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, September 28, 2012

Librarian: The original search engine

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

“Google can bring back a hundred thousand answers; a librarian can bring you back the right one.”  This quote has been attributed to author Neil Gaiman and to librarian Diana Tixier Herald, but this librarian must admit the irony of having trouble finding the right source.  Herald, who is known as genrelibrarian on Twitter, was attributed by The Guardian newspaper as the source. She has set the record straight and said that she merely retweeted Gaiman’s tweet.  

Neil Gaiman is known for being very conversational on Twitter (he even answered a question of mine once), so I’ve asked him on Twitter if he would set the record straight, as well, and tell us whether he quoted someone else.  Twitter as a new research tool?  You go where you can find answers.

In the last two weeks I’ve had a string of people apologize to me for taking up my time when they’ve asked if I knew where to find some information they needed.  Let me set the record straight: helping people find information is part of my job.  

It’s not a big part of the job in a library of this size.  We don’t have a reference or information desk where a librarian handles questions all day, like they do at Willmar or St. Cloud or Ridgedale libraries.  But public libraries are always supposed to be places where you can ask for help to find information. 

Some of us at the Litchfield Library have had specialized training on handling reference questions, the librarian term for requests for help finding information.  Jan and I each completed a course on that many years ago.  I took a graduate school class on reference last year.  Others on our staff, like Mary and Linda, have had years of experience digging for answers for people.  We don’t always find the answer, to be honest, but we can help you figure out where to start and find good sources, and sometimes we can put exactly what you need in your hands for you to take home. 

Just try not to ask your question of the person shelving books, even though that may be the least intimidating way to go.  Reference questions aren’t part of that job, although she can tell you where to find a specific book.

I might look busy (it’s a busy library!), but I really do hope you’ll ask me if you need some information or some books on a subject.  A library staff member said to me lately, “You like the challenge, don’t you?” I do.  Rather than it being a bother, it is an interesting challenge to find something you’re seeking.  And it gives me a sense of purpose when people go away with some books and printouts on a medical condition they’re dealing with, or some contact information for a difficult insurance issue, or some resources for a college paper they’re writing.  I’ve had people shake my hand in surprised gratitude after finding what they didn’t think they could find.  It makes my day. 

We can’t give medical or legal or tax advice.  We’re not experts in these things.  But we can help with finding print and reliable internet resources on whatever subject you need, and then you can read it and interpret it for yourself.  Always consult an expert, your doctor, lawyer, or tax specialist, when it really matters that you understand things correctly and have the right answer on these kinds of issues.

 The next time you need some information help, think of the library.  You don’t have to go it alone and just Google it if that leaves you buried in a pile of possible answers.  We often use Google, too, but we might have some good ideas you wouldn’t have thought of to help you find just what you need. 

Our newest additions

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing
Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook
Bones Are Forever

Friday, September 21, 2012

Seriously, New Series

By Jan Pease

Fans of the Jacky Faber series, rejoice! Jacky has been abandoned, fought in the streets of various cities, survived storms, naval battles, shipwrecks, maroonings, fires, kidnappings, tar-and-featherings, near-hangings, near-beheadings, imprisonments, and other personal disasters. What more could a proper young lady endure? Jacky Faber’s adventures continue in her 10th book, “Viva Jacquelina!” by L.A. Meyer. Now our intrepid heroine is on assignment for British Intelligence, and finds herself in Portugal and Spain to spy for the Crown. She assists the famous artist Francisco Goya, runs with the bulls in Madrid, and sings and dances her way across the continent with a caravan of gypsies.

The 10th book of The Last Apprentice Series, by Joseph Delaney is titled “Lure of the Dead.” It carries a warning on the back cover, “Warning: not to be read after dark – especially page 140."  Of course, I turned immediately to page 140, which reads in part, “I heard a deep growl to my right and spun around. What I saw made me take an involuntary step backward. Terrifying, malevolent eyes stared at me out of a bestial face.” Thomas Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, faces his most trying task ever in “Lure of the Dead.”

Erin Hunter, creator of the famous “Warriors” series has turned her attention to dogs in her new series, “Survivors.” The first book, “The Empty City,” introduces us to Lucky, who has lived his life on his own. We see events unfold as Lucky experiences them, from his early memories of being in his puppy pack, to what happens when a group of dogs survive an earthquake that leaves them entirely on their own. It will be interesting to see if the dogs of “Survivors” become as popular as the cats of “Warriors.”

Margaret Peterson Haddix had tremendous success with her series about a totalitarian society where family size is severely limited, “The Shadow Children.” Her current series, “The Missing,” continues with book 5, “Caught.” This series centers on time travel, lots of action, with quite a bit of history woven into the story.

“Always October” is not a book in a series, but it is the 100th book written by Bruce Coville. “Always October” started out as a short story written by Mr. Coville, “My Little Brother is a Monster.” Elements from the short story pop up in the book, but this is a full length novel complete with a monster-filled world called “Always October.” Bruce Coville’s books have appeared in more than a dozen countries and sold more than 16 million copies world-wide.

These new books and so much more are waiting for you at the library. See you there!

