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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Going Home, Going Home

 By Jan Pease
You can go home again. Recently, I was privileged to visit the library in Clarion, Iowa that was my first real job. I shelved books, straightened shelves, filed catalog cards, and one memorable, snowy winter, worked the front desk at the Morgan Everts Public Library. The grand old building is in great shape, and an expansion project has doubled its original size and updated it in many ways. The new addition is about 2 ½ years old, matches the brick outside very well, and is a wonderful improvement. Nola Waddingham succeeded the librarian I worked for, Marian Gannon, in 1996, and continues to be head librarian today. Clarion is a town of 2,671 people, located in Wright County, some of the best farming country you’ll ever see.

As we walked in the door, the smell of old oak and books was the same that I remembered, even though the building has been modernized. The children’s department has been moved to the basement, and there is an elevator which was installed in the early 1980s, long after my time. Linda, the staff person who spoke to me, was kind and friendly. She mentioned that they had recently gone onto a new automated system and are now doing more interlibrary loans. I was a little surprised to see that they have no regular story times for young children. They do outreach to preschools in the community and schedule several special story times through the year. The total circulation in 2010 was 35,483. I would expect that number to become higher as the new addition brings in more patrons and interlibrary loans increase.

The first part of our trip was a stay in Arkansas for a family wedding in Siloam Springs, Benton County, Arkansas. As of 2011, Siloam Springs's population is 15,039. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 35.44 percent. My husband indulged me with a visit to the public library, an interesting experience for both of us. The friendly staff, Trish and Ivy, welcomed me and did their best to answer my somewhat random questions. Like the new head librarian, and many of the people we met, they had moved to the area from “somewhere else.”

The library is an independent city library, and the staff are city employees. The library is completely supported by city tax dollars, and a fee is charged to users who live outside the city limits. I found it interesting that users are limited to six books checked out per card, or six books per person on a family card. The library offers preschool and afterschool programs every week, plus a matinee movie at 4:00 every Tuesday. The library was closed two days for Easter, and they close for the annual Dogwood Festival. Interlibrary loan service is available, according to Ivy and Trish, but I couldn’t find any information about it on their website. I also couldn’t find a total circulation figure, and Ivy and Trish weren’t sure about that.

For comparison, in Litchfield, our population is 6,125, down 6.66% since 2000. Library users from outside of the city limits receive their first library card free of charge. Users may check out only six dvds per card, but the number of books, magazines and audio books is practically unlimited. Our library circulation in 2010 was 102,118. We provide three story hour opportunities, each week, plus monthly afterschool activities for children grades K through Middle School. It was really interesting to visit two completely different libraries, but I love our library here in Litchfield. Ya’ll stop in soon!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Find an event you'd enjoy at the library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

As spring continues on, our library events do, too. If you’re a reader, a gamer, or a knitter, mark your calendar for our ongoing groups and one-time special events.

We’re hosting a reception to congratulate Nancy Paddock on her Minnesota Book Award win. Join us in the meeting room on Saturday, April 28, from 2-3 p.m. Nancy will speak for part of the time and will otherwise be available to talk with people. We’ll serve refreshments. This is a big deal in the world of books in Minnesota, so we need to celebrate.

4-H at the Library meets after school on Thursday, April 26. It’s open to kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. Darcy from the Meeker County Extension Service always has a variety of fun and educational activities for the kids to do, and it’s free to attend. Through the school year, we host this on the fourth Thursday of every month. We’ll have it a couple of times this summer, too; watch for our summer schedule to find out when.

I’m going to reduce game night to one Monday a month plus some Saturday events. Look for our choose-a-game night, with a selection of chess sets, board games, and card games, on the first Monday of the month from 6:30 – 8 p.m. This means no game night on April 30th; come on May 7th.

We’ve had an enthusiastic response to our Dungeons & Dragons nights with requests for more time to play, so we had a Saturday afternoon event on April 21. We’ll do it again on Saturday, May 19, from noon to 4 p.m. If you enjoy making up stories along the lines of Lord of the Rings and the Drizzt Do’Urden books, or if you like to play World of Warcraft, you might find it fun. It’s very social but much more slow-moving than a video game, and you have to use your imagination.

Knitting club is still meeting on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 4:30-5:30. Their next meeting is May 3rd.

The next meeting of the after-school book club is Thursday, May 10th. They’re reading Mary Poppins this month. This group is for 3rd through 5th graders.

Story times will continue through May 11th. At that time we’ll have a break of a few weeks while Jan hosts elementary school class visits and we get ready for the summer reading program. We are getting all set for summer already.

