Ebooks are coming!

You asked and we listened! East Central Regional Library will launch ebook service in late 2011. The ECRL Board of Directors gave their approval, an implementation team is established, and we’re making plans.

An ebook (also called e-book, electronic book, digital book) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. E-books are usually read on dedicated hardware devices known as e-Readers or e-book devices. Personal computers and some cell phones can also be used to read e-books. (definition from Wikipedia).

People who love their ebooks say they appreciate being able to have multiple books on a single device that weighs less than 8 ounces. With a backlit screen, ereaders are read easily in low light, and print size can be enlarged or reversed (white on black) for comfortable viewing.

ECRL provides books in a variety of formats – traditional print in either hardback or paperback and audio books on CD. Soon, residents of the east central region will be able to download an ebook to their own ereaders 24/7. Ebooks can also be read on some cell phones, home computers, or tablet computers (like iPads). Downloading can be done via the Internet, and the book will be available on the ereader until the checkout period expires, when access to the book will end. No trips to the library to pick up or return books, and no risk of overdue fees.

Watch this space over the next couple months for further details about ECRL’s coming ebook service. For now, please help us make plans for the launch, select the initial offering of books, and set up our system by taking an online survey at:
 https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SC8P7QV

Barbara Misselt, Director

It’s TWELFTH NIGHT at Anoka-Ramsey!


William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was first performed over 400 years ago on Candlemas night, 2 February 1602, in England. Some of the greatest names in 20th century English and American theatre have since performed in the play – Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, and Helen Hayes, to name a few.

Twelfth Night, one of the Bard’s most accomplished comedies, is currently being performed on the stage of the Performing Arts Center at Anoka-Ramsey Commmunity College in Coon Rapids.

I was delighted to attend opening night on April 16th. Scott Ford’s inspired direction, the stark yet effective scenic design, and the striking costuming made for a memorable evening.

The young actors, by and large, did a commendable job of interpreting Shakespeare’s intricate and complex prose. A few struggled, others should remember that they must react to action and other actors on the stage, but Marcus Coker (Sir Toby Belch), Jacob Budnick (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), and Emily Moulds (Feste) gave diverting and entertaining performances in their comic roles. Neal Skoy was outstanding as Malvolio.

Mr. Skoy is a remarkably talented young man, and the audience was captivated by his exceptional performance from the moment he first appeared on stage. Malvolio is a complex and fascinating character that he handled with assurance and aplomb, especially through the use of his rich and eloquent voice – which filled every corner of the auditorium, seemingly without effort.

The actors cavorted about the stage in some of the most intriguing, if not startling, costumes I’ve ever seen in a Shakespeare production. Special kudos to Costume Designer Barb Portinga for combining vintage evening gowns, fright wigs, and red high-top sneakers with more conventional ensembles recalling the 16th century. Lauren Haven was lovely in everything she wore, Mr. Skoy bore a striking resemblance to the young F. Scott Fitzgerald in many of his scenes, and Mr. Budnick looked like an escapee from the Court of Versailles throughout. It was all very strange, but it worked.

The public can enjoy upcoming performances of Twelfth Night at 7:30 pm on April 22, 23, and 24. Tickets are $8.00 at the box office.

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

NOVELIST – Your Guide to Fiction !

As we move into the chilly, dark days and nights of January, there’s nothing more rewarding than relaxing with a good book.

Many people come to the library to request the latest bestsellers or to browse the new books recently added to the collection. Others like to discuss their favorite authors with library staff and make recommendations.

Did you know that the NOVELIST database is available to all East Central Regional Library cardholders? It is your complete guide to fiction and can be used in the library, at home, or wherever you have access to a computer!

With NoveList you can search for books by author, title, or series. You may also limit your results to adults, teens, or children.

On the left side of the home page, you’ll find links to “Author Read-alikes”, “Award Winners”, and “Recommended Reads”. Are you interested in books similar to “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown”? Locate his entry under “Author Read-alikes”. Who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction? You’ll find the answer under “Award Winners”. Would you like a list of historical fiction novels? Check “Recommended Reads”!

To access NoveList go to the ECRL homepage: http://www.ecrlib.org/
Then:
—Click on “Magazines & Databases” on the left
—Scroll down and click on the “NoveList” link.
You’re in and can begin looking for that perfect novel!

Please feel free to contact your nearest ECRL branch library if you have questions or comments about NoveList. Staff are happy to assist!

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

THE ROAD to Cormac McCarthy

When No Country For Old Men won the Best Picture Academy Award in 2007 I told myself, “I must read Cormac McCarthy.”
I didn’t get around to it, however, until recently. I knew that All the Pretty Horses, volume one of “The Border Trilogy”, had received both the 1992 National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Then The Road was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Last week I picked up The Road, thumbed through it, and noted the absence of quotation marks to indicate dialogue. Finding this somewhat distracting, I laid the book aside and turned to a different novel. Yesterday I picked up McCarthy’s book again—-and finished it this morning.
A man and his son, both unnamed, struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Possessed of meager provisions and a pistol with two bullets, the man convinces the boy that some kind of salvation exists near the sea. Through a blighted landscape of gray ash, dead trees, and chilling temperatures, the reader joins them on the road, encountering harrowing instances of debased humanity, cannibalism, and despair. The boy, who has never known any other life, seems, at times, touched by God, for he is ever aware of the fact that he and his father are the “good guys” who “carry the fire”. Eventually the man succumbs to disease, starvation, and exposure—yet remains convinced that “Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again.”
The Road has been called both “a masterpiece” by Booklist and “a novel of horrific beauty” by Kirkus Reviews. I agree. The book, deceptively simple and straightforward, is devastating and reminds us that the world teeters on the edge of the abyss.
On June 5, 2007, McCarthy sat down with Oprah Winfrey for his first and only television interview. When asked about his writing, McCarthy said he prefers simple, direct sentences and refuses to muddy up his text with “weird little marks” (quotation marks). The video can viewed on Oprah’s site: http://www.oprah.com/. Just enter his name in the “Search oprah.com” field on the upper right of the screen.
Directed by John Hillcoat, the film adaptation has just been released in theatres and is receiving generally favorable reviews. Viggo Mortensen, whom many will remember as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, plays the man.
East Central Regional Library owns all of McCarthy’s works in various formats: regular print, large print, audio, VHS, and DVD. Access our homepage at http://www.ecrlib.org/ and click on “ECRL Catalog” if you’d like to request a specific item. Remember that library staff are a quick phone call away if you need assistance.

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

Today is the 105th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Seuss. We have Dr. Seuss books in every single one of our branch libraries. Go to the catalog page of our website, and do an author search — enter seuss, dr as the search term. When you get your Dr. Seuss book, grab a kid, and once again enjoy the lyric poetry. The National Education Association has proclaimed March 2nd as Read Across America Day. They even have this Read Across America poem on the NEA website:

You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild,
To pick up a book and read with a child.
You’re never too busy, too cool, or too hot,
To pick up a book and share what you’ve got.

In schools and communities,
Let’s gather around,
Let’s pick up a book,
Let’s pass it around.

There are kids all around you,
Kids who will need
Someone to hug,
Someone to read.

Come join us March 2nd
Your own special way
And make this America’s
Read to Kids Day.

When you’re done with the Dr. Seuss books, the NEA site has a list of Teacher’s Top 100 Books for Children.

Barbara Misselt, Director