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, January 19, 2018

Good News and Bad News

By Jan Pease

As the saying goes, “I have some good news and some bad news.”

The good news is that our children’s department has lots of new books.  Watch for books like “5-minute Pinkalicious Stories,” by Victoria Kann.  These are short little stories starring Pinkalicious.  Precious!

“Be Brave, Little Penguin,” by Giles Andreae, is the story of Pip-Pip the tiny penguin who is afraid of jumping into the water.  This is another  story about conquering fear, although I think Pip-Pip is smart not to jump into frigid water.

“Bow-Wow-Meow,” by Blanca Lacasa, is an odd book that was translated from Spanish.  It is the story of a little dog who likes to act like a cat.  Some reviewers felt that this book has an agenda of gender transitions and identity.  I think that,  like Skippy John Jones, a cat who pretends he’s a Chihuahua dog, this might just might be a dog who likes to pretend he’s a cat.   

Amy Hest has written a picture book about the rollicking good times that a baby has with his dog, Buster.  “Buster and the Baby” is another book that is cute as can be.

“Fiona’s Little Accident,” by Rosemary Wells, is the story of very busy Fiona, who doesn’t even have time for a bathroom break.  Just as she and her friend Felix are ready to show their volcano for show-and-tell…  Well, the author’s word is “oops!”

Do goats tend to have a problem with sleepwalking?  Mauri Kunnas, Finland’s most celebrated author according to, has written a book about Mr. Clutterbuck.  He is a mild-mannered goat who has adventures at night after he falls to sleep. “Goodnight, Mr. Clutterbuck” may explain why I wake up tired every day.  Maybe I’m having adventures at night!

“I Know a Librarian Who Chewed on a Word,” is a book written by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton.  It will remind you, of course, of “There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” as more and more awful things happen to the librarian as she follows a single word.  What could that word be?

Rachel Bright has written an adorable book about a shy koala, “The Koala Who Could.”  This is another sweet story that encourages children to try new things, even if they are a little scary.

“My Lazy Cat,” by French author Christine Roussey, is a reminder to us over-scheduled folks to slow down, explore what’s around us and to  appreciate life’s simple pleasures.

Now the bad news: many of these books have already been checked out.  We checked them in, stood them up to display, and whoosh! They seemed to jump off the shelves.  So watch for them, and share them with a child.  See you at the library!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Children's Schedule for 2018

January 11 2018 

Whew!  The New Year is here, and it’s time to get going with children’s programs at Litchfield Public Library. 

Programs in the children’s department begin January 8th with Maker Space, a great chance for young people ages 12 and up to get together, listen to some music, and make various projects.  Maker Space happens on the 2nd Monday of every month at 3:30, and lasts until about 4:30.  Mariah leads this program.

Every Wednesday, very young children are invited to Toddler Time at 10:15 for half an hour of movement, singing, and a story.  Children must be accompanied by a caregiver.  Babies are welcome! This story time is planned for little ones up to age two, but older siblings are always welcome. 

 On the third Thursday of every month, students in grades 1-3 are invited to Beginner Book Club, after the school day ends, at about 3:00.  The book for January 18 is “The Infamous Ratsos,” and copies are available at the front desk.

We get the Legos out every Thursday evening at 6:30 for a building session that lasts for an hour.  Brickheads is for anyone, ages 4-14, who likes to build with Legos.  We use our imaginations and create amazing things with these tiny bricks.

Friday mornings are devoted to Preschool Story Hour.  I’m starting year 27 of Friday morning story times, and this year promises to be the best yet.  We sing, dance a little, read a book, do a project and have a good time.  This program is for children ages 3-5.  Younger and older siblings are always welcome.  Moms and dads usually stay, and I appreciate having them in the audience.  

The Second Saturday Story Time is presented on the second Saturday of each month.  On January 13, we’re going to the dogs again!  Therapy dogs will visit the library.  These wonderful dogs love to sit with you and listen as you practice reading.  They also love to meet children, which makes this an opportunity to socialize your child with a very well-trained dog.

Every second and fifth Saturday Margaret   offers programs for tweens and teens.  These events   involve interesting things to do and a snack. 

Information about these programs is available at the front desk.  No registration is required.  All library programs are presented free of charge, but they are all priceless.  See you at Story Time!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Find Your Winter Project

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

On cold winter days, many people like to have a project to work on at home: a puzzle, a quilt, a piece of furniture.  The library is hosting a workshop where you can learn a new artistic skill, plus we have several new books that could help inspire or guide your winter do-it-yourself project.

On Monday, January 22, Jen Anfinson will be teaching a calligraphy workshop from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  The class will cover techniques and styles of traditional and modern calligraphy. It’s open to adults and teens age fifteen and up, and all supplies and equipment will be provided. The class is free to attend, but space is limited.  Sign up at the library’s front desk or call us at (320)693-2483. 

