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Litchfield MN 55355

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Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Minnesota mystery author Dennis Herschbach

Meet Minnesota author Dennis Herschbach Wednesday, June 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room of the Litchfield Public Library.  He will be here to discuss the 3rd book in the his Two Harbors mystery series, A River Through Two Harbors.

Fictional law enforcement officer Deidre Johnson uncovers a crime ring trafficking native girls to the harbor in Duluth.  She faces the conflict between the normalcy she sees around her and the long-kept secret river of victims that flows through her small town.

Hosted by Litchfield Library's Mystery Book Club and sponsored by member Pat Hanson.  Refreshments will be served.

Friday, June 9, 2017

True stories can tell good stories

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Good stories aren’t limited to novels.  Many memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies tell very interesting stories, and we have many new ones at the library.

Between Heaven and the Real World: My Story is Stephen Curtis Chapman’s new autobiography.  The contemporary Christian musician starts with his childhood, chronicles his rise to stardom and his marriage, and shares stories of the children born and adopted into his family.  Chapman lost his five-year-old daughter in a tragedy in 2008, and he discusses this in the book.  He also tells the stories behind his songs.

Between Them: Remembering My Parents is novelist Richard Ford’s account of his parents’ lives.  It’s really two short memoirs in one, the first section about his father and the second about his mother, with the whole book being only 179 pages long. In it, the author examines his parents’ lives before and after his birth; they were married for sixteen years before he was born.  Book reviewers say this is a beautiful book about Ford’s love for his parents, as well as their love for him and each other.  Ford won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his novel Independence Day.

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom is a dual biography by Thomas E. Ricks.  Rather than covering their entire lives, the book focuses on the 1930s and ‘40s, when each did his part to fight authoritarianism.  In the mid-1930s, they both had close calls: Orwell was shot in the neck in the Spanish Civil War, and Churchill was hit by a car in New York City.  At the time, neither was experiencing success in his work.  These Englishmen went on, in their own ways, to help the world see that freedom is essential and that it requires, as the Star Tribune put it, “intellectual clarity and moral courage.”

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage is a memoir by Dani Shapiro.  Shapiro is a respected author, having previously written memoirs on family tragedy, writing, and the search for meaning.  This time she examines her eighteen-year marriage, not as a chronological story but, again, as a search for meaning.  She highlights the fragility and strength of a marriage relationship, reflecting on how the events that happen in their lives shape it.  Together they have faced the loss of their parents, changes in their careers, and nearly losing their son to an illness. 

Jackie’s Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family is Kathy McKeon’s memoir of her thirteen years as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ personal assistant. McKeon was a new immigrant from Ireland when she began working for Jackie the year after JFK’s assassination.  She served as a nanny to the Kennedy children, as well.  Reviewers say the memoir is both honest and kind, a well-written insider’s perspective that really doesn’t violate the family’s privacy. 


Other new biographies and memoirs at the library include Man of the Year by Lou Cove; Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood; This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe; Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life by Sally Bedell Smith; and Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution by Peter Andreas.  Look for these and other true stories of people’s lives on the nonfiction shelves, both on the shelf of new books and in the main collection.

Family musician Paul Spring at Saturday storytime


Children's author Michael Hall at storyhour


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

New fiction at the library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Summer is beginning, and for some people that means a chance to lounge on the patio with a good book.  Some of the new books at the library might be just what you’re looking for.
“Miramar Bay” by Davis Bunn is a gentle romance that has been compared to the novels of Nicholas Sparks.  Bunn has been a bestselling Christian fiction author for some time, but this book doesn’t have the inspirational aspect he’s been known for.  A Hollywood actor flees his life of fame and an engagement to an heiress, taking a job in an idyllic small town working as a waiter. Reviewers say it’s emotional and captivating. 

