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, May 31, 2019

"June, She'll Change Her Tune"

By Jan Pease

When I was a teenager, my favorite performers were Simon and Garfunkel. I’m thinking of their song, “April, Come She Will.”  Paul Simon wrote, “June, she’ll change her tune,” and that’s what’s happening right now. Suddenly it feels like summer and June brings some very special events to enjoy.

BTW, (by the way) all of our story times began this week.  Tuesdays are reserved for daycare visits.  Expect to see kids here on Wednesdays and Fridays, at Story Time, and Thursday nights at Brickheads (Lego building).  And expect to see kids all the time in between, because this is a very busy time for our library.

On Saturday, June 8, the McLeod/Meeker chapter of Therapy Dogs International will visit the library at 10:00.  These beautifully trained dogs love to listen to children read aloud.  They also love belly scratches and hugs. These visits also let the dogs experience the sounds and smells of the library, so they get a training experience as well. 

Papa Siama and Auntie Dallas will visit our library on Thursday, June 13th at 1:00.  They will present a free program celebrating music and stories from Siama’s childhood in the Congo. This program is highly interactive and hands-on. Siama is an accomplished guitar player and he will also introduce us to African instruments such as the balafon and mbira. It was designed with children in mind but will be enjoyed by everyone.

Makerspace, for ages 10 – 18, takes place Monday, June 10th at 4:30.   This is an activity for teens and tweens that like to create.  This month, they will decorate their own planters and learn how to plant and take care of succulents. 

Our favorite magician, Magic Bob, will visit the library on Friday, June 21st at 10:00.  His show this year is called, “It’s Showtime!”  He and the Beautiful Lynn Marie always present a show that matches our summer reading theme.

Kids Open Mic, for ages 10-18, will happen Monday, June 24th at 4:30.  Whatever your talents, if you’re aged 10-18, come and share them at the library.  Sing, play an instrument, tell a joke, or read an original poem or story.  This is a new thing for us, but it is a good fit for “It’s Showtime @ your library!”  Celebrate summer!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Summer Books Preview

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Now that we’re past Memorial Day, it’s summertime – at least by one definition.  If your idea of summer fun is reading a good book, you’re in luck: the summer book lists for adults are coming out in one publication after another, and they look intriguing.  Let me tell you about some that the Litchfield Library has in the collection or will be getting this summer.

“City of Girls” seems to be on everyone’s list.  Author Elizabeth Gilbert made a splash in 2006 with “Eat, Pray, Love” and has had other hits since then, both fiction and nonfiction.  This new novel, coming out in June, is told from the perspective of an 89-year-old woman looking back on her time in a New York City theater company in the 1940s when she was young.  The theme of the book is that a woman can get tired of carrying shame with her through life, and that you don’t have to be a “good girl” to be a good person.

Pulitzer Prize and National Book award winner Colson Whitehead has a new novel coming out in July, called “The Nickel Boys,” his first since “The Underground Railroad.”  Taking on another portion of difficult American history, this novel is based on events in an awful real-life reform school in Florida that operated for over one hundred years.  In the novel, an idealistic black boy about to start college makes a mistake and gets sent to Nickel Academy, which claims to train delinquent boys to become honorable men but where the boys are actually abused, starved, and sometimes even murdered.  He makes a friend who has a cynical view of the world, and both of their lives are changed by their experiences at the reformatory. 

Looking for something lighter?  “The Wedding Party” by Jasmine Guillory is a highly-anticipated romance.  It’s set within the same set of characters and events as two of Guillory’s other books, “The Wedding Date” and “The Proposal,” but it’s not necessarily a series that needs to be read in order.  With a classic romantic comedy set-up, the two main characters hate each other but have a powerful attraction.  As they work together on responsibilities for their mutual best friend’s wedding, they keep succumbing to the attraction, which they keep secret from everyone else. “The Wedding Party” comes out in July. 

You wouldn’t expect a collection of science fiction short stories to be a bestseller, but it is.  “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang was published this month to critical acclaim and strong sales. The movie “Arrival” was based on one of his stories, so he is kind of a big deal. This new collection of nine stories includes tales about time portals, alien scientists, and alternate universes, but he explores deep questions about humanity.  His writing has been compared to Philip K. Dick, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, and Edgar Allan Poe.

