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).