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 26, 2018

New Sandford novel tops the library's "bestseller" list for 2017

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

What have your neighbors been reading?  In 2017, customers in Pioneerland Library System really liked their thrillers, especially books by John Sandford, John Grisham and James Patterson.  They also checked out some of the most popular nonfiction books in the country.  Beyond books, they sought out kids’ movies, plus some mobile technology.

The most popular book in our library system in the past year was Golden Prey by John Sandford.  Sandford, whose real name is John Camp, is an Iowa native who worked for the Pioneer Press from 1978 to 1990.  Minnesotans have counted him as one of our own ever since, even though he currently lives in New Mexico and Wisconsin.  Golden Prey is the 27th book in the bestselling Prey series, featuring law enforcement officer Lucas Davenport.

The rest of the top ten fiction titles are If Not for You by Debbie Macomber, Camino Island by John Grisham, One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline, 16th Seduction by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, Escape Clause by John Sandford, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, The Whistler by John Grisham, The Black Book by James Patterson and David Ellis, and Night School by Lee Child.  That’s two appearances each by Sandford, Grisham, and Patterson!

The most popular nonfiction book in our library system was Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.  This book about a rural family in poverty has been a bestseller nationwide for the past year and a half.  Many people say it’s an important book to read to understand the crisis among white working class Americans.

The other books in the nonfiction top ten were Sundown at Sunrise by Marty Seifert, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines, Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, and The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  Three of these have been made into movies in the past year or so, which always makes people more interested in the books.

It’s a little funny to say, since we’re talking about libraries, but some movies have been even more popular than these books.  It helps that movies can only go out for a week, compared to two or four weeks at a time for books; it allows them to be checked out more times in a year.  The most popular item to check out in Pioneerland libraries (other than an unusual one I’ll explain more about later) was the movie Trolls.  Featuring the ugly troll dolls that kids all had in the ‘70s, this animated adventure appeals to the whole family. 

The other movies that beat out the top books were The Secret Life of Pets, Hidden Figures, Moana, Sing, The Girl on theTrain, and A Dog’s Purpose.  Everything on this list is either an animated family film or a movie based on a book.

And the number one item to check out in Pioneerland last year?  Technology.  The laptops and iPads that can be checked out for use inside the libraries were our “top sellers.”  At Litchfield, the laptops are much more popular than the iPad we have available to check out, but in some libraries customers really like the iPads.  It makes sense that these devices could have the highest checkout numbers of all, since multiple people can check these out in one day, using them for an hour or two before returning them.   

If you want to see if you like the things your neighbors are interested in, stop at the library to check out or order any of these popular items.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Good News and Bad News

By Jan Pease

As the saying goes, “I have some good news and some bad news.”

The good news is that our children’s department has lots of new books.  Watch for books like “5-minute Pinkalicious Stories,” by Victoria Kann.  These are short little stories starring Pinkalicious.  Precious!

“Be Brave, Little Penguin,” by Giles Andreae, is the story of Pip-Pip the tiny penguin who is afraid of jumping into the water.  This is another  story about conquering fear, although I think Pip-Pip is smart not to jump into frigid water.

“Bow-Wow-Meow,” by Blanca Lacasa, is an odd book that was translated from Spanish.  It is the story of a little dog who likes to act like a cat.  Some reviewers felt that this book has an agenda of gender transitions and identity.  I think that,  like Skippy John Jones, a cat who pretends he’s a Chihuahua dog, this might just might be a dog who likes to pretend he’s a cat.   

Amy Hest has written a picture book about the rollicking good times that a baby has with his dog, Buster.  “Buster and the Baby” is another book that is cute as can be.

“Fiona’s Little Accident,” by Rosemary Wells, is the story of very busy Fiona, who doesn’t even have time for a bathroom break.  Just as she and her friend Felix are ready to show their volcano for show-and-tell…  Well, the author’s word is “oops!”

Do goats tend to have a problem with sleepwalking?  Mauri Kunnas, Finland’s most celebrated author according to, has written a book about Mr. Clutterbuck.  He is a mild-mannered goat who has adventures at night after he falls to sleep. “Goodnight, Mr. Clutterbuck” may explain why I wake up tired every day.  Maybe I’m having adventures at night!

