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, October 27, 2017

Savor these Hearty Picture Books!

By Jan Pease

Warning: questionable word play ahead! Here is a veritable harvest of new picture books to enjoy! Here’s another image: a cornucopia filled with the bounty of books.

“5 Cherries,” by Italian artist and illustrator Vittoria Facchini, is a long picture book (56 pages), with gorgeous illustrations. What can two children do with ten cherries, five for each? It turns out that they can imagine quite a lot. This book reminds me of that feeling of being totally lost in the moment of playing.

“After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)” is a new book by Dan Santat, who is becoming more well known since winning the Caldecott in 2015. What happened to Humpty Dumpty after he fell from the wall, and what was he doing up there, anyway? If you have time, visit Mr.Santat’s blog, He includes many links about his books and illustrating, but be sure to click on the link for One Question with Colby Sharp. Dan Santat is incredibly open about the inspiration for “After the Fall,” his wife’s battle with anxiety, post-partum depression, and fear.

“Pug Meets Pig” and “Pug and Pig Trick or Treat” are two very cute books by Sue Lowell Killian. I can’t imagine having a pug and a young potbellied pig together, but it would be fun. This duo should not be confused with “Pig the Pug,” a very funny picture book series by Aaron Blabey. There’s just something about pugs.

Eric Litwin started a new series about an unusual animal with “Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs.” (Mr. Litwin no longer writes the Pete the Cat books.) “Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown” includes the opportunity to download the “Disco Party Bow Wow Song” as well as other free songs. Groovy Joe is a dog who loves to eat ice cream, play the guitar, and dance. I think children will enjoy this new series as much as the early Pete the Cat books.

“A Different Pond,” by Bao Phi is a completely different kind of picture book. It is simple enough to be understood by a young child but the meaning of the book will grow as the reader grows. I admire people who have come to America leaving behind trauma and loss and this picture book reminds us of how much adjustment immigrant groups have faced. This Vietnamese father and son can represent people of any culture struggling to adjust to life in America.

Finally, by the time you read this, Halloween will be past. But you might still look for “Bonaparte Falls Apart,” by Margery Cuyler. Our main character, Bonaparte, needs to literally “get ahold of himself.” When he throws a ball, his arm takes a flyer. Eating lunch can be a jaw-dropping experience. Fortunately, he has friends with names like Franky Stein, Black Widow, and Mummicula who all have some “bone-headed” ideas to help him. These punny, funny books are waiting for you at Litchfield Public Library – see you there!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Big, beguiling, epic movies popular at the library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

DVDs are extremely popular at the library.  In September, 861 DVDs were checked out at the Litchfield library, which amounts to roughly twenty percent of the items checked out that month.  We carry a mixture of popular movies, art films, classics, documentaries, television series, and children’s DVDs.  Every month there are new additions.

The Beguiled is a new drama based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan.  A 1971 movie by the same name, starring Clint Eastwood, was also based on this novel.  The 2017 version was directed by Sofia Coppola and stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, and Kirsten Dunst.  A wounded Union soldier is taken in by the headmistress of an all-girls school in Virginia, where he romances each of the women with unexpected consequences.  Reviewers say it’s quite different from the Clint Eastwood version, with a restrained approach to the tension.  Coppola won the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival for this film.

Also starring Nicole Kidman, the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies won eight Emmy awards last month including Outstanding Limited Series.  The miniseries is based on the bestselling novel by Australian author Liane Moriarty.  Three mothers of first graders with seemingly perfect lives all have secrets, and when someone dies at a school event, was it an accident or murder?  This darkly comic drama also stars Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd.

The Big Sick was an unexpected hit this year.  Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon turned the true story of their romance into the script for this romantic comedy, and Nanjiani stars.  Kumail and Emily fall in love but he won’t commit because his very traditional family wouldn’t approve.  Then Emily falls seriously ill and is put into a medically-induced coma, and Kumail has to deal with Emily’s parents, played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, whom he has never met.  Audiences loved this for being a fresh take on a rom-com, both funny and heartwarming. 

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is an animated film based on the tremendously popular book series by Dav Pilkey.  Two prank-loving best friends hypnotize their angry principal and make him believe he’s Captain Underpants, an enthusiastic and dimwitted superhero they’ve created.  The twelve-book series began in 1997 and concluded in 2015, and kids have continued to be enthusiastic about reading the silly, potty-humor-filled stories.  Kevin Hart stars as George, one of the young friends.  Reviewers say parents will be as entertained by this one as the kids are.

The indie film Certain Women tells three stories of women in rural Montana, played by Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart.  One is a lawyer who deals with sexism and a hostage situation.  The second is a wife and mother planning her dream home without the support of her family.  And the third is a new teacher of evening classes for adults who befriends a ranch hand.  This is a very quiet, subtle movie about ordinary lives.

Other recent additions include the Disney Channel movies Descendants and Descendants 2, the drama A Ghost Story, the Sam Elliott comedy The Hero, and the Oprah/HBO movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  If you’re interested in some of these, stop in to check the new-DVD section of the library, or place a hold through the library’s online catalog.  

