One Book | One Minnesota

Something I have noticed over the past few weeks is how, in this time of social distancing, people are still finding activities and ideas that bring them together – not physically, but virtually. Thanks to a new program being offered in Minnesota, we all have a chance to become closer through reading and discussing a book.

This week, the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, in partnership with State Library Services, announced One Book | One Minnesota, a new online book club. Readers of all ages are invited to read “Because of Winn-Dixie,” by Minnesota author Kate DiCamillo, and come together for virtual discussions. All Minnesotans will be invited to participate in a statewide virtual discussion with the author in May.

“Because of Winn-Dixie” is available at Ebooks Minnesota, where the book will be available for multi-use downloads at no cost for eight weeks. It is also available in the Plum Creek Library System’s OverDrive collection (single use only).

“Because of Winn-Dixie” is an excellent choice for this program, because it can be enjoyed by the whole family! Adults can read it to their children, or members of the family can read independently and share their ideas. Include grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins…the possibilities are endless for a multi-generational experience.

Get started reading any time, and stay tuned for more information about discussion opportunities.

We may not be able to be together, but we can still read together!

Read Local With ebooks Minnesota

Ebooks Minnesota has been around for a while now, but I feel like many people still are not aware of it. Even I do not use it as much as I should. This week I attended a webinar about this great resource and wanted to share what I learned.

What is Ebooks Minnesota? It’s a collection of ebooks made available to all people in Minnesota. It’s brought to us by Minitex and the Minnesota Department of Education, and features books for all ages on a variety of subjects. There are more than 10,000 titles from Minnesota publishers.

Access to Ebooks Minnesota is geolocated, meaning that if you have a Minnesota-based internet provider, you can access the site. You don’t need to create an account in order to use Ebooks Minnesota, but if you do, you will be able to create a “favorites” list, make notes, and use bookmarks.

Creating a profile on Ebooks Minnesota allows you to save your favorites to read later, use bookmarks, and make notes.

One of the great features about Ebooks Minnesota is that its content is multi-use. So, if you are a teacher who wants everyone in your class to read a book, they can all download it onto different devices.

Ebooks Minnesota also has a focus on Minnesota authors and books about Minnesota. You’ll find books Bill Holm, Larry Millett, and Lorna Landvik, for example. In adult non-fiction, there are books by Arcadia History Press, which publishes many great historical titles. In addition to these Minnesota-based books, you’ll find many classics on Ebooks Minnesota.

Ebooks Minnesota also has some books in other languages, including numerous titles in Spanish, and a few in Somali, Ojibwe, and Karen.

You can browse the Ebooks Minnesota catalog in a few different ways. “Curations,” are put together by Minitex librarians. Current curations include “Minnesota,” “Mental Health & Social Issues for Kids and Teens,” and ” K-12 Educator Resources.” “Categories” are sorted by subject headings such as “Art,” and “Comics and Graphic Novels.” “Modules” are broader categories such as “Adult,” “Children’s,” “Scholarly Resources,” and “One Book One Minnesota” (more on that last one in a future post).

In the Menu, there are options to explore the collection by “Curations,” “Categories,” and “Modules.”

The Ebooks Minnesota Collection app is called BiblioBoard. This app, which is available in any app store, allows you to download books for later use. Books cannot be downloaded onto a computer. All of the pictures included with this post were taken of the app.

I highly recommend browsing this great resource. It’s unique to Minnesota and contains a lot of excellent material for free. In addition to the regular Ebooks Minnesota site, there is also Ebooks Minnesota for Schools, which includes only children’s and young adult content. It’s a great place to find supplementary materials for distance learning.

The “Favorites” list allows you to save books to read later on. This works well when you are browsing and find multiple titles you would like to read.

Happy reading!


Celebrating Life at Easter

Easter is less than a week away. This year is going to be much different from what a traditional Easter is for most of us. This year, we’ll be apart from our families, and trying to make the best of it. I am reminded of the Christmas of 2009, when we were snowed in and unable to be with family on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

For me, Easter brings memories of going to my grandma’s house. My great-grandparents were there, along with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. We’d hunt Easter eggs, eat a massive dinner, and in the afternoon we’d go to the field across from my grandma’s house and fly kites.

I still like to fly kites on Easter when weather permits. This year, it looks like it will be too cold. We will still try to incorporate some other traditions, though. There will be Easter eggs, candy, and lots of food. My menu includes scalloped potatoes (just like grandma make), ham, corn, freshly baked bread or buns, and chocolate pie for dessert. It won’t be the same as being with our parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews, but it’s important to celebrate anyway.

Those of us with young children in our lives may be struggling to find ways to make Easter special this year. Reading is an easy way to keep the holiday at the forefront this week. Here are some books with Easter, spring, and bunny themes to read. If you have grandchildren you’re away from this week, you could even read one to them via video chat!

“Easter,” by Rebecca Pettiford

“Easter,” by Brenda Haugen

“Happy Easter, Gus!” by Jacklynn Williams

“Too Many Carrots,” by Katy Hudson

“Berenstain Bears Easter Magic,” by Stan and Jan Berenstain

“Spring Surprises,” by Anna Jane Hays

“Curious George and the Bunny,” H.A. and Margret Rey

“The Story of Easter,” by Sarah Young

“Queen of Easter,” by Mary Engelbreit

“Easter Egg Day,” by Tara Knudson

“Mickey’s Easter Hunt,” by Sheila Sweeny Higginson

“Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure,” by James Dean

There are many more great titles to explore. I’ll leave you for today with Happy Easter wishes from my family to yours.