More new books for you

Bulb Forcing for Beginners and the Seriously Smitten

Severe Clear

Shunning Sarah

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Many new books in today

We have a big new selection of adult books in for you today.  Here are a few examples.  The covers look strangely similar on the first two!

House Blood

Desert Wind

Between You and Me

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wine, Cheese, & Chocolate

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Have you marked your calendar for the Litchfield Library Foundation’s wine, cheese, and chocolate event on Thursday, October 25th? Tickets are available now from library board members, at the library and from me, and at the liquor store. The Foundation is asking for a donation of $20 per ticket, which benefits the library.

The Foundation was established in 2003 to secure and manage funds in perpetuity to enhance the needs of our library. The funds are all from private contributions, and they are invested with the oversight of the library board. Earnings are to be used for land acquisition for expansion, building expansion, major capital improvements, major technology needs, or other unforeseen extraordinary needs.

The wine, cheese, and chocolate tasting will be held at the Litchfield VFW on Highway 12 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on October 25th. If you attend, you’ll have the opportunity to taste a variety of wines paired with a variety of cheeses and chocolates. My husband and I will be going, which should be a good opportunity for us to find different wines we enjoy. We’ve been trying a few things, but we only like moscato so far. I suppose that could mean that we’re not really wine drinkers or that we need some guidance. So if you’re not a connoisseur of wine and you feel intimidated about coming to try them, know that you’ll be in good company. We’ll just try to be adventurous and have a good time.

In the meantime, here are some books you can find in our library on wine, cheese, and chocolate:

Wine Made Easy: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Wine is edited by Susy Atkins. It covers how to taste wine, different types of wine and how to read the labels, the health aspects of wine, and wine and food pairings.

The Joy of Cheesemaking: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Making, and Eating Fine Cheese by Jody Farnham is a book from 2011 that does get into the process of making cheese at home. But it also covers things like putting together a cheese board and pairing wine and beer with different types of cheese.

Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maitre Fromager by Max McCalman is a guide to understanding cheese and what makes certain cheeses great.

Real Chocolate: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Nature’s Purest Form of Bliss by Chantal Coady is a cookbook of unusual recipes using what the author calls “real chocolate”, not the overly sweetened chocolate with additives that most of us eat.

The Healing Powers of Chocolate by Cal Orey covers the health benefits of, again, natural chocolate. It also includes Mediterranean-style chocolate recipes and beauty treatments made with chocolate.

I hope you’ll decide to join us to sample some interesting types of wine, cheese, and chocolate in October. It should be a fun event, and you’ll be helping the library at the same time.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bicycle vs. Car - Who Will Win?

By Jan Pease

A couple of near misses and a question from a patron inspired this little essay on bicycle safety. I have had more than one close call lately as a bicyclist ignored a stop sign, blithely coasting on by. A motor scooter rider who passed me on the right and swerved around another car also received my mental ire, but that is another story.

A patron called, asking who to call to find the rules for bike safety. We referred the caller to professionals at the police department, but started searching for the answer anyway. We found that that Minnesota has state laws that govern bicycle riding, found in the Minnesota Statutes, Section 169.222.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation website states: “By Minnesota law, bicycles are defined as vehicles, so bicyclists must follow the same laws as motorists. To bike safely you need to know Minnesota laws for operating your bicycle. There are other state laws that pertain to bicycling, check the Minnesota Legislature website for all the state laws.” I tried the Minnesota Legislature website, but got bogged down with the legal language. This abridged information is found on the MN Department of Transportation website, and I think it is very useful.

On roadways, ride in the same direction as traffic.

Ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of roadway.

Obey all traffic control signs and signals that motorists must obey.

Ride two abreast only if not impeding normal and reasonable traffic flow.

On trails and bike paths that cross roadways, obey all stop signs and warning devices.

Ride with lamps and deflectors on at night and in dim light.

Only ride a bicycle with working brakes.

Don’t ride a bicycle if its size doesn’t allow the operator to stop, support and restart the bike safely.

Don’t hitch a bicycle to another vehicle for a ride.

Carry only the number of persons on a bicycle for which it is designed and equipped. Exceptions include legal baby seats and seats attached to the bike operator.

Don’t carry anything that prevents the operator from holding the handlebars with at least one hand or from properly operating brakes.

Don’t ride a bicycle with handlebars that are above the shoulder level.

Hold arm signal continuously for 100’ before turning or when stopped waiting to turn, unless arm is needed to control bike.

Use left arm to signal turns. When turning right, holding right arm straight out to right is also ok.

Yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks.

Signal audibly when passing a pedestrian on a sidewalk

Don’t ride on sidewalks in business districts unless locally permitted.

At this time, Minnesota does not require wearing a helmet, but it seems to me to be common sense. An arm or leg that is broken will heal, but a head injury can create problems for a lifetime.

How many of these laws have you broken? How many times have you seen these basic laws ignored? I become extremely upset when I observe an adult riding along with a child as both ignore these basic safety measures. There are books to read with young children to help them learn bicycle safety, but children learn best by watching the adults that they love. Ride those bikes, but do it safely!

A few of today's new books

Today's new book include a Dickens classic on audio, a nonfiction book on health, and a modern classic graphic novel.

Hard Times (audiobook)

End Back Pain Forever: A Groundbreaking Approach to Eliminate Your Suffering