Friday, October 13, 2017

New Young Adult Titles for You!

By Jan Pease

October 14 marks the end of Teen Read Week 2017, “Unleash Your Story.”  This week of encouraging teens to use their libraries began in 1998.  In honor of Teen Read Week, here are some interesting new books for young adults.

“Truthers” is a new novel by Geoffrey Girard.  Publishers Weekly said, “It’s a fast-paced nail-biter with a resourceful heroine, packed with surprises that force readers to question every revelation and take nothing at face value.”  The plot revolves around conspiracy theories about the attack on U.S. buildings on September 11, 2001. This book received 4.6 out of 5 stars at Amazon with no negative reviews, which is remarkable. I have a difficult time accepting that an event in my life time is considered history.

Libba Bray has a new book in her “Diviners” series, “Before the Devil Breaks You.”  “Booklist” says its “a gripping, unsettling read that peels back the shiny surface of the American Dream.  Like the ghosts facing the Diviners, Bray’s novel has teeth.” Most reviews at Amazon were positive, but one said, “I’m done with this series. Loved the first book.  Liked the second book. Hate this book.”  I may have to read this series yet. 

“The Arsonist,” by Stephenie Oaks, is another complicated thriller with “history, lies, humor, and grief” according to the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. I love that professional reviews are available at along with reviews by “everyday people.”   The plot of this book centers on events that occurred in 1989, just before the Berlin Wall fell.  Using the diary of a freedom fighter who died in 1989, the protagonists try to piece together events leading to the death of freedom fighter Ava Dreyman.  Again, it’s interesting to see an event that I remember portrayed as history.

With all of the talk about the border with Mexico in the news, “Disappeared,” by Francisco X. Stork, is a timely read.  Mr. Stork tackles the issues of sex trafficking, drugs, kidnapping, and poverty in Juarez, Mexico.  These issues seem to be a bit much for a children’s book, but I think “Disappeared” is written for an older audience.

“The Final Spark,” the seventh and final book in the “Michael Vey” series by Richard Paul Evans, has just been released.   Yes, Richard Paul Evans is THAT Richard Paul Evans, famous for “The Christmas Box.”  It’s been interesting to see his success with a crossover Young Adult Sci-Fi series.  Most of the reviewers who chimed in at Amazon liked the book and were sad the series is ending. 

Litchfield has teens who read!  I have often mentioned that right now is kind of a golden age of young adult novels.  Adults enjoy reading them, too.  Sometimes novels can get bogged down with too much character development, or too much sense of place.  I’m not afraid to say that I like to read young adult fiction!  These and many more exciting novels are waiting for you at Litchfield Public Library.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Don't Know Much About History

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Authors are always coming out with new books about history to teach us about the past, and our library has a number of recently-published choices.

Starting way back in 247 B.C., Patrick N. Hunt’s biography Hannibal gives readers an opportunity to learn about one of the great generals of the ancient world.  Hannibal Barca of Carthage (which is now Tunisia) crossed the Alps with war elephants to invade Italy.  It’s a little hard to imagine!  Hannibal’s tactics are still taught in military academies, and generals from Napoleon to Norman Schwarzkopf have studied and admired him. 

Moving ahead just over two thousand years, another recently-published book covers the experiences of the first American women in the Army.  The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman tells the story of the women who served in the Army’s Signal Corps in World War I.  General Pershing needed experts to run telephone switchboards to keep the commanders in touch with the troops under fire, and women were the experts in this new technology. The Hello Girls faced many kinds of challenges in the war zone, sometimes serving directly on battlefields.  When they were discharged after the war, they received no veterans’ benefits until a handful of survivors finally won those in 1979. 

The book Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities covers a massive range of history and prehistory, from 800,000 BC to the present.  British historian and TV documentary producer Bettany Hughes has written what some are calling a biography of the city that has been named Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul.  It has been the capital city of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires and for a long time was the most important city in the world.  Hughes writes with an enthusiastic narrative style, full of details and drama.

Ken Burns is America’s favorite TV documentary-maker.  His new one is The Vietnam War, which we will be getting on DVD for the library.  The companion book is The Vietnam War: An Intimate History, co-authored with Geoffrey C. Ward.  Full of photographs, this book gives as comprehensive a look at this controversial war as you are likely to find, from its causes to its legacy.

For a fresh look at the Revolutionary War, check out Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth by Holger Hoock.  The publisher’s description of the book says, “The American Revolution is often portrayed as an orderly, restrained rebellion, with brave patriots defending their noble ideals against an oppressive empire.”  The author sets aside the usual nostalgia to examine the brutal violence that both sides engaged in, including the torture of Loyalists, the rape of colonial women, the starvation of prisoners, and the genocidal campaign against the Iroquois.   

Other new books about historical topics include Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary by Walter Stahr, Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign Against Joseph McCarthy by David A. Nichols, and The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel.  Learn more about history by picking up a book about a time or topic that’s new to you.  

Adult Coloring - New Program at the Library

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