216 N Marshall Ave

Litchfield MN 55355


All Pioneerland

While all Pioneerland Library System buildings remain closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Curbside Pick-up of library items is available. You may place items on hold using the online catalog. Library staff will call you to schedule a pickup time once your hold is ready. Pickup days/times vary by location. Please contact your library if you have questions or need assistance in using this service.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Resources for Parents and Students at the Library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
As we begin a new school year, there are many things to be excited about and sometimes a few things to be concerned about.  Our children get older and face new challenges.  Maybe they’ve had some difficulty with schoolwork or trouble with classmates.  One place I’ve always looked for help is at the library.  You can find books on all different kinds of parenting and educational issues.  There are also online sources of help available.
One new electronic resource that is newly available to Pioneerland cardholders is  You can get to it by going to and typing in your library barcode.  Live, one-on-one help is available from 2 p.m. to midnight.  You can even upload a paper for a tutor to work on with you.  There are resources to use on the site that are available all the time, including homework resources, SAT, ACT, and GED test prep guides, and even resume and interview guidance.  I took a quick look in the homework resources and found that you can choose a subject, like English, a school level, like elementary, and a more specific subject, like capitalization and punctuation.  Following that path, I found capitalization rules, a lesson in contractions, and some games that help teach capitalization and punctuation.  If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you can download an app for the site.  I hope you’ll try it out!
We also have some new books at the Litchfield Library that may help parents to help and guide their children.  The book Red Flags or Red Herrings: Predicting Who Your Child Will Become is intriguing for parents who wonder how the traits they see in their child will affect their future.  The author, Susan Engel, is a developmental psychologist, educator, and mother.  She encourages parents to accept their children’s inborn traits, intervene for some issues, but to have perspective and not overreact about others. 
Nolo’s IEP Guide: Learning Disabilities is a legal guide written for parents.  Nolo is the premier publisher for legal books written for those of us who aren’t lawyers.  This book is a guide to advocating for your child who has a learning disability, understanding your child’s legal rights, developing an individualized education program, and resolving disputes with your school district. 
If you’re a homeschooler, you may be interested in Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything.  The author,  Laura Grace Weldon, advocates what she calls natural learning.  Falling somewhere between structured homeschooling and unschooling, Weldon recommends following the child’s interests, using meaningful work to teach, and connecting with others as natural ways to learn.  She also emphasizes the importance of play, curiosity, and slowing down.
Our new DVD Stop Bullying: Standing Up for Yourself and Others gives students concrete steps to take to respond to bullying.  This video is intended for students in junior high grades and up.  It shares advice from experts and stories from kids who’ve been in bullying situations.
Whatever kind of parenting or education-related topic you’re looking for, I hope you’ll take a look in our catalog or speak to someone on our staff to help you find something you can use.  And remember to try  Have a great school year!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Raechel says.........

By Jan Pease

I’m introducing a guest book reviewer, 15 year old Raechel Kelly, who graciously agreed to produce three “teen book reviews” as part of “You Are Here” the summer reading program for teenagers.   Raechel is a delightful young person who happens to be an avid reader.    
One of her selections is the book, “Pearl in the Sand,” by Tessa Afshar.  Raechel says, “This book was an amazing retelling of Rahab, from the Bible, and her story of faith.  As reading it, I found that it really enchanted the Old Testament.  The book is fiction, and so cleverly written.  Ms. Afshar did a beautiful job with this Bible account, and I was blessed to read it.” 
I would add this bit of information from  “Pearl in the Sand” was published in 2010 by Moody Press, and is available at Litchfield Library.  Tessa Afshar was born in a Muslim family in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She survived English boarding school for girls before moving to the United States permanently. Tessa holds an MDIV from Yale University where she served as co-Chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last twelve years in full and part-time Christian work and currently serves as the leader of Women’s and Prayer ministries at a church in New England.
Another book chosen by Raechel is “Dug Down Deep,” by Joshua Harris. Raechel says, “I highly recommend this book to everyone.  This is a non-fiction read that uncovers a lot of truth, and shows the lies we unknowingly believe.  No matter where you are in this life, you will surely learn something from this book. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and have learned a lot from it.”
Me, again, adding a little more to Raechel’s thoughts.  Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters” was published in 2010 by Multnomah Books.  It is available at and by interlibrary loan through Mnlink.  Joshua Harris writes about matters of faith for young adults and is best known for his books about relationships and dating.        
Raechel’s final selection was an entire series of books, “The Knights of Arrethtrae” by Chuck Black.  Rachel says, “I couldn’t pick just one of the six books to review, so I decided I’d do the whole series.  These books were so great in many ways.  They’re filled with excitement, bravery, courage and most importantly, faith in the Lord.  The books are individual stories of knights and ladies as they go through with their training and missions.  These books blessed me hugely, and encouraged me.”
I would add that this is a series of books published in recent years by Multnomah.  They are available at and by interlibrary loan through Mnlink.  Chuck Black, according to, spent eight years in the Air Force traveling the world as an F-16 fighter pilot and a communications engineer. Today, Chuck is the author of seven novels and a product-design engineer. He has invented or co-invented eleven patented construction products now being sold internationally.   He lives with his family in North Dakota.
Thanks, Raechel, for enthusiastically taking on this challenge.   We’re looking for other teen book reviewers, so please speak to a staff member at the library if you’re interested.   See you at the library!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How Can We Help Your Business?