“The Burial Hour” by Jeffrey Deaver is the thirteenth book in the Lincoln Rhyme series.  Rhyme is a wheelchair-bound forensics expert who is making wedding plans when he and his fiancĂ©e get involved in the case of a businessman kidnapped from a New York City street in broad daylight.  The kidnapper left a miniature noose at the scene, and soon a video appears of the victim struggling for his life.  Book reviews say this one has a very complicated, even improbable, storyline and that it isn’t the strongest installment in the series, but it’s still a solid mystery novel.

For those who like historical romance, “My One True Highlander” by Suzanne Enoch may be your cup of tea.  Scottish Highlander Graeme must deal with the disaster his foolish younger brothers have caused when they kidnap Lady Marjorie, the daughter of their English neighbor.  Reviewers call it “thrilling,” “colorful,” and of course “romantic,” set in a beautiful summertime landscape in the Highlands. 

Donna Leon’s latest Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery has been getting stellar reviews.  “Earthly Remains” finds the reliable Brunetti burning out on handling the criminals of Venice; he takes a leave of absence in the villa of a relative, out on an island in the lagoon.  When the villa’s caretaker disappears, Brunetti feels he must return to his job to investigate.  Reviewers say these novels are strong on character development and a sense of place.  Kirkus Reviews described this book as “a vacation for your own soul.”

“The Stars are Fire” is Anita Shreve’s newest novel.  The fictional story of an unhappily married mother is set within the true story of the Maine fire of 1947.  Between October 13 and 27 of that year, nine towns were entirely destroyed, 851 homes and 397 seasonal cottages burned down, and half of Acadia National Park was wiped out.  In this novel, a pregnant woman flees to the beach with her two young children, watching her house burn to the ground while her husband works with the other volunteer firefighters in an attempt to save the town.  Reviewers say the plot of this one is not really very strong, but that it’s worth reading for the history and the writing style. 

For those who prefer science fiction, there’s “The Book of Joan” by Lidia Yuknavitch.  A retelling of the story of Joan of Arc, this novel is a dystopian nightmare set on a platform floating over the destroyed and radioactive Earth.  Humans are damaged echoes of what they used to be, saving stories from history by branding and grafting them onto their skin while they live under a dictator’s rule.  A group of rebels takes inspiration from young eco-terrorist Joan’s story. 


Science fiction, literary fiction, mystery, or romance – find the book you want for a leisurely summer day by visiting the library.

Friday, June 2, 2017

It's Here!

By Jan Pease

This is the week!   Everything starts!
 
Please pick up a bright yellow bookmark, available at the checkout desks, so you will know exactly what’s going on for young people at Litchfield Public Library.  It’s time to register to participate in summer reading and start to combat summer slide.

What do we mean by summer slide?  Children routinely forget 2 or more months of what they learn through the school year.  It’s the reason teachers have to review and review at the beginning of each school year.  It’s the reason some of my piano students, sadly, didn’t get past book two because they had to re-learn everything from the previous year.    

Michael Hall, a well-known children’s author, will visit the library Friday, June 9th at 10:00.  I can’t wait to meet him.  His books include “Frankencrayon,” “It’s an Orange Aardvark!” and many other favorites.  According to his website, before becoming a children’s author, “Mr. Hall was an award-winning graphic designer whose work included graphic identities for the City of Saint Paul, Macalester College, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the Hennepin County Medical Center.”  Mr. Hall lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  “My Heart is Like a Zoo” is my personal favorite among his books.

On Saturday, June 10th, Paul Spring will return to Litchfield Public Library for a free concert.   Mr.  Spring is so talented!  He is a marvelous guitar player, he sings, and he writes music.  And he puts on a wonderful, interactive program.  He will start at 10:00.  Mr. Spring  lives in Minneapolis but last year he mentioned  how much he enjoys getting out of the city.

Thanks to the teachers and staff at Ripley School who welcomed me in to present the summer reading program to several classes. We have traditionally offered field trips to classes, but elementary students have changed over the years.  Field trips take a lot of time and chaperones.  I visited the Kindergarten classes as well as 3rd and 4th grade   classes. This experiment was very successful and next year we plan to give teachers a choice of a field trip or a visit at the school.   I came away from this positive experience knowing that I couldn’t do their job!  







































































































Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Synchronize your Calendars!