It’s got quite the title, but the book “Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered” is on many a list of the anticipated books of this summer.  Authors Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstack are known to many from their hugely popular podcast “My Favorite Murder,” which is described as true crime comedy.  Kilgariff and Hardstack are both comedians, and on the podcast they cover true stories of murder, which they say is a way for them to deal with their own anxieties about danger.  The brand-new book addresses their own life histories, and they advocate for women to put their personal safety above being “nice” or “helpful” at times when that can be dangerous.  Author Jenny Lawson describes it as “All the best advice your mother never told you.” 

This summer will bring many other interesting new books, including ones from Jennifer Weiner, Ruth Ware, Beatriz Williams, Laura Lippman, and Pierce Brown.  Stop in to pick up an issue of BookPage magazine to get more ideas, or take a look at the library’s shelf of new additions.  You’ll be ready to relax in a lawn chair with a good book.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Synchronize Your Watches and Start Your Engines, NOW!

  by Jan Pease

It’s time to synchronize your watches (thanks, “Back to the Future” movies) and get ready for another amazing, quick Minnesota summer.

Every year, most libraries in the United States have a reading program during the summer months. Recreational reading is fun and something that a reader can do for a lifetime.  A summer reading program can also help children stay involved with reading and math during the long break from school.  NBC News anchor Brian Williams did a piece on the learning gap that can be found on YouTube. It is truly scary. Just search for the words, “Brian Williams summer slide.”   The Scholastic company has a   website packed full of information about family literacy.  Look for their pages on family and community engagement, and an excellent article about preventing summer slide. Just search “Scholastic,” and click on the button that says parents.

And now for the good stuff!  The 2019 summer reading program is “It’s Showtime @ Your Library.”  Children, tweens, and teens can sign up beginning June 1st.  Reading records must be turned in by August 31st.   All children’s summer programs begin the week of June 3rd.  Story times end August 9th, but Beginner Book Club and Brick Heads continue throughout August.

On Saturday, June 8, at 10:00, the McLeod/Meeker County chapter of Therapy Dogs International   This is also a fun event as we socialize with these friendly, well-trained dogs.
will be at the library to listen to children practice reading.


On Tuesday, June 11, at 6:30, teens that are curious about re-forming a Teen Advisory Board are invited to come and hang out, eat some pizza, and chat about what they would like to see offered for teens at our library.

On Thursday, June 13 at 1:00, Siama Matuzungidi will share feel-good sounds from the Heart of Africa. This interactive program will be fun for children adults as we listen to music and stories from the Congo.

On Friday, June 21 at 10:00, Magic Bob will present his awesome  magic show, “It’s Showtime @ Your Library!”   Magic Bob always presents a new show that features our summer reading programs.

Something new called “Kids’ Summer Open Mic” will happen on the 4th Mondays, 4:30-5:30 p.m.   If you are a tween or teen who sings, plays an instrument, writes poetry, or who wants to try a little karaoke, come to Open Mic.  Students ages 10-18 are invited to share their talents.

The “One Vegetable One Community” folks will present a story hour about lettuce on Friday, July 19 th at 10:00.  They always present a fun and informative program. 

Actors and wanna-be actors ages 10-18 are invited to an improvisation class,  Improv with Marian the Librarian,  Wednesday, August 7th and August 14th  at 1:30 p.m.

The library will continue to offer our regular weekly programs.  

On the 2nd Monday of each month, students 10-18 are invited to Makerspace at 4:30 p.m.  

On Wednesdays, Toddler Time will be presented each week at 10:15, June 5-August 7.  

Beginner Book Club meets on the 3rd Thursdays at 3:30.  We’re expanding the age limit for readers from age 6-12. 

Preschool Story time for ages 3-5 is offered every Friday at 10:00.

Teen events for ages 12-18 are offered on the 2nd and 5th Saturdays at 1:30.

This information is available on our Facebook page,  and on our blog,  Happy summer!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Grace and inspiration in stressful times

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

How is your stress level?  According the American Psychological Association’s most recent annual survey on stress in America, the average adult is reporting they’re at a 4.9 on a scale of zero to ten.  Younger adults are reporting higher levels of stress than older adults.  Work and money are the top sources of stress in the U.S.  Health concerns and the current state of our nation are also major sources of stress for many. 

Many recent books tackle questions about how to manage stress and find connection, inspiration, and hope.  Litchfield Library has a number of them available to check out. 

