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 22, 2015

Kids, read down your fines!

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Kids will have an exciting opportunity to clear away their library fines at the beginning of this summer.  The Friends of the Litchfield Public Library are sponsoring a Fines Read-Down at the Litchfield Library from June 1 to June 13.  Kids earn $1 off of their late fees for every 15 minutes spent reading in the library.

This program is for anyone younger than age 18.  The child can read down fines only on their own library card, not their parent’s card. 

Late fees can be cleared through this program, but lost items cannot be paid for this way, and replacement library cards can’t, either.  If you have been billed for a book or other item that has not been returned, talk with a librarian about options for taking care of that.  The good news is that even if an item has been overdue for years, once it’s returned the late fee will drop to $3 on a book or $8 on a movie, and that late fee could be worked off through the Fines Read-Down during those first two weeks of June.  It’s a great time to do some digging for those lost library books and movies!

To participate in the program, kids and teens can come to the front desk anytime during those two weeks, sign in with their name and the time, and then come back when they’re done to write down their ending time.  They will need to read something in print while sitting in the children’s department, in the lobby, or otherwise in view of the front desk.  Sorry, e-book readers, but for this program you can’t read on a screen.  You can read a comic book or magazine as well as a book, though.  We can only give credit to kids spending their time reading, not simply hanging out at the library. 

For young kids who can’t yet read, an adult or older child can read to them in the children’s department to read down that young child’s fines.  In fact, an older sibling reading to a younger one can potentially read down fines on two cards at once!

The summer reading program also begins June 1.  Time spent reading in the library to earn money toward fines can also be counted toward the summer reading program, up to an hour a day.  However, summer reading logs don’t necessarily count towards the Fines Read-Down, if the reading is done at home.  The summer reading program runs all summer, and the read-down program only lasts two weeks.

There’s no limit on how much each child or teen can read down, as long as it’s for late fees.  Unfortunately, we can’t give credit for future fines.  We can only apply reading time to fines kids already have on their cards.  So this is a good time to start fresh and then make sure to keep track of those due dates to avoid late fees in the future.  We do have email notifications now that remind you three days before items are due, so make sure to sign up for those if you have an email account that you check.

We have never tried a program like this before, and we’re excited to try it out and give kids a way to regain use of their library cards even if they don’t have money to pay for their fines.   When fines total more than $5, nothing can be checked out with that card.  Start summer vacation by reading in the library, and then check out books all summer to bring home for free entertainment.  Thank you to the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library for funding this great program!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mark Your Calendars!

Mark your calendars!  This is the official summer schedule for Litchfield Public Library children and teens.

Everything begins on Monday, June 1.  Children and young adults are invited to stop in the library at any time from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. to sign in to participate in “Read to the Rhythm,” our best effort at stopping summer slide.     National research has found that students who participate in library summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those who did not participate.

We are using material from The Illinois Reading Enrichment and Development (iREAD) Program.  It is a coordinated, self-supporting effort to develop and provide high-quality, low-cost resources and products to enable local library staff to promote reading. The program’s audience is kindergarten through grade eight, but children under age five are also invited to participate.  Keep track of your reading and receive a small reward for every four hours you read. 

2nd Mondays of the month we have   Book to Movie Club  from 3:15-5p.m. It’s for students in grades 4-8, but younger children are welcome if accompanied by an adult.  Dates are June 8, July 13, and August 10.

Wednesdays will be our big day at the library.  We start with Toddler Time, at  10:15.  This is a story time for infants and toddlers, through about 3 years, accompanied by care giver.  We will begin June 10 and have the final story August 5th

On Wednesday afternoons, Darcy Cole will return to the library with Fun with 4-H @ the Library, a program for students who have completed grades K-5.  Beginning at 1:00, this program will last until 2:30, and the dates are June 10, June 24, and July 8.  

On the other Wednesdays, we will have Maker Fun @ the Library, again from 1:00 until 2:30.  The dates will be June 17, July 1, July 15, July 22, and July 29.  Middle School students are welcome. We will have different projects out each time.   I’d also like to invite anyone who plays a guitar to bring it in; I’ll help you tune and we might even jam a little. 

On the 2nd and 4th Thursdays we will offer Brickheads for all, ages 4-14, from 6:30 until 7:30 p.m. Come and build! 

The 3rd Thursday afternoons are reserved for Beginners Book Club, for those who have completed grades 1-3.  We will meet from 3-4 p.m.  For our June book club we will read “The Chocolate Touch,” by Patrick Catling.  This is an older book, but it’s very, very funny, about a boy who, like King Midas and his golden touch, turns things he kisses into chocolate.

On Friday, June 12, we will have a special guest. Professor Marvel will present his “Musical Magic Show” at 10:30 a.m.  He is always entertaining, and he loves books.  We will continue to have fun on Fridays with preschool story times, which will begin June 19th and continue through August 7th

Saturdays will have some special things going on.  Family Movie Afternoon is planned for Saturday June 6th  .  The book is “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and the movie is “The Wizard of Oz.”  Family Movie Afternoon is also planned for Saturday August 1st from 1-3 p.m.  There will be no movie in July because of July 4th.

On Saturday, June 13th we will have a story hour celebrating “Read to the Rhythm” with the book, “Punk Farm.”  On Saturday, July 11th, there will be NO story hour so we won’t compete with the Watercade Kiddie Parade.

