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, December 30, 2016

I Love Picture Books!

by Jan Pease

Happy New Year!  Looking back at our blog entries, I realized that it is time to peek at some new picture books.  I reviewed picture books in November for National Picture Book month, but we’re starting a whole new year.  May I just say, “I love picture books!”

1 2 3 Dream is a beautiful counting book written and illustrated by Kim Krans.  Each spread pairs a numeral with a corresponding animal or plant which begins with the same letter as the numeral.  For example, five fish are paired with the numeral five.  Ms. Krans also published  A B C Dream, which is   another wonderful book to share with a child you love.

The Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep, by Caroline Nastro, is a sweet book that tells about the adventures of a young bear that just can’t seem to hibernate.  He walks into New York City, visits several famous landmarks, is rousted out of Central Park, and finally makes his way home to the quiet winter forest.  This is a perfect book for grandparents to have on hand to help
busy children go to sleep. 

Kurt Cyrus is a very talented illustrator.  He has a bold, recognizable style and has illustrated books with many well-known authors including Eve Bunting.  Mr. Cyrus also writes and his style is bold there, too.  Billions of Bricks is not your usual counting book.  It also isn’t about Legos.  Younger children will simply enjoy the catchy rhymes: “Two, four, six. Look at all the bricks!”   Older children will figure out counting by twos and tens, patterns of four and eventually hundreds. 

Many of you know that at one time I had a favorite cat, a huge black and white domestic short-hair named Patches.  He was white with black patches and was so lazy that he liked to lie on the floor and barely bat at the red dot of the laser toy.  He eventually weighed about eighteen pounds.  Frans Vischer is an illustrator who lives with his family and a lazy, fat cat, and he has immortalized his kitty in the character, Fuddles.  The first two books were Fuddles and A Very Fuddles Christmas. The third Fuddles book has just been published, Fuddles and Puddles.  Poor Fuddles has his world turned upside down when his family brings home a puppy named Puddles with predictable results.   Mr. Vischer has worked in animation at both Disney and Dream Works and it shows in his illustrations, which seem ready to move right off the page.

Cat in the Night, by Madeleine Dunphy, is about a cat that is not at all lazy, named Rusty.  Rusty wakes up just has his owner, a little girl named Gwen, falls asleep.  He prowls through the night, meeting other night time creatures and fighting with an intruder cat before he comes home and crawls back into bed.

While this makes a great story, I just have to add that it’s a bad idea to let cats roam at will.  In Litchfield, there has been feline leukemia in the feral cat population, which can be spread by bites and scratches from an infected cat.  There are also wild animals such as coyotes that prey on domestic cats and raccoons and skunks which can be rabid.  My current cat, Kitty M, has lived a long, indoor life after being rescued from a dumpster in Willmar about 14 years ago.

News Flash: Therapy dogs will visit the library on Saturday, January 14 at 10:00.   Sign up to practice reading with a very nice dog.

P.S. I love picture books!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Plan ahead for holidays at the library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Merry Christmas!  We’re quickly approaching the holidays, and the libraries in Pioneerland Library System will be closed some days because of that.  With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Sundays, the schedule will be a little different than usual.

The library will be closed on Saturday, December 24, for Christmas Eve.  It will also be closed on Monday, December 26, the day after Christmas.  The 26th is the federal holiday this year, so the library won’t be the only place that’s closed on Monday.

Since New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday this year, our library’s hours won’t be affected that day.  We close at 5 p.m. on Saturdays.  The library will be closed on Monday, January 2, for New Year’s Day, again the government holiday.

Because of how Christmas falls on the weekend, the Litchfield Library will be closed for three days in a row, December 24-26, which is rare.  You’ll want to plan ahead to pick up the things you want to check out.  The things you have on hold won’t leave any faster than usual, because we hold DVDs for three business days and everything else for seven business days; the days we’re closed won’t count against you.  You can also return materials at any time in the book drop in the wall that faces the parking lot.  If materials are returned while we’re closed, they’ll check in as though they were returned the last time we were open.  This means that anything returned over that three-day Christmas weekend will count as being returned on Friday.  Just make sure they’re in before we open Tuesday morning to avoid late fees.   

So what might you want to check out over the two holiday weekends?  One of our newest movies is The BFG, based on the Roald Dahl children’s book of the same name.  “BFG” is short for “big friendly giant.”  The BFG is 24 feet tall and very nice, unlike the other residents of Giant Country, who eat children.  He snatches a girl named Sophie from an orphanage, and the two of them come up with a plan to save the children of the world from the other child-eating giants.  This movie is directed by Steven Spielberg.

If you missed it on television, you could check out A Charlie Brown Christmas from the library.  This gem from 1965 is extremely popular at Christmastime, though, so check ahead to see if you can get it (true of all of our new DVDs and our holiday classics).

Finding Dory is the new sequel to Pixar’s Finding Nemo.  Forgetful Dory suddenly remembers she has a family who might be looking for her, so she sets out with Nemo and Marlin to find them.  It sounds as though the sequel nearly lives up to the greatness of the original movie.