By Jan Pease

This is the annual “Synchronize your Calendars” announcement for summer reading 2017.  Children and readers aged 2 to 17 can sign up to participate in this year’s program, “Reading by Design.” Keep  track of   reading and other activities on the reading record.  Every time one of the goals is met, return to the library and receive a small reward.  Returned reading records will each count as an entry to the prize drawing at the end of the summer.

 Little Elliot is a polka-dotted little elephant drawn by Mike Curato, and he is the star of our reading program.    Have your children join the “What is Little Elliot Doing” experiment. They can draw a picture of Little Elliot enjoying summer, or write a very short story about what he is doing. 

Our regular programming will also begin the week of June 5th.  Mondays will be a busy day as Mariah has activities planned at 3:30  for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Mondays of each month.  Art Journaling, for grades 4-8, continues on the 2nd Mondays.  She will also add a Zine Lab and Zine Workshop on the 3rd and 4th Mondays. The Litchfield Library Zine will be a place for artists, poets, and writers in grades 9-12 to share their work. 

Wednesdays we will offer Toddler Time, a beginning story time for very young children, babies to age 3.  They must be accompanied by  a caregiver.  We will also alternate Fun with 4-H and Wonderful Wednesdays, for grades K-5, each week from 1:30 – 3:30.

Brick Heads will continue every Thursday night from 6:30-7:30.  We free-build with Legos and it is a really fun evening.  On July 6th, the Lego Guy is coming for a visit during Brick Heads.

Once a month, Beginner Book Club, for grades 1-3, meets on the third Thursday at 3:00 p.m.  Our theme in June and July is the book, “House of Robots,” by James Patterson. On June 15th we will have a special guest who will show us how to make robots out of recycled things. 

On Fridays at Preschool Story Hour, for children 3-6, we will have some  exciting guests.  On June 9th Author Michael Hall, who is famous for the “Crayon” books, will visit story time. On July 7th the folks from “One Community, One Vegetable” will join us to celebrate carrots.  And on Friday, July 28th, Professor Marvel, our favorite magician, will visit Litchfield with his DIY Magic Show. 

Saturday, June 10th Paul Spring will present a family concert at 10:00 a.m.  He is a fantastic guitar player and singer whose programs are very interactive and fun. 

On the 2nd and 5th Saturday of each month, Margaret Weigelt offers teens a chance to experience science and technology at its best and most fun.  Sometimes they create with Makey-Makey, or make giant board games.  Sometimes they even do some coding. 

There will be a total solar eclipse in the afternoon of August 21.  Watch for the announcement of some very interesting activities  as we explore this amazing event.  

Whew! It sounds like an incredible summer at Litchfield Public Library!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Eclipse viewing party this August!

On August 21, our library will be hosting a solar eclipse viewing party, with free glasses provided.  We will be holding some space and astronomy-themed events at the Dassel and Litchfield libraries during the summer to get ready for the big event.  Save the date!

Friday, April 28, 2017

This 'n' That

By Jan Pease

When you come to the front desk area of the Litchfield Public Library, you will notice many Lego creations that cover the top of nonfiction shelving and the shelves in the beautiful cabinet given in memory of Rosann Lorenz.   These highly imaginative pieces of art are made each week at Brickheads, the kids who like to build with Lego bricks.

I love to listen to the young people as they tell the story of their creations.  Sometimes there are vehicles, sometimes space stations, and sometimes houses for families to share.   Some of the Lego characters are good guys, some are bad guys, and some are aliens or walking skeletons. Or Zombies.   Each creation is given a title with the name and age of the artist.  Some of the dads and moms have as much fun as the kids as we chat and build.  Brickheads is offered every week at 6:30 on Thursday nights for ages 4-14.

