Kill A Watt Empowers You

Press Release

Kill a Watt

Electricity bills are rising and in these tough economic times, everyone wants to save money. 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 your water heater or refrigerator? Are they the reason that your utility bill is so high? Kill A Watt can help you make that decision by giving you the information you need.

East Central Energy donated five Kill A Watt electricity usage monitors to East Central Regional Library. The five monitors are currently housed at the following ECRL branch libraries served by East Central Energy: Cambridge, Hinckley, Milaca, Mora and Wyoming.

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.

The donation made by East Central Energy will help consumers in the region make informed decisions on their energy usage. So why not take advantage of this great 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.

Era Comes to an End

Press Release

After 49 years, an era will come to an end when the East Central Regional Library Bookmobile makes its last run on May 21st. The decision to replace library services delivered with the current bookmobile with other more cost-effective modes of service is part of the ECRL 2007-2010 Strategic Plan.

Declining use of the bookmobile, along with rising maintenance costs and an aging vehicle precipitated the decision. The current bookmobile purchased in 1996 has traveled over 350,000 miles delivering items to patrons. The bookmobile serves those individuals that are not able to use one of the Library’s 14 branches.

Current bookmobile patrons were recently sent a survey, asking for their input on how best to serve their library needs once bookmobile service has ended. Over 60 surveys were returned. The survey indicated that 50% of those visited by the bookmobile do have access to an ECRL branch and visit them on occasion. It also showed that over 50% using the bookmobile have access to a computer and the Internet. However, barriers still exist for many of our bookmobile patrons. Transportation for many, especially the elderly, remains an issue, along with access to computers and the Internet.

Members of the ECRL’s Long Range Planning Committee met and compiled the survey results and made a recommendation to the Library Board on how to best suit the needs of bookmobile patrons once service comes to an end. The Library Board approved these recommendations at their February 9 board meeting. Among the recommendations approved by the board was the promotion of existing services such as storytime kits for licensed center or family-based daycare providers, plus Bifolkal kits, long term loan checkout and institutional cards for nursing homes and assisted living facilities serving seniors.

Possible new service options among the recommendations include Library Link sites or a mail-a-book option. A library link site is a secure locally supported physical space with a small collection of library materials that would be open very limited hours. Cities or communities must apply to be a Library Link site. For people living in remote locations and who do not have options to pick up materials at a library, other delivery options will be considered.

The decision to end bookmobile service was a difficult one to make, but ECRL is striving to meet the needs of those individuals unable to access an ECRL branch by offering a variety of new and existing services. ECRL Headquarters staff is working with communities and individuals in our 6-county service area to determine the best way to provide library service when bookmobile service ends.

February is Black History Month

During theme months, we never have enough materials to satisfy all the requests for papers being written. Such is the case this month – February is Black History month.

In addition to the print resources we have, we librarians are always on the lookout for good online resources that are not limited to the number of copies we have. The following sites are good jumping off places to find authoritative information:

infoplease — an excellent webliography . . . . but don’t stop there!

Gale – Black History Month — a free resource from the company that publishes many of the ELM sources – Celebrating Black History — not just history, but modern newsmakers as well – Celebrate Black History — 200 notable icons, 101 fast facts, and more

National Geographic Online Presents the Underground Railroad — an interactive guided tour

Dream in Color – Dare. Dream. Do. Target celebrates Black History Month — from Scholastic – lesson plans for all grades

And as always . . . if you need assistance, please contact one of our Branch Librarians!

Barbara Misselt, Director

Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. With the use of the Lincoln Bible at the recent inauguration of President Obama, and the bicentennial observance of Lincoln’s birth, we’ve recently been hearing Lincoln’s name frequently. A couple of years ago I ran across a website created by Roger Norton, who describes himself as a “former American history teacher who enjoys researching Abraham Lincoln’s life and accomplishments.” In other research, I found that Mr. Norton taught middle school history — I wasn’t surprised. It has a wealth of information, all written in the style of that favorite history teacher we all had who made history live for us. I even learned the name of Lincoln’s dog (Fido, a yellowish mutt)!

The website is named Abraham Lincoln Research site. It is divided into 3 parts: Abraham Lincoln Research Site, Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination, and Mary Todd Lincoln Research site. There are photos of Lincoln’s children and the Inauguration as well as the Assassination.

Check out Mr. Norton’s history lesson at:

link was updated March 30, 2010 at request of Roger Norton

Barbara Misselt, Director

Thank you, Tonja

Thank you, Tonja
Approximately 10 ½ years ago the Kanabec County Commissioners put a notice in the paper asking for someone interested in representing the county on the East Central Regional Library Board. Tonja Brown saw the notice and jumped at the chance to send a letter to the commissioners expressing her interest in the position. Needless to say, she was chosen to represent Kanabec County and 10 ½ years later, attended her last ECRL Board meeting on Monday, December 15. Tonja has served the maximum time allowed by Minnesota statute for library trustees.

The written word has always been important to Tonja. She majored in English in college, worked in bookstores and always used the library, so sitting on the library board as a representative for Kanabec County was a perfect fit. “I grew up in the library” says Tonja. She believes there will always be a need for that “physical space.” Especially in these economic times, Tonja believes “libraries are important because not everyone can afford to buy books.”

The biggest challenge over the past 10 ½ years according to Tonja has been funding local libraries. When I began the library system was “doing well,” she says, “but now funding libraries is a challenge economically.” Tonja doesn’t see libraries changing all that much in the next 20 years. According to Tonja we will have many more digital and electronic resources to offer our customers, but there will “still be books on the shelves and we will still need staff” to serve them.

The East Central Regional Library Board would like to thank Tonja for her commitment to serving not only the people of Kanabec County, but to all those people in the ECRL region that believe libraries need a voice in our communities. We appreciate your dedication and hard work.

Vickie Sorn, Youth and Community Services Librarian