Choosing the Right Guide for Your Trip

Whether you are traveling near or far, the East Central Regional Library is a good place to start when you are planning a trip.  If you are browsing, check out the 914 – 919 and 796 in the nonfiction section to find a variety of books about places to travel.  You can also do a catalog search by destination to pull up even more books. Make sure that your guide is 2010 or newer as travel information can change from year to year.  There are many travel series that you will find—including  Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet,  Rough Guides , Moon, Mobil Guide and Rick Steve’s to just name a few.  Each has their specialty and appeal for different types of travelers.

The Frommer’s and Fodor’s are the original guides.  They were mostly written for middle-aged and middle-class Americans traveling to Europe.   Arthur Frommer wrote the original Europe on $5 a Day.  Eugene Fodor wanted to introduce tourists to the people and culture of Europe in addition to the many historic sites.  These books offer background information on countries and what to expect in terms of language, weather, transportation, currency and phone and Internet connections.   You’ll also find maps and lists of attractions.  A valuable part of these guides is the list of places to sleep and eat.  Usually they are rated by quality and price according to stars or some other symbols.  Rick Steve’s also has a series of guidebooks about Europe that are easy to read.

For the younger and more adventurous traveler, the Lonely Planet and Rough Guides can be of help.  These guides are for backpackers and students that are looking for unique experiences.  Accommodations are very cheap and geared toward hostels and camping.  In The Rough Guide to Central American, several hotels in Honduras are listed as costing $14 to $16 per night.  Of course you may have to share a bath and definitely mingle with the locals.  Getting around is usually by bus.  You’ll find information about National Parks and hiking/ snorkeling and diving tips.  There are also notations about beautiful scenery, markets and night life.

For active travelers in the United States the Moon and Falcon guides are a good choice.  Moon, a publisher out of Chicago, has a series on metro areas.   Take a Hike Minneapolis & St.Paul includes hiking trails, maps and a description of the trail.  You’ll also get information about the difficulty level, how long the trail is and how long it takes to hike it.  Road Biking in Minnesota has similar information for bikers only it covers all of Minnesota.  There are other Falcon guides for paddling and mountain biking.

Traveling can be difficult, especially in foreign countries so it’s beneficial to have some idea of what you are getting into before you set off.  Guides can provide invaluable information as traveler’s budget their time and money.  Travel can also be among the most rewarding of life experiences, and your East Central Regional Library has the right guide to show you how to do it.

Kathy Morrow

Branch Librarian

Mille Lacs Lake Community Library

ECRL Hosts Regional Minnesota Book Awards Mini-Gala

Celebrate 25 years of the Minnesota Book Awards as East Central Regional Library presents an evening with four acclaimed and award-winning Minnesota authors at the North Branch Area Library on Thursday, May 9 at 7:00 pm.  The event is one of six mini-galas being held across the state following the big gala in St Paul. The ECRL event will feature readings, discussion and book signings by Catherine Friend, William Kent Krueger, Kevin Kling, and Julie Klassen.   A reception with refreshments will follow the program provided by the Friends of the North Branch Area Library, the Chisago Lakes Friends of the Library, the Friends of the Wyoming Area – Giese Memorial Library, the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library and the Rush City Friends of the Library.  The event is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and sponsored by the St. Paul Friends of the Library and the Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators. 

Catherine Friend’s books about life on a small farm include Sheepish, Barn Boot Blues and the Compassionate Carnivore.   Author Kevin Kling is also a well-known playwright and storyteller, and his commentaries can be heard on NPR’s All Things Considered.  Historical romance author Julie Klassen’s books include the Tutor’s Daughter, the Maid from Fairbourne Hall and the Girl in the Gatehouse.  The fourth author appearing at the event is William Kent Krueger, New York Times Bestselling author of the Cork O’Connor mystery series.  Each author will give a short talk about writing and their books.  Books will be available for sale after the program by Scout & Morgan Books.

