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, June 27, 2014

What's New with You?

   By Jan Pease

What’s new at the library?  292 young people ages 3-17 are participating in the summer reading program.  The final count at Professor Marvel’s show was about 142.  And there are many, many new books on the shelf in the children’s department.

Because our summer theme is “Paws to Read,” I have been purchasing books that feature animals, especially animals with paws that are really unusual.  A series published by Bellwether Media, “Extremely Weird Animals,” includes titles such as   Aye-Aye  and Proboscis Monkey by Lisa Owings, and Tarsier by Christina Leaf.  The proboscis monkey reminds me of Jimmy Durante with its large, large nose.  The Tarsier is a cute little critter with huge eyes.  But the Aye-Aye is my favorite. It  has an extremely long middle finger that it uses to pull insects out of trees.  It locates them by tapping on the tree and listening, and they are believed to be the only primates who use echolocation to find food. 

I don’t remember ever seeing a snowy owl, but there were reports of them being around this past winter.  Snowy Owls, by Jennifer Zeiger, is part of the Nature’s Children series published by Scholastic.  This lovely book has extraordinary pictures of these magnificent birds.  I’m glad I’m not a lemming, their favorite prey.

What if your feet drifted away from the ground?  What stops everything from floating into space?  Jason Chin answers these questions, in a very simple way, in his new book, Gravity.  The cover reminds me of the movie, “Gravity,” but this book is very child-friendly.

What’s New? The Zoo!: A Zippy History of Zoos, by Kathleen Krull, is packed with fun facts about zoos.  Did you know that the first zoo was established 4300 years ago in present-day Iraq?  I’m glad that zoos now are concerned about the health and well being of the animals. I  wanted to open cage doors and set the animals free when we visited a zoo.


Fighting Fire! by Michael L. Cooper,  tells about ten major fires in American history.  Each of these fires led to changes in technology and the science of fire fighting.

Finally, some of the people that most appreciate wild places and wildlife are hunters and anglers.  Turkey Hunting, by Sara Green,  celebrates  the bird immortalized by Benjamin Franklin, “For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. Eagles have been found in all Countries, but the Turkey was peculiar to ours,Matt Soniak, quoting Benjamin Franklin, from  Matt’s  blog, 

 My favorite picture in the book is on the page about turkey hunting in Alabama.  A beautiful young woman, tastefully dressed in camouflage, holding a well-used gun, watches intently for a gobbler.  Her eye makeup  flawlessly matches the blue tones in her camouflage, and her golden hair flows gracefully under her hunting hat.   I just didn’t know that turkey hunting could be a fashion statement.

For anglers, we have a book, Ice Fishing, also by Sara Green.  I like the term “anglers” because “fishermen” and “fisherwomen” sound like I’m trying to be politically correct.  Since there were about 4 feet of ice out on the lake this year, I’m happy to see that Minnesota features prominently in Ice Fishing. I wonder what a child from Arizona would think about this book.   See you at the library!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thank you, summer reading sponsors!

Thank you to all of our local sponsors of the kids' summer reading program, Paws to Read!  You have given kids from Meeker County some AMAZING prizes to earn for the time the spend reading over summer vacation.

  • DQ
  • Pizza Ranch
  • Taco John's
  • Jimmy's Pizza
  • Burger King
  • McDonald's
  • KLFD
  • Pizza Hut
Your generosity helps to make our program a success.  Thanks for encouraging kids to keep up their reading skills over the summer!

Monday, June 23, 2014

No gaming night tonight

Gaming night has been cancelled for tonight, June 23rd.  Join us next Monday night at 6:00.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Food, glorious food

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Cookbooks are the most popular kind of nonfiction in libraries today.  I love to look through cookbooks with photos even if I never cook anything from them.  Food can be so beautiful!  Our library has a wide range of new cookbooks, from barbecue to Thai to meat to vegetarian.  You can search our catalog under the subject “cookbooks” for newer books or “cookery” for older things; the Library of Congress term changed not long ago.   You can also browse our library’s large cookbook collection in the 641 section.
Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction seems a good choice for the 4th of July.  This cookbook is a tie-in with the Food Network show of the same name.  Bobby delves into true barbecuing, which is slow and involves smoke, but he includes some grilling recipes in this book as well.  He also shares recipes for drinks and side dishes to serve with your barbecued food for a backyard get-together.  On Amazon, the customer reviews say it’s a practical cookbook that uses ingredients most people would have on hand. 

The Meat Hook Meat Book is written by Tom Mylan, the co-owner of the Meat Hook artisanal meat market in Brooklyn.  Mylan gives instructions on how to cut up whole birds (chickens, turkeys, etc.) as well as sides of beef and whole pigs.  He covers the topics of blending ground meat for burgers and making sausage, and he includes some recipes as well.  The professional reviews of this book are good, but the ordinary people on Amazon say that the recipes are odd. Apparently both the recipes and the language tend to be very salty.  Maybe that’s not unusual for butchers in New York City.

Simple Thai Food is a book I discovered on a list of bestselling cookbooks in the Midwest this spring.  The author Leela Punyaratabandhu is originally from Bangkok, and she has an award-winning Thai cooking blog.  Her recipes are said to be authentic rather than typical of Thai restaurants in the U.S., but don’t worry: pad Thai, spring rolls, curry, and satay are included.  The author simplifies traditional cooking methods and lets American cooks know which ingredients can be substituted with foods easier to find at the grocery store.  I may try this cookbook out myself since I enjoy Thai food but a peanut allergy in my family makes Thai restaurants too risky to bring the whole gang along. 

