Folk Dance Series Continues with Finn Hall

East Central Regional Library in partnership with the Pine County Historical  Society in Askov welcome people of all generations and dance levels to check out a series of folk dance instruction and live performance at the Pine County Historical Society in Askov.

On Saturday, April 1 at 1 p.m. join us for the second event in the series as an award-winning group from Minneapolis called Finn Hall entertains and educates us.  These musicians recreate the feel and sounds of the historic Finnish-American dance halls for local dancers offering waltz, polka, schottische, mazurka, tango, humppa and other dances.

The folk dance series will continue with the Norwegian sounds of De glada on Saturday, May 6 at 1 p.m., followed by an Octoberfest event later in the fall.

No registration is necessary for the event, which are free and open to the public. The dance workshops are geared for ages 14 and up, and singles and couples are welcome. This project was funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.



Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Cultural Exhibit to Visit All ECRL Branches

This week the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe unveiled a new cultural exhibit that highlights the Band’s heritage and deep connection to East Central Minnesota. The exhibit, made up of five interconnected banners, details the history of the Mille Lacs Band from its arrival 250 years ago in what would become Minnesota up to the present day. The exhibit also explains the Band’s sovereign government structure and the economic benefits that the Band brings to East Central Minnesota.

“We are excited to have an additional option for sharing the Band’s history and culture with our neighbors,” said Jamie Edwards, the Mille Lacs Band Director of Government Affairs. “While the Band is an important regional employer and community partner, many of our neighbors still don’t know that much about us. This exhibit seeks to change that.”

The cultural exhibit, will open at the Hinckley Public Library, a branch of East Central Regional Library, on Tuesday, November 26 and will be on display until December 10. All 14 branches of East Central Regional Library will host all or part of the cultural exhibit in the coming months.  After leaving the Hinckley Public Library, it will travel to the Rush City Public Library.  See the schedule listed below for the dates the exhibit will be at an ECRL branch near you.   

Hosting the Mille Lacs Band traveling cultural exhibit is an honor.  It is crucial that East Central Regional Library is educating our entire community about American Indian culture and government, especially with the Mille Lacs Band right next door.

More information about the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe can be found at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum in Onamia or at

Exhibit Schedule:

Hinckley Public Library – November 26 to December 10
Rush City Public Library – December 10 to December 23
Mille Lacs Lake Community Library – December 23 to January 7
Aitkin Public Library – January 7 to January 22
Mora Public Library  – January 22 to February 4
Pine City Public – February 4 to February 19
Sandstone Public Library – February 19 to March 4
McGregor Public Library – March 4 to March 18
Milaca Community Library – March 18 to April 1
Princeton Area Library – April 1 to April 15
Cambridge Public Library – April 15 to April 29
Wyoming Area Library – April 29 to May 13
Chisago Lakes Area Library – May 13 to May 27
North Branch Area Library  – May 27 to June 10

Why Read?

If you participate in Pine City Reads, the community-wide reading event, you might have read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury this winter. One of the main themes of the book is a lack of access to ideas and information. In Bradbury’s dystopian future, all books are banned. Some resist this, reading in secret and risking imprisonment or death for their crimes, but others are content to spend their lives glued to vapid yet immersive television programs or engaged in other types of media overload.

Bradbury’s novel is much more intricate than this, but today I want to focus on this aspect of the story. As one of Bradbury’s characters explains, their world ended up like this—with no legal access to books—not because censorship started from the top down, with the government imposing it upon the populace, but because over time people electively stopped reading.

Fortunately, this dystopian future is not a reality, but the subject matter tends to foster a discussion about reading that involves some important questions. How often do we read? How important is it to our daily lives? Why does it matter if we read at all?

To summarize a 2006 research overview from the National Literacy Trust, reading helps us in many ways–to foster personal development, to learn about a variety of subjects (everything from science to history to pop culture and beyond), and to feed our imaginations. It helps us to be informed and to achieve a level of literacy that empowers us, especially in the frequent information overload of the 21st century. Last but not least, all readers know that it can be fun, immersive, and deeply affecting, touching us emotionally and impacting our beliefs, goals, and worldview.

We librarians want you to read, for all these benefits and more. No matter the genre—true crime, romance novels, mysteries, spy thrillers, westerns, science fiction, fantasy, biographies, etc.  No matter the topic—health, history, debt-free living, car repair, cooking, parenting advice, craft projects, genealogy, etc. No matter the format—books, audiobooks, newspapers, magazines, graphic novels, paperbacks, or  eBooks.  Even if you prefer to buy all your books, spending money on every title you read, we’re thrilled that you’re reading—just remember that our public libraries also frequently sell used books to raise money for library programs and services for our communities.

