Congratulations, Sue

North Branch Librarian Sue Monroe has completed a class in American Sign Language. Sue says it was a very intense 6 weeks where she learned “the very basics of American sign language.”

She very quickly found her new skills useful and told us about it in this e-mail:

Today I had a deaf woman come into the library for the first time. She brought her granddaughter with her and wanted to get her a library card and to check out Scooby-Doo materials. The granddaughter is not hearing impaired and it was so interesting watching the two of them interact with one another. I was able to communicate with the deaf woman with my very limited ASL vocabulary on such items as establishing that she was the grandmother and not the parent of the young girl, taking the registration form to a table to fill out, the need for two pieces of identification (I used finger spelling for this as I do not know the sign for ID), and a 3 week CKO period on materials. I was able to understand some of her signing, but certainly not all of it. She knows that I am just learning to sign, so she was patient with me. I felt that it was a positive experience for both of us.

About her training, Sue further stated, “A couple of items that I found interesting was that ASL is NOT a universal language, there is no universal sign language. In fact not only is it not universal, but some ASL signs are geographical as well. A sign that is used in Minnesota, may not be used in another part of the country. Also, deaf people do not view themselves as disabled or handicapped, but as whole & complete. . . Sign language is just like learning a foreign language. It takes practice, practice, practice.”

Keep practicing, Sue. ECRL Assistant Director Nick Dimassis said this in an e-mail to Sue: “Congratulations, Sue, on finishing the class, putting what you’ve learned into practice for your patrons/community and for providing yet another set of skills from which ECRL staff can draw.” And from me — thanks for your dedication to serving your community!

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Legislative Session Now On

This time of year the Legislature is in session and much of my energy and attention is spent on the Capitol in Saint Paul. There is a tension and excitement to the process. With the economy on the downturn, and the economic forecast predictions that state revenues will decline, legislators are displaying fiscal conservatism — especially in the House, where all the members are up for re-election in 2008. My task is to remind them that funding libraries is especially important during rough economic times, when library use has historically increased. Availability of the free services libraries provide is especially important when families and businesses cannot afford to pay for information and recreation access.

February 27th was Library Legislative Day. The Capitol was full of library workers, board members, and Friends, who were engaged in talking to their legislators. I enjoy Legislative Day, and always end up dead tired after walking the tunnels between the State Office Building, the Capitol, and the Judicial Center. Our first appointment this year was at 8:15 a.m., and the last was at 3:30 p.m.

This year is a bonding year, and our biggest issue is to encourage legislators to include money in the bonding bill to fund the Library Construction and Accessibility Program. Six communities in the East Central Region are in various phases of planning for new or expanded libraries. Funding for the bonding bill is critical to library growth.

While Legislative Day is important, we need to keep talking to our legislators through visits, phone calls, and mail (both e-mail and via the postal service.) A super tool to find your state or federal representatives is at: http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/legdir.asp Click on “Who Represents Me?” And then start calling or writing — tell them how important the library is in your community! Thanks for helping us.

Barbara discusses library construction needs with Senator Betsey Wergin, District 16
Sen Betsey Wergin, District 16 11 March, 2008 (Photo 2/27/08)

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

My Health Minnesota Go Local at Rotary

June 30, 2010 Note: The website referenced in this blog post has been decommissioned by the National Library of Medicine. More information about the decision to end its support is available at this technical bulletin.

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association sponsored the program for Cambridge Rotary this noon. The speaker they brought was librarian Karla Block from the UM Bio-Medical Library. Karla talked about the on-line resource My Health Minnesota Go Local, which is part of the National Library of Medicine partnership with libraries and library consortia to provide national coverage of health services. The Minnesota site is one of 24 Go Local projects with many more in development.

Go Local is a tool to bring accurate information about health services in local geographic areas, including hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, support groups, health screening providers and many others.

Go Local is linked on the ECRL site under the menu bar Reference Desk. Look at the Reference Desk section to find links and information guides from ECRL librarians.

Go Local at Rotary
Karla Block, Associate Librarian at the Bio-Medical Library

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Telling Our Library Story

I just finished a presentation for the Cambridge Rotary Club. I’ve done similar presentations before, but I never get over the excitementment of being able to give away so much — and it doesn’t raise my library budget or cost me anything personally.

I started out today’s presentation by asking people to show their library cards . . . . and today’s program-sponsoring Rotarian passed out a prize to everyone who had a library card. While they were proudly holding up their library cards, I told them that was the most valuable card in their wallet. I talked about the services our 14 libraries offer, and about our online services that they can use 24/7. Wow! They were taking notes and asking questions.

As I said, I’ve done pretty much the same presentation in both Regions in which I’ve worked, and the response is the same — total amazement and appreciation for what they didn’t know they’ve had for quite some time now. I wonder how many others haven’t heard about us yet. And I’m reminded that we’ve got a lot of marketing and instruction to do.

I’m looking to go out and talk to as many people as I can and demo our fine products and services. Just call and invite me!

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

It’s New Year’s Resolution Time!

With the New Year fast approaching, we’re all thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Some of us will go on a diet, some will decide to exercise more, some will tackle classic literature, and others will pledge to do something to make a difference in the world. (Some of us just might attempt to do all of the above!)

Every year I pledge to do something that will change lives…that will make our world a better place. One year I bought a goat through World Vision for an African family. Another year I sent some of my textbooks to Africa to support students there. This past year I gave my time and political voice to a variety of worthwhile projects through involvement with the ONE Campaign and DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa).

Though all of those acts have been fulfilling and worthwhile, I’ve come to realize that not all of us can be like Bono and have the dedication, determination, and influence to single-handedly save the world…or even a mere continent. Besides, this year, I am looking to do some good a little bit closer to home. As I was brainstorming ideas for ways to do so, I had one of those Homer Simpson “DOH!” moments. Hello! I work at a library….why not become a paying member of my library’s Friends of the Library group!

Joining a local Friends of the Library group is a fabulous way to give back to the community and to support the library. Friends groups, like the one here at the Chisago Lakes Area Library, are vital to the success of the library. Think about the many things that these groups do: They purchase new library materials for their libraries; they fund library programs; they raise money for the library through book sales and other wonderful activities; and their members often volunteer at the library. Whether you become an active Friends member who helps set up programs or a dues-paying “inactive” member, your support effects every single library user who comes through the doors. And, you know, you might just benefit, too…think of all the local contacts you will make by becoming involved in this community group! Plus, there is that whole Pay It Forward concept to keep in mind…

Needless to say, I’m excited about the opportunity to make a difference in my library and in the local community. So come on! Join me! Call or stop by your local library to find out how to join your community’s Friends of the Library group!

~~~Angela~~~

Chisago Lakes Area Library Branch Librarian