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, April 26, 2019

And We Never Wanted to Leave....

by Beth Cronk, head librarian

Part of the journey is the end.  Two major science fiction/fantasy series are coming to an end for viewers within a month of each other.  Avengers: Endgame just hit movie theaters, wrapping up Marvel’s Avengers series of movies (but not all of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) after eleven years. The television series Game of Thrones comes to an end on May 19 with its eighth season.

Readers are still looking forward to the last two books in the Song of Ice and Fire series that Game of Thrones is based on.  Provided George R.R. Martin gets over his writer’s block, there’s still more of that world coming.  And Marvel comic books and graphic novels may never end.

If you feel a sense of loss with these series endings, you’re not alone.  A quick internet search turns up “Empty feeling after finishing a book/series” on the Goodreads website, “Why it’s healthy to cry over TV shows” in Time magazine, and “The 5 stages of grief for the TV show you just finished binge-watching” in Huffpost (some are tongue-in-cheek).  There’s even a name that some people use for this uncomfortable feeling: “post-series depression.” 

Some avid readers I know go through this quite often, whether they read mysteries, historical fiction, or anything that comes in a series – or sometimes just after a long, immersive novel.

The Time article says that we form parasocial, or one-directional, relationships with fictional characters, whether on the page or screen.  Professor Jennifer Barnes is quoted in the February 23, 2017, article as saying, “The interesting thing is that our brains aren’t really built to distinguish between whether a relationship is real or fictional… So these friendships can convey a lot of real-world benefits.”  She also says it’s completely normal to feel upset when a character we’ve come to know dies or when a series comes to an end. 

It may help to turn your attention to another activity for a while (exercise, go out with friends, be creative and make something), to discuss the books or movies or TV show with other fans, or to pick up a new book or DVD. 

While we don’t have an Avengers or Game of Thrones support group here at the library (hmm, there’s a fun thought…), we do have many science fiction and fantasy books and DVDs here to help you find something new.

Mark Lawrence’s trilogy Book of the Ancestor has just come to a conclusion with Holy Sister.  This epic fantasy series tells the story of a young girl, trained by an arcane order of nuns, who grows into a fierce warrior.  One reviewer after another has praised the world building Lawrence did in this series.  The first two books are Red Sister and Grey Sister.  We have all three at the library.

Myke Cole is two novels into his Sacred Throne trilogy. Our library has both: The Armored Saint and The Queen of Crows.  The third will be published this fall.  Another epic fantasy series, this one features Heloise, a young girl who opposes the tyrannical Order after witnessing their slaughter of innocent people.  Although this sounds like a familiar formula, reviews say the author goes in inventive directions.

The Litchfield Library also has these new sci fi/fantasy novels:

In addition, our library always has superhero, fantasy, and science fiction movies.  Some of the newest are Aquaman, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, The Kid Who Would Be King, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Mary Poppins Returns.

As Mary Poppins would say, “With every job when it’s complete, there is a sense of bittersweet.”  If the magic of a story has worked on you, be glad that it had the power to capture your heart and your imagination.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Spring Is Sprung!

By Jan Pease

New books are “springing into the library!” Do you know an emoji that stands for cringing at a bad pun? Anyway, here are some new titles that can be found in the Easy books at Litchfield Library.

“Another,” by Christian Robinson, is an interesting picture book that might be the earliest sci-fi book I’ve ever seen. Although the book is wordless, it presents a portal between two worlds. A girl and her cat enter an alternate world and encounter a nearly identical girl and cat. “Twilight Zone” for toddlers?

“B is for Baby,” by Atinuke and illustrated by Angela Brooksbank, is a sweet story set in West Africa. Atinuke is originally from Nigeria, but considers England home. B is for brother and baby, who stows away on big brother’s bike to visit their beloved Baba.

“Baby Day,” by Jane Godwin and Davina Bell, is another book for and about babies. Extreme repetition of the word, baby, will probably delight a very young child, but the Wednesday story hour folks didn’t seem to like it as much as I hoped they would.

Rourke Educational Media has developed a very easy-to-read series about problems children face. We have purchased six titles from this collection. They include books like “Ethan’s Stepmom” and “Forever Rhen” which deal with having a stepparent and experiencing divorce. The titles in the series have different authors, but can be easily searched using the library catalog. Other titles include issues such as making healthy choices, children with special needs, moving away, and food allergies.

Of all the books about dust bunnies, and there are several, the cutest one is “Dust Bunny Wants a Friend,” by Amy Hevron. This cumulative tale follows a lonely little dust bunny as it looks for a friend. Not to spoil the suspense, but as in many homes, the dust bunny finds his friends under a bed. This may be an overdose of cuteness!

The 2019 Theodore Seuss Geisel Award was given to Corey R. Tabor for his book, “Fox the Tiger,” a funny book about a fox who decides he would like to be a tiger because tigers are big and fast and sneaky. The other fox books are “Fox is Late,” “Fox and the Jumping Contest,” and “Fox and the Bike Ride.” This series is a fun way to help a child enjoy independent reading.

