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, June 28, 2019

Read Children's Books and Audition for "Jeopardy"

By Jan Pease

Are you a fan of the T.V. show “Jeopardy?”  My work schedule allows me to occasionally watch an episode. Over a period of some weeks, every time I tuned in, the same gentleman was playing, winning more and more money.  Professional gambler James Holzauer had a winning streak that looked like it would never end. He won 32 games, winning $2,462,216.  In an article by Karen Springen for Publisher’s Weekly, April 30 2019, Holzauer credits nonfiction children’s books from  the libraries in various cities he’s lived in for the vast amount of information he knows. His main problem was that many libraries, including Seattle, don’t allow adults in their children’s sections without a child.  He used holds to get the books he needed, rather than being a creepy man hanging out in the children’s section.  Ms. Springen quoted his statement in the New York Times that the library’s children’s section is the place to go for books “tailored to make things interesting for uninterested readers. 

 What does this have to do with anything?  Well, I happen to love children’s nonfiction books.  I just recommended “Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, and Murdered throughout History,” by Alison Matthews David, to a reader who doesn’t always read nonfiction.  A gruesomely attractive cover helps draw attention to this interesting read, which got a five-star review at  

Another fun book offers devious clues about characteristics of thirteen familiar animals.  “Beastly Puzzles: A Brain-Boggling Animal Guessing Game,” by Rachel Poliquin,  looks like a perfect book for a rainy day or a road trip. 

Dan Gutman is known for his hilarious writing in the “My Weird School” series has turned his talents to helping young readers read critically. His book, “My Weird Reading Tips,” will help young readers know how to understand concepts like point of view or whether a statement is fact or opinion.  Of course, since it’s by Dan Gutman, “My Weird Reading Tips” is also very funny.

I don’t know if Mr. Holzauer read any children’s poetry as he prepared for “Jeopardy,” but our library has just received “The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems,” selected by Paul B. Janeczko.  This sweet book is just what it says: poems written by various poets that tell how to do various things, such as “How to Build a Poem,” by Charles Ghigna; or “How to Tell a Camel,” by J. Patrick Lewis.  My personal favorite is, “How to Pay Attention,” by April Halprin Wayland.  Check out this wonderful book to find out why.

Mr. Holzauer’s reign of “Jeopardy” ended when Emma Boettcher, a librarian at the University of Chicago, defeated him.  She used his strategy of being quick on the buzzer, choosing higher categories categories first, and intentionally searching for “Double Jeopardy” questions. She also holds a vast amount of knowledge in her wonderful librarian brain.  I wonder if Ms. Boettcher reads children’s nonfiction books! See you at the library!


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Job opening at Litchfield Library


Job description: Provides clerical functions by performing various circulation responsibilities and tasks.  Provides circulation, reference, and research services to library patrons. Fills interlibrary loan requests.

Knowledge, skills, & abilities needed:  Knowledge of library operations and procedures.  Skill in the use of computers and other technology used in the library.  Ability to work effectively with customers of all ages.  Ability to maintain cooperative working relationships with coworkers.  Good communication skills.  Attention to detail. 

Minimum qualifications: High school diploma or equivalency, plus six months of directly-related experience, or a combination of education, experience, and training necessary to perform the essential requirements of the work.

Physical Requirements:  Must be able to walk, stoop, crouch, reach, lift, feel, grasp, talk, hear and see.  Some light lifting and carrying may be required up to 25 pounds.

Hours:  3-8 pm Tuesdays, 10 am-5 pm on the 4th Saturday of each month.   Additional subbing as needed.

Applications available at the library or  Submit applications by July 10 to:
Beth Cronk
Litchfield Public Library
P.O. Box 220
Litchfield MN 55355

Phone: (320)693-2483

Friday, June 21, 2019

Yes, you can check out movies and TV shows at the library!

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

DVDs account for about twenty percent of the materials checked out at the Litchfield Library.  For some people in our community, library DVDs are the only way they watch television.  Other people still are surprised to learn that the library offers DVDs for check out, because they thought we only had books. 

Litchfield Library has about 2700 unique video titles; we don’t have more than one copy of any of them in the local collection.  Pioneerland Library System has almost 50,000 DVDs available to order, although obviously there are many of the same movies and TV shows in different libraries. 

We get new DVDs every month in Litchfield; let me tell you about a few of the newest.

Netflix rebooted the familiar TV show Lost in Space last year.  You may remember the original from the late 1960s, which in turn was based on the 1812 book The Swiss Family Robinson.  There was also a movie in the 1990s, which was apparently awful.  This new version is geared to young teens and older, and it has gotten decent reviews for having great effects and sets, plus some more character development than the original.  If you love the 1965 series for the campiness, you won’t find that here, but it’s still some relatively family-friendly sci fi. 

 The Mustang is a drama based on a real animal therapy program for prison inmates in Nevada.  In fact, three of the actors in the film came from the program.  The movie stars Bruce Dern and Matthias Schoenaerts in a story about a violent convict who gets the chance to participate in training wild mustangs.  One reviewer said it’s an unusual mix of a gritty prison movie blended with an inspiring horse movie, but in general critics love it. 

Did you know there’s a new movie called Virginia Minnesota?  I hadn’t heard anything about it until just recently when it was released on DVD.  This indie film won the award for best Minnesota-made narrative feature at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, and it has been recognized at other small film festivals around the country.  It’s a comedy-drama about two young women who go on a 24-hour journey together after becoming estranged in childhood.  It might be interesting just to see the Iron Range scenery where it was filmed.

The new documentary Maria by Callas tells the story of opera singer Maria Callas’ life in her own words.  The Greek-American soprano was an international star in the middle of the twentieth century, an extraordinarily talented performer for the ages and a notorious diva.  This sympathetic portrait tries to tell her story as she would have, through interviews and other footage, letters she wrote, unpublished memoirs, home movies, and personal photos, almost none of which has been made public before.  While recognizing that it isn’t a balanced portrayal, reviewers praised this movie as an absorbing new look at a famous person.

Another new documentary is a big hit in our library system right now.  Apollo 11 is put together from archival footage that the public hasn’t seen before, and the director managed to make it crisp and beautiful.  One movie critic after another says that the movie makes audiences awestruck about the moon landing all over again. 

Some of the other new DVDs you can find at the Litchfield library include Captain Marvel, Five Feet Apart, Hotel Mumbai, PBS’s The Mueller Investigation, and My Dinner with Hervé.  If we don’t have a movie or television show, new or old, that you’re looking for, ask library staff for help and we will do our best to borrow it from other libraries in Minnesota.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Book and Movie Reviews!

 By Jan Pease

One of the fun things teens can do to win bonus prizes in the teen summer reading program is to attend a play or musical, write a movie review, write a book review or make a book trailer, which qualifies for two bonus points. 

We have received reviews from two teens, and I’m happy to share them with you.

“Dawn and the Impossible Three” is about a girl named Dawn who has to babysit the Baretts.  The Barett kids are too much for any babysitter, but not for Dawn.  Later, the Babysitters Club gets a new member, Mallory.  Mallory doesn’t like the test they made for her to take.  Read the book to see what happens next.  I like every little thing in the book.

“I Walk in Dread” is a heart wrenching tale of Deliverance Trembly, witness to the Salem Witch trials.  At first she believes whole heartedly in witches, but as time goes on and her friend is accused, starts to doubt that witches are real.  This is the perfect story for those who love historical fiction.

“Night at the Museum” is about a guy named Larry who gets a job as a night worker at the museum.  Later it turns to night and every statue in the museum came to life.  His son doesn’t believe that the museum comes to life.  Larry brings his son to the museum close to night time, but when it’s night time nothing happens.  They find the tablet that was going to get stolen and turned a knob on it, and everything in the museum came to life.  Watch the movie to see what happens next.  What I liked about it: I liked everything.  It was funny and sometimes scary.

“The Princess Bride” is a wonderful tale of love and courage for all ages.  When beautiful farm girl Buttercup is selected to be the bride of the prince, she is unsure if she wants to.  When she is kidnapped and then rescued by one of the helpers from her father’s farm, she discovers she is falling in love with him.  With a hilarious cast of characters, this is a perfect family movi

Our reviewers received their choice from a selection of bonus prizes and best of all, are being printed in our prestigious local newspaper!  Thanks to our two young ladies for your book and movie reviews.

We’re excited to look forward to Magic Bob’s show, “It’s Showtime,” on Friday, June 21.  He always has an amazing show that fits exactly with our summer reading theme.  Bob and his wife Lynne will be at the library at 10:00 for this free performance.

Take a peek in the children’s department and look at our wall of stars. 28 teens and 150 young people ages 3 through 12 have signed up to participate in summer reading.  Readers can sign up at any time.  Together we can stop “summer slide” cold. See you at the library!


Friday, June 7, 2019

Ordinary and Extraordinary Heroes of World War II

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

With the recent 75th anniversary of D-Day, the world has had a chance to honor the Allied troops who invaded Normandy in 1944 in the largest combined land, air, and naval operation in history.  It was remarkable to hear about the veterans in their nineties who commemorated the anniversary by once again parachuting into France as they had as young men.  The anniversary gives us an opportunity to remember the troops who gave their lives – over 4000 Allied troops on D-Day alone – and to learn more about all who did their part to fight tyranny in World War II.

World War II at Sea: A Global History is a definitive naval history of the war.  Author Craig L. Symonds wrote a narrative history of the engagements, the people, and the strategies, beginning with the London Conference of 1930 and ending with the surrender in Tokyo Bay in 1945.  It includes accounts of U-boat attacks, Dunkirk, Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Normandy.  Symonds explains with historical details that naval operations were key to the outcome of the war. 

If you like your history as historical fiction, you may enjoy The Paris Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal.  One of the most recent in the Maggie Hope mystery series, this one finds American-born British spy Maggie working in occupied Paris.  Another agent was gathering research for the impending invasion of Normandy when she was captured, and Maggie needs to locate that information for England while working to discover a traitor and find her missing sister. 

For some inspirational true stories, look for the brand-new book Invisible Heroes of World War II: Extraordinary Wartime Stories of Ordinary People by Jerry Borrowman.  These are not the stories of the generals and world leaders.  These are soldiers, ordinary citizens working with the resistance, journalists, combat engineers, code breakers, and factory workers. 

A biography of one of those unknown heroes is very popular right now.  A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II is a bestseller by Sonia Purnell.  Virginia Hall was a Baltimore socialite who loved studying languages and who lost her leg in a hunting accident.  She worked for the State Department in Europe and then joined Churchill’s spy organization SOE in occupied France.  While posing as a newspaper reporter, she was crucial to building the French resistance and building a network of spies. At one point, the Gestapo considered her the most dangerous of all Allied spies.  Reviewers say this biography is fast-paced and gripping.

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin is a novel based on the true story of another American woman who worked for the French Resistance.  Blanche Auzello was an American actress who married the French hotel manager who took over the Ritz in its glory days.  When the Nazis set up their headquarters in their Paris hotel in 1940, the Auzellos hosted them while secretly working against them.  In addition to the tension of that situation, the Auzellos’ marriage was in trouble throughout their years together.  Reviews say this novel is well-researched and written in a compelling way, with historical figures like Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway appearing as supporting characters.

When it comes to such a huge, worldwide conflict, there are endless stories to be told.  Look for the D-Day display at the Litchfield Library to find even more books about this pivotal time in history.