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, January 27, 2012

Celebrating Jan's 20 Years of Service

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Our children’s librarian Jan Pease was recently honored for twenty years of service to Pioneerland Library System. She was given her 20-year pin at an annual reception at our library system headquarters, celebrated alongside others who’d reached milestones in 2011 and those who’d retired, including our own Jeanette Stottrup. Jan has worked all of those years at the Litchfield Library in its various locations, and I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight her career spent serving this community.

Jan actually began work at the Litchfield Library 21 years ago, in January of 1991. Her primary responsibilities have always been in the children’s department, taking over the summer reading program her first year. That’s twenty Litchfield summer reading programs so far! Last year she also took on the summer reading program in Cosmos because of the loss of their library and the retirement of their head librarian. She provided a weekly event in their elementary school that included a story hour and crafts.

I’ve asked Jan about her career memories so far here at the library. One of her best summer kickoffs happened before we were in our new building. The theme was “Wolfin’ Down Books”. A patron brought in her 140-pound sled dog that looked like a big fluffy wolf. Jan says, “He was a gentle giant and the kids loved him, but he smelled pretty doggy. It was still fun. He worked for hot dogs. Now we actually pay for someone to come.”

Jan has worked in the library when it was on main street, in the temporary location at Emmaus Place, and, of course, in our current building. She says, “I never want to help move any library, anywhere, ever again.” It has been an eventful 20 years in the library’s history.

Jan has been involved in early childhood collaborations in our community through the years. She is an active member of the Early Childhood Initiative, a member of the ECFE board, and a partner in the Meeker County Born to Read program, which distributes free children’s books to new parents. In 2007, she was awarded the Litchfield Education Association’s Friend of Education Award “in appreciation for her contribution to educating our youth”. In the words of Laurie Ortega, assistant director of Pioneerland Library System, “Jan is a true advocate for children, literacy, and libraries.”

Jan has become an expert in her field. She has presented workshops at literacy conferences and at the Minnesota Library Association conference. She has also taught enrichment classes at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson and Willmar.

Of course, Jan (Mrs. Pease to the kids) leads three story times a week at the library, always incorporating best practices in early literacy. We get huge crowds of little ones with parents and grandparents who come to sing with Jan’s guitar, dance to Jim Gill CDs, and listen to the latest, greatest picture books that Jan is so good at finding. Jan does all of the children’s and young adult book ordering for the Litchfield, Dassel, and Grove City public libraries. When you see wonderful kids’ books in our library, it’s because Jan chose them. She also has established the after school and middle school book clubs and set up our 4-H at the Library program. Our children’s program offerings are excellent because she has worked to make them so.

Jan’s customer-centered philosophy is apparent every day as she helps both adults and kids. She says, “The patrons are everything. Sometimes it’s been difficult to watch favorite patrons age, become frail, and pass away, but they have enriched my life. The children are amazing. Their energy and excitement about learning is contagious. If I seem younger than I really am, it’s because of a weekly infusion of toddlers and preschoolers.”

Jan has also embraced the technology changes that have come to libraries in the past twenty years. Everyone on staff knows that Jan is the person to go to with computer challenges. She says that the technology we use every day now was unimaginable back when she started.

Finally, Jan says that those two decades have gone incredibly fast. She says, “I probably won’t get a thirty year pin like Jeanette, but I hope to work as long as I can.” Jan is a fantastic resource to our community, and I’d like to congratulate her on her 21st anniversary.

Monday, January 23, 2012

D&D at the library tonight

We're having a role-playing game night tonight at 6:30.  If you're a Dungeons and Dragons gamer or have other role-playing sets, bring them to our meeting room tonight to have a short game and let us know you're interested in having these events at the library.  The library does not own the dice or the basic books, so we're depending on you to share for the evening!

And The Winner Is . . .