David McPhail has been writing children’s books for more than 40 years, and on his website he states that he enjoys it as much now as he did then. His new book, “I am Just Right,” deals with important events in a young child’s life. What happens when you outgrow your crib, your shoes, your trike, and you’re too big for Grandpa to pick up? Well, you’re growing up and learn to sleep in a bed, get bigger shoes, ride a real bike, and get wonderful hugs from Grandpa. I enjoy Mr. McPhail’s books now as much as ever.

Lisa Wheeler, who is known for books like “Sixteen Cows,” and “One Dark Night,” has released “A Hug is For Holding Me.” Today at story time, I asked “What are hands for?” Jim Gill’s song says, “Hands are for clapping.” One adorable little boy said, “Hands are for hugging!”

He is absolutely right. Happy Spring!

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Greatest Hits from Winter Reads

Library column for April 17, 2019
by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

At the end of March, we wrapped up the adult winter reading program.  Ninety people signed up to participate this year, and as a result we have a whole basket of book reviews the participants turned in to earn their prizes.  It’s always fun to find out who the most popular authors were among our local readers.

One of the most popular was William Kent Krueger and his Cork O’Connor mystery series.  Participants turned in eight reviews of seven of his books; two people reviewed the newest, Desolation Mountain.  On the review forms, we ask people to rate the book on a scale of five stars.  Two different people (based on the handwriting) wrote in additional stars beyond the five because they loved the books so much!  The readers enjoyed the realness of the characters, the Minnesota setting, and the themes of the books.

The Dassel Library is bringing Kent Krueger to the Dassel History Center for an event on Tuesday, April 30, at 7 p.m.  He’s a wonderful speaker.  All are welcome to attend this event that’s funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. 

The author with the most reviews this year was J.D. Robb.  Readers turned in nine reviews of seven of her books.  All of the books were from the popular In Death series somehow, featuring police officer Eve Dallas.  The odd one of the bunch was the short story collection Unquiet, which contains an In Death story, among others by different authors.  Two people reviewed that collection, and neither liked it as well as readers liked the novels in Robb’s own series; those got five out of five stars.

James Patterson’s books are popular every year in the reading program.  This year we’ve got eight reviews of seven different books.  Two people reviewed Along Came a Spider, the first in the Alex Cross mystery/thriller series featuring forensic psychologist Dr. Cross.  One of them loved it and the other hated it.  The Patterson reviews are mixed overall, mostly landing somewhere in the middle of the road. 

Minnesotans love John Sandford and his novels, which he likes to set in Minnesota, his former home.  Local readers turned in five reviews of four of his books, and they rated them quite highly.  The repeat was Holy Ghost, the newest in the Virgil Flowers series.  Did you know that Sandford’s real name is John Camp and that he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for a series of articles he wrote about the farm crisis for the Pioneer Press?

Our local readers turned in five reviews of Kristin Hannah books, two about the same book, The Great Alone.  The library’s adult book club read this book for our meeting this month, and our members generally enjoyed it.  The reviews for the winter reading program gave it four and five stars, saying this story about a family moving to Alaska had lots of excitement. 

Overall, our winter reading participants read a vast variety of books.  While there were other repeated authors, such as Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, and Jodi Picoult, most of the hundreds of book reviews were for unique authors and books.  People who use the Litchfield Library don’t all read the same thing.  As they taught me in library school, every person has his or her preferred book, and every book its reader. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Litchfield Library is closing

 at 3 p.m. today, 4-11, 

because of inclement weather.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Closing early 4/10/19

The Litchfield Library will be closing at 6 p.m. today, Wednesday, April 10, due to the weather.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Something to Think About

 By Jan Pease 

One of the Minneapolis/St. Paul tv stations announced recently that Creative Kidstuff, which owns toy stores in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Edina, Minnetonka, St. Louis Park, and the Mall of America, is closing all of its stores by this summer.  Although I haven’t visited a Creative Kidstuff store and rarely buy toys, I’m sad to see this happening.  Creative Kidstuff has specialized in high-end, good quality children’s toys.   “Big-box” stores and online shopping have contributed to the decline of toy shops, but there has also been a huge shift in how children play.

Think about the way your grandparents played.  My grandma Pearl had one doll, a precious, beautiful doll with hair and clothes that she unexpectedly received one Christmas.  My grandpa Everett only had a 3rd grade education and was on his own from about age 9.   I don’t remember my grandma Emma talking about playing with toys as a child.  She talked about their horses and she loved to draw and paint.  My mom had a special doll, well-loved and cared for, that is in my cedar chest.  My dad talked about playing with a dog, Tiny, and trying to baptize kittens.  He went hunting and fishing as soon as he was old enough.

In my childhood we roamed our neighborhood.  We played cowboys, combat, other “army” things, wedding, (I knew some of the words of the marriage service), and school.  We rode trikes and bikes, and were basically outside every day before supper.  One family had a bigger house with more indoor toys, and we were allowed to play there in the “family room.”  I had a dollhouse, made by my grandpa and furnished by both grandmas, including a tiny braided rug for one room. My husband Dave grew up on Diamond Lake when their side of the lake was basically woods and pasture.  They played baseball and other sports-related things, as well as army from the various wars.  Since they were and are history buffs, their play was more historically accurate than what we played on our little block.

