Basics

216 N Marshall Ave
Litchfield MN 55355

(320)693-2483

HOURS
Monday - Thursday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Friday, March 22, 2019

Skin the Color of Pale Blue Cheese?



How do you describe the color of your skin? My skin is light colored with blue and green veins.  If I hold it against a piece of paper, it isn’t white.  It isn’t pink.  It isn’t yellow. It isn’t brown.  I could  invent my own color.   Maybe I’d call it arctic marble or pale blue cheese!  Skin color and identity are explored by Monique Fields in her new book, “Honeysmoke.”   A little girl who is a bit of her mom and a bit of her dad solves the question by inventing a beautiful color called honeysmoke.  I love it.



There are no bears in this library. Better yet is the book, “There are No Bears in This Bakery,” written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach.   An orange cat named Muffin is the night watchman for her neighborhood.  In the best tradition of detectives in film noir, she is determined to investigate the strange sound coming from the open window in the back of Little Bear Bakery.  “The air was cool and wet like a dog’s nose. The bakery’s back window was open like a crooked smile.  I slipped into the darkness like icing melting down a hot cake.”   This may be more fun for the grown up reader than the child listening, but I think it works on many levels.




No one that I know is wishing for snow, but Sarah Dillard’s new book, “I Wish it Would Snow!”  is really cute.  A rabbit-child is waiting and waiting for snow.  And when it snows, and snows, and snows, the child wants it to stop.  This book reminds me of our winter, when we had a brown Christmas followed by snow, and snow, and snow. 





“Amy is Famous” is a new book by Barbara Bottner, whose book, “Bootsie Barker Bites,” is a favorite.  Amy is a victim of today’s over-praising of children.  Amy wears red and signs autographs because famous people do that.  But her life turns upside-down when a new girl arrives on the scene.  Someone’s wise mom gets the two girls together for a play day, and, surprise! They discover how alike they are and become friends.










Litchfield Library doesn’t have many books originally written in Hebrew.  Einat Tsarfati graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Israel.  Her book, “The Neighbors” tells the story of   unusual families who live in an apartment building with seven stories.  Each family is unique, including the narrator’s, even though she thinks her parents  are boring.  In fact, they are  super heroes, and in the last spread it looks like they are working on a super-hero costume for their daughter.





Finally, the best (or worst) alphabet book ever, “P is for Pterodactyl,” by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter, looks at “all the letters that misbehave and make words nearly impossible to pronounce.”  Raj Haldar is from Philadelphia and is a rapper better known as Lushlife.   Chris Carpenter says that he discovered children’s books when he became a father.  This is an interesting and challenging alphabet book.  These picture books, and more, are waiting for you at Litchfield Public  Library. 


Friday, March 15, 2019

Read About Intriguing People in This Spring's Books


by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Spring is here, at least officially.  We may not have flowers and warm temperatures for a while yet, so there’s plenty of time to keep reading before we have too many outside activities.  The Litchfield Library is getting a number of new books that are generating buzz this spring.

Bestselling author Harlan Coben has a new book, Run Away, that just came out this past week. It’s a parent’s nightmare: a daughter who becomes addicted to drugs with an abusive boyfriend and leaves her family.  In order to save her, the parent follows her into the dangerous world she lives in.  Reviews say it’s an exciting thriller you’ll want to read in one sitting.

The Silent Patient is in demand in our library system, and everywhere else, right now.  This psychological thriller is about a famous artist who murders her fashion photographer husband and then refuses to speak another word.  A criminal psychologist becomes obsessed with the notorious case and begins to treat her.  Brad Pitt has purchased the film rights to this first novel by Alex Michaelides.

Lisa See’s new book, The Island of Sea Women, covers the history of a unique place, the Korean island of Jeju.  Women there have been the primary breadwinners for centuries, even now diving into the sea to gather shellfish without oxygen masks.  This novel centers on two friends who begin diving together as children, and it follows them through Japanese colonialism in the ‘30s and ‘40s, World War II, and the Korean War, bringing them to the current era of cell phones and wet suits.  If you enjoy novels about history and female friendship, this is for you.

Written as though it’s a celebrity memoir, the novel Daisy Jones and The Six is the story of a wildly-successful band in the ‘70s.  Author Taylor Jenkins Reid captures the sex, drugs, and rock and roll of the era through Daisy’s rise to superstardom when she joins the band The Six.  Reviewers have said that the characters feel so real that they want to find their albums.

