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, June 29, 2012

All Aboard! Here We Go!

By Jan Pease


On Monday afternoons, Elle Dinius and I load up my car and drive south to bring a little bit of library to Cosmos, which is still without library service because of the terrible fire in February, 2011. We find ourselves in a large, empty room in South Elementary School, and prepare for two hours that go by faster than anyone could imagine.

We arrange the room to our liking, with tables and chairs, bean bags and a story rug. We try to bring activities that will interest children from toddlers through about grade 5. Elle displays books on some of the tables. Other books are in totes that we pull out and open.

I present a short story time. This week only the very youngest children came over. They weren’t much for singing or dancing, but they enjoyed the story, “Caterpillar Spring, Butterfly Summer.” All of the children did the craft I planned for younger children, which was to make butterfly magnets out of clothespins and coffee filters. The butterflies and moths turned out very well.

The older children made night shirts, just like we did at the Litchfield, Dassel and Grove City kickoffs. Some of them were really pretty; some of them were almost too scary to sleep in. The theme for the older group was “Night Shivers,” so I read “The Wolves in the Walls,” by Neil Gaiman. We talked for a few minutes about what makes a book scary or not scary. They agreed with me that the story was funny and a little bit scary, but that the illustrations by Dave McKean are downright spooky.

Special guests are also involved with our little bit of library. Curtis Alan Hed performed on June 18th. The Wildlife Wizard and the Wonder Weavers are coming in July. We’re hoping for cooler weather than normal, because the room is not air conditioned.

The best part of our trip to Cosmos is watching “our” kids fill up their book bags with books to take home for the week. Our little library is on the honor system. We don’t know what we have in every tote, so new discoveries can be made each week. We don’t know what they take home, and we trust that the books will come back. They take home a full bag and bring back a full bag, so we know it’s working. It’s a little like the internet but with books.

Elle and I will be at the Cosmos little bit of library in South Elementary School every Monday from 4-6 p.m. through the end of July. We hope to have a summer reading party in the Cosmos park August 6 at about 5 p.m. to finish out a great summer.



Friday, June 22, 2012

Summertime and the Cooking is Easy

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian


Summer has begun and the Fourth of July is almost here. With some of the hot days we’ve had, you might have run through your arsenal of grilled meats and pasta salads and be looking for something new. Or maybe you have a family picnic or barbecue with friends coming up, and you’d like to find an interesting dish to bring. The library has several new cookbooks you can borrow to find some new, unique recipes.

The Fire Island Cookbook, by Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, is an entertaining-focused cookbook with complete menus intended for each weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The authors designed the recipes to include seasonal produce. Some of the menus can be prepped early in the day before the hosts leave for the day, say for the beach, with last-minute things to be grilled when guests arrive in the evening. Others are very elaborate for those who love gourmet cooking. All include wine suggestions.

Martha’s American Food is Martha Stewart’s latest offering, called a “love letter to American food” by the publisher. It’s divided into sections by region, plus a section called “all-American” which includes basics like blueberry pancakes, mashed potatoes, and three-bean salad. The Midwest section features some regional products, like wild rice and corn, and some regional ethnicities, with recipes like sauerbraten and lingonberry punch. Never fear, Martha did remember to include a hotdish recipe.

Food Network fans may want to borrow Weeknights with Giada, by Giada De Laurentiis. This cookbook focuses on suppers that are quick to make – some in 15 minutes or less. I don’t know about you, but I take longer than that just to chop things. Quick cooking times certainly help keep the kitchen cooler, though. Giada includes breakfast-for-dinner recipes, meatless Monday vegetarian recipes, sandwiches, and hearty salads.

Another cookbook with quick recipes is Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes. Jamie says that you can organize your kitchen for faster cooking and learn techniques that speed it up, as well. He gives complete menus with instructions listed in order of preparation to help you get the meal done as quickly as possible. I think I could use a cookbook that tells me to start cooking this first, switch over to that, and remember to go back and do something more to that first thing, especially when managing more than one new recipe.

Baking may not be at the top of your mind in the summer, but the cover of Cake Boy by Eric Lanlard features a berry-topped cake that looks perfect for this time of year. The cookbook goes beyond cakes to include recipes for macaroons, Key lime pie cheesecake, and rhubarb and apple tart, all of it with gorgeous photos.

