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.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Let's Talk About . . .

By Jan Pease
January 2014 marks the beginning of my 23rd year of working at the Litchfield library. Now, this isn’t one of those retrospectives, because I have a few more years to work, I hope. Children’s books have changed over the years; some changes are for the better, some changes may be not so good. 
You all know how much I love picture books, just for the pure enjoyment of pictures and text together. Sometimes picture books have a dual purpose, helping children learn about and cope with difficult times. We worked with Julie Jansen of Heartland Community Action Agency’s Healthy Foundations Project to develop a bibliography of books that can be used by parents and care providers to help children deal with hard times. This bibliography was given to local daycare providers, and copies are available at the library. Heartland also donated funds which were used to place 19 books in various communities that they serve, including Litchfield. 
Here are the titles:
I Love you Like Crazy Cakes, by Rose Lewis, and I Wished for You, by Marianne Richmond, which are both about adoption.
Mom has Cancer, by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, and The Goodbye Cancer Garden, by Janna Mathies, books written to help families understand and cope with moms who are seriously ill with cancer.
A Terrible Thing Happened, by Margaret M. Holmes, a book written for children who have witnessed violence or trauma.
The Recess Queen, by Alexis O’Neill, a book about bullying at school.
Bear Feels Sick, by Karma Wilson, a book about a bear whose friends take care of him when he is sick.
Night Catch, by Brenda Ehrmantraut, and Love, Lizzie, by Lisa Tucker McElroy, both stories about children whose parents are deployed. I Miss You Every Day, by Simms Taback, a story for anyone who misses someone. 
Nine titles help teach children about the reality of death. I Wish I Could Hold Your Hand, by Dr. Pat Palmer, Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile, by Julie Kaplow and Donna Pincus, Goodbye Mousie, by Robie H. Harris, Gentle Willow, By Joyce C. Mills, PhD., and I Miss You, by Pat Thomas are all written to be read to a grieving child.

A Child’s View of Grief, by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD., When Children Grieve, by John W. James and Russell Friedman,  Creative Interventions for Bereaved Children, by Liana Lowenstein, and Talking About Death, by Earl A. Grollman, are all written for adults to help them guide children through the grief process. 
All in all, this is an impressive group of books. Thanks, Heartland Community Action Agency and Julie, for helping make this collection possible. I’m displaying them on the end of the children’s desk for a couple of weeks, and they will be available through the Pioneerland Library System catalog. See you at the library!

Friday, December 20, 2013

What are you doing New Year's, New Year's Eve?

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Now that the holidays are here, I’ll bet there are some of you who have time off in the next week or two.  Would you like some movie and TV series ideas for these cold days and nights? 

With the Golden Globe nominations announced, we have some ready-made suggestions about what’s supposed to be good, at least according to the Hollywood Foreign Press.  Following are DVDs we have at the Litchfield Library:

The Croods is nominated for a Golden Globe for best animated feature.   This family movie from DreamWorks tells the story of a prehistoric family whose cave is destroyed, causing them to go out and discover the larger world.  Major characters are voiced by Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds. 

Behind the Candelabra is nominated for best TV movie or miniseries.  Matt Damon and Michael Douglas are both nominated for best actor, and Rob Lowe is nominated for best supporting actor.  The movie is based on the memoir of Liberace’s much younger partner, recounting his secret relationship with the flamboyant but closeted entertainer in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. 

Phil Spector has two nominations in the TV movie or miniseries category: Helen Mirren for best actress and Al Pacino for best actor.  This TV movie is inspired by the client-attorney relationship between music producer Spector and his defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden, who represented him in his trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson.  The movie’s writer and director, playwright David Mamet, says that it is a work of fiction, not an attempt to tell a true story. 

The Good Wife is a CBS series that is nominated for best dramatic television series, best actress Julianna Margulies, and best supporting actor Josh Charles.  The fourth season is the one currently nominated.  Julianna Margulies won the Golden Globe for best actress in the first season of the show and has been nominated every year since.  Margulies and Charles have also won Emmys for their work on the show.  Our library has all four seasons, which centers on the wife of a disgraced state attorney who returns to work as a litigator to provide for her family.

For something a little lighter, you could try Parks and Recreation, nominated for best musical or comedy television series and best actress Amy Poehler.  This NBC series is a mockumentary about the workings of local government in Pawnee, Indiana.  We have seasons one through four.

