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, August 26, 2013

Your mobile-friendly library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Wi-Fi users at our library have probably noticed a pleasant change to our Wi-Fi sign-in process recently.  Instead of going through a long registration process and having to log in with an email and password, now you can just choose our network and accept the terms of service, and you’re ready to go!  This makes using our Wi-Fi really easy.  You will still be limited to four hours per session.  This easy login is available at the Grove City and Dassel libraries, also, and is rolling out in all of the Pioneerland libraries.

At Litchfield, we have gotten a separate line for our Wi-Fi in the past year.  Because of this, you don’t compete with all of the people on our busy public computers when you come in to use your laptop or tablet.  Our Wi-Fi is even a little bit faster than the wired computers.  If you’re a student who needs to do homework on a tablet or laptop, or a business person on a mobile device who needs a place to office for the day, you can use the public library to get your work done.

Speaking of mobile devices, there is a new version of our Overdrive software for Android and iOS.  If you check out ebooks or audiobooks on your iPad, iPhone, or Android tablet or phone, this new software should make the experience better than ever.  The new version is redesigned with streamlined navigation and a one-stop menu.  You can sync your bookmarks and reading progress across multiple devices.  Audiobook users have an exciting new feature: variable speed playback on iOS.  And if you’re using Overdrive on these devices for the first time, the app will help you add your local library and learn how to get books.

If you use your Apple or Android tablet or phone to check out our ebooks or audiobooks, be sure to update to the new version to get these new features.  If you are an iPad or Android tablet user and you haven’t tried it out yet, I encourage you to go to your app store and search for Overdrive.  It’s free, and then you can use your library card to check out ebooks and audiobooks for three weeks at a time.  The audiobooks work with iPods, too.

Do you have a child who likes to use the iPad?  We will be participating in Overdrive’s Big Library Read in late September with a children’s book geared to kids ages six to ten.  This means that the book Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth will be available for unlimited numbers of people to check out from September 16 through September 30 on our Overdrive service.  You won’t have to wait for the person ahead of you to return the book before you can check it out.  It will be available in both ebook and audiobook formats.  This is one of Jane O’Connor’s new chapter books starring the picture book character Fancy Nancy. 

Libraries are more than collections of printed books these days.  Mobile device users are very welcome to use our library as a Wi-Fi hotspot and to check out downloadable books, wherever they are.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Most Important School Supply of All!

By Tiana Schweim

Chilly days have hinted of autumn for several weeks.  Sports practices are in full-swing and grade-level supply lists greet me as I walk into local stores.  It would appear that the calendar is concurring with the breeze: back-to-school time has arrived!

As America prepares to go back to school, the American Library Association (ALA) is also gearing up for an important campaign.  September is Library Card Sign-up Month, “a time to remind parents and children that a library card is the most important school supply of all.”  When you’re going out for school supplies, don’t forget to stop at the library to update your family’s library cards and set them up for a successful school year.

Your library card can be used at any Pioneerland Library System library and most other public libraries in Minnesota.  Your first library card is free; please be prepared to show photo ID and proof of current address.  Parents can use their judgment to decide when their child is capable of having their own library card.  Young people benefit from learning how to navigate the card catalog and search for items in and outside of our system. 

Summer programming tends to see larger audiences.  Kids are out of school and families are mobile.  We have increased attendance at our story hours and special events.  Our records show that 296 children ages 3-12 were registered for “Dig Into Reading”, and 57 teens signed up for “Groundbreaking Reads” for a total of 353 young people reading the summer away!  Let’s take a look at some more of our summer successes:

We had a marvelous attendance of 132 when we welcomed Professor Marvel’s Amazing Archaeological Adventure in June.  Don’t miss his reappearance during preschool story hour on September 15th for the Once Upon a Time Magic Show.  We hung out with the Willmar Stingers and got creative with 4-H.  St. John’s Arboretum visited us with the show Soil Rocks—Can You Dig It?  We've had a rockin’ good time this summer!  

Today's final summer event gathered a record number of visitors!  We lost count at 76 kids and over 30 adults as we welcomed visitors from the Minnesota Zoomobile.  A skunk in the library?  Crazy!
Teens enjoyed an after-hours event complete with pizza and a raucous round of “Murder in the Library” on July 31st; they haven't stopped talking about it so we're planning a similar event for October!  We’ve also used our monthly book club time and a special morning at Cricket Meadow to brainstorm ideas for giving back to the library.  Watch for details on our new Teen Advisory Group (TAG) meetings.  We’re also taking our monthly book club on the road.  We plan to meet at the Litchfield High School Media Center on Monday, September 23rd at 3:00.  Join us (grades 6-12) for casual discussion about your favorite book, and celebrate Hobbit Day with us!

Not only were the school-age kids making good use of the library, but the teachers and staff of ISD 465 were frequent visitors as well.  It would be amiss for me to comment that teachers have had the entire summer off, for I know from an insider’s perspective the amount of planning and preparation that occurs between the last day of school and the first.  Teachers have been reading for professional gain as well as pleasure and I have enjoyed weekly conversations with many of them.  Students, your teachers are ready for another fantastic school year, are you?

A library card is the smartest card in your wallet, purse, or backpack.  Put it at the top of your school supply list.  Get yours at your local library today!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Remembering the Dakota Conflict

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Although the Dakota Conflict was especially on our minds last year because it was the 150th anniversary, we are again at the anniversary in the middle of August.  Many local people come to the library looking for books on the history of the war, and our collection does include many books about it, old and new. 

