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, October 29, 2012

News from the Land of Story Time

By Jan Pease

Friday Story Hour had a special guest on October 19th. My dog, Harley came for a visit. We sang songs with rhythm instruments, read the book, “Duffy Time” and talked a little about dogs. Our daughter took a class at State Cloud State that explained how to use different methods to train animals. Harley is very stubborn, but is extremely food-motivated. Harley knows several cute behaviors, and is very willing to do them: for a treat. This was his third or fourth visit to the library. Harley loves coming, but now thinks he should always come to work with me. For our project, I used this picture of Harley himself, which I turned into a coloring sheet. It’s amazing what you can do with a computer.

On Thursday night the 25th, we used the book, “Tell Me About Your Day Today,” by Mem Fox. We used our words to talk about what we saw, heard, smelled, and tasted that day. On Thursday nights, Story Hour is a family event, starting at 7 p.m. and ending at 7:30 with a good night song. We try to keep it gentle, don’t dance or get crazy, and hope that it’s a nice winding down of a busy day.

On Friday the 26th we used the book, “Mice,” by Rose Fyleman, with illustrations by the great Lois Ehlert. We used shapes to create our own mice. Some of the children used precut shapes; yes, that is what I was doing at the desk with scissors and brightly colored foam. Other children used scissors to cut their own shapes. The Friday Story Hours are planned for children 3-5, but younger children can usually do our art projects with a little help from mom or dad.

“Mice” did double duty because it was also the book for Toddler Time. Toddler time is a fun story hour on Wednesday mornings from 10:15 to 10:45. Babies are very welcome at toddler time and they enjoy being with the 2 and 3 year olds. Older siblings are always welcome. We don’t do projects, but always sing and dance and read a book. “Mice” was a wonderful book to use for children of different ages. The story line was very simple, but could be expanded based on the illustrations that show the tools Ms. Ehlert used to make the collages in this enchanting book.

Fun with 4-H will be in full swing in November, when Darcy Cole will be here on November 29th. Bring your friends and join us for this great afterschool event, which starts at about 3:15. Elementary Book Club (2nd Tuesday), Middle School Book Club (3rd Tuesday) and High School Book Club (4th Tuesday, December date to be announced) provide a book club experience for students in grades 3 through high school. There is always room at the book club table for more people who love books.

Our story hours are fun, but they are also an important foundation for literacy. This fall, fifty to sixty children visit the library each week for story times. Of course, there is always room on the story hour rug for another child who loves books.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Taste wine, view history, find documentaries: The fine things of life, brought to you by the library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

On Thursday, October 25th, the Litchfield Public Library Foundation will be holding a wine, cheese, and chocolate tasting to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our beautiful library building.  The fundraiser will be held at the Litchfield VFW at 915 East Highway 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

Several local authors will be displaying and selling their books at the event: Nancy and Joe Paddock, Tim Bergstrom, Dean Urdahl, Steve Dille, and Barb Felt.  Tickets are on sale for $20 per person, benefitting the foundation.  You can buy your tickets ahead of time at the library, at the liquor store, or from a library board member.  You can also buy tickets at the door.

I have learned from Everett Reilly, who is organizing the event, that wine is not the only beverage that will be served.  Three beers, two hard ciders, and five nonalcoholic beverages will be available to sample, in addition to 36 varieties of wine.

Besides our big offsite event, there are some things to take note of within the library building lately.  If you haven’t seen the Litchfield Library history display in our display cabinet, stop in to look at it before it goes away.  Jim Milan from the G.A.R. Hall put together an interesting and fun display on the history of the Litchfield Library, going back to 1875 when the Litchfield Library Association was chartered under Minnesota law and began issuing stock.  Some of the original books from the library’s years in the G.A.R. Hall are there to see, along with photos of the library locations.

We have done a bit of rearranging of our audiovisual materials on the adult side of the library.   We used to have our fiction VHS tapes on the same short shelf as our fiction DVDs.  Our nonfiction DVDs and VHS tapes were on a separate shelf with books.  Our audiobooks were set up in a similar way.  All of this made it harder for most people to find documentaries, exercise videos, concert videos, and nonfiction audiobooks.  The VHS and cassette formats also get used much less now, although some do still get checked out.

We now have all of our adult DVDs on one side of the shelf: new releases first, followed by general movies, with nonfiction down at the end.  I’ve already noticed more nature and history documentaries going out. 

On the other side of the shelf, you can find all of our adult CDs.  Closest to the desk are fiction audiobooks.  In the middle are nonfiction audiobooks.  Furthest from the front desk are our music CDs.  I hope this arrangement will help you find a wider variety of materials you’d like to watch and listen to.

If you want to find VHS tapes and audiobooks on cassette, we still have some.  They are at the end of the bookshelf nearest the CDs and DVDs. 

Our children’s movies and audiobooks are on the children’s side of the library.  We put movies that are rated G or that are clearly geared to a young audience (Sesame Street, Thomas the Tank Engine) in that area.