One last note about something that isn’t an event: I have a survey running through April 30th on how ebooks are affecting the use of print books. If you’re an ebook reader, whether you check them out or buy them, I’d love it if you took the survey. You can follow the hyperlink at the beginning of this paragraph to the online survey or you can pick up a paper copy at our front desk. Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to take the survey.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Library is a Magic Door

By Jan Pease
As children, moms, and dads poured into the library for Toddler Time last Wednesday, one of my co-workers overheard a small child exclaim, “The Library has a magic door! I do magic! Of course, we know that it was really the door opener, pushed by a little hand that opened the door, but what a great thought. The library has a magic door; the library is a magic door.

I wrote this essay on Saturday, after we finished an exciting week here at the library. On Wednesday, 29 children, moms and dads came to Toddler Time. On Thursday evening, 44 children, moms and dads came to the library for a Head Start field trip. On Friday, 36 children, moms and dads came to Preschool Story Hour. All of these families are making a big investment of time and energy in their children’s lives and deserve a round of applause. They are introducing their children to the wonder and magic of books.

Our spring story times have centered on nonfiction books. Animals are always an interesting subject to talk about with young children. This week we learned about Pandas and enjoyed a book with life-size pictures of zoo animals. I was amazed at how much these young children already know. We listened to animal sounds and the children recognized all of them except the zebras, who have a very strange call a combination whinny/bark.

I’m excited about story hour on Friday, April 20th. PAK, (Parents And Kids) a local group of parents and children who get together for interesting times and look for ways to serve our community, is coming to present a special story hour about Earth Day. PAK also has activities planned for Saturday, the 21st and the PAK parents will explain all about them. By the way, Earth Day is observed on Sunday, April 22nd.

Finally, the phrase “the library has a magic door,” rattled around in my head all week. I knew it from somewhere, but who said it? I finally found a small book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, in which he describes the books in his personal library. The title of the book is “Through the Magic Door,” and you can read it online at, as it hasn’t been in print for about 60 years. He describes each book in his personal library as an old friend, in a surprisingly chatty work that gives a glimpse of a creative and educated mind. I wish I were as well-read.

I would go on from there to say that the library is a magic door. I hope that the children who walked through our door this week will always have a love of literature and learning. I’m glad that the library is a magic place for them and for me, too. See you at the library!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wrapping up the Minnesota Book Award nominees: Poetry & Minnesota

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Over the past few weeks, Jan and I have told you about the nominees for most of the Minnesota Book Award categories. This week I’ll tell you about two more: the Minnesota category and the poetry category.

The Minnesota award is given to a nonfiction book with a topic on Minnesota history, nature, social customs, or nostalgia. This year’s nominees are Anishinaabe Syndicated by Jim Northrup, The Pillsburys of Minnesota by Lori Sturdevant with George S. Pillsbury, Pioneer Modernists by Julie L’Enfant, and Sisterhood of War by Kim Heikkila. We have the books by Sturdevant and Heikkila.

The Pillsburys of Minnesota tells the history of the Pillsbury family in the milling and lumbering industries in our state. The family was central in making Minneapolis the milling capitol of the world during their heyday. The book also looks at the Pillsburys’ role in Minnesota politics, the University of Minnesota, and cultural institutions and charities in the area. Sturdevant is a Star Tribune columnist.

Sisterhood of War: Minnesota Women in Vietnam tells the stories of 15 military nurses from Minnesota who served in the Vietnam war. The women talk about why they enlisted, their experiences during the war, and how they were changed by it. The book also discusses how this group came together after the war to heal from their experiences and to work for the creation of a national Vietnam Women’s Memorial. Heikkila teaches courses on U.S. history at St. Catherine University.

The poetry award is given to a book of poetry. This year’s nominees are Bodies of Light by Athena Kildegaard, Buddha, Proof by Su Smallen, Invisible Strings by Jim Moore, and Whorled by Ed Bok Lee. We have the books by Moore and Lee.

Invisible Strings: Poems, published by Graywolf Press, is a collection of brief, haiku-like poems. The collection centers on everyday events in our personal lives that connect invisibly to the larger world, with themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. Moore is a resident of both St. Paul and Italy and has had six previous books of poetry published.

Whorled: Poems focuses on our global culture, with thoughts on war, industrialization, technology, and immigration. Lee was raised in South Korea, North Dakota, and Minnesota, and he has studied in Russia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, and America. He is a professor at Metropolitan State University. The Star Tribune listed this among its best books of 2011.

You can find the entire list of nominees for the awards at The winners will be announced this Saturday, April 14th.