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, July 25, 2014

Your Imagination is Hungry: Feed It!

 By Jan Pease

 Have you ever wondered if animals get to use libraries?  Kazuno Kohara tells us the answer in her book, The Midnight Library.   She begins her story, “Once there was a library that opened only at night.”  I love this book!  Like the little librarian, we try to help every one find the perfect book.  Like her library, our library is a peaceful and quiet place.  But we have never had the problem of a tortoise, who reads very slowly, wanting to finish his book with 500 pages to go at closing time.  The little librarian’s solution: get a library card and read it at home. 

Norman, Speak! tells the story of a sweet little dog adopted from the pound who comes home with his new family, does a happy dance, but doesn’t respond to any commands. Not one.  One day in the dog park his family makes an amazing discovery that changes their lives. Norman is actually a very smart dog who only understands Chinese.  Caroline Adderson has written this delightful book about a very special family.  After all, would you take Chinese lessons so you could talk to your dog?

With school looming, kids always wonder who their teacher will be and if he or she is a monster.  Peter Brown’s new book, My Teacher is a Monster, is the story of Bobby, whose teacher really is a monster. She is a real monster, with sharp teeth and green scaly skin.   Peter Brown says, “So maybe I can be a monster sometimes. Nobody’s perfect!”   

Cathleen Daly has written a sweet book about a family in transition, Emily’s Blue Period.  Emily wants to be an artist, and she loves Pablo Picasso.  So when she is sad because her dad doesn’t live at home anymore, she announces, “When Picasso was very sad he only painted in shades of blue.  And now I am in my blue period.”   Her sadness lasts a long time and it isn’t just Emily.  Her brother Jack is acting out too.  I like this honest look at a family that is no longer living together, but is still a family together. 
 
The Monkey Goes Bananas, by C.P. Bloom, was illustrated by Peter Raymundo. This is a true picture book.  Each page has one or two words, and the entire story is told by the pictures.  C.P. Bloom is the creative team of Carly Dempsey, Ed Bloom and illustrator Peter Raymund.  Peter Raymund works as an animator and story board artist.   I think this book will provide some interesting interaction when I use it at story time.

Finally, Steampunk  A B C, by Lisa Falkenstern,  is a feast for the eyes and the imagination.  I don’t know if there is a three year old audience for an alphabet book introducing them to steampunk, but here is the book to do it.  Professor Whiskerton, an amiable mouse dressed in Victorian clothes,  presents this gorgeous collection of items from anvil to zeppelin.  

These great books and many, many more are waiting for you at the Litchfield library – see you there!   

Monday, July 21, 2014

Move into the fast lane with our new internet service

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

It’s a happy time at the library for internet users.  We have increased our speed from 1.5 Mbps to 12.  How’s that for a jump ahead in technology? You should notice a big difference on our public computers and on your mobile devices on the wi-fi.  I know I’ve noticed it. 

Things can still get a little bit slow when our computers are full.  If you have twenty-five people online here, some of them streaming video or downloading something, 12 Mbps still can get a bit stretched.  But despite a few traffic jams,  it’s like driving a sports car now instead of a lawn mower.  Litchfield Library is one of the busiest in the library system for internet use, so we will all appreciate it.  Even checking out your books goes faster.

We’re so grateful that the federal e-rate program which helps public libraries offer broadband access to people throughout the country has allowed us to adjust for our demand like this.  Many of our rural residents cannot get anything faster than dial-up at home, and most websites now require so much more than that.  Even people in town who could get high-speed internet cannot always afford it, or a computer of their own. 

According to the Pew Research Center this month, 77% of Americans who use the internet but don’t have access at home say that internet access at their public library is important to them and their family. People living in lower-income households are much more likely to say that internet access at libraries is important to them. 

People use our computers to take online classes, complete job training modules, apply for jobs and unemployment, print boarding passes and event tickets, buy things online, search real estate listings… the list goes on and on.  Just think of how many things you search for online and how much you keep in touch with people through email and social media, and then imagine someone who has no way to do any of that.  Many people in that situation use the library to do it. 

With the new iPads and laptops in the district this fall, I expect that more kids will need to use our wi-fi than ever before to do their homework in the evenings and on weekends.  There’s no longer a complicated sign-in process to use our wi-fi; just choose the Litchfield Public Library network, accept the terms of service, and you’re in. There is no password.   It will time out after you’ve been on for four hours, so save your work if you’re doing a long project.  Our wi-fi works in the parking lot, so you could do some emergency homework in your minivan even when we’re closed.  The wi-fi turns on early in the morning and off late at night, well beyond our business hours.


Part of the role of the public library is to provide access to information.  In today’s world, so much of the information is online.  If you need internet access, whether on your own mobile device or our computer, you can visit the library to do that.  I hope you’ll enjoy the change in our service.  Faster is better!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Journey to the Center of the Universe!

 By Jan Pease

 It was my privilege to meet with an enthusiastic group of Cosmos folks who make up the Building Committee for the Cosmos Library.  I’m there as a representative from Pioneerland Library System, in place of Beth and am happy to see this project get started.   When the library opens, Beth Cronk, as Meeker County Librarian will manage it, but I hope to be involved in developing the children’s collection.  The State of Minnesota provided a grant, so this building project really will happen.

 You might remember, February 24, 2011, the Cosmos fire department was called at 5:11 a.m. to the Cosmos library which burned to the ground.  This was a terrible loss to the Cosmos community.  The library provided children’s programs, books, audio books, movies, and internet access to the community and was a safe place for teens to gather.

Pioneerland Library System has provided employees that bring the summer reading experience for children to the former school building.  Some summers the building has been unbearably hot, but families  come and take home bags of books to read.  This year, Elle Puckett and Jennifer Barnes have worked together on this project.

The committee members did their best to inform me that Cosmos is really the center of the universe.  I didn’t know that, but come to think of it, Cosmos is 20 minutes from Hutchinson, 26 minutes from Litchfield, and 33 minutes from Willmar. It offers an easy commute paired with a very nice small town.
   
 The weekend of July 18-20 they will try to prove that Cosmos is indeed the center of the universe, with the Cosmos Space Festival.  Saturday night the “best fireworks display in any small town” is planned.  There is a parade on Sunday, with vendors in the park.  I’m going down for Sunday afternoon, because   Jennifer Barnes and I will be at a table in the park.  I also plan to be there for the pork chop supper;   they told me that the pork chops are very, very good.   

In small towns, libraries are the heart beat of the community.  Yes, if your house is burning, you need the fire department, not a book about fighting fires.  But  quality of life is the issue.  Families often visit the Litchfield library if they are contemplating a move to our area.  Having a vibrant library lets them know that this is a vibrant community.  I think that having a library in Cosmos will  show that even if it isn’t the center of the universe, it is a great small town community.  If you’re at the Space Festival on Sunday afternoon, stop by the Cosmos Library Table.  We’ll be there.
   


Monday, July 7, 2014

No gaming tonight

Gaming night is cancelled for tonight due to illness.  Please join us next Monday at 6 p.m.

No story hour on Watercade Saturday

We are cancelling our 2nd Saturday story hour for July because it would fall during the Watercade kiddie parade.  Enjoy Watercade and stop by our book sale between 10 and 4!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Closed for Independence Day

We will be closed on Friday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day.

Truth as fascinating as fiction

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

What is popular around the country for nonfiction books these days?  In my last column, I told you that cookbooks are the most popular kind of nonfiction to check out in libraries.  But when you look at the New York Times bestseller lists, popular nonfiction includes all different sorts of books.  For the week of July 6, the NYT list of print and e-book nonfiction bestsellers isn’t even limited to new releases.  We have many of these popular books at our library.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book is at the top of the list.  Hard Choices is a memoir of Hillary’s years as Secretary of State.  She describes her meetings with world leaders and details her involvements in international affairs.  Reviewers say that there are no secrets revealed here; it’s very carefully written to serve as a potential pre-campaign autobiography, explaining her views on policy and her differences from President Obama.  Very little is personal, so it’s most likely to appeal to people interested in U.S. foreign policy.  Litchfield Library owns a copy, as do a few other libraries in the system.

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison is next on the list in nonfiction.  This book is also a memoir.  It tells the story of Piper Kerman, a young woman who had everything going for her when she was convicted of drug trafficking and money laundering ten years after delivering a suitcase of drug money for a girlfriend.  The memoir tells a fish-out-of-water story of an educated, refined woman with a great support system of family and friends, learning to navigate the unwritten rules of prison.  She also tells moving stories of female friendship in difficult circumstances.  The Netflix series of the same name is based on this book.  We have both the book and season one of the TV series at Litchfield.

The number three book on the combined print and e-book sales is Me by Katharine Hepburn.  This is a peculiar one, since the book came out in 1991.  I’m guessing that people are buying it because it’s inexpensive as an e-book, since there doesn’t seem to be a particular reason for renewed interest in Katharine Hepburn at the moment.  If you want to read this autobiography, you don’t even have to spend the $1.99 it costs as an e-book.  You can borrow a print copy for free.  We don’t own a copy at Litchfield, but Grove City Library does, as do many other libraries in Pioneerland. 

We do have The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, number four on the list.  This is the true story of a group of working-class young men from the University of Washington who won gold in rowing over the elite teams of the world.  This is one of those nonfiction books that reads like a novel, with suspense and emotion.

Another book that fits that description (and even includes the same Olympic games) is the fifth book on the bestseller list, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Lauren Hillenbrand.  We read this book in the library’s adult book club, and I thought it was exciting and inspiring.  This is the true story of Louis Zamperini, a famous Olympic distance runner whose B-24 crashed into the Pacific on a mission to rescue another crew during World War II.  His survival story is riveting.  He is still alive today.  Angelina Jolie and the Coen brothers’ movie adaptation of the book is coming out this Christmas. 


Truth can be as interesting as fiction.  And libraries offer more than novels.  Whether you like biographies, history, books on health, or self-help, we’ve got many interesting choices available.