On to the books you can check out for your artistic inspiration:  

Those who enjoy drawing and painting may be interested in If You Can Doodle, You Can Paint: Transforming Simple Drawings into Works of Art by Diane Culhan.  This book encourages the artist to explore their personal style by doodling, sizing up these small drawings, and adding color with pencil and paint.  The book is intended to be an unintimidating way to move step by step into creating full-sized paintings.

For a book to take your drawing in a very different direction, look for Designing Creatures and Characters: How to Build an Artist’s Portfolio for Video Games, Film, Animation, and More.  Author Marc Taro Holmes has worked on art for video games such as Dragon Age Inquisition and Baldur’s Gate.  The book focuses on creating and developing characters visually, whether with pencil and paper or with digital art.  One of my children used this book to get started on some character design that she has continued to build on through sketches, so I would say it is inspiring.
Hello Tokyo: 30+ Handmade Projects and Fun Ideas for a Cute, Tokyo-Inspired Lifestyle is a craft book for those who enjoy Japanese culture.  Perhaps you have a young person in your life who is into manga or anime and would enjoy exploring whimsical Japanese decorating and papercrafting. The author, Ebony Bizys, is an American who lives in and blogs about Tokyo.

On the more serious crafting side, Heirloom Wood: A Modern Guide to Carving Spoons, Bowls, Boards, and Other Homewares is a basic woodcarving book.  Author Max Bainbridge discusses wood types and basic tools, then moves on to detailed projects to make for the kitchen.

If you’re making a piece of furniture rather than a cutting board, the book Joinery may be what you need.  The editors of Fine Woodworking magazine have put together a comprehensive resource for choosing the type of joint you want, designing and cutting accurately, and solving your mistakes.  Joinery is where you can tell if a piece of furniture is made really well, and this book claims to be able to improve the skill of the builder whether they’re a novice or have plenty of experience. 

Sewing Happiness: A Year of Simple Projects for Living Well is a combination sewing-pattern book and memoir.  When author Sanae Ishida developed a chronic illness and lost her job, she turned to her old hobby, sewing, to find success at something.  She ended up discovering her passion. The book contains twenty projects, including household items and children’s and women’s clothing. 

Sometimes it’s actually a good thing to have a chance to work on creative projects indoors during the winter, without feeling guilty that the lawn isn’t getting mowed or the garden isn’t being weeded.  Hibernate a bit and find something that makes you happy this winter.

Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Monday, January 15, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Reading is Snow Much Fun

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Now that it’s January, the adult winter reading program is underway at the library.  This year’s theme in Pioneerland and Plum Creek Library Systems is “Reading is Snow Much Fun.”

The adult winter reading program works a lot like the summer reading program for kids. You sign up at the library and you get a book bag and a bookmark.  This year’s bags are tan and black, good for those who prefer subdued colors instead of the brightly colored bags we’ve had in recent years.

You’ll also get a punch card and some book review forms.  When you read a book between January 2 and March 31, you fill out a brief book review form, saying what you thought of the book.  When you bring a completed form to the library, we’ll mark your punch card.  Once you fill the card with six books, you can choose a prize.

This year’s prize choices include playing cards in a carrying case, a can holder, a large chocolate bar, a flash drive, a notepad set, and, of course, a mug.  Some people collect winter reading mugs!  All of these are available while supplies last, so the sooner you read six books, the more choices you’ll have.

Those who complete the program will also be entered into a drawing for gift certificates for local businesses, sponsored by the Friends of the Litchfield Library. 

What can you read for the reading program?  Anything you want.  It can be fiction or nonfiction.  It can be new or old.  It can be an e-book, a print book, or an audiobook.  It can be a kids’ book; many adults read YA books these days.  You don’t even have to check it out from the library, although most people do.  If you got a book for Christmas, go ahead and read that!

We usually see many reviews coming in for books by bestselling authors.  So what’s popular right now?  One book that’s developing a hold list at the library is Dark in Death by J.D. Robb.  This latest “In Death” novel comes out at the end of the month.

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz has library patrons lining up to get it when it comes out this week.  This thriller is a sequel to When All the Girls Have Gone.  Krentz also writes under the pen names Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle.

Unbound by Stuart Woods also has had fans waiting for it to come out this week.  This is the 44th book in the Stone Barrington thriller series.

Danielle Steel’s Past Perfect came out about a month ago, and it’s remaining popular.  This domestic novel is about a family moving into a mansion and discovering it’s haunted by the family who lived there a century ago – and that they can share the house and become friends.  It’s a very different take on a ghost story!

Whatever you choose to read, the adult winter reading program can be a way to set a reading goal during the cold months and to be rewarded with a small prize for meeting it. As George R.R. Martin said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Week Between

By Jan Pease

It’s time to catch our breath before the New Year comes.  This is the week between.  I start noticing the change in light just after New Year’s, because I’m really sensitive to Seasonal Affective Disorder.  In the jungle that is our middle room, a tree is yearning and stretching toward the south.  Four orchids are getting ready to burst into bloom, and the asparagus fern is sending out long, long shoots.  One points south, and the confused one points west.  I wonder if it is drawn toward our SAD light.  Anyway, they know that more light will come our way, even if the cold is bitter.

