Visiting County Boards

This past Monday was the three-month anniversary of my first day at East Central Regional Library. The last three months have been good ones and how quickly they have flown by!

One of my initial goals was to go to a meeting of the the County Board of Commissioners in each of our six counties. Of course, at the outset, this was a pretty daunting undertaking, but I’ve enjoyed it, and it’s gone well. As of today, I’ve got five down and one to go. I’ll be traveling to Aitkin County on January 8th for the sixth county board visit.

This morning I visited Isanti County and this afternoon I was in Pine County. Two questions have come up (in various forms) repeatedly. Both of them are excellent questions, and I’ve pondered both of them for a long time. I wish I had a crystal ball. The questions as they were asked today are: (1)How do I see library services changing? and (2)Do I see library funding requests continuing with percentages of increase in double digits?

My initial response is that in my experience, our customers want all the services they traditionally have received and more. They especially want information access anywhere at any time delivered through technology. And they expect library staff members to be expert information guides for any and all formats.

As we review the ECRL strategic plan, I will be seeking help in answering these questions. The answer to #1 will drive #2. What do our customers expect of us? What needs in our communities do libraries answer?

Thanks to ECRL Board Members for accompanying me to meetings today — Ron Drude this morning in Isanti County and Bayliss and wife Margery Swanson this afternoon in Pine County.

The Swansons took the opportunity to visit the Sandstone Library while they were in town for the Board meeting. Left to right: Margery, Sandstone Librarian Jeanne Coffey, and Bayliss.
Sandstone Library

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Rush City Grand Re-Opening

On Saturday, with kids in tow, I attended the Grand Re-Opening of the Rush City library. The coffee was strong, the cookies were chocolate chip, the library was crisp and gorgeous, and all attendees were excited about their “new” library. What more could one ask for? Jeanette and Jane and assorted volunteers did an outstanding job planning and executing this remodeling project. Hats off!

Moreover, I heard from several there, as I have in the past from RC patrons, that, more than the physical structure, it is the personal care and attention that Jeanette gives to her patrons that is that branch’s real treasure. Her focus on the kids of the community has been particularly praised and appreciated. Students from the local school, where research resources are limited, rely heavily on its public library, and thus its staff. To me, that’s what Saturday’s celebration was really about.

I took pictures and, with the help of my 11-year-old daughter, uploaded them to ECRL’s flickr site. I had hoped to postpone until her teen years the looks of “Dad, you are so uncool” but when I admitted I hadn’t downloaded/uploaded pictures before, I think I glimpsed my declining stature. Check out the pictures.

Nick Dimassis, Assistant Director, ECRL

I lub my new libary

The newly renovated Rush City Library opened this week. The first person to come in was a blond haired little girl, who promply sat down in front the bright window in the children’s section and read a book. She told Rush City Librarian, Jeanette Monthye, “I lub my new libary.”

The East Central Minnesota Post Review has a great story about the renovation which was funded by Chisago County. Check it out online.

Congratulations to the residents of Rush City on your new library. Thank you to Jeanette and Jane for all your hard work. And thank you to Chisago County for your support!

Rush City Renovation Click on the photo for my pictures of the Rush City Library

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director


I hope everyone is enjoying ECRL’s foray into the world of blogging. I, myself, absolutely love blogs: I have a bloglines account that I check religiously, I’ve been known to blog about the brilliant books I’ve been reading, and I think that blogs can be a wonderful mix of function and fun. Hopefully my contributions to our blog will run the gamut between the two.

For this, my first post, I want to take a minute to highlight some of the blogs that I take time out of my crazy life to read. They rarely ever disappoint and are definitely worth your time:

The Annoyed Librarian

I’m starting off with a BANG! This one is a bit controversial, as the Annoyed Librarian (AL) isn’t afraid to speak her mind and often tackles topics near and dear to the hearts of many librarians. Lovers of wit and wisdom (and a healthy dose of sarcasm and irony) will appreciate the AL.

Pop Goes the Library!

A group of fabulous ‘pop culture mavens’ blogs about libraries, literacy, and, you guessed it, pop culture!

Reading Rants: Out of the Ordinary Teen Booklists

This is my absolute favorite site focusing on young adult literature. Jennifer Hubert Swan reviews fabulous teen books in an accessible blog format. This chick knows her stuff….and even teens like to check out her site for suggested reads!

Sanders Says

Sanders Says, put out by Yahoo’s Tim Sanders, is a wonderful blog focusing on business, culture, and spirit.

Shake Your Beauty

Author of urban chicklit books for teens and adults, Tia Williams blogs about fashion, pop culture, and literature.

The Shifted Librarian

Jenny, information maven extraordinaire, talks technology and libraries. Lately there has been a focus on gaming in the library, which is, as we all know, one really cool way to get teens into our libraries.

Tame the Web

If you work in a library and don’t know who Michael Stephens is, I strongly suggest adding his blog to your bloglines account! Michael (and, when he is too busy, his merry band of co-writers) covers everything under the sun related to libraries, technology, training, Web 2.0, and anything else that strikes his fancy.

There are many more wonderful blogs out there that I read and love, but these are the core blogs that I take the time to keep up. Perhaps some of you will enjoy them as much as I do!

Chisago Lakes Area Library Branch Librarian

Christmas Tea at Aitkin Public Library

It was a festive afternoon at the Aitkin Public Library on Sunday, Dec. 2. Library patrons celebrated the coming Christmas season by reading a variety of Christmas prose and poetry. Afterwards, Christmas tea and elegant goodies were enjoyed by all in the beautifully trimmed library. Many remark that this event is the beginning of their Christmas celebration and even their favorite Christmas event—very relaxing and charming. This was the 13th annual Friends of the Library Christmas Tea.

Mary Beth Woodrow, Aitkin Library Branch Manager