Where Do You Want to Go This Summer?

Why not let Reading Takes You Everywhere?  Excitement and fun await those who want to take the journey with us.  Join the East Central Regional Library 2018 summer reading program, Reading Takes You Everywhere starting Tuesday, May 29.  Throughout the summer, check out great books, earn prizes and attend lots of fun and exciting library programs for kids of all ages.

Each ECRL branch will offer both a youth (ages 3-11) and teen (ages 12-17) program.  Plus some branches will also offer a special Rubber Ducky program for kids birth to 35 months. The summer reading program is free and open to the public

Checkout all the fun and find out more about the upcoming 2018 summer reading program!

All ECRL Branch Hours to Change Starting March 4, 2018

In an effort to better serve the public and their busy schedules, in December the East Central Regional Library Board approved new operating hours at all 14 library branches across the six county area. The new hours will begin on Sunday, March 4, 2018, and can be viewed by clicking on any of the listed libraries on the Location & Hours page.

According to Carla Lydon, ECRL Executive Director, these changes are a culmination of a multi-year process during which time ECRL sought public feedback in our communities and consulted staff, Board members, and local officials in an effort to better balance our resources across our six county region. Prior to this, open hours had remained the same for more than a decade, despite changes in facilities, communities and traffic patterns. It is our hope that these new schedules will better serve the public and provide appropriate staffing levels to continue to provide the excellent customer service that people rely on when visiting our libraries.


Inside the Library at Downton Abbey

East Central Regional Library has a unique event in store for Edwardian era history buffs and fans of a certain British drama series that has captured the hearts of America.  A free presentation on the library at Highclere Castle, or Downton Abbey—as it’s known to the legion of followers of the PBS series, is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20 at Pine City Public Library. Discover insights into life on English country estates in the Edwardian era and the treasures collected over generations that filled country house libraries.

Discussed will be several topics, including book binding, significant authors, the influence of The Grand Tour (a rite of passage for the wealthy), along with tales and mysteries of the “Downton Abbey” library. Presenting is Tim Johnson, Curator of Special Collections & Rare Books/E. W. McDiarmid Curator of the Sherlock Holmes Collections housed at the University of Minnesota.

This project is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.



Creating Art with Nature

Hey, adults!  Discover the art of nature printmaking, a process in which an object (leaf or flower, for instance) is pressed into a plane surface to make a direct printing surface or matrix.  Learn how to transfer the beauty found in nature into art with a nature printmaking workshop for adults at the North Branch Area Library.

Minnesota artist and contemporary printmaker Michael Weatherly will be leading the program, scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 15. Pre-registration is required, and space is limited. Sign up at the library or call 651-674-8443 and ask for the North Branch Area Library.  Presented by the East Central Regional Library, this project is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.



During his lifetime, The Great Gatsby brought F. Scott Fitzgerald only $8397.00 in royalties. Today the book is a staple in high school and university English classrooms and is widely regarded as one of the greatest 20th century American novels. On June 10, 2009, a first edition copy sold for $180,000.00 at Bonham’s in New York.

Scott, as he was called, was born on September 24, 1896, at 481 Laurel Avenue in St. Paul.  This Side of Paradise, his first novel,  was published to wide acclaim in March 1920.  The Beautiful and Damned followed in 1922, The Great Gatsby in 1925, and Tender is the Night in 1934. During the early 1930s, he was one of the highest-paid writers in America, earning $4000.00 per story from The Saturday Evening Post.

East Central Regional Library owns many of Fitzgerald’s works in various formats.  With Baz Luhrmann’s dazzling, ambitious, over-the-top adaptation of The Great Gatsby currently in theatres, there is a renewed interest in Fitzgerald, the Roaring Twenties, and the Jazz Age.  Check out the following, available through any ECRL branch library:

“Beautiful Fools” by R. Clifton Spargo
“Call Me Zelda” by Erika Robuck
“Gatsby’s Girl” by Caroline Preston
“The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain
“The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway
“Tales of the Jazz Age” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Z:  A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” by Therese Ann Fowler    


“A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway
“Everybody Was So Young” by Amanda Vaill
“Sometimes Madness is Wisdom” by Kendall Taylor
“Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Anything Goes” by Lucy Moore
“Fool for Love:  F. Scott Fitzgerald” by Scott Donaldson  
“Midnight in Paris” starring Owen Wilson
“The Moderns” starring Keith Carradine
“The Great Gatsby” starring Robert Redford
“The Sun Also Rises” starring Ava Gardner
“Chicago” starring Renee Zellweger
“Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” starring Essie Davis
If you haven’t read F. Scott Fitzgerald since high school, it may be time to revisit Nick Carroway, Daisy Buchanan, and Jay Gatsby. And perhaps ponder again the closing words of Fitzgerald’s most famous novel, which seem to whisper of the Jazz Age and the “Lost Generation” —–
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”
Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian