Summer Reading a Hit

Eight weeks sure can fly by in a fast flurry when they are as busy as they’ve been for the 2009 summer reading program. In spite of the shaky start when the roof leaked and the library became flooded, “Be Creative @ Your Library” turned out to be a really fun and successful reading promotion for 121 kids pre-school through 6th grade, and “Express Yourself @ Your Library” was a hit with the teens.

The closing program was held on Wednesday, August 5 with a show called “Imagineering” presented by Robert and Lynn Halbrook of Cloquet. He entertained with clever sleight of hand, audience participation, creative theater, and a strong emphasis on books. Parents and kids alike expressed their delight and hopes that he could come back next year.

As usual, following the entertainment was the much anticipated ticket drawing and contest winners. The 56 kids who completed their reading logs were eligible for an additional prize in the drawing and after all the ticket earners had made their choices, the names of those present were all put back and one more name was drawn to receive a pair of donated Twin’s tickets. The winner of those was Killeen Prater.

All summer, the scavenger hunts are a huge favorite. The creative mascot was a musical Beethoven doll who was hidden in a different location each week, so kids had lots of chances to search for him and enter the drawing to win him. Dylan Miller was the lucky winner who got to take him home. The “major art theft” scavenger hunt was a little more difficult than in other years, but there were plenty of kids (with some parental help) who succeeded and then entered the drawing for a Dairy Queen gift card. Vinnie Brackenbury got to take that one home. The guessing contest was for crayons in a jar. The closest guesser, Holly Sybrant, was just one off so she won the whole jar.

A new contest this year was a photo competition with 6 kids submitting their creative efforts. There were winners in three age catagories: for ages 5-7 the winner was Luke Knudson, for ages 8-10 it was Ryan Rabe, and for ages 11-12 the winner was Jared Knudson. This may be a contest that is repeated next year, since many families felt the time limit was too short and they were unable to prepare an entry.

Some of the ticket drawing winners were not present for the drawing, but a prize was selected for each one and those can be picked up at the library.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the 2009 program so great. These include Laura Eyre, Carol Carney, and Alyssa Prater. And a big thank you to all the parents and grandparents who made the extra effort to encourage their youngsters to read and get them to the library to record their progress, pick up their prizes, and attend events….it wouldn’t have happened without your participation! Thanks also to the Hinckley Lions Club for their generous sponsorship of the traveling storyteller, to the City Council for their budgetary support which paid for incentives, the Arboretum programs, and the Halbrook performance, and to Hardees for the drink mix served after the closing program.

The Teen level promotion inspired 41 teens to sign up, and 26 to actively participate with a total of 194 books having been read in the eight weeks. Weekly winners were: week 1, Colleen Christian, Sierra Sorgaard, & Angel White; week 2, Daniel Christian, Tyler Fish, & Lauren Rabe; week3, Nikki Mans, Jonathan Nelson, & Lindsay Rootkie; week 4, Trent Doyle, Adam Finke, & Natalie Peel; week 5, Jessica Nelson, Sierra Sorgaard, & Lauren Worlickey; week 6, Brianna Grinsteinner, Lanae Nelson, & Paige Hodena; week 7, Colleen Christian, Nikki Mans, & Trent Doyle; and week 8, Daniell Christian, Lauren Rabe, & Erika Winter. By far the favorite prize selection for these weekly winners was the free movie pass. Many thanks are extended to Grand Cinema for their donation of these passes and their generous support of reading, creativity, and libraries. Those teens who have not yet stopped in to pick up their prizes are encouraged to still do so.

Thanks to a generous donation given by Marge Lehman, cash prizes were awarded to the top three readers. $25 went to 1st place reader, Lauren Rabe who read 38 books, and $12.50 went to tied 2nd place readers, Trent Doyle amd Sierra Sorgaard who each read 20 books. Congratulations to all the teens who participated and won prizes….keep on reading!

Next year’s theme will be “Make a Splash @ Your Library” and plans are already being discussed for yet another great summer.

Ceci Cross-Maser, Hinckley Branch Librarian

Arts and Culture in the Library

Libraries are at the center of their communities in providing information and recreation. Now, thanks to funds provided through the Legacy Amendment, we will be providing arts and cultural experiences in our libraries. The Legacy Amendment was approved by 56% of Minnesota voters in November 2008. This Amendment raised the state sales tax 3/8 of 1% (starting July 1, 2009 and lasting 25 years) to generate money for four funds: Clean Water, Outdoor Heritage, Parks and Trails, and Arts and Cultural Heritage.

Libraries were included in the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the legislation*, which will receive 19.75% of the sales tax generated each year. This Fund will be divided among many recipients, including the following:

  • Board of Arts (with opportunities for partnerships with libraries and schools)
  • Regional Public Library funding for arts and arts education programs (will receive $4.25 million in FY 2010 and $4.25 in FY 2011)
  • Minnesota Digital Library (will receive $500,000 in FY 2010)

Public Library funding for arts and arts education programs will be allocated to the 12 regional public library systems according to the current regional library basic system support (RLBSS) grant formula. The Department of Education will administer this funding. In addition to our local programming, ECRL will participate along with the other regional public library systems to fund a state project to bring arts and culture into libraries.