The Minnesota Book Awards (MBA) was created in 1988 by The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library and other organizations as a part of the Festival of the Book.  Awards are given each year to books created by Minnesota writers or illustrators for books published in the previous years.  Awards are given in the following categories:   Children’s Literature, General Nonfiction, Genre Fiction, Memoir and Creative Nonfiction, Minnesota, Novel and Short Story, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature.


Email Pre-Overdue Courtesy Notifications

East Central Regional Library is now offering pre-overdue email notices for all patrons with a valid email address. Can you remember when your items are due? Would you like to save on fines and never have overdues again?
In late December 2011, ECRL starting sending patron’s courtesy reminders via email 3 days before their items were due. This gives you time to either find the item sand return them or renew them.
If you are not already receiving these pre-overdue courtesy notices from East Central Regional Library, all we need is a valid email account from you. Patrons may sign up for this service on the ECRL Online Catalog.
Follow the following steps to complete the process:
1. Click on My Account.
2. Enter your username and password
3. Click on change email address
4. Enter your current password and new email address
5. Click Submit
6. Click on Account Preferences from the Menu at the top
7. In the drop down menu under Default Hold Notification Method, choose email only
8. You will now receive your pre-overdue courtesy notification notice and your hold notices via email.
Call your local ECRL branch if you need assistance.
Vickie Sorn
Youth & Community Services Librarian

Saying Goodbye After 38 Years


One day in May 1973, a young gal by the name of Shari Wilcox stepped into the original East Central Regional Library building and applied for the job of catalog typist for Technical Services. Little did she know that it would be 38 years later when she would walk out the door and end her career at ECRL.
Shari was so excited in 1973 because she had a window by her desk and she could gaze out the east side of the library. Well, that view lasted a grand total of 2 days! The windows on the east side of the building were closed up so the present day garage could be built. For the next 37 years, 363 days, Shari would never see the light of day again through a window from her workstation.

Shari worked as a catalog typist in Technical Services for 6 ½ years and then moved into the accounting and bookkeeping position after the previous employee, Leona Medin, retired. During her tenure, Shari worked for 5 East Central Regional Library directors. The Regional library budget went from less than 1 million a year to 3 million a year and Shari’s position went from Administrative Assistant to Administrative Services Manager.

Remember card catalogs, records and audio cassettes? That’s what you would have found in the library in 1973 when Shari started working at ECRL. At that time she could not envision all the technology that would be a part of the library today. One thing that has not changed in her time at ECRL, however, is the yearly struggle with the budget. Shari feels it will continue to be the biggest challenge facing ECRL in the future.

“I’ll miss the people I work with the most,” says Shari. “They have made my job easier, so it will be very hard to leave them.” Over her 38 years she remembers working with lots of different people – she says Eunice Wickland, Mary Koepsell, Barb Nord and Sandy Novak and many more come to mind. Many became lifelong friends.

The East Central Regional Library Board recognized Shari for her years of service at a brunch and presentation on Monday, December 12 and her friends and co-workers will be celebrating with her before she retires at the end of December. What’s in store for Shari when she retires? She says, “relaxing, relaxing, relaxing and reading the long list of authors and titles I want to read.” It’s a good thing she’s got great connections at the library!

Vickie Sorn, Youth & Community Services Librarian
(Press release)

ECRL to Increase Overdue Fees

Upon recommendation by the finance committee, the East Central Regional Library Board approved an increase in overdue fines at their November 11 board meeting.  Fines for all overdue items will increase from the current .10 per day to .20 per day per item beginning Monday, January 9, 2012.  The overdue rate has not been increased since East Central Regional Library automated back in 1996.  The new fine structure is similar to that of other Minnesota library systems.

Since we have a limited materials budget, it is important for individuals to return their items on time, so others may check the item out.  When items are kept past their due date, it prohibits others from being able to use that item.  We hope that individuals will return the items they have checked out on time and thus, avoid any fines.  Most items can be renewed online, by phone, or in person at any ECRL branch.  You cannot renew an item for which someone else has placed a hold request.   Fines will accrue to a maximum of $6.00 per item for juveniles, teens and adults.  Remember that fines will increase on any items checked out beginning Monday, January 9, 2012.
Vickie Sorn, Youth & Community Services Librarian