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 29, 2016

Overdrive now providing our e-magazines

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

We have a new source for electronic magazines and newspapers, and I hope you’ll like the change. 
Until recently, Pioneerland Library System used to get e-magazines through Zinio.  If you’re a regular user of those, you’ll notice that you won’t be able to check those out with your library card anymore.  We now have a contract with Overdrive, the company that provides our e-books.  Pioneerland is offering 41 popular magazines and newspapers.

To find them, go to our Overdrive site, the same way you would for e-books, and you’ll now see magazines at the top of the available items.  Or you can go to our library catalog and click on “Download eMagazines” on the bottom left of the page to see only the magazines, not books. 
For a guide to how to check these out and download them, look for the link at the top of the e-books webpage.  It says “We’ve got periodicals!  Learn more here.”  If you click on that link, you’ll get a step-by-step guide on how to use these new e-magazines.

The most important thing to know is that these magazines come in Nook format, which is the Barnes & Noble electronic format.  This means you need a Nook tablet or a Nook app to get them, as well as a Barnes & Noble account.  The app and the account are free, and borrowing the magazines is free, too. 

These magazines do not currently work on a Kindle, which is an Amazon device.  This may change in the future. 

If you have an iPad, iPhone, Android device, or another device that is not a Nook or a Kindle, go to your app store, search for the free Nook reading app, and install it on your device.  You can also get the Nook app for Windows 8 computers, so that you can read these on your laptop or desktop computer. Once you have the software, go to our Overdrive website and choose a magazine to send to the Nook app.

A few things happen the first time you check out a magazine.  The app will ask you to acknowledge that you need to link it to your Barnes & Noble account.  You’ll need to put in your library card number.  Then you’ll need to sign in with your Barnes & Noble account, or create one, and grant access to it.  You won’t have to do all of this again once you get it set up. 

At this point, the magazine will be sent to your Nook account.  Barnes & Noble offers in-store support for checking out these magazines, so you can visit the St. Cloud store or another location if you need tech support.

E-magazines are different than e-books, in that multiple people can check out an issue at one time, and you never have to return an e-magazine.  You can’t go back and get older issues of these magazines, only the current issue, but once you have one you can keep it on your device as long as you want. 

Sometimes you can use the library from the comfort of home.  Borrow current issues of National Geographic, USA Today, Readers Digest, and many more, just by using the library through your tablet or phone.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Children's Literature: Battleground of Free Speech?

by Jan Pease

 “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”   This is the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  May I say that I’m completely in favor of our right as U.S. citizens to have freedom of speech? 

You really wouldn’t think that the world of children’s literature could be a hotbed of discussion about freedom of speech, but it is.  The news that Scholastic recalled its book, “A Birthday Cake for George Washington,” by Ramin Ganeshram, took me by surprise.  This book and another book by Emily Jenkins, “A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat,” have been criticized because of their portrayal of slaves, a parent and child, making a dessert for their Caucasian owners.   They are shown with smiling faces, working together to make a birthday cake with a small supply of sugar in the birthday cake book, and a blackberry fool in the fine dessert book. The issue is that both books portray slavery as unpleasant but not horrible. 

Scholastic simply pulled the George Washington book, which was based on a talented slave named Hercules who was owned by President Washington. no longer has it available for Kindle, and the hardcover price is now something like $174.99.  The real Hercules fled from President Washington at   the time of his 65th birthday. According to some sources, he fled from Mt. Vernon during the birthday celebration; other sources state that he fled from Philadelphia. President and Mrs. Washington did celebrate his birthday in Philadelphia.   If Hercules was so happy, why did he run?    

Emily Jenkins apologized publicly for her insensitive portrayal of the slaves in “A Fine Dessert.”   In a comment on the blog, “Reading While White” she stated: “As the author of “A Fine Dessert,”  I have read this discussion and the others with care and attention,” Jenkins writes in her comment. “I have come to understand that my book, while intended to be inclusive and truthful and hopeful, is racially insensitive. I own that and am very sorry.” is an interesting blog to read if you are interested in the discussions about race and children’s literature.

How much can we expect of picture books?   A patron asked me what book I could recommend to counter balance this sort of representation.  The first book I thought of, “Dave the Potter,” by Laban Carrick Hill, is a gorgeous book that captures the quiet dignity of the master potter without trying to paint a saccharin picture of happy slaves. Still, the idea that an individual owned another individual is abhorrent to me.

Should these authors have the right to express their opinions?  I would say a firm, “Yes!” Should they do more research before writing books that touch this difficult subject? Again, I would say, “Yes, they should! That’s part of the problem.”  Should we have the right to read these books and make our own decision?  Again, “Yes.”   If I were a black mother, I would rather have my child read “Dave the Potter” than the other books.  “A Fine Dessert” is available at Litchfield library; “A Birthday Cake for George Washington” is not.  If you’re interested in why we bought one and not the other, ask me when you’re visiting the library.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Need to get out of the house?

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

What’s happening at the library this winter?  The adult winter reading program, a craft workshop for adults, teen programs, storytimes, and book clubs are available to get you out of the house this season.

Our adult winter reading program has started and runs through March 31st.  Book Your Winter Getaway is a program for adults to read and review books and earn prizes for it.  When you sign up at the front desk, you’ll get a tote bag, a punch card, and some book review forms.  Read books of your choice and fill out a short review form for each.  Audiobooks and e-books count, too!  When you bring in a review, we’ll mark your punch card.  When you’ve completed three, you can choose a prize.  When you’ve completed three more, we’ll put your name in a drawing for gift certificates to local businesses, sponsored by the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library.  The book reviews will be available at our front desk for anyone to read.

