A Maroon and White Bus

The small maroon and white bus pulled into the parking lot. Ebenezer Meadows Campus was painted on the side. The driver got out and opened the doors that made the bus handicap accessible with a lift. Slowly the lift was lowered and one by one the occupants were out of the bus and ready to come into the library. Wheelchairs, walkers, canes, independently; one-by-one they made their way into the building.

Three of them needed library cards; two came for the ride. They looked over different parts of the library. Then they checked out a few books and were on their way.

This will become part of their routine; every two weeks they will be able to visit our branch and see the world with different eyes. I’m excited about this opportunity for them and for us. They get a “road trip” and we have a new occasion to serve area residents. Hopefully, more campus residents will become eager at the prospect of visiting the library.

The facility program coordinator will be ordering Bi-Folkal Kits for them and other people at the campus to remember the old days…remember farm days, remember the Depression, remember school days, and remember work life. These and many other topics are covered with individual kits. Each kit includes an extensive program manual, a media presentation, sing along booklets, things to touch and a carrying case. Some have even more.

These kits are multi-media and multi-sensory to prompt memories and discussion. They are the perfect choice for programs and activities for older adults and mixed age groups in senior centers, retirement communities, nursing homes and other settings. If you are interested in finding out more about the Bi-Folkal Kits, stop in at your local East Central Regional Library branch or contact Vicki at 763-689-7390 x13.

I’m looking forward to seeing that maroon and white bus. Once it’s part of the routine, I’ll be planning some inter-generational activities.

Rebecca J. Hostetler, Branch Librarian
Giese Memorial Library, Wyoming

Gearing Up for Fall

Now that summer is beginning to wind down and “back to school” is beginning to wind up, it’s time to once more think about preschool storytime at the library. Our most excellent volunteer, Karen Breach, is anxious to get the fall sessions started. Storytimes will be every Friday at 10:30am starting Friday, Sept ll. This is a wonderful opportunity to get your preschool youngster involved in a pre-literacy experience while having a great time socializing and doing projects. Please mark your calendars for this free and valuable childhood learning adventure.

For adults, ECRL is once again offering classes in the exploration of your family history. You will be able to learn about our new AncestryPlus genealogical database and much more from ECRL’s reference coordinator, Bob Gray, who will be in Hinckley at 10:30am on Thursday, September 10. Class size is limited to 13, so pre-registration is necessary by calling 320-384-6351 at least 3 days prior to the date of the workshop. Basic computer skills are mandatory.

ECRL will soon be celebrating 50 years of public library service and in honor of that achievement will be hosting celebrations in each of the 14 branches throughout the 6 county region. We are eagerly seeking historical trivia and information about early library use and development. If you have a story or a clipping, please stop in to share it. More details will be forthcoming as they develop.

Ceci Cross-Maser, Hinckley Branch Librarian

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