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, February 25, 2013

The luck of the Irish author (and musician)

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Join us for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Thursday, March 14, when Erin Hart and Paddy O’Brien visit the Litchfield Library.  At 7 p.m., Erin will talk about her books and Paddy will play traditional Irish music.  The event is free, supported by Minnesota Library Legacy funding.  We’d love to know if you’re coming so that we can plan for space, but you don’t need to sign up to attend.

Erin Hart is a fiction author from Minnesota.  She grew up in Rochester and attended St. Olaf and the University of Minnesota.  She started out in theater, then moved into freelance journalism, covering the arts.  She was the theater critic for Minnesota Public Radio for several years in the 1990s, and her work was published in the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune, among other regional papers. 

Erin’s debut novel was Haunted Ground, the first in her Nora Gavin/Cormac Maguire series.  The series is sometimes described as crime fiction and sometimes as mystery.  The books are set in Ireland, with elements of archaeology, forensics, history, traditional music, and folklore.  The original inspiration for the first book came from a true story Erin heard while visiting Ireland, about the severed head of a beautiful red-haired girl, found perfectly preserved in a bog. 

Haunted Ground was nominated for an Agatha award and an Anthony award, both of which are for mysteries.  It won the Romantic Times Best First Mystery award and a Friends of American Writers Award.

The second novel in the series is Lake of Sorrows, which was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.  The third, False Mermaid, was named one of the top ten crime novels of 2010 by the American Library Association’s Booklist magazine.  The first three books are available to be checked out at our library.

The Book of Killowen, the fourth in the series, will be released March 5th.  Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, saying it “combines powerful insights into human nature and pristine prose… [and] offers food for thought that persists beyond the immediate thrill of a well-told tale.”  Erin will have copies of her book available to buy, and she will be available to sign them.

Erin’s husband, Paddy O’Brien, is an expert on Irish traditional music, both as a scholar and performer.  A native of County Offaly in Ireland, he moved to the United States in the 1980s.  He performs on the two-row button accordion.  He is known for his massive repertoire of over 3000 songs, all stored in his head.  He was All-Ireland senior accordion champion in 1975.  In 2010 he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to Irish music and culture in Minnesota by the Irish Music and Dance Association. 

Paddy has a new book out as well: The Road from Castlebarnagh: Growing Up in Irish Music, a memoir.  It was published in Ireland in November, and it will be distributed in the U.S. soon.  Paddy will have copies available for sale at our event.

I hope you will join us in our St. Patrick’s Day celebration, whether you’re Irish or not.  As they say, there are only two kinds of people in the world: the Irish and those who wish they were.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Snakes Invade Library!!!

 By Jan Pease

At story hour on February 15, in honor of the Chinese New Year, we read “The Great Race” and we made snake finger puppets to celebrate the Year of the Snake.  My group of little boys carefully colored and decorated their snakes, and then we all talked together in little snake voices.  It reminded me again of the wonder of working with young children.  Remember that on Fridays, through May 10th, Preschool Story hour features singing, movement, at least one book and a simple project.  Even the younger siblings proudly made their snakes today. 

Occasionally I sing a cowboy song at story hour.  I don’t know why those have stayed with me; most of them were songs I learned to sing while learning simple guitar chords when I was about 15.    “Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy,” written and illustrated by Jan Thomas, is one of our new books.  This very funny book includes the link to hear the cowboy sing his lullaby.  Children will also find several fun activities just for them at

I love to read book reviews posted online, and I find it interesting to see that a book that gets only “one star” may be given “five stars” by someone else.  “See Me Run,” written and illustrated by Paul Meisel, is one of those books.    This story of dogs romping and running around who dig up the skeleton of a huge dinosaur is very funny .   The “I Like to Read” series includes short texts, familiar vocabulary, repetition to reinforce learning, and illustrations that are designed to be a part of the learning experience.  This information is found on the publisher’s website,  “See Me Run” received the Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor award in 2012. 

Eve Bunting also has a new book for beginning readers, “Frog’s Flying Adventures.”  This is her fourth book in the “Frog and Friends” series, part of the I Am a Reader imprint from Sleeping Bear Press.   Check out the website at for activities and strategies to help  your beginning reader.  “Frog’s Flying Adventures” is a level 2 book, for grades 1-2. 

Rosemary Wells was inspired by her two daughters for the “Max and Ruby” books, and now her five granddaughters are giving her new stories to tell.  “Time-out for Sophie” introduces a new character, Sophie, an adorable little mouse who has to take time out again and again because of her behavior.  When Grandma takes a time out from Sophie, the lesson finally sinks in and Sophie’ behavior changes for the better.  (Until the final page. ) 

These picture books are waiting for you at Litchfield Public Library!  I hope to see you there!

Closed for Presidents' Day

The library will be closed on Monday, February 18th, for Presidents' Day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Library news: The book sale, a donation, a mini-museum, and St. Patrick's Day

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Our library has a used book sale every month on the third Saturday.  I’ve been hearing that people don’t know that we have a sale, other than the one held during Watercade.  Some local residents are big fans of the sale; the crowd outside the door when we open on book sale Saturday sometimes looks like Black Friday.

People donate books, movies, and music to the library all year long, and we sometimes discard library books and other items that we no longer need in the library collection.  This all leads to quite a number of things to sell each month.  The Friends of the Litchfield Public Library organize the items for the sale, and the Women’s Study Club work as cashiers at the sale.  The proceeds benefit the Friends group, which in turn benefits the library. 

