Growing Season Coming Soon

The growing season is coming soon to east central Minnesota.  A stop at your local ECRL library to check out some gardening books and magazines can inspire you to start planting.  These books from the ECRL collection offer some tips and advice for growing food and flowers throughout the summer.

  •   Plant marigolds near tomatoes or roses to reduce attacks by aphids.
  • Pests are less of a problem in weedy gardens but yield is lower.
  •  Frogs and toads should be encouraged in any garden because they feed on garden pests
  • Some weeds are useful.  Dandelion leaves make a great salad, nettle is an important food for butterflies and can be eaten as a spinach substitute and clover takes nitrogen from the air and brings it to the soil.

  •  Try growing your leaf lettuce around your broccoli plants to act as a living and harvestable mulch
  • Leave kale plants in the garden in the fall and they’ll product new growth next spring.
  • Newspapers make very good mulch.  Spread in sheets before adding compost on top.
  • One way to use herbs is to make sun vinegar.  Clean herbs such as chives, rosemary or tarragon and fill half of a jar with herbs and the rest with white distilled vinegar.  Cap and place in sun for one to two weeks.
  • Narrower walkways allow more space for beds.
  • Plants need space for roots and thrive best in 18 inches of loosened soil.
  • Rotate plants to avoid depleting the soil and get rid of diseases and pests.

Here are a few new ECRL books and some magazines from which to get up-to-date gardening ideas:
First, Jack.  Hot Beds: hot to grow early crops using an age old technique.  Totnes, 2013.
Hartung, Tammi.  The wildlife friendly vegetable gardener:  how to grow food in harmony with nature.  Storey, 2014.
Jabour, Niki. Groundbreaking food gardens: 73 plants that will change the way you grow your garden.  Storey, 2014.
Shelton, Neil.  The everything backyard farming book: a guide to self-sufficient living through growing, harvesting, raising and preserving your own food.  Avon, 2013.
Northern Gardener
Organic Gardening(available on Zinio)
Mother Earth News(available on Zinio)
Better Homes and Gardens
Kathy Morrow
Mille Lacs Lake Community Library
Branch Librarian

Magazines Aren’t Just Print Anymore

Libraries are usually known for their books, but magazines are an overlooked part of the collection.   ECRL has magazines in a variety of formats, depending on your needs.   
          The most basic is the old-fashioned paper magazine.  ECRL subscribes to many magazines throughout their 14 branches so if you are looking for a magazine that you don’t see, ask the librarian if it is available at another branch.  You can check out the back issues of any magazines through ECRL and keep it for three weeks.

          The next way to look at magazines is through the ELM database.  The state of Minnesota has subscribed to some costly databases so that everyone with a library card can have access to a huge variety of academic and popular journals and magazines.  Students are sometimes first introduced to this resource through their school library.  To gain access to these, go to the homepage of ECRL and look for the fourth box down.  Click on the ELM databases and then look for EBSCO or Megafile. 

         

If you would like to use your computer, tablet or smart phone to look at magazines, try the new Zinio feature.  Click on the link from the library home page.  You will be asked to make two accounts—one through ECRL and the other through Zinio.  Once you have this on your tablet or computer, you’ll love it.  You can look at many different magazines—ads and all–at your leisure.


Kathy Morrow

Mille Lacs Lake Community Library
Branch Librarian

Winter Delights

At the Mille Lacs Branch of East Central Regional Library, we slow down at this time of year so I have the time to write a blog posting.  The snowbirds have flown south to their condos and trailers.  The rest of us are left to face winter.  It could be a daunting five months of darkness and cold, but a trip to the nonfiction section of the library can give you some ideas on how to make it through a Minnesota winter.

Since the holidays are just around the corner, it might be nice to bake up some goodies for neighbors, friends or family.  You can warm up the house while doing a good deed.  Here are a few newer holiday baking books you can put a hold on:


Holiday crafting & baking with kids : gifts, sweets, and treats for the whole family by Jessica Strand


Sweet Christmas : homemade peppermints, sugar cake, chocolate-almond toffee, eggnog fudge, and other sweet treats and decoration by Sharon Bowers

Another way to while away those winter hours is to knit or crochet.  You can justify spending hours watching movies or television if you are making something at the same time.  Some easy items to knit that will also keep you or a loved one warm include mittens, hats, stockings, scarves and leg warmers.  You could also crochet a more complicated afghan or sweater.  You’ll find many books on yarn working in the 746 Dewey Decimal areas. ECRL has many hobby books from painting to quilting and woodworking that can give you free patterns and advice.  These books have some ideas for gifts you can make:

Handmade Gifts, 2013

Holiday boutique knitting:  inspired holiday décor and gifts to knit by Mary jean Daigneault

After the holidays are over, it’s time to put the house back in order.  The library has many books that tell you how to de-clutter, organize or clean your house in the 648 section of nonfiction.  ECRL also has books on Feng Shui which is the Chinese art of optimal home placement to bring you good fortune and happiness.  Here are a few newer books to give you some ideas on how to enhance your living space:

Soulspace:  transform your home, transform you life – creating a home that is free of clutter, full of beauty, and inspired by you by Xorin Balbes

Feng Shui that makes sense:  easy ways to create a home that feels s good as it looks by Cathleen McCandless

Winter can feel long when the cold forces us inside for days at a time.  Help the time pass pleasantly and productively by reading and pursuing hobbies that can bring warming happiness to you and others. Check out an East Central Regional Library book today.

Kathy Morrow
Mille Lacs Lake Community Branch Librarian

Last-Minute Election Information

If you’ve suddenly realized that you’re not quite prepared for the upcoming elections, your friendly local librarians are ready to help you out. Except where it’s noted otherwise, all of the following information comes from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s web page.