I think Brickheads is more than just a fun time.  Young people sometimes seem surprised by the good time they’re having without being connected to a device.  Conversation happens, and social skills are practiced.  Imaginations soar!  It’s more important than ever for our children to develop the ability to connect with each other.  Sometimes I feel like standing with a loudspeaker telling everyone to “step away from your phone! Step away from your phone!” 

Beginner Book Club is a program that is probably more fun for me than for the students.  We have been slowly working our way through the C.S. Lewis classic, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”  They are conquering a very difficult book and I’m proud of them.  The subject matter of this book, coupled with how very British the language is, makes this a challenge.  These are readers from grades 1-3, and they have remarkable insights.  Beginner Book Club meets once each month, third Thursdays, at 3:00.   

Each of these programs has had children “age out” and could use more members, and we have plenty of room for friends to attend together.  Both programs will continue through the summer and fall.

Summer will be here before we know it.  All of the Meeker County libraries are participating in “Reading by Design.”  This reading theme will include a lot of hands on fun.  As the summer unfolds, our goal is always to keep children using their reading and math skills.  Please encourage your children or grandchildren to be part of “Reading by Design.”  Watch for news later in May, and I’ll see you at the library!






Friday, April 21, 2017

A Very Useful Library Catalog Skill

 By Jan Pease

I learned a new skill using our library online catalog today.  I wondered if I could narrow the search to juvenile books published in 2017 that can be found in Litchfield.  You can look at a list of the newest books on the first page of the library catalog website, but you can’t limit the search by town or copyright date. If you ever want to do this, go to the library catalog, http://iii.pioneerland.lib.mn.us and choose advanced search.  Enter keyword: juvenile, material: book, language: English. Easy enough, right?  Now comes the tricky part. I had to limit the date, so I entered after 2016 and before 2018. That is the way to tell the computer I want all of the books published in 2017 in the Litchfield collection. (Of course it would be simple to just type in 2017, but the computer doesn’t think that way.)  Anyway, the result was 302 titles. And we’re only just finishing the month of April.

Look for some great nonfiction in these 302 new books.  We have added a series of   tiny biographies of famous people from the series, “My Itty-bitty Bio.”  Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Benjamin Franklin and others are included in this introduction to reading about real people.  Watch for additional titles, because I think we will add them all to the Litchfield collection.

We added a series called “Dark Waters” by Julie Gilbert.  These mermaid stories aren’t for the faint of heart.  Titles include “Fire and Ice,” “Into the Storm,” “Neptune’s Trident,” and “The Sighting.”  Mermaid titles are really popular right now, so we’ll
keep buying them!

If you like to eat (and who doesn’t?) look for the “Dessert Diaries” books by Laura Dower.  We added titles such as “Maggie’s Magic Chocolate Moon,” “For Emme, Baked with Love,” and “Gabi and the Great Big Bakeover.” 


We added a number of books about Minecraft, and they are almost flying off the shelf.  The three newest Minecraft titles are “Minecraft: Guide to Building,” “Minecraft: Guide to Animals," and Minecraft: Guide to Combat."                                      

If you’re interested in books about a career idea from the point of view of a young person, look for “Choose Your Own Career Adventure Hollywood,” “Choose Your Own Career Adventure Cruise Ship,” or “Choose Your Own Career Adventure  Military.”  These interactive books introduce young people to the ins and outs of unusual careers.
 
One of my favorite new books is “Babies Come From Airports,” by  Erin Dealy.  This is an adoption story with a twist, and I just love it. This sweet story is told from the point of view of a boy who had his own “Gotcha Day.”  

Try my search trick and explore other wonderful new books waiting for you at Litchfield Library.






Friday, April 7, 2017

Help! I Can't Find My Funny Bone!

By Jan Pease

“Do you know the difference between Google and librarians?  Librarians are search engines with a heart!”    I like this joke from “I Funny: School of Laughs.”  James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein collaborate on the “I Funny” series.  Our hero, Jamie Grimm, famous for being on tv and for winning a national comedy contest, has taken on  the task of helping the school librarian save the school library.  He does it by teaching his classmates how to be funny.  Can you learn to be funny if you don’t have a funny bone?  I don’t know. I think we’re born with a sense of humor and either have one or not.

Anyway, this is a good example of a novel that is heavily illustrated but not quite a graphic novel.  I don’t know who started this trend.  Jeff Kinney’s
series, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” uses the same format of small amounts of text with many illustrations that move the story along.  The eleventh book in the series, “Double Down,” came out in November of 2016.  Our copy of this popular book is checked out, which is an indication of how much these books are liked.

“Hamster-saurus Rex,” by Tom O’Donnell, is another example of a book that combines text with many illustrations.   A cute little hamster shows up in a classroom in grade 6.  One unusual thing about this hamster is that he’s
fearless and he growls.  Another unusual thing is that no one seems to know where he came from. 

Dave Pilkey’s new series, “Dog Man” is more of a true graphic novel.  It’s a very funny series.  Greg the K-9 officer and his partner are injured, and after extensive surgery, become an officer with the head of a dog and body of a man.  These fly off the shelves, in spite of the twisted premise.

Tom Angleberger has published a new book, Rocket and Groot: Keep on Truckin’.  Rocket and Groot are from the universe of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.  The blurb on the back of the book says that Rocket and Groot, with their super-intelligent tape dispenser, Veronica, have crash landed on a world called HappyHappyFunFun.  “This is a happy place, except for the out-of-control self-driving monster trucks, a supercomputer called Big Mama, and sharks, lots of sharks.”  I don’t get it, but that doesn’t matter. The first Rocket and Groot adventure, “Stranded on Planet Strip Mall,” has been very popular.  Just in case you wonder, Rocket is some kind of space traveling raccoon, and Groot is some sort of tree creature.  I just don't get "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Librarians are usually not thought of as people with a sense of humor.  Still, funny things happen at  libraries every day.  This morning at story hour, we shared a book called “Dalmatian in a Digger,” by Rebecca Elliott.  The whole point of the book was alliteration, with a duck in a dump truck and a camel in a crane.  But a little expert on heavy machinery corrected me: it was a Dalmatian in an excavator!

See you at the library!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Food, glorious food for our community

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

The Litchfield Library is again offering a Food for Fines program to support the local food shelf during Minnesota FoodShare month.  Our program will run from March 15 to March 31.  For each donated item you bring to the library for the food shelf, we will waive $1 of your late fees, up to a maximum of $5 per person.  This can apply only to late fees, not to replacement fees for lost or damaged items.  Last year, Dassel, Grove City, and Litchfield library patrons donated a total of 92 pounds of food to the Meeker County food shelf through Food for Fines.  It’s a good way to help your community and yourself at the same time.

While we’re talking about food, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to buy interesting groceries, you may want to know about some of our new cookbooks.  One that’s popular right now is by Oprah Winfrey: Food, Health, and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life.  While Oprah discusses her relationship with food throughout the book, it is also a cookbook.  It lists Weight Watchers points for all of the recipes and generally espouses the Weight Watchers philosophy.  The recipes have some fairly complicated ingredient lists for the ordinary cook, but that’s often true of cookbooks.

The London Cookbook: Recipes from the Restaurants, Cafes,and Hole-in-the-Wall Gems of a Modern City is a trendy new cookbook.  Author Aleksandra Crapanzano got incredulous responses when she told them she was writing a book about the food scene in London; England doesn’t have a reputation for stellar food.  However, she says things have changed so much in the past twenty years, with chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi and Jamie Oliver raising the bar in London restaurants.  The book blends travel information with recipes for the home cook. 

Based in a very different part of the world, Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South is all about American Southern cooking.  Author Vivian Howard is the star of PBS’s A Chef’s Life and the owner of Chef and Farmer restaurant in Kinston, North Carolina.  She based her restaurant’s menu on what was available from local farmers, even when that meant she needed to be creative with an overabundance of sweet potatoes and blueberries.  This cookbook combines her recipes with stories of growing up in Deep Run, North Carolina, and training as a chef in New York City.

Another PBS show, America’s Test Kitchen, has a new cookbook out called Bread Illustrated: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Bakery-Quality Results at Home. Baking bread can be intimidating, but this cookbook breaks the process down into steps accompanied by six to sixteen color photos per lesson.  Recipes range from easy to advanced.

Another one for the bakers, Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life teaches techniques that can challenge beginners. Author Kate McDermott teaches Pie Camps across the country.  People describe her as a pie guru who teaches life lessons like peace and forgiveness along with crust techniques.  Personally, I’ve been more peaceful when making pies since I started using lard, and it sounds like some of McDermott’s recipes go that way, too. This book is Overdrive's Big Library Read through March 30th, so you can check out the e-book no matter how many other people already have it checked out right now.


Food, glorious food!  Whether you cook it for your family or donate it to people in need in our community, food is a great way to show you care. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

What If?

By Jan Pease
Sometimes books are written in answer to the question “what if?”  Randall Munroe, a former NASA employee and blogger published a book titled, “What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Question.” His blog is called xkcd.com, and includes very funny web comics and answers to silly questions asked by real readers.  An example is, "Would a toaster still work in a freezer?"The book is available here at Litchfield library and several other libraries in Pioneerland Library System. The answer is, yes, but it might make the freezer overheat, since toasters toast at about 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

I’m not sure what got me on that tangent, but I think Liz Braswell is to blame.  She has a degree in Egyptology and spent ten years producing video games.  She sounds like the kind of quirky person I would like to have as a friend.  Her new books are what she calls “Twisted Tales” as they are Disney stories with an unusual twist.  For example, what if Belle’s mother was the one who cursed the beast?  How would that change “Beauty and the Beast?”  What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?  Watch for the titles “A Whole New World,” and “As Old as Time,” both published by Disney Press.

Nicholas Gannon asks “Have you ever wanted to hold a piece of the impossible?”  His new book, “The Doldrums,” itself looks like an impossible thing.  This is a long book (340 pages) with beautiful, full-color illustrations, which are rare in “chapter books.”  Three friends, Archer, Adelaide, and Oliver try to go on an adventure which never quite gets off the ground.  This is a slow moving book that would be a perfect companion for a rainy, cold day this spring.

What do you get when your writing team consists of a former NFL star defensive player with a degree in English and a law degree plus a legendary All Star and World Series baseball player?  It means your writing team is Tim Green and Derek Jeter. They have collaborated on a new book, “Baseball Genius,” that looks like the start of a new series featuring a character that has the ability to tell what pitch a pitcher will throw.  The second book in the series is “Baseball Genius #2: Double Play.”  I’m sure that Tim Green’s writing ability added to Derek Jeter’s character and baseball knowledge will be a winning combination. 

Look for beautiful new copies of Lois Lowry’s book, “Number the Stars,” and E.L. Konisburg’s book, “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.”  Copies of these books had been loved to death, so we purchased replacements.  We also replaced the first four Nancy Drew mysteries, and the first four Hardy Boys Mysteries.  To read more books in those series, please request them through the Pioneerland Library catalog. 

























Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Travel to a different time in a book

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Do you like to go back in time when you read a novel?  Or to learn your history through a good story?  My very favorite way to learn about history is through musicals like Hamilton and Les MisĂ©rables, but I enjoy reading historical fiction, too.  Of course, some authors base their historical fiction on factual events and people, while others create stories and characters that simply take place in a different time.  Any author of historical fiction writes it best when they’ve done their research and have a solid sense of the time period of their story, whether that’s ancient times or the 20th century.  Our library has a huge range of historical fiction, including these novels that have recently been added to our collection.