Kerry Washington is nominated for best actress in a dramatic TV series, Scandal.  She plays a former White House communications director who starts a crisis management firm to help people with damage control after a scandal.  She and her staff have some secrets of their own.  The library has the first season.

Our library has some of the other Golden Globe television nominees, which I’ve featured in previous columns: Downton Abbey, House of Cards, The Big Bang Theory, Girls, and Veep.  We will be getting the animated movie Despicable Me 2 once it’s been for sale in stores for a month; Universal makes libraries wait in hopes that you will get impatient and just buy it. 

The library staff wishes you happy viewing and happy holidays!

Note: We will be closed all day on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year's Day.  We will be closing at 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday schedule

We will be closed on the following holidays:
Tuesday, December 24, Christmas Eve
Wednesday, December 25, Christmas
Wednesday, January 1, New Year's Day

We will be closing at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 31.

We will be open regular hours all other days.

  • No storytimes beginning this week until Saturday, January 14.

  • No gaming night on Monday, December 23rd. It will be held on Monday, December 30.

  • G.O.A.T. (high school teen advisory group) Christmas party will be held Monday, December 23rd, from 5-8 p.m.  Open to students in grades 9-12.  Please bring $5 for pizza; only hot chocolate will be provided.  Bring Christmas goodies if you wish.  Bring a white elephant gift to exchange. Wear your favorite holiday socks and hat.  We will be watching the movie Elf.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Here comes Santa Claus...

Santa Claus visited our library on Thursday evening.  He read a story:

Over 80 people attended!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Santa! Nancy Carlson!

By Jan Pease


On December 12, the library welcomed a very special guest.  Children were enthralled as Santa read them a story and told them that he wanted them to spend as much time reading as they spend watching tv or playing video games.  He read the story Santa and the Three Bears and told and sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Parents have posted many adorable pictures of their children after the event, and I put a few cute ones on the library Facebook page.  I lost count at about 80 people – kids of all ages and their parents. 

Many parents said that our Santa is the best one they’ve seen.  I thought about this after our event.  I think it’s because he is so real.  His warmth comes through to the children and parents, and if you pulled on his beard, you would hear a very real “ouch!”  I can put you in touch with his local manager if you like. 

Beginner Book Club celebrated the local production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by reading Barbara Robinson’s very funny book and watching the TV movie from 1986.  Several of the children in book club have roles in the play, and it was fun to watch them pick out their characters and say the lines.  The message of the book, movie, and play is there right in front of you without being preachy.  And I think our Litchfield Herdmans are the equal or better of the children in the movie. 

We enjoyed the last Toddler Time, Friday Story Time, and Saturday Story Time.  It’s time now for a break over the holidays and during what are usually the coldest days of winter.  Back in the day, these weeks were also when chickenpox would spread like wildfire through story hour children.   We still try to keep from spreading influenza and colds.  Wonderful volunteers actually wash our rhythm instruments to keep germs to a minimum.
We’ll start the New Year with our Saturday Story time on the 11th of January with a visit from author/illustrator Nancy Carlson.   She is the well-known and loved author of many picture books.  She will be our guest at the Once Upon a Time Story Time thanks to Minnesota Legacy funding.  Our regular programming will continue from January 14th through May 10.  

Thanks again to the parents who made our Santa event such a success.  See you at the library!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Take It From Our Teens

by Tiana Schweim

Litchfield library’s teen section of shelves is labeled YA, for Young Adult.  I got to thinking about that label recently.  You know, young adults are capable of juggling life and multi-tasking with the best of us!    Adolescents are a wonderful wealth of comedy and tragedy all wrapped up in eclectic packaging.  Their labels could all be stamped the same: YA Seeks Adventurous Relationship with Life!  I’ve learned not to judge a book by its cover.  Cracking open the cover of a teenager can encompass any genre you can imagine: Drama, Mystery, Romance, Adventure, Futuristic, Realistic, Historical, and Fantasy.  The challenge for me is to design teen programming that will offer a little bit of the abnormal anchored to good old-fashioned, non-fiction life in Litchfield.

Our teen program launched just a few months ago.  The handful of kids that were showing up to monthly book club discussions has grown into almost three dozen teens who are interested in getting involved in the decision-making process and advocating for event programming for their peers.  These young adults are academic, athletic, and have real-life families and part-time jobs that they are committed to.  They have relationships and friendships and they make time for reading as well.  These kids are as different as the content found between the covers of our YA books, but they all have one thing in common: They like to hang out at our library!