The funding from the Legacy Amendment must be used to supplement, not supplant, traditional sources of funding. Recipients of the funding will need to prove that their use of the money was “supplemental” in nature—not a supplanting of current funding.

At its August 10th meeting, the ECRL Board of Directors authorized a committee to oversee the use of ECRL’s portion of the Legacy Funds. We will also be participating in a statewide project of arts in libraries.

*Minnesota Session Laws 2009, Chapter 172, Article 4, Section Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Subdivision 3

Barbara Misselt, Director

Letter from Japan

This E-mail came from John Becker, a Milaca branch patron who has moved to Japan. He tells us about the library in Japan.

I GOT MY LIBRARY CARD!!!! 4 years ago the library here was small, but I didn’t know that from last year they have a new library. It is nice, I have my choice of 18 computers if I get here at opening time, and a view of the green mountains.But no nice red-haired librarian. Or Betty. Instead, there are about a dozen young women in a kind of uniform vest over nice shirt and slacks. They hustle around with such energy, arms pumping and pony tails bobbing up and down, finding material, answering questions, laughing at my bad jokes, bringing the hot towel to relieve weary shoulders. BUT, instead of the few books in English, now they have thousands, including recent Vince Flynn. I was surprised. Regretably, and when I get more known here I will mention this to them, the periodical selection is poor. Although there are about 30 Japanese papers, in
English, the newspapers are the JAPAN TIMES (quite good, except for Americans continuing to snipe at each other in the letters section) and USA TODAY. Non-technical magazines in English are limited to News and World Report, Sports Ill., Elle, Cosmo, Glamour, Good Housekeeping. But the DVD/CD selection is excellent.

Some differences: Checkout is for 2 weeks only for up to 15 books and only 2 CDs or DVDs at a time. But there is no late fee! I asked why and they said “Why should you not be responsible? If you are human, why would you want to shame yourself with thoughtless irresponsibility? And why would we shame ourselves by not trusting you, Bekka-san?”

Also computer time is a choice of 30 min or 1 hour. And they mean it. When they swipe your card, time begins and when it reaches 1 minute countdown, I know that in one minute the screen will blank, and I’d better not be in the middle of something or poof, it’s gone.

The library is a nice place to spend a day. There are 4 restaurants and a coffeeshop in the building. And the toilets have those $1500 toilet seats that wash and dry and eliminate the need for toilet paper. Someday I must ask them how this is all funded.

John (Bekka Jion) has written a book, The Touch of Our Sleeves and we are acquiring a copy of it.

Sharon Strack, Branch Librarian, Milaca

Minnesota Video Vault

Sharing with you this announcement about an unbelievable new online resource:

From Keith Ewing, Saint Cloud State University and the Minnesota Digital Library:
Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) has released the Minnesota Video Vault. The vault provides access to hundreds of videos and TPT productions, from short clips to lengthy shows. The “Educators” button allows you to sort by very broad K12 areas (e.g., Social Science, Science, or Language Arts), then focus by “grade level,” then “strand” (e.g., Minnesota History or US History), and then by “sub strand” (e.g., under the Minnesota History “strand” you can select “sub strands” like the “Civil War and Dakota War” or “Contact and Fur Trade”). The “Interest Areas” button provides a more immediate breakdown by history, people, places, MN issues, arts & entertainment, and special collections, with further topical subdivisions beneath that. This is a terrific resource, of special value to schools and educators, but also for everyone interested in Minnesota and regional history (although the content goes far beyond Minnesota).
Online at

I’m amazed at all the quality viewing available. Here’s a sample of my favorites:

  • Dakota Conflict (the film shown for the Cambridge Reads event)
  • Tales of the Road: Highway 61, Almanac with Cathy Wurzer
  • American Experience Series
  • Antiques Roadshow
  • Great Performances
  • America at War
  • Nova

Barbara Misselt, Director

Minnesota College Savings Plan Offers ECRL Summer Reading Participants a Chance to Win $1,000 Toward College

Encouraging a child to read this summer could lead to $1,000 toward his or her college savings. The Minnesota 529 College Savings Plan and Minnesota libraries today announced the launch of a Saving For College Sweepstakes as part of the 2009 Be Creative at Your Library Summer Reading Program at libraries across Minnesota.

“The Summer Reading program is a good opportunity to encourage children to read and to emphasize saving for college with Minnesota’s 529 college savings plan,” said David Metzen, director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, the agency responsible for administering the Minnesota College Savings Plan.

The Get Creative @ Saving For College Sweepstakes, which runs through August 21, will award fifteen $1,000 prizes to individuals statewide that can be used toward a child’s future college education. In addition, each individual winner’s local library will receive $500 toward future reading programs. “This is a great opportunity,” says Vickie Sorn, ECRL Youth & Community Services Librarian. “One individual from an ECRL branch will win a $1000 prize and one ECRL branch library will win the $500 prize.” Parents can enter to win by filling out an entry form at any ECRL branch when their children sign up for the Summer Reading Program.

For more information on the Minnesota College Savings Plan and the Get Creative @ Saving For College Sweepstakes, visit or visit your local East Central Regional Library branch in Aitkin, Cambridge, Chisago Lakes, Hinckley, McGregor, Milaca, Mille Lacs Lake (Isle), Mora, North Branch, Pine City, Princeton, Rush City, Sandstone, or Wyoming.

ECRL Press Release – July 2009