British author Helen Oyeyemi has won awards for her inventive novels and short stories.  Her latest is called Gingerbread, and it builds on the special place gingerbread has in fairy tales.  A mother and daughter live in a London apartment with talking plants, and the mother’s mysterious friend Gretel loves the family’s famous gingerbread, a recipe passed down through the generations.

Figuring is a nonfiction book about the interconnected lives of a number of prominent people over four centuries, beginning with astronomer Johannes Kepler and ending with biologist and author Rachel Carson.  Writer Maria Popova examines the lives of these artists, writers, and scientists, most of them women and many of them LGBT, who have made important public contributions while going through struggles in their private relationships. 

The Altruists by Andrew Ridker is a funny novel about a dysfunctional family.  A Missouri professor invites his estranged adult children home in a supposed attempt at reconciliation.  His late wife had kept her small fortune a secret and left it directly to their children.  People Magazine recently named it their book of the week, saying “it’s a relatable, unforgettable view of regular people making mistakes and somehow finding their way back to each other.”

The world is full of interesting books.  Settle in with one while the cold weather lasts.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Teen Tech Week: Listen to our podcast!

During a recent Makerspace program, the teens recorded a podcast for Teen Tech Week.  They used a new microphone purchased with a Teen Tech Week grant from Prairielands Library Exchange and free Audacity software on a library laptop.  Listen here:
https://archive.org/details/TeenPodcast_201903

Saturday, March 9, 2019








Litchfield Library will close at 2:00 today
 because of the weather.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Guess the Book Title by the Bad Review!


By Jan Pease

This week, I’m borrowing an idea from Travis Jonker, who writes for School Library Journal and is an elementary librarian at a school in Michigan.

He has a recurring game where he posts a negative review from 
Amazon.com or Goodreads.com and asks if readers can identify the 
well-known children’s book from the single review.  I did some digging at Amazon.com and came up with a few.


1.      “A horrible book on every level.”  “It's about a mom who sings a sweet lullaby to her son when he is a baby which is lovely but then she sneaks into his room to do it as a teenager and then sneaks into his home when he is a full grown adult. She is like a stalker.”  


2.      “The _________ books are a perfect example of how appallingly bad writing can make a mediocre story much worse - even painful to read.”


3.      “This book will destroy your child’s character.” “Bad language, main character is a monster, do not buy!”  


4.      “This was an awful book. It would only teach children to make fun of handicapped people and to call names.”


Well, how did you do?




The first book is “Love You Forever,” by Robert Munsch.  This 
beloved book was written in memory of his stillborn babies.  Yes, it is difficult to stop the tears from flowing, but it’s a lovely tribute to the power of love from parent to child.










Review number 2 is about a boxed set of “The Magic Treehouse” books by Mary Pope Osborne.  Ms. Osborne has written 55 books in this series, plus additional nonfiction books inspired by the excellent research she and her staff do for each book.






Review number 3 is about a boxed set of “Junie B. Jones,” by Barbara Park.  This is a series of 28 books that are still very popular, even though the version for younger readers ended in 2013.







Review number 4 is about “The Wonky Donkey,” by Craig Smith, a songwriter and author from New Zealand.   “Wonky Donkey” is a guilty pleasure for me.  I love to read it with a fake Scottish accent, like the hysterical grandmother in the YouTube video.   Does it pass the “Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary” test?   Probably not.  But it’s fun to read!






My point in all of this is: don’t judge a book by its review or its cover.  Each of these books also received five-star reviews, but if you read the negative review first, you would miss a wonderful story. 

These books, and more, are waiting for you at Litchfield Library.  See you soon!



Thursday, March 7, 2019

Legal Information for Minnesotans


by Beth Cronk, Meeker County Librarian

Legal information can be tricky to find.  At a recent meeting of the Pioneerland head librarians and administration, the Minnesota State Law Librarian presented information about free legal resources available to everyone in Minnesota.  Although I knew about some of them, I found this so helpful, and I thought I could share some of those resources with you.

The website lawhelpmn.org is a really exciting new resource for Minnesota residents.  Part of the Legal Services State Support program, the site asks you questions and guides you to the legal resources you need.  It’s set up to be user friendly when you don’t know what you need.  For example, I could be a landlord having trouble with a tenant, or vice versa, and it would lead me to information from the attorney general’s office and court forms from the Minnesota Judicial Branch website.  Maybe I want to make a will and I don’t know how to get started.  Working through the website, I get to fact sheets about wills, court forms about probate and wills, and guidance from the Senior Legal Line about the documents I need.   There’s also a Self Help Library on the website with sections like family, work, seniors, and other common topics people need legal information about. 

