Clearer descriptions

When you look for a DVD or book you search our online catalog, using words that describe the title, author, performer, or subject. Your search results depend on how ECRL’s catalogers put the information into the database for each item as it comes in. A new standard is being embraced that uses more descriptive and commonly used words, and less non-intuitive abbreviations. The new standard is call RDA, or Resource Description Access, and replaces the venerated cataloging standard called AACR2.

ECRL’s catalogers attended Minitex training this week to learn how to use RDA and plan to incorporate it into catalog records for new items as we buy them. Since ECRL has over 400,000 item records, you will still see the older terms for quite some time, but hopefully descriptions of new items will be easier to read.

Barbara Misselt, Director

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:
—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 ROAD to Cormac McCarthy

When No Country For Old Men won the Best Picture Academy Award in 2007 I told myself, “I must read Cormac McCarthy.”
I didn’t get around to it, however, until recently. I knew that All the Pretty Horses, volume one of “The Border Trilogy”, had received both the 1992 National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Then The Road was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Last week I picked up The Road, thumbed through it, and noted the absence of quotation marks to indicate dialogue. Finding this somewhat distracting, I laid the book aside and turned to a different novel. Yesterday I picked up McCarthy’s book again—-and finished it this morning.
A man and his son, both unnamed, struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Possessed of meager provisions and a pistol with two bullets, the man convinces the boy that some kind of salvation exists near the sea. Through a blighted landscape of gray ash, dead trees, and chilling temperatures, the reader joins them on the road, encountering harrowing instances of debased humanity, cannibalism, and despair. The boy, who has never known any other life, seems, at times, touched by God, for he is ever aware of the fact that he and his father are the “good guys” who “carry the fire”. Eventually the man succumbs to disease, starvation, and exposure—yet remains convinced that “Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again.”
The Road has been called both “a masterpiece” by Booklist and “a novel of horrific beauty” by Kirkus Reviews. I agree. The book, deceptively simple and straightforward, is devastating and reminds us that the world teeters on the edge of the abyss.
On June 5, 2007, McCarthy sat down with Oprah Winfrey for his first and only television interview. When asked about his writing, McCarthy said he prefers simple, direct sentences and refuses to muddy up his text with “weird little marks” (quotation marks). The video can viewed on Oprah’s site: Just enter his name in the “Search” field on the upper right of the screen.
Directed by John Hillcoat, the film adaptation has just been released in theatres and is receiving generally favorable reviews. Viggo Mortensen, whom many will remember as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, plays the man.
East Central Regional Library owns all of McCarthy’s works in various formats: regular print, large print, audio, VHS, and DVD. Access our homepage at and click on “ECRL Catalog” if you’d like to request a specific item. Remember that library staff are a quick phone call away if you need assistance.

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian


Minnesota Dept. of Human Rights — Investigates charges of illegal discrimination under the Human Rights Act

EEOC ( — Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigates charges pertaining to employment discrimination

American Civil Liberties Union (– National organization advocating individual rights, by litigating, legislating, and educating the public

The library has other sites of interest pertaining to legal issues and employment discrimination on our “Reference Links” page:

—Access the library homepage:

—Click on “Reference Desk” on the left, then “Web Links”

—Click on the “Legal Resources” link

If you need assistance, please feel free to contact your nearest ECRL branch library.

Although staff cannot offer legal advice or assistance, they can refer you to appropriate literature, reference books, websites, and other resources.

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian


It’s still possible to find that “perfect job”, even in this economy. The library can help!

Check out the following books:

“Knock ’em Dead 2009: The Ultimate Job Search Guide” by Martin John Yate
“The Job Search Solution” by Tony Beshara
“60 Seconds & You’re Hired” by Robin Ryan

Need help polishing up your resume or interview skills? Take a look at these:

“301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions” by Vicky Oliver
“Resumes for Dummies” by Joyce Kennedy
“No-Nonsense Resumes” by Wendy Enelow

There are many others. Search the ECRL catalog or ask your librarian for assistance. ECRL staff can also point out our “Web Links” page and the “LearningExpress Library” database.

There are many excellent internet sites that can help you in your job search.

—Go to the library homepage:
—Click on the “Reference Desk” link on the left
—Click on “Web Links”, then “Employment”

Minnesota residents may want to pay particular attention to the following sites:

—“Minnesota Jobs
—“Minnesota’s Job Bank
—“Workforce Centers

The library also has access to a very helpful database: “LearningExpress Library“.

With LearningExpress you can polish up your basic math, reading, writing, and grammar skills, take tests geared toward specific careers (military, nursing, civil service, teaching, law enforcement, and more), as well as get tips on effective interview techniques, job search strategies, and writing resumes.

—Go to the ECRL homepage:
—Click on “Magazines & Databases” on the left
—Scroll down to “Learning Express Library” and click on the blue “Learn A Test” link
—New users must click on “register”. You can then create your own, confidential, account and add tests and courses to “My Center”. You can use the database wherever you have access to a computer – home, work, school, or in the library.

Stop by your local ECRL branch library for an introduction to “Learning Express Library”. We have a helpful brochure that will guide you through account setup and taking the online tests. Staff are happy to answer any questions you may have!

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian