Internet protest over Congressional bills

You may be wondering why if you go to Google today, you’ll see a black square, and a message about censoring the web. If you go to Wikipedia, you’ll find that the site is blacked out today, in protest over potential legislation that some say would limit access to the web and the information it holds. Many other sites and blogs are blacked out today in an organized online protest.

Libraries stand for protecting individuals’ First Amendment rights that support open access to information. The American Library Association (ALA) has put together a chart of the 3 copyright-related bills that are currently in play at the start of 2012: PIPA, SOPA, and OPEN Act.

ALA states the organization’s position on the bills:

. . . all of which take aim at any website beyond U.S. borders that distribute counterfeit or copyright infringing products. All three bills operate under the assumption that there is a problem that needs to be solved – and the best, or only, way to combat online infringement overseas is with more law targeted at foreign websites. These bills have the potential to negatively impact fundamental library principles. The following chart is for quick reference (not meant to be comprehensive), and outlines the primary issues and concerns of interest to the library community and those who use the Internet,

Link to the ALA comparative chart:

Barbara Misselt, Director


Did you know that East Central Regional Library maintains an extensive list of web sites that we use on a daily basis? Just check our “Reference Desk” page and click on “Web Links”. There are many different categories! One of the most popular is Health & Medicine.

Here you’ll find links to the American Medical Association, Medline Plus, WebMD, and the Mayo Clinic, among other reliable online resources. You can easily locate information on diseases, medical conditions, drugs, and specific health-related topics pertaining to children, men, women, and seniors.

The library also maintains outstanding print resources for your use, including:

“Mayo Clinic Family Health Book”
“Complete Guide to Prescription & Non-Prescription Drugs”
“American Medical Association Complete Medical Encyclopedia”

Please contact your nearest ECRL branch library for assistance with these and other library resources!

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: Just enter his name in the “Search” 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 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


It’s still possible to find that “perfect job”, even in this economy. The library can help!

Check out the following books:

“Knock ’em Dead 2009: The Ultimate Job Search Guide” by Martin John Yate
“The Job Search Solution” by Tony Beshara
“60 Seconds & You’re Hired” by Robin Ryan

Need help polishing up your resume or interview skills? Take a look at these:

“301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions” by Vicky Oliver
“Resumes for Dummies” by Joyce Kennedy
“No-Nonsense Resumes” by Wendy Enelow

There are many others. Search the ECRL catalog or ask your librarian for assistance. ECRL staff can also point out our “Web Links” page and the “LearningExpress Library” database.

There are many excellent internet sites that can help you in your job search.

—Go to the library homepage:
—Click on the “Reference Desk” link on the left
—Click on “Web Links”, then “Employment”

Minnesota residents may want to pay particular attention to the following sites:

—“Minnesota Jobs
—“Minnesota’s Job Bank
—“Workforce Centers

The library also has access to a very helpful database: “LearningExpress Library“.

With LearningExpress you can polish up your basic math, reading, writing, and grammar skills, take tests geared toward specific careers (military, nursing, civil service, teaching, law enforcement, and more), as well as get tips on effective interview techniques, job search strategies, and writing resumes.

—Go to the ECRL homepage:
—Click on “Magazines & Databases” on the left
—Scroll down to “Learning Express Library” and click on the blue “Learn A Test” link
—New users must click on “register”. You can then create your own, confidential, account and add tests and courses to “My Center”. You can use the database wherever you have access to a computer – home, work, school, or in the library.

Stop by your local ECRL branch library for an introduction to “Learning Express Library”. We have a helpful brochure that will guide you through account setup and taking the online tests. Staff are happy to answer any questions you may have!

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. With the use of the Lincoln Bible at the recent inauguration of President Obama, and the bicentennial observance of Lincoln’s birth, we’ve recently been hearing Lincoln’s name frequently. A couple of years ago I ran across a website created by Roger Norton, who describes himself as a “former American history teacher who enjoys researching Abraham Lincoln’s life and accomplishments.” In other research, I found that Mr. Norton taught middle school history — I wasn’t surprised. It has a wealth of information, all written in the style of that favorite history teacher we all had who made history live for us. I even learned the name of Lincoln’s dog (Fido, a yellowish mutt)!

The website is named Abraham Lincoln Research site. It is divided into 3 parts: Abraham Lincoln Research Site, Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination, and Mary Todd Lincoln Research site. There are photos of Lincoln’s children and the Inauguration as well as the Assassination.

Check out Mr. Norton’s history lesson at:

link was updated March 30, 2010 at request of Roger Norton

Barbara Misselt, Director