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, January 30, 2015

Share your love of reading and knitting at the library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Winter can be a quiet time for adults.  Because of this, we hold our adult reading program in the winter instead of the summer.  We have also decided this is a good time to re-start our knitting club.

Artwork design:  Andrew Prekker, Luverne MN
©PCLS/PLS “Book Your Winter Getaway” WRP
Funded in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy fund
This year’s theme for the adult winter reading program is Book Your Winter Getaway. Pioneerland and Plum Creek library systems sponsored a contest for the artwork used for the program. This program was funded in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy Fund.  The winner was Andrew Prekker, a 15-year-old from Luverne, Minnesota.  His logo appears on our posters, bookmarks, and prizes for the program.

You can sign up now for the winter reading program, which will run until the end of March.  When you sign up, you will get a book bag, a punch card and some book review forms. 

Bring back three completed book reviews, and we will punch your card and give you a choice of small prizes.  While supplies last, these will include coffee mugs, pizza cutters, and book lights.  Bring in three more, and we will put your name in a drawing for small gift certificates to local restaurants, sponsored by the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library.

We will display the book reviews (without names!) so that you can see which books your neighbors have and have not enjoyed.  It can be a fun way to get some reading ideas.

We used to have a knitting club that met at the library, but it kind of faded last year.  This month we started knitting club 2.0, now known as Fiber Arts Club.  We decided to give it a fancy name so that people could bring more than knitting.  If you do counted cross stitch, embroidery, crocheting, or any similar (non-messy) needlework project, you are welcome to bring it. 

People who come to the meetings talk with each other while they work, and they ask each other for help and advice on their crafts.  Some people have told us that they would be willing to teach someone how to knit or crochet.  We never know who will be there, but you are welcome to drop in and see if an expert is on hand. 

Fiber Arts Club meets the fourth Thursday of each month at 4 p.m.  All ages are welcome.  I know there are teen knitters out there!  Any men?

Our gaming nights are on hiatus for a while.  I am planning to use some of those Monday nights to hold some technology-related classes in the months to come.

Adult book club continues to meet at noon on the second Tuesday of each month. We have a good-sized group that has lively discussions.  February’s book is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.  I am already hearing that members are enjoying this book.  Regular and large-print copies are available to check out.  You are welcome to join us for one meeting or all of them.  No commitment is required.

Winter is a good time for quiet indoor pursuits.  Beat your cabin fever and join us for a little bit of social sharing of these reading and crafting activities.

Teens, take our survey!

Go to our survey for teens here.  Have a say in the programs at your library!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

With Apology to Two Very Famous Authors

By Jan Pease

Here are some new juvenile books, suitable for people in grades 4-6. 

Adventure stories are great but are often written about boys.  Girls enjoy adventure stories,too.  Not to be stereotypical, but girls also enjoy books that emphasize feelings and relationships. Ice Dogs, by Terry Lynn Johnson, is the book that fills all of those needs.  Ms. Johnson is a conservation officer in Ontario, Canada.  Her sense of place and adventure is incredible. The dogs are wonderful.  The adventure of the human characters is reminiscent of   Far North or Hatchet, but the girl is the one with the survival skills.  There is a hint of romance in the book, but not too much. 
Unleashed, by Gordon Korman, the seventh book in the Swindle series, mixes kids, humor, bad guys, and a large former attack dog named Luthor into a fun read.  Sometimes you just need to be silly.

Kathryn Lasky is known for world-building civilizations in the natural world.  Her series of books about owls, “The Guardians of Ga’Hoole,” is famous.  She has a series aboutwolves, “Wolves of the Beyond,” and  in 2014 she  started a new series about wild horses, “Horses of the Dawn.”  She has imagined the fate of horses on their way to the New World who were forced overboard to lighten the ship.  The first book was titled  The Escape, and the second book is Star Rise.  In Star Rise, the horses begin to meet humans and join a young boy exiled from his village who just happens to communicate with animals.
Horses are one thing, but unicorns are quite something else.  A Plague of Unicorns  is Jane Yolen’s newest book.  She has written more than 350 books, but she comes up with new material every year.  A monastery is in danger of falling apart, but could be saved by making and selling wonderful cider made from golden apples.  But the golden apples are the favorite food of a herd of unicorns.  So the monks need a hero to save the day.  Only the head abbot realizes that the small hero, Sandy, is really Alexendria, the sister of the youngest student at the abbey. 