This month we have many health and fitness books available to help you with your Litchfield Lite goals.  We always offer a wide range of fiction and nonfiction books for adults and children, plus VHS movies and a few cassette audiobooks.  Sometimes you’ll find DVDs and CDs. 

In other library news, you may notice something new on the wall in the children’s department.  We have a beautiful new bulletin board, donated in memory of Sylvia Altmeyer.  Our first display is Dr. Seuss.  It’s been fun to see how the bright, lively bulletin board display has caused a sudden demand for our Dr. Seuss books!  We will put our summer reading displays on it and all kinds of children’s book promotions.  We’re so grateful for this lovely gift.

Another memorial donation the community has been enjoying is the display case near the library’s front desk.  Pam Dille loaned us her collection of pewter snowflake ornaments this past month, set up in a beautiful, northern lights-style display.  The Jericho Historical Society in Jericho, Vermont, issues one ornament each year, each one a reproduction of Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley’s historical photographs.  Bentley was a pioneer in the study of snow crystals.  He began photographing snowflakes with a camera and microscope in 1885, discovering that no two snowflakes were alike.  He captured over 5000 images in his lifetime.  The picture book Snowflake Bentley, about his life and work, won the Caldecott Medal in 1999.  

Do you have a unique collection you’d like to show to the community in our display case?  The case locks and has adjustable glass shelves.  If you think you’d like to share your collection for a month or so, stop in to look at the case and talk to me or Linda about whether it would work for the library.  Past displays have included antique and collectable buttons, custom-made toy soldiers from Germany, and a historical display on the origins of our library.  Think of it as a small museum display, and maybe you’ll think of something you’d like to showcase.

One final library news item for the week: Mark your calendars for Minnesota author Erin Hart’s visit to our library a month from now.  She will be here on Thursday, March 14, at 7:00 p.m.  Her husband Paddy O’Brien is an Irish musician who will perform Irish traditional music on accordion.  We’ll have a fun St. Patrick’s Day event just a few days before the holiday.  This is a Legacy-funded event and it is free for you to attend.

Friday, February 1, 2013

And the Winner Is . . . . . . . .

 by Jan Pease
On Monday, January 28, at about 9 a.m. our time, the American Library Association announced the winners of the most prestigious American book awards for young people.  Every year, I keep a score card, checking to see if I added award-winning books to the Litchfield collection.  Some years the score card  shows only one or two that I catch, but this year is an exception. 

First, the Newbery Medal, which is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The 2013 winner is “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate, published by HarperCollins. When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life. Ivan says, “I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. / It’s not as easy as it looks.” An author’s note describes the true incident that inspired this story and includes more information about the real Ivan.  Wahoo!  Litchfield and Dassel have this book.
Other books receive a Newbery Honor medal, a bit like the silver medals in the Olympics. One of the Newbery Honor books is “Splendors and Glooms” by Laura Amy Schlitz, published by Candlewick. This one was in the Litchfield January book order, so that sort of counts.  “Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon”  by Steve Sheinkin, published by Flash Point/Roaring Brook, is another Newbery Honor book. “Bomb” also received the Robert F. Sibert Medal for the most distinguished informational book for children published in 2012. Both Litchfield and Dassel own this book.    Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage, published by Dial/Penguin, also received the Newbery Honor medal.  This one is on the February book order for Litchfield, so I’m giving myself ½ point for that one.
 The winner of the 2013 Caldecott Award, given to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children,  is “This is Not My Hat,” written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, published by Candlewick Press.  This is a very popular book in Litchfield, and is in the collections of all three Meeker County libraries.  Hooray!

“Extra Yarn,” written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen, published by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, is an honor book, again kind of a runner-up.  It’s a good year for Jon Klassen.  All of the Meeker County libraries have this one. Does that count as three points?

 Laura Vaccaro Seeger won the honor award for “Green,” which she wrote and illustrated.  This book was published by Porter/Roaring Brook. We have two copies in Litchfield, one for circulation and one for story hour.  Dassel and Grove City also have copies.  I love this book!

“Sleep Like a Tiger,” by Mary Logue, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, published by Houghton Mifflin, also received the honor award.  It’s in the January order for all three Meeker County libraries. I missed “One Cool Friend,” by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small, published by Dial/Penguin. That title will be added to the February order for Litchfield. 


The Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults was presented to Tamora Pierce for her “Song of the Lioness” series and “The Protector of the Small” quartet, and all can be found in Litchfield.  She is an extremely popular author among young adults in Litchfield.       

I also was very interested in the Printz winner this year, given to the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit.  I missed “In Darkness,” by Nick Lake, published by Bloomsbury.   This story is set in Haiti, and I did not purchase it, based on reviews I read.  I may reconsider, but I don’t think it would be in demand in our community.  Honor books include “Code Name Verity,” by Elizabeth Wein, published by Hyperion, and “Dodger,” by Terry Pratchett, published by HarperCollins. Both of these books are popular in Litchfield.  I missed “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” and “The White Bicycle.” These are both available in Pioneerland library system, but I will probably not order them for the Meeker county libraries.

 I’m giving myself 10 ½ out of 12 “points”, but as Ivan says, “it’s not as easy as it looks.” These great books and more are waiting for you at the Litchfield Public Library.