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
I would like to thank the Litchfield businesses who supported our summer reading program this year with prize donations for the kids.  McDonald’s, Burger King, and Pizza Hut (so sorry for leaving you out of the newspaper column!!) donated many gift certificates for food items at their restaurants.  The kids love getting them as prizes for reading logs that they complete.  Thank you for supporting literacy in our community!
I would also like to extend an invitation to the businesses in Litchfield.  Our library is available to serve you.  We work regularly with teachers, clergy, parents, students, seniors, and other members of the community.  But we don’t often work with our local business people.  I’d love to do more to serve this group.
 If there is something I can do to help you meet your business’ information needs, I hope you’ll come in to talk to me, give me a call at (320)693-2483, or send me an email at  While you may not think you’d have a use for the books we have on hand, we can find all kinds of information for you.  I used to work in the corporate library of a financial services company.  While it has been some years since then, it was in the age of the internet and electronic databases.  I used to work on competitive intelligence, stock quotes, information to be used in marketing materials, and a variety of industry information.  At the public library, we don’t have access to the fee-based business & legal databases that a corporate library has, but there are many sources out there that are free or paid for by the state of Minnesota.  I’d be happy to meet with you to set up an alert service on the topics your business needs to track.  Through the Electronic Library for Minnesota, we could set up an ongoing search of newspapers or business journals that would automatically send you articles on your competitors, your industry, or other specific topics in the news that could help you keep on top of your business environment.
Our library does have some recent books that may be of interest to managers, entrepreneurs, and other business people, too.  Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders: The Three Essential Principles You Need to Become an Extraordinary Leader, by Rajeev Peshawaria, discusses the characteristics that make the best managers and executives.  Peshawaria has worked in leadership development at American Express, Morgan Stanley, and Coca-Cola.  The book has gotten excellent reviews from vice presidents at PepsiCo and GE Aviation, as well as book reviewers, for the way that it presents case studies of leadership in a variety of companies and how inspiring it is to managers at every level.
Another new book on management is Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst, by Robert I. Sutton.  This book draws upon psychological and management research to find out what a manager can do to motivate and manage his or her employees and create a better workplace and a more successful organization.  Sutton is a professor at Stanford.
The 24-Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved, Always-Connected Economy is a book on marketing in our new electronic reality.  The author, Adrian C. Ott, is the CEO of a Silicon Valley consultant business.  She shares new ways of capturing the time and attention of customers who are connected to their screens and multi-tasking all the time, using case studies from iPhone, Amazon, and Johnson & Johnson, among other companies who are doing well with Web 2.0 and 24/7 commerce.
Some other new business titles you may want to check out include The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge; Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down; and Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story. 
If there are business titles you’d suggest for our library, let me know and I’ll be glad to consider them.  Our library is here to serve the entire community, and I’d love to know how we can better meet your business’ needs for information. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"How I Spent My Summer Vacation"

“How I Spent My Summer Vacation:" sweat beading on my face, running down into the third shirt of the day;  babies crying, small children running around, while I tried to think of ways to occupy older children who just don’t seem to understand how great a book club could be, and who really miss having access to computers and the Internet.  Kids asking “do you have a “Star Wars”  book” and having to tell them to try one of three or four big bins of books, which made finding a book title like finding information on the Internet. We knew it probably was there, but had no idea where.  I have a new fondness for Mr. Dewey and his decimal system.

This is how I spent eight Mondays (my day off!) this summer.  It’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of the situation as we brought the summer reading program to Cosmos.  Their librarian had retired, their library had burned, and the community was devastated by a series of storms and a fire that damaged a major business in the community.  Pioneerland Library System had a book drive, with more than 3000 excellent-quality books gathered for the children of Cosmos, and sent me with our student employee, Elle Dinius to provide books and activities for children.

 I will remember the positive experiences Elle and I had as we provided a summer reading program without having a library building.  First, the people in Cosmos were extraordinary. Custodians at the school were wonderful; they assured me that play dough will come out of the carpet.  The City of Cosmos personnel were always helpful and the principal of the school was delightful.  The parents who brought or picked up their children were enthusiastic about their children reading during the summer months. Bags and bags of books went home, and bags and bags of books came back.  Parents universally told me how much the Cosmos library meant to them, and how much they hoped a new library would be possible. Joy Housman brought her entire daycare, which added to the excitement every week. 

Special memories include a little girl telling me that she’s read more than 170 books this summer.  I remember a mom surprised at the sight of her very active little boy sitting with me and working diligently on a necklace and later, a bracelet of large beads strung on a leather cord.  He didn’t know that he was developing math skills like sorting and estimating.  He told his mom proudly that he was being very good!  I was able to fill requests for specific books for a young man.  I enjoyed our mad scientist experiments where we made bouncy balls and Flubber.  I marveled at their patience as several of the older children made little classic wooden cars. We made sun catchers and wind chimes, scratched off black coatings to reveal colorful designs; we decorated door hangers and large wooden butterfly magnets, and made  lots of cool necklaces and bracelets.

My final story time with the younger children was Monday the first of August.  Most of the children of all ages gathered around as we read the trickster tale “Love and Roast Chicken,”  by Barbara Knutson.  The older children listened from the table where they were working on projects, even if they were too grown up to sit in the circle.   They asked to sing the “Little Drop of Rain Song,” which in June they weren’t all that interested in singing.  They made felt guinea pigs, since the hero of “Love and Roast Chicken” is a guinea pig in Peru. When we made Flubber, it was such a big hit that the younger children wanted to make some, too.    Except for the heat, it was a really, really, wonderful afternoon.

I’ll be going back to Cosmos on August 15th for a party in the city park to celebrate a great summer.  I already have some things in mind to try next year if Pioneerland asks me to visit Cosmos for another summer reading program, because I would definitely do it again.