On Saturday, August 8th the Flyers will present a concert here at the library starting at 10:30. They are wonderful musicians and are responsible for me knowing “The Rooster by the Barnyard Gate.”  I’ve extended the story hour programs through August 7th because of the Flyers concert on the 8th. 

Teens are invited to the library on the 2nd and 5th Saturdays of each month from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.  Margaret Weigelt  is amazing with computers and circuit boards and young adults.  On May 9th, one young man asked how long he could stay.  He completely enjoyed “Makey-Makey,” a project that involves circuit boards, connectivity, and computers. 

 All of these events and programs are free.  There is something for everyone at your library!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New extended checkout times on DVDs, audiobooks

by Beth Cronk

Do you check out movies and audiobooks at the library?  Now you can keep them longer!  Pioneerland Library System has lengthened checkout times on these materials.

Videos are now due back one week after they are checked out instead of five days.  This will allow people who only come to town once a week, or those who come to storyhour at the library once a week, to make use of our movies.  It also makes sense now that we offer many seasons of television shows on DVD; most people need a little more time to watch those. 

You may still have six DVDs checked out on a library card at one time.  To check out more, you’ll need to return some.  Fines for late movies are $1 per day with no grace period, up to a maximum late fee of $3 per movie. 

Audiobooks are now due back 4 weeks after they’re checked out, the same as print books.  Most people don’t get through a book any faster by listening to it than by picking it up and reading it, so I think many of our audiobook users will like this change.  People who are going on road trips often use our audiobooks, and many times they need longer than our previous 2-week checkout period.  We thought about how people use this format and the library system made this change to better serve your needs.

So what will you check out with these new longer checkout times?  Here are a few ideas from among our new audiovisual offerings:

The Book of Negroes is a new miniseries from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It tells the story of a woman kidnapped from Africa and sold into slavery in South Carolina.  She escapes during the American Revolution and makes her way to New York and other places in pursuit of freedom.  Reviews say it’s difficult but extremely compelling to watch.  The series is based on the book “Someone Knows My Name” by Lawrence Hill, also published under the title “The Book of Negroes.”

Grantchester is the new BBC miniseries that was broadcast on PBS after Downton Abbey this year.  This gentle mystery series features young vicar Sidney Chambers and an overworked inspector solving crimes in an English village.  It features a diverse group of characters and the high quality writing and cinematography we’ve come to expect from British television.  This series is based on the mystery book series by James Runcie. 

On the audiobook front, we have T.D. Jakes’ Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive.  The author focuses on discovering one’s natural aptitudes and applying lessons learned from past experiences. Jakes is the senior pastor of the nondenominational megachurch The Potter’s House in Dallas, and a producer of the movie “Heaven is for Real.”

We also have the audio version of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.  This post-apocalyptic novel was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award.  Rather than focusing only on crisis like most novels of this genre, this one follows a troupe of actors and musicians who travel between communities after a pandemic, living by the Star Trek quote, “Because survival is insufficient.” 

Libraries are full of stories.  You can find them on the pages of books, but you can also find them on CDs and DVDs.   Come in and explore all of our different kinds of materials and bring home a story you’ll enjoy.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Summer Slide: Summer's Dark Side

By Jan Pease

Spring Story Times are winding down in Litchfield.  Friday May 8th and Saturday May 9th are the final story hours for our month.  Our theme, of course, is how much we love our Moms.    Summer programming begins with the kickoff to summer reading on June 1st, and Family Movie Afternoon on Saturday, June 6 at 1:00.  Story Hours will start again Wednesday, June 10.

 Elementary classes are calling in to reserve field trip times, and we welcome visits from the local schools.  Our presentation takes about 30-40 minutes.  The summer reading program, “Read to the Rhythm,” is our weapon in the fight to stop summer slide!   

 Summer slide is the dark side of summer.  Summer slide is why many school districts have school throughout the school year with smaller breaks here and there instead of three months off.    The facts about summer slide are well documented.  I searched the Internet using the term “summer learning and received 13,700,000 results.  With so much information out there, why do students still forget what they’ve learned and teachers still have to review during the first 4 to 6 weeks of school?     

 I experienced summer slide during my piano teaching days.  Beginning piano students routinely had to review after taking the summer off.  Students who continued lessons once or twice a month throughout the summer did not experience this loss.     I found this very frustrating.  The student who didn’t progress beyond Level 1B was also frustrated and embarrassed. 

When students practice their math and reading skills throughout the summer, they fight against summer slide.  Teachers can give your student ideas on how to practice math. Community Education in Litchfield offers a program called Grasp.  Again, there are thousands of websites that offer math worksheets online. 

 Most reading experts say that 15 or 20 minutes a day is enough to keep a child reading at grade level.  The child may even have higher test scores in the fall, reversing the trend of higher scores in the spring, lower scores in the fall.  

The Litchfield Library is part of an initiative, “Read Aloud 15 Minutes,” that encourages parents to make  a short time of reading aloud part of every day.  Our summer reading records are divided into 15-minute increments to help students keep track of their reading.

What does it cost to enroll your children in the summer reading program at Litchfield, Dassel, Grove City or any of the other Pioneerland Library System libraries?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zero.  How much does it cost to get a library card?  First card is free.  What will your child gain as a proficient reader? Everything.  Plan to visit your library this summer!

The Muppet Movie at our Saturday movie matinee