“I Know a Librarian Who Chewed on a Word,” is a book written by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton.  It will remind you, of course, of “There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” as more and more awful things happen to the librarian as she follows a single word.  What could that word be?

Rachel Bright has written an adorable book about a shy koala, “The Koala Who Could.”  This is another sweet story that encourages children to try new things, even if they are a little scary.

“My Lazy Cat,” by French author Christine Roussey, is a reminder to us over-scheduled folks to slow down, explore what’s around us and to  appreciate life’s simple pleasures.

Now the bad news: many of these books have already been checked out.  We checked them in, stood them up to display, and whoosh! They seemed to jump off the shelves.  So watch for them, and share them with a child.  See you at the library!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Children's Schedule for 2018

January 11 2018 

Whew!  The New Year is here, and it’s time to get going with children’s programs at Litchfield Public Library. 

Programs in the children’s department begin January 8th with Maker Space, a great chance for young people ages 12 and up to get together, listen to some music, and make various projects.  Maker Space happens on the 2nd Monday of every month at 3:30, and lasts until about 4:30.  Mariah leads this program.

Every Wednesday, very young children are invited to Toddler Time at 10:15 for half an hour of movement, singing, and a story.  Children must be accompanied by a caregiver.  Babies are welcome! This story time is planned for little ones up to age two, but older siblings are always welcome. 

 On the third Thursday of every month, students in grades 1-3 are invited to Beginner Book Club, after the school day ends, at about 3:00.  The book for January 18 is “The Infamous Ratsos,” and copies are available at the front desk.

We get the Legos out every Thursday evening at 6:30 for a building session that lasts for an hour.  Brickheads is for anyone, ages 4-14, who likes to build with Legos.  We use our imaginations and create amazing things with these tiny bricks.

Friday mornings are devoted to Preschool Story Hour.  I’m starting year 27 of Friday morning story times, and this year promises to be the best yet.  We sing, dance a little, read a book, do a project and have a good time.  This program is for children ages 3-5.  Younger and older siblings are always welcome.  Moms and dads usually stay, and I appreciate having them in the audience.  

The Second Saturday Story Time is presented on the second Saturday of each month.  On January 13, we’re going to the dogs again!  Therapy dogs will visit the library.  These wonderful dogs love to sit with you and listen as you practice reading.  They also love to meet children, which makes this an opportunity to socialize your child with a very well-trained dog.

Every second and fifth Saturday Margaret   offers programs for tweens and teens.  These events   involve interesting things to do and a snack. 

Information about these programs is available at the front desk.  No registration is required.  All library programs are presented free of charge, but they are all priceless.  See you at Story Time!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Find Your Winter Project

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

On cold winter days, many people like to have a project to work on at home: a puzzle, a quilt, a piece of furniture.  The library is hosting a workshop where you can learn a new artistic skill, plus we have several new books that could help inspire or guide your winter do-it-yourself project.

On Monday, January 22, Jen Anfinson will be teaching a calligraphy workshop from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  The class will cover techniques and styles of traditional and modern calligraphy. It’s open to adults and teens age fifteen and up, and all supplies and equipment will be provided. The class is free to attend, but space is limited.  Sign up at the library’s front desk or call us at (320)693-2483. 

On to the books you can check out for your artistic inspiration:  

Those who enjoy drawing and painting may be interested in If You Can Doodle, You Can Paint: Transforming Simple Drawings into Works of Art by Diane Culhan.  This book encourages the artist to explore their personal style by doodling, sizing up these small drawings, and adding color with pencil and paint.  The book is intended to be an unintimidating way to move step by step into creating full-sized paintings.

