On Friday, January 29, 2010, it was my privilege to attend the evening performance of “4 A.M.”, presented by the Cambridge-Isanti High School Theatre Department as part of the 2010 State One-Act Play Festival.

An ensemble piece written by Jonathan Dorf, the play explores the question, “What’s it like to be awake when the rest of your world is asleep?” Teen characters examine themselves, their relationships, and their place in the world through a series of vignettes and monologues tied together by the character of Frankie, a lonely and somewhat isolated radio DJ.

“4 A.M.” premiered at a similar festival in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in April 2009. It is one of many plays and monologues written by Dorf, who holds a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting from UCLA.

While the entire cast is commendable, special kudos go to Jake Budnick and Tylinn Fahrni. As Frankie, Mr. Budnick transcends the stationary nature of the part through the use of his very expressive voice, while Ms. Fahrni is remarkably natural and unaffected as Jane.

The Cambridge-Isanti High School Theatre Department hope to bring their interpretation of the play to the State Tournament, which will be held in the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine’s University on February 11, 2010.

“4 A.M.” is directed by Kelly Fahrni.

Bob Gray, Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

NOVELIST – Your Guide to Fiction !

As we move into the chilly, dark days and nights of January, there’s nothing more rewarding than relaxing with a good book.

Many people come to the library to request the latest bestsellers or to browse the new books recently added to the collection. Others like to discuss their favorite authors with library staff and make recommendations.

Did you know that the NOVELIST database is available to all East Central Regional Library cardholders? It is your complete guide to fiction and can be used in the library, at home, or wherever you have access to a computer!

With NoveList you can search for books by author, title, or series. You may also limit your results to adults, teens, or children.

On the left side of the home page, you’ll find links to “Author Read-alikes”, “Award Winners”, and “Recommended Reads”. Are you interested in books similar to “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown”? Locate his entry under “Author Read-alikes”. Who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction? You’ll find the answer under “Award Winners”. Would you like a list of historical fiction novels? Check “Recommended Reads”!

To access NoveList go to the ECRL homepage: https://www.ecrlib.org/
—Click on “Magazines & Databases” on the left
—Scroll down and click on the “NoveList” link.
You’re in and can begin looking for that perfect novel!

Please feel free to contact your nearest ECRL branch library if you have questions or comments about NoveList. Staff are happy to assist!

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

The Gift of Reading

I love children’s books. One of my many favorites is called, The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. It’s the story of a tree and a little boy she loved with all her heart. She gave the little boy a place to play when he was little and shade when he was tired. As he grew he wanted to make money and so she gave him the apples from her tree to sell hoping that that would make him happy. As an adult he wanted a house and the tree gave her branches so that he could have lumber. He grew older and wished a boat to sail away; the tree gave her trunk to make him happy. When he came back once more, she thought she had nothing left to give; but she did. He could sit on her stump as an old man and rest.

December is a time of giving. Depending on your tradition, it may be for any number of reasons. In the Christian tradition, the Magi brought gifts to the Christ Child and many give gifts on that basis. The more secular celebration of this holy day/holiday includes Santa Claus. Kwanzaa is celebrated by the African American community in recognition of the African harvest. In many families, small gifts are given in the seven day period from December 26 – January 1. Each of the days is centered on one of the seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. Each day is marked by the lighting of a candle in the kinara or candleholder. Hanukkah is celebrated by the Jewish community as the Festival of Lights. This celebration marks the rededication of the temple that had been desecrated. For eight days candles are lit in the menorah remembering the miracle of the oil lamp in the temple.

Residents of the Wyoming area were invited to give new children’s books or cash for the purchase of books for families with children in need. This project, “The Giving Tree”, was in partnership with the Chisago County Health and Human Service, a replica of what is done in Isanti County at the Cambridge Library. On December 17th, Heidi Neff, a Social Worker from Chisago County Health and Human Services, stopped to pick up books donated at the Giese Memorial Library of Wyoming. Rebecca Hostetler, Branch Librarian, said many people gave the gift of reading to children of families in need. Thirty-nine books were donated; $183.00 was collected for books to be purchased. Scout and Morgan Bookstore, an independent bookseller in Cambridge, offered a discount and thirty-three more books were purchased making a total of seventy-two books for children, infants through early teens. What a great response! Thanks to all who contributed! We’ll be doing it again next year!

Rebecca Hostetler
Wyoming Branch Librarian