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, February 16, 2018

Jan's Hits and Misses 2018

By Jan Pease

Welcome to the annual “Jan’s hits and misses,” where I report on our purchase of  the books that received  major awards  at the Midwinter Conference  of the American Library Association. In 2014 a grassroots campaign for diverse books erupted, and I think it affected the 2018 awards. If you’re interested in reading about this movement, search “We Need Diverse Books" online.
Disclaimer alert: I purchase children’s and young adult books for Litchfield, Dassel, Grove City and Cosmos.  There are 32 member libraries in Pioneerland Library Association.  If I order for 4 out of the 32, shouldn’t that make it more likely that Meeker County libraries would have most of these important books?

So, here we go!  The John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding
contribution to children’s literature was given to “Hello, Universe,” by Erin Entrada Kelly.  This is a book with quirky, diverse characters and an exciting plot.  It is one of a handful of books that received 95% 5-star reviews at   Dassel and Grove City have this book, along with seven other Pioneerland Library System libraries.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children was given to “Wolf in the Snow,” illustrated and written by Matthew Cordell.  Litchfield, Dassel, Cosmos and three other PLS libraries own this title. This book is nearly wordless, and it has won many awards.


I should mention one of the honor books, “A Different Pond,” written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui which, is owned by Litchfield, Dassel, Grove City, Cosmos, and four other PLS libraries.  This book is notable for having been published by Capstone, a Minnesota company.


I’m always interested in the Robert F Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children.  This year the award went to “Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961,” by Larry Dane Brimner.  None of the PLS libraries purchased this title.

I never know which beginning reader titles will be awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.  I don’t know how the judges pick one title over another.  The medal was given to “Charlie and Mouse,” by Laurel Snyder.  Grove City and six other PLS libraries purchased this book.  Two books which received the Geisel award, “I See a Cat,” by Paul Meisel, and “King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats,” by Dori Hillestad Butler were not ordered by any PLS libraries. 

One award that might not be as well known outside of library circles is the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award.  It recognizes an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature.  The recipient gives a lecture the following year. The 2019 May Hill Arbuthnot lecture will be delivered by Debbie Reese.  

“Dr. Reese is a longtime advocate for native representation and is a former teacher and university professor.  She earned her PhD in Education from the University of Illinois, where she also helped establish the Native American House and American Indian Studies program. Dr. Reese also holds an M.Ed. degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University.  She is tribally enrolled at Nambe Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico. “ (Information from the American Library Association website.)

This award is well deserved.  I read Ms. Reese’s blog at least weekly and appreciate her perspective.

This book buyer has a lot of catching up to do.  We like to have the medal winners available to our  patrons.  I usually go down the list of honor books and include most of them.  Come in and read an award-winning book!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Cuddle up and watch a movie

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Do you go out with your sweetheart to celebrate this holiday, or do you avoid the crowds and stay in?  Or are you single and avoiding the holiday completely?  You can go out to the library first to stock up with DVDs to stay in for the evening.  A number of recent movies we have in the collection might be the entertainment you’re looking for tonight; these are all currently nominated for Oscars.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a funny sci-fi action movie, the sequel to “Guardians of the Galaxy” from 2014.  The team from the first movie, which includes a talking raccoon and a tree-like creature, travels through space as they try to find the identity of Peter Quill’s father.  I would say it doesn’t reach the level of inventive humor that the first movie did, but it’s still entertaining.  Marvel movies rarely disappoint as long as you like superheroes.

Kong: Skull Island is another sci-fi action movie, but with less humor, although it’s still fluff.  This is a King Kong origin story, featuring a team of explorers dropped onto a remote island in the early ‘70s.  The monster-movie plot may be a little silly, but the cinematography is quite beautiful.  The cast is strong, as well, with Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, and John C. Reilly in the group. 

Logan is another superhero film, but the polar opposite of Guardians of the Galaxy.  Part of the X-Men series, it’s very dark and serious.  If you’re looking for fun, this is not your superhero movie.  If you’re looking for excellent writing and acting, it is - as long as you don’t mind that it’s heavy.  People say it’s really a Western, which is a new spin on the superhero genre. 

Dunkirk is one of the big movies of the year, nominated for eight Oscars.  Christopher Nolan, who is known for the Dark Knight trilogy, Interstellar, and Inception, wrote and directed the film. This one is about the evacuation of Allied troops from the French city of Dunkirk during World War II.  Because it’s nonlinear and without dialogue for stretches of the movie, it’s not everyone’s idea of a great war film, but it’s art.

Moving away from all the action movies, Victoria and Abdul is a gentle British movie.  Judi Dench stars as an elderly Queen Victoria, who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.  The Queen is feeling restricted in her position, and the alliance the two of them form allows the queen to see the world in a new way.  The friendship apparently really happened, but the movie seems to have taken some artistic license to tell a good story. 

An animated movie for adults, Loving Vincent is a biography of Vincent van Gogh through his paintings.  In this first feature-length film created through oil-painted animation, a young man attempts to deliver van Gogh’s final letter and ends up learning about the artist’s final days.  The paintings and the characters that inhabit them tell the stories. 

I didn’t include any romances, did I?  We have those at the library, too, but we’re not really in an age of great romantic comedies or epic love stories, so you may have to look for something older.  To be honest, my husband and I rarely watch romantic movies together; we just look for something we both enjoy, like sci fi/fantasy or a funny TV series. 

While you’re at the library, take a chance on our Blind Date with a Book display near the front desk.  Each gift-wrapped book has a very brief description on the label, but you don’t see what you get until you check it out.  I hope you’ll find a book or movie to love this month!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Keep the kids busy at the library

By Jan Pease

The weather report on February second from the children’s department is that the groundhog did, indeed, see his shadow.  Our story hour for that day introduced a cute, baby groundhog puppet.  We  read the book, “Groundhog Gets a Say,” by Pamela Curtis Swallow.  We made a ground hog craft created out of paper hearts.  I attempted to tell a story about a groundhog outwitting some hungry wolves.  All in all, we had a rollicking good time.

 Our projects will involve using paper hearts as we work on our gluing skills. Think about Michael Hall’s book, “My Heart is Like a Zoo.”   On February 10th, Second Saturday Story Time, we’ll have a valentine theme and make a keepsake box to store treasures in or give to someone special.  

Beginner’s Book Club is off to a good start for 2018.  For February 15 we are reading “Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang,” by Victoria J. Cole. The entire book club enjoyed Ms. Cole’s first book, “Fenway and Hattie.”  The second book in the series has Fenway at war with bunnies who invade the dog park.  But when Hattie brings home a rabbit in a cage, Fenway’s afraid she won’t have enough love in her heart for him.

Brick Heads is going great on Thursday nights.  I had some building challenges available February 1st, but the builders agreed that they were impossible.  They really prefer to free build. My favorite build of the night is a mobile ski jump 
made by Abe. He included everything he thought a ski athlete needs, including a fan if the ski jumper gets too hot.  My new favorite LEGO character is a shark with a mouth that opens wide.  It is capable of grabbing innocent little LEGO pieces and body parts. 

Toddler time happens every Wednesday.  I enjoy seeing these little people change from week to week.  The wonder of language development still amazes me after so many years.     I especially love to watch children who aren’t quite   verbal communicate with each other.  Babies really do like to watch each other.

In the Children’s Department, the weather is always a bright, happy 70 degrees or so.  It warms my heart to see parents spend leisurely time with children on these cold days. There are thousands of books to share.   We always have coloring sheets, crayons, and markers on the tables. There are leftovers from crafts this winter: small cats and dogs to make out of paper, and even some extras from today’s groundhog craft.   There are always things to do at the public library!