For a book to take your drawing in a very different direction, look for Designing Creatures and Characters: How to Build an Artist’s Portfolio for Video Games, Film, Animation, and More.  Author Marc Taro Holmes has worked on art for video games such as Dragon Age Inquisition and Baldur’s Gate.  The book focuses on creating and developing characters visually, whether with pencil and paper or with digital art.  One of my children used this book to get started on some character design that she has continued to build on through sketches, so I would say it is inspiring.
Hello Tokyo: 30+ Handmade Projects and Fun Ideas for a Cute, Tokyo-Inspired Lifestyle is a craft book for those who enjoy Japanese culture.  Perhaps you have a young person in your life who is into manga or anime and would enjoy exploring whimsical Japanese decorating and papercrafting. The author, Ebony Bizys, is an American who lives in and blogs about Tokyo.

On the more serious crafting side, Heirloom Wood: A Modern Guide to Carving Spoons, Bowls, Boards, and Other Homewares is a basic woodcarving book.  Author Max Bainbridge discusses wood types and basic tools, then moves on to detailed projects to make for the kitchen.

If you’re making a piece of furniture rather than a cutting board, the book Joinery may be what you need.  The editors of Fine Woodworking magazine have put together a comprehensive resource for choosing the type of joint you want, designing and cutting accurately, and solving your mistakes.  Joinery is where you can tell if a piece of furniture is made really well, and this book claims to be able to improve the skill of the builder whether they’re a novice or have plenty of experience. 

Sewing Happiness: A Year of Simple Projects for Living Well is a combination sewing-pattern book and memoir.  When author Sanae Ishida developed a chronic illness and lost her job, she turned to her old hobby, sewing, to find success at something.  She ended up discovering her passion. The book contains twenty projects, including household items and children’s and women’s clothing. 

Sometimes it’s actually a good thing to have a chance to work on creative projects indoors during the winter, without feeling guilty that the lawn isn’t getting mowed or the garden isn’t being weeded.  Hibernate a bit and find something that makes you happy this winter.

Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Monday, January 15, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Reading is Snow Much Fun

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Now that it’s January, the adult winter reading program is underway at the library.  This year’s theme in Pioneerland and Plum Creek Library Systems is “Reading is Snow Much Fun.”

The adult winter reading program works a lot like the summer reading program for kids. You sign up at the library and you get a book bag and a bookmark.  This year’s bags are tan and black, good for those who prefer subdued colors instead of the brightly colored bags we’ve had in recent years.

You’ll also get a punch card and some book review forms.  When you read a book between January 2 and March 31, you fill out a brief book review form, saying what you thought of the book.  When you bring a completed form to the library, we’ll mark your punch card.  Once you fill the card with six books, you can choose a prize.

This year’s prize choices include playing cards in a carrying case, a can holder, a large chocolate bar, a flash drive, a notepad set, and, of course, a mug.  Some people collect winter reading mugs!  All of these are available while supplies last, so the sooner you read six books, the more choices you’ll have.

Those who complete the program will also be entered into a drawing for gift certificates for local businesses, sponsored by the Friends of the Litchfield Library. 

What can you read for the reading program?  Anything you want.  It can be fiction or nonfiction.  It can be new or old.  It can be an e-book, a print book, or an audiobook.  It can be a kids’ book; many adults read YA books these days.  You don’t even have to check it out from the library, although most people do.  If you got a book for Christmas, go ahead and read that!

We usually see many reviews coming in for books by bestselling authors.  So what’s popular right now?  One book that’s developing a hold list at the library is Dark in Death by J.D. Robb.  This latest “In Death” novel comes out at the end of the month.

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz has library patrons lining up to get it when it comes out this week.  This thriller is a sequel to When All the Girls Have Gone.  Krentz also writes under the pen names Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle.

Unbound by Stuart Woods also has had fans waiting for it to come out this week.  This is the 44th book in the Stone Barrington thriller series.

Danielle Steel’s Past Perfect came out about a month ago, and it’s remaining popular.  This domestic novel is about a family moving into a mansion and discovering it’s haunted by the family who lived there a century ago – and that they can share the house and become friends.  It’s a very different take on a ghost story!

Whatever you choose to read, the adult winter reading program can be a way to set a reading goal during the cold months and to be rewarded with a small prize for meeting it. As George R.R. Martin said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”