Prohibition in Minnesota: an ECRL Reads program

The 1920s is probably best known for Prohibition, a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933.

Minnesotans, along with the rest of the country, were plunged into what many called “The Great Experiment.” PROHIBITION. A primary theme of the ECRL Reads book, Ice-Out, is prohibition in Minnesota, the struggle for many to survive and how it changed the lives of ordinary people. As gangsters grabbed the headlines, everyday Minnesotans quietly set up their own stills and speakeasies, producing what many considered, the best corn liquor in the nation.

Learn all about Minnesota’s wild and woolly prohibition days as ever popular historical re-enactor, Arn Kind presents Prohibition in Minnesota. He will be visiting six branches within the ECRL system.

Thursday, September 21 – Mora Public Library – 6:00-8:00 pm

Saturday, September 23 – Hinckley Pubic Library – 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Monday, September 25 – Cambridge Public Library – 6:00-8:00 pm

Tuesday, September 26 – Chisago Lakes Area Library – 6:00-8:00 pm

*Thursday, September 28 –Event Center at McQuiod’s Inn, 1325 Hwy 47 North, Isle, MN. –  6:00-8:00 pm – in partnership with McQuiod’s Inn and the Mille Lacs Lake Community Library

Saturday, September 30 – McGregor School Auditorium – 10:30 am – 12:30 pm – in partnership with McGregor Community Ed and presented by the McGregor Public Library

Join us for this in-depth and interactive look at how this constitutional ban played a part in Minnesota’s history. All programs are funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


New librarian joins the ECRL team!

East Central Regional Library is pleased to announce Amelia Birkholz has accepted the Branch Librarian position at the Hinckley Public Library. She began her full-time position at Hinckley on August 23.

Amelia received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English/ Communications, Media, and Rhetoric from the UAmelia Birkholzniversity of Minnesota Morris in spring 2015. There she worked in Circulation at the Rodney A. Briggs Library and volunteered at the Morris Public Library. Most recently she was the Interim Executive Director at the Falls Chamber of Commerce in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, and the Assistant Manager at Pleasant Valley Orchard in Shafer.

ECRL is excited to have Amelia join the team!

Downton Abbey Withdrawal Blues?

If you are like just about everyone I know, you are currently mourning the loss of a very beloved TV series, Downton Abbey. If you are such a person, here are six shows that have the potential to fill any void Downton Abbey has left in your TV viewing schedule.

A Place Call Home

This melodrama has been called the “Australian Downton Abbey” on several review pages. Set in the 1950’s, this drama tells the story of Sarah Adams, who returns to Australia after being away for 20 years. She quickly meets the wealthy Bligh Family and secrets and romance ensues. The story-line deals with love, loss, and social change found in the 1950’s.

Call the Midwife

Changes are, if you are a Downton fan, you have already heard of this show, but if you haven’t, look no further than this much-loved historical drama. The series is adapted from the memoirs of real midwife, Jennifer Worth, who practiced midwifery in England during the 1950’s. Call the Midwife is funny, touching, and offers a colorful perspective on pregnancy and family life.

Mercy Street

This show has just started airing on PBS and is intended to be their next big thing. Also based off of true events, Mercy Street shows the medical practices and lives of those who work in a makeshift hospital during the Civil War. What makes this hospital extraordinary is that it treats the wounded from both sides of the fighting. The acting, costumes, and set of this drama are superb. That being said, only tune into Mercy Street if you are OK with seeing realistic accounts of Civil War era medical practices, which tend to be bloody.

Bletchley Circle

Bletchley Park was the real life location of Britain’s most brilliant minds who functioned as code breakers, during WWII. This operation was so secret that those who worked at Bletchley Park could never discuss it. Not even to those closest to them. Not even after the war.

Bletchley Circle takes this idea and imagines what would happen to those codebreakers, particularly the women, after the war. Bletchley Circle begins in 1952 when one former code breaker accidentally discovers the presence of serial killer in England due to her ability to decode patterns in the murders that no one else can. She reunites with several of her former code-breakers to investigate and hunt down this killer.


This BBC series based on the novels by Winston Graham. It tells the account of Ross Poldark who returns to his home of Cornwall, England after fighting three years in the American Revolutionary War. He returns to find that his father has died, his inheritance is in shambles, and his sweetheart is engaged to his cousin. Devoted to his father’s land and the people who have served it, Poldark avoids the easy way out of financial ruin. He instead remains in Cornwall in hopes of rebuilding his father’s business and estate. He did not expect to also find love.

The Paradise

Set in the late 1800’s this TV series is set in a department store and follows the life of a young woman, named Denise. The Paradise tells Denise’s story as she becomes enchanted by the way of the modern world and the shop owner, Morary.

Are you looking for some Downton Abbey read-a-likes as well? Look no further than ECRL’s Downton Abbey Read-A-Like list on Pinterest!

Kirsten Vaughan, Hinckley Branch Librarian