I have been told, from time to time, that eBooks and e-readers are the enemy of libraries. This is untrue. We want you to read any format that is accessible and comfortable for you. The East Central Regional Library’s vision is “To assist people of all ages in addressing their informational, educational, and recreational needs in an ever-changing world…”  In our ever-changing world, technology is not the enemy of the library, but an empowering tool that we can use to expand our reach and achieve our goals. Remember that you can also check out downloadable audiobooks and eBooks through our website.

So, we hope you take the time to read today, no matter where you got the book from, how you read it, or what it’s about. Just remember that we’re here to help you, and that all ECRL librarians and staff are happy to help you find reading materials whenever you need or want them.

-Robin Duple, Pine City Branch Librarian


It was the largest and most luxurious ocean liner of its time.  Captained by Edward J. Smith, the RMS Titanic left Southhampton, England, for New York City on April 10, 1912.  Four days later, at 11:40 pm on April 14th, the ship struck on iceberg in the North Atlantic, south of Newfoundland, Canada.  In the early morning hours of April 15th, the Titanic broke in two and sank to the ocean floor.

1517 people perished.

April 15, 2012, is the 100th anniversary of a maritime disaster that continues to fascinate people around the world. 

East Central Regional Library has a wide variety of materials on the Titanic in various formats that can be requested and borrowed from your local branch library.

If you enjoy fiction, consider these novels, all published in 2012:

“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” by Tricia Goyer

“The Company of the Dead” by David Kowalski
“The Dressmaker” by Kate Alcott
“Echoes of Titanic” by Mindy Starns Clark
“Hearts that Survive” by Yvonne Lehman
“Promise Me This” by Cathy Golke

For nonfiction readers, the following 2012 titles should prove interesting:

“Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage” by Hugh Brewster
“Shadow of the Titanic” by Andrew Wilson
“Titanic:  Last Night of a Small Town” by John Welshman
“Titanic in Photographs” by Daniel Klistorner
“Titanic Tragedy” by John Maxtone-Graham
“Voyagers of the Titanic” by Richard Davenport-Hines

For film buffs, the library offers both feature films and documentaries:

“Titanic” starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck (1953)

“A Night to Remember” starring Kenneth More and Jill Dixon (1958)
“Titanic” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (1997)
“Titanic” starring Toby Jones and Linus Roache (2011)
“Titanic:  the Complete Story” (2011)
“Titanic:  100th Anniversary Collection” (2012)
“Titanic:  the Definitive Documentary Collection” (2012)

 These are only a few of the items you’ll find in the ECRL catalog.  For additional materials in various formats (for children, teens, and adults), access our homepage at and click on “ECRL Catalog” on the upper left. 
And remember that library staff are always happy to assist with queries and suggestions!

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Minnesota’s Own – JUDY GARLAND !

Eighty-nine years ago today, Frances Gumm was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  In 1935, she signed a seven-year contract with MGM, the biggest motion picture studio in Hollywood.  In 1939, she shot to international stardom as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”.

Frances Gumm was better known as JUDY GARLAND.

It was a rough and rocky road for the young girl who first entertained audiences at age two in her father’s theatre.  Musical hits like “Meet Me in St. Louis”, “The Harvey Girls” and “Easter Parade” kept her at the pinnacle of Hollywood stardom in the 1940s, even though she battled personal demons and drug addiction in her private life.  Today Garland is considered one of the great icons of 20th century American entertainment. 

The 36th Annual Judy Garland Festival will be held June 16-18  in Grand Rapids.  Her childhood home is a popular museum and can be visited. For additional information, call 1-800-664-5839 or visit the following website:

East Central Regional Library has a wide variety of materials pertaining to Garland that can be requested and checked out.

“Get Happy” by Gerald Clarke is the definitive biography, while “Me and My Shadows” by Lorna Luft is an enlightening, bittersweet memoir written by Judy’s second daughter.

If you enjoy musicals, look no further than our DVD collection.  “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944) is a gentle, nostalgic look at a Midwestern family during the 1904 World’s Fair.  Judy and Van Johnson play feuding music store clerks destined for romance “In the Good Old Summertime” (1949).  And in “A Star is Born” (1954), she gives the finest performance of her career as a young singer rising to stardom while her husband battles alcoholism.   Garland received her only Academy Award nomination as “Best Actress” for this film.

To find these materials — and more, including music CDs — visit the library’s homepage: and click on “ECRL Catalog” on the upper left.  Then enter “Judy Garland” as a keyword search.

Staff are always willing to help or make suggestions!

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian