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

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


Publishers are gearing up for fall!  New biographies and memoirs are sure to be popular and many will hit the bestseller lists.  Check the ECRL catalog in the coming weeks for the following:
Bruce by Peter A. Carlin – the life of Bruce Springsteen based on interviews with family, band members, friends, and ex-girlfriends

But Now I Seeby Steven Holcomb – the Olympic gold medalist faces possible blindness

Butch Cassidyby W.C. Jameson – the life, exploits, and controversial death of Robert Leroy Parker

Call of the American Wild by Guy Grieve – the author escapes to the Alaskan wilderness and builds a new life

Five Lieutenants by James Carl Nelson — five brilliant young soldiers from Harvard serve their country during WWI

A Gift of Hopeby Danielle Steel – the romance novelist discusses her tireless work with the homeless

The Godfather’s Daughter by Rita Gigante – growing up in the household of Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, head of all five New York crime families

Heisman by John M. Heisman – the first authorized biography of the man memorialized by the Heisman Trophy

Hello, Gorgeousby William J. Mann – Barbra Streisand’s early New York years and her rise to stardom

Killing Kennedy:  The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly – focuses on a 20th century assassination shrouded in mystery and conjecture

Lady Bird Johnson:  An Oral History by Michael L. Gillette – 37 newly released oral histories collected over 14 years

Marmee & Louisa by Eve LaPlante – Louisa May Alcott’s relationship with her mother based on recently discovered family papers

Martin Luther King Jr:  A King Family Tribute edited by Angela Farris Watkins – family members share their memories

Pray the Gay Away by Bernadette C. Barton – the extraordinary lives of 50 Bible Belt gays and lesbians

Thornton Wilder:  A Life by Penelope Niven – the life of the great playwright and literary icon based on his personal papers

Titian:  His Life by Sheila Hale – a definitive study of the great Renaissance painter

Twitch Upon a Star by Herbie J. Pilato – Elizabeth Montgomery “Bewitched” thousands of TV viewers in the 1960s

The Voice is All by Joyce Johnson – a groundbreaking portrait of Jack Kerouac as a young artist

Bob Gray
East Central Regional Library

Why can’t I get this eBook from ECRL?

ECRL very much wants to offer popular titles to you in the eBook platform; however, when it comes to purchasing eBooks, libraries do have a limited market to select from. 

Why are popular titles unavailable as eBooks?


First, not every book that gets published is published as an eBook.  For example, it wasn’t until March of this year (2012) that the Harry Potter series was published as eBooks.  Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, a popular Book Club selection is another example of a title not legally published as an eBook.  Authors and publishers make this decision for each individual title.
But I see them on (or the B&N Nook Book Store)? 


Not every eBook that is published is available for library lending.  Unlike a regular person, a library cannot purchase an eBook from Amazon or Barnes & Noble and then lend it out to our patrons.  Libraries can buy a print book from publishers, place it on the shelf, and lend it out.  But digital content is being treated differently by the publishers and the companies who manage digital content licensing.   Instead, publishers sell their content to OverDrive, our eBook vendor, who then allows libraries to license titles from them. 


eBooks are still relatively new, and publishers are trying to determine how they affect publishing. Currently, several major publishers do not support a public library lending model for eBooks.  Others have made prices so high or have implemented such severe restrictions, that it restricts our ability to select them.  OverDrive, our eBook vendor, works with publishers so that libraries have selections available but this is continually a work in progress.  


Why is there a waiting list for eBooks? 


A common misconception is that eBooks are always available, that an infinite number of people can check out the same eBook at the same time.  This is not accurate.  eBooks are just like physical books in that libraries have to purchase the rights to each copy in our collection, and that only 1 person can borrow 1 copy at a time.  As our collection is relatively new, ECRL starts out with 1 copy of the titles we purchase, though we may add additional titles as waiting lists grow. 


Why is the eBook available in EPUB format but not Kindle format?  Or, why is it available in Kindle format but not EPUB format?


Right now, there are two main filetypes being used to describe eBook files: the Amazon eBook standard, or .amz file, and the ePub file (.epub) that is used by just about every other eBook vendor.   In other words, they are two different computer languages.  In order to create an eBook in both formats, publishers must make the choice to code the books and sell them to Amazon and Barnes and Noble (or some other EPUB distributor).  The cost of creating eBooks in the two formats, the percentage of net profits, and control over pricing are all reasons why authors and publishers may choose one, the other, or both formats for distributing their eBooks. 


ECRL has now offered eBooks for over a year, and will continue to grow the collection.  A final reminder: If you would like to request that ECRL purchase a specific eBook title, you may make suggestions via Recommend to Library in OverDrive.   All suggested items will not be purchased, since suggestions will be considered with regard to collection development plans and budget available. 
Publisher Name
Do they sell
their eBooks
to Libraries?
Examples of authors/series
they publish
Hachette Book Group
300% markup from the same item in print.
Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson, Karen Kingsbury
Allow 26 circulations per copy before expiring. Libraries then must purchase an additional license if they wish to retain the title.
Daniel Silva, Susan Wiggs, Debbie Macomber
52 checkouts or 2 years, whichever comes first. Titles published less than 12 months ago: $60.00.  Titles published 12 months ago or more: $40.00.  Libraries then must purchase an additional license if they wish to retain the title.
Nevada Barr, C.J. Box, M.C. Beaton, Lisa Kleypas
Penguin Group USA

Allows copies to circulate for 12 months (1 year). After 12 months, libraries must purchase an additional license if they wish to retain the title.  

Lisa Gardner, Clive Cussler, Nora Roberts
Random House, Inc.
Libraries are charged 300-400%  the price Random House for the same item in print.
John Grisham, Danielle Steel, Lee Child
Allows copies to circulate for 24 months (2 years). After 24 months, libraries must purchase an additional license if they wish to retain the title
Hunger Games, Goosebumps, Rainbow Magic, Baby-Sitters Club
Simon & Schuster
After 12 months, libraries must purchase an additional license if they wish to retain the title.
Jodi Picoult, Vince Flynn, William Kent Krueger


*Not intended to be a comprehensive list of publishers, but rather an indicator what libraries are facing from the major publishing houses.  In addition, major publishing houses have multiple divisions and subsidiary companies, which are subject to the lending models of their parent company.  

Sarah Biro, Branch Librarian, Chisago Lakes Area Library
Resident eBook guru and selector


It was the largest and most luxurious ocean liner of its time.  Captained by Edward J. Smith, the RMS Titanic left Southhampton, England, for New York City on April 10, 1912.  Four days later, at 11:40 pm on April 14th, the ship struck on iceberg in the North Atlantic, south of Newfoundland, Canada.  In the early morning hours of April 15th, the Titanic broke in two and sank to the ocean floor.

1517 people perished.

April 15, 2012, is the 100th anniversary of a maritime disaster that continues to fascinate people around the world. 

East Central Regional Library has a wide variety of materials on the Titanic in various formats that can be requested and borrowed from your local branch library.

If you enjoy fiction, consider these novels, all published in 2012:

“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” by Tricia Goyer

“The Company of the Dead” by David Kowalski
“The Dressmaker” by Kate Alcott
“Echoes of Titanic” by Mindy Starns Clark
“Hearts that Survive” by Yvonne Lehman
“Promise Me This” by Cathy Golke

For nonfiction readers, the following 2012 titles should prove interesting:

“Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage” by Hugh Brewster
“Shadow of the Titanic” by Andrew Wilson
“Titanic:  Last Night of a Small Town” by John Welshman
“Titanic in Photographs” by Daniel Klistorner
“Titanic Tragedy” by John Maxtone-Graham
“Voyagers of the Titanic” by Richard Davenport-Hines

For film buffs, the library offers both feature films and documentaries:

“Titanic” starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck (1953)

“A Night to Remember” starring Kenneth More and Jill Dixon (1958)
“Titanic” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (1997)
“Titanic” starring Toby Jones and Linus Roache (2011)
“Titanic:  the Complete Story” (2011)
“Titanic:  100th Anniversary Collection” (2012)
“Titanic:  the Definitive Documentary Collection” (2012)

 These are only a few of the items you’ll find in the ECRL catalog.  For additional materials in various formats (for children, teens, and adults), access our homepage at and click on “ECRL Catalog” on the upper left. 
And remember that library staff are always happy to assist with queries and suggestions!

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian