216 N Marshall Ave
Litchfield MN 55355


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

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thrilling fall books

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

When you’re looking for a book that grabs your attention, a thriller usually fits the bill.  With the New York Times bestseller list typically filled with thrillers, this is really the most popular kind of book out there.  The library has many new page-turners available for you to check out.

Killing Season by Faye Kellerman is a mystery/thriller about a teenage boy’s investigation into his sister’s death.  A fifteen-year-old girl disappears in New Mexico, and much later her younger brother discovers her body.  Now sixteen, this math geek pores over the evidence and sees patterns the police have missed, tying this case to other unsolved murders. 

Righteous by Joe Ide is part of the IQ series.  “IQ” stands for Isaiah Quintabe, a private investigator inspired by Sherlock Holmes but living in a tough part of L.A. in the present day.  In this new novel, IQ has become a respectable detective, but the death of his brother ten years ago is still haunting him.  He investigates his brother’s death and the recent disappearance of his girlfriend’s sister, leading IQ from Beverly Hills to Las Vegas.  Gun battles and car chases are part of the ride.

Dan Brown has a new book out called Origin, which is a bestseller as usual.  Professor Robert Langdon, who first appeared in The Da Vinci Code, is back.  He attends an event in Spain hosted by a former student, intended to reveal a shocking scientific discovery about human existence.  The evening ends in chaos before the breakthrough can be revealed and Langdon flees with the museum’s director, now on a quest to find a cryptic password.  This one should again be controversial and entertaining.

Haunted is one of James Patterson’s new books. Detective Michael Bennett’s family is in crisis, so he takes them on a vacation to a small town in the Maine woods to get away from it all.  Then Bennett gets pulled into a local case involving missing kids and a murder.  The guy can’t catch a break!   This one is written with James O. Born.

The Blind is a psychological thriller by A.F. Brady.  A skilled psychologist at Manhattan’s most challenging psychiatric hospital is pulled in by a seemingly normal patient no other therapist will treat. Talking about the patient’s twisted past causes the psychologist to analyze her own life and mental illness, as he begins playing mind games with her. 

Shattered by Allison Brennan is the newest Max Revere novel.  An old friend asks investigative reporter Maxine to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son’s murder.  Max finds three similar cold cases that she hopes will do just that if she can solve them.  The catch is that she has to work with an FBI agent connected to the case in order to have access to the evidence, and Max works alone.   Partnering with the aunt of one of the other boys who was murdered may be the key to solving the crime.

Other new thrillers at the library include Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison, The Driver by Hart Hanson, and Sleeping in the Ground by Peter Robinson. 

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Litchfield Public Library!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Jumping on Board the STEM Train

 By Jan Pease

When you visit Litchfield library, look around in the children’s section.  We have invested a large portion of the book budget in lower-level nonfiction juvenile books.  Many young children are interested in real people, places and things. STEM, the acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics , is a hot topic right now.  I am convinced that one way to encourage children’s interest in STEM is to provide interesting, colorful books about interesting, colorful topics.

How would you answer the question “What is your favorite animal?”  “My Favorite Animal,” a series from Cherry Lake Publishing, features animals such as moose, alligator, bison, and red fox.  The audience for these books is children in grades K-3.  Another fun animal series is called, “Guess What.?  These cute books each feature visual clues and hints about one animal. Titles include “Noisy Nibblers,” “Cheeky Cuties,” and “Pouncing Pals.”  Look for the picture of the cat’s tongue in “Pouncing Pals,” which shows a close up view of the cat grooming a cascade of hair. 

We added several books about technology for young people, including “Building Squishy Circuits,” “Big Data,” “Coding with
Sphero” and “Coding with Lego WeDo.”  I can’t help but wonder what today’s preschool children will be like in 15 years or so, having been exposed to books like these at an early age.

Many of the new titles include books about making projects, a good resource for the coming cold months.  “Bit by Bit, Projects for your Odds and Ends” looks like a fun collection.  “Create and Keep” looks like a great resource for making gifts.  And “Bought in Bulk” is another book of projects for whatever is left over after other projects are created.

“Graphic Revolve” is a series of graphic novels of classic tales.  True to the original stories, they may create some interest in reading the original stories.  Fiction titles include “The Lost World,” “The Iliad,” “The Island of Dr.Moreau,” “The Odyssey,” etc.   Do you remember “Classics Illustrated?” Well, these titles remind me of those favorite comic books.

These wonderful titles and more are waiting for you at Litchfield Library.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Closed for Veterans Day

Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Saturday, November 11, for Veterans Day.  At the Litchfield Library, this means the Second Saturday children's activities and the teen program will not take place this month.

The libraries will be open on Friday, November 10.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Adult Coloring in November

Kits Available Through the Library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

In recent months, the library had a suggestion box at the front desk.  A couple of people suggested we get some kits to check out.  Good news: kits are already available to order in our library system!  We don’t have them onsite because we don’t have space to store them, but a variety of kits can be delivered here for no charge for you to borrow.

One suggestion was for kits for preschools and families with young children, including things like activities, music, and books.  Many kits like this are available in our library catalog.  The easiest way to locate many of them is to search for “Learning Kit” as a title.  There are 56 of these!  They range from “Learning Kit: ABC” to “Learning Kit: Winter.”  These kits usually include a collection of books organized around a theme, games, activity sheets, videos, audio recordings, and sometimes toys and crafts.  A number of them are older, with VCR tapes and audiocassettes in the kits, but some are newer, with DVDs and CDs. 

To find another group of similar kits, do an author search for “Once Upon a Reader.”  We have these kits because of a statewide library program a few years ago.  One kit is called “Cow’s Vacation Scrapbook,” and it includes a stuffed animal, a copy of the book Moo by David LaRochelle, and a binder with spots for kids to draw, write stories, and add photos of their vacations.  Another kit called “Milk and Cookies Storytime” contains five different books, a CD, a tactile activity, and reproducible sheets and instructions for the adult preparing the storytime.  Finally, the “Take-Home Play Kit” includes a copy of the book Moo, five toys, and information for parents and caregivers on how to support early literacy with specific practices and skills. 

There are a few other kits that are a bit more challenging to find in the catalog.  One is “Dazzling Dave’s Tips and Tricks for Yo-Yo Play.”  It contains two yo-yos, a pack of replacement strings, a DVD, and an instruction sheet for learning to use a yo-yo.

Another is called “Oral History Kit,” which contains two digital voice recorders, two microphones, two pairs of headphones, and instructions.  The kit is intended for people to use for interviewing family members and other people to record their memories.

There is also a Zumba kit called “Zumba Fitness,” which includes toning sticks along with DVDs and a booklet.

Another suggestion we got in the box at the front desk was for book club kits.  Our library system offers these, too!  To locate them, search “Book club in a bag” as a title, and you’ll find 45 of them, from A Crooked Number by Nathan Jorgenson to Wide Open Spaces by Cadee Brystal.  Some are children’s books and some are for adults, and the kits all have multiple copies for a book club to share.  Some include discussion guides.

For more title options for book club kits, search “book club in a tub” in Plum Creek Library System’s online catalog, and then limit it to item type “book club kit” on the sidebar.  You won’t be able to order these directly through the Plum Creek catalog to be delivered here, but we do have a cooperative agreement with them to share our book club kits.  Talk to a staff member if you’d like to order one.

I hope that you’ll order some of these resources if you can use them.  There’s more available than what you see on the shelf!  Our staff will be glad to assist you.  

Friday, October 27, 2017

Savor these Hearty Picture Books!

By Jan Pease

Warning: questionable word play ahead! Here is a veritable harvest of new picture books to enjoy! Here’s another image: a cornucopia filled with the bounty of books.

“5 Cherries,” by Italian artist and illustrator Vittoria Facchini, is a long picture book (56 pages), with gorgeous illustrations. What can two children do with ten cherries, five for each? It turns out that they can imagine quite a lot. This book reminds me of that feeling of being totally lost in the moment of playing.

“After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)” is a new book by Dan Santat, who is becoming more well known since winning the Caldecott in 2015. What happened to Humpty Dumpty after he fell from the wall, and what was he doing up there, anyway? If you have time, visit Mr.Santat’s blog, He includes many links about his books and illustrating, but be sure to click on the link for One Question with Colby Sharp. Dan Santat is incredibly open about the inspiration for “After the Fall,” his wife’s battle with anxiety, post-partum depression, and fear.

