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All East Central Regional Library locations are closed.

East Central Regional Library is closely monitoring federal, state, county, and local agencies as the COVID-19 situation unfolds. We will keep you informed of any additional changes in our operations as this situation continues.

How Services Have Changed

  • Digital access to Overdrive & Libby has been open to all patrons regardless of account status. Accounts previously blocked due to fines or expiration status have been unblocked
  • We are currently working on additional ways to offers services and will announce those when ready
  • All items currently held will remain on the holds shelf until at least April 17th or one week after our libraries reopen. You won’t lose your place in line.
  • Fines on all overdue materials will be forgiven when items are checked in
  • Thank you for keeping library materials safely in your possession until we reopen.

Services You Can Access from Home

The Library has a variety of digital resources for your enjoyment, including:

  • OverDrive / Libby offers thousands of downloadable eBooks and audiobooks
  • RBDigital offers thousands of downloadable eBooks, audiobooks and magazines
  • Databases offer information on thousands of topics and in a variety of formats

These services can all be accessed from home, 24/7 and are available to anyone with an East Central Regional Library Card. If you don’t already have an East Central Regional Library Card, OverDrive offers an instant digital card service that will allow you to apply for and received access to our digital collection.  The zip code from your cellular bill must match one of the zip codes in our service area to utilize this feature.

If you have materials coming due, you may keep them. Fines will be forgiven upon check in. Exterior book drops are available at all locations. Please do not feel you must leave home to return an item.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When will the library reopen?

This is a rapidly changing situation and we just do not know at this time.  Please watch our website and Facebook page for updates.

What library services are available digitally?

Overdrive/Libby has a large collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks available for you to borrow.  If you do not already have a card, the instant digital card feature allows most users in our area instant access to our collection.

RBDigital also has a collection of materials that are available to patrons who already have an ECRL card.

Ebooks MN is a statewide collection of materials available to all MN residents.

We offer a wide variety of databases that include language learning (Mango), ancestry research (My Heritage), instructional classes (Universal Class).  Check them out here.

Can I get a library card online?

Community members can now apply for an East Central Regional Library card from home. This new online application process is very similar to getting a card in our branches. We ask that you click the link below. This will take you to a page in our Online Catalog. From here you will need to enter the following required information: your name, address, date of birth, phone number and e-mail address. After you submit your request, we will process your application within one business day and get back to you via e-mail with your barcode number and the PIN will be the last 4 digits of the phone number you entered.

Online Library Card Request

Please know that library cards are available to any resident of East Central Regional Library’s counties (Aitkin, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs and Pine).

Use your card to access our digital library that offers eBooks,eAudiobooks and eMagazines that you can access right from your home.

*We will mail physical cards to all who sign up when normal operations resume.

Can I use the Wi-Fi?

Yes, the Wi-Fi is still up and running in all 14 of our locations. You can access it outside the building. It is not password protected, just agree to the terms of service.

What You Can Do to be Proactive:

In addition to staying home if you are sick, the World Health Organization recommends the following practices to decrease the spread of the virus:

  • Wash your hands frequently- regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
    • Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain social distancing- maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    • Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
    • Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene-Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
    • Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early- stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
    • Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider- stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
    • Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

More Information: 


Health Questions- Minnesota Department of Health
651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903
Available from 7a.m. to 7p.m.

Community mitigation (schools, child care, business) questions:
651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Child Care Providers – Minnesota Department of Human Services
8:00a.m. – 4:30p.m. Monday to Friday


World Health Organization

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Minnesota Department of Health Services

10 thoughts on “COVID-19

  1. “East Central Regional Library remains open maintaining business as usual”

    I generally strongly support the library.

    However as a vulnerable Isanti County citizen, it seems to me that the library is a major transmission hub–and I urge the library immediately be closed until conditions are significantly better.

    1. We are doing everything we can to protect library members at this time. We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health as closely as possible. At the press conference Governor. Tim Walz hosted this evening, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm recommended that public buildings, such as libraries, remain open. However, we urge members who are vulnerable to use their best judgment when coming in. At this time we have suspended fines on materials checked out so people do not feel as though they must come in to return materials. We are also expanding access to our digital resources in the coming days. If there is anything we can do to safely assist you at this time please contact us at ecrlib.org and we will do our best.

  2. I wish the phone times could be increased. I need information as to how to connect with universal class

    I will contact you on Monday at 10:00

    1. Hi Marlys,

      We apologize for the inconvenience. In order to keep our staff safe we have founds ways for them to answer the phone from their homes. However, we do not have enough equipment to have outfit our entire staff with the capabilty. We are hoping to expand our phone services in the near future. You can also contact us 24/7 via our AskMN chat feature on the right side of the page, contact us via e-mail at covid19@ecrlib.org or via our East Central Regional library Facebook accounts. Again we apologize for the inconvenience and will happily help you with Universal Class.

  3. I received an e-mail stating that my library card will expire in 30 days, Am I able to renew
    on line? Or what hours are available for me to stop in to renew it.

    1. Hi Gwen, Library cards need to be renewed every two years. To renew your card we simply need to confirm your card number and contact information (phone number and address). You can do this by e-mailing us via the contact form or by filling out the online library card request form. If you fill out the online form you will need to provide more information as it is the same system we use to register new users but it will still result in your card being renewed.

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