your couch, on an airplane 30,000 feet in the air and anywhere in between. They save you space in your suitcases, can’t be lost or damaged and can be accessed at the click of a button. If you’ve never tried reading an eBook before, today is the perfect time to try one out! Borrow one of your favorite books or something completely new and discover the joys of digital reading.

Here’s some ideas for how join us in celebrating!

  1. Check out Ice-Out by Mary Casanova to join ECRL Reads.  No waitlists or holds.
  2. Join the conversation by sharing why you love eBooks with the hashtag #eBookLove on social media for a chance to win a Kobo Aura ONE from OverDrive.
  3. Listen to author interviews from the Professional Book Nerds podcast.
  4. Get ideas on what to read next from OverDrive.
  5. Share what you’re reading and see what other eBook readers from across the world are reading.