The Dangerous Ladies Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini is a historical mystery.  This is book five in the Carpenter and Quincannon series about a pair of fictional detectives.  The series is set in 1890s San Francisco, with echoes of the Sherlock Holmes stories which were written during that era. In this installment, Sabina and John need to stop an extortion scheme and solve a locked room murder.

Tracie Peterson has a new book out with co-author Kimberley Woodhouse: In the Shadow of Denali.  This Christian fiction novel launches a new series called The Heart of Alaska.  A young woman works as a cook in the new hotel near Mt. McKinley, while her father works as a wilderness guide.  A young man arrives to become an apprentice guide, but his real goal is to investigate his father’s death.  The two find romance as they work together to find answers on the frontier in the early 1900s. 

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk tells the life story of an 85-year-old woman as she walks to a party in New York City in 1984.  Based on a real person with a different name, Lillian was the top woman in advertising in the 1930s.  As she meets people from all walks of life along her way, the quick-witted Lillian reflects on her exciting and difficult life and the ways that the city has changed from the Jazz Age to the ‘80s.  Book critics like this one.

W.E.B. Griffin’s newest novel, Curtain of Death, features the kidnapping of two Women’s Army Corps members in Munich in 1946.  One of them works for the Directorate of Central Intelligence, and she kills the Soviet agents who kidnap her, causing repercussions for her agency.  This series, Clandestine Operations, is co-written with William E. Butterworth, and it features the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency and the beginning of the Cold War.

Fans of Regency romance may enjoy Someone to Love by Mary Balogh.  The Earl of Riverdale has died, leaving his fortune to the daughter no one knew he had.  Anna grew up in an orphanage in Bath, knowing nothing of her family, and now she must learn to be a lady, while dealing with the resentments of her newfound relatives and the attentions of a duke. 

The One Man by Andrew Gross is a thriller about an attempt to free a man imprisoned in Auschwitz.  A physics professor has been taken there, and the Nazis have burned his papers, leaving him as one of only two people in the world with the knowledge contained in them.  A man with a desk job working in intelligence in Washington, D.C., is sent on the mission. 


Historical fiction can take the form of romance, mystery, fantasy, horror, Christian fiction, or even comics.  Talk to our staff and we will be glad to help you find a book set in a time period you enjoy.  

Friday, March 3, 2017

Baby Animal Names and Other Important Subjects


By Jan Pease

At Story Hour on March 3, we read the book “In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb” and made a lion/lamb puppet.  The lion face was on one side and the lamb face was on the other side.  It was a cute project.  It is amazing to watch young children work so intently on a project.

Anyway, the children and I were talking about how a lamb is a baby sheep, and of course that made me wonder why a baby sheep isn’t called a calf or a foal.  I wondered why a baby cow is a calf and not a foal.  And why a baby deer is called a fawn but a baby goat is called a kid.  It gets so confusing, but if you say them out loud, the wrong combination just sounds wrong.  A baby buffalo is definitely a calf, not a foal.

I did a tiny bit of digging and found all kinds of information. English is kind of a patchwork language that borrows from whoever was in charge of Britain after the Romans left.  The Oxford English Dictionary had more information than I wanted, but is a great source. The website is http://public.oed.com.

English also has really unusual words for groups of animals called collective nouns.  For example, a group of alligators is called a congregation.   One of the sources for  many of the strange words for groups of animals is “The Book of Saint Albans,” which was an essay on hunting, hawking and heraldry published sometime around 1486. It was attributed to Dame Juliana Berners but described things a gentleman needed to know. Oddly enough, many of the names are still used today.

Various educational websites like Enchanted Learning, which is www.enchantedlearning.com, have interesting activities for children about animal names.  I could plan months of story times based on those unusual and archaic animal names.

There are even books to consider if this subject is interesting.  You might try “They Call Me Wooly: What Animal Names Can Tell us,” by Keith Du Quette or “Tanka Tanka Skunk,” by Steve Webb.  “In My Backyard,” by Valarie Giogas is a lovely book of animals that are easily found where we live.  Eric Carle’s famous book, “Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?”  identifies names of animals and their groups. 

It isn’t necessary to know that a group of alligators is a congregation, but it enriches a child’s vocabulary to be exposed to words that aren’t used every day. 

Have some fun with words.  I can just imagine Sheldon from “Big Bang Theory” hosting a web show called “Fun with Etymology!”    As always, I hope to see you at the library.




Monday, February 27, 2017

Job opening at Litchfield Library

JOB OPENING: LIBRARY ASSISTANT III
LITCHFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY

Job Description: Provides reference, research, and specialized circulation services to library patrons in locating and utilizing library materials and services.   Handles incoming and outgoing interlibrary loan deliveries.  Leads a book club for adults.

Qualifications:  Knowledge of library system operations, procedures, and resources; ability to work effectively with the general public; ability to plan, implement, and promote specialized events and programs; ability to maintain cooperative working relationships with coworkers; proficient with computers and related technology; ability to work independently; strong communication skills.

Education and experience required: High school diploma or equivalency, plus one year of directly-related experience; or a combination of education, experience and training necessary to perform the essential requirements of the work. 

Physical Requirements:  Must be able to walk, stoop, kneel, crouch, reach, lift, feel, grasp, talk, hear and see.  Some light lifting and carrying may be required up to 25 pounds.

Hours:  Average of 15.75 hours per week: Mondays 3-8 pm, Wednesdays 3-8 pm, every other Friday 9 am – 5 pm, one Saturday per month 10 am – 5 pm.  Additional subbing as needed.

Application deadline:  March 10, 2017

Applications available at the library or www.pioneerland.lib.mn.us .  Submit them to:
Beth Cronk
Litchfield Public Library
P.O. Box 220
Litchfield, MN 55355

Phone: (320)693-2483

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Closed for Presidents' Day

We will be closed on Monday, February 20, in observance of Presidents' Day.


Friday, February 17, 2017

This and That and In Between

 By Jan Pease

 

If I were to write a book, it would probably be fairly generic.  I’d want everyone to like it, so it might be a little bit bland.  These books are exactly the opposite.  They are all very different and will each appeal to just the right child.

I would not be bold enough to publish the BabyLit series by Jane Adams.  The blurb on the cover says “BabyLit is a fashionable way to introduce your child to the world of classic literature.”  Watch for Little Master Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: a Fairies Primer,” and  Little Master Homer  “The Odyssey: a Monster Primer,”  the two newest titles we have received.


Graeme Base is another author/illustrator whose books are unique and large.   His newest book,   “Birds . . . Fly” is a unique board book with heavy pages that fold out, giving room for wider, more involved illustrations.    It’s about the size of a regular board book but contains so much more. 

“Amelia Who Could Fly,” imagines Amelia Earhart as a child who loved to imagine that she could fly.  This is a lovely picture book biography that is suitable for very young children.  Young children need heroes, too!

Jane Yolen has continued her “How Do Dinosaurs” series with “How do Dinosaurs Choose Their Pets?”  Dinosaur life gets more interesting with each book.  The book cover features a large triceratops carrying a tiger under his arm.  This is a very funny discussion of how to choose the perfect pet. 

 Lois Ehlert’s love poem, “Heart 2 Heart” was released just in time for Valentine’s Day.  This sweet book uses bright pictures of fruits and vegetables and lower case letters to make puns.  For example, “I’ve [bean] thinking of [u].”  The puzzles make more sense if you share this book with someone you love and read it aloud. 

Finally, I must tell you about one of my new favorites, “This & That,” which we enjoyed at story hour a week or so ago.  Written by one of my favorite authors, Mem Fox, “This & That” is one of those perfect books that have the right text with just the right pictures.  Mem Fox says, “Writing a picture book is like writing 'War and Peace' in haiku.”  

These interesting picture books are waiting for you at Litchfield Public Library.  See you there!