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, December 28, 2012

Closed for New Year's

The library will be closing at 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve.  It will be closed all day on New Year's Day.  Have a happy and safe new year!

The best of 2012 in books

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Do you enjoy seeing the lists of the best books of the year?  I have always loved any kind of best-of, awards, or honor list.  There are just so many books, movies, television shows, and songs out there; I enjoy guides to the best ones.  And of course some of the fun is in the debate about what was chosen and what was left off.

There are many publications and companies that produce lists of their best books of the year.  Publishers Weekly, a trade journal for people who work with books, has a top ten list for the year, plus lists of the best in many categories, including lifestyle, religion, and comics.  Library Journal does the same, but with even more categories beyond its top ten, such as the best sci-tech, young adult literature for adults, and memoir.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune calls its end-of-year book list the holiday gift guide.  That’s uniquely useful to us because they include a list of Minnesota-related books.  And the major booksellers, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, produce lists of the best books of the year that they publish on their websites.  You’ll find that we have many of this year’s most wonderful books at the Litchfield Library.  I will highlight for you a few that have been on more that one of these lists this year.

Minnesota author Louise Erdrich’s The Round House won this year’s National Book Award for fiction.  It was also featured by the Star Tribune and named by Amazon as one of the best of the year.  Sometimes compared with To Kill a Mockingbird, this novel tells a story of injustice and vengeance.  An Ojibwe woman is attacked on a reservation in North Dakota and is so traumatized that she will not share the details with anyone.  Her husband, a judge, is unable to bring about justice, so her teenage son sets out with his friends to find the answers. 

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity won the 2012 National Book Award for nonfiction.  This is author Katherine Boo’s first book, although she writes for the New Yorker and has won a Pulitzer Prize.  Boo’s husband is from India.  The book tells the stories of people living in a slum next to the Mumbai International Airport, near new, luxurious hotels.  Boo spent three years reporting on the lives of this group of people, whose poverty-stricken existence we can hardly imagine.  This book is on nearly every “best” list of 2012.

Bring Up the Bodies is Hilary Mantel’s sequel to Wolf Hall.  It won the 2012 Man Booker Prize, which is a British book award, and it has been on most American lists of the best books of the year.  This is the second book of a trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister, but it can be read alone.  It focuses on the arrest, trial, and execution of Anne Boleyn from Cromwell’s point of view.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a modern novel about soldiers at a Thanksgiving Day football game at Texas Stadium.  They have become stars because of news coverage of their firefight with Iraqi insurgents, so they’re on a media tour to boost support for the war.  Billy Lynn and his squad mates rub elbows with wealthy businessmen, Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, a Hollywood producer, and Beyonce, while feeling painfully conflicted about the wartime experiences from which they have just returned.  Author Ben Fountain has been praised for this “inspired, blistering war novel” by the New York Times and others.

When you read one of those lists of the best books of the year and something intriguing catches your eye, take a look in our catalog or ask a librarian for help.  We’ll be happy to loan you a copy to read for yourself.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Get Ready, Get Set, Mark Your Calendars!

By Jan Pease
Fast away the old year passes.”    These words from “Deck the Halls,” dating back to 1866 or so, have been echoing in my mind.  Of course, that means that the tune is also echoing in my brain as an “ear worm” which is pleasant but irritating. I don’t know if it’s reassuring to realize that 147 years ago people were feeling that end-of-the year-is-coming-so-quickly rush.  I wonder what Thomas Oliphant would have thought about our modern rush.  He is believed to have written the words now sung to this old tune and I doubt if he knew how accurate “fast away the old year passes” seems today. 

It’s time to mark your calendars for the next season of library programming. We’re making some changes and I’m excited about what’s coming up in January.
After School Book Club will begin January 8th at 3:15 and will meet on the second Tuesday of each month.  This book club is for students in grades 3-5.    Mary Hansen leads this book club and they always have interesting books and activities. The book for January is “Eleven Birthdays,” by Wendy Mass.

Toddler Time begins January 9th at 10:15.  This weekly story time is planned for babies and toddlers through age two. Older children usually join us, but our emphasis is on very early literacy.

Beginners’ Book Club begins January 10th at 3:15.  This new book club is for children in grades 1 and 2, but 3rd graders who read below third grade level are very welcome.   The book for January is “Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes,” by Eric Litwin.  Beginners’ Book Club is planned for the second Thursday of each month.

Family Story Time also begins January 10th at 7:00 p.m.  This is a weekly bedtime story time.  Children often attend in their pj’s; the expectation is that they go home and go to bed.  They often laugh as we sing our good night song, but I try to send them home without winding them up.

Preschool Story Hour begins Friday, January 11th at 10:00.  This weekly story hour is planned for children ages 3 through 6.  Story Hour includes a simple art project.  We base a lot of our themes on the “We Care” curriculum, written by Bertie W. Kingore and Glenda M. Higbee and published by Scott Foresman.  This is an older curriculum, but I like it because it’s easy to adapt to our use at the library.
Young Adult Book Club begins at 3:15 on Monday, February 25th, postponed from January.  This book club is for students in Middle School through High School and is planned for the 4th Monday of each month.  The book for February  is “Ashen Winter,” the second book of the “Ashfall” trilogy by Mike Mullin.

Fun with 4-H @ the library begins January 24th.  Darcy Cole   has great ideas for students in kindergarten through grade five in 2013.  Bring friends, come and have fun each month while you learn.  This program is free and co-sponsored by Meeker County Extension and the library.
I always have a hard time getting used to a new year, and writing a new date, but I think that 2013 will be our best year ever at Litchfield Public Library. See you there!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday hours

We will be closed all day on Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25, for Christmas.  We will be open normal hours the rest of the week.

