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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Early Christmas?

By Jan Pease
My desk is piled high with new books, making it feel like early Christmas here.  Several well-known authors have published new books just in time for readers to curl up with a good book.
 
James Patterson is famous for writing thrillers for adults, but he has written several series for young people.  Witch and Wizard, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, the Middle School Series, Treasure Hunters, and now he has written the second book in the Confessions series, Confessions: The Private School Murders. According to Mr. Patterson’s website, “Wealthy young women are being murdered, and the police aren't looking for answers in the right places. Enter Tandy Angel. Her first case was the mystery of her parents' deaths. Now she's working to exonerate her brother of his girlfriend's homicide. And danger just got closer.”  Tandy’s first case was explored in Confessions of a Murder Suspect.  Suspend a bit of disbelief at a teenage detective (move over, Nancy Drew) and enjoy another thriller by a master writer.

Tamora Pierce continues her Circle saga with Battle Magic.  This book fits in between Street Magic and Melting StonesWill of the Empress comes in there somewhere.  True fans of Ms. Pierce spend time thinking about timelines and contradictions, but I would just recommend reading her books.  They are a treat.


James Dashner has finished his Maze Runner series and is starting a new one, The Mortality Doctrine. This series begins with the Eye of Minds, and the series is set “in a world of hyper-advanced technology, cyber-terrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares,”    quoting from amazon.com.  Mr. Dashner said in an interview for amazon.com:  “It’s in the future, but I really don’t want people to think of this as dystopian. It’s not. The world is basically in fine shape. But virtual reality technology has gone through the roof and most people are obsessed with it. Like I said earlier, the line between what’s real and what’s not gets blurred, which sets the stage for some fun twists and mind-bendy stuff. I think my fans will have a good time with it.” 


School Library Journal has stated that horror for teens is not a trend, but a staple. (Horror in YA Lit is a Staple, Not a Trend By Kelly Jensen on September 13, 2013)   With that in mind, Revealed, by P.C. Cast, will remind us of why Ms. Cast’s books are so popular.  This is the eleventh book in the House of Night Series.  Reviewers keep mentioning that this is the penultimate book in the series.  What does that mean?  I had to look it up, and it means that there will be one book after this one.



Finally, fans of Veronica Roth know that Allegiant, the last book in the Divergent trilogy, was released on October 22.  Customer reviews at amazon.com range from “What a perfect climax to a perfect series” to “This book was absolutely terrible.”   Your experience of this popular series will probably be somewhere in  between the extremes.    It is #2 on Amazon’s best seller list, and I’ve already got a second copy on order.  The series begins with Divergent, continues with Insurgent, and comes to a controversial ending in Allegiant.  This series is definitely on my “to read soon” list.  See you at the library!

Monday, October 21, 2013

No D&D tonight

We will not have Dungeons & Dragons tonight at the library due to an unexpected conflict for our volunteer leader.  Join us next Monday night at 6:00.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Here's your chance -- tell us what you think!

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian


Have you always wanted to tell library management what you think about the library?  Here’s your big chance to give us your opinion.    

Pioneerland Library System is creating a strategic plan for the next several years.  Right now we are offering a survey online to get input from the public.  It’s only seven questions long and very easy to complete.  You can take it even if you don’t use the library-- tell us why you don’t!  Please tell us what services you think are the most important for the library to offer and how you use our library. 

The survey will be available through our website and Pioneerland’s for the next couple of weeks.  Go to litchlibrary.blogspot.com or www.pioneerland.lib.mn.us to find it.  If you aren’t comfortable using a computer, come in to the library and ask a staff member to help you complete it on a library computer.

Here’s another chance for your voice to be heard: we have a short story contest going on for teens through the month of October.  The contest is open to grades 6 through 12.  The story should be 1000 words or less with no profanity or vulgar language.  Email your stories to litchfield.staff@pioneerland.lib.mn.us by November 1; we are not accepting entries on paper.  By entering the contest, you agree to have your story published on our blog in November. 

We are holding this contest to observe Teen Read Week, an annual event celebrated in libraries across the country.

And, finally, there’s a new opportunity for teens to make a difference in our library.  The Teen Advisory Group (TAG) is a group of 9th through 12th graders from our area who want to make our library a great place for teens.  They will meet every month to discuss and plan programs, make book recommendations, and talk about other teen-related library issues.  They will also assist with Saturday storyhours, volunteer at the Watercade book sale, and do other occasional volunteering at the library.

