Upcoming Summer Reading Events at ECRL Branches!

 Upcoming Summer Reading Events at ECRL Branches!

Northwoods Humane Society at Chisago Lakes Area Library 

Father’s Day Storytime at the Rush City Public Library!

Animal Life Cycles with the Lake Superior Zoo 
at the Pine City Public Library 

Join us on Wednesday, June 11 at 11:15 am – Who hatches from an egg? Who sheds their skin? Students will explore the stages an animal goes through after being born, and how they must learn and develop skills and behaviors in order to survive.  For kids in grades K-6.

Farm Animals Program with the Ambitious Pines 4-H Group

Join us on Wednesday, June 18 at 11:15 am.  For kids in 
grades K-6.

Professor Marvel’s Amazing Aussie Adventure 
at the Hinckley Public Library

Our favorite reading magician is back and we’re going to the Australian Outback for some “awesome” fun.  Join us on Wednesday, June 18 at 2:00 pm.  The event is funded by the Hinckley Lions.   
Ruff Start Rescue program at Princeton Area Library 

Paws for Poetry at the Cambridge Public Library 

Kids and teens ages 10-18 are invited to join us as we write poems about our favorite pets and/or animals on Thursday, June 19 at 2:00 pm.  To participate sign up at the Cambridge Public Library or call the library at 763-689-7390.

Vickie Sorn
Youth & Community Services Librarian

Save Energy by Checking Out a Power Check Meter

Everyone wants to save energy – whether it’s to lower your monthly bills and/or to help save the environment.  East Central Regional Library has partnered with Xcel Energy to help members of the community learn more about their energy use and determine ways they can save money and conserve energy.
All of East Central Regional Library branches now have a Power Check Meter available for check out by library users.  With the meter you can:
·        * Determine the approximate operating costs of various appliances and electronics
·         *Identify high energy-use appliances
·         *Calculate the cost savings for replacing older appliances with more energy-efficient ones
·      *   Discover which appliances use energy even when they are switched off

In the Power Meter case you checkout you will find the power meter, a brochure with information and quick-start instructions, a manufacturer’s instruction booklet and a USB cable.  ECRL branch staff cannot answers questions about the Power Meters, however, if you need help using the Power Meter you can go to xcelenergy.com/PowerCheck for an instructional video.   To place a hold on a “Power Meter” simply go to the ECRL catalog on our homepage at www.ecrlib.organd type in “power meter” under the keyword search  or call your local ECRL branch for more assistance.  
Watch a video on how to use the power check meter:
Vickie Sorn, ECRL Youth & Community Services Librarian

Why Read?

If you participate in Pine City Reads, the community-wide reading event, you might have read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury this winter. One of the main themes of the book is a lack of access to ideas and information. In Bradbury’s dystopian future, all books are banned. Some resist this, reading in secret and risking imprisonment or death for their crimes, but others are content to spend their lives glued to vapid yet immersive television programs or engaged in other types of media overload.

Bradbury’s novel is much more intricate than this, but today I want to focus on this aspect of the story. As one of Bradbury’s characters explains, their world ended up like this—with no legal access to books—not because censorship started from the top down, with the government imposing it upon the populace, but because over time people electively stopped reading.

Fortunately, this dystopian future is not a reality, but the subject matter tends to foster a discussion about reading that involves some important questions. How often do we read? How important is it to our daily lives? Why does it matter if we read at all?

To summarize a 2006 research overview from the National Literacy Trust, reading helps us in many ways–to foster personal development, to learn about a variety of subjects (everything from science to history to pop culture and beyond), and to feed our imaginations. It helps us to be informed and to achieve a level of literacy that empowers us, especially in the frequent information overload of the 21st century. Last but not least, all readers know that it can be fun, immersive, and deeply affecting, touching us emotionally and impacting our beliefs, goals, and worldview.

We librarians want you to read, for all these benefits and more. No matter the genre—true crime, romance novels, mysteries, spy thrillers, westerns, science fiction, fantasy, biographies, etc.  No matter the topic—health, history, debt-free living, car repair, cooking, parenting advice, craft projects, genealogy, etc. No matter the format—books, audiobooks, newspapers, magazines, graphic novels, paperbacks, or  eBooks.  Even if you prefer to buy all your books, spending money on every title you read, we’re thrilled that you’re reading—just remember that our public libraries also frequently sell used books to raise money for library programs and services for our communities.

I have been told, from time to time, that eBooks and e-readers are the enemy of libraries. This is untrue. We want you to read any format that is accessible and comfortable for you. The East Central Regional Library’s vision is “To assist people of all ages in addressing their informational, educational, and recreational needs in an ever-changing world…”  In our ever-changing world, technology is not the enemy of the library, but an empowering tool that we can use to expand our reach and achieve our goals. Remember that you can also check out downloadable audiobooks and eBooks through our website.

So, we hope you take the time to read today, no matter where you got the book from, how you read it, or what it’s about. Just remember that we’re here to help you, and that all ECRL librarians and staff are happy to help you find reading materials whenever you need or want them.

-Robin Duple, Pine City Branch Librarian

Library Resources for Making Homemade Gifts

Photo by Flickr user asenat29. Creative Commons License.


Looking for a way to save money on holiday gifts for friends and family? Have you ever considered making homemade gifts but aren’t sure how to get started?

Your local ECRL library has got you covered! We’ve got books that can help you learn to make handmade toys, gift baskets, greeting cards, gifts in a jar, home-baked goodies, and more. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro at being handy & crafty, we’ve got something for you.

Here’s a brief sample:

Simply green giving: create beautiful gift wrapping, tags, and handmade materials from everyday materials


Simply handmade: 365 easy gifts & decorations you can make


Simply handmade: 365 easy projects for every occasion

Country gifts: handmade & homebaked

Better Homes & Gardens handcrafted gifts & toys


The gift basket design book


The how to’s of gift baskets


Creating the happiest of holidays


Creating the happiest of holidays, book 2


Handmade gift cards: over 50 original designs for all occasions


Gifts to make: 365 beautifully easy ideas


Mary Engelbreit wrap it up!: gifts to make, wrap, and give


Pretty gifts that say I love you: over 35 projects with step-by-step instructions


Homemade gifts in a jar


Last-minute Christmas gifts: crafting quick & classy presents for everyone on your list


Martha’s homemade holidays (DVD)


Gooseberry Patch Christmas: book 12


To find more items on this same topic, try searching the ECRL catalog with the following subject terms (which will give you more targeted results than you’d get searching with keywords):


textile crafts
gift baskets
greeting cards
toy making
holiday decorations
Christmas decorations
holiday cookery
Christmas cookery
Christmas cooking

If you’re looking for children’s materials, try adding a second subject term, “juvenile literature,” to your search.

Don’t forget that each ECRL branch library also has current magazines that may be able to help you with project ideas (such as Martha Stewart Living, Crafts ‘n Things, Better Homes & Gardens, etc.). 

As always, your friendly local librarian is happy to help you with all your information needs. Give us a call or stop in today!

Robin Duple, Pine City 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

Find your polling place

Need a ride to your polling place?

Interested in absentee voting?

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):

Find out which candidates and issues you’ll see on your ballot

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

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