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 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

Sandstone Classics Corner Open House

With Friends Like These…the Sky’s the Limit!

The Sandstone Friends of the Library recently celebrated their new CLASSICS CORNER with an open house. Having purchased over 175 volumes from the Library of America series, the Sandstone library now has an outstanding collection of the best literature America has produced over the centuries. The Library of America books are beautifully produced and there’s something for every interest.

For example, for early-American history buffs, check out the Writings of our Founders: Washington; Jefferson; Franklin; Madison; Hamilton; and Paine each have a volume in the series. Or tackle the monumental history by Henry Adams on the Administrations of Jefferson and Madison. (By the way, when’s the volume of Henry’s great-grandfather–our second president–coming out?) Perhaps you wish to go back further with Captain John Smith’s Writings, with Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First English Settlement of America. Francis Parkman’s history, France and England in North America, is a must-read ending with (spoiler alert!) England’s victory in the French-Indian War.

Picking up the story from there, The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence, gathers the literature surrounding the birth of our nation. Of course, it’s one thing to “dissolve the political bands” between peoples and quite another to have to establish one’s own. For that attempt, see: The Debate on the Constitution (Vols. 1 & 2).

With an outsider’s perspective, Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America offers a portrait of our country’s social and political character that is still considered one of the best. Then back to Parkman for The Oregon Trail, a chronicle of his 1846 trip West, his encounters with the Plains Indians, and a vanishing frontier. The two volumes of Lincoln’s Speeches and Writings, which begin in 1832, are excellent accompaniment to the many outstanding books currently being published to celebrate the bicentennial of his birth.

Above: Ray Marcotte (l), Maker of the “Classics Corner” sign and Art Olstead, Maker of the Bookshelves! Many, many Thanks!

Area Lions Club members, left to right: Branch Librarian Jeanne Coffey, Carrie Olstead, Irma Faulkner, Carol Nelson, Sandy Snadwick, Chester (behind) and Janice (front) Gustafson, Tony Nelson, Judy Loken, Art Olstead, Ken Sample.

Below: Never letting a fundraising opportunity pass, the Friends held a silent auction. A few elbows were thrown as the clock ticked down but no injuries were reported. Below Left: Silent Auction items and (front to back) Carrie Olstead, Judy Loken, Sylvia Marcotte, JoAnn Alexander. Middle: Irene Sandell plans her strategy. Right: JoAnn Alexander (below left) reveals her talent for accessorizing by putting a quilted Christmas tree skirt to use as a cape.

I could go on and on. So I will!

(L-R) Judy Loken, Elsie Lundorff, Irene Sandell
Perhaps fictionalized accounts of these times are more your style. Then take a look at James Fenimore Cooper’s The Leatherstocking Tales, which includes the novel “The Last of the Mohicans.” Washington Irving’s and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s stories also present windows through which to view our nation’s early years. The Writings and Drawings of John James Audubon capture the natural landscape, as does the work of environmentalist William Bartram (1739-1823), described as “the most significant American writer before Thoreau and a nature artist who rivals Audubon.”

Explore other aspects of the cuture with American Poetry: The Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century (2 vols.); American Sermons: The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King; American Sea Writing: A Literary Anthology; or American Speeches: Political Oratory from the Revolution to the Civil War. Civil War? Read on!

Right: (L-R) Merlin and JoAnn Alexander, Patti Hapke, Branch Librarian Jeanne Coffey, Branch Aide Carol Nelson

Below: Friends of the Library (L-R), JoAnn Alexander, Melissa Grabau, Patti Hapke (back), Sylvia Marcotte (front), Jeanne Coffey.

There’s the Memoirs of Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant, The Autobiographies of Frederick Douglass, and the anthology of Slave Narratives. Post war? How about little-known Lafcadio Hearns’ American Writings, “the master of a gaudy and sometimes self-consciously decadent literary style…a tough-minded and keenly observant reporter, with an eye for the offbeat, the sensual, and occasionally the gruesome”?

And I’ve only described one avenue through this collection!

Talk to Jeanne or Carol about what’s available–or, better yet–come on in and browse through these wonderful books and discover on your own.

Also, go to the Library of America website for their description of each volume.

(Become a Friend of the Library today!)
Posted by Nick Dimassis, Assistant Director


November 4, 2008 is election day!
You may want to look at the following websites and familiarize yourself with your Federal and State governments. Become an informed citizen!
In this election year you may also need to locate your polling place or view election results.

Check out these sites:
This is the official website of the Federal Government. Peruse the A-Z index of government departments and agencies. Note the links to State, Local, and Tribal governments. Contact your elected officials, replace vital records, or find out how to apply for a passport. Its all here!

Minnesota North Star
This is the official website of the State of Minnesota. See the various links to state agencies, jobs, education, social services, and natural resources. Find a phone number in the Government Telephone Directory. Look at the “Kids Page” and the resources for “Minnesota Seniors”. Or contact the office of Governor Tim Pawlenty!
Polling Place Finder
Locate your polling place (where you go to vote) in Minnesota. Get maps and directions. Locate a specific district number. Just enter your zip code or county of residence to get started!

Election Center
From the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. Access voter and candidate information, view election results and statistics. Includes historical facts and figures from past election years!
Above all, don’t forget to vote on November 4th!

Gray, Reference and Adult Services Librarian


Are you interested in exploring the history of your family? Perhaps you’d like to look at old census or land records. Or maybe you were told that your great-great grandfather fought in the Civil War.

The Ancestry Library Edition database, an unmatched resource for genealogical research, can help you locate that “missing link”!

It can be accessed at seven branches within East Central Regional Library: Aitkin, Cambridge, Chisago Lakes, Milaca, Mora, Pine City, and Sandstone. Staff will be happy to introduce you to Ancestry if you visit any one of these seven branches.

I recently held “Introduction to Genealogy” classes here at Cambridge and the other branches that offer Ancestry. Very popular! Another class will be held in Aitkin on April 21, 2008 at 6 pm. We’ve been “snowed out” twice in Aitkin—hopefully, the third time is the charm!

Please contact the Reference Department here in Cambridge (763-689-7390 x.16) or your local branch library to enquire about Ancestry or to express your interest in future “Introduction to Genealogy” classes. We have various handouts that can be copied, including a list of recommended FREE genealogy sites, contact information for historical societies in our service area, and other literature.

We’re eager and willing to share all of this with you!

Bob Gray

Reference Coordinator, East Central Regional Library