 By Jan Pease

Two weeks ago, I described some of the American Library Association Youth Media Awards, especially the ones that I order for the Litchfield Library.   I use it as a personal barometer of how well I’m doing reading the reviews and purchasing books.  This is also is a confession of sorts, as in, “oops, I missed that one.”

The awards I’m most interested in are the Newbery, Caldecott, Sibert, Printz, and Geisel Medals.

The Theodore Seuss Geisel award, given to the most distinguished American book for beginning readers, was awarded to “Tales for Very Picky Eaters,” written and illustrated by Josh Schneider.  Oops, missed that one.  The honor books were “I Broke My Trunk,” “I Want my Hat Back,” and “See Me Run.”  We have “I Broke My Trunk.”  Oops, missed the rest.

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, given to the author and illustrator of the most distinguished informational book for children, was awarded to Melissa Sweet, author and illustrator of “Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade.”  Oops, missed that one.  The honor books were "Black & White: The Confrontation between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor," "Drawing from Memory,"  "The Elephant Scientist” and "Witches!: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem."  We have “Drawing from Memory,” and “Black and White,” but missed the rest. Oops!
The Michael L. Printz Award is given to a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. “Where Things Come Back,” written by John Corey Whaley won the medal this year. Oops, missed that one, but so did every library in Pioneerland Library System. 
The Randolph Caldecott medal is given for most distinguished picture book.  The winner this year is “A Ball for Daisy,” written and illustrated by Chris Raschka.  The good news is that we had it, but the bad news is that it’s overdue and billed.  Oh well.  The Caldecott honor books were “Black Out,” “Me..Jane,” and “Grandpa Green.”  We have “Grandpa Green” but missed the other books. Oops.
Finally, the John Newbery Award is given to the most distinguished children’s book.  The honor books this year were “Inside Out and Back Again,” which we have, and “Breaking Stalin’s Nose.”  No one in Pioneerland Library System has “Breaking Stalin’s Nose.” Oops.   The Newbery medal book is “Dead End In Norvelt,”  by Jack Gantos.  Litchfield has it.  Hooray!
The final score: out of 15 possible books, Jan, 7: Oops, 8.  Of course, those eight books will be ordered this week. It’s interesting to see which books are awarded medals, and always interesting to speculate about why these particular books are chosen.  See you at the library!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Wikipedia Blackout

Google and Wikipedia are protesting the SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (the Protect IP Act) legislation today.  The English version of Wikipedia is on a 24-hour blackout.  Here's CNN's explanation of what these bills are and why they matter: SOPA Explained .  What do you think?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Our Busy, Bustling Library

by Beth Cronk

The library is back in full swing after the holidays. Story times, book clubs, and game nights have started up again. We have toddler story time on Wednesdays at 10:15 a.m., family story time on Thursdays at 7 p.m., and preschool story hour on Fridays at 10 a.m.

Book clubs
After-school book club for grades 3-5 meets at 3:15 on the second Thursday of each month. Middle school book club for grades 6-8 meets at 3:15 on the third Thursday of the month. Mystery book club for adults meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 7 pm. And Emmaus book club for seniors meets at 1 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month in the basement activity room at Emmaus Place.

Game night
Game night is every Monday night at 6:30. Next Monday, January 23rd, we’ll be having a role-playing game night. I’m expecting that it will be Dungeons & Dragons, since I know my family is bringing an old set in that night, but please bring along any role-playing games you’d be interested in playing. My fourteen-year-old son thinks D&D is fun, despite that fact that computer games can do the same kind of thing for you with graphics now. If you used to play back when it was big, or if you’ve ventured into the current sets that are still coming out, come join us. It’s not much time to allow for that kind of gaming, but we can at least find out if there’s any interest in setting up a Saturday event sometime.

The following Monday night, January 30th, we’ll have a Wii Sports night. I’ll move the Wii into the meeting room for the occasion. If you’ve wanted to try our Wii but didn’t want to do it out in the middle of the children’s department, come that evening to give bowling, baseball, or golf a try. Even my dad who never plays computer games has enjoyed Wii Sports.

