More Kill A Watt Monitors Donated to Library

Press Release

Back in February four Kill A Watt monitors were donated to East Central Regional Library for circulation to its patrons by East Central Energy. Almost immediately we had a waiting list for the monitors. With the demand so high, Mille Lacs Energy in Aitkin, donated two more Kill A Watt monitors to the library. Mille Lacs Energy services customers in Aitkin, Crow Wing and Mille Lacs counties. Any registered patron of East Central Regional Library may check out and use the monitor.

Winter may be over, but often times we use even more energy in the summer months. Everyone wants to save money and A Kill A Watt can do just that. It is a device that can help you identify what appliances in your home are the biggest energy abusers. Simply plug Kill A Watt into any appliance (refrigerator, fan, computer, etc.) and it will assess how efficiently it runs. It has a large LCD display that counts the number of kilowatts per hour used by an appliance just like your local electric utility company.

Is it time to replace that window air conditioner, fan or dehumidifier? Are they the reason that your utility bill is so high? A Kill A Watt monitor can help you make that decision by giving you the information you need.

How do I borrow a Kill A Watt device to use? Simply visit your local East Central Regional Library branch or visit the library’s website at and place a hold on a Kill A Watt device. You will be notified when one becomes available. Then simply drop by your nearest ECRL branch to pick it up.

Thank you to Mille Lacs Energy and East Central Energy for their invaluable donations. These monitors will help consumers in the region make informed decisions on their energy usage. So why not take advantage of the Kill A Watt device and use the information you discover to help you save money? Plug it in and find “watts” killing you. Contact your local ECRL branch for more information.

Organic Puppet Theater at the Cambridge Library

Maryauna, Aaron, Brandon, and Carson learned how to lead happy and healthy lives at the Cambridge Public Library on Saturday, May 9 when Linda Sorenson and her Organic Puppet Theater were here. The children made lung puppets and then presented a puppet show donning healthy organ props and costumes.
Nancy Dunbar, Cambridge Branch Librarian

MedLinePlus for flu (and other) health information

Many of us are watchful of the potential for a flu pandemic – specifically the H1N1 flu, popularly known as “swine flu.” Panic can reign when the public is uninformed, but for those who are armed with reliable information, preparation and common sense will contribute to peace of mind. I suggest MedLinePlus as a good place to look for timely and accurate medical information. MedLinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. They’re doing a good job of gathering together credible information and news about the spread of this new flu. Link to swine flu resources on MedLinePlus.

Another source for information about swine flu is on the Centers for Disease Control site which is also a credible source for health information.

Use MedLinePlus or CDC whenever you need current health and medical information. There is an encyclopedia, a dictionary, and an alphabetized list of health topics. You can even look up names of drugs (both prescription and over the counter) and supplements to find extensive information about them.

If you need help finding information on MedLinePlus, CDC, or other sources, ask your local librarian!

Barbara Misselt, Director


The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library has announced the results of the 21st annual Minnesota Book Awards! A panel of judges selected winners in eight categories, and over 2000 online voters from across Minnesota selected the winner of the Readers’ Choice Award. The awards were presented on the evening of April 25, 2009, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul.

It was my pleasure to serve on the panel that selected The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich as the winner in the Novel & Short Story category. This remarkable novel was also a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

Here’s the complete list of the winners:


Children’s Literature: The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson

General Non-fiction: The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend

Genre Fiction: Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer

Memoir & Creative Non-fiction: The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang

Minnesota: Hard Work and a Good Deal by Barbara W. Sommer

Novel & Short Story: The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich

Poetry: National Monuments by Heid E. Erdrich

Young Adult Literature: Twelve Long Months by Brian Malloy

The Latehomecomer also won the Readers’ Choice Award!
Please check the library catalog or contact your ECRL librarian if you’re interested in reading any of these books.



Bob Gray, Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Aitkin Volunteer Earns President’s Volunteer Service Award

Recently, Ardith Kane received a letter from former President George W. Bush thanking her for her 4000 hours of volunteer service. This service earned Ardith the 2008 President’s Volunteer Service Award. The letter stated, “By volunteering, you have joined a remarkable team that includes millions of Americans whose everyday acts of kindness and decency make our country a better place.” In January 2002, President Bush called on all Americans to dedicate at least two years, or 4000 hours over the course of their lives to serve others.

(Pictured right to left) Roseann Johnson, Ardith Kane, Mary Beth Woodrow, Elaine Haberkorn, Shirley Pick…all Aitkin Public Library staff.

Ardith volunteers through Retired Seniors Volunteer Program, or RSVP. She has volunteered since September, 2005 at the Aitkin Public Library, where she works 5 days/week. Ardith, a volunteer, is a valued and integral part of the library staff. On Monday, April 20, 2009 the library staff at the Aitkin Public Library celebrated this milestone with Ardith. Ardith has also volunteered for many years at First Lutheran Church, Aitkin.

Through Ardith’s service to others, she demonstrates the outstanding character of America and is helping to strengthen our country. Thank you Ardith!

By Mary Beth Woodrow, Aitkin Public Library Branch Librarian