Political stress is the subject of I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations.  Authors Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth A. Silvers come from different sides of the aisle, and they talk about that on their podcast “Pantsuit Politics.”  In this book they share their principles and tools for having calm conversations that prioritize relationships and understanding over policy positions and arguments. 

If your high school senior or college kid is wrapping up a challenging year, you may want to look for The Stressed Years of Their Lives: Helping Your Kid Survive and Thrive During Their College Years by B. Janet Hibbs and Anthony Rostain.  This pair of child and adolescent mental health specialists offers advice on what’s normal in kids of that age and how to intervene when things aren’t going well, with the goal of a successful launch to college and independence. 

What would you tell your younger self if you could?  CBS This Morning cohost Gayle King has explored this idea in a popular segment on her program, called Note to Self.  Her new book by the same name is a compilation of the letters from the show, in which prominent people write advice and encouragement to their younger selves. The subtitle of the book is “Inspiring Words from Inspiring People.” 

Chrissy Metz is an Emmy-nominated actress known for the television series This Is Us and the new movie Breakthrough.  Her new book, This is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today, is a bestseller that combines a memoir of her life with specific lessons about things like facing fears and practicing gratitude.  Booklist magazine says, “This is more than a celebrity bio.  At its heart, it’s a how-to book.” 

Professional organizer Julie Morgenstern takes on time management in Time to Parent: Organizing Your Life to Bring Out the Best in Your Child and You.  Morgenstern creates a system for dividing parenting responsibilities into manageable tasks, and she shares tips for making the most of small chunks of time.  But beyond just creating structure, she advocates for truly paying attention to what you’re doing, whether that’s spending time with your child or spouse, working, or taking some time for yourself. 

Taking time for yourself may mean working on creative projects. Creative Quest is a new book by musician, producer, and professor Questlove, the bandleader for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  This guide to living your best creative life pulls together the lessons Questlove has learned from other artists, stories about his life experiences, and advice on concrete steps like finding a mentor and a network. 

In the powerful children’s novel in verse Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo says, “The way I see it, hard times aren’t only about money, or drought, or dust.  Hard times are about losing spirit, and hope, and what happens when dreams dry up.”  We all need to find ways to feed our spirits and our hope.

Friday, May 3, 2019

A Day for Mom

Suddenly  Mother’s Day is just around the corner.  That means we only have one more story time in May!  After Mother’s Day we have a little break to let everyone know about summer reading.  Teachers are scheduling field trips for classes and we’re getting ready for an incredible summer reading program.  We’ll tell you more about that in a couple of weeks. Story time, library programs, and the summer reading program officially begin June 1st.

There are still a few days left to make a present for Mom.  “Mother’s Day Crafts,” by Jean Eick, is a book with great ideas for an easy gift to make and give.

“Things to Make for Mother’s Day,” by Rebecca Gilpin, is another cute, colorful book with ideas for Mother’s Day gifts.

Jeanette Bradley wrote and illustrated her book, “Love, Mama,” published last year by Roaring Brook Press.  I just love the name of that company.  “Love, Mama” is the story of a little penguin whose mama has to leave him.  Although he knows she will come back, he still misses her.  She sends a special note to him with these words,

“My love for you stretches across the wide ocean,
through day and night,
from earth to sky
and back again.”

This book would be perfect to share with a child whose mom is absent or deployed.

“Sad Days, Glad days: a Story About Depression,” by Hamilton Dewitt, is an older book that was written to help children understand Mom’s depression. It’s very true that depression affects everyone in the family, but it’s especially difficult when it’s Mom.

Doug Wood, who lives in Sartell, MN, wrote a sweet book titled, “What Moms Can’t Do.” He writes:

“There are lots of things that regular people can do, but moms can’t.
Moms can’t wait to wake kids up in the morning.
When they watch movies, they need protection from the scary parts,
And they can’t sit very long without someone in their lap.
Moms also can’t let go of a hug without a kiss. Or two. Or nine.”

A little pillow, handmade and stitched, sits in the children’s department. It has been here at least as long as I have. It says, “Richer than I you will never be, for I had a Mother who read to me.” If you still have your mom, give her a hug and a kiss. Or two. Or nine. If you no longer have your mom, remember her with gratitude. Happy Mother’s Day!