Manga class
Another fun activity we have coming up is a manga drawing class for ages 13 and up. Manga is a distinctive Japanese comic style. Our class will meet on three Tuesdays: January 24 and 31 and February 7, from 3:30-4:30. Sign up with us soon, since space is limited. This arts opportunity is funded by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment.

Book sale
Our book sale takes place on the third Saturday of every month. Our next one is coming up this Saturday, January 21st . I’d like to thank the Litchfield Women’s Club for being so generous with their time by cashiering at every sale, and I’d like to thank all of you who donate books, videos, and audios for us to sell.

Our virtual library is really hopping since the holidays, too. Practically all of our ebooks are checked out currently because so many of you got ereaders and tablet computers for Christmas. You can always request an ebook to be put on the waiting list, and then you will get an email telling you when it’s available for you to download. We will be buying more ebooks in the coming year than we did this past year. Every day at least one person stops in the library for help getting started with their ereader, and we do our best to help. The difficulty is that there are so many different products on the market that we haven’t necessarily had personal experience using the one you have. Sometimes it takes a combination of our knowledge from the library side of things, customer support from your device maker (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.), and just some time that you spend playing around with it. Usually it gets much, much easier once you learn to use it in the first place.

We have just added a new section to our Overdrive website that you can find on the bottom left corner of the webpage. Older books that are out of copyright and in the public domain are available to download even without a library card, without any limit on the number of titles, and without any need to return them. These are books such as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Anna Karenina. I found a whole bunch of Zane Grey books on there for a patron who wished we had more Western ebooks available.

Our library is a bustling place every day. Every now and then someone out in the world comments to me that the library must be such a relaxing place to work.  After I've managed to hold back a chuckle, I tell them that it's actually a really busy place to work.  If you haven’t been here in a while, come in and see what all the commotion is about!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Waiting and Waiting for the Winter ALA Awards

By Jan Pease
What’s up with all these children’s book awards? According to the American Library Association website, “The eyes of the publishing world will turn to Dallas at 7:45 a.m. on Jan.23, 2012, when the American Library Association (ALA) announces the top awards in children’s and young adult literature as part of the ALA Midwinter Meeting, January 20 - 24. The ALA Youth Media Awards honor children’s and young adult authors and illustrators, as well as producers of children’s audio and video materials. Known worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards are selected under a cloak of secrecy by national judging committees composed of librarians and other children’s literature experts. The ALA will announce 18 awards, including the renowned Caldecott and Newbery Medals, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and Printz award. The books honored serve as a guide for parents, educators, librarians and those interested in providing children and teens with the very best reading and viewing materials.”

The awards that are most familiar are the Newbery and Caldecott medals. Each year since 1922, the Newbery Medal is awarded by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children's books published the previous year. In 1937 an award for most distinguished picture book of the year, named in honor of the nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph J. Caldecott, was established. During the early years, the Caldecott winner was chosen by the Newbery committee, but since 1980, the Caldecott Award has its own selection committee.

The Coretta Scott King Award is another well-known award announced during the ALA midwinter conference. The Coretta Scott King Award is presented to African American authors and illustrators for outstanding contributions to literature for children and young adults. The Coretta Scott King Award is given to encourage the artistic expression of the black experience via literature and the graphic arts including: biographical, social, historical, and social history treatments. The books are selected because they promote an understanding and appreciation of the black culture and experience. The Award is further designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue his work for peace and world brotherhood.

Because the Litchfield library is building a young adult collection, I’ve become more aware of the Printz Award. The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association. The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.

I’m also a fan of the Theodore Seuss Geisel award, given in honor of our beloved Dr. Seuss. The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given annually to the authors and illustrators of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.