The next meeting for TAG will be on Saturday, October 26, from 4-8 p.m.  The group will elect officers and begin planning, then have a Halloween costume contest, eat, and play games.  Signing up with Tiana ahead of time is required.

This is a brand-new group, so it’s a great opportunity for high school students to take on leadership roles.  Just think, it could sound good on a college application: president of the Litchfield Public Library’s teen advisory group.  Beyond that, though, it will be a great way to help make the library the kind of place teens want to use, to make friends, and to have fun.


This is your library.  It belongs to this community.  Get involved and make your voice heard.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Take our survey, tell us what you want!

Pioneerland Library System invites you to

HELP US PLAN FOR THE FUTURE!

We want to better serve your library needs! 


Visit any PLS member library, library website, or the system website at www.pioneerland.lib.mn.us to take the survey to tell us what’s important to you!

Questions?  Ask a library staff member to assist you!

Ø Tell us what you want to see in your libraries! 
Ø Tell us how you use your library!
Ø Even tell us why you DON’T use the library!


Thank you for participating!

Here's a direct link: Pioneerland Survey

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Books and Books, and More Books!

By Jan Pease
To celebrate the Beginner Book Club book, Andrew Lost: On the Dog, I put several color pictures of common things at extreme magnification on the children’s desk.  It’s amazing to see how alive Velcro looks, or how fierce a honey bee can seem.  The answers are on the back of each picture, so take a peek.  The Andrew Lost series is on order, because we really enjoyed reading the first book.

Several significant books have crossed my desk this week.  Suzanne Collins drew from her childhood experiences when her dad was deployed in Vietnam in 1968. Her newest book, Year of the Jungle, provides a poignant look at the Vietnam experience through a child’s eyes.  In 1968, I was 15, and had somehow become used to seeing the war on the news every night.  Ms. Collins remembers looking up, seeing video of soldiers unmoving on the ground, and being terrified, because her father was there. 
 
Martin W. Sandler, who is well known for his Through the Lens series, has written and illustrated Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II.   School Library Journal states: “Sandler expertly crafts a narrative that manages to explain the horror and incomprehensibility of locking up American citizens in prison camps simply because of their ethnic ancestry. Japanese American relocation has long been expurgated from school history texts about World War II, and here this delicate topic is handled with sensitivity and insight, providing an in-depth look at the full story, from anti-Japanese sentiments during the first wave of immigration through more current issues such as redress.”  Most children’s books soften the message about war and its consequences.  Mr. Sandler uses strong, active words: imprisoned rather than interned, and he is straight forward about   prejudice in the 1940’s and today. 
 
Jack Gantos received the Newbery Medal in 2012 for his book, Dead End in Norvelt.  The long-awaited sequel has arrived.  From Norvelt to Nowhere promises to be as fast paced and funny as its predecessor.  There is already award buzz about this title, which was just released September 24th

Finally, VIII is a blend of fact and fiction, written by H.M. Castor.    Ms. Castor is an English historian and author who lives in Bristol, England.  Her research and love of the Sixteenth century led her to write this book about Henry the Eighth.  This YA novel is a great example of what historical fiction can be.  The author recommends the website British History Online (british-history.ac.uk) because of the wealth of information it contains. If you’re interested in maps, historical documents, or the bill for “two pair of perfumed gloves of crimson velvet and purple, trimmed with buttons of diamonds and  rubies,” this is the website for you. And if you enjoy historical fiction, read VIII. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Big fall books

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

We have many customers who like to keep up on the latest and greatest books.  Here is an overview of some of the books we have at the library that are generating the most buzz around the country this fall.

Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam completes her MaddAddam trilogy, which also includes Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood.  It’s a dystopian imagining of the near future.  Atwood says, “Although MaddAddam is a work of fiction, it does not include any technologies or bio-beings that do not already exist, are not under construction or are not possible in theory.”  Reviewers say this satire is full of humor and hope.  Atwood is the winner of many literary awards over the past fifty years.

Jhumpa Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for her first book, Interpreter of Maladies.  Her new book, The Lowland, is on the short list for the Man Booker Prize, a major book award in the United Kingdom.  The novel tells the story of two brothers, one a radical who stays in India and one a parent-pleasing academic who goes to America. 