More adult but apparently funny and heartwarming, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a New Zealand film that had a limited American release.  A jaded city kid raised in foster care is sent to a family in the country, where he finally feels at home.  But when a tragedy threatens to send him somewhere else, the boy and his cantankerous “Uncle Hec,” played by Sam Neill, go on the run into the wilderness.

Some other recent DVDs at our library include A Bigger Splash, “Elvis and Nixon”, “Everybody Wants Some!”, season 2 of “Outlander”, and “Pete’s Dragon”.  Stop in for something to watch, something to listen to, or something to read this holiday season.  Happy holidays!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Gotta Read them All!

By Jan Pease

This cold snap means it’s time to settle in with a hot cup of coffee and a book.  These young adult novels might be enjoyed by anyone of any age. 

First, Dean Hughes, who is well-known for writing action-filled books about young men during the Second World War, has published a new book, Four-Four-Two, about Japanese Americans who fought with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.  Mr. Hughes is straight forward when writing about the racial attitudes of the time.  He also writes honestly about how these brave young men lived and died. 

A Thousand Nights was written by E.K. Johnston, a prolific writer of young adult novels who is known for writing contemporary fantasy and re-imagining fairy tales.  Kate is becoming even more famous for her book set in the Star Wars universe, Star Wars: Ahsoka.   A Thousand Nights is a re-telling of the story of  Scheherazade and the 1001 Tales of The Arabian Nights.  The storyteller is not named and there are rich details added here and there.  The descriptions of the desert and desert-dwellers seem especially real.

Weregirl by C.D.Bell is the story of a high school junior who is bitten by a wolf and becomes, of course, a werewolf.  The cover of the book caught my eye, showing a white wolf with startling bright blue eyes.  Some romance, a little werewolf lore, and a main character who is a runner make this an unusual werewolf story. 

Greg Hurwitz is another well-known writer.  He wrote the best-selling book, Orphan X.  He has written a science fiction book full of alien/zombie/teen problems, titled, The Rains.  I don’t know where to start; this is a violent, gory page-turner.  I’ve mentioned that I don’t get zombie literature.  In this case, the zombie behavior is triggered by an alien invasion by sinister plants.   

Neal Schusterman is another writer who is no stranger to strange.  In his new book, Scythe, Mr. Schusterman develops a world so perfect that even death has been defeated.  This makes population control vitally important, so enter the Scythes, professional killers who learn their trade as teenagers.  This is the first book in the series, and it will be interesting to see how it develops.  

Finally, fans of the Ranger’s Apprentice series have waited for The Battle of Hackham Heath.  John Flanagan has written 13 “Ranger’s Apprentice” books, and six “Brotherband” books.  Now he is writing prequels to his first series.  The first “Ranger’s Apprentice: the Early Years” was The Tournament at Gorlan, the prequel to The Ruins of Gorlan.  This new “early years” book, The Battle of Hackham Heath, is the second prequel to The Ruins of Gorlan. Is this confusing?  Mr. Flanagan seems so fond of the universe he created that he doesn’t want to leave it.   As I read reviews of fans at, I realized that Mr. Flanagan’s fans don’t want to leave the Ranger’s Apprentice universe any more than he does.  Read them all!

 Snuggle up with a good book and enjoy some winter reading! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Random Things to Do!

By Jan Pease

A parent at the ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) advisory council meeting December 1 made a statement about giving your children the gift of experience.  Her words stuck with me.  I admire the intentionality of this family as they teach their children lessons about what really matters. 

Of course, the first experience that came to my mind was our wonderful library.  A library card is one of the most empowering gifts our children can receive.  I love to watch parents show their children how to use books. Imagine the delight of a very young child opening and closing a book for the first time.  It’s incredible.

 Last summer some of the Pioneerland Library System libraries had a small folder they called a library passport.  As patrons visited various libraries in PLS, the librarian would stamp or sign the passport.  I think visiting libraries in the many towns served by PLS would be a family road trip worth doing.  The member libraries addresses, phone numbers and hours can be found on the Pioneerland website,
The Meeker County Historical Society and GAR Hall in the block next to the library is a small gem of a museum.  They are open Tuesday-Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Many towns, both large and small have unique little museums. 

Litchfield on Lake Ripley has a lake! 
People drive here from places near and far to come to Lake Ripley, which I take completely for granted.  You can bike or walk or run around the lake or shoot arrows in the archery park.  There is a gorgeous playground there, and lovely Anderson Gardens.    

Lake Ripley Cemetery is a beautiful place for a respectful visit.  We taught our daughter respect for property, how to read numbers and how to subtract to find age at death.  Yes, it’s kind of a quirky place to visit with a child, but the cemetery is full of history and   not a scary place at all. 
Turck’s Trees out by Forest City has become a winter experience complete with reindeer and hot chocolate.  Fun!    There are other memorable things to do – keep in mind the Forest City Stockade which celebrated their Pioneer Christmas event December 3rd

The Litchfield Community Education Brochure is full of interesting things to do as a family with the emphasis on do.  People seldom say that they regret spending so much time together.  Most of the time I hear something like, “I was so busy when the kids were young; I wish I could ______________. “  Give the gift of time together this winter.