What do children play now?  My daughter, now 35, had too many Barbies and My Little Ponies to count.  I remember her being outside a lot, but she also spent a lot of time indoors.  We bought her an old school desk, so she spent hours coloring and writing at her desk.  The kids in our neighborhood played outside in all of the yards of people we knew, but I remember a strong parental presence. 

The National PTA website states that children are spending more time alone.  Children are increasingly isolated.     One of my concerns is that toys are becoming highly specialized. According to the site,   “The kinds of toys that are multi-purpose and unstructured, like clay, blocks, generic toy figures, and baby dolls, encourage play that children can control and shape to meet their individual needs over time. Unfortunately, most of today's best-selling toys promote highly-structured play. They're usually action figures or video games linked to TV programs or movies. They ‘tell’ children how to play and can channel them into merely using the toys to try to imitate what they see on TV or in the movies.   I like to purchase large quantities of Playdough and Legos.  Now both brands show kids what to make and how to play in elaborate sets and kits.  Both Playdough and Legos are difficult to find in bulk.

I did not know when the deregulation of children’s television took place but it coincided with the birth of our daughter.   “The phenomenon of media-linked toys arose in 1984 when children's television was deregulated by the Federal Communications Commission. Deregulation made it legal to market toys to children through TV for the first time. Almost immediately, whole toy lines featuring replicas of what children see on the screen appeared. TV shows -- and now movies too -- are made to sell products to children. Often, what is frustrating to parents and children alike is that while the age recommendation on the toy box is for children as young as four or five, the show connected to the toy has a rating for much older children. And because many of the most popular shows linked to toys have violent themes, like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, World Wrestling Federation, and Star Wars, what children are often channeled into imitating is violence… When your child does engage in violent, imitative play based on TV shows, movies or toys, help her bring in her own creativity and imagination. However you view this kind of play, the more you can help your child's play become creative, the less violent it will be. (

Jim Gill, a musician, author, and child development specialist, says in his notes on the cd Music Play for Folks of Different Stripes, “Play should be put in its proper place...  Play is how young children develop abilities and learn lessons that are broader than any lessons adults might dream up to teach them.”

At Litchfield Library, we do open-ended activities.  We free build with Legos. We play with a parachute in low-key and child-friendly ways.  We do projects, but the process is more important than the product. Come play with us at Litchfield Public Library!


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Celebrate National Library Week with us!

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

The theme for this year’s National Library Week is Libraries = Strong Communities.  I think many people in Litchfield would agree with that.  Starting before the original Carnegie library was built here shortly after the turn of the last century, and continuing to today, residents of Litchfield have worked hard to support the library and make it a cornerstone of the town. 

The library continues to help make Litchfield a strong community by serving people of all ages with a beautiful building, a wide variety of materials and programs to meet their needs and interests, and helpful staff.   I have even had people tell me that the library was one of the features of Litchfield that helped them decide that this would be a good place to live. 

The library actually serves people from all over Meeker County.  The operation of the Litchfield Library is jointly funded by the city of Litchfield and Meeker County.  People who live in or near Eden Valley, Watkins, Kingston, Dassel, Darwin, Cosmos, and Grove City use the Litchfield Library, as well as their smaller local libraries where there is one. 

Libraries play a vital role in communities across America, providing critical resources, programs, and expertise.  This includes school and college libraries.  Public libraries provide public spaces where all community members, regardless of age, culture, or income level, can come together to connect and learn.  Library staff strive to meet their community’s needs.

We’d like to invite you to join the National Library Week celebration.  On Tuesday, April 9, from 1:00-4:30 p.m., the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library will be hosting an open house for National Library Week.  We would love to see many members of our community there. 

The Friends will be serving light refreshments in the meeting room.  I will be there with them to answer any questions you may have about the library and its services, and I’d be glad to take you on a quick tour of the library.

The Litchfield Library has over 50,000 items on the shelves locally: books, CDs, DVDs, and magazines.  As a member of Pioneerland Library System, the library provides easy access to materials in 31 other libraries in west central Minnesota.  In fact, you can order materials from all over the state of Minnesota and have them delivered for you to check out at your local library, free of charge. 

Our library has twelve desktop computers, four laptops, and an iPad for public use, plus Wi-Fi.  These days the “card catalog” is a tablet computer mounted to the wall, where you can search the whole Pioneerland collection.  You can also search the library catalog from the comfort of home, as well as check out our e-books wherever you are.  Technology in the library changes as our world changes.

Libraries aren’t only about the books on the shelves.  They’re also about the people who are there with you.  You can participate in activities from storytimes to book clubs to arts and cultural programs at our local library, joining other members of the community to learn new things.  And remember that you can always ask library staff for help looking up information or finding a book.  You’re not expected to know how to do everything at the library; we are here to help. 

In the words of this year’s National Library Week honorary chair Melinda Gates, “In addition to providing communities with access to ideas and information, libraries play an important role in our public life by encouraging creativity, promoting equality, and serving as a source of empowerment.”  Join us at the library next Tuesday to celebrate!