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, September 23, 2011

Free ebook lending now available for Kindle

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian


I have two important things to tell you about our ebook lending service. It’s free to use. And it’s now available for Kindle users.

We don’t charge for the privilege of using our downloadable book service. We loan our ebooks and downloadable audios in much the same way that we loan our print books and books on CD. If you have a Pioneerland library card in good standing, you check them out with your barcode for free. There’s no charge to download the software. There are not even any late fees, because the downloadable books return themselves on their due dates, unless you go into your software and return your ebooks early.

I’ve discovered that the reason people think we charge for our ebooks is because there’s another library’s website that looks like it could be ours, and that particular Litchfield Public Library charges $20 to use their ebook service. If you do a Google search of “litchfield public library”, your first result may be the library in Litchfield, Illinois. They are a Carnegie library founded in 1904, like we are. They are still in their original building, but it was remodeled around 2000, like our current building was. Their hours are nearly identical to ours. And they have the same Overdrive ebook button as we do. I can understand how multiple people have believed it was our website. The internet makes the world very small. It’s just as easy to get to the website for a library in another state as it is to get to ours.

To be sure you’re going to our ebook service, go to http://pioneerland.lib.overdrive.com/. We have bookmarks at our desk that have this URL on them; pick one up if you want a handy way to remember the address.

And if you’re looking for our local website, go to http://litchlibrary.blogspot.com/. I’ve added our address and phone number to the top of the page to make it more clear that we are the Litchfield Public Library in Minnesota, not the one in Connecticut, or Illinois, or Nebraska, or Arizona…. You get the idea.

The big ebook news for the week is that library lending for Kindles is finally here. We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know when. Amazon and Overdrive have been developing this for a few months, and now they’re slowly and quietly rolling it out to all of the libraries who use Overdrive for ebooks. It just became available to us on the 22nd. Now when you click on an ebook title, you’ll see two formats: Kindle and Adobe EPUB. If you have a Kindle or use a Kindle app, download the Kindle version. I haven’t tried it myself, but I understand that part of the process will bring you to Amazon’s site, and that you may have to login with your Amazon account. One thing that is different about borrowing a library book for your Kindle versus buying one from Amazon is that you can’t download using your 3G connection. To borrow a Kindle library book, you need to be using WiFi or have your Kindle connected to your personal computer by a cable.

Now all of you who bought Kindles, but then regretted not being able to use it for library books, can join in on the fun. I think it was a smart business move by Amazon to make this possible.

If you have suggestions about ebooks or downloadable audiobooks that you’d like to see us offer, let me know. The purchasing is done centrally at Pioneerland headquarters, but they welcome suggestions.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Plethora of Picture Books, by Jan Pease

If a group of crows is a murder of crows, and a group of zebras is a zeal of zebras, what is the collective noun for picture books? 

Picture books are only getting more beautiful, and here is a bevy of beauties.

A rabble of butterflies swarms in “Butterflies,” by Seymour Simon. Kirkus Reviews states: “Simon may have done more than any other living author to help us understand and appreciate the beauty of our planet and our universe.” 

 A group of caterpillars is called an army.  Marilyn Singer uses her poem, “Caterpillars” to frame close up views of caterpillars and the butterflies they transform into. An army of 10 caterpillars, the plants they love and the butterfly or moth they become is the focus of “10 Little Caterpillars,”  by Bill Martin Jr. and Lois Ehlert.  They are the creators of the classic children’s book, “Chicka Chicka Boom  Boom,” and their new book looks like an instant classic.

A pack of dogs is featured in a very unusual book by Michael J. Rosen, “The Hound Dog’s Haiku.” These are poems for dog lovers.  My own dog, Harley,  is a Shit Tsu who loves his squeaky toys.  Here is the Shit Tsu Haiku:
                 toy dog’s own toy chest:
                 snowman, hedgehog, fake steak, jet-
                 squeak is all they speak

“What Puppies Do Best” is an adorable picture book by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger.  A litter of puppies of all breeds, sizes, and shapes romps across the pages as they play with cute children.  What could  be sweeter?

Gorgeous photographs by Jason Stemple are paired with the poetry of Jane Yolen in “Birds of a Feather.”  Yolen captures the personality of each bird perfectly.  This congregation of birds is well worth a look. 

“A B C Animal Jamboree,” by Giles Andreae  is a collection of short, silly poems about animals that will delight  even the youngest animal lovers.  This menagerie will be featured at story hour this week.

By the way, the collective noun for a group of books is library.  These fantastic picture books, and more, are waiting for you.  See you there! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