Erin Hunter is the pen name of a group of women who have been tremendously successful with a series about feral cats called “Warriors.”  Like Kathryn Lasky, Erin Hunter has branched out into other animal groups.  One series, “Survivors,” is about dogs who try to survive on their own after a massive earthquake destroys their city.  A third series, “Seekers”  is about bear cubs, a polar bear, a black bear, and a grizzly bear who find themselves on their own with no adult bears to help them survive. The second group of the series is called “Seekers: Return to the Wild” and a fourth bear joins them.  They really don’t like people, and call humans “flat-faces.”  The newest book in the series is The Burning Horizon.  The bears are trying to get to a gathering that celebrates “the longest day.” 

I should have said up front that I dislike anthropomorphism.  Besides being a very long word, anthropomorphism is what happens when animals are given human characteristics.  We do it all the time in Mother Goose and picture books.  Brian Jacques’ “Redwall” series did it.  Based on my personal preference, Ice Dogs and Unleashed would be books I enjoy.  The animals are funny, loyal, and brave, but  act like animals.  I love Jane Yolen’s fantasy series.  Animals can act like magical creatures in fantasy literature.    I’ve tried a book or two of each of the other series, but find myself frustrated by how far they go into inventing animal cultures.    Decide for yourself, and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Fiber Arts Club

This is the re-boot of Knitting Club.  Join us for a very informal gathering to work on your project and visit with others doing similar work.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gaming night cancelled

Our Monday night gaming club will not be meeting for a while.  If you are interested in being notified if and when we resume later in the year, please contact head librarian Beth Cronk.

Friday, January 16, 2015

And the Oscar goes to…

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

And the Oscar goes to…  Well, we don’t know yet, but the nominations are out.  So many of the Oscar contenders get released at the end of the year, and then we don’t have them available for you to check out while everyone’s talking about them.  But we do have several of the nominees that came out earlier in 2014.  Look for these in our library.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is nominated for best picture, cinematography, costume design, directing, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, musical score, production design, and original screenplay.  Ralph Fiennes stars as a concierge at a famous hotel in a fictional European country between the world wars.  The story involves the theft of a famous painting and the battle for a family fortune.  Director Wes Anderson has his followers, and it sounds like this dark comedy is as quirky and visually stylish as his work normally is.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a well-loved sequel nominated for best animated feature film.  Hiccup and his dragon Toothless explore new places and discover a hidden den of new dragons and a mysterious Dragon Rider.  People of all ages have enjoyed this exciting and emotional film.

Ida is a Polish film nominated for best cinematography as well as best foreign language film.  This movie tells the story of an orphan raised in a convent who is sent to meet her only living relative before she takes her vows to become a nun. She learns family secrets from the time of the Holocaust. This black and white film is set in the ‘60s.

Maleficent tells the villian’s side of the story for Sleeping Beauty, much like Wicked does for The Wizard of Oz.  Angelina Jolie plays the title character, who was a good person until she was betrayed and became bent on revenge.  Critics have praised Jolie’s performance, as well as the look of the film... if not much else.  It is nominated for best costume design.

Finding Vivian Maier is nominated for best documentary feature.  Maier was a mysterious nanny who is now considered one of the greatest street photographers of the 20th century.  Her work of over 100,000 photographs was discovered after her death.  This film explores her life and her art.

Guardians of the Galaxy is nominated for makeup and hairstyling as well as visual effects.  Some critics have said that it would have been nice if the larger number of slots for best picture nominees would allow for critically-acclaimed popular movies like this one to be included.  Instead the Academy still likes to stick with typically Oscar-ish movies in the big categories and keep the fun ones in the technical categories.  This one is a crowd-pleaser.

Another very popular movie to be nominated is The Lego Movie.  However, it was only nominated for best original song.  It was expected to be a contender to win the award for best animated feature, and it isn’t even nominated in that category.  It’s a great movie to watch with the whole family, however, and you will be singing the song “Everything is Awesome” once you’re done watching it.

Our library also has Begin Again, nominated for best song; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, nominated for visual effects; and X-Men: Days of Future Past, also nominated for visual effects.

If you’d like to see the movies that are being celebrated this year and decide for yourself which you think are best, stop in to check out one from this list.  We will be adding more of the nominees when they become available on DVD.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Book to Movie Club today, no gaming

Book to Movie Club for 4th through 8th graders meets after school today.  Younger children are welcome to attend if accompanied by an adult.

Gaming will not be held tonight.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I think I'll write a novel about......

By Jan Pease

Imagine that you are going to write the next big young adult novel.   Who will be the hero or heroine? What obstacles will they face?  How will the problems be resolved?  Will you build a world or set things in our reality?  And these questions are just the beginning.

