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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Social & cultural activities, tax & testing resources, and ebooks available through the library

Game night

Have you thought about coming to game night at the library? We’re still hosting some kind of gaming each Monday night at 6:30. Our most successful type so far has been Dungeons and Dragons. We had a lively group for that a few weeks ago: adults and children, male and female. Their creative storytelling and their laughter showed how much fun they had playing. We’re going to give Dungeons and Dragons another go next Monday, March 5th.


On March 12th, the following week, we’ll be using some new, borrowed games on the Wii: Wii Play and Wii Rock Band. Wii Play includes billiards, fishing, shooting range, and several other virtual games. Rock Band involves singing and playing songs using guitar and drum Wii controllers. It’s my very favorite video game – a great way to pretend for someone who wishes they were in a band. If you want to play on our Wii but want to try something other than our Wii Sports game, drop by to give either game a try.

Tax forms

We are the only place in town to pick up tax forms, unless you go to a tax preparer. We’ve recently gotten some more of the federal booklets that many of you have been looking for. Not everything is available here in print, but you can find tax forms and instructions online at www.irs.gov and taxes.state.mn.us.

Test proctoring

With the huge increase in online college classes, there has been a corresponding increase in the need for proctoring services. We can proctor tests for you. Contact us for more details to set this up.

Will Weaver event

We will be hosting Minnesota author Will Weaver on March 15th. He will be at the library in the afternoon during our middle school book club time; students are welcome to come even if they don’t normally come for book club. Then he will be presenting a public program in the evening at the high school, brought to you by our Legacy funding.

Ebooks & audiobooks

Our downloadable book service is still under extremely high demand. We have about 900 titles available now, with more added all the time. Almost everything is checked out at any given time because of the popularity of ereaders, tablets, and MP3 players. Add yourself to the waiting lists for titles you’re interested in, because the waiting lists do move very quickly.

If you buy ebooks, consider going through our Overdrive site to make those purchases. When you do, a portion of the profits comes back to Pioneerland for us to use to buy more ebooks for the library. This even works for all kinds of purchases made through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books On Board, IndieBound, and Powell’s Books – it doesn’t have to be an ebook, or even a book at all.

Whether you’re looking for something social or cultural, something you can access conveniently from home, or a practical service such as proctoring or tax forms, we strive to provide something for everyone in the community. Let me know if I can help you find something you’re looking for.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Picture Books!


 By Jan Pease

Local author Jolene McDonald stopped by at the library to read her book, “I Will Not Go To Sleep Tonight!”  Jolene, who lives in Litchfield, wrote this sweet book which was illustrated by her brother, Gary Davis.  The children enjoyed hearing her read, in her own words, the story of a little pig that won’t go to sleep.  Most of the children identified with the stubborn pig, but one adorable little girl told me, very seriously, that she just closes her eyes and goes to sleep.  I assured her that I absolutely believe her.  Jolene’s book is available locally and online through Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com

On a more serious note, two lovely picture books explore the experience of Black American slaves before Emancipation.  “Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass,” was written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by her husband, James E. Ransome. Frederick Douglass published his “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” in 1845.  Ms. Cline-Ransome used his own words to describe Douglass’s early life as the rejected son of his master, forced to live apart from his slave mother. Education changed and saved his life, and his story is told simply and directly by this talented pair.

“Never Forgotten,” by Patricia C. McKissack, goes farther back, to West Africa to tell the story about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. This beautiful book will remind children that their slave ancestors should never be forgotten, and that family is more important than anything else. This book was given the 2012 Coretta Scott King Honor, recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults.

Another picture book based on a real event has a very happy ending.  “Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic,” was written by a librarian and illustrator named Monica Carnesi.  Ms. Carnesi heard the story of the little dog swept out into the Baltic Sea on a sheet of ice.  She knew she had to share his story with young children.   He was rescued by a ship 75 miles from where he started and named Baltic, in honor of his adventure and the ship that rescued him.   The seaman who rescued him is now the owner of this brave dog.

Picture books are great fun, and I enjoy reading them each week at story time. I hope you will take a few minutes and share a great book with a child you love.  See you at the library!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Check Out the Grammy and Oscar Nominees

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Awards season is upon us for music and movies. By the time this column is published, the Grammy Awards will have taken place, and the Oscars are coming up on February 26th. If you want to listen to or watch some of the nominees yourself, we have some of this year’s nominated music and movies at our library.

We have all of the Grammy nominees for album of the year: 21 by Adele, Wasting Light by Foo Fighters, Born This Way by Lady Gaga, Doo-Wops and Hooligans by Bruno Mars, and Loud by Rihanna. Adele’s and Bruno Mars’ albums include their nominees for record of the year and song of the year, which are “Rolling in the Deep” and “Grenade”. They each have a total of six nominations.