On Saturday, January 23nd, we’re offering a historical craft workshop for adults at 1 p.m.  The Minnesota Historical Society is teaching a class on making historical and modern valentines.  The class is free to attend since it is funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  You will need to sign up in advance; stop in or call us at 693-2483 to put your name on the list.  Space is limited.

For teens, we offer an activity on the second Saturday of every month from 1:30-3:15.  When there’s a fifth Saturday in a month, like there is in January, we have a teen program that afternoon, as well.  Ages eleven to eighteen are welcome to join us on January 30th for a Minecraft building challenge: replicating the library building, something in the library, or a picture in a library book. 

Weekly storytimes have started up again after the holidays, running through May 14th.  On Wednesdays at 10:15, we have Toddler Time for babies through age two.  On Fridays, we have Preschool Storyhour at 10:00 for children age six and younger.  On the second Saturday of each month, we also have a storyhour at 10:00 - useful for families who can’t come on a weekday.  Older siblings are always welcome at all of the storytimes.

Book clubs happen at the library year-round, and you are welcome to hop in at any time.  The adult book club meets on the second Tuesday of each month at noon.  The book for the February meeting is Frog Music by Emma Donoghue.  Copies are on hand at our library to check out; just ask at the desk.

Mystery Book Club meets the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.  The book for February is The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny.  These books we order individually for people who regularly attend book club, so talk to Mary or Elisabeth if you’d like to get involved with that.

Book-to-Movie Club is for grades four through eight, although younger kids are welcome to attend if accompanied by an adult or older sibling.  On the second Monday of the month, they meet from 3:15 to 5:00 to talk about a book and watch a movie based on that book.  For February, they are reading A Wrinkle in Time.  Copies are available to check out at the front desk.

Beginners’ Book Club is for kids in grades one through three.  They meet on the third Thursday of the month from 3-4 p.m.  The book for the January 21st meeting is Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year by Bill Harley.

We also have Brickhead Lego building nights on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and a book sale every month on the third Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Beat your cabin fever and come out for something that interests you at the library!

Closed for Martin Luther King Day

We will be closed on Monday, January 18, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Friday, January 8, 2016

No Explanation Required

By Jan Pease

Did you know that Desi Arnaz never actually said, “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do?”   That apparently random thought may make a little bit of sense later.

When I was a child, I liked to draw underground spaces with tunnels and ladders and such.  An illustrator who lives in Germany, Torben Kuhlmann, must share this fascination with the world beneath. His new book, “Moletown,” is a picture book with elements of steam punk in it.  Gears, amazing underground machines, stairs that go down forever, and moles sitting in front of broad spectrum lights give this book a touch of the bizarre.   Be sure to examine the end papers closely, because they show the history of Moletown and help make sense of this nearly wordless book.  Be prepared to explain what’s going on if you share this one with a child.

If you enjoy fairy tales that are turned upside down and inside out, look for “Cinderella’s Stepsister and the Big Bad Wolf,” by Lorraine Carey.  Ms. Carey mixes together villains and heroes from several fairy tales in this spoof of Cinderella.  In this story, Gertie, the third Ugly stepsister, is the kind member of the family.  Mrs. Ugly, the other two Ugly sisters, and Cinderella are all pretty nasty.   The fairy godmother sends the Big Bad Wolf and Gertie to the ball in beautiful dresses, and turns Cinderella into a mouse.  Gertie and the prince live happily ever after, but the Ugly sisters have disappeared.  The only explanation is a picture of a pile of bones on Big Bad Wolf’s plate, as she enjoys a glass of champagne with a coy expression on her face.  This is another book that may require some explaining.

“Louis I, King of the Sheep, “by Olivier Tallec, is a book that was translated from the French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick.  This is another picture book that requires some explaining.  Louis is an ordinary sheep who discovers a blue crown out in a windy field.   He immediately crowns himself  Louis the First and begins to assume all the trappings of royalty.  When his crown blows away, he becomes an ordinary sheep once again, but the crown is found by a…  I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s interesting.   

Now here are two picture books that won’t require “ ’splaining.”   “Crybaby,” by Karen Beaumont is a sweet story about a crying baby and the cumulative efforts of her family and neighbors to stop the tears.  A double page illustration shows some interesting efforts by people wearing pajamas and slippers, including magic tricks and juggling, but nothing works.  Faithful dog Roy keeps trying, but the humans all ignore his attempts to help, until he gives the baby her favorite toy, a white and woolly little sheep.  “Quiet baby, what a joy. Good boy, Roy!”

British author and illustrator Yasmeen Ismail, who wrote and illustrated “Time for Bed, Fred,” has published a new book, “Specs for Rex.”  All of us who began wearing glasses in childhood will identify with Rex, a little lion with round, red glasses who tries to hide them at home and school.  I love his carefully edited explanation of his day when his mom askes how school went.  He carefully leaves out combing his mane over his face, hiding in the classroom tent, stashing his glasses in his sandwich, painting them to look like sunglasses during art, and running around outside wrapped in toilet paper.  Rex tells his mom that he found his teacher’s missing whistle and got a gold star. 

Writing about all of this explaining has triggered a nostalgic feeling in me.  I think it might be time to watch a few episodes of “I Love Lucy” and not worry about how cold it is outside.  See you at the library!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Your Winter Getaway

Our adult winter reading program runs January 4 - March 31.  Sign up at the library to receive a tote bag, then turn in book reviews to earn prizes and a chance at a gift certificate to a Litchfield business.  Gift certificates sponsored by the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library.