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, May 30, 2014

Meet Lamar Giles!

 By Jan Pease

The current issue of School Library Journal discusses the all-white world of children’s books. Of the 1,183 books published between January and July, 2013, that featured human (not animal) characters, only 124 of them featured a person of color.  Try to name ten writers for children who are not Caucasian.  OK, I’ll try: Walter Dean Myers, Jerry Pinkney, Donald Crews, Virginia Hamilton, John Steptoe, Leo and Diane Dillon, Mildred D. Taylor, and Ashley Bryan;  oh no! That’s only 9.

So I’m excited to feature a new author, Lamar Giles, whose novel, Fake ID, is a Junior Library Guild selection, and was published by HarperCollins.  Mr. Giles says of himself, “My name is Lamar and I’ve been writing for a very long time.  I've sold some stuff, published some stuff on my own, and even won some awards.  I grew up in a town called Hopewell, Virginia, and now reside in a great city called Chesapeake with my wife.  In 2014 HarperCollins will publish my Young Adult thriller FAKE ID, and yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.”  It was a big deal, and I’m glad to have a new black author to add to the list.

Fake ID is the story of a teen whose family in the witness protection program.  A line in the book sums up their life: “A family of liars doing what we do best.”  Fake ID is a murder mystery, a thriller, and sounds like a great summer read.  No zombies, ghosts, or vampires haunt Nick’s world, but it’s a scary place.

Tony DiTerlizzi has finished his huge trilogy about Eva and her search for people like herself.  The first two books, The Search for WondLa and A Hero for WondLa introduce a wonderful protagonist, an incredible array of creatures, and a world that reminds us that the Earth we know could change into an alien place.  Read The Battle for WondLa, but read the first two books in the series before you tackle the third volume.  DiTerlizzi wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly Black, but he is being compared to science fiction great Arthur C. Clarke because of the WondLa trilogy.  One of the best comments I found on stated, “ I wish I had read it slower!”

Finally, another Junior Library Guild selection, The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway, by Doug Most, provides a look at the two brothers, Henry Melville Whitney of Boston and William Collins Whitney of New York who were instrumental in developing the subway systems in their cities.  I have to admit that riding a train under the earth is not something I care to try.  I can’t imagine digging holes and tunnels underground, but it’s also hard to imagine what a city like New York or Boston would be like without mass transit.  This Junior Library Guild selection is a little odd, because it’s considered an adult book.  I think anyone who is interested in trains or history would enjoy this book, but at 416 pages it’s not an easy read.  


New video arrivals for summer

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Now that summer is starting, will you have more or less time for watching movies?  That probably depends on whether you do a lot of outside activities in the summer and whether the school year takes up your time.  If summer means more leisure time for you, stop in to the library to check out some of our new movies and television shows.

The third season of Call the Midwife is a new arrival expected any day now.  This popular BBC series is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth.  She was a young midwife in the 1950s in a London convent which helped poor pregnant women.  We have seasons one and two in now.

I wondered why the movie About Time was so popular.  I found out that it’s from the creator of Love Actually, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral.  Love Actually has a particularly enthusiastic following.  If you’ve enjoyed these other British romantic comedies, you are likely to enjoy About Time.  In this one, the main character can travel through time.  Reviewers say that it has its faults, but that it is sweet, with themes of family, love, and loss.

American Hustle was nominated for ten Oscars but didn’t manage to win one.  It did win Golden Globes for best comedy or musical and best performances by Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence.  The movie is about the Abscam sting by the FBI in the late 1970s.  Critics loved it for its humor and characters.

A family movie, at least for older kids, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the second installment of the movies based on Tolkien’s book.  We have the first, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as well.  The movie is full of constant action, sometimes preposterous but still entertaining.    Usually movie adaptations leave out so much from a book, but the Hobbit movies add extra material, since three movies are based on one short book.  My kids love these movies.  I would rather they’d been made into one great movie instead of three.

The classic TV comedy Gilligan’s Island is constantly getting checked out by young and old at our library.  I realized that we only have seasons one and two, so I recently ordered the third and final season.  Did you know that Gilligan’s Island only ran for three seasons?

 Little House on the Prairie is being re-released on DVD and Blu-Ray for the 40th anniversary of the television show.  We have season one already, and season two is on its way.  I expect that we’ll continue to add seasons as they’re released on DVD.  I loved this show as a kid, but I would say the books are far better.  Isn’t that usually the way it goes?