In October, we promoted Teen Read Week by hosting a short story contest.  We had twelve wonderful writers contribute their original manuscripts.  Our teens are authors!  We also hosted a teen advisory group event where we held our inaugural election of officers.  Our teens are voters and leaders!  The group decided to plan an event for December 1 to do a service project at the library.  This past Sunday, we had nine young adults who cleaned and decorated the library for Christmas.  Our teens are volunteers!  Our teens are decorators!  Our creative teens are inspired to see the work of their own hands and hearts come to fruition; they’re interested in investing in the community!

Tonight is the first big snowfall, and yet the library remains open to serve this community.  I sit here in our cozy public library with the reflection of twinkling lights all around me.  I wonder as my eyes wander around this giant room filled with shelves of every genre.  How many books were checked out today? How many hands have made use of our free computer stations, or our free Wi-Fi?  Will we ever know what we offer to the public as we hand them a book, a video, or a smile?  How lucky we are here in Litchfield to be blessed by the dreams and sacrifices of those who made our beautiful library a reality.

As Litchfield’s city sidewalks become busy sidewalks all dressed up in holiday style think of this.  Each day brings unique opportunity.  Maybe it’s time to get involved.  Maybe volunteering will be your resolution for 2014.  Don’t let the label on your shelf define who you are.  Take it from our teens, life is full of exciting new adventures, all you have to do is open the cover!

Note: The next Group Of Advising Teens (G.O.A.T.) event is scheduled for Monday, December 23, 5:00-8:00.  Bring a white elephant gift to exchange and $5 for pizza.  We will be watching the movie “Elf”.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Our library's Group of Advising Teens (GOAT) cleaned and decorated the library for the holidays.  
They had fun, and it looks great!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Time to Make Christmas Gifts

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

The season is here for coming up with Christmas gifts.  I was a huge Tasha Tudor fan as a child, and I remember pouring over her book A Time to Keep: The Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays again and again and again.  The November section says, “That’s the month we made Christmas presents.”  Her beautiful watercolors on that page depict people weaving cloth, working with wood, and weaving baskets.  We are past November now, so there isn’t much time before Christmas to be making things.  But for those of you who can still squeeze in some time for gift-making, we have some interesting books that can help you make a variety of handicrafts.

Our library has a substantial collection of knitting books.  Among our newest are Little Aran and Celtic Knits for Kids, Knitting with Icelandic Wool, and Metropolitan Knits: Chic Designs for Urban Style.
The Aran and Celtic knitting book features 25 patterns for babies and toddlers.  This includes scarves, socks, mittens, and other items. 

The second book sounds preposterously specific, but apparently Icelandic wool, or lopi, is a well-known type of yarn with wonderful qualities.  This book contains 65 patterns for clothing items: mostly traditional sweaters but also hats and mittens.

Metropolitan Knits is a collection of sophisticated and classic clothing patterns.  In addition to sweaters, it includes a few smaller projects: scarves, hats, and cowls.

If you prefer sewing to knitting, we have a really unique new book: Shadowfolds: Surprisingly Easy-to-Make Geometric Designs in Fabric.  The book is basically an origami book for use with fabric.  Customer reviews say the instructions make it easy to use.  Projects in the book include a pillow, a book cover, a purse, and many other distinctive items.

For the jewelry makers, we have a new book called Chinese, Celtic & Ornamental Knots for Beaded Jewellery.  The British author (hence the spelling of the title) explains how to create over forty pieces of jewelry based on knotwork and beading, with step-by-step photographs and diagrams.

If working with duct tape is more your speed, check out our new little paperback, Go Crazy with Duct Tape.  Kids especially may enjoy making jewelry or covering a tin, a photo album, or a water bottle to make a customized gift.

Now maybe some of you are like me: none of these sounds like something I want to do.  Every female in my family enjoys making some kind of fiber craft or other artistic creation: they sew, or knit, or scrapbook, or draw... and I just don’t.  But I love to cook and bake.  If making food gifts sounds more appealing to you, too, take a look at our large cookbook collection. 

One gift-specific book we have is Gourmet Gifts: 100 Delicious Recipes for Every Occasion to Make Yourself and Wrap with Style.  The author focuses as much on the presentation as the recipes, with hazelnut brittle wrapped in a faux bundle of letters, caramelized orange slices packed in small round tins, and jars of salsa wrapped in traditional Mexican tissue paper. 

And if you don’t have time before Christmas (I’m with you there), stop in to look for these and other craft and cooking titles after the holidays.  There will be plenty of winter left to work on fun indoor projects.