The photo of raw pigs’ feet on the cover of Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal, by Jennifer McLagan, is not so pretty, but most of the photos inside look delicious. This cookbook captures the trend of cooking the whole animal, nose to tail, which is actually a return to traditional practices of making good use of resources. The book explains the history of eating the most economical cuts of meat and why and how we have come to avoid them in the modern world. The recipes include things that are not at all troubling, such as Brisket Braised with Carmelized Onions and Chile, and things that would give most of us pause, such as Minted Tripe & Pea Salad. Foodies who enjoy meat, this book is for you.

Our library offers a broad variety of cookbooks, traditional and trendy, to help you find new recipes – or just have fun looking at pictures of food. Have a great Fourth of July, and happy cooking!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kati, Emma and Janet Review YA Books

By Jan Pease

Inviting teens to be guest book- reviewers is part of the teen program, “Own the Night” this year at Litchfield library. It is so interesting to read what these avid young readers have to say about “their” books.


Kati, age 13, has already turned in three book reviews. She read “Withering Tights,” by Louise Rennison. Rennison is an English author who writes hilarious books that are very, well, British. She says “she lives in Brighton, the San Francisco of England (apart from the sun, Americans, the Golden Gate Bridge, and earthquakes.)” In “Withering Tights,” Tallulah, a young cousin of regular character Georgia Nicholson, attends a summer drama camp. Kati says, “It was very good and it tells about someone trying to find who she really is.” Katie gave “Withering Tights” five stars.

Kati also read “Kiss of Life,” by Daniel Waters. “Kiss of Life” is part of Waters’ “Generation Dead” series, part of the paranormal romance phenomena in young adult titles. Kati says, “It’s an amazing book that will make you to not put it down; it’s full of suspense.” She gave it five stars.

Kati’s third book was “The Teashop Girls,” by Laura Schaefer. Ms. Schaefer visited Litchfield and talked about her book and tea parties in 2010. Kati gave the book three and a half stars, and said, “I feel that way because it was good but I wanted it to be longer to make the ending better.”

Emma, age 13, read “They Never Came Back,” by Caroline B. Cooney, who is famous for writing suspense novels for young people. “They Never Came Back” centers on a young woman with a new identity living with a foster family because her wealthy parents have left the country after being accused of embezzlement. Emma gave the book four stars because “I thought that it was a very good book. The reason for 4 stars is that there are a few spots in the book that get confusing.” School Library Journal agrees with Emma, stating in a review by Jennifer Barnes (not our librarian in Grove City) “Cooney's adaptation of a complex fraud story for this age group is interesting if one can look beyond some weaknesses.”

Janet, age 12, read “My Side of the Mountain,” by Jean Craighead George. This is a classic story of adventure and survival, as a young boy lives on his own in the Catskill Mountains. Janet gave the book five stars and says, “The writing is excellent and shows instead of just telling. You get pulled in by the story of a boy running away from home and stay for the ride. A book for all ages. After you finish the book you’ll have a strong urge to go camping.”

Book reviews aren’t like a book report. They can describe what you feel about a book, and whether you would recommend the book to someone else. If you’re 12 – 18, pick up a book review form and express yourself. See you at the library!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Litchfield Gaming Club for June

Litchfield Gaming Club: We have the meeting room set aside for you on Saturday, but we do not have a dungeon master or materials. If you would like to bring and lead a game of Dungeons and Dragons on your own, you are welcome to do so.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Fun Minnesota Author Events This Month

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian


Our libraries in Meeker County have some exciting events coming up in the next week. All of them are brought to us by Pioneerland Library System with funding from Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

The first is a Minnesota author event in Dassel on Thursday, June 14. Mystery writer William Kent Krueger will be speaking at 2 p.m. at the Dassel History Center & Ergot Museum at 901 1st St N. Krueger is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award. His novel Vermillion Drift was a New York Times bestseller. Krueger’s books are set in the north woods of Minnesota and feature the character Cork O’Connor, a former sheriff of Ojibwe and Irish descent. The latest in the series is Northwest Angle. The next one, Trickster’s Point, is coming out in August. I’ve heard Krueger speak at a conference, and he is an insightful, interesting man who is good at speaking to a full room or to an individual person. If you’re a fan (and I know there are many of you out there), I’d recommend this as a good opportunity to meet him.