Besides the ALA awards, which are chosen by library professionals, readers’ choice awards are a remarkable source for lists of books to read. Minnesota’s own readers’ choice award is the Maud Hart Lovelace Award, given in honor of that well known Minnesota author. The after school and middle school book clubs have been reading the nominated books, and will vote on their favorites in March. Iowa also has a children’s choice award, and information may be found on the website for the Iowa Association of School Librarians. Readers’ choice award books may not be the most distinguished titles of the year, but they are books that are read and enjoyed by young people.

I try to purchase all of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Geisel medal winners for the Litchfield collection, and also consider the winners of the Printz and Coretta Scott King awards for purchase. I also add all of the Maud Hart Lovelace nominees each year. If you are looking for a list of recommended books, the award winners are a good place to begin. Just ask at the children’s desk, and we’ll provide you with a list that will take you well into the New Year. I’ll see you at the library!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon night at the library 1/9/12

Join us tonight, Monday, January 9th,  to play Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon in the meeting room, 6:30 - 8 pm. Bring your cards!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Classic books available for unlimited download through Overdrive

Looking for some old classics for your ereader?  Look for this graphic at the bottom left corner of our Overdrive site.  It links to Project Gutenberg's books, which are works in the public domain, available without copyright restrictions.  You can download these without a library card, without the usual limit of 6 books, and even if other people have downloaded them -- unlimited borrowing.  Read the U.S. Constitution, the works of Shakespeare, or Treasure Island!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Help for your New Year's resolutions

by Beth Cronk
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? According to the federal government’s website,, some of the most popular resolutions every year are to eat healthy food, get fit, lose weight, get a better job, manage debt, and manage stress. Here are some resources our library has gotten in the past year that can help you with these goals:

The Buena Salud guide for a healthy heart by Jan L. Delgado. Written by the president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, this book covers lifestyle changes to make to improve heart health, including quitting smoking, getting exercise, and eating and drinking right. It also goes into details on heart problems and treatments.

Prime time: Love, health, sex, fitness, friendship, spirit – Making the most of all of your life by Jane Fonda. This book takes a holistic look at life and health for people age 60 and over, which she calls “the third act”.

Ripped in 30. This DVD features Jillian Michaels with a 30-day plan for getting in shape. It includes four 24-minute workouts of increasing difficulty. It’s hardly practical to use the DVD really well when you can only check it out from the library for 2 days at a time, but you can at least get an overview of Jillian’s ideas and see if the DVD is something you’d like to buy to use for at least 30 days.

Kara Goucher’s Running for women: From first steps to marathons. If you have a goal of running a marathon, or just of getting started as a runner, this book covers all the basics and then some.

The 17-day diet: A doctor’s plan designed for rapid results by Mike Moreno. This best-selling book is about a rotation diet created by a family practice doctor. Medical reviews of the diet say that the metabolism shifts are not really what make it work, but that it is healthy advice for eating low-calorie, real food and getting regular exercise.

Eat to live: The amazing nutrient-rich program for fast and sustained weight loss by Joel Fuhrman. This is an update of a diet classic by Dr. Fuhrman, family physician. It features a restrictive diet designed for clinically obese people who need to lose weight because of health problems.

Dig this gig: Find your dream job – or invent it by Laura Dodd. This book is geared to students and people in their twenties who are trying to figure out what they want to do in their careers. It focuses on finding your calling rather than finding a job.

Lost and found: Unexpected revelations about food and money by Geneen Roth. The author of the bestseller Women, food, and God takes on the psychological aspects of spending, saving, and other aspects of personal finance, and how we may use money in unwise ways as a substitute for love.

10 mindful minutes: Giving our children – and ourselves – the social and emotional skills to reduce stress and anxiety for healthier, happier lives by Goldie Hawn with Wendy Holden. Goldie shares the principles of the MindUP program she created to help children understand how their brains work, become more aware of their emotions, and learn to manage their stress and treat others with compassion.

You can find these and a variety of other books and videos on creating new, healthy habits at our library. Have a happy 2012!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Closed for New Year's

The library is closed today, January 2nd, for the New Year's holiday.  See you tomorrow!