Thomas Pynchon is a reclusive author who won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1974.  Bleeding Edge is his newest, a detective story set in 2001 after the dotcom bubble has burst.  The story leads up to and through September 11th in New York City.  Some people praise the genius of Pynchon’s writing while others call it unreadable.  Publishers Weekly says that “reading Pynchon for plot is like reading Austen for sex”: you never quite get there.


Stephen King has just come out with a sequel to The Shining, 36 years later.  In Doctor Sleep, Dan Torrance is now a middle-aged hospice worker who uses his dimmed supernatural powers to aid the dying.  When he meets a young girl with far stronger powers than he ever had, he has to help protect her from a group that wants to prey upon her to stay alive.

The author of Eat, Pray, Love has a new book out: The Signature of All Things.  Elizabeth Gilbert’s historical novel tells the story of a woman botanist in the nineteenth century.  This was a time when ideas about science and religion were changing rapidly and amateur scientists and explorers could still make great discoveries.  The reviews are positive.

Malcolm Gladwell made a name for himself with his books The Tipping Point and Outliers.  His newest is David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.  This nonfiction book looks at how success can arise from obstacles and disadvantages.  It sounds like his conclusions are controversial and thought-provoking, as usual.


New books that everyone is talking about can be hard to find on the library shelf for a while.  I suggest that you request these titles through the library catalog or ask a staff member to request them for you if you want to read one of these books soon.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Nothings Smells As Wonderful as A New Book!

By Jan Pease

At Toddler Time this week we talked about using our noses to smell.  We scientifically tested cinnamon, lemon, lavender, rose, vanilla, and mint, and we  agreed that mint smells like gum, lemon smells like gummy bears, and the rest smell like “spray.”   What smells do you like?  My favorite smell of all is the wonderful aroma of a new book.  
 
The smelly toddler time was inspired by a series of concept books illustrated, designed, and published by Patrick George.  They include I Taste, I Hear, I Smell, and I Touch.  These very simple books are the basis of our first fall Toddler Times, as we experiment on the level of 2 and 3 year olds.  That’s my kind of science! 


Musk Ox Counts is my kind of math book.  
The hilarious musk ox and zebra that got out of control in A is for Musk Ox do it again in this second book by Erin Cabatingan and Matthew Myers.  On the back cover this math problem tells it all: 1 rowdy musk ox + 1 annoyed zebra = 1 awesome counting book. 


Peter Abrahams is an extremely talented author, called “my favorite suspense novelist” by Stephen King.Mr. Abrahams  is starting a new series for middle grade young people, Robbie Forester and the Outlaws of Sherwood Street.  This is a light-hearted Robin Hood tale with a touch of magic thrown in. This story of Robbie and her friends  would be a fun read for those aged 10 and older.


Mike Lupica writes for the New York Daily News, appears on ESPN television, and is a radio host. His books routinely hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller lists.  He draws from the real-life Manning family of quarterbacks to tell the story of Jake Cullen.  The book is titled QB1.   Jake is a freshman in high school who has always lived with the pressure of measuring up to the legacy of his father and older brother.  Mr. Lupica is known for writing fast paced books with a strong story line and compelling characters.  I think anyone could read and enjoy   this book, but young men, middle school and up, are the target audience. 
lists.


United We Spy continues the story of Cammie Morgan and her friends.   Ally Carter concludes her series about the adventures of the “Gallagher Girls” as they finish their senior year in high school and embark on careers as scientists, heroines, or spies.  This refreshing series has been a nice change from the dark novels about teenagers facing threats of zombies, paranormal love interests, and  alien invasions.  I’m sorry to see the series close, but will it really end?  The conclusion of United We Spy leaves a door open for the next chapters in Cammie’s improbable life. 
 

One beautiful non-fiction book in the “Get to Know Your Pet” series, makes me want to rush to the pet store and buy some gerbils.  Jinny Johnson wrote Hamsters and Gerbils and does a nice job explaining dwarf hamsters and gerbils to children.  She includes information for parents, a glossary, an index, and websites to explore.  I love these gentle little animals, which can sometimes live for a surprisingly long time.  Hmmmm. The cage and aquarium combination are still in our garage……  See you at the library!