Register to vote in Minnesota
http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=204

Find your polling place
http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/

Need a ride to your polling place?
http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=1631

Interested in absentee voting?
http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=211

Need to know how to return your absentee ballot?
According to the MN Secretary of State, there are four ways you can return your absentee ballot:
1.   Mail back your ballot in the pre-paid envelope provided by your local election official.
2.   Up until 5 p.m. on the day before the election, you may deliver your ballot in person to your local election official.
3.   You may also have someone else return your completed ballot, sealed in its envelope, to your local election official until 3 p.m. on Election Day. Persons delivering ballots may not do so for more than three voters.
4.  If you are worried about your ballot not arriving on time using First Class mail, you may choose to pay for package delivery service to return your ballot. Ballots must be received by your local election official by 3 p.m. on Election Day.

Find your local election official
(which will also tell you where you can submit an absentee ballot):
https://minnesota.overseasvotefoundation.org/vote/MN-ElectionOfficialDirectory

Find out which candidates and issues you’ll see on your ballot
http://myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us/Default.aspx

Interested in Political Fact-Checking?
http://www.factcheck.org/ (a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” organization
http://www.politifact.com/ (a project of the Tampa Bay Times newspaper)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about elections and voting
http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=1530

Wondering about other voting and election topics that you don’t see here? http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=134  (Main page for Minnesota Voting Info)

As always, if you need anything else, don’t hesitate to contact your local ECRL library branch (http://www.ecrlib.org/branches.html). We’re happy to help you find the information you need!

Robin Duple
Branch Librarian, Pine City Public Library

It All Started in Minnesota

Summer reading has been around for a long time at East Central Regional Library. Vickie Sorn, our Youth and Community Services Librarian, has a list of ECRL’s summer reading themes going back to 1978*. Bionic Readout was the theme that year—must have been the year of the Six Million Dollar Man. The early themes, prizes and bookmarks were originated at the local level. In 1987, ten Minnesota regional library systems developed a summer library program for children, choosing a theme, creating artwork and selecting incentives that public libraries in the regions could purchase and use. This was the beginning of what’s known as the national Collaborative Summer Library Program and membership has grown to include libraries from all 50 states.

Paws to Read was the first Collaborative Summer Library Program.  According to Vickie, in the early years a graphic artist was hired. Librarians later agreed to choose an illustrator to do the thematic art. For example, Lane Smith, illustrator of The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, did the art work for Wolfin’ down Books in 2001. Vickie has said that economics drives part of the program—what vendor can get the best prices and of course bringing in more libraries brings prices down.

Much of the work is done by multiple committees of librarians, of which Vickie has been a part of for many years. One committee puts together the big manual of ideas that librarians use as a resource throughout the summer. Other committees negotiate with the artist and still others work on the incentives. In recent years, Upstart has been the vendor that has worked with CSLP on the process of negotiation and offering incentives for the CSLP-selected nationwide theme. Since working with committees is a slow process, much advance planning is needed. That’s why librarians are buying summer reading prizes in December. Vickie said that the themes for summer reading have been chosen up to 2015!

This year author Brian Lies, is the illustrator for the theme, Dream Big Read. Look for graphics of stars and bats, cats, owls, beavers and alligators camping out and reading. Some of his books include Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library and Bats at the Ballgame. ECRL Librarians have ordered hundreds of dollars’ worth of reading records, bookmarks, and incentive prizes, and have planned many activities and storytimes to keep children coming to the library over the summer.

2012-Dream Big-Read

Kathy Morrow, Branch Librarian
Mille Lacs Community Library in Isle

*Summer Reading Program Themes
contributed by Vickie Sorn, Youth and Community Services Librarian
1978 BIONIC READOUT
1979 QUEST TO DAER
1980 LIBRARY OLYMPICS
1981 RUNESTONE READING
1982 DRAGONSUMMER MAGIC
1983 COSMIC CAPERS
1984 FROGS, TREES, AND BUMBLEBEES (LEAF THROUGH A BOOK)
1985 CRACK THE CODE
1986 LIBERTY ENLIGHTENING THE WORLD
1987 PAWS AT YOUR LIBRARY
1988 DIVE INTO YOUR LIBRARY
1989 DINO-SOAR INTO SUMMER
1990 WHEELIN’ THRU SUMMER
1991 HATS OFF TO LIBRARIES
1992 LIBRARY ALL STARS
1993 HOOK A BOOK
1994 GO WILD FOR LIBRARIES
1995 THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
1996 GET IN THE GAME AT YOUR LIBRARY
1997 THRILLS AND CHILLS
1998 ROCK AND READ
1999 TREASURE YOUR LIBRARY
2000 COSMIC CONNECTIONS AT YOUR LIBRARY
2001 WOLFIN’ DOWN BOOKS @ YOUR LIBRARY
2002 DISCOVER A HOPPIN’ PLACE @ YOUR LIBRARY
2003 EXPLORE BRIGHT IDEAS @ YOUR LIBRARY
2004 TRACK IT DOWN AT YOUR LIBRARY
2005 WHAT’S BUZZIN’ AT YOUR LIBRARY
2006 CATCH THE BEAT AT YOUR LIBRARY
2007 GO BANANAS AT YOUR LIBRARY
2008 LOOK WHAT’S COOKIN’ AT YOUR LIBRARY
2009 GET CREATIVE @ YOUR LIBRARY
      Teens – EXPRESS YOURSELF @ YOUR LIBRARY
2010 MAKE A SPLASH – READ
      Teens – MAKE WAVES @ YOUR LIBRARY
20011 ONE WORLD, MANY STORIES
      Teens – You are Here
2012 DREAM BIG – READ
      Teens – OWN THE NIGHT