Sometimes we make resolutions for the next year.  Mine are pretty simple.  I hope that I will  be kind.  I hope to encourage rather than complain.  I will try to be generous with my time and resources.  I will try to be gentle with myself.  I will work harder at being healthy. 

Two  gentle picture books come to my mind when I think about this time of year.  One is “Stranger in the Woods” by Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick.  Mr. Sams and Ms. Stoick  set up a snowman in the woods, took stunning photographs of wildlife interacting with it, and turned it all into a lovely picture book. Their books have won more than 80 awards for their books.   I recommend that you sit in a cozy chair with a cup of something warm to drink, preferably with a child or cat in your lap, and absorb the beauty of these photographs.


Another book, “The Christmas Wish,” by Lori Evert and Per Breiehagen, has stunning photographs of their   4 year old daughter Anja wearing traditional Norwegian clothing and Sami reindeer shoes, interacting with Arctic animals.  They have since developed a line of “Wish” books and products, but this first book is simply amazing.  I believe its title in Norway was “The Christmas Dream.”  

There is just something magical about snowy woods.  One of my favorite parenting memories is of taking our daughter and two of her friends out to Youngstrom Woods during a rare January thaw.  The girls were sure they were lost, but I could always hear them.  The stillness of the woods was breathtaking, even with the giggling girls traipsing through the snow.

 I was watching a science fiction show from the Star Trek family, and smiled as the brash Earthling chided the older, wiser alien, Captain Drennig, about his culture not visiting planet Earth.  “I’m surprised your ancestors never made it to Earth.”  “We don’t believe in travelling great distances.  There’s far too much to see close to home.”    Like the fictional Captain Drennig, I find wonder in our own back yard.  Catch your breath, put on some quiet music, and enjoy hearing Nature breathe in an out as one year closes and another year starts.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Readin' Around the Christmas Tree

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Christmas is only a few days away.  If you’re in the Christmas spirit and you have time to read a book (You have time to read a book at Christmastime? What's your secret??), the library has a number of this year’s new holiday books you could bring home to read during this coming week.

A new nonfiction book from Oxford University Press, Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday, examines whether there is or ever has been a war on Christmas.  Historian Gerry Bowler specializes in the intersection of religion and popular culture.  He demonstrates that throughout history, beginning with the holiday’s controversial invention during the Roman Empire, Christmas has inspired debate and conflict.  Involving Puritans, Bolsheviks, Hitler, and Charles Dickens, this book can give you some historical perspective on the issue.

You can’t tell from looking at the cover, but Mercedes Lackey’s newest novel, A Scandal in Battersea, is a Christmas story.  This is the twelfth book in Lackey’s Elemental Masters series about Sherlock Holmes in an alternate, magical England.  John and Mary Watson, both Elemental Masters, are celebrating Christmas when they are asked to investigate the reappearance of missing women, all of whom have been driven mad by whatever happened after they disappeared.

The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers is a collection of eighteen holiday stories.  The crime authors include Mick Herron, Timothy Hallinan, Peter Lovesey, and Lene Kaaberbol.  Expect humor, murder, and international locations from Sweden to North Korea.

For something gentler, Melody Carlson’s The Christmas Blessing may fit the bill.  Carlson is a bestselling author of Christian fiction, including many Christmas novels.  In The Christmas Blessing, Amelia despairs when the father of her baby is shot down in the South Pacific in 1944.  Without a job or money, she must decide whether to go to his high-class parents, who don’t know about her or the baby.

Debbie Macomber is another bestselling author known for her clean and gentle novels, including popular Christmas books.  Merry and Bright is her newest.  Merry Knight takes care of her mother who has multiple sclerosis and her brother who has Down syndrome, when she isn’t working overtime.  But her family is concerned she doesn’t have a social life and they set up an online dating profile for her.  She hits it off online with someone, only to be shocked when they meet in person. 

Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Trilogy has just gotten a fourth book, Winter Solstice.  (Does that make it a quartet?)  The Quinn family is gathered for the first time in a long time to celebrate the holidays at the Winter Street Inn on Nantucket Island.  Many of their difficulties have been resolved, but their patriarch is dying of cancer.  Hilderbrand is good at writing characters; those who enjoy bittersweet family stories are likely to enjoy this farewell to the series. 

Other new Christmas books for adults include How the Finch Stole Christmas by Donna Andrews, Fatal Frost by Karen MacInerney, Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne, and The Amish Christmas Candle by Kelly Long, Jennifer Beckstrand, and Lisa Jones Baker.  

Pioneerland libraries will be open on Saturday, December 23, and closed on Christmas Day, which is Monday, December 25.  We will be open normal hours the rest of that week.  We will be closed on Monday, January 1, for New Year’s Day.  Happy holidays from the Litchfield Library staff!