Saving Mr. Banks tells the story of the Disney adaptation of P.L. Travers’ novel Mary Poppins.  Travers, played by Emma Thompson, resisted having Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks, turn her beloved creation into a cheerful family film.  The movie swings between fun and very serious moments, as flashbacks show Travers’ difficult childhood.  You may be inspired to watch Mary Poppins afterward.

Other new arrivals at our library include August: Osage County, The Broken Circle Breakdown, and Enough Said.  Even if you find the newest DVDs checked out when you stop in, you can put a hold on them to get them another day, and we have a large selection of other movies and TV shows to choose from.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Closed for Memorial Day

Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Monday, May 26, in observance of Memorial Day.  Enjoy your holiday!

Photo by David Yu,

Friday, May 16, 2014

And We're Off!

 By Jan Pease

I feel like shouting, “get ready, get set, go!”   It’s time to mark your calendars with the Litchfield library programs for June.

The theme this summer is “Paws to Read.”  We’re using a different program, called “iREAD,” published by the Illinois Library Association. According to the Illinois Library Association, “since 1981, iREAD has developed successful Summer Reading Programs. Our mission is to provide high quality, low-cost resources and products that enable local library staff to motivate children, ‘tweens, teens, and adults to read.”      Children and young adults from ages 3 to 17 are invited to participate. 

The kick-off for summer reading is all day Monday, June 9.   Make an animal print in air-drying modeling compound, practice your bean bag toss with Rocket, hunt for a stuffed animal Rocket in the children’s department, try a math worksheet, color a picture, and be sure to sign up for summer reading.  Every time you read for 4 hours, you will receive a small prize.  Teens can play “Library Bingo” or set a goal and achieve it.

Our special guest in June is Professor Marvel, who will bring his show, “Professor Marvel’s Amazing Aussie Adventure” to Litchfield Library Friday, June 20 at 10.

Our regular story hour programs begin June 11 and end August 1.  We have planned Toddler Time for Wednesdays at 10:15 a.m. and Preschool Story Time for Fridays at 10:00.
The special 2nd Saturday Story Time will be offered June 14, July 10, and August 9 at 10.

Beginner Book Club, for grades 1-3, will meet on 2nd Tuesdays each month, June 12, July 10, and August 14, at 3:00.

Fun with 4-H @ the Library, for grades K-5, will be Wednesdays, June 25, July 9, and August 14, all at 3:00. 

Brickheads Junior Lego Building Club, for ages 4-7, will meet 2nd Thursdays of each month,  June 12, July 10, and August 14, at 6:30 p.m.   Brickheads Lego Building Club, for ages 8-12, will meet 4th Thursdays of each month, June 26, July 24, and August 28, at 6:30. Moms or Dads are encouraged to come, especially to the junior club. 

Book to Movie Club, for grades 4-8, will meet 2nd Mondays of each month, June 9, July 14, and August 11 from 3:15-5:00.

Murder Mystery Book Club, for grades 9-12, will meet 3rd Tuesdays, June 17, July 15, and August 19 at 3:00.

And this is just the month of June.  Mark your calendars, and we’re off!

Mark Your Calendars!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Straw Bale Gardening Workshop at the Library

Join us next Monday evening in the meeting room.  The event is free and you don't need to sign up to attend.

To see a demonstration of the straw bale gardening technique, go to the ACGC High School in Grove City that afternoon.  Again, that workshop is free to attend and you don't need to sign up.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Investigate a new mystery

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Mysteries are everlastingly popular at the library.  These days a mystery novel can be many different things:  paranormal, Western, crime, Nordic (or imported from other parts of the world), historical, or cozy.  Some novels are almost impossible to classify, as publishers come out with more that cross genres.  Is Gone Girl a mystery?  It is, but not in the usual sense.  Our library has a wide range of mysteries/thrillers/crime novels to please a range of readers.  Following are some of the newest.

Bad Wolf is a dark police procedural originally written in German.  Author Nele Neuhaus has incorporated the Red Riding Hood fairy tale into this sequel to Snow White Must Die.  One odd thing about this series is that Bad Wolf is actually the sixth book in the Bodenstein and Kirchhoff series, while Snow White was the fourth.  They are simply the only Neuhaus novels so far published in English.

Joanne Fluke’s latest Hannah Swensen mystery is Blackberry Pie Murder.  This seventeenth series entry finds the Lake Eden, Minnesota, resident planning her mother’s wedding and getting arrested for murder.  This is a culinary cozy mystery, and some reviewers have complained that the book contains more recipes than story.

By Its Cover is the 23rd Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery by Donna Leon.  Leon is known for incorporating politics, morality, Italian culture, and a strong sense of place into these procedurals.  In this novel, someone has stolen pages from rare books in a Venetian library and a visiting American professor is suspected.  Leon is an American expatriate living in Venice.

Joyce Carol Oates’ novel Carthage is a serious literary mystery.  The story concerns the disappearance of a misfit sister and the suspicion surrounding her future brother-in-law, an upstanding young man who has returned from Iraq deeply wounded physically and mentally.  The novel has gotten marvelous reviews, being described as unsettling, intense, and brilliant.

Casebook is a coming-of-age novel by Mona Simpson that could be described as a mystery.  The nine-year-old protagonist sees himself as a detective, in any case, spying with his best friend on their parents.  The boys find much more than they expect or want to know.  Reviewers have praised this one, as well, saying that it’s witty and full of heart.

City of Darkness and Light is the latest in the Molly Murphy series.  Author Rhys Bowen sends Molly fleeing to Paris, where her art-student friends have vanished.  It’s 1905, and Impressionism is giving way to Fauvism and Cubism in this historical mystery set in the French art world.

If these don’t sound like your cup of tea, try the new Charlaine Harris paranormal Midnight Crossroad, watch for the upcoming Longmire Western Any Other Name by Craig Johnson, or pick up a cat mystery by Rita Mae Brown.  A mystery can be many things.  Try a few to see what appeals to you.

Friday, May 2, 2014

I'm so Dizzy, My Head is Spinning!

By Jan Pease

So many things are happening this week at the library that my head is spinning.  Wednesday, the 7th of May is our last Toddler Time until June 11th. I don’t know where the time has gone.  Toddler Time has been so much fun this winter.  Babies and toddlers through age two, plus older brothers and sisters, sing songs, do silly dances, and listen to a simple book.  We are very good at playing with the bean bags, singing, and dancing.  Listening to a story is a challenge at this age, but sometimes it happens. 

Thursday, May 8th is Beginner Book Club at 3 p.m.  We read  Bad Kitty Gets a Bath which is a funny, funny book.  Discussion may get a little silly, but that’s all right.   I’ll hand out the book for June, The Trouble with Chickens, by Doreen Cronin.    Doreen Cronin has written hilarious books such as Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type, and The Trouble with Chickens  is full of her signature humor.  Beginner’s book club is for students  in grades 1-3. 

Friday, May 9th is also our last Preschool Story Hour until June 13.  Children ages 3-5, along with older and younger siblings, come to sing, dance, hear a story, and work on a project.  I love to watch them work so seriously as they practice those small motor skills that become so important as they get older. 

On Saturday, May 10, at 10:00, we’ll have “Once Upon a Time Story Time.”  Our fairy tale will be Jack and the Beanstalk.  We’ll have a good time having a circle time, reading the story, and working on an art project. Please practice saying Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum.  By the way, does anyone know what that means? 

That same Saturday, May 10,  GOAT, the Group of Advising Teens, will have their meeting at 2:00.  If you’re a teen, and would like to tell the library what to do, come to the meeting.  We want to hear your ideas.  Help us with more summer plans; get involved in the Murder Mystery Book Club,  tell us what  you are reading or would like to read. 

On Monday May 12th, the book to movie club will be watching Ramona and Beezus at 3:15.  If you’ve read any of the Ramona books you will enjoy this movie.  This club is for students in grades 4 through 8.

The next meeting of the Brickheads Club is May 22 at 6:30 p.m.  The Brickheads area a group of very creative young people, ages 8-14, who like to build with LEGOS.  Some of their creations are displayed in the cabinet near the front desk. 

For most of May, we’re clearing the daytime calendar so teachers may schedule their spring field trips for their classes.  The spring field trips are a great time to visit the library and get students excited about summer reading.  The theme for summer is “Paws to Read.”  We are planning programs for everyone from babies and toddlers to teens.  Watch for more information, and expect to hear about animals.  Lots of animals. 

I’m a little sad to have our story hour programs end for the spring.  I had it in my mind that we had at least two more weeks.  But June and July are just around the corner, and we have so many things planned for summer.  We’ll publish the complete information later in May.  See you at the library!