Food writer Mark Bittman says that you can lose weight and dramatically improve your health by eating vegan all day and eating animal products only at supper.  His new book, The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night aims to give people the specifics to make “vegan before 6” a manageable lifestyle. 

The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden  features seasonal recipes for vegetables.  The Beekman 1802 farm in New York is the basis for a TV show, a website, and a few books.  This trendy, vintage country-style cookbook for omnivores includes gorgeous photographs.

Speaking of vegetables, our library has added some new cookbooks with kale recipes in them to help you participate in this year’s One Vegetable One Community program.  We have Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables, The Book of Kale: The Easy-to-Grow Superfood, and Wild About Greens.  You’re likely to find more kale recipes in other vegetable cookbooks, as well.  

Stop in to find beautiful cookbooks that will give you the recipes you need to make any kind of food you like.  The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What was I thinking?

If you ask my husband why he wanted to marry me 32 years ago, he always answers,  “Because it seemed like a good idea at the time!”  So today I asked myself, “What was I thinking, to schedule so much for the second week of June?”  And the answer is, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Our heads are spinning.  Readers are already bringing in their reading records and receiving their first small prize. It may be a friendship bracelet or soft serve cone, a Dilly Bar or a small toy.  These amazing readers have already clocked four hours of reading this week alone.

The Kick-off for summer reading, Paws to Read, started Monday morning.  As of noon on Friday, 166 young people ages 3-17 had signed up to participate.    Children can join at any time.  They participate at their own pace, and keep track of their reading 15 minutes at a time, counting up to one hour per day.  Yes, I know that super readers read more than that, but we’re just counting one hour per day.  It’s not a race!

Toddler time got off to a great start.  I absolutely love trying to interpret “two-year-old” and I love these small children.  They love books!  They love to sing!  They love the library!  They love everything!

On Thursday Beginner’s Book Club discussed The Trouble with Chickens, by Doreen Cronin.  We all enjoyed the book.  It’s very funny, and children and adults enjoy Doreen Cronin’s dry wit. .  I predict that her books featuring the chicken squad will be in demand this summer. 

Brickheads Junior, a LEGO building club for children ages 4-7, began on Thursday evening;  21 kids and adults came.  The thing I enjoyed most was watching the parents interact with their children.  Brickheads Junior has taken over the display cabinet.  The children very carefully titled their creations with fantastic, creative names and were excited that they will be on display.

At this writing, the Second Saturday Story Hour is still to come.  The plan is that we will featureSpike, the Ugliest Dog in the Universe and do some doggie activities designed by award-winning author and illustrator Debra Frasier. 

On Friday, June 20th, Professor Marvel will come to the library with his show “Amazing Aussie Adventures.”  He is a wonderful magician and always puts on a splendid program.

 This month’s Fun with 4-H is on the 25th.  Darcy Cole will bring interesting and fun activities to the library to help children avoid boredom and summer slump.  It really is a great idea to plan all of these activities.  See you at the library!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hot books for hot days

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Books that are published in the summer always get attention in the media.  This year there doesn’t seem to be much agreement on what the big hits of this summer will be, but at least there are many choices.  Here are some of the books getting media buzz that we have or will be getting sometime this summer:

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is a novel set in New England, originally written in French by a Swiss author, Joel Dicker.  The novel is a huge bestseller in Europe, and now it’s been released in the U.S.  This suspense novel is being compared to the television series Twin Peaks, the writings of Truman Capote, and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy.  Reviewers say the story zooms forward without slowing down for the many twists and turns.  Sounds like an amusement park version of a book, perfect for summer.

Stephen King’s newest is Mr. Mercedes.  The novel is narrated by both the demented Mercedes Killer, who ran down 23 people with a stolen car and plans to do something even bigger, and by retired Detective Hodges, who is trying to catch him.  King has blended horror with the hardboiled detective novel in this one.

If Stephen King is not your thing, maybe The One and Only by Emily Giffin would be a better choice.   It’s considered women’s fiction, with a story of family, friendship, and finding oneself.  Thirty-three-year-old Shea has lived her entire life in a Texas college town, but a tragedy leads her to reconsider her life choices.  This one is already on the bestseller lists.

The new Outlander novel by Diana Gabaldon has just come out.  Written in My Own Heart’s Blood continues the story of Jamie and Claire.  These are time-travel books, so part of this novel is set in 1778 and part in the twentieth century.  Gabaldon says that any of the books can be read alone, without having to start at the beginning of the series.

I am Pilgrim is the first novel by screenwriter and producer Terry Hayes.  This political thriller has been compared to the Jason Bourne series and John LeCarré’s novels.  Pilgrim is a legendary secret agent, up against a terrorist named Saracen.  Reviewers say you will not be able to put it down and that it’s perfect for a movie version.

The Fever is a novel coming out later in June from Edgar-winning author Megan Abbott.  Although the book is about high school students, it isn’t a young adult book.  It tells the story of a mysterious epidemic among teen girls in a perfect suburban community.  A series of girls - only girls - land in the hospital with mysterious symptoms like seizures and fainting.  Is it HPV vaccinations, the polluted lake, or sexual activity?  Drawing parallels to the girls in the Salem witch trials, this novel shows how paranoia can spread in the modern world and how the teen years can be terrifying.

Emma Straub’s second novel, The Vacationers is a well-written beach read.  A long-married couple go on vacation in Mallorca with their grown children.  They all have secrets, quirks, and relationship tensions.  Straub’s writing in this is praised as funny and wise. 

If these or other summer books you’re hearing about sound interesting, come to the library to fill up your beach bag.  Remember that some of the magazine and television stories you’re seeing about this summer’s books include things not being released until August, so if you don’t see something you’re looking for, check back later or ask a staff person for some help.