We also have some of this year’s Oscar nominees. The Help is a drama based on the wildly popular book of the same name by Kathryn Stockett. It’s nominated for best picture. Viola Davis is nominated for best actress, and two members of the cast are nominated for best supporting actress: Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer. Spencer won a Golden Globe for best supporting actress

Midnight in Paris is a romantic comedy fantasy starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, and Kathy Bates. It also has four nominations: best picture, art direction, directing, and writing (original screenplay), the last two for writer-director Woody Allen. It won the best screenplay Golden Globe.

The Tree of Life is another best picture nominee. It’s also nominated for directing and for cinematography. Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain star in this experimental drama. It won the Palme d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2, is an epic fantasy film nominated for visual effects, makeup, and art direction. I’ll add my personal, editorial comment here: I think they should have been recognized with something other than technical awards. Often the Academy will recognize a series at the end, and this one was well-crafted, with some excellent work done on the last two films. But I’m a fan, so I’m sure I’m biased.

Bridesmaids is a comedy nominated for writing (original screenplay) and supporting actress, Melissa McCarthy.

Rango is nominated for best animated feature film. It stars Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy. Another animated film with one nomination is Rio, which is up for best original song.

Jane Eyre, the newest adaptation of the classic novel, is nominated for costume design. Another personal comment: I’m a big fan of the book, and I was disappointed in this version. It’s beautiful, but I thought Mr. Rochester was all wrong and entirely unsympathetic. Perhaps the nominations mean that the Academy agrees.

Our library owns copies of all of these movies, and I expect that we will be getting many others on the nomination lists once they become available on DVD. Come to the library and find out which music and movies you think are the best of the year!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Time Will Tell


 By Jan Pease

What makes a book stand the test of time?  Will books that are new in 2012 still be around in 2062?  I poked around on the  Internet, and discovered that, according to goodreads.com, “A Wrinkle in Time,” by Madeleine L’Engle, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” by Roald Dahl, and “The Snowy Day,” by Ezra Jack Keats were  published fifty years ago.  They are still enjoyed today.  Young adults looking for  something deliciously frightening, were reading “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” by Ray Bradbury, and “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” by Shirley Jackson, in 1962.

Young adults, like older readers, are reading a multitude of paranormal adventure and romance stories. In fifty years, might this group of books be considered classics from the golden age of  the paranormal genre?   You never know.

 “Anna Dressed in Blood,” by Kendare Blake, introduces a hero who kills murderous ghosts. His mother is a witch and his cat can sniff for spirits.  I don’t really understand how someone kills ghosts, but it’s an interesting premise.  This book was also chosen as one of the 2011 Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year and was one of NPR's Top 5 Young Adult Novels of 2011.  

 “Every Other Day,” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, has a heroine with a difference.  She is a normal, somewhat antisocial teenager who changes into a heroic monster hunter every other day.  This novel of extreme self-discovery somehow finds room for evil scientists, romantic vampires, zombies, a cheerleader, and even an FBI agent. 

 “Bloodrose,” by Andrea Cremer, is the final book in the “Nightshade” series.  Reviews on amazon.com show that readers either loved or hated this book, which is about a pack of wolves that were once humans. Or maybe it’s the other way around.  The “Nightshade” trilogy includes “Nightshade” and “Wolfsbane.”

Veronica Roth has invented a really unusual version of Chicago, in “Divergent.”  In Ms. Roth’s Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.  Our heroine, Beatrice, renames herself Tris, and discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society. The second book of the series, “Insurgent,” will be published later this year.  This series is recommended for fans of the “Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins.

 “Strange Angels” is a very popular series by Lili St. Crow.  Several young adult readers suggested her novels for purchase.  The titles in the “Strange Angels” series are “Strange Angels,” “Betrayals,” “Jealousy,” “Defiance,” and “Reckoning.” The series focuses on a half-vampire slayer who takes on various monsters while sorting out her romantic life.
           
In 1962, Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden reigned as heroines of teen series.  Gertrude Warner was writing the original “Boxcar Children” books, and Beverly Cleary wrote “Henry and the Clubhouse.”  Will these books, with their violence, adult language and paranormal themes seem equally quaint in fifty years? If you have a crystal ball, let me know. Meanwhile,  I’ll see you at the library!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Shop for Ebooks, Support Your Library!

You'll notice a new link on our Overdrive ebook lending site.  If you decide to buy an ebook rather than check it out, you can follow a link that will give our library system a percentage of the profits to use for buying more ebooks we can lend you.  If you're going to shop at online book retailers anyway, think of us!  Here's more information: http://pioneerland.lib.overdrive.com/WinAffiliate.htm