We will be closing at 5 p.m. on Monday, December 31, for New Year's Eve.  We will be closed on Tuesday, January 1.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the staff of the Litchfield Public Library!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Conspiracy! A book event with Dean Urdahl

Minnesota representative and author Dean Urdahl presents

Thursday, December 20th

6 -7 p.m.

Litchfield Public Library meeting room

Rep. Urdahl will talk about all of his books, with particular emphasis on his latest, Conspiracy! Who Really Killed Lincoln? A Novel.  He will have books available for purchase and signing.

Pick up a Christmas present for the history buff on your list!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shop online, help grow the library's e-book collection

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Have you finished your Christmas shopping?  I have not, but I'd better finish it soon.  Online shopping is the friend of people who are busy, so I expect to do much of my shopping that way.

Did you know that your Amazon and Barnes & Noble purchases online can benefit our library?  Through our e-book service’s WIN program, if you click through to Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s website from our site, we’ll get a credit toward the purchase of e-books. 

Here’s how you do it: go to our Overdrive e-book and audiobook site.   Look for the sidebar on the left that says “Before you shop… Help our library WIN!”  If you click on “Learn More”, you’ll come to a screen that says “Click here first, help our libraryWIN”.  Then you can choose to go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books On Board, Shop Indie Bookstores, or Powell’s Books. 

When you click through that part of our website to those retail websites, a small portion of your purchase price gets turned into e-book credit for our library system.  We can use those funds to buy e-books that you can borrow from us.

If you get one of those shiny new devices for Christmas, an e-reader, tablet, or smartphone, you can borrow e-books and downloadable audios from us.  We have more all the time.  Pioneerland reduced administrative expenses this past year and has put a portion of those funds into creating a bigger e-book collection to meet popular demand. 

Another wonderful digital collection is coming in 2013.  We will be getting electronic magazines that you can view on a tablet, smartphone, or PC.  These will be the full magazines, laid out just as they are on print pages.  We will still get our print magazines in the library, but this will expand the titles we can offer you and allow you to view them anywhere that you can use a computer or your wireless device.  When you’re passing time in the airport or sitting at your fireside on a snowy night, you’ll be able to get the latest issue of magazines like Field and Stream, House Beautiful, and Consumer Reports

In fact, Newsweek is halting its print issues in the new year, so the electronic version will be the only one anyone will be able to read.  We will have it available in our electronic magazine service.

The digital magazines will only be available on devices that can use apps and/or get on the internet at large.  This means that straight e-readers that are not wifi-enabled won’t be able to get to these magazines.  They will work on iPads, iPhones, Blackberry Playbooks, Android phones and tablets, and Nooks and Kindles that can browse the web, as well as any PC with an internet connection.

We don’t have a date yet when this service will be available to us, but I thought you might like to know this is coming as you make choices about electronic devices for Christmas gifts.  Some people who don’t enjoy reading e-books find the thought of browsing magazines online more appealing.

I hope you will have a very happy holiday season and a wonderful new year.  Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Beth and I are Getting Confused!

By Jan Pease

Since Beth reviewed books she read for her class on children’s literature, I’m turning the tables to look at a few books that are found in the adult area of the library. 

A co-worker introduced me to the Kate Burkholder Series, which feature a   female chief of police in a small town in Ohio who grew up in the local Amish community.  The books in the series are “Sworn to Silence,” “Pray for Silence,” “Breaking Silence,” and “Gone Missing.” Publisher’s Weekly called the book overwrought, but I enjoyed the sense of time and place and liked Kate as a character.  P.L. Gaus is the writer who first hooked me on mysteries set in Amish communities, and his books are perhaps a bit more satisfying. Read “Clouds Without Rain” or “Blood of the Prodigal.”  But Linda Castillo writes a good story, and sometimes I just like a fun read. 

I started using a free, devotional e-book recently, “Walking with Frodo: A Devotional Journey through the Lord of the Rings,” by Sarah Arthur.   I have been a fan of The Lord of the Rings since about 1967, have all the movies, and am waiting expectantly for part one of “The Hobbit,” directed by Peter Jackson.  Combining thoughts and readings from the LOTR books and movies with the Bible may seem to be an odd combination, but it works for me.      

Middle School and High School book clubs are reading “A Long Walk to Water”, by Linda Sue Park.  This book is nominated for the 2013 Maud Hart Lovelace Award in Division II.  Based on the experiences of Salva Dut, founder of Water for South Sudan, “A Long Walk to Water” is a poignant look at a part of the world we prefer not to think about. I found it interesting to read about well drilling projects at and

I may or may not be Irish on my father’s side, so “The Graves are Are Walking: the Great Famine and the saga of the Irish People,” by John Kelly, intrigued me.  Our lives are so comfortable that it is difficult to imagine what drove so many people to try to make a new life in America. I’m still working my way through “The Graves are Walking.” It’s really difficult to read about the famine and the unbelievable response of the British government.    Mr. Kelly is also well known for his book about the ravages of plague, “The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time.” When I’m finished with the Irish devastation, I may tackle the Black Death. Cheerful thought. “The Great Mortality” is available at the Litchfield library, and “The Graves are Walking” is available through interlibrary loan.

Finally, of all my guilty pleasures, the Dresden books by Jim Butcher are at the top of the list.  In “Cold Days,” Harry Dresden, urban wizard, continues his fight against the forces of darkness, having survived everything from zombie dinosaurs to a near-death experience. If you’ve read “Ghost Story,” you know that although Harry died, he was only absent.  His adventures away from his corporeal body are explained, but you just have to read the entire series, which hasn’t run out of steam even though this is the 14th Dresden novel. 

Remember that the December book sale is this Saturday, December 15, starting at 10.  See you at the library!