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, November 25, 2016

And The Winner IS: Litchfield Library!

By Jan Pease

The best news of our week is that Santa will visit the library on Thursday, December 1 at 5:30.  He’s available for pictures and then will read a story at about 6:30. Each child will receive a small gift from the library. 

On Saturday December 10, come to the library for the last “Second Saturday Story Time” of the year.  We will sing some songs, read a story, and make a golden ornament!  Hint: think “gold glitter.”😨😲

In other news, the Litchfield Children’s Department is a winner!  Early in November, we received an email from Trevor Ingerson, Educational & Library Marketing and Sales,Workman Publishing Company.  It said, in part, “Congratulations! You and your library are one of the ten lucky winners from our Makerspace giveaway that we ran through School Library Journal. As a reminder you’ll receive the following titles below.” I plan to let Mr. Ingerson know how we will use the titles, which will also fit in very well with Summer Reading 2017, “Reading By Design.”

Titles include:
Colossal Paper Machines: The coolest big machines that kids love—each re-created in an oversize paper model that, once built, really moves. We’ll save this one for a program next summer.
The Totally Irresponsible Science Kit: 18 experiments that snap, crackle, pop, ooze, crash, boom, and stink!  This one will also be saved for next summer.
Paint by Sticker Kids: Create 10 pictures, one sticker at a time. Paint by Number has been upgraded.  Paint by Sticker: Same concept, but much more detailed images than Paint by Sticker Kids. Washi Tape Crafts:110 new ways to decorate and make life more colorful!  Mariah will make use of these in her Art Journaling Program.
Pop Bottle Science: A complete kit that ingeniously marries science and fun with 79 easy, hands-on experiments that probe the worlds of chemistry, physics, biology, geology, weather, the human body, and even astronomy.  We will also save this for next summer.  I ordered a copy of this one from for my great-nephew Andrew, who loves it. 
Project Kid: Crafts That GO!: 60 Imaginative Projects That Fly, Sail, Race, and Dive.  We will add this to the collection.
Crochet Taxidermy: Step-by-step instructions and adorable photos guide you through these 30 easy crochet patterns. Most require just one skein of yarn, so they’re affordable and quick!  We’ll add this one to the collection.  The projects resemble animal trophies mounted on wall plaques, which might make a quirky gift for the hunter in your life. 
 The Useful Book: 201 practical life skills. This book will be a great addition to the collection.  It covers all of the things we used to learn from our parents and in Home Economics in school.
 The Wicked Plants Coloring Book: Based on the New York Times bestseller Wicked Plants, here are 40 menacing plants in gorgeous, vintage-style botanical illustrations to color. We can use this one for coloring projects here in the library.
What we used to call “crafts” is now re-named Makerspace activities in many libraries.  The process of making and doing is emphasized rather than having a cute, uniform finished product.  Whatever we call it, kids love to participate and create.  Thanks, Mr. Ingerson!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

National Picture Book Month!

By Jan Pease

I just learned that November is Picture Book Month.  Here are several new picture books to savor.

The Moon Inside, by Sandra V. Feder, is a sweet addition to the collection that will help children understand that night has its own beauty and there is nothing to fear in the dark. This is a perfect bedtime story, like Time for Bed,  by Mem Fox and The Midnight Farm, by Reeve Lindbergh, both older favorites of mine. 

Bears in the Snow, by Shirley Parenteau, is almost too sweet.  The four adorable bears romping through the book are so cute you might want give them huggie-wuggies and kissy-wissies (a phrase we often say to our very cute dog).

Some books meant to be read out loud are more fun for the reader than the child.    I purchased three “Baby Lit” board books for the children’s collection.  They claim to be “a fashionable way to introduce your child to the world of classic literature.”  Jennifer Adams wrote these delightful little books.  Little Miss Alcott: Little Women features quotations from the book such as “Amy put on her best white frock, smoothed her curls, and sat down to draw under the honeysuckle.”  Our other titles include Little Master Homer: The Odyssey and Edgar and the Tree House of Usher. I might admit to a little buyer’s remorse, but I really can imagine reading them to little ones in our family.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland is a book that was based on the song by Felix Bernard and Richard B Smith, as sung by Peggy Lee, illustrated by Tim Hopgood.  One problem I see with the book is that when they build the snowman in the meadow, they pretend that he’s a Santa clown.  Now, clowns are scary, right?  But then the other kiddies knock him down, so we’re ok.  The real problem I see, which nearly made me pass this one by, is the line, “We’ll frolic and play the Eskimo way.”  It’s one of those thinly-veiled stereotypes that is just so 1934 (when the song was originally written).

Denise Fleming has re-worked the children’s song, 5 Little Ducks, to include several pond animals, some wild turkeys, the days of the week, a cute little girl named  Anna, and a family of adventurous Mallard ducks. This is the kind of book that makes picture books so great.  You can pore over the entire book, including end papers, to see Ms. Fleming’s imagination at work.

Finally, Not Quite Black and White, by Jonathan Ying, is a book about colors that could be called “On Beyond Orange and Green,” as Mr. Ying includes lavender, aqua, maroon,  and a penguin wearing yellow boots.  Jonathan Ying lives in Minnesota; I think we’re glad to claim him.

How will YOU celebrate National Picture Book Month?