“Pug Meets Pig” and “Pug and Pig Trick or Treat” are two very cute books by Sue Lowell Killian. I can’t imagine having a pug and a young potbellied pig together, but it would be fun. This duo should not be confused with “Pig the Pug,” a very funny picture book series by Aaron Blabey. There’s just something about pugs.

Eric Litwin started a new series about an unusual animal with “Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs.” (Mr. Litwin no longer writes the Pete the Cat books.) “Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown” includes the opportunity to download the “Disco Party Bow Wow Song” as well as other free songs. Groovy Joe is a dog who loves to eat ice cream, play the guitar, and dance. I think children will enjoy this new series as much as the early Pete the Cat books.

“A Different Pond,” by Bao Phi is a completely different kind of picture book. It is simple enough to be understood by a young child but the meaning of the book will grow as the reader grows. I admire people who have come to America leaving behind trauma and loss and this picture book reminds us of how much adjustment immigrant groups have faced. This Vietnamese father and son can represent people of any culture struggling to adjust to life in America.

Finally, by the time you read this, Halloween will be past. But you might still look for “Bonaparte Falls Apart,” by Margery Cuyler. Our main character, Bonaparte, needs to literally “get ahold of himself.” When he throws a ball, his arm takes a flyer. Eating lunch can be a jaw-dropping experience. Fortunately, he has friends with names like Franky Stein, Black Widow, and Mummicula who all have some “bone-headed” ideas to help him. These punny, funny books are waiting for you at Litchfield Public Library – see you there!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Big, beguiling, epic movies popular at the library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

DVDs are extremely popular at the library.  In September, 861 DVDs were checked out at the Litchfield library, which amounts to roughly twenty percent of the items checked out that month.  We carry a mixture of popular movies, art films, classics, documentaries, television series, and children’s DVDs.  Every month there are new additions.

The Beguiled is a new drama based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan.  A 1971 movie by the same name, starring Clint Eastwood, was also based on this novel.  The 2017 version was directed by Sofia Coppola and stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, and Kirsten Dunst.  A wounded Union soldier is taken in by the headmistress of an all-girls school in Virginia, where he romances each of the women with unexpected consequences.  Reviewers say it’s quite different from the Clint Eastwood version, with a restrained approach to the tension.  Coppola won the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival for this film.

Also starring Nicole Kidman, the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies won eight Emmy awards last month including Outstanding Limited Series.  The miniseries is based on the bestselling novel by Australian author Liane Moriarty.  Three mothers of first graders with seemingly perfect lives all have secrets, and when someone dies at a school event, was it an accident or murder?  This darkly comic drama also stars Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd.

The Big Sick was an unexpected hit this year.  Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon turned the true story of their romance into the script for this romantic comedy, and Nanjiani stars.  Kumail and Emily fall in love but he won’t commit because his very traditional family wouldn’t approve.  Then Emily falls seriously ill and is put into a medically-induced coma, and Kumail has to deal with Emily’s parents, played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, whom he has never met.  Audiences loved this for being a fresh take on a rom-com, both funny and heartwarming. 

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is an animated film based on the tremendously popular book series by Dav Pilkey.  Two prank-loving best friends hypnotize their angry principal and make him believe he’s Captain Underpants, an enthusiastic and dimwitted superhero they’ve created.  The twelve-book series began in 1997 and concluded in 2015, and kids have continued to be enthusiastic about reading the silly, potty-humor-filled stories.  Kevin Hart stars as George, one of the young friends.  Reviewers say parents will be as entertained by this one as the kids are.

The indie film Certain Women tells three stories of women in rural Montana, played by Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart.  One is a lawyer who deals with sexism and a hostage situation.  The second is a wife and mother planning her dream home without the support of her family.  And the third is a new teacher of evening classes for adults who befriends a ranch hand.  This is a very quiet, subtle movie about ordinary lives.

Other recent additions include the Disney Channel movies Descendants and Descendants 2, the drama A Ghost Story, the Sam Elliott comedy The Hero, and the Oprah/HBO movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  If you’re interested in some of these, stop in to check the new-DVD section of the library, or place a hold through the library’s online catalog.