An Ebook Update

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Our downloadable ebook and audiobook service is catching on!  In Pioneerland, we just got started in June.  We now have had about 500 unique patrons use the service.  There have been 1200 checkouts so far.   We currently have 458 items in our electronic collection, and we’re adding more all the time.
We’re able to get some “best-seller” lists to see what’s popular in Pioneerland downloadables.  The books that have been checked out the most since our website rolled out are the ebook version of Bad Blood by John Sanford and the audiobook of Heaven is for Real.  The titles that are most in demand right now are The Help, Split Second, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
I know many of you are getting started with library ebooks and need a little guidance on how it works.  Here are some of the important things to know:
You can get to our Overdrive website by going to our catalog, choosing “Download ebooks” below the search boxes, and clicking on the box that says “Downoad audiobooks, eBooks”.  From there, you can browse the new titles, search for a particular book, download the software you need to borrow books, or find answers to your questions.  You can also go directly to http://pioneerland.lib.overdrive.com/.  We also have a mobile site with a very long URL.  We have a link to it on our Litchfield Library blog if you’d like to find it for your mobile device.
One question we’re often asked is which readers and devices our downloadables can be used on.  You can find out by clicking on the blue “compatible devices” button on the left side of the Overdrive site.  You’ll find that most e-readers, MP3 players, and computers work with it.  Kindle still doesn’t work with it, but Amazon is saying that it will by the end of the year.  You can also download to an iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and a variety of other devices. 
There is some variation in how you download to different devices and which titles work with which device.  If you have an e-reader, such as a Nook or Sony e-reader, you’ll need to download Adobe Digital Editions to your personal computer.  You can do this by clicking on “Adobe Digital Editions for eBooks”, under “Getting Started” on the top left corner of the Overdrive site.  It’s very quick and easy.  You will need to set up an Adobe ID as part of that process, but that just involves registering an email address with Adobe, which will come up as you download the software. 
Once you have the software set up, you check out ebooks on your personal computer and transfer them to your e-reader while it’s attached by its cable.  It isn’t possible to download to library computers and transfer books to your e-reader; it has to be done on your own computer.
If you want to download audiobooks, you’ll need to install Overdrive Media Console, which is also listed under “Getting Started” in the corner.  Again, you’ll check them out on your computer and transfer them to your MP3 player, much like iTunes and other music download services.  Some audiobook titles will work on one device but not another.  They will also work on e-readers, but it all depends on which formats your e-reader or MP3 player handles.  Some of the audiobooks are in WMA format, and some are MP3.  Once you figure out what your device can play, you’ll be able to look at each title to see if it will work for you.  Some audiobooks can be burned to CDs; this depends on publisher permissions. 
If you are going to download to a mobile device such as an Android or iPad, you will download Overdrive Media Console to your device directly.  Then you check out books on your mobile device, without a need to connect it to a computer. 
If you click on the “guided tour” or “help/FAQs” button on our Overdrive website, you’ll find answers to many of your questions.  If you need more help, talk to our library staff or send a support request through the help page.
Downloading books seems so complicated until you get started.  Once you iron out the wrinkles of getting the first book onto your device, it’s really easy.  Then when you want a new book to read on Saturday night, you don’t have to wait until the library is open.  Or if you’re snowed in (if we even want to think about that in September), you can check out a book without leaving the comfort of your home.  I hope you’ll give it a try!

Friday, September 2, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation!


Shoreline in Front of Outpost Motel, Grand Marais, MN
borrowed from their website
By Jan Pease
Everyone agrees that summer has gone incredibly fast, but why, when you have a week off in a beautiful location, does time go even faster?   Dave, Becca and I just returned from a week on the North Shore, so this is our annual “what’s in the book bag” confessional.

My husband Dave is reading the “Sharpe’s Rifle” series by Bernard Cornwall, and also the series, “Game of Thrones,” by George R.R. Martin.  He brought three books plus his Bible, which goes everywhere he does.  We celebrated his birthday by adding to his book pile.

Becca brought her usual selection of geology, botany, and natural history books.  To celebrate a friendly fresh water otter that visited “our” shoreline, she bought a copy of Stan Teikala’s “Mammals of Minnesota Field Guide.”  Her other reading selections are on her notebook, because she downloads novels from various sources.  She’s an avid Pioneerland ebook fan and often is on waiting lists for popular ebooks from Pioneerland and from Hennepin County Library. 

And as for me, I brought my Nook, which has now 60 books including two Bibles, a cookbook, and too many other choices to choose from.  I started reading the best-selling “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin,” by Erik Larson and “The Sleepwalkers,” by Paul Grossman.  Both were recommended to me by a patron, and it is interesting to read both a non-fiction account and a novel set during the rise of Hitler’s Germany in the early 1930’s.  I’m reading “Dug Down Deep,” by Joshua Harris, recommended by Raechel (see Litchfield Independent Review August 25th edition). I wish this had been the book we used in theology classes instead of the tomes I struggled through in college.   I can’t leave out “The Name of the Wind,” by Patrick Rothfuss.  This is simply a great fantasy read.  I can’t wait to get through this one, so I can read his second book, “Wise Man’s Fear,” which was published in March of this year. I’m also re-reading the “Girl Who Played With Fire,” by Stieg Larsson.  I read it last year but can’t remember a lot of it. 

Every day I watched Lake Superior in its (her?) many moods.  One day waves crashed on the rocks, the next it was quiet; cool one day, warm the next.   We watched spindly fingers of fog stretch toward the pine trees on the shore and then suddenly evaporate in warm sunshine.   One day a bank of fog made an interesting shade of gray/pink/lavender against the blue water that made me wish I was an artist who could capture colors with paint.

A highlight of this trip was visiting the studio of a real artist, Betsy Bowen.  She is famous for her woodcuts, and her gallery also features other local artists.  Betsy was there the day we visited, friendly and gracious about my star-struck state.  We have her books in the children’s collection, and I purchased an autographed copy of “Great Wolf and the Good Woodsman” to replace our worn edition.

Our hosts, Jim and Jennifer Plahuta of the Outpost Motel, were accommodating as always.  They provided everything we needed to be very comfortable without hovering.  As I talked to other guests at this family-owned motel, I discovered that many of us make a yearly visit, bringing along books and dogs, kids and grandchildren.  To our little dog Harley’s dismay, there were several canine guests with their owners.  He tends to think of it as his place, and after several visits, I feel the same way. 

See you at the library!