One of the newest is practically a pamphlet at 22 pages.  Red Earth, White Road by Janet Timmerman is part of the Rural and Regional Essay Series.  The series is supported and distributed by the Society for the Study of Local and Regional History at Southwest Minnesota State University.  Red Earth, White Road tells the true story of the LaFramboises, a mixed-race family caught between the two sides of the U.S.-Dakota Conflict. 

Birch Coulie: The Epic Battle of the Dakota War is a nonfiction account of the decisive battle, written by John Christgau and published in 2012.  It should not be confused with the 1957 novel Birch Coulie by Bernard Frances Ederer, which we also have in the library.  The Christgau book is described as dramatic but accurate and balanced.
Local author Dean Urdahl’s Uprising Saga centers on the Dakota Conflict and its aftermath, within the context of the Civil War.  The four novels in the series are Uprising, Retribution, Pursuit, and Conspiracy.  Representative Urdahl was a history teacher for 35 years, and he incorporated his extensive knowledge of this time period into his novels.

 38 Nooses: Lincoln,Little Crow, and the Beginning of Frontier’s End tells the story of the conflict through the stories of several people: Little Crow; Sarah Wakefield, a captive of the Dakota who was vilified for defending them; Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple, an advocate for the Indians’ cause; and President Lincoln.  This nonfiction book by Scott W. Berg has gotten great reviews nationwide.  As he details the stories of these individuals, Berg also places the Minnesota events in the context of the Civil War, the history of the Dakota, and the U.S.-Indian wars.

 The Dakota Prisonerof War Letters is a collection of letters written by the Dakota men imprisoned at Camp McClellan in Davenport, Iowa, after their death sentences were commuted.  Dakota elders and retired Presbyterian ministers Clifford Canku and Michael Simon translated and chose the fifty letters included in the book.  The book provides the text of the letters in the original Dakota, the literal translation word-by-word into English, and a translation into contemporary Standard English.  The letters have been stored at the Minnesota Historical Society for decades.  They were written to Stephen Riggs, a Presbyterian missionary who created the written Dakota language.  He shared the letters with the prisoners’ families.  This book is unique because these are the prisoners’ own written accounts of what happened during the conflict and at the prison camp, never before published.

These are just some of the recent books related to the conflict that we have in our collection; older books are available, as well.  We also have resources on microfilm.  We have manuscripts from the Dakota Conflict of 1862 collection and other documents from the Minnesota Historical Society that relate to the conflict.  Our staff can show you how to use the microfilm reader if you’d like to explore those resources, or we can direct you to any of the books that you would like to find.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Great new juvenile books have arrived at Litchfield Public Library, and these would make a great read to finish a summer of reading. Speaking of summer reading, remember that reading records can be turned in until August 31.

After Michael Buckley finished his series, The Sisters Grimm, he embarked on a new series, NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue and Defense Society. If you can imagine a group of unpopular fifth graders running a spy network from inside the school, complete with cutting edge technology and James Bondesque villains and plots, you have a picture of this off quirky series. We have the first four books, NERDS, M is for Mama’s Boy, The Cheerleaders of Doom, and The Villain Virus in the library collection. The fifth book, Attack of the BULLIES, will be published in September.

Rick Riordan is another extremely popular writer. His new book, The Mark of Athena, is the third book of the Heroes of Olympus series. I’ve noticed more young readers asking for books about Greek myths, and I attribute this directly to Mr. Riordan’s influence.

Lian Tanner is an Australian author who is new to me. Lian Tanner is a children's author and playwright. She has worked as a teacher in Australia and Papua New Guinea, a tourist bus driver, a freelance journalist, a juggler, a community arts worker, an editor and a professional actor. It took her a while to realise that all of these jobs were really just preparation for being a writer. Nowadays she lives by the beach in southern Tasmania, with a small tabby cat and lots of friendly neighborhood dogs. Her series, The Keepers, includes the three titles, Museum of Thieves, City of Lies, and Path of Beasts. Ms. Tanner’s website gives this description of the first book, Museum of Thieves. “Goldie Roth lives in the city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime. But Goldie is both bold and impatient. She runs away to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets a boy named Toadspit and discovers dangerous secrets. A monstrous brizzlehound stalks the museum's corridors, and only a thief can find the way through its strange, shifting rooms.” I don’t know what a brizzlehound is, but this series looks like it’s full of adventure.

Andrea Cheng is the daughter of Hungarian immigrants. Her husband, Jim, is the son of Chinese immigrants. She used their experiences as second generation Americans to write The Year of the Book and The Year of the Baby, a pair of sweet books for elementary readers. Anna Wang finds it difficult to make friends, so she takes refuge in the world of books in The Year of the Book. In the second title, The Yearof the Baby, her parents adopt a baby from China who isn’t thriving. Anna and her friends discover that music helps baby Kaylee eat, and this becomes the basis for the girls’ science project.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: a Dickens of a Tale, by Carmen Agra Deedy, is the very funny story of a cat named Skilley who would rather eat cheese than mice. He is a mouser at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a pub that actually was famous as a gathering place for writers in London. Mr. Charles Dickens keeps an eye on Skilley and the other animal characters who include Pip, a mouse that can read and write, Oliver, a cruel and wicked rival tom cat, and Maldwyn, a wounded raven from the Tower of London.
These books, and many more, are waiting for you at the Litchfield Public Library.