The next is another Minnesota author, Mary Casanova. She will be speaking at the Grove City Library in the community room on Thursday, June 21, at 3 p.m. Casanova is a children’s author who writes novels and picture books. She has won two Minnesota Book Awards, a spot on the American Library Association Notable Books for Children list, and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She has written several American Girl books, including those featuring Chrissa, Jess, and McKenna. She has also written books that have no connection to American Girl, such as One-Dog Canoe, Stealing Thunder, and Utterly Otterly Day. Bring the family and meet an author who can help inspire your children to write and to have a life-long love of reading.

Finally, our third event will take place on Friday, June 22. Meteorologist Mike Lynch will be presenting a Starwatch program at the Forest City Thresher’s Building from 9 - 11 p.m. The building is across the road from the Forest City Stockade. The presentation will begin with a half-hour orientation to the night sky with maps, before looking up at the stars to locate constellations. Mike will also have large telescopes set up for everyone to look through. Bring chairs or blankets and bug spray.

For all of these events, there is no need to register or to pay for admission. Everyone is welcome to come and learn from some of the authors who live here in Minnesota.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Free chamber orchestra concert featuring Maria Jette

Join us for a free pops concert presented by Pioneerland Library System, the Minnesota Sinfonia, and partners, through Legacy funding.  The concert will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 10th, at the Dassel-Cokato Performing Arts Center (in the Dassel-Cokato High School).  No tickets or reservations are needed.  The Minnesota Sinfonia presents free concerts geared to families and children -- bring the kids!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer reading kickoff today!

School's out for the summer! Come in today between 3 and 7 to sign up for the summer reading program, pick up a book bag, and paint a t-shirt.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hot Books for Summer

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian


What’s on your reading list for this summer? The lists of the best books for this summer have been coming out lately, as we’ve passed Memorial Day. I’ll give you some ideas for books we have at the Litchfield Library that are getting attention as recommended reads for this summer.

If you enjoy historical fiction, take a look at The Healing, The Song of Achilles or The Cove.

The Star Tribune described the novel The Healing as a mixture of The Help and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Jonathan Odell tells a story of three generations of female healers who are slaves on a Mississippi plantation before the Civil War. Reviewers say that the characters are unforgettable.

The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, is a re-telling of Homer’s Iliad. Reviewers say that the familiar territory of the Trojan War is made suspenseful and fresh in Miller’s version, focused on the love affair between the demigod Achilles and the awkward prince Patroclus.

The Cove, by Ron Rash, is set in rural Appalachia during World War I. A young woman named Laurel is ostracized by locals because of a birthmark they think is the mark of the devil. She lives an almost solitary life with her brother, a veteran who lost a hand in the war, until a mute stranger wanders onto their farm. The novel is described as Southern Gothic.

In mysteries, two that have been getting positive press so far this spring are The Rope by Nevada Barr and Dorchester Terrace by Anne Perry. The Rope tells the story of detective Anna Pigeon’s beginnings as a park ranger and her first case, her own abduction. Series fans have been asking Barr to write about her character’s past for years; this is the 17th in the series.

Perry’s Dorchester Terrace is the latest of her Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries. Thomas has been promoted to the head of Britain’s Special Branch of law enforcement in Victorian England. He has to try to prevent an act of terrorism directed at an Austrian duke, but he begins to discover that an even larger plot may be afoot. This is the 27th novel in Perry’s series. I learned an interesting fact in reading up on the series: as a teenager, Anne Perry was convicted of murdering her best friend’s mother. The movie Heavenly Creatures is based on that event.

Nancy Pearl, the librarian who is famous enough to have her own action figure, recommends Treasure Island!!! and A Partial History of Lost Causes, among her list for this summer. Treasure Island!!! is not the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s a humorous novel by Sara Levine about a lazy young woman who reads the Stevenson book and decides to make over her life by its values: boldness, resolution, independence, and horn-blowing. If you enjoy farce and biting humor, this may be a book for you.

In A Partial History of Lost Causes, Jennifer DuBois tells the story of a young woman who believes she has inherited the Huntington’s disease that just killed her father. She travels to Russia to speak with a former chess champion and political candidate to find out how one keeps going in the face of a lost cause.

For more reading suggestions, take a look at our display near the library’s front desk. We’ve got a table of books that our staff recommends. I hope you find great books to read this summer.