Minnesota has a State Law Library in the Minnesota Judicial Center in the state capitol complex.  It is open to the general public, besides serving the needs of the government and lawyers throughout the state.  Their book collection is largely focused on state law, both that of Minnesota and other states. 
You probably aren’t likely to visit the state law library in person, but you can make use of the library anyway.  Visit their website and you’ll have access to a wealth of legal information.  The section I’m most excited about is the forms finder.  The website organizes them by topic, including things like adoption, bankruptcy, copyright, and criminal law. 

Another section of their website that I know will be helpful is legal referrals by county.  You choose the county you live in and get a list of low-cost and free legal services available to eligible people in your county.  Many are not based in that county, but they serve people who live there. 

For example, Central Minnesota Legal Services is based in Willmar, but it serves eligible clients from Meeker County on matters of family law, housing, and other particular topics.  The Volunteer Lawyers Network is a statewide service based in the Twin Cities that serves low-income people over the phone or in person.  There are sections of the referral list dedicated to disabilities, domestic abuse, immigration, and other specialized concerns. 

Another handy link on the law library’s website is for ordinances.  The law library’s staff has gathered links to city and county ordinances in one place for convenience.  Click on “Litchfield” and it will bring you to the code of ordinances on the city’s website.

If you need help, click on Ask A Librarian to submit a question to their library staff.  They can help you get a form, but they can’t tell you which form to use.  Similarly, they can find you a statute, but they can’t explain it to you, and they can’t give you legal advice.  Their role, like ours, is to direct you to resources.  Not comfortable using a computer?  You can call them at (651)297-7651. 

A third website the state law librarian covered was the Minnesota Judicial Branch website, mncourts.gov, which is a wealth of legal information, as well.  Click on Get forms to find court forms of all kinds, such as forms for a name change, criminal expungement, child support issues, and many others.   You can also access criminal and civil caserecords if you want to find out about someone’s background or learn how a particular case was resolved. 

When you need a legal form or a place to start on a legal issue, you can make use of these trustworthy resources for Minnesotans. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Snow, Snow Go Away, Come Again Another Day! Or Year!


By Jan Pease

I’m ready to wave goodbye to February and winter.  Just had to express that feeling.  Anyway, here are some new children’s novels that will be good for “spring” reading in March.




“Dr. Snow Has Got to Go,” by Dan Gutman, is  the first book in Mr. Gutman’s new series, “My Weirder-est school.”  Mr. Gutman states in an interview on his amazon  page that he writes for the kids who don’t really like to read.  His “My Weird School” series has something like 23 copies sold.  Ooops, I meant to type 23 MILLION copies sold.  The new series promises to be more of the same.  Dr. Snow is a scientist who comes to Ella Mentry School to help students with their science fair projects, with ensuing chaos.







“Click,” by Kayla Miller, explores a situation that  is hard for most students to handle,  the dreaded school variety show.  Olive doesn’t fit in with any of the groups at school, so she can’t seem to insert herself in any of the acts.  What can the person do who gets along with everyone but isn’t part of a clique? Why, become a witty, entertaining emcee, of course.








“The Duchess and Guy,” by Nancy Furstinger, is based on the story of a shelter dog who is rescued by a beautiful actress who marries Prince Harry, whose grandmother is very fond of dogs.  Of course the beautiful actress is Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Guy the beagle is a real dog.






“The Gilded Wolves,” by Roshani Chok, is a great big, lush novel for teens.  It’s on my “to read” list, because it sounds interesting.  This book is a fantasy set in a semi-historical Paris, with intrigue between the great houses of the city.   A heist is involved, as our hero tries to retrieve an artifact from another great house.








 Finally, the big question for today is: “Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”  This has surprising resonance with me, because I often have a snippet of the old song, “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?” stuck in my head as an ear worm.  Who is Carmen, the mystery woman in the red fedora? And why does she travel around the world?






Oops! There is one more book I have to share. “Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers,”   by Sara Levene, takes a look at human teeth compared to other creatures.  For example, what animal would you be if your top canine teeth grew almost down to your feet?    Interesting to think about.
 

These books, and many more, are waiting for you at Litchfield library.  See you there!