ECRL Blue Ribbon Reader Named

It’s fair time and everyone wants to win a blue ribbon! This year, the Minnesota Summer Reading Program and Youth Services Committee decided to recognize a Blue Ribbon Reader from each public library region in the State of Minnesota.

Each of the 12 public library systems in Minnesota was asked to submit the name of one child (K-12) who has shown great enthusiasm in the summer reading program, participation in summer reading events and who deserves to be recognized for their summer reading achievements.

Each of the 14 branch libraries, two link sites and the outreach program in the East Central Regional Library system submitted the name of one such summer reading participant. The names of the children nominated from each were put in a hat and a winner drawn from the nominations. Irene Oquist representing our East Central Regional Library Outreach program was named the Blue Ribbon Reader for the ECRL region. Irene is 12 years old and lives in Braham. She received a four pack of MN State Fair tickets plus her very own “Star Reader” blue ribbon!

Tim Olson, ECRL Outreach Librarian, congratulates Irene on being chosen East Central Regional Library’s 2012 Blue Ribbon Reader!

Vickie Sorn, Youth and Community Services Librarian

Local bookstore, library work together to promote literacy

This is a letter written by Judith Kissner, owner of Scout and Morgan Books in Cambridge. She says she wrote the piece for the upcoming issue of Bookwomen Magazine (Minnesota Women’s Press)which will have a feature in their next issue about supporting public libraries. She also sent the letter to the Isanti County News, where it was published last week.

Scout and Morgan Website
Scout and Morgan on Facebook

Local bookstore, library work together to promote literacy
Thursday, 26 August 2010

Dear Editor:

As the owner of an independent bookstore in a small community, I have noticed that people often think that we are somehow in competition with our local library, and that they need to offer an apology for checking a book out at the library rather than buying it from us.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I can’t imagine wanting to live in a community that didn’t have a public library. In the same way that you can tell a lot about a person by the books on their shelves, you can tell a lot about a community by their public library. Do they have an active Friends Group? What kinds of services do they provide? Are there lots of new arrivals displayed? Do they have book groups? How about a City- Wide Read? Do they celebrate Banned Books Week?

Our bookstore is a business member of our Friends of the Library and I volunteer on the City-Wide Read committee. Many of our loyal customers and supporters are strong supporters and users of our local libraries. We often suggest to customers that they check a book out at the library first before making a decision to purchase a copy. We regularly promote our local library’s author events and book groups, as well as remind people of what a resource a public library is, especially in tough economic times. Public libraries are essential to a healthy democracy where everyone, regardless of income has access to information and ideas. Public libraries are often at the forefront in defending the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of the press and speech. We see public libraries as partners and librarians as colleagues.

To candidates running for local and state offices, we ask, “What will you do to insure that our public libraries receive the funding they need to thrive?” The answer to that question speaks volumes.

Judith Kissner, Owner
Scout & Morgan Books

Used with permission of author
Posted by: Barbara Misselt, Director

ECRL PRESENTS: Fool in a Mask Productions !

From June 28th through July 9th the library will present Fool in a Mask Productions in “The Amazing Adventures of Stuart Lindman and Other Short Plays”.

Four young actors will perform in four short plays commissioned for the “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation Project”. This program is made possible through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and results from a new partnership between the Minnesota Regional Public Library System (MRPLS) and the Minnesota Historical Society.
Danielle Bronshteyn, Jacob Budnick, Tylinn Fahrni, and Marshall Sonsteby will entertain ECRL patrons in the following plays, all of which are based on oral histories and original historical documents:

“The Amazing Adventures of Stuart Lindman” by Joseph Scrimshaw
“Parachute Silk” by Carson Kreitzer
“The Secret Storm” by Sheri Wilner
“Swell” by Craig Johnson

Please check the ECRL homepage for the dates and times of scheduled performances. The theatre troupe will perform at all branch libraries in the ECRL service area.

This FREE program is suitable for the entire family!
Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

It’s TWELFTH NIGHT at Anoka-Ramsey!

William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was first performed over 400 years ago on Candlemas night, 2 February 1602, in England. Some of the greatest names in 20th century English and American theatre have since performed in the play – Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, and Helen Hayes, to name a few.

Twelfth Night, one of the Bard’s most accomplished comedies, is currently being performed on the stage of the Performing Arts Center at Anoka-Ramsey Commmunity College in Coon Rapids.

I was delighted to attend opening night on April 16th. Scott Ford’s inspired direction, the stark yet effective scenic design, and the striking costuming made for a memorable evening.

The young actors, by and large, did a commendable job of interpreting Shakespeare’s intricate and complex prose. A few struggled, others should remember that they must react to action and other actors on the stage, but Marcus Coker (Sir Toby Belch), Jacob Budnick (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), and Emily Moulds (Feste) gave diverting and entertaining performances in their comic roles. Neal Skoy was outstanding as Malvolio.

Mr. Skoy is a remarkably talented young man, and the audience was captivated by his exceptional performance from the moment he first appeared on stage. Malvolio is a complex and fascinating character that he handled with assurance and aplomb, especially through the use of his rich and eloquent voice – which filled every corner of the auditorium, seemingly without effort.

The actors cavorted about the stage in some of the most intriguing, if not startling, costumes I’ve ever seen in a Shakespeare production. Special kudos to Costume Designer Barb Portinga for combining vintage evening gowns, fright wigs, and red high-top sneakers with more conventional ensembles recalling the 16th century. Lauren Haven was lovely in everything she wore, Mr. Skoy bore a striking resemblance to the young F. Scott Fitzgerald in many of his scenes, and Mr. Budnick looked like an escapee from the Court of Versailles throughout. It was all very strange, but it worked.

The public can enjoy upcoming performances of Twelfth Night at 7:30 pm on April 22, 23, and 24. Tickets are $8.00 at the box office.

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian


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