Monday, November 7, 2016

New and old computers at the library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

What’s new at the library?  You might have noticed when you walk in the door that things look a bit different in the computer area.  We have new computers, something you’ll see throughout Pioneerland Library System. 

The reason things look different in our library is because we have fewer desktop computers than we did before.  Our computers at Litchfield don’t get the heavy use they did in years past because so many people bring in their own laptops, tablets, and phones to use with our wifi instead, so we purchased only as many as we need now.  We kept track of the number that were being used simultaneously, counting people on different days and at different times to make the decision.  Instead of twelve computers you could sign up for on the adult side, we now have nine, and we have three on the children’s side instead of four.  We also added two laptops, bringing that total to four.  When you add all of those together plus the iPad we also have available to check out, we have seventeen devices you can sign up to use instead of the sixteen we used to have.  So it’s actually an increase!

In place of two desktop computers that were dedicated for library catalog use, we now have a tablet for that purpose, mounted on a column behind the computers.  It’s similar to what Target has for gift registries now.

So although it looks like a huge drop in the number of computers, it’s really not.  It’s mostly set up differently, with a wider variety of types of computers in use. 

When I started working at the library seven years ago, which is around the time when we got our previous desktops, the computers were often full, and every day we had to ask people to give the next person a turn after their half-hour allotment of time was over.  Even with fewer computers now, it’s unusual for every computer to be full or for us to have to tell people their time is up.  It seems this number of computers is meeting our community’s needs.

I know that people often don’t like to sit next to a stranger while they use a computer.  We hear that from customers pretty often.   If you feel that way, I would encourage you to check out a laptop or iPad and find a private place to sit with it.  There are desks, tables, and comfortable chairs throughout the library, plus two study rooms.  You need to have your library card with you to check out one of these devices, and it can’t be blocked by having over five dollars in fines.  The laptops and iPad have to stay in the library; you can’t check them out to take home.

The library laptops can do something I think is pretty amazing: they print to our regular printer just like the other computers.  So if you need to print, using a library laptop is no barrier. 

What happens to the old computers?  We’re selling them.  If you would like to buy an HP DC7900 desktop PC with a 160GB hard drive, a 19-inch widescreen monitor, and discs you can use to install Windows software, talk to someone at the library’s front desk and we can give you the details.  Pioneerland’s IT department has wiped the hard drives, so they’re equivalent to refurbished computers.

If you need to use a computer, an iPad, a printer, a scanner, or a microfilm reader, we have all of those kinds of equipment to meet your needs at the library.  I hope to see more people using the laptops in the months to come, making use of different places to sit in the library while they do their banking, their emailing, and their Facebooking.  When you don’t have high-speed internet at home, the library is here to give you access to the world of online information.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again

By Jan Pease

We’re ba-a-ack!  OK, I liked the movie, “Independence Day,” so I just couldn’t resist.  Yes, today marks the return of the Litchfield Library column after a sabbatical of nearly three months.  We experienced a very busy summer and a very busy fall.

This month Pioneerland Library System came out with its end of summer report.  There are 32 member libraries in our system, and the theme this year was “Read For the Win.”   580 preschool children registered to participate in summer reading.  2,093 elementary students ages 5-12 registered, and 355 tweens and teens, ages 11 and older registered. 210 story times were presented, with an attendance of 4,908.

In Litchfield, 348 young people signed up to participate in the summer reading program.  I’m very pleased with that number.  67 children from that number could be identified as preschoolers, who had a completion rate of 52%. 25 readers could be identified as teens.  Their completion rate was 36%, but I’m just happy that teens were using the library.  Our target audience, elementary students was very involved.  256 kids registered, and 53% of them completed it.  Of those who completed the “reading game,” most kids brought in their reading records every ten days. That meant an amazing amount of reading was taking place.

The library presented 18 story times.  466 children and parents attended.  Story time is so much fun, and I’m continually surprised by the maturity of three and four year old children. 

One highlight of the summer program was borrowing a new room at Litchfield Christian Church to present Professor Marvel.  He brought his program, “Library Olympics” to Litchfield.  If you’ve attended his programs in the past, you’ve been part of a standing-room-only crowd.  We had more than 200 children and parents attend, and next year I hope to have 300 or more.   It is so handy to have a large, very nice space so close to the library. 

On Wednesday afternoons we had a smorgasbord of activities for students in grades 1-3.  Some days we had Fun with 4-H, some days we made things, some days we played board games, and one afternoon we tested our sense of taste.  I think we’ll offer something like this in the summer of 2017.

Mariah began an interesting activity in May for students in grades 4-8.  She calls it Art Journaling, and they get together on the second Monday of each month to make art journals using different supplies and techniques.  This great program will continue throughout the school year.

Other library programs that will happen throughout the school year include Toddler Time Wednesdays at 10:15, Preschool Story Time Fridays at about 10:00, Beginner Book Club for grades 1-3 on the third Thursdays of the month at 3:15, and Brickheads for ages 4-14 every Thursday evening at 6:30. 

Finally, I’m so happy to announce that Litchfield Library will welcome Retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page and his daughter, Kamie Page, to  2nd Saturday Story Hour on Saturday, November 12, at 10:00.  They will read from their children’s book, The Invisible You, and celebrate uniqueness in everyone.   I hope to see you there!