I hope to see you at the library’s Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate fundraiser at the VFW.  I’ll be there with my husband, and at least one other library staff member will be attending.  And I hope you’ll come to the library to look at our library history display and to find some DVDs and audios that you’ve never noticed before.  The library has a history to be proud of, we strive to stay useful to you in the present day, and our library foundation is always working toward a bright future.  

Looking for a good book?

Le Road Trip
The New New Deal

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's Raining, it's Pouring: New Books!

By Jan Pease

Our weather is exceedingly dry, but it’s raining new books in the children’s department.  Watch for colorful new nonfiction books about animals, military might, interesting countries, and famous people who are no longer living. There are books about bullying and other social issues, well-known children’s book authors, fast cars and martial arts.   I have been weeding the nonfiction  area because of the age of our books, and now we have beautiful new books to fill the shelves. 

One of the books that stands out among  these great books is “Nic Bishop Snakes.”  There is a full color picture of an African horned bush viper on the cover, shown three times  its actual size.  If you like to learn about snakes, this is the book for you.  If you suffer from Ophidiophobia, fear of snakes, don’t bring this one home.

Another book that stands out is “Bomb: the Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon,” by Steve Sheinkin.  Nominated this week as a finalist for the  National Book Award, this exciting book tells the story of the Americans who were trying to build the dreaded atom bomb, the Soviets who were trying to steal it, and the Allies who tried to sabotage the German efforts to produce their own version.  Mr. Sheinkin is a former textbook writer who “has dedicated his life to making up for his previous crimes by crafting gripping narratives of American history.” 

Interesting fiction books with a tinge of history have also arrived this week.   Terry Pratchett is famous for his Discworld books.  His new book, "Dodger," is attracting notice for being completely different from the 36 books in the Discworld series.  Dodger is an urchin in London during the days of Dickens and Disraeli.  From the book description on “A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again?” 

“Sophia’s War” is the new book by Avi.  In his author’s note, he states, “History provides endlessly amazing stories. Historical fiction, I believe, can illuminate those stories with the ordinary people who make extraordinary history.  Or let me put it this way: Truth may be stranger than fiction, but fiction makes truth a friend, not a stranger.”  The American Revolution is the setting for Sophia’s war, and the characters in the book are historically accurate, except for Sophia and her family.  Another great read without vampires or post-apocalyptic disaster.

A flood of great books is waiting for you at the Litchfield library.  See you there!

A few of the many new books available today...

Low Pressure
Eyewitness Travel London
Her Majesty: Queen Elizabeth II and Her Court

Friday, October 5, 2012

Will you be our Friend?

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Do you love the library?  Do you come here and make use of our services?  Are you maybe even a “power patron”, someone who is at the library at least once a week, who checks out more than one kind of thing, and who comes to our programs or uses our ebooks and other online resources?  You, as a library user and community member, can have the biggest effect on supporting libraries. 

This was one of the messages I came away with when I attended the Minnesota Library Association conference in St. Paul on Thursday, October 4th.  I went to sessions on Friends groups, foundations, and boards of trustees, and on advocacy for libraries, among other topics.

Have you ever wondered what a Friend of the Library is?  I used to see posters and newspaper listings asking people to join the local Friends of the Library group in towns where I lived, and I was puzzled about what that meant.  I have always loved the library.  But if I joined that group, what would I have to do?  What benefit would it be to me or to my local library? What is a Friends group?

I think I finally have a clear answer on that.  Library Friends groups support quality library service in their local communities through fund-raising, volunteerism, and advocacy for the library.  I’m paraphrasing a Connecticut resource called the Model Friends’ Cooperative Network.  In general, Friends groups raise money to benefit the library, sometimes they volunteer for the library, and most of all they just declare themselves as fans of the library.  If they wish, they have a chance to communicate as a group of like-minded people with library management, with government officials, and with the public, both to learn about the library and to promote and improve it. 

We have a Friends of the Litchfield Public Library group that is a nonprofit organization registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State.  Membership costs $5 a year, or $1 a year for members under 18.  A family can join for $15, and a business for $25.  Another option is a lifetime membership for $100. 

Our group was quite active around the time that our new building was built, but it is not holding meetings now, and we have few members.  I learned in the seminar I attended on Friends groups that this is quite normal after a construction project is accomplished.  But Friends groups can do great things even when a new building isn’t needed.  Our group funds children’s programming, additions to the library collection, and other library needs.  We need more Friends!

Our Friends group officially runs the book sale that the library has every month on the third Saturday.  But we are currently relying on another club to be cashiers at the sale when they can, and we need volunteers to go through donations and set up the book sale carts on a regular basis.  Would you be interested in volunteering to work on the book sale as a Friend of the Library?

Pam Dille is our current Friends president, but she would love to see new people come forward and become leaders in the organization.  Would you like an opportunity to be a leader in a charitable organization in the community?

Do you just want to step up and show your support for your local library?  A former president of the Minnesota Association of Library Friends said at the conference that some people just want to write a check and be able to say they’re a member of the Friends group.  That’s great, too. 

If you’d like to know more, come to an informational meeting on Tuesday, November 13, at 7 p.m. at the library, or talk to me or to Pam Dille.  We’d love to welcome you as a new Friend.