When I consider writing a novel, and think of character, plot and setting, I never think about writing fiction about mental illness.   But there is a need for stories that reflect the world in which we live.   

In November of last year, School Library Journal featured an article, “Books that Help,” by Erin E. Moulton.  Ms. Moulton is a teen librarian at the Derry New Hampshire Public Library.  She also is the author of Chasing the Milky Way, which was published in 2014 by Penguin Ransom House. In her article, she writes about the tension between being a creative writer who dislikes labels, and a librarian who tries to match the right book with the right person.  Here are a few of her suggestions that can be found in the Litchfield collection.  The descriptions of the books are from the Pioneerland Catalog.
Anything but Typical, by Nora Raleigh Baskin, is the story of Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time : a Novel, was written by  Mark Haddon.  Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.

Compulsion, by Heidi Ayarbe.  Poised to lead his high school soccer team to its third straight state championship, seventeen-year-old star player Jake Martin struggles to keep hidden his nearly debilitating obsessive-compulsive disorder.

A Trick of the Light, by Lois Metzger, the story of  fifteen-year-old Mike  who desperately attempts to take control as his parents separate and his life falls apart.  This book deals with anorexia in young men.

Don’t Touch, by Rachel M. Wilson, which is the story of 16-year-old Caddie struggles with OCD, anxiety, and a powerful fear of touching another person's skin, which threatens her dreams of being an actress--until the boy playing Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears."-- Provided by the publisher, Harper Teen.

Before My Eyes, by Caroline Bock. Told in three separate voices, dreamy Claire, seventeen, with her complicated home and love life, shy Max, also seventeen, a state senator's son whose parents are too focused on the next election to see his pain, and twenty-one-year-old paranoid schizophrenic Barkley teeter on the brink of destruction.

Erin Moulton’s excellent article and book list can be found by searching for “Bibliotherapy for Teens.” 
Or click here: Bibliotherapy for Teens
  See  you at the library!

Monday, January 5, 2015

No gaming Jan. 5

We will not have gaming night tonight. If weather and health cooperate, we hope to resume later this month.

Keeping those resolutions?

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along?  No, I’m not trying to make you feel guilty.  I almost never keep mine.  I just want to share some ideas for books and DVDs we have at the library that may help you out.

One of the standard resolutions is losing weight, of course.  One new book we have on the subject is Chia: Aid Weight Loss, Improve Digestion: 75 Recipes by Lauri Boone.  This is part of the Superfoods for Life series.  Chia is a seed that’s trendy now for its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein.  Medical studies question its effectiveness for suppressing appetite, as some claim it can.  But if you have decided chia is something you want to add to your diet, this book can help you find ways to do that. Of course, all I can think is "Ch-ch-ch-chia!"  Those commercials...

According to, another popular resolution is to start volunteering.  American Public Media’s Chris Farrell has a new book out called Unretirement: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life.  One thing he talks about in the book is volunteer service after retirement.  He also talks about new careers and entrepreneurial ventures.

Some people resolve to go back to school.  The book Confessions of a Scholarship Winner: The Secrets That Helped Me Win $500,000 in Free Money for College by Kristina Ellis may give you some ideas on how you could pay for it.  Ellis was a high school student, so I don’t know whether her tips will help nontraditional students win scholarships.  But she was apparently an average student with above-average motivation for finding a way to pay for college, so it sounds like an intriguing book.

Another common resolution is to eat more healthy food. Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal is a unique take on that.  Author Ava Chin has written about urban foraging for the New York Times.  Chin tells her story of learning to forage for things like wood sorrel and mulberries and finding meaning for life in the experiences.  She also shares recipes for cooking these unusual foods.  This memoir made some best-of lists for the year. 

Managing stress is another popular resolution.  Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple is a new book on meditation that has been a good seller this year.  Author Russell Simmons is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of a major hip-hop record company.  He sees meditation as a essential part of a successful life. says that managing debt is another common resolution.  We don’t have any brand-new books on the topic at our library, although we have some of the standards by Dave Ramsey and Mary Hunt.  If you think about it, using the library can be one step toward reducing your spending.  Rather than buying books and movies, especially those you’ll only read or watch once, you can check them out from the library.  Even if you get a few late fees, they’re not likely to be as much as the cost of buying all of the books and movies you checked out.   It costs ten cents a day if books are late and a dollar a day if movies are.  It’s less than renting movies from Redbox! Using the library can be a way to enrich your life without loading up your credit card.

However you want to improve your life in the coming year, chances are there’s something at the library to help you learn how to do it.  Have a wonderful 2015!